Run your race, ignore everyone else!

Dear Readers,

This past Saturday, I slow trudged a 5K.

YAY ME!

 

StJude5K

To be brutally honest, I think I did 3 miles not 3.1.

The course was not clearly marked, so I just stopped trudging when I saw the enthusiastic group of cheerleaders at the end of the third lap, and called it done.

I am extremely PROUD of this 5K because I REALLY wanted to stop at several points during the run, and I kept thinking about my daughter and how I want to run this with her eventually. I thought about Leanne, who told me “when you have a race to train for, you train more consistently”,  I started thinking about my running buddy, Susie who ran my first 5K with me and encouraged me over that first finish line. I thought about my dear friend, Dr. Keya Howard who runs marathons and heard her in my head, “you got this, you know you can do it, you know you can run just a little longer, it’s not as if it’s 13.1 miles… GO DO IT! I thought about my buddy Professor Pena who when he heard I was doing the 10(miles)20(bands) a few years back, he said, I have a new name for you, “It’s Jazzy Jennnnnnn” – all those voices kept me going.

Eventually, the voices subsided and it was just me, alone, being lapped by a 7 year old wearing pigtails and pink leg warmers, but as I said to myself on Saturday, “I can only run my race, I can’t control the other people and what race they are running or how fast they are running it, or how long they trained or what lap THEY are on, I can only concentrate on me, and my progress and for me this Saturday was a tremendous win.  I finished.

It’s a race for charity and for fun, so I was pleasantly surprised by a medal at the end!

I dropped my hat while I was running the first or second lap, and my far faster friend,  Will, was right behind me and he picked it up for me and I am very grateful because if I had stopped, I am not so sure I would have started up again.

There were no hills, which makes it far easier to run, but no less of a win.

I am actively training for my next 5K where my goal will be to best my own personal record.

I may succeed, and I may fail, but I will be running my own race and not worried about the other runners around me.

I think that could be applied to life in general, am I right?

Think About It.

How are you spending your money?

Dear Readers,

That’s a pretty personal question, so you can keep the answer to yourself.

Last week I told you about the no-spendtember challenge I signed up for which limits the amount of spending you are allowed to do for the month. The rules are you can spend money on gas, groceries, rent/mortgage and that is it. It’s restrictive on purpose!

It has really made me STOP and think about the things I spend money on that I could save instead. I am saving to go to the Elton John concert and have taken to using the hashtag – HelloYellowBrickRoad to remind me of my goal. It’s not easy but that concert is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo going to be worth it!

SIrElton

Because I am paying attention to what I am spending my money on or rather not spending my money on, I have stumbled on a few relevant memes and articles. I posted this picture on social media and got some very interesting responses – and by interesting, I mean some disagreement.

Average

Some of the people on my wall took a moment and were surprised by the number and stopped to question it, which is totally fine by me. That was the point.

So a few things here. I don’t know this to be true, I do know that lots of people spend money indiscriminately and don’t think about what they are doing and then they wind up in heavy credit card debt or with too much month at the end of their money and don’t know why.  Here is a news article that gives a bit more shape to this-

https://nypost.com/2017/12/08/americans-spend-an-absurd-amount-on-takeout/

This is not true for everyone, and the picture is not aimed to make you mad, it’s there to make you think.

Some sample thoughts I am seeking…

  1. Huh, I wonder if that is true? (let me go do some research)
  2. That is a lot of money – I wonder if I/we/our family spends that much? (consults bank account online)
  3. Well, we spend a little but I don’t think it’s that much (consults bank account online)
  4. That makes me think about our travel budget. I wonder if I can really get a ticket for 750.00 anywhere in the world. (this seems like a stretch and in my research (Austin to Austria- was 1300.00 so the number is not 100% accurate, but my goal is to get you to think about it.

