Being Content: Finding Happiness Right Now

Happy Monday, loves!

I hope you all had the most fantastic weekend. We did, and I loved every second of it! I know I say it all the time, but we are so fortunate to have had the same amazing friends in our lives since long before any of us had kids. We all got married around the same time, we all had our babies together. We’ve been to every one of the other’s baby showers, we’ve spent a least a day together every week for more than a decade, and we are family.

How does it get better than that? How does it get better than having your very own amazing family and then having this amazing family you’ve created for yourself? You have all these memories. You travel and vacation together. You raise your kids together. You spend so much time at one another’s houses you know them and feel as comfortable in them as you do your own.

Family is what life is all about, whether you are born into them or you make them yourself. And I love that.

It also has a little bit of something to do with today’s post, which is all about being content. If you know me, you know I have my off days and a bad attitude and all the uglies sometimes. But you also know that I lay my head down at night with a full heart and a sense of peace that I don’t take for granted. You know that saying, “I remember the days when I prayed so hard for everything I have now?”

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I do.

I remember those days.

And I know that it’s like to want more. I’m always looking to expand my business, to grow more, to have more, to do more, to give back more, to experience more, to be more. And there’s not a damn thing wrong with wanting more.

But, if you know me, you know that I know that I’m content. Like, really, truly, happily content. What I have is everything I’ve ever wanted. I wasn’t always. There was a time when I was younger when I thought I needed more of everything to be content. More money. A bigger house. A more expensive car, another expensive bag, more expensive shoes.

And don’t get me wrong – I love those things.

But they don’t make me happy. I mean, okay, they do make me happy, but they don’t make me content and fulfilled. They bring me temporary joy (like every single time I put them on) but they don’t make me content.

What makes me content can’t be measured in terms of more.

It’s babies who want to be cuddled. Sweet little faces who love me to the moon and back. A handsome man who has loved me since I was 18 years old and has seen me at my very best, my very worst, my most vulnerable, and my ugliest, and somehow decides every single day to love me even more than he did the day before, and to show it in everything he does. It’s people to surround myself with who would do anything for me, who love me, who make fun of me, who make me feel like I’m home when I’m with them.

Learning to Find Content In Your Life

Here’s the thing – once you learn to find it, it’s so easy to keep it.

  • Don’t compare
  • Don’t wish
  • Don’t complain
  • Focus on what is important

 

Comparison is the thief of joy. If you spend your entire life comparing what you have/are/look like/do/go/whatever to what other people have, you’ll never be happy. Additionally, what makes other people happy probably won’t make you happy and vice versa.

Don’t wish. If you want something you don’t have, make it a reality by creating a goal and working for it. Don’t wish for it. Do it. Make it happen. It’s okay to want more if you’re willing to work for it and make it happen. It’s not okay to sit back and wish your life away.

Don’t complain. I mean, it’s okay to complain that Starbucks once again took 2746938473 minutes to make your latte, but then let it go and enjoy the deliciousness of it and remember that without all those minutes, you wouldn’t have this amazingness in your hand.

Focus on what’s important. People. People are important. Things are not. They’re fun, but they’re not important.

 

Really, and honestly, the best way to find content in your life is to focus on what is good in your life. It’s not to sit back and wish for more. It’s getting to work to make your life what you want and then sitting back and enjoying it every step of the way. If I complained about all the things that go wrong in my life, I’d waste a lot of my time being very unhappy. Instead, when life throws me a curve ball, I take a moment to panic, and then I remind myself that every single thing I ever thought was a bad thing in my life somehow turned into the best thing that ever happened to me.

Every lesson in life is just that – a lesson. You learn form it. You grow from it, and you change from it. You let it hurt, you let it get to you for a minute, but you stop yourself and learn to be content with it. You cannot change it, but you can use it to change you for the better. Everything that happens in your life is for a reason, and that reason is to help you grow. Put your faith first and you will always remember that there is something happening because you need to learn from it. You need to grow and change and evolve, and that shit doesn’t happen inside your comfort zone.

That’s how you find content in your life. You smile when you feel happy. You walk away when you need a moment, and you love what you have while you work for more. It’s easier than you think, and I certainly hope that even just one person reads this and realizes that life is really, really good.

6 Simple Habits that Make Every Morning Better

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My magic number is 5.

5 people live with me whom I love more than anyone in the world.

