Goal Setting in 2020 – Starts Now

Goal Setting in 2020 – Starts Now

2020 is here! And that meals setting your goal(s) starts now!

Let’s do the party dance! 
Yes, sure, you are right… It’s just another day. 
But it doesn’t have to be. You can make 2020 be great! 

GOALS

Do you set goals? 
Do you set goals and are you someone who disciplines oneself to reach them?

Here’s what I discovered after years of feeling like I failed when it came to promises to change my life…

5 Things I Was Doing That Sabotaged My Success:

1. I was trying to change too many things at the same time. 
2. I forgot that I needed to ASK safe people for support
3. I only saw the big goals, I didn’t know how to set or see the small ones. 
4. I’d mess up once and think “failure”.
5. I was afraid to be doing something others around me weren’t. 

This is only a small list. But my thinking was so black and white.

So unrealistic, and unwilling to start small that I just keep stumbling. I had this idea that if I couldn’t “do it” and it be right from the beginning then somehow I was sucking. 

I believe we do this and more as a way to protect ourselves from failure. Because who wants to feel the pain of failure. But what I have come to discover is, the pain of not trying is worse. 

Have you ever been there? Are you there? 

I’ve got news for you…you don’t need to be perfect, but you do need to be honest. And as underwhelming as this might be… starting small goals is a sure fire win to build a new habit, avenue and a finish line that you can feel proud and amazing with! 

So this year- 2020, I’m older, smarter, stronger, and wiser (I think)… And want to share with you what I have done for myself when it comes to reaching my goals.  

My 2020 Jump-start New Year’s Goal Plan: 

1. Revisited my TOP 10 GOALS I had set for myself. 
2. Looked at each and revisited my mini goals that create the road map to get to those goals…. (this is critical). 
3. Asked myself what I NEED to make these happen: scheduled time to workout, yoga, walk.
GET TO BED BY 10PM, Drink 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water EVERY SINGLE DAY! Finally, not scheduling clients in during my family time. 

I know these might seem simple, not that fancy. Or even obvious. But the thing is… For YEARS I never wrote down my goals. 

So I want you to know something today. If you don’t write it down… It’s not going to happen. If you don’t take the time to make a plan, don’t expect your life to have time to experience it. 

Notice what you resist. 
Notice what you tell yourself is dumb, or small. 
Notice what you avoid. 

These are probably, most-likely the VERY things you need to start doing RIGHT NOW!

It’s such a mind game it’s crazy! Don’t wait. 
Stop with the excuses and get to it. 

You don’t need yoga 7 days a week, if you can’t even get to the mat for one. 
You don’t need to stop eating every bad food for you on the planet, if you can’t even get yourself to eat one good food. 
You don’t need a new life, maybe all you need first is a new perspective on your life. 

I believe you can do this. 
I believe that 2020 can be a great year for you. 
I believe that anything truly is possible, but first you have to start telling yourself it is, and showing yourself with steps you can easily get to for a good WIN!

I believe in you… do you believe in you?

Do you have a goal in mind?

Do you want something?

Well what are you waiting for?

5 Tips to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions

5 Tips to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions

It’s a yearly tradition to deal with broken promises to take better care of ourselves. Whether we planned to lose weight, adopt a new exercise routine, eat healthier, or eliminate a bad habit, we seem to repeatedly let ourselves down. The fact is, only about 20% of us keep our New Years Resolutions, most of which are in some way fitness-related.

Over the years, I have been notorious for bogus New Year’s goals.

Having spent most of my life as an addict, though, I’ve accumulated some stepping stones that have helped me keep on my path. I consider this realistic goal-setting for a healthy life. I urge you to see your resolutions in a new light.

Here are 5 Ways to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions:

1. Be realistic.

Be honest about what you are capable of achieving. As I tell my yoga students often, “It’s not about how many classes you should come to a week, but how many classes you think you can continue to come to without dropping off.” Your goal could be to stop eating after 9 p.m., and then in a month, it bumps up to 8 p.m. and so on. Changes should never be all or nothing. Give yourself grace by setting realistic expectations for yourself.

2. Don’t use the same resolution again.

Set a new goal. This is a new opportunity to do something great for yourself. If you struggled to achieve that goal last year, maybe it needs to be rethought.

