Blog

 

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

Training My Mind

November 12, 2018

Goals   habits   Health   lifestyle   perspective   Reflection  

I was reading this post on Leo Babauta's site zenhabits.net and this part really resonated with me:

If you normally have to have your comforts (coffee, sugary foods, soda, TV, alcohol, pot, cigarettes), you’ll spend a lot of money on them, and in many cases worsen your health and your bank account. You might avoid going places where you can’t get these things, and spend a lot of energy to make sure you could have them every day. But what if you trained your mind to not rely on them for comfort and relaxation? You could slowly get the mind used to not needing these, one at a time, so that it would be free.

Creature comforts? Guilty as charged. It got me thinking about where I have trained my mind to do the things I don't want, instead of sitting with the feeling. Like, how if I am feeling anxious, I will drive way out of my way to spend money on that chai latte when I could have made a tea at home. Or how I know that I could better use my time in the evenings, but I feel tired and put on Netflix instead. Or how just now, I went and browsed other blogs instead of sitting down to write my own. Luckily that last one actually helped inspire me to write, but could have easily been a rabbit hole of distractions.

So for the rest of this week (small doses), my target is to do one task in the evening to better set myself up for the next day (ex. pack a healthy lunch, lay my clothes out for the next day, put the dishes away). Once I have completed the behaviour, I will have some of my favourite dark chocolate (reward).

I invite you to pick one thing for yourself to focus on!

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

Oh how I love Fall, although it was fairly short lived here in Calgary (hello snow!). The change of season reminds me that everything is temporary and helps me to unwind from the excitement and all the activities of summer. It's mother nature's permission slip to get into my sweatpants and take more baths. Yes please. September was a jamming month and flew by. Here's how my commitments held up!

No new clothing purchased in 2018 - I managed to get through another month without purchasing any new clothing for myself! I returned to my other job this week and the pull to get new "office" clothes is real. My birthday is coming up soon as well and my friends and family know I haven't been buying clothes, so they are all offering to take me shopping or get me a gift card for some clothes, and I am curious to see how it goes. Now that I am on this minimalist journey, I'm much more careful about what items I bring in to my life, so the rule for the next month (and perhaps the rest of the year) will be: one new item in, 5 old things out!

Live debt-free - Still on a great path with this. As I return to work I'm looking forward to getting a new budget together to keep myself in check.

Plan ahead for family time - Let me remind you of all the things we did in September:

  • Labour Day weekend away with friends
  • A charity softball tournament for the Brandon Flock Foundation
  • Family visited from Montreal
  • Ran Beat Beethoven 8k in 44mins!
  • Attended Babes Who Brunch event and it was great
  • Attended lululemon's Autumn Affair dinner - so fun!
  • Ran a leg of the Lewiston Ultra Marathon in support of The Love for Lewiston Foundation and completed my 12km leg of trail running in about 1:15 and spent the weekend with some of my best gals

Phew! October is pretty low-key with the transition to childcare etc. So our family time will mostly be spent together on the weekends and also celebrating Thanksgiving and some birthdays this month. We are also headed to Vancouver for an adult-only weekend this month! Stay tuned for how it goes!

Do one crossword and read for 10 minutes every night - I have kept up my crosswords, but I did not read as much in the back half of September. I got excited and bought a bunch of books all at once and now I am having a hard time choosing which one to read. Too many options! I am committed to picking one and sticking to it for October.

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo Syd

Hellooooo Fall! I went away for the long weekend and returned to find fall had arrived in Calgary. Leaves changing, darker and chillier mornings, and a sense of transition in the air. I really love autumn time and find comfort in all the coziness it brings. But enough about the upcoming months, lets take stock of how August went for my 2018 commitments.

No new clothing purchased in 2018 - Still #killingit.

Live debt-free - Damn, it's incredible the mindfulness and discipline this is taking to break old habits that have caused unnecessary over-spending in the past. I am still on the minimalist journey, and recently read Slow by Brooke McAlary and am reflecting more and more on what my behaviours are rooted in (ie. why I do what I do, without really thinking). I have had some great ah-ha moments about how and where I spend my money and am working on being more intentional about it.

On The Minimalists Podcast, one of the guys said something to the effect of "I was making good money. I was spending even better money. I was giving the appearance of wealth, but was actually broke." - and it really hit home with me. We live in a world where credit (a.k.a. debt) is so available to us that we can very easily get caught up in over-extending ourselves. I have put myself in dicey financial positions a few times and it really didn't take long to get there. I say this, not to scare anyone, but to remind myself that my values are rooted in connection and relationships, and having lots of things is really not that important to the quality of my life. I am far from perfect, and am still currently chipping away at some debt, but I have a plan and am working that plan every day. I'll call that a win.