5 is the number of minutes I always white lie about when I’m getting ready/on my way/being rushed.

5 is the number of times I have to repeat myself before anyone even attempts to half listen to me.

5 is the number of the month in which I became engaged to and married my love.

5 is the number of times prior to leaving the house in the morning I ask my husband why we even had kids in the first place.

5 am is the time I wake up.

5 is my magic number.

What can I say? I’m a morning person. I like to get up at 5 (30….45….) for about a million reasons. I’ve become such a morning person since having kids. I like the peace and quiet and the beauty of early morning. We have this amazing back deck that spans almost the entire length of our house, and it just so happens to face the sunrise. I love to sit out there and watch the sky change colors over the trees.

I like the quiet. I like the me time. I like that everyone else is still asleep and I feel like I’m getting some time to myself (something that’s so underrated when you’re a mom of four). I really just like starting my day on a calm and peaceful manner. I don’t like starting my day with the kids.

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Does that make me a bad mom?

You know what? I don’t even care.

My day sucks when the kids get up before me. This mama needs coffee, quiet, and peace or I’m less mom of the year and more “She could be on the 5 o’clock news,” and that’s not my style. There’s just nothing peaceful about rolling out of bed to four kids asking for breakfast (who the hell even eats within 2 seconds of waking up??), asking for glasses of water or milk, asking me to get something down for them to wear, and I seriously hate cold coffee.

My whole day is thrown completely off if I don’t get to start it on my terms, which is why I’m an advocate for setting the alarm and waking up before the littles. Trust me, waking up early is hard, but it’s totally worth it. I have 6 really, really, really simple life tips that help make mornings more productive – not including the early wake up – so you can really make the most of your day.

Set Up the Night Before

You know to choose what everyone is wearing and organize what you need for the following day prior to bed, right? Well, this goes a bit further. You’ve set out the kid’s school clothes, you’ve organized your handbag and chosen your own outfit, and now it’s time to sit down and relax. Kidding – now it’s time to set up what you need.

My husband is so sweet. He opens the Keurig, puts a K-cup in it, and even puts my coffee mug (upside down so no germs get in it) on the stand before we go to bed. In the morning when the alarm goes off and I jump in the shower, he even gets up and turns on the Keurig so it’s hot and ready for me to just push the button when I get out of the shower. It’s a really little thing, but it’s really nice not to have to stand around for a few minutes waiting on the coffee pot to warm up – and it’s extra nice to have everything you need already there.

Go to Bed Early

This isn’t easy for night owls, but going to bed no later than 10 pm is really the best. You’ll grow accustomed to it, I promise. I like it because it gives me a few hours after the kids go to bed to spend time with my husband in the evenings, but it also allows me to get 7 hours of sleep and still feel refreshed the following day.

You guys – it’s possible to live without dark circles under your eyes. I mean that. It’s a real thing, even for a mom of four. I promise.

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Prioritize Your Life

This isn’t a popular opinion, I’m sure, but we have to stop glorifying ‘busy,’ and start glorifying things like relaxed, and refreshed, and peaceful. I learned that from my kids, believe it or not. We are busy. We have four kids, activities, two careers, I run a business, we have a home, we travel, we have a busy social life – we are busy.

But when our kids started saying things like, ‘Why can’t we just stay home?’ to us on occasion in the past year, we realized ‘busy’ is not all it’s cracked up to be. You know what is? Spending time in our home enjoying it. We love our home – it’s our dream home, for crying out loud, and we were totally neglecting spending time at home. Our kids have learned to appreciate the simplest things in life more than anything, and it’s allowed us to prioritize what’s important to us, which is sleeping well, feeling good, and being productive. And guess what? It makes mornings and the subsequent day so much nicer when we are rested and well.

Clean Up

Some people can handle a little disarray. I cannot. But no one can deny it feels damn good to go to bed in a spotless house and wake up in the same spotless house each day. How much less stressed do we feel when we’re up and have nothing to clean, worry about, think about, organize, etc.? I promise you will wake up feeling good about life when your home is in order.

Find Your Jam

What do you look forward to most in the mornings? I’m extra productive in the mornings, so I’m go-go-go from the moment I wake up. But I’ve figured out my jam is getting out of the shower and sitting on my couch with my first cup of coffee in complete darkness with my First 5 App. I literally feel so relaxed and calm spending a little time with God in the morning.

