10 WAYS TO IMPERFECTLY IMPROVE YOURSELF

Lately, I've been feeling like I've been in a bit of a funk. My energy has been low, my motivation hasn't been as high and my healthy intake has been kind of mindless... as in, I eat whatever I feel like having without putting much thought into its health benefits. 

I've been telling myself that I need to make a change for a while. But my lack of motivation has been playing devil's advocate. I continue to say: 

"After this vacation, I'll be able to buckle down and focus more." 

"After the weekend." 

"I'll wait until I get that mind shift. I can't force myself or I'm not really gonna change unless I really want to."

Excuse after excuse happened. And let's be honest, this has been going on and off since I had my little Lila, who is now 16 months old. 😳😅

I needed to take my own advice that I constantly give to others and MAKE. A. CHANGE. 

 
 

Today is the eighth day of my mental and physical health journey. And it is something that I made a choice ahead of time. I mentally prepared for it. I know I'm not going to be perfect at it, so I am choosing to imperfectly improve myself, my well-being, and make a happier, healthier environment for my family as well. 

Since 40% of our behavior is habit-driven, we must take control of our ability to be self-disciplined, we have to control our habits. In particular, there are 10 habits that I am working to achieve every single day to help discipline myself. 

These are some things I did to prepare BEFORE I STARTED my own mental and physical health journey...and if you want to join in I will be your teammate! Because we are all in this together:

First, I went on Amazon and bought stick-on dry erase vinyl. I stuck it to my bedroom wall, where it faces me when I wake up in the morning. It may not be the prettiest decor in my room, but it holds me accountable from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. 

On one sheet I wrote my weekly, monthly and end of year goals. 

On the other sheet, I wrote my to-do list for the day. It is one of the most satisfying things to physically check off a box on your to-do list. It is very difficult for me to end the day staring at an unchecked box, so it gives me that much more motivation to get that box checked! Who's with me?

I categorized my to-do list by putting down my most important to least important tasks in order- or at least numbered them from most urgent to least. (Reason to follow)

Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there.
— Haile Gebrselassie

Here are 10 habits I am adding to my everyday routine to bring more satisfaction, joy, and strength in my life. 

1. WRITE YOUR GOALS & TO-DO LIST IN A HIGH TRAFFIC AND VISIBLE PLACE.

 
 

2. WAKE UP EARLY

One of my goals was to wake up "early". 7:30am. 😂 I'm not a morning person, so that is early for me. But I decided that I was going to wake up before my kids and accomplish the top three things on my to-do list. Make sure they are the three things you feel are most pressing and will keep you feeling less stressed throughout the rest of the day. 

 
 

3. MEDITATE

The first thing I put on my to-do list when I wake up is a 3-minute meditation to get my mind balanced and more focused. A great app to use is Headspace, it's a wonderful tool to use, especially if you are a first-time meditator like me.

What is the importance of meditating? Meditating helps us to control our mind and thoughts and turn off our mind when we do not need it anymore.

If you are anything like me, I am not a napper. I go to bed too late and when I try to go to bed early, I toss and turn as my mind runs a mile a minute. Thought after thought consumes me to the point that I sometimes need to get up, make lists, write down my thoughts or even put my loose thoughts into action. (Which is why it is important to write a to-do list every day, so that I can relax and remember that I accomplished my most important things for today and I don't need to worry so much about the small things.)

Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

4. DO SOME PHYSICAL  EXERCISE. 

This has been my biggest hurdle since I had my last baby. I have worked a lot on my self-worth and in the middle of it, I got into this mindset of being okay with my body and the changes it has gone through, since becoming a mother. I would say to myself, "it's okay if I have a little flab, a few extra dimples and a little too much jiggle in my steps. I am happy with my body, and I don't have to obsess over the little things." 

But then, something changed. I went back to the gym more than one time in a month! I was working out with my husband, doing squats and box jumps, when that feeling of accomplishment, power, and strength came over me. I missed that feeling. I didn't know it until that moment. A voice came in my head and it said: "you're back". It was the most satisfying and motivating feeling I've had in a while. But let me be honest with you, this feeling only lasted for a few days, maybe even hours. It was still hard for me to get my butt to the gym every day... it actually took weeks until I got my white board and physically wrote down my goals. 

I made exercise my weekly goal. It was my goal to go to the gym 5 times this week. I wrote M, T, W, TH, F, S all with boxes below them for me to check off after each day. Not only did I go to the gym 5 times last week, I went 6! So I'm feeling pretty proud of my self-discipline and commitment. The check boxes are working!

