Favorite and Life Changing Podcasts

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Are you a podcast listener? I LOVE podcasts. My addiction started slow, but once I found ones I loved I became hooked. There are podcasts for any niche thing you are into. I find I would much rather spend time listening to something that really resonates with me or be learning something over most (not all) of the mindless shows on television.

I have many favorites that have either helped me in some way, or I’ve learned something from or I just flat out find them entertaining! I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

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Personal Development/Health and Wellness

Happier with Gretchen Rubin/Happier in Hollywood
Goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of her work. This show has all three of things I was talking about. I learn little tips and tricks to use in my life, it’s helped me to focus on what is important and it’s super entertaining. It’s where I began my second Happiness Project that sent everything in motion for me and how I started my “18 for 2018” lists and every year after.

Happier in Hollywood is Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth’s podcast that she does with her TV writing partner Sara Fain. In the same vein as Happier but with the twist of life in LA as TV writers.

Balanced Bites
This one is no longer producing new episodes but you can still access all the previous years of content. This was PERFECT for me when I began my paleo lifestyle. Diane SanFilippo and Liz Wolfe are just a fountain of knowledge when it comes to clean eating.

The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman
This took my knowledge of wellness and food to a whole other level. His guests are top-notch! He goes beyond just “what should we eat”. He dives into climate change, farming, mindfulness, mental illness, social justice and list goes on. He has truly opened my eyes to the BIGGER picture and has inspired me to get involved with food advocacy. Future project!

Infinite Potential with Deepak Chopra
Another teacher/mentor I have learned so much from . With all of his 21-day Meditation Experiences I did, this was a no brainer. Every week Deepak interviews a guest to discuss everything mind, body, spirit and beyond.

Ten Percent Happier
If you are familiar with Dan Harris from ABC News you are probably already aware of this podcast. Every week he interviews a mediation teacher or leader. I always come away inspired and motivated and I learn something new every single time.

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
It’s Oprah! What’s not to love? I’m a fan of SuperSoul Conversations on TV but if I miss the episodes, I can always find them here.

The Sheri and Nancy Show
If you are a woman 40+ I guarantee you will find this show not only relatable but entertaining! Sheri spent most of her career as Oprah’s producer and now with her friend Nancy they are working on their “pillars” for all of us to hear and learn from. This show is great. It’s all about the second half of life. Sheri is 60 and has no intention of slowing into retirement. What keeps you alive are all the things I talk about on my blog and on this show they are sharing what happens as they work on all of those things. This show gave me a total mindset shift. When I was approaching 50, I kept thinking, I can’t believe I finally figured out how to live and it’s almost over. I was sad about that for a while, but after listening to this podcast I have a whole new attitude. When I tell people my age I also add that “I’m only half way” and that’s how I view it. I’m in the second HALF. When I reframed it, I now think, “ wow, there’s SO much I want to do and I have the time to do it. Life is good”. But it doesn’t magically happen on it’s own. If you don’t work on all aspects of your life you won’t get there or if you do you probably won’t feel so great and will be force to stop “living”. See my post on my Wellness Wheel to see the areas I’m working on for longevity. Another way I’ve heard it described is “training for the centurion olympics”. I love that. If you want to get to 100 AND feel good you absolutely must train NOW. Ok, that was a lot on one podcast! Update: This podcast is no longer producing new episodes, but the old ones are there for you.

Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson
Think of Dr. Hanson as a kind of Mr. Rogers for adults. He is SO CALMING. And extremely knowledgeable. His show focuses on mindfulness, compassion and happiness and all the science behind it. I find it fascinating.

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Personal Finance

HerMoney with Jean Chatzky
You may know Jean Chatzky from the Today show or Oprah. When I decided to truly get our finances in order I began listening to MANY personal finance podcasts. Some stuck and some didn’t. This one stuck. It’s informative and practical and she always has interesting guests. I needed a lot of help in this area. I knew NOTHING about personal finance and money in general. I was starting at ground zero. I’m so much more literate now. This podcast was only a very small part of my learning. I went to our local library and checked out every basic personal finance book and read them all. I found a budgeting method that works for me and now I work on our finances every single day. But the podcast keeps it in the forefront of my mind.

