Just Begin! 4 Ways to Get Started When You're Feeling Stuck


Spring is here!  Once again the year is already flying by. I imagine many of you started 2018 with new year's resolutions and goals, but like so many of us, we sometimes put off the very projects and habit changes that we were so excited to begin on January 1st. Or, we’ve started but after a few weeks or days, we lost our momentum and didn’t get back on track.

Most of us know how this feels, so I was inspired to share my experience of ways I’ve found to just begin. I’ve also had the experience of doing the opposite. Waiting till everything was ‘just right’ before starting or re-starting a project, new venture or habit that I know is going to change my life or at least improve it in some way. I’ve let the fear of failure stop me many times from pursuing my ideas, expressing myself and taking a leap that my heart was nudging me towards.

So what changed? A few things, primarily my desire to live life more intentionally and authentically, which for me meant spending more time doing what was truly meaningful and fulfilling. This started to become a lot more important than protecting myself from my fears. The pain of holding back became what drove me towards action. Like the famous quote from Anais Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Are you holding yourself back from growing and creating a life you love? What is calling to you that you’re hesitating to take action on? What have you been curious to do or at least try? Allow yourself to consider and explore what you want more of in your life. I like to think of life as the ultimate adventure and we get to choose how we want to experience our years here on earth. I invite you to begin that exploration.

And I get it. Sometimes starting something new can feel really scary. What will people think? Who am I to think I CAN DO THAT? I don’t have enough experience, talent or degrees. But the truth is, the difference between people who succeed and those who don’t is that they don’t let the fear stop them. They still feel the fear, but they want what’s beyond the fear more than they want to stay safe and comfortable.

So what is it that you want more than what keeps you feeling safe? Do you want to grow personally? Be successful financially? Be in a happy committed relationship? Travel the world? If you already know what that thing is (or things) great. But if you don’t, take some time to answer that question. What is it that you want more than what keeps you feeling safe?

How do you just begin? Well I’ve found a few things that have helped me, and the people I’ve worked with for many years. Experiment with one or more of the suggestions below and see what works for you.

1. Start even if you don’t feel ready

Sometimes we over think when is the best time to take action. If we want to start a new exercise routine we think we need to have the perfect shoes, outfit or trainer before we can start. But in reality we just need to start from where we are. We can always make adjustments, invest in better equipment, hire a better trainer, get the latest app, etc. Our body would still benefit if we only took a short ten minute walk in our neighborhood, than no walk at all.

The same is true for launching a business project or writing that book. Starting with where you are, even if you’re in the research phase, will support you in either continuing with realizing your vision, or give you the clarity if it’s not what you really want to pursue. In Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, he talks about how resistance is universal and shows up when we want to do the work that calls to us. He states, “Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.”

Remember, you’re not alone. Not feeling ready or feeling fear is a natural by-product of starting something new.

2. Start small

This has been the secret sauce (maybe it’s not so secret) for me to start taking action. As a coach I always knew that I need to make my goals do-able, but I’ve taken it to new level of do-ability. Some call it a tiny habit, a micro-change or three-foot toss. But what ever you call it, it’s making that next step so small and easy that it’s almost impossible to fail.

I recently wanted to start a 32 day practice to visualize my goals everyday, so I made the goal to do at least one minute a day. I knew I could do at least a minute. The funny thing is that I would always end up doing more than a minute, but the idea that I was committing to only 60 seconds; my brain was like… heck yeah, I could do that!

As Sir Isaac Newton taught us a many years ago, objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. This is just as true for humans as it is for falling apples. Once you begin doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.

And celebrate it! An expert in the science of changing behavior, and author of the Tiny Habit program, BJ Fogg, says not only is it helpful to start really small, but to also celebrate your new behavior to enforce the little successes along the way. He talks more about this in his TEDx Talk, Forget big change, start with a tiny habit.

So start with a tiny step and watch yourself succeed.

3. Enlist a friend

Accountability is powerful. We all know that when we tell a friend, hire a coach, or take a class, we’re going to show up because we not only made the commitment to ourselves, but to someone else as well. Accountability also helps us accelerate our performance, measure our success and progress, keeps us engaged, responsible and gives us a sounding board to validate our thoughts and experience.

However you decide to create the accountability support, I encourage you to reach out and make that happen. It’s how top leaders, business owners, professional athletes give themselves the edge to reach their potential and succeed both personally and professionally.

