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It's March already! I feel like February flew by and was a month of routine and lots of time spent at home, which I did not mind at all. Although we would have loved to spend more time outside last month, it was a nice cozy time to play with my little one, cook, and host friends at our new home. Here's how it went with my 2019 commitments in February:
  • One weight training session per week in February (anything above that is gravy!) - much better this month! I really committed to taking workout gear to my office so that I could get a 30-45 minute workout in on my lunch break. I even had a couple weeks where I did 2 weight workouts!
  • Get outside with the fam on Saturdays - Most Saturdays we geared up and at least went out for a short walk. We were in the mountains for a weekend with friends which helped. Looking forward to the rising temps to get to out more in March!
  • Post 1 video per week - This is still a tough one for me and after a coaching call with my mentor, Ally Mazerolle, I decided to practice filming with no agenda for posting it anywhere, or for anyone seeing it. The pressure I put on myself to make it great or something that adds value paralyzes me and I don't end up doing it at all. So I have been practicing and filming myself more casually, getting thoughts out, kind of like a video journal, and it's been cathartic and is helping build confidence for when I do want to put something out for you all that is a valuable piece of knowledge or discussion! For now, no video posting, just practice, practice, practice!
  • Bring lunch to work Tues-Thurs - Killing it :)

I also wanted to share that I have been working on practicing TRUST. I have posted about this a few times on my Instagram feed, and I cannot stress it enough how powerful it has been to drop into trusting as the antidote for anxiety or pressure that I have been putting on myself. I am a person who wants to do everything like, RIGHT NOW, and I have a hard time not rushing. I am trusting that the things I can't control that are "slowing" things down are hinting that maybe I need to take pause and move through things with a bit more intention. So I'm trusting a slower pace (scary for me), and let's see how it plays out.

Onward,

xo Syd

You may be wondering why I haven't written or posted too much about my own fitness for a while. To be honest, it's because I haven't really had that much of a routine lately.

Last year I was so focused on my family, financial, and lifestyle goals that my health and fitness goals took a bit of a back seat. It has taken time for me to shake the shame I was feeling with not training as much and to recognize that life has different seasons.

2018's focus areas were important and will continue to be in 2019 and beyond. My word for 2019 is embodiment. For me, this means fully living through my values and beliefs and taking great care to stay true to myself. It means bringing back some things that are really important to me that I had let slip, and leading by example. It means diving in to doing things I have been saying I want to do for years. It means practicing what I preach.

My monthly commitment check-ins have served to keep me accountable and made the larger goals they support much more manageable. This year, I'm bringing fitness and nutrition back to the centre of my goals and look forward to sharing more with you along the way. Here are some of the commitments I am making to support my goals in 2019:

  • One weight training session per week in January (anything above that is gravy!)
  • Get outside with the fam on Saturdays
  • Post 1 video per week
  • Bring lunch to work Tues-Thurs

I'm excited for all that 2019 has in store and can't wait to share some big news with you about my next project!

Make moves,

xo Syd

Hello 2019! December can tend to be a whirlwind month that has lots of potential for throwing us off our game. More social engagements, less routine, treats galore - it can be a trying time to stay true to yourself.

I'm happy to say that because of the commitments I made (and stuck to) earlier in the year, I lad a strong foundation for navigating the month of December without feeling too overwhelmed or doing things that were in conflict with my own belief system. Here's how it went with my 2018 commitments in December:

No new clothing purchased in 2018 - I am proud to say I made it through the entire year without spending any money on new clothes for myself! Now that we are in a new year, I still feel so used to not shopping that I don't feel compelled to run out and buy something, which is an incredible thing for a girl who used to really enjoy it! This one was such a powerful commitment that I'm working on something for 2019 around this same thing, stay tuned.

Live debt-free - Yeesh it's a challenge to not go crazy with spending on gifts during the holidays! Not because I wanted to buy a ton of gifts, but because I felt somewhat obligated to do so. To help mitigate this pull, we got very intentional leading into the holidays and set up secret Santa's at all of our family gift exchanges which really helped to stay within budget and spend less time shopping and more time together.

Plan ahead for family time - We were well planned in December with a long weekend away just the three of us before getting into the very full calendar we had for our trip to Montreal for the holidays. My "bucket list" helped me focus on doing fun things with my family throughout too!

Do one crossword and read for 10 minutes every night - Did not stick with this one very well in December, however I did finish an entire book in December (one of my "bucket list" items).