Plan ahead for family time - We planned well in advance for holidays in August and it made it so much more enjoyable and relaxing. Not only did we get to enjoy the time away together, but we also got to experience the excitement of looking forward to our plans. Double whammy.

September's dance card is already full with tons of activities as a family, with friends, and some things just for me (last month of maternity leave!). Here are a few of the things we will be up to:

Do one crossword and read for 10 minutes every night - Still totally nerding out with my crossword puzzles and books. I definitely did watch some Netflix in bed a few of the nights we were on vacation and I regret nothing. In just the past month I have also become much better at noticing how often and how long I spend doing mindless things on my phone, and screen time is decreasing drastically and is being replaced with more presence and quality time with the people I love.

All in all, I would say August has been great for sticking with my commitments. I am definitely in need of a Vision and Goals refresh and will be putting something together for new moms in the coming weeks so stay tuned for that! Here's to a great September!

xo Syd

Tata May! This past month has been all about family time. We spent a week in Croatia with family, cycling coastal country roads, eating delicious food, drinking all the wine and enjoying the beautiful country. Upon return to the city the weather had really turned, we had a bunch of sunny days, and yet I felt like something was missing. 

In April's check-in, I shared that I was planning on reeling it in on all the "activities" I was getting into and I gotta admit, I may have swung the pendulum too far and found myself a bit bored and had moments of feeling really lonely and isolated. In my attempt to calm down my schedule and do more things for myself, I turtled socially and it's been a struggle some days.

On the bright side, as I now look forward to the summer months, I feel like there is so much I want to do with my baby and hubby (before I return to my day job) and not enough time to do it all. So I'm taking a bold step and am not going to be running any registered training sessions in July and August. This choice did not come easily, as I have a fear of letting people down, and I really enjoy every training session I lead and it's been so good to continue to have something outside of parenting. Not that I need an excuse to take a break, but the time I have on maternity leave is limited and moving so fast! I'm looking forward to stepping away for a couple months, doing some "behind the scenes" creative work, figuring out how to adjust to our new life when I go back to work etc.

Rest assured, you will still have opportunities to train with me during this time. I will be hosting some drop-in classes - both outdoor bootcamps and some at OPEX (dates TBD) - and I also plan on doing some events throughout the summer and wheels are in motion for the MAVEN mountain retreat in September (stay tuned!). You can also drop-in on Tuesday's at 7pm from now until June 26th. As for now, let's look at how I did for commitments in May.

No new clothing purchased in 2018 - This month was a challenge with the weather changing and all kinds of beautiful summer apparel staring at me from the windows of stores. But I am proud to say, I made it through and stuck to it!

Live debt-free - Still getting over the tax season, but making progress. 

Plan ahead for family time - Between our Croatia trip and a bunch of other social commitments we had in May, I'd say we did very well with planning for time together and hanging out as a family. June already has a road trip on the calendar, and we are planning on some camping as well!

Meditate for five minutes daily - Once again, I did no stay true to this commitment in May #regression. I didn't share with my husband that this was a thing I wanted to do, and I feel like he would help me stay accountable to is. So in June, I am going to get him to remind me to take 5 minutes before bed to meditate.

Let's hit the mid-year point with some momentum! Hey there June, I'm ready for ya!

xo Syd

Lately I have been interested in learning more about the concept of minimalism. I've been listening to The Minimalists Podcast and really taking a look at what is truly important to me.

In conversations with my hubby, I have asked questions like: "If the slate were wiped totally clean, if we owned nothing, and had no ties (job, location, etc.), what would we choose?" It's a question that is difficult to answer, especially when you are 30-something and own a home in the city you grew up in, have a job you enjoy, run your own business whose clients are from a specific location...and the list goes on. Trying to think about choice from the lens of not having any roots is challenging.

Over the last 2-3 years, I have been downsizing in some really tangible ways like giving away things we don't need or use. It's become pretty easy for me to let go of material possessions, curb the urge to buy more, and live with less. For example, I just got back from a 10-day trip to Croatia with our baby and we didn't check any bags!

But what about the intangible excess and waste? The conversation about social media and it's place in my life has gone in all different directions, and my addiction to my phone is for real. And what about my TV consumption? I am a part of the "Netflix and chill" generation and admit I watch TV every night before bed.

This Minimalists Podcast introduced me to the concept of "pacifiers", the things we use to distract, avoid, numb and kill time. Becoming more aware of my own pacifiers hasn't necessarily impacted my behaviour in major ways. I'm even afraid to get that one app that tells you how much time you spend on your phone because I would probably be sick about the facts it would present. Whatever your relationship is to screens, I know what's true for me is that my screen time is more than I would like, and it's cutting in to time for fully living my life in the ways I want to.