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Music (aka podcasts that makes me happy)

Disgraceland
Stories of rock stars behaving badly told by Jake Brennan. Not for the faint of heart. Some of these stories are just outrageous. But that’s what it is to be a rock star. Personally, I can’t get enough.

My Favorite Album with Jeremy Dylan
Great concept for a music podcast. Jeremy invites a musician to discuss their favorite album song by song. A lot of fun to hear what these artists favorite albums are and why.

27 Club
Another darker podcast from Jake Brennan. This focuses an entire season to one artist that passed away at 27 years old. I love a podcast that takes a deep dive and this one definitely does.

Rolling Stone Music Now
From Rolling Stone magazine. The best interviews and music journalists in one place. I love their conversations and find myself laughing all the time.

80’s Music Exposed
This is a fun one! Especially if you grew up in the 80’s like me. This is a monthly podcast where they discuss the albums that came out in the 80’s in order by month. It’s really fun to hear some of this music again and to hear the critiques. The two guys are musicians and also around my age so I like hearing their opinions about what they liked then and now and what holds up and what doesn’t.

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Random

You Must Remember This
Probably the most well done, entertaining, informative podcast I listen to. Karina Longworth hosts this podcast about old classic Hollywood. These stories are FASCINATING! The best part about this podcast and what makes it unique is that she doesn’t just pick random stories. She selects a subject and then goes deep. Truly better than anything on TV. This podcast along with Disgraceland have won a couple of awards and you can tell why when you start listening. They are just on a different level and it’s obvious the work that went into them.

The Librarian is In
The New York Public Library has a podcast of book recommendations and what I love about this podcast is how it’s relaxed, but intelligent. I’ve tried other book related podcasts and they are either stuffy or just someone reading a list of recommendations and info off the book jacket. These are two employees of the library who come to discuss one book that each of them read. The conversation always takes a turn into something else. It’s just conversation. I love it. It’s funny, emotional and educational. And very New York.

Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda
I’ve always liked Alan Alda. Smart and funny, just seems like a great guy. And loved watching him on MASH. I didn’t know until recently about his interview podcast. All the guest are well know and when Alda interviews them, it’s a sincere, thoughtful and intelligent conversation. Reminds me of BBC’s Desert Island Discs if you’ve ever listened to that podcast.

Lost at the Smithsonian
Assif Mandvi takes us to the Smithsonian Museum to explain the importance of one object in the museum per episode. He interviews the staff as well and those who are knowledgeable about the history of the object. This one is so fun to listen to partly because Assif is so funny. One of my favorites was Henry Winkler’s Fonzi jacket from Happy Days. His interview with Henry Winkler was just heart warming. Another favorite was Dorothy’s red ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Give it a try!

Listening to podcasts about things you are interested in or want to learn from can help you achieve all your goals. By listening regularly you will keep everything that is important to you at the forefront of your mind and help you stay on track. Win-win.

I’d love to hear your podcast recommendations! Thanks for being here!


What I learned

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Day 16-21

Wrapping up my 21-Day Meditation Experience these last few days I realized how much I had learned and grown in my practice. Being grateful was so much more than writing down five things every night. That part of my practice is solid and the base of everything else, but what I’ve learned is to “sit in those feelings” when they are happening. Take the time to really feel the joy and gratitude when things are going well. If you don’t feel it and you are just writing things down, it won’t have the same effect on your brain. And I do have memories from the past that are so good and so vivid that I can still feel them. Events big and small. Big events like when my children were born of course or that feeling of falling in love when my husband and I were dating. But small things too. I vividly remember a day in my early twenties. At this time I was living close to the beach and occasionally I would ride my bike from my apartment to the beach and bike along the strand to the next beach town and back to my apartment. This day in particular is a great memory for me and I can’t explain why other than I remember feeling extremely independent and free. I can still remember how the sun felt so warm that day and I also remembering feeling strong. I was working out regularly but biking was new for me. I LOVED it.

