Happy International Women's Day: THE FORCE IS FEMALE.

Did you know International Women’s Day originated in New York City? I didn’t. I also didn’t know it first dates back to 1908. About 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay, and the right to vote. SO POWERFUL. Makes me think about how much we can accomplish together. It also makes me think about how if we align our actions with our words and vice versa, we can be one hell of a force to be reckoned with.

Speaking of force, last night, Tuesday March 7, I was invited to join Nike Chicago in celebrating International Women’s Day at an event titled: THE FORCE IS FEMALE. I was able to experience a speaker panel of incredible influential Chicago women, a goal setting workshop led by Life Coach Tiffany Louise, and a 2.5 mile run led by NRC Coach Robyn. I could go on and on about how great the event was, but I thought it’d be more beneficial to share my take-aways from the event. Here they are:

· You must have a strong mindset

· Lead by example

· Don’t wait for an invitation. Invite yourself into the rooms you want to be in

· Don’t let someone tell you “you can’t”. Put in the work & prove it to yourself

· Energy is contagious and it will propel you forward or drag you down.

· Don’t dim your light for anyone

· Community and relationships are keys to happiness

· Be very selective on who you let into your world

· Create a tribe/squad/gang of friends who are real and vulnerable

· Being jealous is normal. Choose to acknowledge it, be transparent & let it go

· Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours shine brighter

· The point at which we have the most ability to affect change is in our thoughts

· When we change our thoughts, we change how we feel, and when we change how we feel, we have the power to act differently

· When thoughts come up that present barriers to our goal, we can focus on the feeling we will have after our goal is accomplished (joy, relief, accomplishment, being proud, excitement, thankfulness etc.) And use that as leverage to get us through the current discomfort. Chase the feeling!

Even though you may have heard these before, it doesn’t hurt to hear them again. We must constantly remind ourselves of wisdom, advice, & inspiration that fuels our fire. I challenge you to pick your favorite take-away from this post and focus on it for the month of March. I’m choosing the last bullet point. Which one are you choosing??



Flex Your [Mental] Muscles

At the end of the day, no one can take your mind away. I find comfort in that statement. When all else fails your mind is there to cheer you up or to tear you down. Which one is it going to be? In my Cardio Kickboxing class I’m constantly reminding my participants about how relevant it is not only to work on strengthening our bodies, but to also practice strengthening our mental muscles. Flex your mental muscles people! Working out can give you a lot more than just superficial benefits (that flat stomach you’ve been wanting, the bigger booty, the toned arms). Working out can discipline your mind and transform you into a strong minded, unstoppable, individual who can make decisions based on facts and not feelings.

I have participants who drive more than 30 minutes to get to my Cardio Kickboxing class. Some are currently working a job they hate and others are struggling with eating healthy. Most likely they’ve had a long day at work, are ready to be at home, have kids to attend to, or let’s face it, this is Chicago, it’s cold. People wanna cuddle up under their blanket (or bae), asap. Bottom line is, are you going to let your mind trick you into falling for its excuses? (Pushing things back another day.) OR is your inner voice going to prevail by whispering (or shouting):

💪🏿    “Remember your goals”

💪🏾    “Push thru”

💪🏽    “It’s only for [1 hour], it’ll be over before you know it”

💪🏼     “You got this!”

💪🏻     “Just get it done”

💪🏿    “Just do it”

💪🏾     “You’ll be so proud of yourself once it’s over”

💪🏽    “Don’t talk about it, be about it”

Talk to yourself. In your head, out loud, it doesn’t matter. Just be sure to make it positive, encouraging, and convicting. Personally, when my inner voice is weak, I like to flex my mental muscles by:

💪🏾    Turning on uplifting music

💪🏻    Calling my parents/mentors/friends

💪🏿      Praying/ meditating

💪🏼    Repeating a mantra/quote/song lyrics

💪🏽     Journaling

Find out what works best for you, but be patient with yourself. Strengthening your mental muscles takes time, dedication, practice, trial & error, and strong will power…just like any other goal. Take it one second, one minute, one day, one thought, at a time. Before you know it, your mental muscles will be stronger than ever and so will you.

It’s Not About How You Start, It’s About How You Finish

The title above does not mean how you start isn’t important, it is. So let me make this clear: START STRONG. Take off!  Whether you’re a fan of New year resolutions or not, it’s the beginning of the year and with all the positive energy in the air, if you want change, this is a great time to start. Instead of crowding your palette with a long list of changes you can’t realistically maintain, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Zone in on 1-3 changes you want to make this year and start there.

A goal without a plan is just a wish, a leap of faith or simply, lack of thought. Create a game plan, people. Along with your 1-3 changes ask yourself this question, “How am I going to implement these changes and integrate them into my daily lifestyle?” Don’t just ask the question, answer the question. For example, you may want to increase your water intake in 2017; cool, that’s relevant. Well how much water do you want to intake every day? There is a bare minimum water requirement- what your body needs to function. The basic equation for determining this is by dividing your body weight in half. So, if you weigh 150lbs, you would need 75oz of water a day if you’re not doing anything strenuous. If you partake in physical activity that causes you to sweat, add another 34-40 oz. So, 150lbs + exercise/sweat/ lots of physical activity= 109-115oz of water. This number will be different for everyone and will fluctuate depending on your activity level, so be sure to do your math.

Okay, so you still want to intake more water. Now that we’ve cleared up exactly how much water you need to consume daily, the next step is buying a water bottle you’d use as a sidekick. You don’t want a lousy sidekick? Don’t buy a lousy water bottle. Take note of how many ounces the water bottle holds. According to the equation above, how many times will you have to refill the bottle to reach your water requirement? Do your math, again. Now you’ve purchased a water bottle, you’ve calculated how many refills it needs, and now it’s up to you to make it happen. If you forget your water bottle, remain calm. Use a cup, buy a water bottle, or frequent visit the nearest water fountain.

EVERYBODY AND THEY MAMA are loaded with optimism at the start of a new year, but what and/or who will help keep you motivated and encouraged along the way? That question needs an answer too. Pick those people and/or things and keep them heavy on your radar. Whether that be on your social media timelines, bedroom walls, screensavers, in your pockets, presence, planners, or prayers, whatever! Keep em’ in sight and on your mind. They will work as reminders and gas you up when you need that extra boost. “I hate reminders!”, said no one ever (hopefully). “Stop gassin’ me up!” is what everybody says, but we alllll know we appreciate the gas. (lol)

What should you take from this post?

1.     🔍Pick 1-3 changes you want to focus on right now.  Stop playing yourself and write them down today. Write them down right now!

2.     📝Create a plan to integrate and implement those changes into your daily lifestyle. Remember, “How am I going to implement these changes and integrate them into my daily lifestyle?” needs an answer. If you’re not sure on how to do this, don’t be afraid to reach out for help! I’m here as a resource if you need me. Visit my “Connect” page for more details.

3.     🔑Keep motivation and encouragement around you. Choose who and/or what will help remind you of your goals and use them as gas to boost you up when’re on E. To avoid “out of sight, out of mind”, be sure to keep those people/things in places you see every day.