To be clear, I am not trying to tell you that if you spend this much on everyday food and drink it’s wrong, it’s just what you are doing. The point would be to get you to choose what you are doing instead of mindlessly doing what you do every day/week/month/year with money.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am passionate about finances. To be more explicit, being intentional with our money has allowed us to have my husband stay home with our daughter which definitely involves some sacrifice. Then we chose to put her in day care 2 days a week and he went back to work because that is what we chose to do.

HastonsEaster2017

Maybe people think it’s wrong to ask others to sacrifice to save money,  but I don’t agree with that because sacrifice is an important part of reaching a goal.

If you want to lose weight, you sacrifice by eating less, right?

If you want to save money, you probably eat out less, right?

If you want to go to school and get good grades, you sacrifice time with friends to study, right?

I am not telling people how to live and what to spend their money on so please let me be clear.

If you love food and want to spend your money on restaurants and eating out, go for it.

If you love concerts and books and want to spend you money on it, go for it.  (see above)

It’s your life, and you are welcome to do what you like with your resources.

My goal today, as with each and every post is to get you to THINK about it.

so… am I saying – don’t spend that 5.00 on a drink at your favourite coffee spot, no, I am saying think about it and do it consciously, and you might discover you don’t really want to spend that 5.00 on the coffee but rather save it for a rainy day or if you are me, to say goodbye to that yellow brick road….

Think About It.

 

Goals- Work on one at a time!

Dear Readers,

A few months ago I set a few goals for myself.

  1. Read more.
  2. Drink water every day
  3. Go to the gym three times a week
  4. Meditate once a day

All of these seem simple, right?

Well, not really. The reading one has gone right out the window so then I had three goals

  1. Read more.
  2. Drink water every day
  3. Go to the gym three times a week
  4. Meditate once a day

Drink water every day. (I have an accountability partner for that one!)

Speaking of accountability- I also joined a No-Spendtember group to help me motivate myself to NOT spend any money for the month of September except for gas, groceries, and essential items. It’s amazing how much you just spend (even though I am pretty thrifty) without THINKING about it.  I am keeping a running tally of how much I have wanted to spend but have not spent. Drum roll, please! It’s Day 5……

I am up to 35.00 not spent. That could change tomorrow, I might just have to buy something, and that is okay, the goal is to be intentional and THINK about it, because in my experience, when you do that, you spend 5.00 not 10.00 and so on.

Another goal, was to go to the gym three times a week- Well, that was working and then the whole family got sick so as we all recovered, we spent less time at the gym and then no time at the gym.

Once upon a time, I lost 75 pounds and this was the before and after.  I love how I look in both pictures, and the one on the right helps me FEEL the accomplishment.

Beforeafter

As of two weeks ago, I headed back to the gym but it was once a week, not three times and I am satisfied with that, for now. I will eventually get the three times a week going again but it’s not where I am, for now.

Meditate once a day- There is an application for that, it motivates me by giving me a “consistency reward” I take great pride in seeing the number of minutes and days I have accomplished in my meditation goal.

I am all for goals and achieving them but sometimes we doom ourselves by having too many goals to start. Or, we have really vague goals like “read more” or “eat healthier”

What does that mean?

For example, I said I was going to drink water every day for three months before it actually became a reality.  I have to say that now that it is, drinking water gives me more energy and I have noticed my skin is clearer.

It took almost 6 months of going to the gym to consistently to get me back up to twice a week and then finally three times a week.  Then I had a breakdown in that goal because we all got sick and it became more important to NOT go to the gym and rest our bodies.

It’s amazing, Rest is the thing that helps the MOST, and it’s what we try, LAST. 

Next goal, meditate every day. The meditation was easier because it’s a great way to wind down my day and really helps me to relax, relax, relax as my mother of choice would say.  I love headspace, but there are multiple options out there.

https://www.headspace.com/

The reading is a nice idea but it was an ill-defined goal.

Read what? For how long? Why?  I love to read, so I have started to build it into my lunch breaks.  I can set a timer and read career growth articles or my (very much not a career growth) book for 10 minutes. It may take another month for me to actually get it on a good schedule and cadence and that is still progress.

Always remembering, the goal is progress, not perfection. 