 
 

5. BE PRESENT

This is always a hard one for us all. With the whole world at our fingertips every second of the day, emails coming through, social media constantly popping up in our heads, wondering about what everyone else is doing, and constantly thinking of the next thing we need to do. It is so refreshing and eye-opening when you stop. Take a minute to look around you, actually look at people in the eyes and simply Be. All. There.

Funny enough, the "Presence" was testing me as I was writing that last paragraph. My daughter, Haven woke up early from her nap and came running in to hug me. As I held her in my arms and showered her with hugs and kisses, she then asked me if I could "please color with her". My immediate thought was, "I will after I finish this blog post." But then, the exact thing I was writing about and preaching about was there to test me. "This blog post can wait, I said to myself." and with a definitive "YES!" I followed Haven to her coloring table and we shared some one-on-one time that we rarely ever get these days. 

I could have missed out on such a sweet, memorable moment with my daughter. And I'm so thankful that I chose to be all there. One thing that I have tried to do since I had my girls was to not work when they are awake. I work during naptime and bedtime, that way I can be more present with them during the day. I know sometimes things come up and I can't always do that, so I set a timer for 20 minutes to spend completely with my girls. To be 100% there with them, and it has really helped with my mom guilt.

 
 

6. GO ON A DATE WITH   YOUR BUDGET. 

Putting together a budget and saving a certain amount of money before the end of the year was on my Goals list. This was a topic that Cory and I have been putting off for far too long, and even when I had it on my to-do list, the box stayed unchecked for two days. You know how much it pains me to see an unchecked box, so it shows how much I didn't want to look at our finances and figure out a budget and set a goal to save X amount by the end of the year. 

Back story-- I grew up in a family of 8 other brothers and sisters. So money was a constant topic of conversation with my dad. Better yet, the words "We don't have money for that" echoed through my head. It wasn't that we were poor, but we definitely weren't rich and my parents had to be frugal. When we went to the fair or an amusement part, we brought our own food in, there was no way in hell we were getting some kind of special treat there, unless we bought it with our own money. If the refrigerator door was open for longer than 10 seconds you would hear my dad's voice from the other room yelling "close the door, you're letting all the cold air out!!". It was like he was lurking around every corner to make sure to tell us to turn the lights off, to open a window instead of turn on the a/c, etc.  So I decided a long time ago that I never wanted to live with so much strain to be frugal and tight with my money. If I wanted to do something or buy something I was going to buy it without constant worry if I had enough in my bank account. That is why I started babysitting as soon as I was old enough. I made my own fliers and passed them out throughout the neighborhood. The day I turned 15, literally on my birthday I had a job interview at one of the only places that hired 15-year-olds, Wendy's. I have been working ever since and worked all through college, just so I could have my own financial freedom.

 
 

With that being said, it's hard for me to have a lot of discipline when it comes to my budget. Not that I go crazy and max out my credit cards, I have actually never had credit card debt. But, it is important to be more aware of your spending habits and where your money is going. I am trying to spend smarter rather than mindlessly. So we officially set up a budget last night, made some cuts and now have a plan for where our money is going. 

7. EAT WELL. BE WELL.

I'm going to be real honest with you, I haven't really gotten myself to this part yet this week. Mainly because I was making a lot of changes, to-do's and goals this week I didn't want to over do it and make myself feel too overwhelmed.

First and foremost, I do not believe in crash diets. I believe in lifestyle changes. My biggest problem is that I don't eat enough, if at all in the mornings. I eat random snacks, bread, little treats and/or a salad for lunch and then, for the most part, have a pretty wholesome meal for dinner. Then, after the girls go to bed I indulge in a treat. So it's not like I have horrible eating habits, but my problem is making time for me to eat something, filling and healthy. I also spend way too much money on Starbucks and their little Bistro Boxes, you know, the ones with the apples, grapes, two boiled eggs, bread and peanut butter? Yeah, those are a staple in our outings.

This week is the week to start really disciplining myself to choose healthier options. I'm planning to do the following things:

  1. Only have 3 sweets a week
  2. Instead of having "cheat days" I will have 3 cheat meals on different days. That way I won't feel like a total failure for a whole day. 
  3. Drink more water (90 oz a day)

8. HELLO, GOD.

Spirituality is such an important part of my life. It helps me to know that I will always have someone by my side no matter what I'm going through. I'm going to be honest, I have not been as good as a could be at talking to my God, reading scriptures, or sometimes even putting forth much effort to recognize His hand in my life. But the amazing thing about my belief of God, is that he is always reaching, always there to comfort me and is a constant listening ear when I need someone.

