Toast Your Triumphs

We’ve reached that point in the year where for many, January 1st has become a distant memory. This happens every year, but time and time again, it continues to catch us off guard. The end of March will mark three whole months since you sat down and set your intentions for 2017. Is your progress measuring up to your expectations?

That is a heavy question. You probably have some wins and accomplishments to be very proud of. You also likely experienced some challenges and setbacks. The most important part of this personal Check-In is to be honest with yourself - you are fully deserving of celebrating your successes, but you must remain fully open to refining, adjusting, and adapting to remain steadfast on your path toward your most personal and complex goals. It takes a minimum of three months to make significant changes in your life, and turn practice into habit. In those three months, shifts and adjustments for sustainability are inevitable. To master your 2017 Check-Ins, dedicate some time to ask yourself the following:

  • Are my goals challenging me? Furthermore, are they challenging me enough?
  • Have I sacrificed my health for any other aspect of my life, or vice versa? If so, what needs to change?
  • Are my goals strictly physical or outward? Have I addressed the need for emotional, intellectual, or spiritual growth?

The process of reinventing and reaching your goals will teach you amazing things about yourself. Below, we’re sharing a bit of what we’ve learned by pushing our own boundaries in goal setting and providing some steps for you to make any necessary adjustments to your own plan, following your next 2017 Check-In.

Rashanna’s Journey:

Back in January, I wrote a blog about “breaking basics” in goal setting to inspire our readers to go further in 2017, and to let go of the things that are holding them back.  It was a challenge that we set forth to change the mindset in which goals are set.  An incredible thing that happens in the process of writing to inspire others, is that you yourself become inspired. You walk the walk a little stronger than before due to the deep exploration that it took to gather your thoughts and set an actionable plan.  So I myself, took my own advice in the new year.  I can report that I am in some ways exhausted, yet I am also invigorated and stronger than ever. 

For me, I had to figure out how to perform at close to a 10 in both business and health.  In the past, when one was at a 10, the other would drop to a 7.  I was personally frustrated because it was taking me so long to find this balance.  The new year forced me to compose a pretty thorough plan for both business and health.  I integrated the entire system into my life by entering it into my calendar as my priority, then I schedule the rest of my life around it.  I'm no longer working 14-hour days with no workout, or getting so far behind on business tasks that I fall off the workout wagon completely.  It ALL gets done because I found my formula.  This is also working for some of our clients that we are coaching through our Meet Your Muse program.  

It's about making a commitment, and designing a system that guides you towards your muse.  I'm exhausted, yes.  But that is because 1) this time of year is always nuts in the wellness industry because our 1st quarter is filled with new customers and lots of events.  2) I'm growing in my capacity to function at a higher level on multiple cylinders.  I feel I have been able to attack challenges in life with more clarity and direction because there just isn't time to not get it in.  My social life has decreased a bit, some good and some bad.  Good, because I have narrowed my social life to supporting the positive, uplifting and mutual friendships rather than the contrary. Bad, because I’m still working on giving myself more time with the ones I love, without feeling like the rug is going to get pulled out from under me if I’m not working.  At the same time, my focus has led to amazing new opportunities that are bringing a new found joy and satisfaction.  Overall, I have learned to make the plan and work the plan as it is providing more balance as well as success.  This time of year is perfect for making the necessary tweaks to your goals so that you can truly transition into a life plan.  We have 10 months to go in 2017.  Your muse is calling you! - Rashanna Moss

Shannon’s Journey:

It’s pretty clear that the Moderna Muse philosophy on overall health, wellness and happiness is anything but one-tracked. So many factors play into becoming the best version of yourself, and that is exactly what I tried to keep in mind back in January, when setting my goals for 2017. I have historically been an “all-in” type of person - committing to very clear, very tangible goals with definitive markers for success. These goals usually lived in worlds separate from one another, with no goals feeding into or playing off of one another. If you think back to the piece Rashanna mentioned earlier, she challenged us to step away from the typical confines of goal-setting, and to push ourselves to dig deeper. Look at the big picture. Dive into a complex, multidimensional goal that might even require a redesign of your whole lifestyle or way of thinking. 

