Jan 23

It’s Time To Move!

By Jen Regan | Accomplishing Goals

When I created my first Life Plan, I decided I wanted to be vibrant and active into my 70’s and 80’s. I wanted to be the happy, healthy woman at the retirement community dancing, going on walks and taking advantage of every fun day trip. 

After a challenging year of health issues and working to simply maintain the status quo, I am ready to get moving, in order to continue moving towards the life I dream of. How about you?

Life is about navigating all of the twists and turns it throws at us, creating a plan to live the lives we desire and keep moving forward in a way that is best for each of us, so that we can be the best we can be!

I don’t know about you, but I am getting a lot of experience with navigating life’s twists and turns, and quite frankly, that is life. There are times when the status quo is all we can muster up. It is during those times when we have to give ourselves a lot of grace and focus on taking care of ourselves. I have also found that I do eventually reach the point where I know I can start to move on and move forward. 

If you are feeling the same way today, let’s start moving together by:

  • Dreaming about the future and creating a picture in our minds of what we want our future to look like in 5, 10 and 20 years. Like the picture of this vibrant woman above, it is our picture of the future that will keep us motivated and moving forward. What do you want your future to look like?

  • Deciding on some goals or milestones you can work towards that will keep you excited and moving in the right direction. What goal can you set for the first half of this year? I have decided to sign up for my longest bike ride yet, scheduled for June 2020. I want to live a life where I am active, in some way, six days a week, then allow myself one day for complete rest. Training for this bike ride will help me move towards that goal. What is something you can do, that you enjoy, to help you move towards your desired future? What deadline can you give yourself?

  • Creating a realistic plan, especially if you are working through health issues. I say that because, if you are like me, we want to try to jump right back in where we left off. I know my body would not allow me to do that at this point in time. I pulled out my calendar and saw that I have 22 weeks to train. At first that sounded like a long period of time, but in order to move forward at a pace that is right for me right now, I can use every second of time I can get. I took out a piece of paper and listed numbers 1 through 22. I wrote down what I can manage this week on line #1, and my goal on line #22. Then I started to fill in a realistic timeline of training. I built in some cushion knowing that I might have some challenging weeks. I walked away with the beginning of a plan. How long are you giving yourself to reach your goal? Take some time to write it out. You will gain confidence in knowing your plan is realistic and attainable. 

  • Putting it on your calendar. We will have a much better chance of following through on our plan if we block off time right now for it. It is important to put our most important items on our calendar first, and fill in the less important things around them. Go ahead and do that now, don’t hesitate!

  • Let’s get moving! Don’t wait to get started. I have 22 weeks. I could definitely procrastinate if I wanted to, but why? Remember, this is not about a bike ride for me, this is about living a vibrant life now and into my 70’s and 80’s. This is about making your picture of the future a reality and starting to do that TODAY! Take one small manageable baby step today towards your dream. I am dog sitting a family member’s dog, so we are going to go out for a walk this afternoon. It’s small, manageable and exactly what I want to do as I grow older, so why not do it now!

  • Let’s do it together! Right now I do not know anyone else who is participating in the bike ride I am, but I do have friends that love to be active. Let’s all hook up with like minded individuals in our lives and make our future dreams a reality together! Life is so much better, and fun, together!

Here’s to creating an awesome picture of the future and moving towards it today!

Photo by Italo Melo from Pexels
Jan 16

I Expected…

By Jen Regan | Overcoming Obstacles

Have you ever expected things to turn out differently than they did? I don’t know about you, but this happens to me on a daily basis. I always expect things to go a certain way, and when they don’t I get FRUSTRATED. Expectations of ourselves and others is a tricky thing to navigate.

This week I am working on a project for work. This project involved a learning curve because I am using software that is new to me. I worked on it for two days last week and felt like I had a pretty good feel for what the software did. So I felt that I was ready to jump in with both feet this week. Well, I jumped in and landed flat on my face. Day number three became part of the learning curve. I took a deep breath and felt good about moving forward on day number four. This morning I got up, told myself it was a new day and I was going to make things happen. Nope. In fact, the progress that I thought I had made was not done correctly, so I am back to square one. I WAS FRUSTRATED! 