There have been many times of trial in my life where I have felt more sorrow than I thought I could bare. But when I reached for my God, I could always feel him reaching back. For me, his presence in my life is something that keeps me feeling loved, important and guided in my decisions. 

There is a quote by C.H. Spurgeon that says, "To trust in God in the light is nothing, but trust Him in the dark- that is faith.

 
 

I am a firm believer in these words and I feel that in order to keep that faith strong, I need to keep a closer relationship with God. Therefore, I have made goals to talk to him in the morning and night and try to reflect on one verse a day. Since doing this, I have felt more compassion, gratitude and love for those around me, and that makes me happier person.

9. GRATITUDE

I feel that when I am not being fully aware of what I'm grateful for, I am constantly looking for more to satisfy me. The habit of gratitude helps move us away from constantly wanting what we don't have, and towards appreciating what we do have. When we do this, some remarkable shifts begin to occur.

Gratitude reaches so much further than we think. From improving our mental health, to our emotional well-being, and our spirituality, gratitude can do so much. But most importantly, it helps to move us away from a state of lack and towards a state of abundance.

Lately, my husband and I have been in a stand still when it comes to advancing in his career and where our family is supposed to be. For a while I have been caught up in how we aren't where we both thought we should be. We don't own a house yet, all while most of our friends are buying their first home, settling in and really starting their family journey. We are surrounded by very successful people who seem to have it all. So it is easy to get caught up in the comparison game and wonder when we will get to that point, asking, "why is it so much harder for us?" 

Now, I am decided to make a shift in my mind. To be more grateful for what we have accomplished and where we are now. If we work hard, with a grateful heart, things will work out despite all the confusion and twists and turns life can bring us. 

 
 

10. SLEEP

Sleep is directly connected with our ability to discipline ourselves. When we get the proper amount of sleep we have so much more power to get things done. As I'm sure you've noticed that when you don't get enough shuteye your mood is greatly affected. And if you're anything like me, I drag through the day, I'm more moody, shorter tempered and my ability to focus is like a dog on a walk (squirrel!). Our diets are affected as well as our overall health.

Studies indicate that people who are deprived of the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis are at a greater risk for certain diseases. Our lack of sleep has a great impact on our immune system.

 
 

While we all know, that getting more sleep is better for our well-being, why is it so hard for us?? I could tell you the studies and facts of lack of sleep all day long, but until we get to the bottom of why we aren't getting enough sleep, we can't change it. So for me, I have the following problems:

  1. I stay up for at least and extra 45 minutes mindlessly scrolling through social media, reading random stories and pretty much procrastinating until I can barely keep my eyes open.
  2. As a parent, I don't really get a lot of "me" time. So night time is the only time I can relax and focus on work, watching a show, reading a book, and/or talking with my husband.
  3. WORK. As I mentioned above, I don't have a lot of time without my girls around. I don't like to work when they are awake, so I work when they nap and when they go to bed.. Therefore, leaving me to work late at night sometimes. 

These are my solutions to work on:

  1. Put my phone in the other room so it doesn't tempt me. Put my journal by my bed instead and write about my day, my gratitude and loose thoughts. I tend to have a hard time quieting my thoughts. So if I write them down, it will be easier to have them out of the way when I'm trying to actually go to sleep.
  2. Do some breathing exercises after the girls go down for bed. Try to relax the mind for 20 minutes and set an alarm for when I should begin my nightly routine. (Wash face, brush teeth, write in journal, talk to husband, pray, sleep.) I know this isn't going to be easy, but when you make it a priority and really discipline yourself to do these things, it will get easier. 
  3. If you don't do it one night, or even a few nights, don't let it ruin everything. Just try again the next day. Like I said previously, be okay with imperfectly improving yourself.

If you can instill these 10 habits into your life, you can create the foundation for achieving your goals, but most importantly let this be the beginning of a happier, healthier lifestyle. 

Join me in this journey and share your experience by tagging @bebonafide!!

 
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Shine From Within: WEEK 5

Everything has been off these past few days, nothing seems to be going right, my house can’t stay clean, I’m nagging at Ryan (the husband), I’m getting offended by someone left and right, the list goes on and on. Right before I sat down to write this blog post I was saying to myself “Why does life have to be so hard?”.  