4. Find your why

“It is not logic or facts but our hopes and dreams, our hearts and our guts, that drive us to try new things.” Expertly said by author and TED speaker, Simon Sinek from his book, Find Your Why.

What is that thing that lights you up, that continually calls to your heart or inspires you to be curious about? Taking time to connect with that voice inside can be a guiding factor and motivator to get us moving and taking action.

Years ago when I made the leap from graphic designer to coaching and facilitating, I took a step back to uncover what I really wanted to experience in my life and my career. I asked myself, “What would get me excited to get out of bed each morning?” I didn’t get my answer in one big Ah-ha. I got many little answers that guided me forward that I continued to follow. And my why began to unfold as, I want to make a difference in the world and in people’s lives. That why became my compass for my choices and actions as I moved forward.

Let's say you want to start a new exercise program, is it because you want more energy to enjoy your family? Or to enjoy feeling good about yourself, so you can take more risks and grow your confidence? It could be a number of things, and there could be layers to it, but when you begin to explore and understand why you want to begin something, your level of commitment and motivation naturally increases and becomes more sustainable over time.

Seize the day!

So take the leap, one small step at a time. Don’t get caught up in needing everything to be perfect before you start. There’s so much to learn and gain from taking action no matter how small. Celebrate your wins and share your journey with others who you know will support you whole-heartedly.

And let’s get real folks. We only have so many days to experience the fullness of our lives, so choose to make the most of it. Carpe Diem!

Goethe said it best...  “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”



photo by: Bruno Nasciment

3 Powerful Ways to Love Yourself This Month


Many of us think of February as a time to share our love with the people that matter most in our lives. With Valentines Day here this month, there are plenty of pink and red cards with hearts wherever we look, ads for flower delivery service and great deals on dinners for two. Which don't get me wrong, is wonderful and sweet, but it's been my experience that we can sometimes forget THE MOST IMPORTANT relationship in our lives, the one with ourselves.

So with that thought in mind, I reflect back on a blog post I wrote in the past called, How Do I Love Me, Let Me Count the Ways. I listed 25 creative and fun ways I share loving kindness with myself. Today I want to focus on three powerful and simple ways we can strengthen our bonds with the person we spend the most time with, ourselves.

Speak to Yourself With Kind and Loving Words
I choose this one first because how we talk to ourselves matters a lot. We hear what we tell ourselves either consciously or unconsciously for all our waking hours. Through the thoughts we think, the stories we tell ourselves, and the words we choose over and over again, form what we perceive and how we interpret the world around us.

I doubt you would criticize a small child for misspelling a word or being afraid of the dark. So why would you do that to yourself? Words carry energy and a vibration, and if everybody knew the incredible power words actually had, they would choose more carefully and vow to never speak another negative word about themselves again. Now that may not be very realistic, but we can start with becoming more aware of our self talk and choose to shift it to the positive more and more. And like any habit or muscle building exercise, the more we do it, the easier it gets.

So make the choice one day at a time, to start paying attention to when you're talking to yourself with negativity, blame or judgment. Ask yourself, is what I'm telling myself really true or even helpful? What can I tell myself that would be more positive, compassionate and kind? Our words are a simple but powerful way to extend and share loving kindness with ourselves.

Talk to yourself, like you would to someone you love. – Brené Brown

Do Something That Brings You Joy
When was the last time you took the day off just to do something you enjoy. It's easy for many of us to get caught up in completing our TO DO lists and all the things that need to get done each day. Honestly this is one of my challenges and I often need to remind myself to make time for fun. Whether we take a whole day or just an hour, making time for what brings us joy allows us time to live in the moment like we did when we were young.

Ask yourself, what are some things I really enjoy doing? Start a list of fun activities, adventures you would like to take, new experiences or things you would like to learn that are purely for the purpose of creating more joy in your life. One of the great gifts of the internet is we can search almost any subject and find activities to do, places to go, and things to learn.

You can also remind yourself what you loved to do as a child. The simple pleasures of listening or dancing to music, making art, reading a favorite book, sharing a meal, or spending time in a garden can nourish our souls and renew our energy.  

