Wednesday, August 22, 2018

my morning rituals

I am without a doubt a total morning person. I have always been this way. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly hang all night but you better believe I’ll still be up early the next day. However, there was once a time in my life where waking up in the morning felt like complete drudgery. I had no zip, no energy, no nothing. I felt tired even after sleeping all night. Well, come to find out…I wasn’t tired, I was uninspired

I have always admired Tony Robbins and I remember watching a YouTube video of him during this time speaking about his morning rituals. Long story short, that’s what got the ball rolling for me and here I am about 5 years later, still practicing my morning rituals to this day. Here are my morning rituals & how they've changed my life... 

5 O'Clock Alarm 
Monday through Friday my alarm happily goes off at 5 am. I set my alarm to an upbeat, energetic song. It sets my mood as soon as I hear it. I wake up at 5 am because it gives me one guaranteed quiet, uninterrupted hour to myself to get my mind and body focused, energized and ready to take on the day. There is little to no distractions this early in the morning, therefore, no excuses not to follow through with my rituals. 

Make Your Bed
I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t make my bed. I even make my bed when I stay in hotels. This was a rule growing up in our house that I carried on with me throughout life, but I also read the book “Make Your Bed” by former Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven. He states that by making your bed first thing in the morning, you are starting your day with a task completed, which gets the ball rolling for the rest of the day. And if your day goes to shit, well at least you’re going home to a made bed. 

1 Liter of Water 
I drink about 1 liter of water every single morning. I do this before drinking or eating anything else. Some of my ex-boyfriends can testify to this as I’m pretty sure they thought I was a weirdo, but I honestly believe the power of drinking water first thing in the morning is soooooo incredible. I’m certainly not a doctor, so I won’t go into all the health benefits but a good chug of H2O in the morning does the body well.

Gratitude & God 
If you read my “Turning 25” blog, you know how important gratitude is to me. I thank God every morning for waking me up and giving me the gift of life. It’s a simple and quick thank you, but it automatically shifts my mindset into a state of gratefulness. Following that, I come out into my kitchen and read today’s morning devotion from either “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young or “Starting Your Day Right” by Joyce Meyer. 

YouTube & Journaling 
I started this ritual about 4 years ago, but wasn’t consistent with it until the past two. This might be the habit that changed my life the most—also the morning ritual that I enjoy the most. While emptying my dishwasher and getting coffee going, I turn on a YouTube video. Sometimes it’s Tony Robbins, sometimes it’s Joel Osteen, sometimes it’s a motivational/empowering mix of entrepreneurs, sometimes it’s about having a good attitude, etc…the list goes on. Every day is different. Once I have my coffee ready to go, I sit down and take notes. I then pick a few other videos to watch/listen to and continue writing. I have years worth of journals with little notes, quotes & helpful tips. You name it, I’ve probably watched a video about it. I love everything from business and success, to religion and spirituality, to health and fitness, dating and relationships…the list goes on. This might be a BOLD statement, but I honestly feel that I have learned more from YouTube than I ever did in a classroom. 

Review My Goals
I have a very specific list of short and long term goals in a “note” on my phone. I pull them up and look at them every morning. I have my goal and next to it the reason why I want to accomplish it. Rereading this everyday keeps me focused and gives me purpose. 

Last, but certainly not least…exercise. I rarely start my day without a workout. Of course I exercise for the aesthetics…but I truly workout for my mental health. I am such a happier, more positive person when I get my body and endorphins moving first thing in the morning. It truly keeps my thoughts upbeat, light and optimistic all day long. 

This might seem like a lot to do first thing in the morning, but I get this all done in 1 hour. It’s my “selfish” hour. Growing up, my dad always said to my sister and I,“Be selfish—take care of thyself.” I always thought that was a rather, well…selfish…statement. Now that I’m older, I get it. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of anyone else. You can’t pour from an empty cup. That’s why I whole heartedly mean it when I say that my morning rituals changed my life. 

Following my last blog post, I’ve had a few people reach out to me asking how I got to the point I’m at now. It has been a multitude of different things (that’s for sure) and years of work, but my morning rituals is definitely at the top of the list. Starting your day right is a complete game changer. I believe rituals are one of the most effective and self-empowering ways to change your morning, change your day, and change your life. 

Try creating some of your own rituals & see how it changes your day. 

Keep on keepin’ on—

XX, Laura 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

turning 25

Well damn, out with 24 and in with 25. This year completely flew by—and what a year it was. A year of growth, adventure, learning and fun. Here’s what I took away from my 24th year: 

Gratitude Gratitude Gratitude 
This is easily one of the most important things in my life—having & expressing gratitude. Every morning before I get out of bed and every night before I fall asleep, I thank God for all of the many blessings in my life—for the day, my life, my family, my friends, the health & happiness of everyone I love. I truly believe that the key to happiness is gratefulness. I always remind myself, “The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.”

Own Who You Are 
“The greatest act of courage is to be & own all that you are. Without apology. Without excuses. & Without any masks to cover the truth of who you really are.” Really owning who you are is THE most freeing thing you will ever do—your personality, your life, your background, your story, how you were raised, your thoughts, your beliefs, your body, how you dress, what you like, what you want…own it, rock it, and make NO excuses for it. 

Develop a “No F*cks to Give Attitude” 
This is more of a recent thing for me. I’m not really sure how it came about, to be honest…but it’s working for me. It’s not that I don’t give a f*ck about anything…it’s just I’m much more selective on what I do give a f*ck about. Things just don’t bother me like they use to. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I care less. I know what’s most important to me, who's important to me and where to invest my time & energy. Learn to let the little shit goooooooo. 

