Category

Life

Don’t look back – you’re not going that way!

Have you ever felt like you’re stuck? I know I have – and sometimes still do!

So what does stuck look like?

For me it’s the repetition of the hum-drum – the merry-go-round of life.

It’s the pattern of  doing the same old stuff, saying the same old stuff, hearing the same old stuff!

And for a while it’s ok – it’s a familiar rhythm, but then comes the itch – it starts  somewhere in the quiet of your mind or maybe your deep in your heart  –  that nagging feeling that surely there’s more to life… there has to be right?

That’s the question I have asked myself many a time.

It’s a great question to ponder because in doing so it makes us consider our reality and start to think about what’s missing, time to ask ourselves, ‘what do I want and NOT  want’.

I for one, get motivated by this question as this will often lead me into stepping up in my life. I start to reflect on my goals – am I there yet? (quietly let me tell you that NO I’m not).

So what to at times like this? Firstly acknowledge your feelings and own them. Remember you are where you are because of all the choices you have made. You got yourself here and it’s up to you to get yourself elsewhere!

My advice…Don’t look back – you’re not going that way! The past is gone, we can’t change it – but we can learn from it and move forward.

I know I am still a work in progress with much yet to achieve. But I am lucky that I have found a way to stretch myself, I am on my own journey of discovery but this does require me to get uncomfortable sometimes – but as they stay if you don’t get uncomfortable you’re not growing.

If you are looking for new opportunities please contact me, but meantime read on for some easy ways to start making change!

Top tips for when you are stuck:

  • Make  a list of things that are contributing to making you feel stuck – is it something at work? Is it your relationship? Are you at Uni studying something you realise you’re not interested in?
  • Commit to changing just one or two things – nothing huge, something manageable – it might be something as simple as getting up earlier and investing in you time – (gym, meditation, positive mindset talk – reading or audio).
  • Talk to a friend –  I love to share my thoughts with a close girlfriend. “A problem shared is a problem halved”!
  • Change up your diet – good clean eating is a great way to reset you metabolism and boost energy. This can have a great effect on mind and body.
  • Get outdoors – nature is a great leveller. Take time to look, listen, smell!
  • Do a good deed for someone else – giving and taking the focus off yourself does something good for your internal chemistry. It can lift your spirits and have you feel a new sense of appreciation for the things that are going well for you.

Remember we are what we repeatedly do  – Aristotle

Check out this link for more ideas: www.thelawofattraction.com/10-things-remember-youre-feeling-stuck-life/

ICN Bikini Competition Results

What an incredible day! I Couldn’t believed that I placed in each of my three divisions 😀

I had such a great experience and had so much support there with me at the show, thank you to Marie, Rachel, Michelle and Damiano who were my cheer squad in the crowd.

I’ve even surprised myself with what I managed to achieve in just 8 weeks, once I put my mind to it. I guarantee you the personal sense of achievement is much more rewarding than the recognition of trophies or winning.

For anyone interested in my bikini competition challenge, or have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment or email me at hannah@lifeofchoice.net

 

PS. Yes, the tan did take a long time to take off… it was probably the most difficult part of the whole experience!

 

 

 

The Power Of Food!

Food – essential fuel for the body (see Hannah’s recommended program if you’ve had too much and need to take control. She can help you understand macros, micros and everything in between. She will get you feeling lean, clean, healthy and fit!) But whist yes, food is our physical energy source I love how it can almost be a spiritual energy source – it’s such a great way to bring people together, it gets us talking, sharing time.

Unfortunately studies indicate that this modern age we live in has us eating alone and often on the run as we try to keep up with the demands of life. We know the downside of the irregular eating that can be part of our day – poor food choices, eating too fast (contributing to weight gain), alienation and isolation as we eat in the office/car/alone at home as the family goes solo with the pressures of extracurricular activities for kids and long hours for mum/dad.