The purpose of life is joy. – Abraham Hicks

Make Time for Silence
This one may seem surprising but it's a powerful one. Our lives are often filled with so much noise and distraction that we forget to take time to listen to ourselves, to our deepest wishes and heart's desires. It's a time to pause, to slow down and give ourselves space to breath and reflect.

Starting or ending your day with some quiet time can help center your mind, relax your body and prepare you for whatever is next. It can be a time to ask yourself some simple questions, and listen to your inner wisdom to guide you forward. We all have a deep well of wisdom and intuition that we can access when we give ourselves the time to connect within. Questions like, How can I support myself today? What am I learning or observing about myself? Or, What do I really want? Breath deep, and listen.

You can try it now. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and ask yourself, How would I like to love myself today? Listen, and honor your voice. In the silence, you'll find your answers.

Silence isn't empty, it's full of answers. - Unknown


So begin choosing to give yourself the love you deserve. Give yourself the gift of you, in ways that bring you joy and light you up. You are beautiful, powerful and a gift to this world.


What Are You Planting?

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Recently I read a quote by author and speaker, Lisa Nichols, “You can’t plant seeds AND reap the harvest in the same season.” She went on to talk about what we're currently experiencing in our lives is a result of the seeds we have planted in the past.

Lisa’s article inspired me to think about what seeds am I choosing to plant now, that I will see manifest in my life in the weeks and months ahead? For me, the seeds I plant are – the thoughts, feelings and actions I choose to focus on each day. Am I planting seeds of of healthy living, patience, gratitude and prosperity? Seeds of loving and caring for myself? And what seeds am I planting now for my business, for my relationships and a happy home?

With the start of the new year, I believe it's a good time to think about what you want to plant for yourself, and what's realistic. It’s important to be honest.

So I invite you to ask yourself...

1. What do I want to create for my life, work and relationships in the next 30-60 days?

2. What am I willing to do now, in order to have the things I really want?

3. How can I be more intentional with my goals, actions and habits?

4. How can I support myself to maintain living more intentionally?

Remember that we always have a choice each day to be purposeful in our life through our thoughts, feelings and actions. When we choose to live consciously, we empower ourselves to be more present and aware of what's working and what isn't. Take a couple of minutes at the beginning of each day to set your intentions, and then at the end of the day to review the day's outcome and appreciate all you've started, accomplished and learned.

I encourage you to think about the seeds you want to plant now, (your thoughts, feelings and actions) that will create the life you are living tomorrow (and beyond).

p.s. And remember to always use life's best fertilizer. i.e. LOVE


Photos by Photo by Annie Spratt & rawpixel.com / Unsplash

4 Tips Sure to Make 2018 a Great Year!


Happy New Year everyone! One of my goals for 2018 is to get back to writing, so I thought this would be a great time to begin again. Below are a few life hacks that have helped me and my clients start something new and create more of what we truly want in our personal and professional lives. Start with any one of these tips and see how it can positively impact your life right away!


1. Make Tiny Changes
We often get excited in the new year to make major life changes that we can't keep up because the goals are too big and hard to stick with. Studies show that it's not the size of the habit change but being consistent that support us in staying the course with our commitments.

So when choosing to make a positive change in your life, such as kicking caffeine or sugar, starting a new exercise or meditation routine, or any of the suggestions I recommend below, start with the smallest action step that you know you can easily do everyday for a 30 day period. Track it on your calendar and acknowledge your wins. This will start retraining your brain and help you succeed in achieving your goal.

2. Let Go
Begin by observing things in your life that don't support living a life that truly makes you happy and fulfilled. Are there things in your home that are taking up space that you can purge and create space for what you really want? Space for things that are more useful or bring you more joy and fulfillment? Or just more space for clearer thinking and creativity.

Also consider letting go of habits, responsibilities  and even relationships that don't support you in creating greater peace and happiness. Be honest with this process, and free yourself from what may be limiting you to move forward.

3. Get a Buddy
Enlist a friend or co-worker who is also wants to reach new goals in 2018. Shre your goals with each other and decide on a good time to check in with each other each week (or everyday if that works for you). Iv'e done this with friends to help me establish a daily gratitude and meditation practice. We would text each other every day to let one another know we had done our action step. It was fun and very helpful.

Some of the women who've attended my Vision workshops in the new year reported back to me how much that helped them to stay committed to their goals. Click here to find out about the next workshop coming up in January.

