That’s Totally Normal

“When you make a dieting mistake, it’s helpful to NOT use the word “cheat” because “cheating” can have very negative, sometimes moralistic undertones. If you make a mistake in dieting, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a NORMAL person.”

Dr. Judith Beck

When you see someone falter, how does that make you feel? Does their getting back up and keep going inspire you and make you try harder? Does it fill you with glee that the person isn’t so perfect after all, and make you feel justified in not even trying? Does it just remind you that success is a process and their journey is normal for them?

Does your reaction say more about you or about the person who stumbled?

I recently had a fabulous reader tell me that they much preferred my posts where I share my faults and stumbles because they see me as perfect and intimidating and it makes them feel better.

In the past, comments like these used to really bother me. I’m so far from perfect—and don’t try to hide my imperfection—so how could anyone see me that way? This would mean to me that I needed to flay myself open even more and put all of my warts on display to show that if I can do it, anybody can.

In other words, I reacted to their reaction. (Don’t you love that I’m so normal?)

But as hard as I try, the message that “what I can do, so can you” doesn’t always gets through because a person’s response truly is about them. It may be that reader thinks everyone else has it easy and only they struggle. It may be that my faltering makes them feel better because it helps them justify why they aren’t working harder. Who knows?

The bottom line is they are looking outside of their own experience and are judging themselves by how well someone else is doing.

While that can be helpful in normalizing your experience and inspiring you to reach for greatness, more often than not, I think as a society we use any chink in someone’s armor to justify our own limitations. (Here’s a great editorial by Ashley Judd on how society judge’s people on their appearance.)

But the truth is, nobody’s journey looks the same, or follows the same path. How you do it will be as unique as you are. And your journey is perfectly normal for you. Including the stumbles, which are truly a valuable and helpful part of the process.

This was said perfectly in a recent blog from Life Coach Marta Beck where she cited “Success is the opposite of failure” as one of the “Ten Life Lessons You Should Unlearn.”

Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.

So what does it matter if you–or someone else—falters, or even falls? How might what you consider a stumble or failure actually be key to your ultimate success? How might you remember that success is a process and everyone’s journey is normal for them?

To create the life of your dreams, begin to only compare yourself to you. Celebrate all the successes you’ve had, and do more of that. Celebrate all the lessons you’ve learned that are helping guide you to new decisions and actions. Celebrate that you are exactly in the right place on your own journey–and allow others to be exactly in the right place, too.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Stuart Miles /

What Path Are You On?

Nobody experiences or sees the world exactly the way that you do. Because every moment of life is new and ever-changing, all of the individual perspectives in the world are constantly changing and being shaped. The person you are in this moment will be slightly different in the next as you take in these words and the environment around you.

Not only are you influenced by outside experiences, but in this moment you can also consciously choose your perspective, thought, and reaction.

The uniqueness of each individual and their journey is one of my favorite things to ponder. But what does it really mean for our day-to-day lives?

One of the things it can do is help you recognize and accept your innate value. You have value because your experiences and how you see the world are slightly different from anyone else on the planet. You add to the greater whole.

But that’s still pretty esoteric. What does it really mean?

It means that you matter. It means that the greatest gift you can give the world is to be the absolute best possible version of you.

So often, people get caught up in their lives and doing and caring for others that they forget Who they are. They don’t take time to think about what makes them tick? What are their values? What do they enjoy? What’s important to them? How do they want to spend their time? Who do they want to spend time with?

Instead of consciously choosing your path, you may be buffeted along in the hubbub of day-to-day life until you wake up one day and realize you don’t like where you are and that you no longer know the answers to those questions. It’s typically not a pleasant day.

You can also lose sight of Who you are by constantly comparing yourself to other people. If gazing over at someone else’s experience is inspiring, that’s great! Keep doing it. But more often than not, people use the life of another to judge or criticize themselves, their contributions and progress, and their value. You are never going to be able to authentically live another’s life, and trying to do so never feels good.

Other than being somewhat unpleasant, neither of these paths is “bad” or “wrong.” They will still help you create the irreplaceable you, and ultimately taking the scenic route can be very fulfilling.

It’s just that focusing on being the best possible version of you throughout your journey can be a lot more fun and robust. It like catching a wave and riding it into shore versus paddling the whole way.

What does being the best possible version of you mean? Who is that person? What small step can you take today towards being that person?

Together we can do it!


Photo by Tina Phillips /

Just One Step

I caught myself several times over the holiday weekend mentally chastising myself for eating, and eating, and eating. But that line of thought truly is not helpful, and could very well end up making me feel so bad about myself that I would just give-up trying to eat healthy until the New Year.

If I found myself driving in the wrong direction, I wouldn’t just keep going for seven more days and then try to find my way to my destination. Think of all the extra miles I would add-on to the trip, and the possible damage that could be done to my car? Instead, I would turn around right now.

