5 Ways to Make Less into More

In a day and age when we live almost constantly on a super highway of information and social media connectedness, every day life can become overwhelming.  In the past, I would catch myself frantically scrolling my phone because I don’t want to miss any interesting news, friend’s posts or possible group activities that might be taking place.

The fear of missing out is a real problem.  With so many ways to gather information and interact, we are faced with regular information overload.  To add to the challenge, I have a personality that hoists onto a pedestal being an overachiever and an epicurean.  In a nutshell, this means that I have an intense desire to taste EVERYTHING life has to offer and this desire is seeded in the irrational belief that I am somehow a superhuman being that is capable of actually doing everything.

Because of these traits, I have been prone to bounce from activity to activity, always believing that the next activity will be even more exciting, flavoring life with an array of elaborate and exotic spices.

The downside of this dramatic flair towards the never-ending rotation of exciting adventures is that life can easily become a series of “to-dos”.  Always having something else to check off the list.  And boy do I love my to-do lists.  I love checking boxes so much that when I start my to-do list for the day, the first item is “Make to-do list” so that I can immediately find satisfaction in checking the box.  Something about checking a box leaves me feeling accomplished and the more boxes I check, the more accomplished I become and feel.

By slowing down on my run, I was rewarded with this beautiful baby.

Or at least that is what I used to think.

As I watched from afar the lives of other amazing individuals, I started asking myself, how is it that they are so accomplished?  How did they manage to tackle over 200 ultra marathons or how did they write 10 books and so on?

It finally occurred to me that individuals who accomplish so much tend to be rather focused.  Writers spend a lot of time writing….not writing and dancing and taking karate and learning how to be master chefs, while also knitting a sweater, raising 2 kids, having a full time job…..you get the idea.  And the latter describes how I was trying to live my life – to be a master of all.   What I managed to become however was a master of none.

Less is often more as the old saying goes and I have found that to be very true in my life.  Here are some strategies I have started incorporating into my life to focus my time and energy on my priorities:

  • Less activities = More time to enjoy the activities I love
    • By having 101 interests, time gets spread really thin.  Finding a hobby or two that I really love allows me to maximize my time on my hobbies and really enjoy them and get good at them.
  • Less productivity at night = More sleep
    • I make mornings my productive time rather than burning the candle at both ends.  This allows me to get to sleep at an early hour so I am energized for my morning and makes me even more productive.  Bonus, it also reduces hunger, increases recovery, reduces stress and more!
  • Less Intense Workouts = More Miles and More Overall Fitness
    • Many people see each and every workout as a time to push the body to the limits.  For sustainability, overall health, and definitely endurance running, this is not at all effective.  By doing about 80% of my runs in an easy heart rate zone, I am able to get out and do even more miles.  I also give my body time to build endurance while limiting unnecessary stress on my body.  Consistency leads to maximum benefits.  Pushing to the limits every day makes consistency difficult.
  • Less Meat and Dairy = More Fruits and Veggies with antioxidants for health and wellness and more compassion
    • About 8 years ago, I eliminated animal products from my diet.  This change brought more compassion and consideration into my life.  It also brought more fruits and veggies that are critical for health and wellness.  By eliminating two “food groups” I am a better person, physically, mentally and spiritually.
  • Less Commitments = More time with Loved Ones
    • Saving the best for last, less commitments leads to more time with my loved ones.  This is also the hardest for me because I love to get things done!  And jumping on the trampoline with my boys, or playing in the pool, or sitting together watching a sunset doesn’t often “feel” like getting something done.  But the truth is building the most important relationships in my life are what bring the most value to life.

Life has a way of taking control of us and before we know it we are spending time on things that aren’t really adding value to our lives.  It takes mindfulness and diligence to spend our time on the things that really matter.  Taking time to think about where you can do less to gain more is critical and an activity that must be revisited regularly.

What can you do in your life to make less into more?

The journey continues……

Running is what makes me my best self.

How to Chase Away Despair

It has been more than four weeks since I held my children’s hands, kissed my husband’s lips, ran my hand down Amira’s back.  I am alone in a new land, making my way.  Before leaving home, Kenny and I talked a lot about how I would make the most of this time.  By ramping up my running and dialing in my nutrition.  Working towards these goals has given me focus and purpose, but not companionship.

Without the daily support system of my family, I find myself swatting away the edges of depression trying to cling to me like cobwebs in the woods.  Talking with them and video-chatting are certainly helpful at times, but at others times, it just makes our separation so much more tangible.  I try not to share how much I miss them because I know that we are all putting on brave faces and I want to stay strong.  Yet it is always there. Read More

DC Running Tour and a Lesson in Making Choices

I am on a four month temporary assignment in Washington DC.  I did a short work trip earlier in the year, my first time in DC, but didn’t get a chance to see much.  Being in this city is quite amazing.  Of course I wanted to see the sites, but I don’t like the crowds that accompany tourist locations.

So when Saturday dawned a few weeks ago and I needed to figure out where to go for my run, I decided to mix it up and do a running tour of DC.  When I first got here, I learned how to ride the metro, a necessity in DC.  I’m sure I looked like a country bumpkin at first, but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it.  I took the metro to the Smithsonian and stepped onto the National Mall. Read More

Intense Grief : Immense Gratitude

When I first arrived in Washington, DC a few weeks ago, I took a run from my apartment to Arlington National Cemetery.  Right at the moment I walked through the gates, I got a text from my dad confirming that my brother-in-law has glioblastoma…an aggressive form of brain cancer.  The survival rates are grim and my sister and her husband have four small children.  The situation is absolutely terrifying and heartbreaking.

I knew going to the Cemetery would be intense.  It was my first visit and I always get choked up when I am confronted with the sacrifices of our nation’s military.  But this time, as I was walking through the Cemetery, surrounded by so much loss and sorrow, I carried with me my grief for my sister’s family. Read More

Fostering Curiosity Not Judgement

Judgement takes on many different forms.  It is obvious when you gossip about someone’s clothing or the shape of their backside.  Many recognize these actions as unhealthy and negative and try to avoid this behavior.  However, consider this, have you ever yelled at another driver on the road because they cut you off?  Or have you ever shook your head at the mom who is carrying her screaming child out of the grocery store?  What about when you look in the mirror and berate yourself for your imperfections?

Judgement as a standalone action is neither good nor bad.  It is the mindset we foster when we exercise judgement that makes all the difference. Read More

How to Choose What Helps YOU Grow

We live in a culture of do more with less time, less money, less resources.  Your Facebook feed is probably littered with articles such as “Do XYZ every day” and “5 Food to Eat Every Day” and “10 Habits of Successful People”.  The message is always the same….do this or that every day and you will be successful, whatever that means.

Runners further encounter this on a targeted level.  Do more strength training, run more miles slowly, do HIIT training, run hill repeats, do track workouts, eat more protein, eat 100% plant based and the list goes on.  It can get very overwhelming to sort through it all for new and old runners alike.  To make matters worse, the advice can frequently be conflicting.  What is a runner (or any person) supposed to do? Read More

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