The gurus will tell you to “shoot for the moon and you will land among the stars.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, I take issue with it because it’s really non-specific, it’s not measurable and you have no idea if you “did it”.

I think all goals should be Smart- I didn’t make this up, but here is my breakdown:

Smart- You have a handle on it- you know what it looks like to go after it

Measurable- Can you measure it? If your goal is to lose weight, what’s the result you are going for to see measure success- inches? pounds? You have to decide.

Actionable- Is there an action to take? If you want to write a book, how many pages will you write? A day? A week? A month?

Relevant- Is it relevant to your personal mission statement ? Well let’s see-

I am a mom, speaker, and activist passionately committed to inspiring others to live their best life. ” (yep, it checks that box, so it’s relevant) 

Time- bound- Put a deadline on it. I will have (goal/measure) _______  by ______ (date)

Just started to feel real, didn’t it?  As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says, 

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

By the way, if you don’t have a personal mission statement, I highly recommend you get one, that way as you work to make decisions about what to say yes to and what to pursue, you run it through that filter and then it gets a whole lot clearer what you need to say “yes” and “no” to, when opportunities are presented to you.

Remember, your goal is progress, not perfection. Don’t get lost in the lie that you have to do it perfectly,  because you WILL fail, it’s that simple, it’s whether you will get back up and try again, I think you will.  I believe in you!

Think About It.

 

Keep going, you are so close!

TakeStock

 

Dear Readers, When was the last time you took stock of the things you have accomplished?

I have to admit it’s been a while for us, and today I got a really nice reminder of how important it is to look back at where you were so you can focus on where you want to go.

This picture is of me coloring our debt free scale- we colored up as you can see, since the goal was 0.00.  At this point in time, we still owed 7,985.33. It was important to us to mark the occasion and so we did on this scale we had. It was one of the milestones and we chose to mark that with a nice dinner.

It can be tiresome to work towards a goal, you need rewards to keep you motivated and on the path.

For example, I had to stop working out for a while as our entire family was sick and as we recovered, I needed to give my body a full rest so I am starting over on the workouts, the swimming and the running. This hurts because I was well on my way to a half marathon when the plague hit our household.

Then again, when viewed through the look back lens, I see the progress I have made and the things that I have already accomplished and I am certain that I did myself a LOT more good by taking that two month break from the gym so I did not relapse or hurt myself by working out before I was ready.

So my message today is simple, take stock and look back at the things that you have accomplished and take a moment and feel proud of what you did then but even prouder of what lies ahead.

What if you give up JUST as you are about to accomplish your goal?

You would never know how close you came because you gave up.

Think About It.

Do you spend time or kill time?

Dear Readers,

I hate the phrase killing time. It’s the only commodity that is not recoverable or renewable or reproducible.

I think that when people say “killing time” they are not thinking about the consequence of killing time means you are quite likely wasting it.

I was thinking about this over cocktails and scones with my good friend as we watched the royal wedding which took place real-time some months ago. LondoninGeorgetown

However, we both wanted to watch it together so we made a plan that we would watch it on OUR time, and when we were both “free”. It was lovely catching up and oohing over the glorious chapeau we saw onscreen. The experience was no less diminished because it was not live or the events had transpired earlier.

I think it really comes down to intention. If your intention is to “kill time” what are you doing? If your intent is to “spend time” what are you doing? I am pretty sure the answers vary widely and you will find a lot more value when you choose to “spend” time.

Think about it this way. Why would you choose to “kill time” when you can invest your time or spend your time wisely.  “Quality Time” is considered a love language – (for more on that- see here)  https://jenniferhastonsays.com/2015/09/18/whats-your-love-language/

Would you ever choose to “kill your money” ????????

You can earn more money, you can lose or gain weight but there is no such thing as getting back time.  Unless you are in a certain movie from the 1980’s.

Think About It.

Trial and Error

Dear Readers,

I know it sounds like a really bad prequel to “Law and Order” but it’s not.

It’s actually a reference to what we do in life, from the moment we are born.

