Mid-Year Reflections and Lessons

Here we are, the end of June about to welcome July celebrating the birth of this wonderful nation. I am taking this time to reflect on the first half of 2019. Reflection is something I do often for professional and personal reasons.

In my experience it’s helpful to keep the big picture in mind, think about what went well and what we might change in the future, practice gratitude for the people that have supported us and experiences that have shaped us, and reflection helps to keep me moving forward in the directions that align with my priorities. I often review my priorities and give a great deal of thought to them.

I write about them, post them up, talk about them and teach others about them. I align my choices with my priorities to the best of my ability at the time I when I make those choices and decisions. This isn’t always easy nor accurate. With that being said it’s clear to me that my priorities during the first half of this year and my choices weren’t as aligned as I thought. This is an example of how reflection is helpful, it offers perspective and with perspective you can make positive change to move forward in the right direction rather than just keep doing what you were doing. Looking back, I can see where I put too much emphasis on one area and not enough in other areas and also not enough space and reserve in others.

The mid-year check in is a great opportunity not only for reflection but to check in on your goals for the first half of the year and to decide if you need to reassess or re-calibrate completely to move forward. It also gives you a chance to review your goals for the next half of the year and fine tune them so you can be very clear on your destinations. I always have both personal and professional goals set for myself. Some are weekly, monthly and yearly. This year I mapped out month by month and spent a great deal of time planning out my year with my career goals and posted them up in my office in clear sight. I believe there is great power in writing out your goals and posting them up. Personal goals were set too and off I went to work on them.

From January until the end of June I put a huge emphasis on my career and I am glad that I did in a lot of ways. I made conscious choices to make the things happen that I did and agreed to things in my schedule that filled my time. As a result, this took away from another priority; me. My energy reserves and I see now that my choices about my career were too heavily weighted and it pushed out opportunities to make myself a priority regarding my overall health and wellness. When you focus too much on one thing, something else suffers. There is always a sacrifice when you make something else a priority, it’s just the way it is.

Making my career one of my top priorities this year as I did last year as well, I was able to accomplish most of my goals plus a few bonus ones too! Here’s the wrap up from January to now:

  1. Two Body Image Workshops: January and one in February for Teen Esteem PEI

  2. Two PEI Humane Society Fundraisers: KARMA Yoga/Pilates Fusion classes one in February and one in May both at the Cornwall Town Hall by donation

  3. Nominated for the Mental Health Champion award with the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health

  4. Named in the Top 100 Canada’s Health and Fitness Influencers with Optimyz magazine

  5. Featured in the Guardian and Journal Pioneer for my career achievements

  6. Guest keynote speaker at the PEI Road Runners AGM and winner of the Female Road Runner of the Year

  7. Completed: 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, 2 Body Positivity courses

  8. Facilitated an 8-week Learn to Run program

  9. Two articles published with Optimyz magazine: one on diet culture and one on healthy aging

  10. Ran 6 races for non-profit organizations with the PEI Road Runners Club

  11. Chosen as a Top 3 Finalist for canfitpro Personal Training Specialist of the Year

I am proud of these accomplishments and even more proud of the impact I have been able to make with the positive changes my class participants, workshop attendees and clients tell me they are experiencing as a result. I celebrate these successes and a mid-year check in is important to do just this, celebrate what you have accomplished to date. I believe in the work that I do and stand strong in my purpose.

Here’s the catch, the intensity level and amount of time that I am working cannot continue. I have never worked so hard in my life and I am not getting further ahead with some of my key business goals that are needed in order to keep moving forward year after year. Without divulging too many details, my business isn’t achieving its goals and something needs to change.

I did an audit on my time management for a large part of this year and found my administrative tasks are a huge part of what I spend my time on. Emails, file preparation, program development, class formatting, marketing, etc. All of this is unpaid work and part of running your own business. I am not complaining but simply recognizing where my time is being spent is an important exercise in moving forward in a smarter direction to reserve my energy in other ways.

This year I have been working 6-7 days a week consistently, getting up very early in the mornings, working most of the day and putting that on repeat and working 2-4 nights a week too. I take responsibility for my schedule, I put everything in there that’s there. I said yes to my commitments, enrolled in to the courses, offered the events and workshops, etc. Taking into account that I am a one woman show, some call this a solopreneur. Every thing you see me doing, hear about what I am doing and know that I am offering is all me and just me. You may see me for one hour a week but the rest of my week I am working on an article for Optimyz (or pitching ideas to them or promoting the one that is out in stores), teaching yoga classes, training clients, coaching clients either in person, by email or by phone, facilitating or developing a workshop or promoting one that is coming up, preparing for my personal training clients that week, programming for yoga classes, replying to 20-40+ emails daily, managing several social media accounts, updating my own website, creating content for my marketing, updating and writing for my blog, and usually working on professional development too. A lot of these things are part of the business I am in and integral to the business but some can be fine tuned too. I need to be more intentional with my decisions, mindful about what I agree to and how I respond to requests and inquiries going forward. Saying no can sometimes be saying yes to me and protecting my energy and time.