This past year has been one filled with learning new perspective, challenging status quo, and making big bold steps to lay a strong foundation for our lives moving forward. I feel armed with a real sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of who I am heading in to 2019. It's going to be a big year!

Thank you so much for reading my words, showing up, and supporting me through this work. I am humbled and grateful to have the opportunities I do.

Much love,

Sydney

You know when you book a vacation or a trip, the farther in advance you book it, the more you get to experience the excitement of taking that trip? This is how I feel about taking the time to do this little exercise!

Around this time last year, I wrote my first Christmas Vacation "Bucket List". I found it was a great way to put fun with my family and friends at the centre of my holidays and I made more of an effort to put those things on the calendar and make the time to do them.

I have decided to make this an annual tradition and encourage you to do the same! This year, we are headed to Montreal so there's all kinds of opportunity for different activities and people to spend our time with. Some of these items are the same as last year since they are important to me and some I could only do while in La Belle Province! Here's what I want to get up to:

  • At least one trip to the mountains
  • REAL Montreal bagels
  • Sing/dance to holiday carols with Coop
  • Make out with the hubs on NYE 
  • Volunteer my time with a charity
  • Take a family photo in our PJs on Christmas day
  • Snow angels!
  • Wine and giggles with my best girls from University days
  • Spend an afternoon at a Nordic spa
  • Take in the view from the mountain in Montreal
  • Feed Cooper his first poutine
  • Play cards with family
  • Complete a puzzle (total puzzle nerd during the holidays)
  • Read an entire book

I am so looking forward to these experiences with my loved ones. I hope you all have an incredible holiday season as well!

HAPPY  HOLIDAYS!

xo Syd

 

 

Where did that shoulder month of November go?! I didn't have much on the calendar last month and it was really nice to enjoy the mountains, our city, and our home.

I'm not sure if it was being off of social media (for the most part) in November that had it feel much more mellow, but it was a relaxing time either way. I wrote a lot more this month - 10 blogs in 10 days, in fact - and it really helped quiet my mind and drop into myself this month.

These monthly check-ins were mostly intended to keep me honest and accountable to my commitments, and I realize now they have also been so key in recognizing how much one can grow from month to month. And it's really incredible what growth you can squeeze into a year. Here's how it's going with my 2018 commitments!

No new clothing purchased in 2018 - Sticking so hard to this one and all those bags of clothes I had in my house last month are now officially gone to consignment! 

Live debt-free - November might be the most challenging month for spending with all the hoopla around Black Friday sales and holiday gift shopping. I am proud to say I resisted getting sucked into over-spending. A great strategy we have used for curbing excessive gift buying is doing a secret Santa exchange with our families. One gift, with a spending limit that is comfortable for everyone, makes it easy to stay within a budget and I find it makes the one gift you get far more intentional and special.

Plan ahead for family time - Not only are we headed to Montreal for the holidays, we also have another long weekend on the books for December to hang out as a family before the full schedules of the holidays ramp up. #winning

Do one crossword and read for 10 minutes every night - Whoa did reading fall off last month! I planned to read Brene Brown's new book and ordered it online, and the Canada Post strike totally pushed that deadline back! I just got the book in my hands this week and I'm excited to get into it this month.

We are in the last month of 2018 and it's become a yearly practice of mine to do both a holiday bucket list and an annual personal restrospective. I already have my list started for experiences I want to have this holiday break! These monthly check-ins also help to look back on the year and note my accomplishments and the challenges and will help set the stage for the following year. I'm looking forward to re-reading them when I sit down to write my 2018 retrospective!

I wish you an incredible last month of the year!

xo Syd

With all the holiday and Black Friday ads we are being inundated with this time of year, it struck me the impact and mental space it can take up. The wordplay and marketing tactics are so good at convincing you how much you're saving on your purchases, when in reality, if you are buying anything you are spending. The truth is, you'd be saving 100% if you didn't buy the item at all.

This is likely the first holiday season I will not purchasing any clothing for myself in my adult life. "I spend no money on new clothing for myself in 2018" is one of the commitments I made and have stuck to this year. At first, all the hype around Black Friday had me feeling a little left out. Until I started thinking about the cost of conforming to this season of historically mindless spending on my part.

Many times throughout the year I have been faced with thoughts of how that new cute sweater might make me feel good (temporarily), or how it might even improve the way others perceive me. I have online shopped, added items to my cart, fantasized about how amazing it would be to own them all, and then logged off.