We try to walk, we fall. We try again and again and again until we do it.

We try to talk, we make a lot of unintelligible sounds and then all of a sudden we sound intelligent.

We attempt something, we fail. We attempt something else.

It takes a lot of courage to do this day and day out and it’s an act of courage to live a life out loud and full of purpose. I don’t know if you have experienced this but when you are enthusiastic and shall we say, loud, it makes waves. People notice.

My advice to you? Be you and do the things that matter to you.

The world is not served by you playing small, or thinking you are less than what you are a beautiful and unique creature designed with a wonderful spark that makes you you.

Sometimes the flame can be snuffed out but if you look for it, it can always come back.

Get off the bench, go make BIG plays. The world truly is yours for the taking.

Be bold, and ask for EXACTLY what you want and if you stumble, try again.

Along the way, if you are disappointed in what happens to you, be disappointed, feel it to the core of your being and really acknowledge the upset and sadness.

As my mother of choice says, “have a pity party, go there, and be there when you are, just don’t stay”- Wise words.

My focus tends to be on the pushing through, the next step, so I invite you to fully explore your feelings about something before “moving on” no matter how much the “world” wants to tell you. “Get over it”

Trial and Error, my friend. It’s a real thing, you live it and do it, every single day.

Think About It. imagejfminc

Good things come to those who wait…

Dear Readers,

I have oft maligned the internet on this blog and the way it distracts us from being “here” now, however, it definitely has it’s benefits.

You never know who might be watching you and inspired by your journey.

You never know who could be listening to you when you give a speech. Your words, your story may be the difference between them fighting another day or giving up completely.

We are so powerful and we don’t begin to grasp how powerful.

You also don’t need to be physically there to inspire or motivate others. GazellesUniteAugust2018

What am I talking about? Well, take this picture for instance, It’s a picture of 4 women who supported each other on the road to debt-freedom. When we “met” some in person and some via the internet, each one of us was in debt and working hard to unshackle the chains of debt that were strangling each of us.

Slowly but surely (like the tortoise winning the race) we all became debt-free.

Let’s take a minute and just breathe that in. WE ARE DEBT FREE!

These women are incredibly inspiring and passionate and have their own story to share, but I will hit a few highlights for you.

Juante is a dear friend who I “met” via the internet and supported her and she supported me as we walked down this road together. She is a soon to be published author and a life coach who inspires other people for a living. She is a ray of sunshine and just having her around enriches your space.

Chrishawn – my sweet friend who is a fashion plate and I always want to wear her clothes. She is a dedicated and passionate paralegal who worked diligently with her husband to get out of debt, and she was ruthlessly organized about it, her spreadsheets and countdowns are a thing of beauty, trust me! She also has a wonderful laugh and tells great stories.

Erin- my lovely friend who home schools her kids and is a passionate crusader against debt, she and her husband also worked their bahookies off to get out of debt. They worked extra jobs and got their kids involved too! Erin teaches a financial class about every quarter to help inspire others. She isn’t naming names but recently some of her students told her that they were so inspired that they were teaching their own class!

All three of these women at one point or another lifted me up or encouraged me as we walked down this road together. One sent me a locket with the date we became debt free on it 11/16/15 to commemorate the milestone. One of them met me for for coffee so we could catch up and she could meet my little girl. One of them sent me a some text messages when we hit a setback. Yes, I am praising a text message, sometimes it can be EXACTLY what you need.

My preference will ALWAYS be a face to face meeting (see picture above for proof)

However, when there is a gap of distance between you that requires an airplane or train or a pretty long drive, a text message, or a well placed message on social media can do wonders for your heart and your soul.

Thanks for pointing that out, Alexandra – “A text message is also a connection”

Well said, friend.

So good things come to those who wait, this picture took 4 years to happen, and it finally did, It makes my heart sing to look at it and see what it represents.

A very public thank you to all three of you amazing, wonderful and supportive women!

Remember, you never know who might be watching your struggle and gaining strength from your successes and failures.

Think About It.