I walked away to calm down and reflect. After a few minutes, I realized that I had created unrealistic expectations of myself. I expected to learn and master software in four short days, that other people have worked their entire career to master. 

When we find ourselves frustrated, how many times can we point back to unrealistic expectations of ourselves or of others?

  • Have you ever expected to hit the gym and start back where you left off six months ago, but soon find yourself frustrated with how tired, weak and sore you are? 

  • Have you ever done something nice and expected others to take notice and appreciate you, but they didn’t? You find yourself extremely frustrated with them?

  • Have you ever worked to lose weight and expected the scale to read differently than it did. You want to throw in the towel because it is really hard.

I don’t think we can live life without creating expectations. I think our mind automatically goes there. The question I want us to ask ourselves when we are frustrated from an unmet expectation is “What can I learn from this?” 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Did I expect too much?

  • Did I expect things to be easier than they were? 

  • Did I expect things to happen faster?

There is a lot we can learn about unfulfilled expectations. I have learned that even though computer software markets itself as “easy”, it may take me some time to learn it and be able to use it effectively. Now to remember that for next time!

Isn’t that an important key too? Let’s take what we learn and use it the next time. 

  • Remember the next time you start back at the gym that it is going to take some time to get back into the shape you desire. Be proud that you are back at it and working to improve your health, no matter what it takes.

  • Remember that certain people in our lives are not known to show appreciation, and not expect it the next time we do something for them. Be proud of the fact that you did what was right.

  • Remember how your body works when it comes to weight loss. Be kind to yourself and go at a pace that is best for you. Be proud of yourself for tackling something very challenging.

Here’s to living a life with less frustration. Let’s do all we can to eliminate it by keeping our expectations in check.

Living Life Together: Sometimes we need a dear friend to remind of some of these things. Let’s lovingly do that for those we care about. Sometimes it can be a simple reminder of our past frustrations to help remind us to do things differently this time.

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels
Jan 09

What Do You Want MOST?

By Jen Regan | What's Most Important

Every Thursday I head up to our local rec center with a friend for a lunchtime spin class. I tend to get there about fifteen minutes early, so I head up to the elevated track to walk some laps. As I walk and get warmed up I can’t help but read a quote that is strategically placed on the wall just as I round a corner. The quote digs past my surface feelings and hits my heart and soul every time I read it.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST.”

What I want now is a scrumptious mocha from Starbucks with a slice of their lemon pound cake! What I really want now is to go home and take a nap instead of going to my spin class. What I really want now is to forget that looming deadline and go get a mani pedi.

As you know, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the things listed above. The real question is, “Will the things we want NOW keep us from obtaining what we want MOST?”

As I was preparing to write this blog post, I asked myself, “What do I want MOST?” The first thing that came to mind was “I want my husband and I to be happy.” My husband and I do not have kids, but if we did, they would be included in that statement. This prompted another question. “What does John and I need to be happy?” As I thought about this question I started to fill a piece of paper with the answers.

I wrote things like:

  • I want John and I to have a great relationship, now and in the future.

  • I want to follow God’s will for my life each day, now and in the future.

  • I want my body to be healthy, now and in the future.

  • I want great relationships and family and friends, now and in the future.

  • I want a safe, comfortable home, now and in the future.

In other words, I want my cake and eat it, too. I want great things NOW and MOST. 

I guess the question comes down to “What are the really great things in life?” 

Is it having the mocha and pound cake at Starbucks, or is it controlling your blood sugar, maintaining a healthy weight, and pinching pennies for the new car you will need soon? Some days it could be Starbucks, but most days, maybe not.

If you had to answer the question “What are the really great things in life?” how would you answer it? What would fill your page?

I want each of us to live a great life NOW and in the future, but in order to have both we have to go after the really great things in life. The things that matter MOST!