These types of deep, personal goals are difficult to put into words, and sometimes the end result isn’t easy to visualize. But if you’ve ever experienced total alignment with your muse or can imagine what it feels like, you know that sense of satisfaction in your core, and that feeling becomes your vision. It brings a sense of clarity, confidence, and calmness that translates into an undeniable trust in the process and the challenges ahead. That feeling is my continuous goal for 2017 and beyond. Shifting my goals to a more holistic, inclusive approach has required me to let go of one major thing: numbers. In many cases, goal tracking is most easily translated to counting - from calories to account balances to checkmarks on the to-do list to workouts per week, quantifying results can help with focus. But it has also given me stress, which brings a whole other bout of challenges - distraction, lack of sleep, emotional sensitivity, and a general feeling of exhaustion. This year, I have channeled more of my focus into three major areas: 1) what and how my body feels 2) valuing knowledge and experience over wealth and 3) remaining confident and calm in accomplishing tasks. All of these things are qualitative, thus increasing my quality of life without the added stress of counting every single achievement as a means to an end. 

Looking at your goals through a qualitative lens can feed your soul with the goodness that keeps it fired up when it comes to reaching for goals, but there is still a place for structure and planning. You can’t simply say, “I’m going to be more mindful” and suddenly have a bounty of knowledge and awareness bestowed upon you from the universe. Qualitative goals take work and practice, so I have put a structure of actions and exercises, as well as a calendar around those goals to hold myself accountable to them. And of course, it’s okay and often helpful to include some markers of numbers or data in your goals, but it will all be without meaning if you aren’t balancing that with the freedom, happiness, and satisfaction your soul wants at its core. Don’t abandon your muse in the race to quantify your achievements! - Shannon Pike

We hope you can see that the journey is just as important, if not more important, than the destination. Being open and honest with yourself about your successes and challenges can become a catalyst for getting to know yourself on a level you never imagined. Going through deliberate personal Check-Ins through the year will help you in cultivating goals that break basic and push you to get in touch with exactly who you are meant to be. So put your plan in place, and commit to your routine Check-Ins just as you committed to the goal itself:

  • Pick a Check-In date and stick to it. Three-month increments are a great place to start. If you find that your life shifts with certain seasons, or certain times of year can trigger a falloff from your goals, adjust accordingly.
  • Make an effort to reduce the internalizing of outward noise. This includes the distraction of relationships that do not serve or support you. Your goals and your progress are your own, and your markers of success should never come from the criticisms of others. If you’re relying on the opinions of others to determine where you’re at in the process, your goals are not your own, and you will lose touch with the journey.
  • Eliminate self-pity and excuses. There is a delicate balance between pushing and being kind to yourself. Falling short of a goal simply means you need to reevaluate and adjust your plan - not give up, or make excuses. You are capable of more than you know!

Even though we are challenging you to set very personal goals and have extremely honest conversations with yourself, remember that you are not alone in your journey. Draw inspiration and motivation from the people in your life that support you, can relate to you, and hold you accountable for working your plan. And if you’re ready to amplify your growth but aren’t sure where to start, we would be honored to hear from you. Contact us any time. We’re in this together, musas! 

Rashanna Moss & Shannon Pike
CEO & COO, Moderna Muse

Yours Truly: 5 Languages of Self-Love

To fully love another, you have to love yourself. As we step into February, the quintessential month of love, we are constantly reminded of all of the ways we “should” want to be loved by others. Gifts, dates, cards, candies - constant expressions of affection. There is a misconception around February that part of our worth is dependent on the expressions of love we receive. This month, I am challenging you to channel some of your love inward, and love yourself in the same way you enjoy being loved by others. 

At the beginning of the year, I took Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages quiz, to discover how I prefer to be loved by others. As it is, this quiz is impressively enlightening, and provides actionable ways to help both you and your significant other understand how and why you respond to certain expressions of affection. I have taken the quiz before, a few years ago, but this time around, I shifted my perception of the results. Instead of thinking of my Love Languages as a guide for my husband, I considered them as a guide for myself - 5 Languages of Self-Love.

The Original 5 Love Languages
Words of Affirmation: Unsolicited compliments & verbal expressions of love
Acts of Service: Personal favors and nurturing actions
Receiving Gifts: Tangible tokens of thoughtfulness and affection
Quality Time: Undivided attention and one-on-one time
Physical Touch: Connectivity through physical displays of affection

The Reimagined 5 Languages of Self-Love
Positive Inner Dialogue: Self-talk centered on positive attributes and kindness
Acts of Independence: Getting things done how and when you want to
Personal Value-Adds: Making purchases that truly increase quality of life
Quality Alone Time: Dedicated moments of solitude or reflection
Physical Wellness: Body awareness through fitness, nutrition and personal care

I've spent the last few weeks applying this simple tool of reimagined Love Languages to harness my independence in nurturing a happy and healthy heart. Using my new, self-care focused Love Languages as a framework, I have made a significant effort to spend quality time alone with my thoughts while independently doing and accomplishing things I enjoy, connect deeply to my physical presence and wellness, and remind myself of all of the reasons I am grateful to be exactly who I am.