But making time to eat together has many benefits – very social, a time to catch up, de-brief, chat over the day/week, share details about life’s events, etc. …but interestingly there is also some suggestion that literally sharing  food with others does more for us. The act of communal sharing of food where everyone brings something along and shares with others  is thought to boost altruistic behaviours. Seemingly we are more likely to ensure others go first or be mindful of making sure we don’t take too much it. We are more likely to embrace trying out new dishes/flavours/food experiences. This creates curiosity and connects us on different levels and gives us the opportunity to explore beyond our boundaries.

In Australia we call this concept  “bring a plate”  (when I first moved here I literally thought this statement meant bring a plate – on which to eat – I had the idea that maybe people didn’t own enough crockery.) But now of course I understand this means bring a plate of food that can be shared.

Just the other night I was invited to one such event. I experienced a fabulous feast courtesy of a new friend of mine. What came with the invitation was an opportunity to connect with new people from a predominately Indian heritage, and the absolute pleasure of experiencing a tantalising colour and taste sensation that was prepared by experienced hands. I tasted traditional homemade Indian fare, with a much talked about Biriyani sensation taking centre stage.  Sharing space and food got us all interacting, finding out about each other, and that connection gave way to a willingness to experience more Indian culture – think “Bollywood” style dancing, laughter and pure friendly fun.  Overall a fabulous impromptu evening that brought an eclectic group of people together to enjoy the simple pleasures of life – food, music, laughter and good company! All contributed to a lifting of the spirits, an endorphin boost and a sense that “we should do this more often”.  In this day and age where life is so busy this sort of community gathering is great for recharging the social battery and just feeling good in the moment.

So my advice next time you are invited to a picnic or other “bring a plate” event – go – have fun. Enjoy the sense of well-being that you are sure to experience – oh and don’t forget my invitation too!

For more on the benefits of food sharing Click here

The Challenge

About 2 months ago I decided I wanted to enter a bikini competition… not because I’m crazy, vain or self-obsessed, but because I have always had a genuine interest in health and am keen to know what my is body capable of.

I want to be clear this is not about dieting in the usual sense of the word (near starvation in my experience!) but about me better understanding how to have a healthy relationship with food and use it enhance my body’s performance and structure.

I’ve tried a range of the must try diet/food plans – you may have tried a number yourself! Remember the skinny tea, low fat, low carb, detox, raw, clean.. next best thing? My experience with many of these left me hungry, tired, sometimes bloated and most of all grumpy! And of course along with these fads and phases came the risk of dehydration, poor nutrition, fake weight loss (water loss), potential muscle wastage and little impact on fat loss, in fact the risk of fat gain… more on that another time!

So given that I am not a dietician, nutritionist or health expert, in accepting the bikini body challenge I put my ego aside and decided to enlist the help of someone that has more knowledge and experience in the field…enter my now personal coach, my mentor, accountability partner, my whip cracker!!

Already she has helped me to understand my body’s needs and what it really takes to go the distance. And yes a lot of it is about what you choose to put into your body, and the amount you are willing to exercise/work-out, but so much of it is about mastering your mind – discipline – on a whole new level!!

It’s one thing to have a food plan and a workout schedule, but what I have come to know already is that any success is completely dependent on my ability to master my mind in the weak moments…the moments of wanting to eat the “wrong” thing at the wrong time, the moments when I want to roll over – turn off the alarm and ignore the calling of the gym, or ignore the scream of my muscles as I push through the next bench press.

The mind is oh so powerful…. much analysis has been done on this, and I have learnt that to state your goal is one thing but the power is in writing it down, putting it somewhere that is easily review-able and saying it out loud. They say that you should read it aloud to yourself 10 times a day – connect with it and feel it.

In doing this I can honestly say I feel stronger in my commitment to me – to my goal – the end result!

But of course that in itself is not enough – next comes the action plan.

So what I’d like to do is share my progress – I invite you to follow me, feel free to ask questions, share thoughts and comments. Along the journey I have found many insights, wins and failures, and I’d love to share some of the expert tips that my trainer is sharing with me.

I believe we can help each other get what we want – you may not take up a bikini challenge, but if in sharing my journey and my own quest I can help to motivate you to set your own goals – help you feel better in yourself, more energized and vibrant, help you beat the 3pm slump, look better – more body tone, better muscle definition, drop a dress size – then job well done to us all!