One of the greatest ways you could spend your time during these colder days of January is to sit down and ask yourself the questions “What are the really great things in life for me?” Fill up a page with your thoughts. Then ask yourself if there is anything you are doing right now that might be heading you in the wrong direction or holding you back from that great life? Stay in the NO STRESS ZONE and think about small manageable baby steps you can take to start heading towards the great life you want to live.

Living Life Together: Encourage a friend to go through the above exercise as well. Spend some time talking things through together. Support each other, encourage each other, lament your struggles together and laugh together. We all have room to grow and improve. It is so much nicer to do it with a friend!

Here’s to living a great life now and in the future, focusing on the best things in life!

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels
Jan 02

Let’s Do It Together!

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together

I love to ride my bike, but sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed to get started. That is when I am thankful for a friend to ride with. Knowing we have agreed upon a time, place and plan to ride gets me out of bed, out the door and on the road for some great exercise. It’s much easier, and fun, to do it together.

As you look into the new year, what do you want to make happen? You might set goals, resolutions, create bucket lists, or none of the above. Regardless, I still think you have something in mind to move forward on. Whatever it is, do you feel as though you could benefit by having a partner to do it with? 

Figuring out the logistics of this can be tricky at times, because we all have very busy lives. When we want to do something with a friend or co-worker, we have to coordinate two busy schedules, but it is possible. Here are some small manageable baby steps:

Answer the question “What would you like to accomplish?”

Is there anyone who comes to mind who wants to work towards the same thing? 

If not, don’t give up. Keep it in your mind and keep your eyes peeled. You may hear a co-worker talk about accomplishing the same thing. You never know who might spring into your life.

If you do have someone in mind, try to sit across the table with each other and talk through a plan that will work for both of you. Yes, this can be done via email, texts or messages, but spending time with others is so much better. I think you will be able to come up with a much better plan when you are sitting together talking things through.

Create a plan together.

Set some realistic goals together.

Decide on how you are going to do it together. How can you encourage each other? When are you going to meet up?

Then get going...together!

A friend of mine and I have very different goals, but we still “do them together”. We want each other to succeed, so we check in on each other almost daily. We get together each week for coffee to hear about how our week is going and how our plans are moving forward. We get so excited for each other when things go great, and we are the first to encourage each other when things are tough. Living life together with someone who cares about me helps to keep me moving forward and also helps me enjoy the process so much more.

What do you think? Do you think it would help to work towards your goals this year with a friend? It might take some initial effort to make it work, but I think it will be well worth the effort in the end.

Here’s to having fun making things happen this coming year, because we are willing to live life together!

Dec 26

How Would Encouragement Change Things?

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together , Serving Others

I hope you are having an amazing holiday season! The food is yummy and the gifts are full of surprises. When all the dust clears, It’s the most important people around us who we remember and who make the holidays truly JOYFUL!

It is mentioned in Christian circles this time of year, how great it is when we can celebrate Jesus’ birth not only this time of year, but all year long. I believe the same is true to celebrate the people we have in our lives and see them as amazing gifts every day of the year.

I know it’s easier said than done when we get into the routine of daily life, but what if we tried to be more intentional about it?

In the words of Mr. Fred Rogers “As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has - or ever will have - something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways to develop its expression.” 1

What would life look like if we saw it as our job to encourage each other? I try to do this everywhere I go, to bring a smile to complete strangers. I am challenging myself, and you, to consider upping our game with those we care for the most. Our spouse, significant other, children, close friends, close family, and special co-workers.

Who are those “Most Important” people in your life? What encouragement do they need? What is the best way for you to give that encouragement? What reminder can you give yourself to turn encouragement into a lifelong habit? I ask myself the same questions.

I believe our slice of the world will be positively impacted with every single act of encouragement we can give. We each can make a difference in our world, and starting with those most important to us is...right.

Living Life Together: I am a firm believer that we each reap what we sow. When we give encouragement, encouragement will find its way back to us. Living life together is a wonderful thing!

Here’s to making those we care about the most, feel the most valuable to us!