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There were many lessons for me in this meditation experience, but it also made me glaringly aware of how much I judge. (see last week’s post) Awareness is key. This is something I’m now working on more than ever. I’m an enneagram one, the Reformer, so by nature I like to “fix things”. That includes myself and others. If you aren’t familiar with the enneagram, it’s not exactly a personality test, it’s more your true nature. I’m all about self knowledge! If you want to know more about the enneagram, you can read more here.
https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions

One of my favorite quotes from Deepak during these last few sessions was “I am consciousness that accepts life with wisdom”. It was time to take what I learned into my life!

I’d love to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!


Are you Judgy?

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Day 13-15

I’ll admit that I have a tendency to judge others. In this political climate I have found that some friends and acquaintances and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of issues. And now with all of us posting our stances and feelings on social media (and I don’t have a problem with that because I do it on a regular basis) I am confronted with differing opinions from my own on a daily basis. Deepak says “When you judge another human, you are denying that we are the same.” He explains a practice of visualizing the person you are judging with a parental attitude. Loose the grip on our grudges and find compassion. He goes on to say that empathy links you to everyone on earth. Well, that was just mind blowing to me. Of course it does! My favorite quote of Deepak’s from this session was “Step down from the judge’s chair”. Yes, Mona, step down. And stay down and post it this all over your house so you remember!

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Next I made a list of people who I have judged or continue to judge and found things we both value or something I value and respect about them. Without listing names of course, I came up with the following;

Friend/Acquaintance #1 – She is extremely giving with her time and her kids.
Friend/Acquaintance #2 – She is a good mother.
Friend/Acquaintance #3 – We both want the best for our kids. We both are book lovers.

When you start looking at others this way it’s much easier to “step down from the judges chair” and stop the internal battle of “I’m right.” Which I do struggle with. I’ve found this little exercise can help me get through and not necessarily cut these people out of my life just because I disagree with something they did/said or believe. This is NOT the same as me removing toxic people from my life! (see previous post) That is different and necessary!

Have you found yourself judging others? Take some time this week to try the visualization I described above. Let me know how it goes in the comments! Thanks for being here!


Stories We Tell Ourselves

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Day 7-9

As much progress as I’d made to this point, I would occasionally have thoughts like what could have been if I hadn’t been hurt. This is not a good road to venture down. For so long I was only focused on the negative. I was consumed with pain. It was a constant battle to focus on the positive and move forward, but I did it. I realized too, that I should have been much more in charge of my own health. I don’t necessarily follow all of what a doctor will tell me these days. I use my common sense as well as I listen to what I’m told. The difference is when I was younger I would follow the doctor’s instructions to a tee, even if inside it didn’t feel right. Never questioning.

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It’s hard I think for some people to understand what a gift I was given with these events occurring in my life. You hear people say this after a tragedy occurs, and you think that can’t possibly be how they feel. But it is. Every single part of my life is better because of what happen to me. Just to name a few.. I fixed my diet, I did another Happiness Project, I learned how to meditate, I learned how to exercise with correct form, I learned yoga and made a ton of new friends. And as you know, if you have been reading this blog, each of those areas ricochet into many more areas of improvement. A big self improvement, self healing journey. I guarantee you NONE of that would have had happen if my life hadn’t been stopped in it’s tracks.

Deepak says no two people see reality the same way. Reality is personal (the stories you tell yourself). This was a big AHA moment for me. The fact that there even could be stories I was telling myself was a new idea. What do you mean? You mean every thought in my head isn’t based on facts? Ha! I catch myself in this one ALL THE TIME. Am I making up a story in my head? Or is this something based in facts that I know is true? Life changing when you are aware of this. Deepak says “we are the author of our life story”. I love that so much. I’m just going to keep living my truth. I hope you will too.