When I first set out on this little self-love experiment, I couldn't help but think it might be selfish. I was actually worried about carving out quality time with myself, and wondered if all of this self care might get a little overwhelming, and a little expensive. But what I realized is that self-love is so much more about perception and mindset than it is about doing things or buying material items to find happiness. By simply deciding that you are going to be kind to yourself, your whole outlook can change. Being aware and conscious of negative self talk helps you shut it down. Making an effort to see the small moments in life as “quality time” helps you appreciate those moments more - even just grabbing a coffee from my favorite cafe has felt special to me over the last few weeks, simply because I decided it is. And of course, getting out there and doing things that are good for your body and mind does have an incredible impact on your mood and overall happiness. I finally scheduled the facial that I'd been “too busy” to find time for, and finally booked a hair appointment at a salon I've been dying to visit (thank you Calm Skincare Studio and bex+Co.!). I slowed down my routine and stopped making excuses to put off doing things that make me feel good.

At Moderna Muse, we’re in the business of personal growth, achievement, and development. We take this view not only for our clients, but also for ourselves. When a huge part of your life is focusing on all of the ways you can improve, it is easy to lose sight of all of the amazing things that you have already accomplished. It becomes natural to be hard on yourself, tear yourself down, and constantly tune into your failures and how you can fix them. When you're trying to go up and up and up, self-love and self-care often take a backseat. This is absolutely detrimental to your journey toward success. If you are not operating with love for yourself at your core, all of that work and every struggle, big and small, will wear you down. Tony Robbins said it best: “Push will wear you out. When you’re pushing to do something, you only got so much willpower. But when you’re pulled, when there’s something larger than yourself that you’re here to serve and that you believe you’re made for, that brings energy.” The key here is the part about belief - honestly buying into the idea that you were made for a specific purpose. That belief in your power opens you up to self-love and respect. If you're going to push yourself, you also need to address and nurture the things that pull you toward your inspiration, and balance out the pressure with a foundation of positivity and love for yourself. 

So, why is this foundation of self-love so important? For most of us, when we hear the word “love”, we immediately think of our feelings towards others and the affection we receive from them. But the one thing in this world that you can 100%, without a doubt count on - with a little practice and patience - is yourself. You can’t run away from yourself. You can’t take a break from yourself, or go off on a journey and leave yourself behind. You are stuck with yourself, whether you like it or not - so you might as well learn to love you! Life is full of curveballs, and unfortunately, we often have to receive those curveballs from people we care about. This is not to suggest that you build up walls or distance yourself from love out of the fear of heartbreak, but it’s important that you develop personal strength and love for yourself to survive those surprises that life may throw your way. It all comes down to planning, out of respect for your own heart. There’s no need to sit around worrying about the worst things that could happen to you or the idea of being alone, but there’s strength in being prepared with an arsenal of independence. If you’ve only ever relied on others to provide love for you, then the symptoms of withdrawal will be at their absolute worst when you inevitably have to experience solitude. This isn’t limited to breakups - being alone is part of everyday life, no matter what kind of relationship you are currently in. From work to carting kids around to juggling finances and workouts and friendships and personal aspirations, life gets crazy, and you won’t always be able to sync with a significant other. You’ve got to be comfortable with just doing you when you have to and find the joy and love in simply being with yourself.

Easier said than done, right? Loving yourself is hard. So take the 5 Languages of Self Love challenge! I have felt everything in my life get a little easier by consciously placing self-love at my core. It has helped me move past setbacks faster, learn lessons quickly, and move forward with more energy and light in my everyday life. Take the quiz. Reimagine your Love Languages. Remind yourself how you want to be loved. Then make it your goal for the next month to give yourself that love and #liveyourmuse.

Shannon Pike
COO & Executive Brand Curator
Moderna Muse

My Languages of Self-Love: 1) Quality Alone Time 2) Acts of Independence 3) Positive Inner Dialogue 4) Physical Wellness 5) Personal Value-Adds

My Languages of Self-Love: 1) Quality Alone Time 2) Acts of Independence 3) Positive Inner Dialogue 4) Physical Wellness 5) Personal Value-Adds

Source: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

The Holidaze: A Balancing Act

I have always felt like an anomaly. I am a devout lover of all things health & fitness, while simultaneously a champion for kicking back and, dare I admit...indulging. The holidays can be the most dangerous time of year for wellness, especially if indulgence to you is just as shiny as the angel on top of your tree. Indulgence can take over, allowing your physical, mental, and emotional state to go absolutely haywire as it becomes more and more difficult to keep up your normal routine. It’s taken me a decade of trial and error, figuring out how to balance the extremes of my love for wellness and fun, to get to the place where I am now. This is the most at peace I have ever been with my choices in both realms during any holiday season in my lifetime, and it actually fell into place quite naturally. When you sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself, and ask what it is that truly brings you joy, makes you feel fulfilled, and gives you that merry-and-bright, wintery glow, the plan creates itself. You just have to honor that truth, and follow it.