I’m sure the same tape plays in all of our heads during the holidays: “I’m just going to eat and enjoy myself. After the New Year, my diet starts.” This line is used by countless people, but it means nothing. If you are going to eat chocolate throughout December, then own it! In the New Year, if you say you aren’t going to eat chocolate, then good luck. But if you have said this before, odds are the same cycle is going to repeat itself.

3. Let everyone know about your goals.

As an addict, I know that the more you keep things secret, the harder it is to attain your goals. Even things like weight loss, new food choices or exercise plans should be shared with an accountability partner, family, or friend. Working through recovery has taught me that the more people you have on your side and the fewer secrets you have, the more successful you become.

Are you too embarrassed? Own up and be proud that you have recognized a change you need to make. Don’t go at it alone. Ask people to hold you accountable. Odds are that they will be proud to be an inspiration and support system for you.

4. Just Drink (More Water, that is).

When the body and brain are dehydrated, we feel sluggish. We confuse hunger for thirst, and we don’t function as we should.

If you are partaking in a fitness-related resolution, I urge you to drink up. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces a day, as a starting point. I begin each morning with an eight-ounce glass of warm water with lemon essential oil.

5. Watch for Self-Sabotage.

We all claim that we don’t have time, are too tired or stressed, or don’t have the money. Well, walking outside is free, screen time can be exchanged for exercise time, and it’s possible that your eyes and mind are drowsy from constant staring at the computer screen. You may just need an exercise boost, or to get to bed a little bit earlier!

Call yourself out about all these excuses! Be honest, because from honesty, new things begin.

 

If you are considering working with a coach to help you achieve your goals, consider joining me in my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass, starting in January 2020! We are offering a Beta Course, four months of coaching, for just $497 ($1,000 off original price).

Happy New Year!

 

Here are more New Year’s Resolution and Goal Setting Resources:

[FREE WORKSHEET] Stepping into the New Year with New Insights

Goal Getter: The #Last90Days of the Year

How to Get Out of a Rut

 

This article was originally published in Nature’s Pathways in January 2014.

The HOPE Process: Breath, Body, Belief for Addiction & Grief

The HOPE Process: Breath, Body, Belief for Addiction & Grief

No words can describe how I felt that day. It’s interesting because it’s over a decade later, but I still have that feeling of what it was like. I don’t think that ever goes away. For those of you who have lost a loved one—that numbness, that void, you don’t even know what to feel, or how to explain what you’re feeling. I remember walking out of the hospital thinking, “Every mom walks out with a baby. I’m a fraud. I’m not a mom.” And that process of grief, and learning how to live with loss, really settled in that moment.”

– Hope Zvara

In an episode of the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, I was interviewed by Heather Stang. Through my own experience, I have learned firsthand how yoga and mindfulness can help calm the mind and help us take a step or two away from self-defeating behaviors, such as addiction and eating disorders. I have also learned how to cope with the reality of loss by living my life in honor of my daughter, Faith, and helping other people live their best lives.

But all that didn’t come right away.

What my daughter Faith has shown me is the HOPE Process: Helping Others Purposefully Excel. This actually came to me at a point where I always say when we see a butterfly, it’s Faith saying hello. One afternoon I was thinking about her, and thinking about what a butterfly means. I Googled it and to my surprise, it means hope.

Moving Through Grief and Addiction

For those of you who lost someone, it’s not a textbook experience. It’s not, “you’re gonna go through this, and then you’re gonna go through this, and then you’re gonna go through this.” It is such raw emotion. What yoga has taught me through working through addiction and being in recovery now for 15 years, and losing my daughter, and finding life after the loss of my daughter is that you have two choices… You either choose to live, because they don’t get to anymore, or you choose to die with them.

No words can describe what I felt that day. For those of you who have lost a loved one, that numbness, that void. You don’t even know what to feel or how to explain what you are feeling.

If you are going through grief, loss, or addiction, I have a special meditation of Hope for Grief & Loss. I also have a course in my online studio that I offer to you for free, so that you may find a way to transform… to see your butterfly. Here is a Practice in Mindfulness that will help you move beyond grief.

Yoga Found Me and Saved Me

First came yoga. For me, yoga has transformed my life. I remember walking out of my first yoga class… and thinking “Oh my gosh. I have no thoughts.” Once I befriended my breath and was able to get back into my body, I began the journey of rediscovering my life’s meaning. I had to choose life because my daughter didn’t get to. Every single day after she had passed away, I had to wake up and tell myself that. I had to look in the mirror and say,

I have to live because she didn’t get to. Please give me my purpose.”

I always say that my Wednesday night yoga class became my weekly ritual of second chances. Those second changes eventually lead me to a yoga teacher training. That training became a platform for me to really heal and feel. Not only that, it put me in a position to teach others what I had learned through the HOPE process.

When I first found yoga, I did not realize I was holding my breath all the time. I don’t think anyone ever told me that I was breathing. Until that point in that first yoga class, and then in my training, I didn’t realize that this whole breathing thing was really important.

Helping Others Purposefully Excel – The HOPE Process

My marriage not only survived the death of her child, but it thrives because of mindfulness and mutual respect. We can grieve differently, but we don’t have to grieve alone. Losing a child can strain a relationship, but in our case, it brought us together.

Through all of these struggles, through all of this challenge, through middle school and high school and through my early twenties, something always kept telling me to keep pushing forward and keep going. At the suggestion of a caring soul, I found yoga.

Breath, Body, and Belief

Breath, Body and Belief are the pillars of the HOPE process. These three things are the cornerstone of everything that I teach. Everything to do with yoga, with healing, and with finding your path and life beyond grief.

Get in tune with your breath every day. Practice meditation. Practice just noticing your breath for a minute a few times a day.

Use your body with purpose. Move it every day. If you need a place to start, my Mindful Movement Online Studio is only $9.99/month and has a variety of classes, tailored to your needs.

Finally, it comes down to your belief. Pray, meditate, and give thanks to the universe for the life that you have. Live your live in honor.

 

Watch the Full Podcast Here:

4 Lessons in Dealing With Unsupportive People

4 Lessons in Dealing With Unsupportive People

Nothing in this world is constant. Everything in this world is an opportunity to change, leap forward and grow. There may be people who don’t understand your journey, but there’s no reason to let them stop you. This story will teach you four lessons in dealing with unsupportive people.

Meet the Grasshopper

Once, I was driving with my mom and kids in the car with my moon roof open. Out of nowhere, a grasshopper leaped into the car and sat on my thigh as I was driving. All of us squealed in excitement for different reasons. My kids thought a grasshopper in our car was silly. My mom and I instantly thought about leaps forward in my life.

The grasshopper hung around for a while, then I cracked open my window and it sat on the edge for a few minutes. My mom commented,

Hope, you teach us in yoga to meet our edge, honor it and see what we can learn from that view.”

With the thought of sending it home, I gave it a small tap. Out of the window it flew, and back in it came. We all laughed, and my mom and I said at that moment,

Remember to trust. Big leaps forward in my life are necessary and present for me right now.”

I believe that life is constantly giving us signs and constantly telling us things helpful to our life. If we choose to listen. My little grasshopper friend was a confirmation to me that everything I am currently practicing and living is all part of my leap forward. Like a grasshopper, sometimes when you are about to leap forward, unexpected things come into play to try to throw you off.

How many times in your own life have you been confused for something you are not? Or have you been confronted with someone who won’t let go of your past persona and see you for as you are? How many times have you said one thing and because someone is unhappy with their own life, they turn it around to try to stop you from leaping forward?

Together, We Are Leaping Forward

Maybe you are a little like me: you go to the beat of your own drum, not like the norm, see purpose and learning opportunities in everything, and want to continue to change. You want to grow, and you notice when the growth is very prominent, on the cusp of leaping from well-cut grass to a tall, grassy hillside. There are unsupportive people and things in your life that come out of nowhere to try to steal that away from you.

You are the kind of person who tries to be honest. Sometimes, unsupportive people confuse that honesty with judgment. And usually, because those people don’t want to hear the truth. They try to stop your leap in mid-air because they don’t want anyone else around them leaping if they aren’t going to. Like a grasshopper, what works for others will not necessarily work for you. Even more so, what works for you will probably not work for anyone else.

So how do you be like that grasshopper and not get squashed in the process?

1. Like the grasshopper, it is important to understand that at times you may need to stay still.

Take it in. Don’t say a word and just let others do the talking. At other times or at a moment’s notice, you may need to take a huge leap into the air and land somewhat blindly. You must trust that it’s right.

2. Trust your inner voice.

Like a grasshopper’s inner ability to sense sound with their legs, sense the sound of your inner voice and trust that your navigation is on par.

3. A grasshopper has an inner sense of knowing when to make its leap.

Your progress is made in the form of mostly leaps, rather than steps. Likewise, your progress will most likely not be slow and steady, but a playful combination of leaps, hops, bounces, and strides. Like a grasshopper, those can sometimes be misunderstood. Know that your hop will only make sense to you, and it is not necessary for you to try to get others to understand.