1  Fred Rogers, The World According To Mister Rogers, New York, 2003 by Family Communications, Inc. Reissued by Hachette Books May 2019, page 137.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Dec 19

Live A Life That Feels Right

By Jen Regan | Be True To Yourself

As December moves along, in what feels like a faster speed than ever, I naturally tend to reflect on the past year. Do you do that, too? I did not go into this year with any particular theme in mind, but as I reflect back on it, I realize that it was a year to getting more comfortable in my own skin. That seems crazy to say for a forty seven year old woman, but this year I got to know, understand and love myself more, and life is better because of it.

Being your best YOU is a very important part of what I write about because it goes hand and hand with living our best lives. This past year, I took the time to differentiate between who I really am and who I thought I was supposed to be. I thought I was supposed to do things like everyone else, and fit in. The more I discovered my passions, convictions, and uniqueness, and put into action the things that were true to me, the more “right” my life felt. I want the same for you.

Continuing to better know, understand and love ourselves helps us make life decisions that are true to who we really are. Let’s look at just a few:

Let’s ask ourselves “What do I value most?” or “What is most important to me?” When we are confident in what we value, other things seem less important. The more time we spend on what is most important to us, the more life feels right. We are also more confident in saying “no” to the things that aren’t as important. Our lives can become very busy, and knowing what you value and want to say “yes” to will help you be your best YOU.

It’s also important to ask yourself “What do I need to be my best?” For me, and those struggling with health issues, those needs can be pretty simple like good sleep, healthy food, movement and sunshine during these short winter days. The more we understand our personal needs, from our basic health needs to social needs, work needs, relationship needs, and even financial needs, the more we can tailor our lives to meet those needs. When you take care of the needs that are personal to you, it will give you fuel to live your best and be your best.

Lastly, we have an amazing future ahead of us, so let’s ask ourselves “what do I want in my future?” “What do I dream of?” Dreaming about our future gives us something to look forward to. It also gives us something, personal to each of us, to work towards. I dream of future vacations, a future small house with an amazing view, and activities that will keep me young at heart. Dreaming about what is most important to you will move you in the  direction that is best for you for years to come.

What have you learned about yourself this past year? What do you value most? What do you need in your life to live it well? What are you dreaming of for your future? Have you been doing things that are not true to you in order to fit in? Knowing and understanding these things will help you be your best YOU and live the life that will feel just right for you.

Living Life Together: Do you have someone in your life who values the same things you do? Someone who is working to better themselves in the same way you are? These are great people to partner with as you move forward in your dreams for the new year and beyond. Spending time with these individuals in my life encourages me, allow me to laugh and keeps me motivated. As we approach the coming year, who can you partner with to keep yourself fueled up as you work towards living your best and being the best YOU you can be?

Here’s to closing out an amazing year and opening another chapter as the next year starts!

Dec 12

I Enjoy People When…

By Jen Regan | Be True To Yourself , Living Life Together

There is not much I love to do more that grab a coffee or a meal with a friend. I love chatting, catching up on what is going on in life and having some great laughs. I love being encouraged by those I sit across from and giving encouragement when it is needed. I love sharing ideas and hearing interesting and new things. Sitting across the table from amazing people brings life to my life. 

I believe other people bring life to each of our lives. I believe we are so much better together than we are apart. I also believe that it is important for each of us to recognize the way we are most comfortable interacting with others so that we can add more of that into our lives.

I am also a shy person. I am not nearly as comfortable in a larger group than I am in a small group. There are times where I have to step out of my comfort zone and jump into a large group to meet new people and many times I walk out with a new cherished acquaintance.  Because spending time in large groups does not come naturally to me, and I am drained by the time it is over.

Knowing what energizes us and what drains us when it comes to time with other people is important. We each have so much to contribute to others and to gain from hearing the thoughts and perspectives of others. Adding time with amazing people into your life, if done in the right way for you, will bring more life to your life.

