Life

Why you shouldn’t monetize your blog (or other passion projects)

yell at your creativityI had a fabulous sense of relief wash over me while reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic last week.

Remember how I’ve often pontificated about how us overachieving millennials (or any generation of the population who wants to do it all, for that matter) can balance work, life, health and our passions? Back in 2014, I wrote:

“Even though you have a secure, well-paying 9-to-5, you decided at some point that you wanted to own your own business — something more in line with your true passion, whatever that may be. So you start one in amongst all the social media-ing and blogging you’re already doing, because hey, you’re a millennial — you do it all. Who wants to work for “the man”, anyway? You’ve delayed getting married and having kids thus far, so you clearly have all the time in the world — might as well do it now!

There’s just one problem.

That $30,000 student loan isn’t going to pay itself off, and you need some cash upfront to get your new business up and running. Times are already pretty tight, and you’re only making the equivalent of the price of a pumpkin spiced latte per month from the Google Ads you put on your blog, so you decide to take on a second job to help pay for your new business expenses.

And here’s when you find yourself at a crossroads — getting up at 3:30 a.m. to somehow write an acceptable blog post most days of the week (because you need to be consistent, they say), post to all your social media channels, read other blogs and write thoughtful comments, get your workout in (don’t forget to post a #workoutselfie!), make your healthy lunch and Instagram it (#vegan #paleo #gmofree #glutenfree #sugarfree #whybother), get ready for your day job, work, get home, make a healthy dinner (don’t forget to pin it on you Healthy Recipe board on Pinterest!), catch up on all the emails and social media posts you missed during the day, work at your second job for a few hours because you have a deadline, spend some time promoting/working on the new business you’re trying to get off the ground, and go to bed at 9:30 p.m. because you’ve been up since 3:30 a.m. and you’re exhausted.”

Well, it turns out I don’t need to do all of that. In fact, I shouldn’t be, for the sake of my passion projects. (more…)

My one word for 2016

one word for 2016Happy 2016, friends! I hope you woke up feeling fresh and revived and ready to tackle another 365 days on Earth spinning around the sun. Or perhaps you woke up late like I did, took a few pain killers to get rid of your champagne headache and have been nursing a coffee for the last hour or so. Nevertheless, I feel good about the year to come. Not in a “I’m going to have a positive attitude not matter what and everything will go my way” kind of good, but good in my current and newfound mindset of accepting what is and being grateful for what I have. My not-giving-a-f**k mindset (I must find a better way to say that).

Yesterday I took the fabulous advice posted by Elizabeth Gilbert on her Facebook page and wrote down on a piece of paper things I’d like to let go of or leave behind from 2015, burnt it, collected the ashes and dumped them into the nearest body of water. Gilbert wrote, “This is a day to return to the elements — fire, water, earth — and to set yourself free from what was, while opening your heart wide to what is to come. It’s worth the trouble to invent a little ceremony at this moment of transition, because it’s a big moment.” (more…)

My three goals for 2016

My goals for 2016Welcome to another edition of my annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post, where I list my top three goals for the year to come: one fitness-related, one professional, and one personal.

I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.

My 2012 and 2013 years were tough professionally and personally, as I was leaving one long-term relationship and moving into another, and transitioning from a tough contract job into a government position. In 2011 I completed my first triathlon and was a running machine, signing up for almost every local race I could afford. But in 2013 my focus shifted, and for some reason I made it my goal to “have abs” in 2013. I’m glad I decided to run my first ultra instead. That’s a much more bad-ass goal.

In 2014, I actually achieved all the goals I set out for myself, which I was super proud of — especially getting published (and featured!) in a print magazine and qualifying for Boston. Last year I did okay, but as I explained in this post, I was having another “transition” year, as I like to call it — where a lot more stuff was going on than what was shared on this blog.

So for this coming year — considering all things that have happened this past year — here are my three goals for 2016. (more…)

My top 5 posts of 2015 and a personal year in review

top blog posts of 2015 from Run. Lift. Yoga.Happy almost Christmas, friends! I have a feeling this may be my only post this week due to general holiday busyness and a whole pile of freelance work I’d like to finish before taking a much needed break with my family and friends for the rest of the week. My holiday plans consist of Christmas eve at my parents’ house with my brother, sis-in-law and niece and nephew followed by more festivities at a family friends’ house; Christmas day with Matt and his parents; Boxing Day at my parents’ house with the rest of my family; and the day after Boxing Day at Matt’s parents’ house for another holiday shindig. Somewhere in there I need to do a few strength sessions and tempo runs, as well as a long recovery run on Sunday. I ran a decent 28 km this past weekend in anticipation of a recovery week this week, before I plan to build my marathon training mileage back up again next week.

Although I’ve been pretty good with fueling and eating lots of nutritious food throughout December to help keep my body healthy, I’ve definitely indulged and enjoyed myself at various get-togethers that have occurred almost twice a week since the end of November. I’ve tried to plan my long runs around late nights, but sometimes a post-too-many-glasses-of-vino-and-food-that-my-stomach-can’t-handle-the-night-before run is inevitable. I’m proud of myself, though, for not missing a single training run so far. I knew training for a marathon throughout winter and the holiday season would be tough, and although I love the holiday season, I’ll be happy when I can get back to a normal routine.

I plan to do a 2016 goals blog sometime before the New Year, but I want to do a bit more reflecting back on this past year before it comes to an end. I’ve already shared how I did with my 2015 goals, and below I’ll be sharing my most-read posts of 2015. But I can’t move forward without recognizing some of the challenges I faced this year and the incredible growth I’ve experienced that I had no idea was in the cards for me in 2015. (more…)

Year-end check in: Did I achieve my 2015 goals?

