You control your life. Did you know?

So I walked into work yesterday and someone brought donuts. My husband and I are doing a major lifestyle change including eating a paleo diet. For those that don’t know, you are allowed to cheat one day a week and hubby and I cheated Sunday. So there was no way for me to rationalize having a donut but man did I want one…. which got me to thinking each time I walked by, why do I want a donut so badly. Yes they are delicious, but you know what is better than a donut? Knowing that I lost 3 pounds last week by eating healthy foods and exercising. Is it hard to do that? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I will not die if I do not eat a donut but continuing down the path I was headed could have led to heart disease, obesity and other health problems. I am not out of the woods, I still have 50 more pounds to go, but I am gaining (ha ha) on the first 50. I only have 12 more pounds until I hit 50 pounds lost.

In a burst of I-can-really-be-a-different-person-if-I-only-try, I signed up for a 5K on June 15th. I am walking it, not running it, and can’t even really believe it myself but there was a time I thought I could not LIVE without chocolate or cheese, or bread or potatoes and 6 out of 7 days of a week sometimes more….. I now do. Amazing what we can do when we try.

What would happen if you did that thing you were scared of, what would that look like? Think about it.

One step in front of the other..

I hate going to the gym. Every time it comes to “gymming” its the same thing, I have to rev myself up to go, get the bag of stuff together, remember the water bottle and then get in the car and drive to the gym dreading it every second of the drive.  I have come to the conclusion that the paleo diet is not enough, I need to add regular exercise to start losing weight again. I had such high hopes for today, I was going to go to a 10:30 Zumba class and then go to the bank and go the grocery store and do some other errands I have been neglecting all week because I have been taking care of my husband who is recovering from hernia surgery. Thank goodness he is healing much faster than the doctor expected!

But back to me and my gym woes, so I slept in till 9:30 and while I could have made the class I decided to sleep in some more and then head to the gym a little later. So I finally got there at 2pm and realized I didn’t have my ipod, grumble. However I was bound and determined that I would go to the gym today and work out no matter what so in I went. I headed straight for the treadmill and the bargaining process started right away, I can do 10 minutes and that will be better than nothing, and as the led lights flashed 10 minutes, I thought I can do 15, and then 20 and then I saw that I had traveled 1 mile.. and then said okay, I will make it to 30 and then do a cool-down. I know there are likely many people who ran a 5K today, or ran for an hour at the gym or did things a lot more impressive but after tallying it up I feel pretty good about my progress. I am satisfied with what I did today and I will work out a little longer the next time I do.  

I convinced myself to keep going because how can I be in integrity to the people I coach , telling them to do “one more repetition” or “keep trying” if I am not willing to do it myself?

To give the final score: 165 calories burned, 2.8 miles per hour, 1.5 miles traveled. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. My new goal is to go 45 minutes the next time I work out. How about you? What goals are you working on? What do you want to accomplish? Think about it!

Follow your dream at 8, 18 or 80! and all the years in between!

“You had a dream, you know great! When you were 8, it was adorable, at 18 it was inspiring, at 28 its officially embarrassing, I just want you to stop before we get to heartbreaking.” This is what a mother says to her child to get her to “grow up and give up on her dream” after she gets laid off from her job in television news in the movie “Morning Glory” (it’s only 8 minutes in so really not a spoiler. The movie is very inspiring to me and I recommend it to you any time you need a kick in your rear to get it in gear on your dream.

Its fictional, yes but this scenario is too often played out in real life with our friends, lovers and acquaintances. Think about it, what was your dream when you were 8? For me it was to be a professional actress and I said it to anyone who would listen and some who didn’t. I was told by several people, you will never make any money at that, you should have a back-up plan. I also heard, well its such a competitive business and there are millions of people doing it and you will wind up starving in a garret eating tuna out of cans. I was dejected and depressed by this, and while developing a back-up plan to become a lawyer, (which never came to fruition, by the way) I followed my dream and have found success and money as an actress while making a living doing something else. I did this in spite of many people telling me I couldn’t because I had a solid support system telling me I could do whatever I set my mind to, and so I have. So as it turns out, what my friends and relatives said, isn’t true, I have actually made money working in theatre. Is it hard? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I want you to think about that and remember it the next time someone tells you that you can’t do something.  They don’t know what you have in you, and they are predicting a future they can not possibly see. When someone talks to you about their dream, you have a tremendous amount of power, you can lift them up or you can crush them with just a few words, so choose them carefully and work to inspire anyone you can to do anything they want to do. The possibility in that is amazing. Who can you inspire today? What can you do to follow your dream at 18, 23, or 42? Give yourself grace for the past, but start now in whatever way you can! It’s not too late, I promise!

Don’t be afraid to delete!

How often do you read a message and feel the pressure to keep it “just in case”? Well I am here to tell you here and now, that anything you need to keep, you put in a folder.