December is a great time to learn about how you best interact with others because we get a lot of opportunities to spend time with family, friends and co-workers over the holidays. Pay attention to the times you feel energized when you have been around other people. What was it about that interaction that energized you? Also, pay attention to the times when you dread going, before you even step out the door. Times you feel drained. These experiences will start to reveal to you what your preferred way of interacting with others is. 

As you start to learn more about yourself and how other people bring life to your life, what do you think about being more intentional about adding more of that great stuff into your life?

Living life together is so much better than going at it alone. 

Here’s to learning more about yourself, being the best YOU you can be, and sharing that amazing YOU with others.

Dec 05

I Don’t Want To Fail

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together , Overcoming Obstacles

The past few months I have written about the positive qualities of our world that unfortunately, have created some consequences that were not originally intended. We’ve talked about the speed of our world and how sometimes we see going slow as a bad thing. We have looked at the amazing conveniences we have, but we can easily get frustrated when things are hard and don’t come easy. We have looked at our entertainment world and how we are not even sure how to be bored anymore, or if that is a good thing. This last quality of our world  with unintended consequences is the hardest one for me, which is why I pushed it off until last. I am not even sure where to start.

Dr. Tim Elmore, is the founder & President of an organization called Growing Leaders. I just recently heard him speak at a conference I attended. He is the one who brought the aforementioned topics to my attention and they have really challenged me. The last topic he shared was that our world focuses on nurturing as a priority with safety always first on our mind. My reaction to this was “right on!” We have to always watch out for our safety and the safety of those we love. Here is the wrench Dr. Elmore through in my thought process. He shared that when we are focused on nurturing and safety we, and our kids, start to see risk as bad. 

Quite a few years back now, John and I met with our financial planner. One of the first things he did in the process of getting to know us, was to learn what our risk tolerance was with regards to our finances. John and I do not like high risk, we like safety. I know in my mind that some risk in life is needed, but in my core, I want safety. How about you?

The challenge is that a lot of great things in our world happen outside of our comfort zone. When we step outside of our comfort zone, we learn some very important things in life. Neale Donald Walsch has a quote that says “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” 

The question this stirs up in me is, am I willing to fail? Ouch! Now please know, I am not suggesting you put yourself in any unsafe or harmful situation. What I am challenging myself with, and you in turn is, if we are too afraid to fail, we will always stay in our safe place. I don’t know about you, but I want life to be more of an adventure than that. 

I think that is a good place to stop and chew for awhile, I know I am going to. I know we all have many things on our plate over the next month into the next year, but ask yourself if you need to work on the fear of failing in 2020. It might have to be one of my focuses.

Let’s Life Live Together:  I cannot work on overcoming my fear of failing by myself, and you probably can’t either. I am going to share this with the people who are in my inner circle so that they can not only challenge me, but be there for me when I am afraid. We all need encouragement and our inner circle is where we should find it. Who is in your inner circle? Lean on each other like never before to move forward in the areas that are most important to you in life.

Here’s to seeing risk as a way towards progress, and to enjoy the progress with those closest to us.

Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav from Pexels
Nov 21

I Don’t Want It To Be All About Me

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together , Serving Others

Through the past month I have spent some time focusing on some great qualities of our world today, but also some unintended consequences. We have talked about how the speed of today can get us into the mindset that living and accomplishing things slowly is a bad thing. We have also looked at the awesome conveniences in our world today, but how we can start to feel like things are bad when they get a little bit hard. In my last blog post, we looked at the entertainment that is at our fingertips, but how we can start to see “boring” as bad. Today, I am going to tackle a fourth quality of our world and the challenging consequences.

The topic for today is uncomfortable for me. It is a topic where I want to point fingers at other people, but in reality, I need to point it back at myself. The topic is ENTITLEMENT. 

The definition from the Oxford Dictionary is: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment (underline mine).

Because I want to live the best life I can, and I believe you read my blog posts because you want to also, I think it’s important for some self reflection. I have to ask myself “are there times in my day when I feel like I am deserving of privileges and special treatment?” The answer is yes.

