goal setting

Finding balance: How to Juggle Healthy Eating, Exercise, Insanely Busy Work Life, a Seemingly Endless Social Calendar, and Planning a Wedding!

finding balance shed for the wed healthy eating exercise

If you read this headline and got very excited, well, I’m sorry to disappoint. Before you keep reading looking for the solve, know that there is no miracle solution to finding balance. “Work-life balance” is a myth. You just have one life. Work is a part of that life. It reminds me of what they used to say about working mothers– “she wants to have it all!” well the reality is you can’t have it ALL. Something will always feel like it is out of whack in some capacity. But what you can do is find routine and ritual to keep what matters most to you moving.

I decided to write this post because one of the most put together people I know was one of the people requesting it. If I couldn’t ask her to be a guest blogger on this topic, I was fairly certain there isn’t a clear answer.

This is coming from someone who searched for the answer for years! I remember my first real job out of college. I was working super late every night and really it was my first time really living on my own. I always felt too tired for the gym or to cook when I got home. I ordered takeout nonstop. I craved balance so badly. I kept saying there had to be another way. Well I can tell you, that led me to quit said job and move to another continent for a year in search of a better way of life. And I can say I learned a lot in that one year from the way that the Aussies live their lives in work and play. But moving to another continent is not really an option for most people, nor is it desired! The real question is how to make the life you have right now feel more ideal.

Here are my 3 steps to help you reclaim “balance” in your life.

1) Determine what feels off to you

If you are searching for balance that implies that something is imbalanced. Do you just feel like you are struggling to reach your goals? Do you feel exhausted with your current lifestyle? There is a tool I use with my one-on-one coaching clients called the Circle of Life. It helps you identify where you feel off in your current day-to-day life. What’s amazing is that it can change entirely from one week to the next. But it’s a great place to start if you are struggling to identify what feels off in your day to day. I’ve included it here for you, just because! Note: it includes a variety of facets to life. Those may be applicable to what comprises your circle, or you may need to make an adjustment to fit your life! Ask yourself, “what does balance mean to you?”

Do the exercise and see where your gaps come up for you right now!

2) Set a goal (or not)

Once you are clear on what is off, you can move forward deciding with what is most important that you would like to change. If goals are your thing, you could make yourself a goal to help correct the imbalance. Sometimes I feel like setting goals for everything takes away their power, so I would most likely give myself some weekly objectives (in my world they are different!) I would like to aim for.

An example of my weekly objectives: exercise 4x/week and meditating daily. I have check boxes in my planner for them both. I don’t always hit them, but that is okay too!

If it is something you really care about, you need to make it a priority. If you don’t really want to make it a priority, think about why that is. Maybe it’s that you feel like you should do something, but in your heart, you just don’t care. THAT IS 100% OKAY! But don’t beat yourself up about not working out everyday if it’s not something that you really don’t have any interest in prioritizing.

3) Be Prepared

Now that we are clear on where our imbalance lies, and what we would like to change, now it’s time to make sure it happens. If you have a typical 9-5 the weekend is a great way to get on top of it. Carve out time for yourself during the weekend or whenever your off days are. It’s easy to load up on social events, but make sure you have time for a bit of productivity. I have one friend who says “Sunday’s are sacred”– and it’s become my favorite phrase! For many people it’s meal planning and doing cooking for the week on Sundays. For others it’s plotting out and signing up for their work out classes for the week. Make that time a part of your ritual and then the Sunday scaries become empowering!

I’ll be honest with you, this step is my weakness. Because I work for myself, I’ve just gotten good at doing things that matter on the fly, and that works for me. I wouldn’t aim for that, but know that success looks different to everyone.

As I am all about the healthy eats, I will tell you the number one way to ensure success is to prepare in advance. The Shed nutrition plans have meal plans built in for 8 weeks. If you use one weekend day to really make meals in advance and portion things out for the week, you will be on the right track from the very beginning of the week! It’s all about making that a priority, if that is what matters to you!

Allowing for grace

For me, living intuitively within my body is the goal. I listen to my body and give it room to process. This goes for eating (I eat mindfully, and try to listen to the cues my body gives me) and exercise (if I’ve worked out 3 days in a row, and my muscles are telling me they need a break, I give them a break!). But it also is a part of the bigger picture in my life. Sometimes life is going to be madness, and you need to step it up to make everything come together. But then, you need to allow for time to recoup. We live in a world where productivity is the metric of living a successful life. We’ve been trained to think that way, but really, there is more to life than checking off every item on your to do list. If you don’t make it to the grocery store because you are spending time with people you care about and having meaningful connections with them, then you know what, I would consider that more productive than meal prepping for the week! It all comes down to what really matters to you. And depending on your phase of life this can fluctuate.

