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

Breaking Basic

New Year, new goals, clean slate, a sense of renewal and leaving the past behind...again and again and again! If you take a peek at your goals from last year, you likely reached some of them. Some you will copy and paste into the upcoming new year.  If we pay close attention and take an honest inventory, we are copying and pasting more than we probably should. Yes, it’s important to be gentle with oneself and adjust timing of our goals as needed, but we often let the copy and paste happen because of our lack of a breakthrough, and attachment to a perceived payoff. Let’s explore this more closely.

If you’ve ever been through a goal-setting session, you’ve likely heard of “SMART Goals” a million times over:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based.  This is a great foundation for goal-setting and simple to apply, yet it is simultaneously basic. When you are living your muse, you aren’t basic. Your path can’t be planned through a “one size fits all” plan. Life will likely require that you experience a unique, major breakthrough to get to your muse and live beyond the ordinary. This breakthrough might be so personal to you that it can’t be considered “measurable”.  It might be a state of mind, a perception, or an emotional experience. And in no way, shape or form can you become extraordinary with ordinary tools.  You must be willing to do the things that don’t look perfect, polite, accommodating or acceptable in order to reach your breakthrough.

Start by looking back at where you came from. Your family, hometown, childhood friends & activities, etc.  It’s your foundation, and an integral part of who you are. Throughout life, you have been and will be exposed to different opportunities that broaden your scope beyond where you come from. This is actually pretty common for most of us. It usually starts with college or other post-high school experiences, where we leave home to pursue a higher level education or new experiences. Some of us may return home and others do not. For some it is only the start of many journeys that exacerbate the gap between where you come from and where you are going. This gap quickly becomes evident in the relationships in your life. Any time that you move, elevate to a new position or make a major life change, you run the risk of leaving people behind. There’s a deeply personal and often negative connotation that comes with this. You are pursuing your dreams and your calling in life, but it comes at the cost of changing your relationships. And boy, can some people put a guilt trip on you!  “You left me”, “I never see you”, “You’re too good for us now”. Those comments cut like a knife. It’s not that you don’t care about your friends and family; you are simply following your calling.  And isn’t that what life is all about?  Living your muse to fulfill your soul’s purpose? Hearing that your loved ones feel left behind is hard and it hurts. You have no intention of causing pain, but the risk of misrepresenting yourself to others is one of the many costs of propelling yourself forward. Everyone is responsible for themselves, including those that may feel left in your past. Find new ways to connect and create bonds through distance and change, but never make yourself responsible for those in your life that inflict guilt trips, make you responsible for their happiness or project their lack of growth on your success. Is the payoff of being close, accommodating others, and putting their needs first worth the cost of your dream?

Payoffs are hard to see. They are usually a blind spot that we, and our friends and families, can’t even identify at the surface. The easiest way to explore them is to start with your fears. If I ______________, I’m scared that _____________ will happen. Our interpretations of simple cause and effect. Over years of conditioning, experiences, abuse, lost loves, failures, successes, we establish a set of rigid ideas that make up our template for a solid, responsible “plan”. In actuality, we have developed mental and emotional limitations that block our willingness to incorporate taking risks and conquering fears into our plan.  We equate “safe” to “responsible”, and “comfortable” to “right”. But when you are truly breaking through thresholds, you’ll see that those principles go straight out the window. You face your fear dead on and overcome your complacency and the payoff you’ve been leaning on.

When I was doing heavy self work during the process of my divorce, I was reading Conscious Loving by Gay Hendricks, where I came face to face with this concept. Hendricks poses the question “What are you Getting out of Staying Stuck?” In the book, a story is shared about a man and woman suffering from their attachment to a payoff. “Larry and Ruth realized that their main payoff was in maintaining their belief that the other person was wrong. When they fought they could strengthen their belief that ‘no matter what I do, I can’t win with this person.’ Their other big payoff was limiting positive energy. By fighting all the time they kept themselves from acknowledging something very important and real; neither was satisfied with what they were accomplishing in the world. They felt they were not living up to their potential as individuals or as a couple.  Fighting and blaming were ways of avoiding looking at and doing something about this painful awareness.” It’s amazing what we discover when we peel back the layers and face the depths of what’s actually holding us back.  With my own realization of being stuck, I had to face what ever labels, blame, judgments and opinions that would come with divorce.  But with my fear of being alone and starting over, I gave myself the opportunity to live my muse and disprove my fears.

Many of you have stepped out in courageous ways and have started to influence your communities with your life’s work.  This is a tremendous step and you deserve a round of applause.  We are in a new era of both self-promotion and brand-promotion, and sometimes the line between the two feels blurred. It’s a different way of commercialization, but the tools within social media alone have changed the game. Often times, when we have influence, we become too humble about our platform. The more people you know, and the more good work that you do, you are talked about more, have more people to socialize with, more obligations and events...the list goes on and on. It’s exhausting and you can quickly become sick of yourself.  As a result, humility can lead you to pull back on your visibility; you don’t want to bother people with too much “you”. But when you are doing good work and you believe in your work, the world needs more of you. Stand as that example of courage, strength, good, positivity, encouragement, beauty, creativity, and inspiration. Yes, it comes with the price of some people thinking that you are narcissistic, conceited, cocky or egotistical - but guess what... your message isn’t for them! Might I remind you that Oprah’s show was called “Oprah” and her entire brand is “Oprah”. You too have the right to own who you are and rise into your muse unapologetically.  

Beloved musa, all this is said to encourage you to do what YOU need to do this year.  Despite what people might think and how they might feel, despite the fears that flow through your blood, you were put on this earth to do great things. The payoffs of holding back aren’t worth it, and even when it feels like they are, challenge yourself to expand the lens on your scope and find creative ways to maintain the things that are important to you.  Become comfortable with the temporary pain of change and growth, knowing that you are shedding and making room for more goodness in your life.  In 2017, copy and paste that lofty, crazy, dreamy goal for the last time in your life.  Know that this is your year, this is your breakthrough, and there’s no going back to basic.  Live your muse!

Rashanna Moss
CEO & Executive Visionary
Moderna Muse

 

Hendricks, Gay, and Kathlyn Hendricks. Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-commitment. New York: Bantam, 1990. 158-59. Print.

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.