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

The start of my consistent yoga practice this January

In January of this year, I shared three goals I hoped to achieve by December 31, 2015: master some variation of the scorpion pose and hold it for 10 seconds, grow my client base at Koru Personal Training, and get a consistent meditation practice going.

Before I get into how I did this year, I’m kicking myself now for not adding GET INTO THE BOSTON MARATHON as one of my 2015 goals. Although I achieved my 2014 goal of qualifying in October last year, I missed getting in by 1 minute and 25 seconds. Not that it was in my control, but you better believe I’m going to be much more specific with my 2016 goals (more on those to come next week).

So how did I do this year?

(more…)

Gabrielle Bernstein’s 7 steps to happiness

“When we fulfill our function, which is to truly love ourselves and share love with others, then true happiness sets in.” On Monday, my best friend Janine and I attended a talk/book signing by Gabrielle Bernstein, a New York Times best-selling author, life coach, yogi and self-proclaimed Spirit Junkie. Yes, she’s slightly Tony Robbins-esque and dips her toes in the pseudo-profound at times, but I resonate with her general message of leading by example, going after what you want, understanding your values, and being compassionate, forgiving and empathetic. 

I picked up a copy of her book after reading and reviewing the book BODYPeace as part of a FitFluential campaign. Heather Waxman, one of the authors of the book, referenced Gabrielle (aka Gabby) a few times and I could tell much of the structure of the book was inspired by her work. I was going through a rough time earlier this year, and felt like I needed something. Something to help guide me through the situation I was in, something to help me better understand myself. I was doing online clinical therapy through a work program but it wasn’t giving me the help I needed, so I picked up a copy Gabby’s book May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness. I worked through the 40 days, mediating for short periods in the morning and evening and using her positive affirmations throughout the day. It truly did help keep my anxiety in check and my mood lifted, even when things got worse later on in the year. (more…)

Tales from the run: The curmudgeonly old bird man

runlightApparently I am an ignorant runner.

I know this because the curmudgeonly old man in the trucker hat who often walks my seaside running route with a squawking parrot on his poop-covered shoulder told me so the other day as I ran by during a tempo run.

And on my way back, he heard me coming and fully turned around with his arms extended in an attempt to stop me, his parrot wildly flapping its wings. “STOP! I need to talk to you!” he shouted as I flew by.

“Sorry, I need to see where I’m going! Safety first!”

He may have shouted a few profanities at me but I couldn’t quite hear him.

Stop during a tempo run? Sorry mister. I’m marathon training.

So what is curmudgeonly bird man so curmudgeonly about?

My headlamp. He doesn’t like my 80 lumen headlamp that barely lights the road in front of me because for that whole five seconds when I pass him by once or twice a week, it is “too bright in his eyes”. (more…)

Why you should handwrite (not type) your goals, dreams and aspirations

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believeWhen was the last time you wrote something down by hand?

Perhaps it was on Monday when you wrote out your to-do list in your work notebook. Or maybe it was Wednesday when you wrote on a Post-It note to remind yourself to pick up eggs. Or perhaps in was on Friday when you wrote a few pleasantries in a birthday card that you were planning to give your friend on the weekend.

Or maybe you just typed your to-do list in your lap top at work, set a reminder on your phone to get eggs and wished your friend a Happy Birthday on their Facebook wall.

Although my handwriting is barely legible and I misspell almost every word I write, I love writing things down. Pen to paper is my jam. I’m a visual learner, so there’s something about physically writing things out that helps me to remember it better than if I typed it out on a computer screen. (more…)

8 tips to help you have a healthy holiday season

8 tips for having a healthy holiday seasonWith less than a week until American Thanksgiving/Black Friday and Christmas not far behind that, you’re no doubt starting to experience that familiar holiday feeling: Stress.

Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Lego Star Wars kit for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon early (because you were trying to beat the rush) that’s been shipped to the wrong address; hitting up grocery store after grocery store trying to find baking supplies for those thoughtful homemade gifts you’re planning to make (apparently everyone had the same gift idea); and trying to find the time to whip up a different appetizer to bring to each of the seven holiday parties you’re invited to over the next several weeks… it’s exhausting.

And let’s not forget about the guilt you’ll feel after mindlessly inhaling all the delicious holiday baking available at said seven Christmas parties (and the leftovers coworkers bring into the office after the weekend) and not being able to get to the gym because you have baking to do, decorations to put up, and Christmas parades to attend. (more…)

{thinking out loud Thursday} Why I’m not baking holiday treats this year

'_Darkness cannot drive out darkness_ only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate_ only love can do that.'_Sorry, family and friends. This year I won’t be baking holiday treats to give as gifts like I normally do.

I won’t be spending $100 at the health food store to buy raw cacao and cocoa butter to make this delicious homemade chocolate. Nor will I drop cash on pretty packaging and organic ingredients for tasty vegan cookies.

It’s not because I don’t think you deserve the best, because you do. You deserve the best gluten-free/GMO-free/Paleo/vegan homemade treats I could possibly create. But not this year.

No, it’s not because I don’t believe in holiday treats, because I do. I love treats — I love eating treats and I love making treats to give to others. It’s my one of my most favourite holiday traditions.

But not this year.

Recent world events have left me feeling sadness, desperation and disgust at the state of humanity right now; feelings I’m sure a lot of you share. But at the same time, I feel grateful, hopeful and optimistic about our future. While evil exists, so to does love and light. And the best way to fight darkness is with light. (more…)

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