Why I love working with brides is because they have a definitive time frame to when they would like to reach their goals. They are highly motivated in the moment that they find me! That being said a bride’s goals and mindset is not the same as a new mother’s, etc. Each phase of life you are in, a new balance becomes clear. Allow yourself to be comfortable in the place that you are in right now!

There isn’t a one size fits all answer

Every individual has their own, unique set of challenges. This is why I have a coaching business and not just online programs that run without me. Because at the end of the day, finding that balance in our day to day lives is hard! Sometimes you need someone there to help you deal with your particular set of circumstances (the Shed platinum program is the best for this!). Following a program works for some people, but other people have more challenges that they need to overcome in order to reach their goals. Your experience is unique to you, and your job is to find what a balanced healthy lifestyle means in the context of your life!

So what does living a balanced life mean to you? Where do you prioritize your time? I want to hear! Leave me a note below or on Insta/FB. -AHS

Setting Intentions for 2019

setting intentions 2019 core desired feelings.jpg

Note: I laid out my entire goal-setting method (which I’m obsessed with) here, so if you want to read all about that, that post is for you! This post will cover the changes I made to this years process and my personal journey with setting my new year intentions.

This January, my goals have not been as free flowing as in the past. Normally, post-Christmas, I know exactly what I want to work on in the upcoming year. And while I definitely have this drive in many areas of my life right now, this upcoming year is going to look different than years past (more on this in posts to come), and I’m not going to lie- it has thrown me! I feel a bit less in control of my life and thus, are having a harder time really connecting with my goals. Especially the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) aspects of them.

For that reason, I have decided to focus on my core desired feelings for the year, and to set my intentions, but without using monthly SMART goals. (Again, if you need a debriefing of these terms, read my original goal setting post!) As time goes on, I may choose to set monthly SMART goals, but right now, I’m keeping it loose. Typically, I would not encourage this in clients of mine. You need to get very clear on what you want in order to achieve it! But you also need to know yourself, and right now, that feels a bit counter intuitive to my own nature. And as you will soon see, one of my words is grace, and that is what I am giving myself!

The two words that have come through the most strongly for me this year are Connection and Flow. This is not the first time these words have come to me. I believe that these words, at the end of the day, are apart of my soul’s mission. I need to have meaningful connection with others first and foremost. And re: flow, I need to go with the natural rhythms of life, and not work against them. And bonus points because it also ties in with my yoga practice! My other core desired feelings for this year are: joy, grace, and prosperous. The key with Core Desired Feelings is that you should want to feel them inside your core. Sit with them.

These words are more higher arching ideals, and normally I have a tangible work word(s) like “focus” or “discipline” like last year! But those feel off to me this year so I think this is a year to enjoy the ride!

So to summarize, my core desired feelings for the year are:

  1. Connection

  2. Flow

  3. Joy

  4. Grace

  5. Prosperous

Next I’ve set intentions for the following pillars of my life: health, career, family, home, community, spirituality, and travel. I won’t lay them all out for you here but I will share a couple examples.

In the home area of my life, I have decided to Konmari method our condo in the first quarter of the year. (Yes, I binged Marie Kondo’s Netflix show when I was sick the first week of the year!) Both my husband and I tend to keep things longer than we should, and sometimes it feels like we are busting at the seams. Her whole essence behind tidying up is that your possessions should “spark joy”- and that ties directly with one of my core desired feelings for the year, so I am fired up about this!

In the spirituality area of my life my intention is a bit more vague. My intention I set for this year is to make meditation and prayer a priority. I could make it more tangible like, meditate 5x/week for 15 minutes or go to church every Sunday- but I’m allowing for grace with this intention (and with all of them!). It may not seem like this is a very exciting goal- but I can tell you, I can feel the difference in my life when I do not make meditation and prayer a priority- and it’s not pretty.

Overall, my net takeaway is be in tune with yourself and where you are at. Feel free to adjust your sails accordingly as time goes on. And remember that new intentions should light you up and feel excited! I wanted to share my own personal experience with you, because I think it’s important to trust in yourself first and foremost. There are a million people out there telling you what to do and how you should do it to see the best results- but at the end of the day- you know you better than anyone else. Go deep within yourself, you know what you need. And at the end of the day, give yourself some grace with the process and enjoy the journey!

