Tall woman and short man

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. —Tao Te Ching

In this hustle and bustle world we live in, we trick ourselves into thinking that we can only achieve success if we are working on and conquering BIG goals. Worst, sometimes we only set these BIG GOALS because we are competing with others to win, or doing what we feel we “should” be doing in order to move up, “make it,” etc.

A classic example every year in January is what? GETTING IN SHAPE! How many times has the new year rolled around to find us all racing to find the newest exercise or diet craze in order to FINALLY get to our ideal weight or body image? It’s a pattern that is hard to break because it may be coming from a place of good intention and some peer pressure, but in the end we are creating a pattern for ourselves of ultimately failing. And when we fail over and over again (in anything) what we are creating is shame. And, why wait until January to start getting in shape, right?

When I was a young girl I kept telling myself that “Good things come in small packages!” I was always (and still am!) the shortest in the group, and it wasn’t always easy. But, through affirmations and slowly building my self-confidence and realizing my value, it never truly became an issue for me. And, the benefit I reap, is my collection of fine stilettos!

In the same, how could this phrase—Good things come in small packages— apply to you and your ability to achieve your goals in a lasting way? The concept of Kaizen tells us that small and steady is much better and more effective.  In fact, through Kaizen we learn that the smallest possible step is the best one to begin with. Like “stupid small!” Need more reassurance? Here’s a great article by the creator of Dilbert who feels big goals are stupid!

In my daily practices I am dedicated to the Kaizen way. Not only do I believe in it, but it just feels better! So what does it look like? It can look like this…

  • Instead of running for one mile every day (especially if you never run!), try walking a mile first.

  • Instead of eating three servings of spinach, or broccoli a day (especially if you hate them!), try drinking 1 green juice a day (pick a green you like and mix it with yummy fruit!).

  • Instead of becoming a great communicator over night, start with one nerve-wrecking conversation!

Get me?

What happens over time is that you are able to accomplish these smaller goals more consistently and then build upon them. If you are walking up steps today, in a few days you actually may be able to run up them (as I have noticed for me). If you are able to take down a green drink a day, your body may start craving more greens or other veggies because you feel better. And, when you do better than you think with that one conversation, you’ll find yourself having many more!

I’m not knocking those individuals who may truly benefit from intense goal achievement, or intensity in general. Do what works for you and empowers you to feel successful and sustain your success. If that has not worked for you in the past, give this a shot and see how GREAT things can manifest through SMALL actions. And, mostly, don’t fool yourself in believing that these actions are not impactful. For one small drop can create magnificent waves.

Want to give this a fun, easy try?  Here’s a great place to start. K.I.S.S! (Keep It Simple Silly!)

Wishing you a life well led, Monique


Get Loving!

February 20, 2014

running man

As you’ve learned through my last few blog posts, we bring energy into our lives in many ways. The last one I’d like to touch upon this month is moving.

Through observing others, and myself, I can see that movement for some individuals is absolutely essential, so they do it often (usually daily and first thing in the morning). That is empowering, and I celebrate them for being able to make it a consistent priority. For others, moving is more challenging due to our busy lives, and it jumps to the bottom of our to-do list. Oftentimes, because we can’t move the way we ideally want to, we don’t do it all. This is not good, of course, and it becomes an excuse after a while. Are you nodding your head in agreement?

Although I have been a dancer all my life and that is my absolute favorite way to move, it’s not always possible for me to energize myself through dancing. But, I know that I need to get moving, literally, not only for my health, but for the incredible energy and agility that I want to result from it.

For the purpose of simplicity, and the idea of Kaizen (very small changes that bring about lasting change), I’d like to suggest a very simple two-step process to making a positive change toward prioritizing moving:

Change the “M” in MOVE to an “L” to create LOVE!

1. Yes! When we bring movement back up the list, even in very small ways, we are actually making an intentional choice to LOVE ourselves.

That’s step one. Here’s step two:

2. Ask yourself, “How will I choose to LOVE myself today for just 10 minutes?” Small steps, remember?!?!

For me, this looks like stretching in my office, or taking a brisk mindful walk on campus. When I really want to feel the LOVE, I will do about 30 squats, 30 sit-ups and some push ups.

What I’ve noticed for myself is when I can make the time for 10 minutes of movement, I want more of it! In fact, just recently I purchased a video system where you exercise for just 25 minutes a day. I recall my mind chatter telling me, “Really, Monique, can’t you make yourself a priority for just 25 minutes a day?” I enlisted my husband and son to join me (Can you say accountability partners?!?!), and we are all working hard together and loving it! What I’ve also noticed is that we (including my 9-year-old daughter) are all craving a more active lifestyle because of it.

It all started with 10 minutes of LOVE for myself!

If you’re not moving much, I’d LOVE for you to try my simple 2-step technique and report back what changes you’re noticing (mind, body & spirit ones!).

Sharing is caring, and MOVING is LOVING!

It’s your life. Lead it Well.

Namaste, Monique