I find myself especially bad at feeling like I deserve special treatment when I am crazy busy and with little time to spare. I can find myself whipping in and out of traffic not caring who I inconvenience. I can get in my zone at the grocery store and not care about anyone else. I feel like I deserve everything to run smoothly at work, and when it doesn’t, I take it out on those around me. I deserve to be healthy. I deserve for things to come easy. I deserve privilege.

We all want to live the best life that we can and I feel like one of the ways to combat entitlement is to think of others. I get into the “entitlement trap” when all I am thinking about is myself, but that is all I have time for sometimes. I want to remind myself and all of you today, serving others can be done in some very small ways, we just have to be intentional about doing it. It can be grabbing a co-worker a coffee when you pick up yours. It can be allowing someone in front of you during rush hour traffic. It can be grabbing an extra can of food at the grocery store and put it in the food collection box for the food bank. It all starts with our mindset.  When I start to think about others, what they are going through and how I can encourage them, my heart fills and what I deserve is not my only focus. 

Of course, I do not want us to neglect ourselves and our self care, but my encouragement to all of us, in this world of entitlement, is to work to think about, love and serve others. Will you join me in that focus over the next few weeks as the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season begin?

I think the best Holiday Season is one of both taking care of ourselves and prioritizing others as well.

Here’s to living our best!

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels
Nov 07

I Wish I Had Time To Be Bored!

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

This week’s blog post is the third of five blog posts that were inspired by hearing Dr. Tim Elmore at a recent conference. He is an Author and President of  an organization called Growing Leaders. He has the exciting job of growing the future generations into amazing leaders. As I have shared in my previous two blog posts, our world has some amazing things going on, but there are some unintended consequences to some of these amazing things. Today we are going to touch on the fact that our world today is filled with entertainment that we have at our fingertips. At any given moment, we can, and do pull up something to read, watch or play on our smartphones. We are constantly being entertained. What, then, is the unintended consequence to our entertaining world? We, and our next generation can see boredom as bad.

I think all of us would joke “I wish I had time to be bored!” because our lives seem so nonstop most of the time. I think if most of us were truthful though, we are the first to try to fill our time if we have a spare moment. It is what we do, but there are actually benefits to having mental downtime. 

Do you know our brains actually do some amazing things when we take time to turn them off? Why is it that we remember things when we are in the shower? It’s because our minds start to relax. It’s when they start to relax that they start to do some cool stuff.

When our minds have time to relax, we open our minds up to creativity. Many great leaders in our history books prioritized time to go out on a walk to allow their minds to wonder. It was during these mind wondering, boring times that they both found refreshment of body, refreshment of mind and refreshment of their thoughts.

If today we, and our kids, feel the need for constant stimulation and entertainment, I have to wonder if we are all starting to miss out on some really good stuff that “boredom” can give us. Are we missing out on the physical and mental refreshment that we need to truly have good health? Are we missing out on creativity in our lives because we rarely allow our minds the time to “wonder” and utilize that different part of our mind?

We all want to be in the best health we can possibly be in. Would you enjoy a little bit more creativity in your life? The ability to find new and creative answers to the concerns of your day to day life? I don’t know about you, but I am going to try to allow myself  a little bit more bored.

  • I am going to start with trying not to pull out my phone when I have a few minutes to wait. I am going to try to just sit and let my mind relax.

  • I am going to try to take a walk or ride my bike without listening to music, but allow my mind to wander.

  • Try cooking or baking with the TV off. Enjoy talking to your loved ones or just being in the moment.

  • When driving, take a period of time with no music or podcasts playing. See what interesting thoughts come your way.

I don’t know about you, but it will take some time to train myself to enjoy being bored. I am excited to see how it benefits my overall health and my creativity.

Let’s do it together! Let me, and all of those reading today, know what experiences you have had or if you are willing to give this a try with me. If you have a friend who is working through a particularly difficult challenge in life right now, suggest some boredom to allow them time to rest. You never know, a creative idea may come their way as well.

Have a great week! Enjoy the fun entertainment our world has to offer and enjoy turning it off for a while and enjoy the benefits of boredom too!