4. Unplug and Connect
Most of us know that because of our attachment to technology we are much more distracted than ever before, and the science is proving this to be true. In June 2016, a study reported that the typical smartphone owner interacts with his or her phone an average of 85 times per day. (I'm even aware of how much I've looked at my phone while I'm writing this article.) More and more we see people walking down the street, head down, looking at their phones, or while they're at dinner with their friends or family.

Being so hyper connected to our devices, impacts how well we are connecting with ourselves and the people in our lives. So starting in the new year, make an intention to put down your phone for longer periods. This will help you focus, experience living more fully in the present moment, and feel more connected to yourself and others.


As I mentioned above, start small to give yourself the motivation to move forward and the ease of only committing to a tiny step. Once you build momentum you can add more changes and action steps to what you've already accomplished. Let me know how you're doing. I love to hear about your wins and what you're learning.

Wishing you a New Year filled with Joy, Vibrant Health and Success!

How Do I Love Me, Let Me Count the Ways

I’m starting this New Year with a deeper commitment to loving myself.  Which inspires me to ask, what does that really mean? How do I love myself, and how can I do it even better?

A few years ago I wrote a post titled, How do I love me? Let me count the ways. Thinking about the value of this question and the need to be reminded to love myself, I thought this would be a good month to share it with you again, along with some new additions. These are just a few ways that I demonstrate loving to myself (when I remember to) that uplift and support me in my life.

After you read the list, think about what nourishes you, feeds your soul and makes you happy. You deserve to be loved by you, everyday.

How do I love me, let me count the ways…

1.    Make time for activities I enjoy

2.    Surround myself with positive and supportive people

3.    Spend time in nature

4.    Listen to my feelings with compassion and understanding

5.    Sing in the shower

6.    Cook delicious and healthy food that nourishes my body

7.    Listen and honor my intuition

8.    Spend time with people I love

9.    Rest my body when I’m tired

10.   Dance in my kitchen

11.    Speak to myself with kind and loving words

12.   Make time for silence

13.   Express my creativity in fun and enjoyable ways

14.   Walks in the fresh morning air in my neighborhood

15.   Listen to music that moves me

16.   Share love and appreciation with others

17.   Take hot bubble baths

18.   Sit in the shade of an old oak tree on a hot summer day

19.   Smile at strangers

20.   Having an adventure, going some place new

21.   Treat myself to dinner out at a favorite café

22.   Color in a coloring book

23.   Take myself to the beach or go with a friend

24.   Play with my puppy Sadie

25.   Buy myself flowers

How do you love you?  I would love to know, share with me and leave a comment.

30 Days of 'Letting Go of Clutter' Cleanse

After launching my new website back in July I'm finally having the opportunity to start writing for my blog, yay! I've missed sharing with my community and I'm excited to get back to it!

As a way to restart my efforts at writing again, I've decided to pick a theme that will prepare me for the New Year... (2016 here we come!) by embarking upon a 30 day cleanse of letting go of clutter. Things, stuff, clothes, books, magazines, emails, kitchen items, and broken pieces of things I don’t even remember what or where they belong. It's amazing how much a person (me) can accumulate. So it's time. Time to purge, release and let go of things I don't need or want or use.

I’ve wanted to try this since I heard about it from my inspirational mentors, Doctors Ron and Mary Hulnick. They’re my teachers from the University of Santa Monica who shared with the class years ago about their 30 day de-cluttering challenge and how much energy, clarity and fulfillment they derived from the process. I thought, what a great idea, I’m going to do that… one day.

So starting today, December 5, I will give away, recycle or throw away at least one item a day. My intention is to get rid of A LOT more than that, but I wanted to make this journey do-able and fun!

If you would like to join me on this quest for clean, please share your comments or email me. I would love to hear from you and how the experience of lightening your load is changing your home and life.

So here we go… ready, set, THROW!

Saying Yes to Life by Learning to Say No

It's 7:00 a.m., I'm lying in bed deciding whether I should get up, go back to sleep or attempt to meditate when I suddenly have the realization that what I really need to do to make the new year successful, is to start saying no. Weird. I know, but it's come to my awareness that quite often I say yes when I really mean no. Or, I say yes without really being sure if it's my yes or someone else's. Or is it a yes because I don't want to be left out, miss out, forgotten, judged, disliked or misunderstood? It's damn well confusing and frankly, I'm tired of it all.