I have been looking for ways to simplify and declutter my life and one of the most recent tips was to archive and and categorize your emails. Take the time to unsubscribe from those emails that waste your time. I did something crazy. I deleted everything in my inbox and you know what? The sky DID NOT FALL.

It was a staggering 5061 emails. Because I so heartily detest text messages, I get more than most. I don’t tell you this to impress you, likely you have more or slightly less but I feel so much better when logging in now and seeing what I need to deal with NOW and if it can wait, I will make sure to respond in a week or its deleted.

I think for most of us, the intent to respond is there but we are so locked into, I will respond later, but we never do. Unless its something you need to take action on or save for future reference (how strict you are on that is entirely up to you) DELETE IT! and don’t look back!

How much time could you free up by doing this? Think about it!

Be Bold, you have no idea where it can lead!

This is a bold statement to make, so here are some examples.  

1. My husband had three strikes against him when I met him. He smoked, he didn’t like cats, and he was a waiter. I decided to take a chance and work against snobbery and ask him out because there was something about him. (THANK GOD) because he is the most amazing man I have ever met and that was not immediately apparent to me and now I can NOT imagine my life without him!

2. I am not shy and have no problem talking to anyone and often embarrass other people with my enthusiasm and willingness to look foolish. I have met Spaulding Gray, Mose Alison and Kevin Spacey because of this boldness. More importantly I have made really wonderful friends *you know who you are* who would not even be on my radar if I had not taken the chance to reach out and say hey, let’s go have coffee, you seem to be a pretty cool person let’s explore that notion!

3. Recently given the opportunity to reach out and be bold in that same way, I expected little despite lots of evidence to the contrary, (noted above) and was pleasantly surprised again.

Marianne Williamson says it best- We are powerful beyond measure. 

I used to say, Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst, and Adapt to the Outcome, but I have a better mantra now, I think. Expect the Best and let disappointment challenge you not stop you!

What are you scared to do? Can you see yourself doing it? I can. I believe in you. I KNOW you can do it! What are you waiting for?

I am wrong!

Hard words to say but there it is in black and white.

I set about accomplishing several goals this year. 

1. Read 10 books – On #5 and #6 right now

2. Spending more time with friends, less on Facebook. Check

3. Lose 50 pounds. I have lost 40.

4. Give 10 effective speeches. I have given 6. 

4. Get more sleep aka stop snoozing

I have made zero progress on this goal until today. I have been trying to decipher why I needed to get more sleep “just five more minutes” because the goals above are not easy and with modesty, I am getting them done, no problem, even shouted a healthy, Jed Bartlettesque “What’s next?” to those goals but the sleep thing was really stumping me. I turned to the internet for answers including twitter and facebook and finally realized. 

It is like everything else on my list, it requires intention and discipline so I am proud to say I woke up today and did not snooze and as a result had time to do dishes, make breakfast and write a blog post. Definitely a successful morning already which sets me up to have a great day.

So I hereby declare to my husband and certain others who have been chorusing for years, you were right and I was wrong. I choose not to snooze. Today. and Tomorrow. So it might take a bit to form a habit but that is okay too, I plan to give myself some grace and work on it each day. That’s how I am working on everything else. 

What are you working on? What are your stumbling blocks? Can I help?

Email me at jennifermckennasays@gmail.com and let’s chat about it!

Are you really too busy?

Seems like a simple thing.. and it is but a lot of us get caught in the trap of being busy, we say it all the time. I am busy, I can’t make it I am busy.. oh I would love to, but if I weren’t busy…. You get it.

But ask yourself, what are you too busy doing? Are you busy following the dreams that matter to you? Are you saying you are too busy to avoid a confrontation?

You know, we all have the same 24 hours. Some are working two jobs, some are new mothers, some are mothers of 2, and you don’t have to be a mom to be busy. You can be single and be busy with pursuing your career. You can’t exactly say,”I really don’t want to spend time with you, and our friendship isn’t strong enough to support one on one time”, but due to the niceties of society that we are all conditioned to support, we don’t say that, because, A) its rude B) we don’t want to admit we have failed that friendship by pretending its something its not but are unwilling to move on. We all make time for the things that matter. I am guilty of this problem which is why I am posting about it, I struggle with making time for the things that matter, but sometimes I just sit and watch netflix because that is what I really WANT to do.

I want you to think about it the next time someone asks you to do something. If you don’t want to do the activity, pick another activity and suggest it. If you are already committed for that time, suggest another time, Committed is a very different word than busy. Busy is flabby and unspecific. 

If you don’t want to spend time with the person think about why.. and then decide if its time to tell them (hard truth time!) or to just say you are busy. I don’t expect that one post can change the behavior of an entire culture, I just think its worth examining what you are “busy” doing.

What’s the point? Life is short, spend it with people you care about.