Doing Things Alone Will Empower You 
A good chunk of my 24th year was spent alone, as I decided to spend 6 months in another state where I knew no one. It was challenging, no doubt…but so worth it. I gained a lot of confidence from this and really learned to love my own company. Learning how to depend and take care of yourself is so important and pretty badass. 

Embrace The Confusion
I had this conversation with my Nana last week about the confusion that happens while navigating through your twenties. It’s confusing AF…but learning how to embrace it and enjoy it for what it is, makes life a hella lot easier. Besides, where’s the fun in having everything figured out? 

Support Your Friends & Celebrate Their Success
I read somewhere once that when you support a small business, you’re supporting someone’s dream. I think that relates to all aspects of life—school, jobs, businesses. Rooting for your friends & family makes a huge impact because to me it says, “I believe in you.” There’s nothing in the world I want more than for my family and friends to be happy and wildly “successful” with whatever they do, as I hope they would want the same for me. We’re all just trying to “make it,” and it’s comforting to know that you have a team behind you. 

Everything Happens For a Reason
I know, this sounds so cliche but I am SUCH a firm believer that everything happens for a reason—every single thing. The good, the all leads you to where you’re meant to be. Dark times teach you a lot & make the great times that much sweeter. The flowers always remind us that the rain was necessary. *Insert God’s Plan by Drake*

If They Don’t Know You Personally, Don’t Take it Personal
Usually the people who know the least about you have the most to say. Unfortunate, but true. Whenever I hear something about myself or my family that’s not very kind, I think to myself, “They must not know me.” 

Destined To Be An Old Woman With No Regrets  
This is my #1 goal in life—to get to the end of my life with no regrets. I have a bit of a “Go big or go home,” mentality about this. When you really think about the fact that we’re all going to be old and eventually gone someday, why wouldn’t we live it up, be spontaneous, be wild, be crazy (within, make mistakes, and go after the things we want to do and be whoever the heck we want to be? It makes no sense, not to! 

Love Yourself Fiercely 
This might be the most important thing I’m taking away from my 24th year—self love. As someone who struggled deeply with disordered eating in the past, I wish I could tell every girl out there to love and accept themselves so fiercely because they are perfect just the way they are. When I think back to those times in my life, it’s hard to believe that the girl I was then and the girl I am today are the same person. Turning 25, I know who I am, I like who I am, and I’m proud of who I am. I don’t say that in a conceited way, but because I know that you can have everything in the world and if you don’t love and accept yourself… it all means nothing.

Happiness Is A Choice 
Shit happens to all of us, but everyday we make the decision on how we’re going to show up and what kind of attitude we’re going to have. Waiting for circumstances to change or improve before we feel that we can be happy is a lose lose game. Positivity and an optimistic attitude win every single time. It’s much easier to go through life when you have a smile on your face. 

Constantly Challenge Yourself 
Following the point above, Tony Robbins says the key to happiness = progress. Setting small goals has been an incredible key to my happiness this year. I think we’re all wildly capable of more than we think we are and when you set and reach goals that you weren’t sure you could do, boom—happiness. 

Let People Live 
I hate being judged, therefore I’ve made the conscious effort this year to not judge others as well. I had this conversation with someone the other night. They said, “You didn’t judge me.” And I said, “Yeah, because you didn’t judge me.” I heard someone say once that we all live in glass houses, and no one has clean windows. Ain’t that the truth! Now my attitude is more—oh you smoke? Good for you. You wear a lot of makeup? Sweet. You do drugs? Cool. You don’t have life figured out? Me either. It’s none of my business what others do with their lives, nor should it matter to them how I live mine. 

You’re Never Going To Find Yourself
Oh boy was I caught up in this web for the longest time! My early twenties were dedicated to “finding myself.” Wtf does that even mean??? Like one day, the real me was just going to pop out of thin air and say, “Here I am!” No, no, no…YOU decide who you are. You decide by what you do, what you think about, what you like, who you love, books you read, music you listen to, how you dress, who you hang out with—it’s all up to you.

You Can’t Make New Old Friends 
My friends & I were talking about this at our last girls night. We’ve all gone off and grown in different directions but the thing we all have in common is our history together. We know everything about each other—our families, our stories, our relationships, our wins, our losses…there’s no mask, no filters…we are who we are with each other. Friends like that are one in a million and although we don’t see each other as much as we use to, we all know that we’re always “there.” 

You Will Never Regret Being Kind 
This is pretty self-explanatory, but something that I believe is worth the mention. Life is hard and we never know what other people are going through, or have gone through. It’s much easier to react harshly at times, but in the end, that doesn’t ever make either side feel better. You might be the person that changes a day (or a life) around for one hurting person just by being kind. 

I’m now officially a quarter of a century old and I couldn't be more excited about it. I know some people have a hard time with 25, but I think it’s a really cool age. I’m content with where I’m at, excited to see where I’m going, and truly believe, “The best is yet to be.” I’ve got a roof over my head, food on the table, and a family and group of friends that love me. Life is good, baby. 

“And then it happens…One day you wake up and you’re in this place. You’re in this place where everything feels right. Your heart is calm. Your soul is lit. Your thoughts are positive. Your vision is clear. Your faith is stronger than ever. And you’re at peace. At peace with where you’ve been. At peace with what you’ve been through. And at peace with where you’re headed…”

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura