Written by JoAnna

No? No! Know.

Ok so what in the actual world could a positivity/motivational coach have to teach me about the word "no."? Great question! And the answer is, a lot actually. Let me explain. Every single day we go about our daily lives shutting things, opportunities, people and even ourselves down because we allow fear, doubt, pain, or outright laziness to control us and make our decisions for us. This can be especially hard when you're trying to start/maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season. Am I right? YEAH! Trust me, been there done that! Luckily throughout the years I've also complied a list of a couple of things that have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter where I am, what season I find myself in, and no matter how much I have on my plate. Sounds too good to be true right? Wrong! Get ready! Get excited! Cuz here we go...

1. Have & Build Your Monthly/Weekly Calendars

Having a calendars has always been one of those things that I never really understood how much I needed it until I did. It first began with keeping a calendars of everyday things; doctor appointments, school assignments with their due dates, and so forth. Then, it became scheduling my work outs, wake up and bed times, and meetings professional and personal. That's when it hit it. EVERYTHING I scheduled into my calendar became a task that I HAD to carry out. It was no longer negotiable. So I took it to the next level. I began scheduling not only work outs but would write down exactly what exercises I was gonna do, how many sets, and how many reps in the description box. On Sunday’s I would write down exactly what I was gonna meal prep for the week and schedule enough time for me to do so. This simple practice changed my life! I realized giving my health, my wellness, my me time the same weight as a doctor's appointment in my calendar actually helped push me into making them happen EVERY DAY! You can do this on your phone or a pen to paper calendar. Either way, get creative and make it fun! Color code, highlight, set alarms/reminders and get as detailed as possible!

2. Be Realistic & Keep the Balance

Here is where saying no comes into play. Once I began implementing the beautiful habit that is calendar building I now I had a visual representation of what my day and my month looked like. That in itself was huge! So now, whenever I got an invitation to attend an event or go out with my friends, or book another photoshoot I could easily look at my schedule and if I answered the following questions honestly and found myself with my "no's" than "yes's" then I knew what I needed to reply to said invite.

Q1: Do I have enough time to get to ___________ without rushing?

(Take in mind rush hour, current construction sites, and distances from point A to point B.)

Q2: Does __________ produce more joy than stress?

(We all have to do things that we don't always want to do or that are not always fun but have positive life affects once they're done such as paying your bills. For me, it was things like booking another photo shoot when I already had 8 during the week on top of all my other activities that I knew would only overwhelm me with everything that went along with it in order to present myself professionally and as my best self for the job. Make sense?)

Q3: Does __________ benefit my mental, physical, or relationship wellness?

3. Learn to Track Your Progress

This is yet another thing that I recommend everyone do! Physically WRITE. IT. DOWN. "But I can just put it in my phone!" NO! STOP IT! It's been literally proven scientifically that once you physically write something down your brain is most likely to not only remember it more easily but it activates your brain into accomplishing your goals. Every little victory counts! Your brain registers every win physically and releases a small rush of dopamine and serotonin (more likely when you're doing your happy dance) into your body and then starts to crave more of whatever it is it gave it that feeling. In this case, accomplishing your goals! So back to our trusty calendar we go. At the very beginning of every week write down your current weight, # of miles, reps, sets you're currently doing, how many work vs free hours you're starting out with. Then, as you go about your week push yourself to just do ONE more in areas that are going help you achieve your goals. ONE more rep. ONE more mile. ONE more inch/pound. Then, at the end of your week write down that new number. Do NOT feel bad or be hard of yourself if it's the same number. Goals take time, and that's okay. Lastly, if you're feeling like your anxiety, stress, or overwhelming feelings are through the roof at the end of the week, once you look back, you'll see that maybe you overworked yourself that week, well, if that's the case, at least you know why and have found an almost instant solution to decrease your stress. Simply adjust your calendar, diet, or water intake as needed!

That's it! I know that saying "no" isn't always the easiest, especially if you're a people please like I am. I try to keep my loved ones happy. I'm a fixer. My ability to come up with solutions for other people's problems is absolutely insane. So trust me, I get it. But saying "no" is so so so necessary! We have to learn to love ourselves as much as we love those closest to us. Make it a habit. And allow it to help us show up as our best selves in all the areas in our lives!

XO - Jo

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