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Six tips for self-care during the holidays

Lori-bigpantsIt’s official. The 2014 holiday season is upon us.

I’m celebrating Thanksgiving in Maine this year and we’re expecting a “Noreaster” later today/tonight so people are rushing to the grocery store and preparing for the onslaught of the holiday, expecting to be “snowed in.” Nothing like a little added stress for those who need to travel. (Please be safe.)

While the holidays are intended for families and friends to come together and celebrate, they can be stressful. The commercialism surrounding the holiday season and the busyness and pressure of it all, not to mention our expectations, can often cause more stress than pleasure.

For many, the act of spending time with family and friends causes stress in and of itself. For others, loneliness, the absence or loss of family causes sadness and/or stress during the holidays.

So how do we take care of ourselves through it all? Read more

Pursuing our goals without attaching worthiness

eb65892d1c35299e535c7eafdd14718dThis morning I read a blog on Positively Positive titled How to pursue goals without setting yourself up for disappointment. It caught my attention because I was about to log my results for the third week of our “In the Equation 2014 Challenge” as unsuccessful. I did not hit my goals this week. In fact, I struggled…a lot.

What’s interesting about this, is that I am NOT feeling unsuccessful or like a failure — meaning I have not attached my overall worthiness to the goal. Rather, I had a tough week. Some out of town travel, a girls weekend and some emotional upset made it extra tricky and I did not meet my goals this week. There is only one thing to do now, “restart!”

I am human. And the truth is, I’ve been struggling quite a bit lately to stay on track with my “In the Equation lifestyle goals” as I work through some personal emotional stress at a level that has challenged me more than anything in the last four years. But, I know the way. I’m not making excuses. And, after reading this blog this morning, I realize that my worthiness is not wrapped up in it.

That’s a a huge victory. And it was not always the case for me. So it makes me smile. Read more

The 90% Rule

Progress not perfection. 90% = success!

perfectionI woke up this last Friday morning after two days of real struggle working toward my “In the Equation Challenge goal” and remembered: I am not perfect! I am fantastic, strong, smart, courageous, beautiful, passionate, diligent, determined…and perfectly imperfect at the same time. And I LOVE that about me! I am not perfect. Thank God.

One of my favorite quotes related to perfectionism comes from Brene Brown in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. ““Perfectionism is self destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.” Here, here. I finally get it and embrace it!

Brene goes on to describe the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism. “Healthy striving is self-focused, how can I improve and grow? Perfectionism worries about what other people will think.” According to Brene’s research, perfectionism is not about excellence or healthy striving. It’s a way of thinking and being that says, “If I look perfect, do it perfect, love perfect, work perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame in my life.”

In other words, perfectionism is the ultimate fear that we might fail, and/or the word is going to see us for who we really area and we won’t measure up. Yes, perfectionism is fear. I get that because I’m a recovering perfectionist. I spent most of my adult life trying to be perfect and beating myself up when I was not. It kept me small, and stuck. On the sidelines and NOT in the arena for far too much of my life.

These past four years as I’ve personally transformed both inside and out, I’ve worked to embrace “progress not perfection.” I’ve learned the difference between healthy striving, learning and growing as a person vs. the impossible standard of perfection. And, most importantly I’ve learned self-love and how to offer self-compassion when I slip or fall or fail. I truly believe, I am enough. And that has made all the difference.

Which brings to me to why this blog — the”In Your Equation Challenge” and my revelation of this past week. Read more

When was the last time you challenged yourself?

…REALLY challenged yourself. And what happened?

ITE_Quote2Most of us live inside our comfort zone, not outside of it. Often we live in hidden fear of going for what we really, really, really want. That fear can mask itself in excuses and rationalization.

I know, because I lived in a safety net of fear and a default mode of “not going for it” for most of my adult life. But when I found the courage to push past that fear; when I figured out what I REALLY wanted and went for it — well, amazing things happened. I realized that I can do anything! And then I started living from the default of “going for it” instead of playing it safe.

It’s not easy to challenge yourself to do hard things. But I find that every time I do, I not only feel a sense of pride for the accomplishment but it ups the ante of what I’m capable of and what I attract in my life. Read more

Today is YOUR day!

Step forward toward your goals & get help doing it!

ITE_Quote6

Today is the first official day of the “In the Equation 2014 Challenge. A BIG Congratulations to all of you who have taken a step forward to your goals by signing up for the Challenge and making a public commitment to put yourself in the equation of your own life. We have diet goals, exercise goals and some with a list of goals to put themselves in the equation. I am delighted to cheer you, support you and “referee” for some of you. And, together, we will ROCK this!