This is not the first time that I have felt this way and I know it will not be the last.

Then I thought to myself--  Have I been finding time for myself this week? Have I been working on Positive Self-Talk, Self forgiveness, Self- acceptance and Self- love?

The bona fide answer is... not much, if at all.

I have been so focused on what is not going right in my world, being “busy” and not making that inner effort to apply the words Be Bona Fide has been preaching. I have lost my way and I feel robbed. I feel robbed because I know what it feels like to feel self-love and I let it go.

Before Be Bona Fide I have always found a quick fix to get out of these “funks” by turning my focus outwards and start serving. This has helped me, but only temporary. I was right back to where I started a week or so later.

Before you can truly find love in serving others you need to find the love for yourself. Which brings up a question I have been battling with. Is it better for me to just go out and serve or to take a step back and apply these practices below in my life first?

  1. Positive self-talk

  2. Self-forgiveness

  3. Self-acceptance

  4. Self-love  

As you can see from my experience- these steps to shine are not something we practice once. It is not something that I can write about and talk about but not practice them daily. It will only be a matter of time where you will fall back into your old ways. You and I need to go through these steps everyday and ask ourselves:

Have I told myself that I am strong?

Have I given myself grace today?

Have I made an effort to notice my inner beauty and take care of my mental health this week?

As we are constantly working on these thoughts we will start to see the love grow for the people around us. We can openly serve others around us and give the love we are capable of.

This brings me to our 5th and final step to shine from the inside out - Serving Others. 

These next couple days I will be working from the bottom to turn my focus back on the four steps we have previously walked though. I will focus on my inner beauty so that when I do see that calling where I’m needed to serve, I will be ready for it. I will be ready with a clear mind and an open heart.

Serving others does not always have to come in extravagant forms is can be as little as a handwritten letter to a friend, opening a door for a stranger, calling a friend to be a listening ear. All it takes is being aware of where you are needed and taking action.

“When you decide to notice, when you decide to act, when you decide to make a difference (even in a small way), you have taken the first step in changing the world.”

This holiday season is the best time to look for people and places where you are needed. We have so much to be grateful for, so let’s spread the B/B holiday cheer and serve a friend, neighbor, co-worker, volunteer at a shelter, visit someone in the hospital, compliment a stranger, etc. We would love to see you serving! Feel free to share it and tag #shinefromwithin.

We will be ending this #shinefromwithin series with a sale on the product that inspired these past five blog posts. Stay tuned tomorrow for something exciting something that you can pass on to a loved one during this holiday season.

Thank you all for joining us! We love you and are grateful for this online community we have built.

 

Shine From Within: WEEK FOUR

Love. Love is an amazing thing. Everybody wants to be loved. It's our nature as humans to crave that warm, safe and accepted feeling of what it is to be loved. We are full of love and yet we give it mostly to others, not ourselves.

I am of the opinion that our soul is like a balloon. We try to fill it with all these "stones" that we think will improve our self-love. We shop for new outfits, shoes, face creams, etc. We fill our "balloons" with the temporary satisfaction of things, comments and likes on a good photo, etc. Not all of these stones are bad, but it will take much longer to fill that balloon as it stretches and becomes heavier. So what can we do to fill it up and not be so heavy? Air, right? What does the air represent you ask? It is what we tell ourselves. What we study. How we treat others (including ourselves). 

So how do we get this air? How do we get self-love?

First, it starts with recognition. 

When we realize that we can and should love ourselves is when we begin. We start to look for ways to turn negative thoughts into positives. We seem to be experts at putting the happiness of our loved ones before ourselves. We need to treat ourselves as we would a child, we want them to be healthy, so we feed them wholesome foods, we encourage them, let them take time to play, nap and go to bed early. 

Have you ever felt so stressed trying to get everything done for everyone else, that you had no time for yourself? This is the type of thing we need to change.

I am a mom of two, a wife of one ;) and a business owner. Balancing everything on my plate can be extremely difficult and stressful at times. I am a "yes" girl. It is very hard for me to say no, because I don't like to disappoint. This is one of my biggest struggles. But, I've noticed that when I practice self-love and give myself 15 minutes of "me" time at least three times a day, I am recharged, more present and much more pleasant to be around. Every day I'm learning to put myself first. By choosing to make self-love a priority I am able to give my loved ones so much more. It's so important to remember that loving myself isn't a selfish act because it allows me to love others even more.