Let’s be honest, there’s really never a time where there isn’t more work to do right? My to-do list is all year long. No joke. I have my calendar done for the year in to-do lists everywhere: on post-its, in my daytimer, on my big list in a file folder, in emails, etc. It’s easy to continue to work on future projects and tasks when you enjoy your work and are excited about them. That’s why you have to be intentional about how you spend and manage your time so you aren’t working 6-7 days a week. You have to plan ahead so time doesn’t get out of hand because it will when you have that much to do on that never ending, ever growing to -do list, am I right? Yes or yes? It’s a yes for me.

Now, I am being intentional about my schedule and also fine-tuning those to-do’s. Blocking off time to dedicate to myself and other non work-related priorities. I have also learned to book vacation way in advance, block those dates off with lines through them and notify people far in advance. Also, reviewing my July and August schedule to see what I can take off “my plate” and where I can add in things that will give back to me instead of take away. Planning ahead is a strategy that has always worked well for me. And I love planning! When I plan my workouts in advance, my schedule, my meals, etc, this has proven very helpful in making smooth workdays and morning routines. I spend a great deal of time on planning but long-term it pays off.

Another strategy that is important to implement is managing expectations. This is key to helping others value your time and worth as a professional and business owner. I’ve been consulting with business coaches and other professionals in the industry and market research has shown me I need to make some changes regarding my policies, fees and the practices. These changes will allow me a more structured work week to better align my priorities and slowly build my business. I am so pleased to offer such a wide array of services and products to be able to meet the changing needs of my clients and community. Personal training, workshops, writing, speaking, Pilates, yoga, coaching and small group training are the services of For the Love of Fitness PEI.

What’s important to know for me is that I was spending too much energy on the administration end of the business and also not properly scheduling enough time in my schedule for myself or leaving enough time to dedicate to working on the services I offer. I highly recommend an audit of your schedule. It provides a clear perspective of where you are spending your time and where you are able to make improvements and positive change going forward. Change is good.

Spring Forward?

As the year moved forward into late winter, my body gave me plenty of signals to slow down, so did my mind. I heard them. I didn’t take my own advice that I teach my clients and participants. I kept pushing and pushing and symptoms kept getting worse and worse. I had many days where I didn’t know how I would make it through the work day but I did.

Back in April I made a decision to block off time in the summer because I knew my body needed time and an opportunity to build up it’s reserves again. I was feeling it break down both mentally and physically and looking ahead in my schedule I couldn’t pull back anything in the near future because of all of my previously made commitments. And pulling back would have meant cancelling yoga classes, personal training sessions, etc and I would have disappointed many people and also needed to find time in my schedule for make up classes and sessions which I knew I didn’t have time for either. The best option was so to choose the summer because I hadn’t scheduled anything for that time just yet. So, I blocked off times and shared with clients that my schedule was going to change for the summer.

As of now my schedule for the fall is undetermined as well until my body and I can power back up. There is so much I want to do! I want to teach more classes, take on more clients, offer more workshops but I don’t have the capacity right now. By capacity, I am referring to physically. I need to balance out my energy reserves and save some for myself and I haven’t been. I now have time blocked off in my schedule dedicated for rest and simply white space for me to decide what to do on my own, non work-related activities to get back to myself. I am now leading by example, taking care of myself better. I do take care of myself in a lot of ways: I workout regularly, drink lots of water, have a good sleep routine, eat very well and often, apply stress management techniques, go to therapy, I write/journal sometimes, and meditate.

There is a lot more I can do and also not do anymore to further take care of myself and it involves working less and working smarter and also that whole “work-life balance” thing. We know it doesn’t exist right? Right. Ironically, I just wrote an article about this for Optimyz magazine. Through writing this article I realized I need to take control back for my own schedule. Yes, I always knew I was in charge of my own schedule but I still sometimes let others dictate it for me. Be the boss of your own schedule is an important message that I’ve implemented again and will be continuing to do moving forward.

