A life worth living: “Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.”

This is where it all starts. It starts with who you are. You need to focus on you, despite all those times your mom said, “Don’t be so selfish.” Think about others”. So many of us grew up in a culture that taught us that being selfish was “bad” and that being selfless was “good.” Being selfless is indeed an amazing quality to create a life worth living, but being taught this growing up had an overwhelming impact on my life. I never thought about myself and, like most moms who are nurturers and natural caretakers, I always put others’ needs above my own.

It’s important to realize that you MUST take care of yourself first so you can better assist those around you. Just like the oxygen mask on an airplane. I don’t mean ignoring your crying baby to have “me-time.” but rather think of it this way: you’re preparing yourself for a race you want to run. You have to train if you want to win. You wouldn’t get on a bicycle to try to win a NASCAR race. You wouldn’t take a canoe across the ocean. We all need to assess our goals and what we’re trying to achieve and then prepare ourselves accordingly: body, mind, and soul.

Train your brain

How do you prepare your thoughts? By training your brain. How do we do that? Keep reading to find out how I train my mind daily. It is entirely possible. I didn’t realize this until my cancer journey, but I’ll share more of that later. Secondly, you need to work on your soul. Understanding that one of your greatest core beliefs should be your relationship with God is imperative to living a purposeful and amazing life. And lastly, focus on your body. We’ve heard it over and over again. We need to train our bodies with the nutrients and exercise they need to be effective. So this is my first tip for success, FOCUS ON YOU!

Here are my recommendations for your daily disciplines that I do every day:

1)  Straighten your mind (Not Your Hair)

Immediately when you wake up, STOP and take a deep breath. NO looking at your phone for messages, social media updates, or turning on the Today Show, news, or weather. Do not even let your feet hit the ground before you do this next part!

We all have stop-watches on our phones. Set it for 5 minutes and hit start. Sit still, close your eyes, and think about things you love: your spouse/partner, kids, pets/dogs/cats/horses/turtles (things I love), or your amazing and beautiful life. Think of things you’re grateful for: your health, your home, your job. When your mind wanders to your “must do’s,”slap yourself (not too hard) and come back to the beautiful things. Turn up the corners of your mouth into a smile. Do it! For the whole FIVE minutes be still… EXTRA CREDIT (we all like bonus points): Grab a journal and pen and set that timer for another 5 minutes. Record all your thoughts from the first 5 minutes. List things you’d like to do, catalog your feelings for the day. Just be still.

2) A Life Worth Living Requires Soul Food

Once you have your book, set that timer to 15 minutes and read something to help you better understand yourself, your purpose, or your passion. Something that will allow you to share your beautiful self with the world. We are all here for a reason, and life becomes so fulfilling when we’re living in our sweet spot. When I talk about fulfillment and finding your purpose, I’m not talking about your job title. I’m talking about something much bigger. I believe my mom’s role was to raise five healthy, independent, competent women who understand their role is to contribute to the world. That contribution is very individual, but she did her role so well, and she LOVED raising her daughters! It was her passion!

3) Don’t forget your body

So far you have spent 20-25 minutes, and I’m going to ask you to find 20-30 more. That’s less than 1 hour a day on YOU!! You are worthA life worth living it and, most importantly, you deserve it! Today, we are bombarded with information about our bodies. We are the generation that has learned what fast food has done to our health and our kid’s health. We understand that sugar is a drug and it’s everywhere. We understand that obesity and excess weight gain are the BIGGEST contributors to ALL diseases. Seriously it’s true. (noteworthy: dis-ease. Living with the illness is living without ease.)

I know tackling physical health and weight loss is daunting for many of us, so I have two simple steps to help: 1) Start small and 2) Seek help. The Compound Effect is a fantastic business book that relates to EVERY area of our lives. It’s about how the smallest act, when done consistently, can change the course and direction of where you’re headed.

Start Small

Eliminate ONE thing you know is not good for your health or add on ONE good habit, like 20 minutes of walking/day. Then seek an accountability group. (Not sure, but you might just find a good one on this site—just sayin’). We humans were created to be relational beings, not independent I-do- everything-alone beings. I had to learn this the hard way, but you don’t need to. I have a whole team of people willing to help in many, many ways. You only need to raise your hand!

I hope this helps you remember to take time for YOU today. I know it’s not all about you, but you can’t argue that it MUST start with YOU!