Now that we have recognized our lack of self-love how do we begin?

Let's start by writing down the things that we lack most of our confidence in. Then think of a better solution to work on them and write it down. For example, if you look in the mirror every morning and your first thought is how terrible you look; turn it around and start by looking at yourself and say out loud, "I love you." It's harder than it seems. If you can't even get those words out, then say it in your head then think of one thing you like about yourself. As you continue to add more positive self talk to your day, look at yourself 3 times a day and first think about the gratitude you have for your body. Are you thankful to have a healthy body? Are you thankful to have eyes to see all the beauty around you? Are you thankful to have your hair, no matter it's length or thickness?

Keep a journal near your bed and write a question to yourself to answer. It can be anything from "why do I go to bed so late?", "when will stop criticizing myself so much?" or "how can I manage my time better?" This practice is just a line of communication between you and your inner self. You are able, through this practice to receive guidance from your wisest self. You know what's best for you, always.

Once you finish your question, answer it by writing without thinking, without editing, without judgement of yourself. Write until you feel satisfied. Notice how you feel when you're done. You may feel lighter or relieved after talking to your wisest self with your concerns. Go back and re-read what you wrote. You may feel that you have found the answer to your question. If not, don't worry, it will come to you.

I promise you that the more you work on these exercises you will be happier and more grateful for yourself and what your body does for you. You have worth. Never forget that. You deserve to give yourself love... from YOURSELF. Learning and connecting with yourself will show just how amazing your are! This simple act of loving yourself and doing these exercises, in itself is an act of self-love. 

Please share your story and tell us how the 5 steps of shining from within has helped you! You can find week 1-3 here >> WEEK 1  :  WEEK 2  :  WEEK 3

 

"Shine From Within" Launch

"If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies how very different our ideals of beauty would be". 

Have you ever wondered what our world would be like if everyone's outward appearance was an exact representation of their inner self?

We all know someone that sticks out to us as a beautiful person. Not just beautiful physically, but their soul just seems to shine and radiate contagiously. Their inner qualities emanate, and you find yourself naturally attracted to their presence. Some of these people may not be the most attractive on the outside, but you are in awe of them as they exude confidence and love. We have come to realize that the happiness they radiate is because they love THEMSELVES. They are constantly working on bettering who they are and how they treat others. When you begin to work on loving yourself, you start to feel happier and it translates into more physical beauty. We spend enormous amounts of money on products to make our outer selves better, but do we spend equal or more time on improving our inner beauty? As a society, we feel that if our appearance on the outside is flawless, then everyone will think that we are flawless on the inside as well. 

Looking beautiful physically is something that we all strive for, but what we don't realize is that a real, genuine person is so much more refreshing. If we take care of the inside, the outside will take care of itself. Those people I talked about before, those happy people who glow with warmth and appreciation for all they have and all they are. Those people can be YOU as well. Those people didn't get to the point they are at without constant work for what radiates from their soul. So let's begin now. Let's do this together and let others see how much more beautiful we really are! 

We would like to introduce the newest addition to B/B's inspirational line! Our newest necklace is a reflection of who we are inside and out. As you may know, a geode looks and feels like any other stone on the outside, but once you get to see what's inside when opened, it is obvious that true beauty is on the inside and the shimmering crystals are at the center of what this ordinary looking stone was all along. This is a tangible reminder that the beauty that really matters is on the inside.

We want to remind you that whatever it is that's making you feel small, unworthy lost or alone, you can change that. 

We want to show you how to believe and uncover the thoughts that mask truth of who you are. We want to help one another see each other's potential.

Join us in this five week process as we elaborate on the five steps of how to shine from within:

Step 1: Positive Self Talk

Step 2: Self-Forgiveness

Step 3: Self-acceptance

Step 4: Self-love

Step 5: Serving-Others

We will be touching on each of these topics over the next five weeks- it is not until you truly love yourself before you can love and serve others. Loving yourself is not an easy task and it is something that will happen over time, it will be hard and it will be something that you will constantly be working on everyday. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is not an easy task, but we can assure you- it will be worth it. 

Join us on this self-love journey by heading to our shop and picking up your own Geode Necklace reminder tonight. We are offering for the next 24 hours 25% off to celebrate the launch day! Enter promo code SHINEFROMWITHIN at check out! CLICK HERE to get your necklace now.