enjoy life guest post: joy anderson

I am so excited to feature my first guest post on the blog today. Joy is one of my external motivators on Fitbit. She is always initiating Challenges which help keep me moving throughout the day.  She also introduced me and encouraged me to listen to what has become one of my favorite podcasts, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. And finally she is my sister-in-law-in-law. Is that a thing? But we were friends long before my sister and her brother decided to be together.

This is how she enjoys life.

Joy Anderson and Quabbin

Joy Anderson and The Quabbin

Two of my personal commandments (Another Gretchen Rubin fan here. Hello!) directly relate to enjoying life: (1) Treat yourself and (2) do more of what makes you happy. In my sometimes successful pursuit of following these commandments, I’ve combined two of my favorite things: listening to podcasts (treat) while walking outside (doing what makes me happy).

My spot to walk (sometimes hike) is the Quabbin Reservoir. Whether it’s sunny or overcast, the Quabbin is gorgeous. After being cooped up all week at work, in my car, or my apartment, it’s glorious to be outside. The Quabbin, the largest inland body of water in Massachusetts, also has an interesting history. In the 1930s, four towns were disincorporated – homes, businesses, and cemeteries were all relocated – and the area was flooded to become the primary water supply source for Boston as well as 40 other communities in Greater Boston. The Quabbin covers 38.6 square miles, and has several park/recreation areas like the one near my home. While working out in my tiny studio gives me a mood boost, it’s nothing compared to walking/hiking in the fresh air. Last Sunday was warm and sunny and I conquered the Visitor Center Loop Trail. I got lost last time; need to work on that sense of direction!

And why not make a good thing even better? I love listening to podcasts, but I have trouble finding the time to listen to a whole episode without interruption. It’s such a treat to listen to my favorites all the way through while walking the Quabbin. Listening to Happier inspires me to try new things, or I can learn something new on Hidden Brain, and even get in a core workout by laughing along with the hosts of Another Round. I ignore texts and phone calls and just enjoy life outside – away from walls, work, and worries beyond how I can incorporate Happier’s Try This at Home Tip into my week.

 I definitely enjoy life more when I have me time (even if you live alone, you still need “me time”) and the Quabbin is my spot. If it’s not snowing this weekend I might consider exploring another trail or maybe I’ll stick to something familiar. We’ll see 🙂

If you don’t already have a favorite spot of your own, I hope you find one.

You can keep up with Joy on Pinterest and on Tumblr.

enjoy life…

friday’s “secret”: set a few intentions and achieve them

Beach Sunrise. My Intentions

This week, I have been reviewing my intentions and highlights from 2015. I hesitate to call anything a goal because I have failed to achieve my goals year after year after year. So I started referring to them most often as “intentions” in 2015 and have had a greater success with that small change. It feels easier to me; less intimidating.

I am happy to say that I was able to accomplish quite a few of my intentions for 2015, my main one being becoming more comfortable with this whole “mommy” thing. Jessica Quirk of What I Wore expresses my sentiments along this line so well in this post: Post Partum Identity Crises. It was a real thing for me last year but I think I might be beginning to see a way clear.

Here are my Intentions for 2016

  • Run 6 races, including the Bridgestreet Half Marathon in April. In order to do this, I am going to have to be in the best shape possible so those foundation habits of eating, sleeping (or trying to with a baby), staying hydrated, and training are going to have to be on point.
  • Read 36 books, one more book more than I read last year. I believe I can do it, if I do not gorge on television and it’s various iterations: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the oh-so-convenient network apps. It is so easy to fall down those rabbit holes, isn’t it?
  • Which brings me to my next intention, staying out of rabbit holes that do nothing for me. I really want to be intentional about my entertainment choices and only watch things that I find enjoyable and/or useful. I am really looking forward to the encore presentation of BBC, PBS, and Masterpiece’s Special, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride this weekend. I missed the January 1st premier.
  • Write more, which will include posting to the blog weekly. Oh boy! You guys are going to have to hold me to this one. LOL!
  • Remove anything from my life that is not useful, beautiful, or loved. I start with my wardrobe next week and will work my way around the home through these dull winter months. I probably won’t have anything to wear! Eeeek!
  • Give a “durn”! Being a mom, it is super easy to fall into the “oh, why bother” mindset. Buddy Man is just going to mess it up anyway! But I feel so much better when I care. So, more often than not, I want to be put together rather than thrown together. I also think I want to color my new short cut. We will have to see about that though!
  • And finally, being a stay-at-home mom has kind of taken a toll on me, socially. I am very thankful for my family and friends who have kept me sane with their phone calls, opening up their homes, and visits. I want more of those experiences! I want to feel more connected to people, even through digital mediums, this year! For an introvert, that’s saying something!

What are your intentions or goals this year?

friday’s, uh, thursday’s “secret”: being grateful = being happy

Here’s my absolutely, positively, number one, sure-to-work, no-fail secret to my being happy, and it’s mind blowing: I must be grateful for what I have.

So this Thanksgiving, I would like to increase my happiness quotient by highlighting just a few of the things that I am grateful for this year.

  • My Hubby – this guy has proven himself to be an excellent father, in addition to being a great husband, just like I knew he would be when I started dating him 13 years ago.
  • Buddy Man – this guy! What can I say about him except it’s true: your life changes in so many ways, both expected and unexpected. It’s the unexpected ones that truly surprise me. I love this guy more and more in each day.
  • My Parents – speaking of the Buddy Man, I could not raise my son half as well without the support that they give us. I truly appreciate my mother much more, being a mom myself. What she did for my sister and I, day-in and day-out, cannot be calculated or described.
  • My Sister – another wonderful source of support during this new adventure I find myself in. I can’t even begin to thank her for everything that she has done for me this year.
  • My New Brother – my sister got married this year! I absolutely love my new brother, a fellow reader! He’s awesome!
  • My Mother-in-Law – Thanks for those much needed periods of restoration from the Buddy Man every week. Don’t know if I could make it without it.
  • My Family and Friends – a special shout out to those who have especially supported me throughout this challenging year: Grandma, Mel, Nicole, Joy, Jamila, Domonique, Cindy, Mrs. Cort, and Erika.
  • Challenge Groups and Team Beachbody – my Challenge Group peeps (Nicole, Jamila, Ciera, Aunt Libby) and the Beachbody Team  – Randi and the 21 Day Fix program. I’m making progress to my fitness goals. Thanks for all of your support.
  • Great Books – book have definitely kept me sane this year. There have been so many good ones but a few deserve a special mention this year: Nourished by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph; Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert; and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin and her Four Tendencies Framework provided a, dare I say it, framework to make and continue some changes in my life. Life-changing!
  • The Ability to Run – the other major thing that keeps me sane.
  • And it’s always nice to take a hot shower after a run.
  • And finally, all of you – the readers of my blog. Thank you so much!

“Given the amount of unjust suffering and unhappiness in the world, I am deeply grateful for, sometimes even perplexed by, how much misery I have been spared.”

Dennis Prager

Happy Thanksgiving! enjoy life…

Happy Thanksgiving 2015