4. Finally, a grasshopper can leap up to twenty times its height.

Our grassy friend can only leap up or forward, never back. So sure, glance back and see how far you have come. But for you my friend, the only way is up and forward by leaps and bounds. Not everyone will understand it, but other grasshoppers will. When you need it most, you will know to leap to a sunny mound and meet your fellow grasshoppers there. Then you can glance back again and see what you were able to overcome.

 

 

This post was originally published September 2012 on MindBodyGreen.
Why My Yoga Mat is My Refuge

Why My Yoga Mat is My Refuge

My yoga mat has been my place of refuge, my place of contemplation, my place of self-discovery. My mirror for the good, the bad and the ugly. Time and time again I step into the unknown, only to find that everything I need, everything I am wondering about, lies on my yoga mat.

I look back at myself five, even ten years ago, and find that I am still the same person. Even memories as a child are laced into who I am today. But the difference is that how I see the world, how I see myself, and how I chose to live – is drastically different.

For some yoga is a savior for their physical bodies: to be saved from inflexibility, headaches, cramped feet, or to regain the body they have been long searching for. But for me, my yoga practice has taught me how to actually be able to look at my body and befriend it. I can look at my life and no longer see myself as the victim. Rather, I see myself as the person at the wheel, in control.

I tear up thinking about what I have been through and what I have put myself through. Only to come out bright-eyed and ready to move on with no regrets. And I never thought I’d say that. The tears that come are only tears of joy and amazement that my mat brought this to me.

Our Yoga Practice is a Promise to Ourselves That we Want More and Deserve More.

Yoga is so powerful and unique in that it is an experience and a practice. If you are not ready to step onto the mat, then the change will not happen. I have not only seen this in myself, but also my students over the last decade of teaching.

To me, Yoga is the most real that someone can get with themselves. The lies will eventually rise to the surface, the false hopes will eventually go sour and the work will time and time again be put back in our court. What I’m trying to say is that life becomes a lot sweeter when we start to trust that the universe and our Creator has our best interest at heart. That we might not know it all, and that no matter how “good, smart, elite, or savvy” we think we are, there must still be a humbleness to remind us that there is always something to learn.

Interestingly, My Journey was the Opposite.

For much of my life, I felt lesser. I felt that I was the one always lacking, or missing the bar. For me, my yoga mat became a constant reminder that I am great today, just as I am… even during my stages of recovery. I began to stop seeing myself as “messing up” day after day. Now I am thanking life and God for the opportunity to be aware of what I need to learn and how I can change.

I post a Facebook quote of the day, a Daily Dose of Hope. It is usually something from my heart. I had posted a few months ago a quote stating:

You know you are ready for change when you come to realize that what you see in other people and don’t like is a mirror for what you need to see in yourself and begin to change.”

For me, this simple thought was such an eye-opener. This awareness not only helped me to grow and realize what I needed to change in myself, but to also realize what I didn’t and did want to take into my life. Without awareness, you will never grow. There will never be change, and that box you feel stuck in… It will still be that box and you will still be in it.

Stepping out Means Taking a Chance.

It means trusting without immediate proof. Sometimes you have to go with your gut, trusting that you are being guided. Trust that what you are doing is right. If you don’t like your life, where you are, or what you are doing – ask yourself…

What am I doing to move beyond this? 

What am I doing to make a change?

Are you tired in the morning? Well then stop going to bed at 12am. Sick of all the mess? Well then go clean it up. Who are we all waiting for? What formula do I not know about that fixes all problems, all people, all situations? The only formula I know is the one where I start to take care of me, work on me, and change me. Because that is the only way I know to get to where I want to be.

If you pray and ask for guidance, once you get the guidance it’s your job to take it and act on it. When you meditate for peace, it’s your job to work to keep the peace. If you ask for help and suggestions to regain your health, well then you have to follow through to see the results.

So how does this all tie back to a yoga practice? On our yoga mat we see ourselves as we truly are, raw and willing to do the work necessary to move forward or make change. Even if we are not ready, at least now we are aware and it becomes our choice what to do with that awareness.

One Legged Forward Bend

The sweetness in me bows to the sweetness in you…

Namaste

This post was originally written for MindBodyGreen, and updated on Oct 7, 2019.

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