Do you feel like you are telling yourself a story about what is happening in your life? Or is it based on actual facts? It’s a good question to ask yourself. Often. Once you start asking you can see where you can let go of a lot of anxiety and worry. Please comment below! I can’t wait to hear from you! Thanks for being here!


My Time, Your Time, and Our Time

Day 12

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According to Deepak Chopra, we all have our own rhythm. We can’t and shouldn’t expect others to be in our rhythm. The ego tells us “our time is better” but we do need to respect each other’s styles. And when we come together those differences go away and the attention needs to be on “us”, not “me.”

In my notebook I have a three things listed under My Time:

Sketching
Reading
Meditating

We all know what happen with sketching! (see previous post) My intentions were good. I tried it and it didn’t stick. That’s ok. If I was to do this exercise today I would replace sketching with yoga or journaling.

Reading is a mainstay in my life and a BIG priority. It gets A LOT of my free time because I get so much happiness from reading and everything to do with reading. Like, browsing the library, reading book reviews, going to author talks and signings, going to books stores, talking to others about books.. it goes on and on.

And the last area I wrote in my notebook to under My Time was meditation. Another non-negotiable. I make sure I have my meditation time early in the morning when no one else is awake and there are no distractions. It’s by far my favorite part of my day. I know I’m doing so much good for myself. Changing those pathways in my brain!!!

For Your Time, I couldn’t choose what my husband does with his free time, I just know that he needs to choose that for himself. Most of the time he will choose golf. He enjoys it because he’s in outdoors in nature, walking, and playing a sport he loves. If not golfing, the other activity he chooses for his free time is running. As long as he has his time to do his thing, all is good.

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Then there is Our Time. I’ve talked about this before too, but our dates mostly consist of seeing concerts and other musical events. We are BIG music people. I didn’t realize how big until recently. I thought, “doesn’t everyone want to go to as many concerts as possible?!” No, they don’t, actually. Ha! Well, these are our dates most of the time. He enjoys eating out way more than I do. When restaurants catch up to what healthy eating consists of, I’ll venture out again. There are a few places doing it right, but not many. I like knowing what’s in my food these days.

Do you have scheduled time to yourself? Try the following:

Make a list of three or four things you want to do with YOUR time.

If you are in a relationship, what are the things you could or want to do with OUR time?

I would love to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!


Fulfillment!

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Day 3

Do you ever notice how you don’t feel tired when life is satisfying? In today’s meditation Deepak explains that when we have organized energy with meaning and purpose, we then have fulfillment in our lives. And we do not except stress and obstacles. Once again, it’s about staying in the flow.

The Centering Thought for today was “When I feel fulfilled, I have enough energy for anything needed.” This really was a bit of a lightning bolt moment. Every since I began my journey and started focusing on all the areas of my life (diet, exercise, spirituality, meditation, having goals, being in nature, volunteering, coping skills, conquering fear, becoming an optimist, building community) and basically pursuing EVERYTHING that makes me happy, I have found an energy that just flat out didn’t exist before. I’m just SO ALIVE. I was always a “doer”. That’s not new. And my Upholder tendency allows me to get done what I want to get done. The difference was the work and intentionally I had put in resulted in so much happiness and energy. I can’t even relate to people who walk around in the “I’m so tired” state. Think about how many people say that to you in a given day. Or maybe it’s you. And I know by looking back that it wasn’t just “one” thing to make this happen for me. It was all the things. I am a work in progress. It is easier to move forward knowing that everything I put into this will comeback ten fold. I keep moving forward in all areas of my life and I also keep finding new areas to learn about!

Take a minute this week to think about how fulfilled you are in your life. Does your life give you energy or drain it? Do you have meaning and purpose that fulfill you? I’m excited to hear all your comments! Thanks for being here!


Follow Your North Star

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I wanted to take a minute this week to talk about commitment. Elisha Goldstein wrapped up his Mindful Living Course discussing commitment, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject too. I’ve talked here before about how I was a bit “adrift” in my life. Things happen to me more often than I had planned for things to happen. I didn’t know any better. I cannot emphasize enough how having direction, goals and knowing where you are headed changes your life so drastically. I am making things happen for myself now. Like Dorothy, I had the power all along but just didn’t realize it. Manifestation is REAL. I see it working in my life everyday.

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The difference is having intention and commitment to what it is that I actually want with daily reminders. My reminders come in all forms. Some days, it’s in my yoga class. My very favorite instructor, who is like my guru, will say just the right thing on the right day. I swear, he can read my mind, and body for that matter. He knows exactly what I need to hear and what I need to physically do! I’m sure I’m not the only one in the class that feels that way, but that’s the magic of a brilliant instructor.

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Another reminder is good old post it notes! These are great to write your intentions on and post on the dashboard of your car, your bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator. Wherever it will be seen!

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Of course, another way to be reminded of where you are headed is a vision board. I keep mine in my bedroom as a constant reminder. I love it. I’ve actually used mine for two years straight, as my goals remained the same, but the week I’m writing this I’m having a vision board party to make a new board with my friends! I used Sarah Centrella’s book #futureboards as a guide this time and I’m SO glad I did. She made me think really big. Way bigger than I would have done on my own. And this will not be a board for just the coming year. It’s my vision for the next 10, 20 or 30 years! I can’t wait to put it all together. If you want to know more about the #futureboards book or Sarah Centrella click here https://www.sarahcentrella.com/.

Have you found your North Star? Do you have reminders in place to keep you committed to your mission? Try one or two of the following:

Write your intentions on post-it notes in your car, bathroom mirror or refrigerator

Have a yoga or other meditation practice to keep you mindful and intentional

Make a vision board

I can’t wait to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!


Emotional Contagion is REAL

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Have you ever felt drained after meeting with a friend? Our friends should give us energy, not deplete us. Emotions are contagious. You can learn more about emotional contagion here. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201906/protect-yourself-emotional-contagion That is reason alone to review who you are spending your time with since we are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Elisha Goldstein explains that we are a highly social species and whoever we are around influences our behavior. Having a high social connection has become one of my overarching goals for many reasons that I’ve written about here before including longevity. I’ve made some huge improvements on this front, but still have more to work on.

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In this lesson, I was to make a list of all the people I spend the most time with and then rate them on a scale of 1-10 by asking how much that person inspired me. At the time, I came up with a list of 17 people that I saw regularly. I thought this would be a difficult exercise but it was not. The uninspiring people were glaringly so. The lowest number I assigned any one person was a 3. Needless to say, I’m not really in contact with that person anymore. There was nothing so terrible about her, but she was the kind of person who when they speak, only complaints come out of their mouth. I was like that too at one time, and I probably would have been a snarky cohort, but now I see it and I want to run!


On the other end, the highest number I assigned was a 9 and that went to three friends. One of which was my personal trainer Carrie, which made complete sense since she jumpstarted so much of this for me. One other was one of the ladies in my exercise group who did some incredibly meaningful volunteer work. The kind of work that stopped me in my tracks to ask more. She was SO inspirational to me. She was the reason I started doing more important volunteer work in the first place. Not to mention all the health benefits of volunteering that I’ve mentioned before. I used to joke in class that “When I grow up I want to be her”. She lives her beliefs and there’s nothing more inspiring than that. My last 9 went to a friend who I feel is truly supportive. I never felt drained around her, in fact, the complete opposite is true. After seeing her I feel GREAT! She actually listens to me and understands me. Our conversations are real. She is most definitely part of my tribe.

This week try the exercise above. Make a list of the people you spend the most time with and assign each a number based on how inspiring they are to you. If nothing else you will see where your energy gets lifted up and where it gets drained. I can’t wait to hear about your experience with this exercise! Thanks for being here!