Please take a moment today and congratulate yourself privately or publicly for taking the first very important step. It’s a big one. To start! First you’ll take one step forward (you already have), and then another, taking one day, one week at a time, and SOON you’ll move from the unknown, to familiar, to conquered, to WHAT’S next?! Read more

Join the “In Your Equation” 2014 Challenge

An invitation to make a commitment to yourself & achieve your goal(s)

LoriSchaefer-After-BigPantsI’m excited to announce our 30-day “In the Equation 2014 Challenge” and to invite each of you to participate. The “In Your Equation Challenge” provides an opportunity for you to set a personal goal — defined by YOU — and make a commitment contract with yourself and others to help support you and hold you accountable.

Why the Challenge now? I’m struggling more than I have in a long time AND I’ve been talking with many people in my life who are also feeling stuck, unhealthy, or simply out of balance — literally out of their equation. The truth is, we all need help to reach our goals. I’m doing this work to help both myself and others lead happy, healthy and “whole” lives. So let’s do this…together! (And P.S. — there is no perfect time. Now is as good a time as any!)

Why make a public commitment? Research shows — and my personal experience bares out — that going public and making a commitment to yourself and others helps you achieve your goals. Incentives and support from others also help. Thanks to my friend and mentor, Anne Knapp, I’ve discovered a great new tool to facilitate sticking to your goals with a public commitment, support, incentive and accountability. And we’re going to try it out.

StickK is a website developed by Yale University economists who tested the effectiveness of commitment contracts through extensive field research. According to StickK, years of economic and behavioral research show that people who put stakes — either their money or their reputation — on the table are far more likely to actually achieve a goal they set for themselves.

So here we go. I hope you’ll read more, join StickK for free, and then put yourself first by joining our “In Your Equation Challenge.” Read more

Awareness – step one to real change…

ITE_Awareness_Quote…and greater happiness!

The deeper I get into this journey of wholeness, and my personal transformation, the more important I realize one factor is: Awareness.

In my keynote speech, Put Yourself in the Equation & Transform Your Life, I talk about how once I became aware of what I was practicing in my life that wasn’t working for me, it got uncomfortable. And then almost impossible to ignore. That’s when I decided I had to do something about it.

When the unconscious became conscious — that’s really when my transformation began. Why? Because it opened me up to the possibilities and opportunities for change when they presented themselves. Before that, I wasn’t looking. I wasn’t open. And I had lost hope for a different life. I was just going through the motions of my day and my life giving everything to everyone else and believing I wasn’t deserving or capable of something better. I had convinced myself that this wasn’t so bad and maybe this was to be my life path.

It was only when I stopped long enough and was brave enough to ask and answer big questions that I became aware of the truth and was willing to face it. I realized that I wasn’t even in the equation of my own life. And, that continuing on the path I had carved for myself — working 12 to 18 hours days, 7 days a week in my start up marketing business, not sleeping, and living on a diet of fast and processed food — doomed me to a small and unfulfilling life. An unhealthy life that had cut me off from true romantic love and — worse — was likely to be cut short by stroke, diabetes, or heart disease because all three run in my family. I knew then that only I could change it. And I had to do something. Read more

Step forward toward your goals

From the unknown, to familiar, to conquered, to what’s next?!

My Bud

Bud, my walking partner ready to roll!

As I was walking the Blue Hill Loop last week with my beloved, Bud, it occurred to me that the first time I walked this 2-2.5 mile loop, it felt far more difficult and I wasn’t certain I’d make it. It was new and unfamiliar territory and surprisingly up hill. Randy was walking at an incredibly fast clip and there were times I was struggling to keep up. (And, I was the one who was supposed to be in shape!).

I remember asking several times how much farther we had to go. I didn’t know where I was, how far into the journey, or how to get home. The uncertainty was nagging at me.

When my Mom visited in July, we walked the Loop and she reacted the same way that I did that first time. It felt challenging and she kept asking how much farther and if there was a short cut. (To my Mom’s credit, she is in her 70’s and was brave enough to tackle the walk!)

I can’t help wonder if sometimes the fear of the unknown stops us short of taking on new things…of really going for our big, hairy audacious goals — or even doing little things because they are unfamiliar, they might be difficult, and/or the outcome is uncertain. Read more

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