Watch this space for the end result!

Next up: What are macros and how do you know what you need?

Embrace Every Opportunity

Sometimes we say yes to invitations without really knowing why…………sometimes things are just meant to be.

Last night I went to an event that for me was very much about “what’s in it for me?” A networking event that I had little information about, but thought might be worthwhile as an opportunity for me to meet new people – remember my own business depends on it! I actually enjoyed the evening  – open, passionate people are fun to be around. But what I didn’t know then, was that the opportunity that would follow was to be better still.

Fast forward to this morning – having met a larger than life indigenous Kiwi – I was invited to a coffee morning. A small business women’s event  – small venue (others would use the word intimate), a small collective of women I did not know, who all came together with a genuine desire to share their stories in a safe, nurturing environment. I felt as if judgements were left at the door  – hallelujah! Proceedings were somewhat informal, albeit there was an MC, an agenda, an invited guest speaker, and an invitation for everyone to share something of themselves, their passion, their success, their challenges and their dreams!

And it was in that space that I felt so fortunate – if I had said no to the invitation not only would I have missed out on meeting an inspirational group of individuals, who are all embracing life and it’s challenges, but I would have missed the opportunity to hear a message that I almost believe was meant for me today.

As a mother I have felt the challenges and dare I say burden, of having a daughter in the mainstream school system that appears not to be achieving to the best of her potential. I would dare to say that most mothers hope that there cherubs will thrive at school – meet the academic requirements – do them proud. But then there is the reality that our children are individuals, and the traits you think they should or would have  – (those that you like best about yourself) sometimes they simply don’t!

But today I feel easier about the fact that one of my girls who dislikes reading, who fidgets when doing home work, who bounces around and slaps colour on paper – with seemingly little meaning! Because today I learnt that there are 8 “intelligences” and we all have them in varying degrees, and that once we know what they are, we can as both child or adult use our strengths to improve our weaknesses. As I heard and felt the information shared by a remarkable woman, I was absolutely moved to tears…….this understanding whilst not entirely new was put in such a way that I immediately felt like I can stop trying to push my young one back into the box, the one that requires her to fall in line with an out-dated model. With Naplan coming up – so likely are the less than average grades, but so what?  She is spirited, she is sprightly, she is challenging, she knows her own mind and she will find her way – with the support of her mum!

So what am I trying to say here? No, it’s not about my daughter or the school system  – it’s about you, me, being open, being willing to experience life’s messages; it’s about being willing to say yes when you’re not sure what’s in it for you. It’s about saying yes and accepting that people you don’t know can add value to you and your day. It’s about being ready to see what value you can too can add to others. The women I met today have added so much to my day – they will hardly know the impact, but I can say I am SO glad that I walked into that room this morning because I have new information that I can use immediately to tear the walls of the box down  – my daughter doesn’t have to be measured and judged by a system that is flawed. She –  like you and me can choose to do things a slightly differently!

And on that note I urge you to say yes more often…embrace those opportunities that you don’t yet recognise, you just never know where they might lead.

P.S! To learn more about the 8 intelligences and to better understand your child’s learning style and needs contact the fabulous team at: http://www.ice-au.com/

Working from home – my experience

Working from home whilst sounding idyllic can in fact be somewhat daunting! When I made the decision to embark on my new “career” albeit part-time, I was  somewhat alarmed by how much time I actually had –  and was then faced with the reality of not really knowing how to work from home.

I was aware of the potential benefits – after all these were the reasons I said yes to the opportunity I had embarked on…

Just to whet your appetite:

Freedom to choose my hours, ability to create the much talked about “work/life balance”, able to juggle kid commitments i.e. get to assemblies, sports events etc. be my own boss, earn on my terms.

All that sounds fabulous but what I found was that working from home takes an incredible amount of self discipline, it means setting firm goals, it means keeping a diary (not my favoured way to run the day), it means not succumbing to distractions — “No I’m not free for coffee, I’m working”!

So for those of you thinking about it or doing it badly here are my top tips for improving your effectiveness. These have helped me but I am open to other ideas – let me know what works for you!