What are your intentions for 2019? Leave me a note and tell me about them! Holler if you want me to check in on you (for free!) to see how they are coming! Xo, AHS

New Year, New Intentions

New Year Goal Setting

It's that time of year again! We are all feeling the post-holiday blues/ bloat. I don't know about you guys, but I love the feeling of a fresh new start and I am feeling pumped about 2018! I actually subscribe to the belief that you can set goals at any time (so feel free to come back to this page later if you aren't quite in the mood yet!). That being said, the new year always feels like a great time to reflect and hone in on what you want to achieve over the next year. Also, any new brides out there? This is the time to reflect on how you want to feel in your engagement "season". 

I am going to walk you through my intention/ goal-setting method. There are so many variations out there, and I use a bit of a hybrid. 

The biggest question that gets overlooked with New Years resolutions is "why?". Why do you you want to accomplish stated goal or resolution. If you aren't connected with your why you aren't going to reach that goal, and if you do- you probably won't feel satisfied by it! Connect with your why

One answer to the "why" question is answered by author and influencer, Danielle Laporte. This lady knows where it is AT when it comes to goals. I highly recommend her book, The Desire Map. She has figured out that it is not just about what you are achieving, but really, how you want to feel when you accomplish the goal, and throughout the process. Feelings are often the "why." She encourages you to come up with your core desired feelings. I reflect on them and adjust every year. Pick no more than 5, it can be really challenging to focus if you have more than 5. They should be high vibe. Take some time,  sit with them. Make sure they feel right!

My 2018 core desired feelings are written in the back of my planner! 

My 2018 core desired feelings are written in the back of my planner! 

My five for the year are: 

  1. Thrive 
  2. Disciplined 
  3. Glow 
  4. Heart-centered
  5. Nourished

A theme I've observed over the past few years is that I crave "connection." I need my humans! But this year, instead of using that word - I decided this year that "heart-centered" is more relevant and will bring me connection. My point being, it is okay to change things up! These words should light you up and feel excited!

Once you feel good about your 5 core desired feelings, then we can talk goals and intentions. 

At the beginning of the year I like to focus on my 'intentions" versus "goals." What's the difference? Well I think of intentions as where I want to spend my energy. It is a judgement free zone. Goals are more specific. You either accomplish them or you don't. I like to make goals SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Lastly, I don't use the term "resolutions" because it implies that something needs to be "resolved" as if you weren't fine as you were last year! Poo poo. 

Here is an example: 

  • An intention for this year for me is to "feel good in my body". This ties back to the core desired feelings of the year of: thrive, disciplined, glow, and nourished. 
  • A SMART goal under that intention could be "practice yoga 5 days a week through the end of March."

By accomplishing my goal of practicing yoga 5 days a week through the end of March I should "feel good in my body" and subsequently help me to feel thriving, glowy, disciplined and nourished. Make sense? 

I choose specific areas of my life that I want to set intentions for. Each segment has an intention that links back to my core desired feelings of the year. This year I chose health, career, family, community, spirituality, and travel. What are the important pillars in your life you want to set intentions for? Other options could be, but aren't limited to,  "relationships," "personal," or "home".  

Each month I try to set SMART goals that link back to the intention. For me, just having the intentions written out really helps me focus in my daily life. I rebel sometimes against goals- they feel too forced. BUT sometimes I need more specific goals to accomplish bigger things though. Deadlines are important!

We are human. There is no perfect solution. This is my own method that works for me. Everyone is different. The way our brains work can vary so much. Know yourself. Don't push against your own nature. You are brilliant as you are. Lean into your personality, and it will make it so much easier. Maybe you know that you won't accomplish anything unless you have concrete goals written out. If you know that - you better get those goals written out! Maybe you know you rebel against goals - better to focus on your intentions and desired feelings.

Also to note: this should actually take you time. If you figure out your goals in 30 minutes, you probably have not connected well with your why. (Alternatively, you did all this leg work already and feel very connected to your why! And then you are prepared. :)) You don't have to have everything figured out immediately. Enjoy the process. Take some time, drink some tea, cozy up, and do some soul digging! 

You are the captain of your own ship- you get to steer where you want to go! Isn't that incredible? Goals and intentions light me up, because I just love helping people get stoked about their lives, and that is what it is all about! 

To wrap this up: where are you going to spend your energy this year? What are you going to accomplish? Or not? Sometimes, "just be" is the answer. 

If you have any questions about my process or would like help with your own goals, shoot me an email (alexandra@shedforthewed.com) or leave a comment below! This ish brings me so much joy, I would love to hear from you beauties!

Cheers to new beginnings!