That friction that I have created for myself has been an incredible way for me to recognize my thought patterns and exercise my will. And guess what? There hasn't been a single negative impact on my life. I'm still me, and no one has even noticed that I don't have the newest, most trendy things. I have actually felt less pressure to look a certain way because I committed to this year of not buying new clothes.

I am not against having new clothes, spending or fashion, in fact, in the past, I saw my clothing as a way of self-expressing. I enjoy finding pieces that are comfortable, fit well, and represent a bit of my personality and style. It's when I cross over from hand-selecting things because I find value in them, to falling into buying something trendy because it's the latest hot thing. Often buying that thing to fit in.

What I have realized is fitting in is expensive. Not only in money, but in the far more important resources of time and energy. The time we waste window shopping or browsing a store, and the mental energy we waste on even being concerned with the importance of having the newest cool thing at all.

Additionally, there is the internal energy we expend trying to be like everyone else, instead of bringing our uniqueness to the forefront. I have used shopping and material things as an example here, but my point extends far beyond this. It is a huge expense to not be true to yourself, in all facets of your life.

#themavenlife is all about living with intention and purpose and I know that my approach to the holidays will be shaped by this attitude. I think it's important to give thought and consideration to how we spend our precious resources, this time of year, and always.

xo Syd

 

I've been off social media now for 15 days and it's been an interesting experiment. And the itch is real.

I don't believe I was reliant on social media, but I also didn't realize how unconsciously (and frequently) I was reaching for my phone to check my Instagram.

Here are some of the things I have noticed so far:

  • I wanted to know how many people liked or commented on my post about going on a social media detox (ironic, right?)
  • I have worried that if I don't post consistently my business would suffer - this is a potential risk since I did discover that a lot of people got their information on my class times and offerings exclusively through social media
  • I realized I was using it to avoid conversation and connection - for example, if I didn't want to make small talk in a public setting, I would pull out my phone and scroll
  • I wanted to creep people - I discovered this when I recognized someone in a coffee shop and wanted to find out if they were who I thought they were (when I really didn't have a reason or need to know)
  • I have missed knowing what my friends are up to - and I also realized I can always give them a call or send them a text (the "old fashioned way") and it ends up being a much more fulfilling experience
  • It has freed up time for me to focus on other things for MAVEN - new training ideas, writing more blogs etc.
  • It has freed up more time for connecting and being present with my family
  • Perhaps the most eye-opening thing: I very quickly started to waste time on other apps - I have been checking my email way more, scrolling through old photos, checking my bank account multiple times a day etc. Maybe the habits I want to change aren't entirely about social media, but rather about an addiction to my devices?

I may just hop back on social media ahead of my 30-day timeline so that I can communicate important information to my community. And I will be armed with more intentionality around my use of social media. I will likely shift this "Social Media Detox" to creating some boundaries with my phone! Stay tuned!

Always learning.

xo Syd 

 

What you do proves what you believe - Simon Sinek

I believe in YOU.

The you who knows you have unique gifts you want to share with the world.

The you who wants to use your time here to make a positive impact.

The you who knows you have boundless potential and will do the work to max it out.

The you who is open to learning and growing, forever.

The you who knows the power of choice and exercises it.

The you who wants to create a full life, on your own terms.

The you who wants to experience the magic of life.

I believe in ME.

The me who provides you with tools to identify your unique gifts and help make a plan for you to use them in the world.

The me who knows your time is precious and won't waste it.

The me who holds you capable of doing the things I know you can.

The me who is open to learning and growing alongside you, forever.

The me who can set an example of the power of choice.

The me who can give you tools and coaching to help you create a full life, on your own terms.

The me who creates magical experiences for us.

Each time you bring yourself to one of my offerings, you are investing in yourself, and you are investing in me getting to realize my own goals. So thank YOU.

I believe in us working together to make moves in this life.

xo Syd

I was recently at yoga in plank pose and the instructor said “lift your chin and your gaze to look forward just past your hands so it’s not so dire”. It really resonated with me.

When we are defeated, we hang our heads, in pain, or in shame. Our shoulders slump, our throats become closed off, and we inhibit our ability to speak and verbalize, and things can feel pretty dire. When we are proud and energized, we feel light. Our chins lift, we can speak clearly and use our voice effectively.