  • Create a space that says “work” – I hate a messy office, it gives me a sense of overwhelm and that puts me on the backfoot. So having moved into my new home recently I had the perfect opportunity to de-clutter, empty files, shred 20 year old documents, improve my filing system and minimalise unnecessary and unwanted accessories! Now I start each day fresh, in a clean well organised space – no excuses.
  • Plan your workload/tasks the night before: For me this is imperative otherwise I can be slow to get off the ground, and valuable time is “wasted” preparing my day. I list in my diary the people I need to call, meetings to attend, follow up emails to deal with  etc. I have found this is a great way to review my productivity as I tick off each item as the day progresses. Things not achieved can then be rolled over to the following days schedule (note “not achieved” bears no relationship to distractions – well ok sometimes!!).
  • Which brings me to the very real issues of Distractions: whether it’s a friend calling for a chat, a coffee invitation, the urge to see what everyone else is up to on FB — be careful not to fall into the trap, and realise time has flown and you haven’t stuck to your intentions or achieved your goals! When I’ve done this myself I then beat myself up at the end of the day – I hate time wasting… so much to get done.
  • Take advantage of “downtime”: working from home can be a bit isolating, depending on your chosen path. I tend to slot in “reward” time; “me” time. This may mean going for a walk or to the gym – nothing better to motivate yourself to keep going, or to have you feeling ready and raring to go again when you’ve indulged in something you enjoy  – after all we are in this for more life balance and isn’t fitness or mind space an important part of that – I think so.
  • Set meal times: There is a real potential to gain weight if working from home – too much sitting (potentially) but much more likely is the “I wonder what’s in the fridge/pantry”. The risk is you either make multiple visits or save yourself the trip and take the packet/barrel of your favourite treat and eat the lot – one nibble at a time – remember when you studied – food was a real distraction! Check out this easy reading article here that talks more on this topic: www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2014/jun/18/exercise-healthy-work-home-business
  • Mix it up! I love the opportunity that working from home affords me, in that I get to choose my location – today it’s my home office but some days I might choose to go down to the beach – I love that sense of freedom. I am lucky enough that I can continue business wherever there is Wi-Fi and being the beach lover that I am this is where you are likely to find me. I feel uplifted, more motivated and it puts me in the space of being able to connect with passers-by  – and since connecting with people is an inherent part of my business it’s a win-win!

Feel free to share your top tips  – I’d love to hear from you.

2017: Another year of recycled resolutions

Only 8% of people accomplish their new years resolutions.

Does that include you?

Or are you a part of the ambitious 92% that declare a resolution, but by the time Valentines day rolls around you have forgotten what it was. 

A resolution is a good way to evaluate where you are at a point in your life and to help you re-focus on your goals.

…But why torture ourselves with a motivational goal designed to make us a better version of ourselves, when we can’t even see it through past the first quarter. Instead of benefitting from this life assessment we end up disappointed and annoyed at ourselves for failing.

What’s missing?

Our planning tactics.

The Millennials (us unfortunately), generally suck at planning.

Noticing I couldn’t follow through with my yearly promise to my self, I decided to make myself accountable for my actions or lack there of.

Body goals is a standard and recycled new years resolution. I’m sure most people have made a similar goal in their life and like most, every year I promised myself I would strive to achieve it.

However, it takes more than a promise and only 8% of you have figured it out.

I wanted to be apart of that 8%, so I set a defined goal.

On the 13th of May I’ll be competing in the ladies bikini division, body building might I add.

It’s taken me 5 years to realize I was the 92% (‘the dreamers’), instead of that 8% (‘the do-ers’). After encouraging my self to believe that success in this competition will produce confidence and a sense of accomplishment of a long awaited goal.

I’m counting 16 weeks from now.

By giving ourselves a deadline and ‘due date’ to reach our goals, we very well may have achieved it before we thought we would (or before we must confess our next resolution to the world).

Don’t put yourself on auto repeat when it comes to new-years goal setting, make a plan and don’t be scared to fail.

Just pick your self up and start again. 

You can follow my fitness diary here leading up to the comp. and please feel free to ask me any goal/planning/fitness related questions!