So my spring cleaning project is focused on cleaning up how I spend my time. Less time on social media and watching TV are at the top of my list. I'm still working through what this will look like, but I'll be sure to report back as I move through this process. The overall aim is this: more creation, less consumption.

Onward,

xo Syd 

Already four months in to 2018 and spring has finally sprung in Calgary! New month means a little look back on April. Last month honestly felt a little stagnant. We have found a great routine as a family, and yet I have had moments of boredom and complacency and have had to check myself and try to just enjoy the downtime. How effed up is it that most of us want "more time off" and then we get it and we don't know what to do with ourselves!? 

I spent a lot of time investigating my "idle hands syndrome" this past month. Asking myself why I couldn't just sit still (ahem, for 5 simple minutes), or not check my phone, and even started to question why I was going to some of the workout classes that I had been attending. As a new mom, you get a lot of tips on places to go and activities to do with your little one, so I would sign us up, never really thinking about whether or not I was really that interested in the thing. So for May, I have decided to reel it in on the number of things in my calendar each week and give some thought to how I truly want to spend my time. I'll let you know how it goes. For now, let's take a look at how well I kept my word in April.

No new clothing purchased in 2018 - This one is getting so easy to stay committed to! I have really accepted that the clothes I have right now are all I need and have a new appreciation for them. My husband, however, asked me if I have simply moved my spending habit from myself to our kid and the answer is yes, absolutely. There have been some occasions where I have definitely made an impulse purchase for our son and regretted it later. But I will say that I am very aware of what I do purchase and more often than not, I don't buy what we don't need. I am learning and working on it, and I feel good about sticking to my commitment for no new clothing for myself.

Live debt-free - Tax season is a real kick in the pants. Every year, I think I have put enough aside for the tax man and somehow I end up having to pay more than I thought. This year caused me to go into a bit of debt in order to pay taxes, so I am going to have to flex, and this commitment is going to be changed to: "I put money towards my tax debt every month." 

Plan ahead for family time - Killing it in this department! In April, we spent a long weekend in Montreal visiting family and spent another weekend away with friends, and we have our son in swimming lessons every Saturday which keeps family time on the schedule for the next couple months.

Meditate for five minutes daily - So I big time failed at my new commitment of meditating for five minutes daily. I have no excuse, I just absolutely let it fall off. I am human after all! I did meditate for five minutes about 7 times this month, so that's at least better than any other month in my life #progress. I also discovered a new mediation app that I will be trying out for May. Let's try this again!

I welcome May with open arms!

xo Syd

Each holiday season in December, my husband and I take time to reflect on the previous year to appreciate and celebrate all the milestones, challenges, and achievements.

In 2017 my word for the year was "abundance" and boy did we have a lot of that in the last year. There was also a lot of newness in 2017, which meant lots of transition periods and adjusting to how we spent our time and having new responsibilities. It also made for an abundance of lessons learned and required times of reflection throughout.

Here are some of the major events and milestones I am celebrating and appreciating for 2017: 

  • I set out the intention to get back into Learning and Development work and landed a new job 3 weeks in to the year.
  • I got pregnant (after a lot of trying), grew a baby, and gave brith to a healthy baby boy - this alone brought so much generosity, support and love into our lives this year!
  • I impacted over 100 women through fitness and goal-setting.
  • I read more books than the last 4 years combined (thank you Novel Grapes)
  • I bought my first new car.
  • I travelled less and enjoyed my home more (nesting is for real).
  • I collaborated with many of my incredible peers to create some impactful events (a speaker series, special classes and workshops).
  • I donated money and time to more important causes and helped raise funds for several charities and other individuals.
  • I was of service to my closest inner circle and my community in new and deeper ways through showing up in support and having soul-baring, truly meaningful conversations.

In taking time to look back, I am really proud of what I created this year. I can say with certainty that this year was filled with real growth through life experiences - not through formal learning which is my normal go-to strategy for having "tangible" growth.

Overall, I learned that the best life lessons don't come from a book, and it's more important to leap, take action, experience, keep moving and use the tools in your toolkit. Rather than reading more self development books, and surmising about the theories within them (although I love that too!), this year I really dove in and lived the work in a major way, which is perhaps what I am most proud of.

In 2017, what experiences shaped your life? What intentions did you set out with and honour? What felt really good? What are the moments of joy that stand out? What challenges did you overcome? What are you most proud of?

Take the time, write it down, tell someone. Feel the accomplishment of this year in your life. Acknowledge it as a stone on the path of your journey. Know that it is leading somewhere. Your legacy is happening right now, always.

Onward into 2018!

xo Syd