That may have sounded a little like a bitch fest but the truth of the matter is, yes should mean yes, and I'm ready to know what that truly means for me. I believe it takes a lot of energy and life force out of a person (that person being me) to hold an image that isn't true to oneself. It would be like driving 3,000 miles from L.A. to New York, only to get there and realize I didn't really want to go. I would be tired, frustrated and honestly pretty mad at myself, not to mention, wasting a lot of gas!

In Anita Moorjani's mind-expanding book, Dying To Be Me, she states, "I knew that what was really the only purpose of life: to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are."

Her story tells the tale of how she miraculously healed from a coma brought on by her cancer, and how a part of her (her soul, consciousness, whatever you would like to call it) was aware of what she was going through the entire time. Not only did Anita know what was happening in places her body wasn't, she also had the experience of communicating with her father who had passed away years ago. In her book she talks about how before her coma she realized she had been living a life only to please others, and to do what was "right," regardless of how she truly felt. After her "out of the body" journey, she found a deep peace she had never known before, and the awareness that her true healing and freedom would come from completely accepting who she was. Anita realized it was completely safe to be her true self, and that it was what she was put on earth to do. It was what we were all here to do. To know, love, be and express who we truly are.

This book touched me deeply and inspired me to look at where I wasn't accepting myself, who was I still trying to please, and what was my truth? Even though I had come a long way transforming and growing in these areas of my life, I found that there was another layer to uncover and another level of self acceptance to reach. I discovered new parts of myself to know, love, be and express.

So how I do I begin? How do I really learn to say no? And what's a good way to discern what is really important to me? I think one answer is to clarify what's a real yes.

Cheryl Richardson, author and life coach, is one of my favorite teachers on this subject. She talks about only saying yes to her "absolute yes" list. She encourages us to make self-care our top priority, by saying no unless it's an absolute yes. The goal is to spend our time and energy primarily on those things that bring us joy and make decisions based on what we want instead of what others want. When we don't set boundaries and take care of ourselves, our health and well-being are at stake.

Another way I can begin is by focusing on what I often encourage my coaching clients to do, to start with what I do know. I don't have to have all the answers to begin. I can begin with what is clear to me in this moment. To support me in clarifying my absolute yes list, I've decided to also create my no list.

So here are my lists:

What I say no to:
Negative people
Watching TV programs that don't really interest me
Too much Facebook
Too much other social media
Taking what other people say too personally
Over-indulging in unhealthy foods
Doing things out of obligation

What I say yes to:
Daily walks
Weekend trips
Expressing myself honestly in a considerate way
Listening to music I love
Meditation (even if I only have five minutes)
Taking deep breaths
Going to bed earlier, waking up earlier
Positive people
Focusing on being grateful
Good books
Sharing my joy
Seeing the good in others and myself
Letting go of things I don't need or use
Spontaneous dancing

My next step? Keep my lists handy to review often to see how I'm doing. What I want to change or add to my lists. This will assist me in knowing what I can change, add or take away in my life. It will support me saying no to what I don't want, and yes to what I do want. Seems so simple. Yet at times it's so easy to get off track by making a few choices that don't support doing what is true for me.

I also need to remember that growth is a process, and I need to be patient and kind to myself as I move forward with making these changes. I may have days I find it easy to say no to what I don't want, and other days I may be saying yes all over the place. So I say no to self-judgment, and yes to patience and compassion for my self and my journey.

So what do you want to say yes to and no to? Take a couple of minutes to write down a few of yours. Start with what you know and it will grow from there. You may find that it's a first step in living more true to what is in your heart, and discovering what will support you in creating a life you love to live.

I love what Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor says, "We're all going to die, but how many of us will truly live?"

I think I'm really living when I'm saying yes to what is true for me, by honoring what is in my heart to express. It's like a muscle that I can train and strengthen. The more I'm authentically saying yes, the easier it will be to keep doing it. So maybe that's what it takes to learn how to say no. Fill up my life with more of what is on my "absolute yes" list so there really isn't room for any of my no's.

So what does learning to say no really mean? It means committing to living a more authentic and conscious life. A life that I create based on honoring myself, accepting myself, and saying yes to the truth of my heart.

Read original post my Margalit Ward on HuffPost Healthy Living