The temptation of indulgence exists year-round, but we are completely saturated by it during the holidays. It’s woven into the fabric of our seasonal celebrations. Kate from HR is always going to bring that plate of her Grandma’s famous Christmas cookies to the office. Your best friend is always going to throw that holiday party in December. Peppermint mochas will be all over your TV screen and inevitably dancing in your head. Somehow, many of us resist the temptation of indulgence in our daily lives, but during the holidays, we associate these treats with the warm-and-fuzzies - and what kind of monster says "no" to the warm-and-fuzzies, right?! The sugary family recipes, the hot cocoa on the couch with the kids, and the boozy dinner parties are the foundation of our holiday traditions; they bring us so much joy and happiness. For me, sipping bourbon on the couch in front of my Christmas tree is my favorite holiday pastime, and it’s not going anywhere! You can enjoy these traditions, while maintaining a standard for your body and mind that will ultimately make the season even more enjoyable than ever before.

Decide what you want your holiday season to look like from a health, wellness, and indulgence perspective. Remember that if you want to maintain your current state, and come out of the holidays feeling like the same you that went into them, every action needs to have a reaction. If your vision for the season is to go big, make it to all of the holiday parties, enjoy all of your favorite recipes, and sip bourbon like it’s your job (like yours truly), you’ve got some additional planning to do to balance out your health and energy levels. You might need to give something up from your normal daily life to carve out some extra time for self-care. This season, my husband and I knew we had a ton of travel coming up, which would mean a lot of indulgence, but also a lot of quality time together. We decided to give up our usual, daily hour of morning coffee together, and we replaced it with fresh workout routines. It seemed sad at first, because that coffee date on the couch was my favorite hour of a normal day. But we chose to give up that hour to keep ourselves feeling our best as we moved into the holidays. Because we’ve both been so committed to our personal fitness over the last 8 weeks, we were able to spend an amazing week in Wisconsin with our families, where we could temporarily de-prioritize our workouts and just relax with our loved ones, with zero guilt involved.

That is the push and pull of the holidays. There will be weeks when you can’t get everything done. Your workouts might take a back seat, or you might dip into the cookie jar a few too many times, but if you are working from a strong foundation in your health, you will bounce back faster than your neighbors can inflate that 10-foot tall snowman in their front yard.

When you do make the decision to indulge, know your limits and separate need from novelty. Everyone has a “fill line”...that point where if you go any further, you’re going to bubble over and it’s going to be a mess. We are in the throes of holiday party season, where we want to say “yes” to everyone and everything. Every Saturday feels like a special occasion. Remember that you, and only you, are in charge of your choices. You can go to all of the holiday parties, but you don’t necessarily have to drink ALL of the wine. Are you tired from being your family’s Santa all day and dreaming about a bath and your slippers and snuggling up in your reindeer jammies? Arrive on the early side, and get out of there when you’re ready. Give the party the best of you, whatever that is, and leave on a high note. You should never catch yourself saying, “I felt like I HAD to have a cocktail”, “I felt like I HAD to stick around”, “I felt like I HAD to try the dessert”. It’s a guarantee that your loved ones don’t want you to feel that way. They want you at your best, and your best for an hour is better than having you for four when you’re exhausted and checked out.

All in all, the holidays are chock full of things that make our hearts happy but our bodies feel less than their best. When you want to enjoy things that aren't stellar for your physical health, you NEED to balance them. If it doesn't feel right to give them up, find a way to make them work. If you make the choice to kick back and enjoy your indulgence this holiday season, without adjusting your routine or adding a little extra self-care, then be grounded in your decision. Be honest with yourself about the impact it might have on your happiness. There is nothing wrong with taking a breath and stepping back from the grind, but not at the expense of your sense of self. Commit to aligning with exactly who you as an individual are meant to be this holiday season, from the social, indulgence, and health perspectives. Every year you will learn more about what makes your body, mind, and soul feel best.

Shannon Pike
COO & Executive Brand Curator, Moderna Muse

Shannon enjoying her drink of choice at a recent Moderna Muse event, Fried & Fabulous.

Shannon enjoying her drink of choice at a recent Moderna Muse event, Fried & Fabulous.