Toxic People

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Toxic people. We all know who they are. They are friends, co-workers and family members. Now that I had learned how to become an optimist, I also needed to learn how to keep the negative people out of my life. Some of this is in our control. I can choose my friends. But family members and co-workers are another story. You can absolutely set boundaries with family members. And for the very first time in my life, I did it. It’s not pleasant. Without going into too much detail, for this persons privacy, I had decided that if this family member was going to be in my home, the rules were going to change. I did not and would not accept the gloomy negativity and comments or the crying and the drama anymore. I’ve done too much work to let that happen to myself or my family. Remember, emotions are contagious! So choose wisely who you allow into your space. I really don’t buy the attitude that just because someone is related by blood you have to spend time with them or forgive all their destructive ways. I choose the people I surround myself with and that includes family members as well.

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Co-workers are another story. There is no escape! I recently heard Christine Lang’s Tiny Class on the Sheri and Nancy Show podcast about how to “cleanse your energy”. She says when encountering negative energy to say to yourself “Please clear me of energy that isn’t good.” Another strategy, which is the one I try to use, is to use visualization by visualizing yourself in a stream with water running over you and the stream is carrying everything out through your head to the feet. Another visualization she recommends is visualizing yourself going through a car wash, cleansing yourself of the bad energy. She suggests using these strategies a couple times of day as needed. I think these are very helpful in a work situation where you may not have another choice. If you want to learn more about Christine Lang or her “Shielding yourself from negative energy” talk, you can find her here. https://youtu.be/k-w3Ci9m2_k

Do you have toxic people in your life? This week think about whether it’s in your best interest to keep them in your circle or is it better to learn techniques to shield yourself from emotional contagion? I’d love to hear your feedback! Please comment below! Thanks for being here!


No Prerequisites

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I’m going to take a quick pause from my 21 Day Meditation Experience posts to talk about a moment that happen to me during the same time as the 21 Day Meditation Experience that was another aha for me.

I was listening to the “This is 50 Podcast”, now called “The Sheri and Nancy Show” and honestly, I don’t know who the guest was that they had on because I didn’t note her name, however she said some things that made me jumpstart all I had envisioned for myself.

By this time, I had the revelation that I wanted to pursue Health and Wellness in some form but had not acted on it just yet. It was brewing. I had a lot of questions and doubts. Was I smart enough? How will I afford school when I’m trying to pay for college for both kids? Will it be worth it? Will I have clients? Then, as if on cue, I heard the following about pursuing your dreams:

  • Be clear about your wants
  • Believe in your dream
  • Take action
  • Know yourself
  • No prerequisites
  • Increased longevity if you have dreams

These all hit home with me and were areas I was trying to work on. NO PREREQUISITES! That was such a good thing for me to hear! All I did at that point was give myself prerequisites! The kids must be done with college, we need to be debt free, I have to have the perfect business plan….How freeing to know I could just start. And that’s exactly what I did. The ball started rolling shortly after this. I like to say it was a “shift”. I’ve had a few of these along the way where I hear or read something the resonates so strongly that I make the change immediately. And this was one of those days.

She (the unknown speaker) said we should ask yourselves “Who are you now?” That’s a really good question because I was no longer the same person I was even a few years ago. Life changes, kids get older, we get older and we adjust. Or not. And that’s when the decline happens. This wise person said, that decline in the body happens when one or more of the following things happen:

  1. Empty nest
  2. Retirement
  3. No dreams

Well, empty nest was literally around the corner, I had no dreams until recently and retirement was further down the road, but not that far. So, I decided right then that I would NOT wait until my kids were out of college to pursue my dreams. I would find the funds and the courage to move forward and that’s exactly what I did.

Have you put your dreams on hold? Ask yourself why and start taking action on them today. Small steps make big progress. I’d love to hear about your dreams! Thanks for being here!