Some of the trappings of everyday life even lend to us taking this defeated shape. We sit at desks with our shoulders rounded forward. We stare into our phones with our heads down. Perhaps you’re sitting this way as you read this now. 

After a recent conversation with my coach Jacki Carr about using my voice, she sent me this excerpt: 

“…so what blocks us from expressing our truth, our outrage, our creativity, or our needs? What makes us close down the throat, bottling up the emotions, or annihilate our ideas before they can make it out of our mouth? What makes us hide behind silence?

Shame at the core, fear for one’s safety, or simply being out of touch with the core self make us unable to bring the inside of ourselves out to meet the world.”

- Anodea Judith, Eastern Body, Western Mind

Whoa: "out of touch with the core self" really hits home for me. For a few years, I felt like I wasn’t being my full self. I had a few experiences that left me disheartened and rocked my confidence and didn't notice how much it was impacting how I was showing up. During this time, I still created a lot of opportunities for me to use my voice and yet I never fully stepped up. I often chickened out of saying the bold things that rang true for me. What if they don't like what I have to say? 

Even from a young age, I never really felt a deep sense of self. I have been known to be adaptable, perhaps at my own expense. A skillful chameleon. I get choked up easily. When I feel shame, I get a lump in my throat and shut down. My communication isn't clear and I am not able to express myself clearly. So it didn't surprise me when I found actual lump in my throat in 2016. Call it "woo-woo", but here's what I believe: your body manifests what your mind and spirit are experiencing.

It turns out I had a golf ball-sized growth on my thyroid gland that had been growing for years. Thankfully it was benign and I had it removed this past summer.

Now that the actual physical block has been removed, I feel more empowered than ever to use my voice to speak what's true for me. Part of my recovery from surgery involves massaging my scar, lifting my chin high and proud to stretch through the front of my neck to prevent any further tightness. With the new sensation from my incision, I have a constant reminder to lift my chin and stand proud. It's a simple but effective way to, shift perspective, become present and remember to use my voice.

Right now, wherever you are, lift your chin and your gaze, feel the space it opens up. Breathe a little deeper, take a look around you, and feel your energy and your mood shift. See, it's not so dire.

xo Syd

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and Halloween festivities! October was a month of transition for us, myself back to work, our kid starting daycare, a couple birthdays to celebrate. It was a great time to focus on our family and our home and do some more low-key activities. Here's how it went with my 2018 commitments!

No new clothing purchased in 2018 - Still killing it on this front, and now that I have been looking at my clothing through the lens of what I actually use, I now have a couple piles of clothes to sell or donate, and I'm having trouble pulling the trigger on getting them out of my house! The "one new item in, 5 old things out" rule has now just caused me to have bags of gently used clothes that I want to sell but can't be bothered to do the work to sell them, and I think they are too nice to just give away. I know I am not alone in this thought process and I also know that if the goal is to get these items out of my life - not make money back on them - then I should just donate them! The truth is it can be challenging to let go. The happy medium for me is to take these items to a consignment store. I'll make a little bit of money back, and what they don't sell will get donated, and above all, they won't be taking up space in our home! I'm giving myself until November 15th to do so. #byefelicia

Live debt-free - Starting to hit my stride and build better habits with my spending and saving. I had been hesitating on pulling the trigger to close a line of credit I had available to me, and I finally did and it feels so good! I kept it "in case of emergency" but really I would rather have enough in my savings and not go into debt in the event of an unexpected expense. And truly, having the option to overspend and use that line of credit is a dangerous place for me! So, she gone.

Plan ahead for family time - October was full of celebrations! Our baby turned 1, so we had family visit and threw a little party and got to spend time with family and friends. Sean and I also took our first weekend away without our son and it was so fun! Our visit to Vancouver with my best friends was awesome. We walked a ton, went to a few workout classes, hit up the beach, ate all the food, went to a comedy show, stayed out way past our bed time, and had many belly laughs. November already has some date night evenings planned and perhaps a family weekend or two in the mountains!

Do one crossword and read for 10 minutes every night - I have been dedicated to my crosswords and love winding down before bed this way. Totally dropped the ball on reading just one book this month, so I am back on the Novel Grapes Book Club train, and we will be reading Brene Brown's new book in November!

Only two more months left in 2018! I have to say, this monthly exercise of reflecting has made the year feel more full, has made me realize how much fun stuff we get to do, and has made me more focused on spending my time more intentionally. I highly recommend it!

Happy November!

xo Syd