As for the concept of work-life balance, I believe we can align our lives and get more centered. But a balanced life? Not so sure. Something always is lacking or suffering. You can’t have it all equally balanced. You can get close though and feel really grounded, on point, centered and aligned with your priorities and that is my aim. My #1 is me, getting back to the “old Doris”. In 2018 I never felt better, physically and mentally. Looking back, it was my year. I felt like a rock star! A lot. Unstoppable. I can’t even describe it. But it was incredible. I did so many things and check off a lot of boxes and just went for things I never thought I could or would. I felt my power. I celebrated a lot of successes. I still have that power and feel it but my reserves are at an all time low. My stress levels are high, I’m experiencing fatigue like never before and I have got myself so busy that I can’t keep up. I am unsure if these symptoms are burnout or from personal struggles or my past trauma or flare ups of my fibromyalgia, depression, over-training or simply a lack of protein or a combination storm of all these. My doctor and specialist do not know either but we continue to work together to find solutions and diagnoses.

What I know for Sure:

I have pushed myself too hard this year and put others before myself which is not a combination for success for anyone.

I’m done hustling.

I want to continue to build and grow For the Love of Fitness PEI but I can’t do this alone and need more support.

It’s been a great ½ of 2019 for accomplishments and client success and I am so grateful.

Leading by example is important in all aspects of my life and profession and benefits all.

I love what I do but the way I am doing it needs to change.

I believe in my work, purpose and path and know that others do too will help me along the way to build my business in ways they can.

No more waiting. I’m not putting off the things I’ve wanted to do for myself anymore. You live one short precious life.

2nd Half Low Down, Slow Down

So, I will honor the commitments I have already said yes to and I will give my best to them because that’s how I roll. But in the future, any opportunities that come my way, they will be given very careful consideration to how they will impact my priorities as a whole before I make a final decision on them. Also going forward, my schedule might change and it might not. I might completely change my business model too. I have big goals for my business. I want to launch online products and offer many things that I believe would benefit many people. Over the past four years, I’ve brainstormed countless concepts for videos, blogs, series, programs, promotions and movements that have all sat idle. I market classes and workshops and that itself is a full-time job. I want to bring these ideas to life but I need your help to make it happen.

I can’t do it without you. I want to say thank you to each and every one of you because I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today without you. Every like, share, comment, follow and review and testimonial help me continue to do what I do. So, thank you. Your continued likes, shares and comments will be appreciated. Your support with any changes I make in the future would also be appreciated so I can recharge myself and build my business in the ways I have wanted to for so long.

I need a lot of help and support and not sure where to start or even if I can make it work but I have to try. Slowly and carefully. I will be pacing myself. I have plans for this fall to offer 2 workshops: running and goal-setting. I haven’t advertised them but told a handful of people about them so I haven’t committed to them therefore I can decide for myself to not move forward with them if it’s best for me in the long term for my health. I also want to launch a core conditioning program that I am really excited about and people are asking for. It’s something I have been wanting to do for a long while and I think people will love it.

I am also enrolled in this incredible course by the Body Positive Fitness Alliance. It’s quite an extensive course with many modules. It’s going to take me a great deal of time and effort to complete. I will need to pace myself instead of my original plan to have it done by the end of summer. The old version of me would work on this course weekend after weekend until it's done but not this time. I am mapping out time blocks over the course of several months that will set me up for a much more balanced energy exchange. It’s an important course and I am learning a great deal and receiving a new perspective that I think a lot of fitness professionals could also grow from. I highly recommend the Body Positive Fitness Alliance, you can find them on Facebook or online at bodypositivefitness.org

Things Change, You Can Change and So can your Goals!

Take this opportunity with me to do your own mid-year check up and review your own goals and assess where you are, where you want to go and how you want to feel. Decide if you need to re-calibrate, change your goals or simply re align.

Choose for yourself what is best for you and your life as a whole and move forward by taking a few smart steps. My best advice is to plan ahead for your goals because life is always happening around us and it will eventually find a way to get it in the way of our goals. Planning ahead is key, use your calendar, set alarms, write your goals down and make weekly steps towards the final outcome and you will get there. Set reminders for monthly check ins to reassess where you are so you can determine if you have to make any changes or lean on your support system. Remember, you can always change your goal, reassess, and move your compass in a new direction that your life sends you to be your best. Things change and so you do and goals can change too.

Stay tuned, change is on the horizon and change is good. My focus now is building myself back up to be my best. Trust me you want me at my best because that’s where I flourish and thrive. And thriving is what I do best!

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