And I love that quiet time. There was a time in my life when I rolled my eyes (secretly and without being disrespectful) at people who said they needed quiet time to reflect and meditate, but I was so wrong to judge.

You guys – it’s serious. It feels good to start the day that way. It’s impossible not to feel good when you have a productive, peaceful, happy start to the morning.

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Don’t Force It

Look, you need to get organized and wake up before the kids if you want to really start your day on a good note. But you also have to know your body. Sometimes you need more sleep. Sometimes you need that rest, and sometimes you need to do things a little off-schedule.

Don’t force yourself to have a good day when you know your body/mind/soul needs something else entirely. You know yourself, so listen to what your body is telling you. It’s okay to interrupt your routine sometimes, I promise.

What do you guys do to make sure your mornings are more productive and enjoyable? How do you get a head start on a beautiful day?

Three Insanely Motivational Podcasts that Will Change Your Life

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I have this serious thing with sarcasm, wit, and intelligence. A good mixture of all three really brings me such joy and entertainment, and I find it applies to every aspect of my life. I don’t particularly care to spend time with people who don’t appreciate all three – not that there’s anything wrong with people who don’t care for the same things as I. If you’re a little sarcastic, very witty, and you’re smart – you’re my people.

And that applies to everything, especially when it comes to my self-development. This year has really been a year of self-development and growth for me. I’m taking the business I’ve grown over the past 9 years and expanding it into territories that make me nervous (my personal blog and openness with the world, for instance), growing my client base even though I don’t have the time for that, and really taking things even bigger and better than they are; at least, that’s the plan.

One thing I made the decision to do this year is focus on personal development. It occurred to me that all the little people in my house are all growing, and growing with them is something I really wanted to try. More focused time with the kids. More personal time with my husband. More free time to make spontaneous decisions. More deliberate choices so we aren’t missing out on the things we really want to do with our lives.

Personal growth – for me – has certainly meant spending more time with God, saying extra prayers, and really putting a focus on myself. What don’t I like about me? What can I change about myself to grow and set a better example for my kids? If I were to meet me tomorrow, what would I think of myself? Overall, I like me – I mean, shouldn’t we all like ourselves? But there are a few minor tweaks I’d like to make, and I’ve been working on those this year.

That said, I’ve found spending time with me each day has been imperative to that change. I can’t do it alone – and things like yoga, quiet time, and listening to some serious killer (hashtag) bossbabes and women I really find inspirational, powerful, and kick-ass have all been so good to me this year.

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I’ve finally learned about the Podcast. It’s nothing new – but it’s new to me. I’ve been listening for a few months to a few podcasts, and I’m loving them. Listen, I get to laugh, learn, and listen, and I always leave a podcast with a new sense of inspiration, motivation, and purpose – and I love that.

Also, it helps to throw in my earbuds in the car to drown out the endless, insufferable, torturous sounds of Anna and Elsa and Olaf and Kristoff, and that irritating little bastard Prince Hans. I mean, the movie is spectacularly adorable, but listening to it play on a loop in my car for the past 700 years will be the death of me.

If you are dying for something new and witty and sarcastic and straight intelligent to listen to in order to drown out the sounds of torturous children’s movies grow personally, let me recommend my favorite podcasts. You won’t find better.

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Becoming Fearless Podcast – Style Collective by Annie Spano

This is my favorite to date. Annie is so open, so much like me in terms of her Type-A, plan it out, think it through, and work hard to make it happen kind of personality. She interviews some of the most inspirational and amazing women imaginable. They’re from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, and different educational paths, thoughts, and insights – and they’re all total badasses. You can’t help but listen and leave inspired.

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Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast – by Lauryn Evarts Bosstick

Lauryn is so unapologetically herself. She wants what she wants, and she’s not afraid to get it. She’s fab, and I love her podcast. She and her husband talk to guests, they talk to one another, and they have so much insight into the world of business and motivation, and their repartee is always entertaining. There is always something to take away from every podcast episode – but it’s not always what you assume you’ll take away.

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She Did it Her Way – by Amanda Boleyn 

This is such a good podcast for anyone who is looking for inspiration and motivation. Each of the guests is able to provide a unique outlook on the world of entrepreneurship and business, and the lessons you take from each episode are so unique, yet they apply to every aspect of your own life. How can you even beat that?

What are you listening to, reading, or using to develop your own personal growth and mindset this year? I’d love to hear some recommendations!