Often we put off taking care of ourselves until Monday, or the first of the year, or some deadline that is later. Then when we get there, we do well for a couple of days, only to feel overwhelmed and deprived and find ourselves back to our old eating and exercise habits.

What if, instead, you committed to eating a little bit healthier today? Or getting in a 10 minute walk today? And you celebrated what you did, instead of what you didn’t do? Would making that same commitment be a little easier tomorrow? What would your wellness journey look like next week? Next month? In six months?


“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

What step are you willing to take on your wellness journey today?

Together we can do it!


Bathing Suit Blues: How to Shift from Dread to Delight

Have you ever turned down an invitation to go to the beach or pool because you were embarrassed of how you would look in a swimsuit? Have you ever dreaded shopping for new clothes because you hated the size you were going to have to buy? Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and been frustrated because a specific body part was far from perfect?

I know I have. And while I’m much, much better about this than I used to be, I still find myself judging specific body parts and feeling anxious about the Caribbean vacation we just booked for our 20th anniversary. I know exactly when my thoughts shifted from “Woo Hoo,” to “I’m going to have to wear a bathing suit in public!”

While part of me is thinking I need to whip myself into even better shape to help reduce those trouble spots, even more powerful is my understanding that those negative emotions are just a signal letting me know where my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are out of alignment with my Higher Self.

In our action-oriented society, we often want to jump right to diet and exercise. The problem is, unless we shift the underlying thoughts, emotions, and beliefs at the same time, we will probably struggle to meet our goals—and most likely won’t be able to maintain them.

Not only will shifting our negative thoughts enough to attain a feeling of relief turbo-charge our actions, it enables us to feel better right now. And the better we feel about ourselves, the better we look—and the more fun we allow ourselves to have.

Really, I love my awareness of these negative emotions because it’s letting me know that with a little work, my life can feel better and I can attain an even higher level of happiness. And the better I feel, the more energy I will have to kick my workouts up a notch and keep to my goal of eating clean.

Truly, the better life gets, the better it can get. We never get rid of every negative reaction, thought, and emotion to be able to slap our hands together and proclaim that we are “perfect.” Being aware of old energy and shifting our focus to achieve a better feeling is what gives life its texture and interest. It’s what makes life fun. The joy in life is not having it be easy or perfect. The joy in life is continually reaching for a better and better feeling place. That’s the journey that everyone is talking about when they say, “enjoy the journey.”

So how can I shift my thoughts to improve my feelings so that I will have the best vacation ever?

One way to do this is to practice “new” thoughts using affirmations. When I catch myself having negative thoughts, I can then shift my focus and consciously think those new thoughts.

First I need to reach for a feeling of relief so that I can create an affirmation that reflects a positive shift in energy. Here’s the thought process I went through.

I know that when I am at the beach or pool that I am so self-conscious that I’m not really thinking much about other people. So it’s likely that other people won’t be thinking very much about me, either. Even if they do have a negative thought, it might last them 20 seconds. My reaction of feeling bad about myself consistently is way out of proportion to the length of time that someone “might” think critically of me.

And while there will be people there who look way better than I do, there will also be people who don’t look as good. I’m not really going to stand out from the crowd that much. Again my reaction is way out of proportion to the reality.

I do know how to dress to accentuate the positive and minimize the negatives. There are lots of different bathing suit options these days, and since we’re not going for a few months, I have plenty of time to find a style that I know flatters me.

I’m not likely to see any of those people again anyway. The only person who matters is my husband, David, and he already loves me and thinks I’m attractive. What really matters is being fully present and living each day to the fullest.

This will be our one and only 20th anniversary. I want to notice the details and focus on what makes it special. I want to see this experience as the gift that it is. What I envision is being able to laugh easily and delight in the sights and sounds, to revel in being with my favorite person in the world without any deadlines or responsibilities, and to allow myself to be open to new things and experiences.

There will be so much to appreciate during that time. The clouds in the sky may never again be the same pattern. We will meet wonderful people who will add to our lives if we let them. We will be surrounded by exquisite tropical beauty. There will be abundant sea life, and there will be so much to do and see.

I do appreciate that my body is fit, strong, and healthy. It will enable me to take part in any experience I choose. And there are parts of my body that I do love, particularly my shapely calves. My body and my life are gifts for which gratitude is the absolute best response.

Ah! There is the start of the affirmation I can use when I catch myself in that old thought pattern.

“My body and my life are gifts for which I am grateful. I appreciate that my body is fit, strong, and healthy, and that I am present and enjoying this moment. My Higher Self loves and appreciates me exactly as I am. I am open to fun and new experiences.”

Pay attention to those habitual patterns of negative thoughts that you have about your body and your life. How can you consciously shift your thoughts so that you feel a sense of relief? What can you do to practice those new thoughts? What difference do you think that might have in your life?

Together we can do it!