5 ways to add more fun to your life!

Hello gorgeous,

I am writing to you on day 3 of a migraine, so I know I need what I am suggesting today at least as much as you do J. You see, I take my life seriously, and I think that’s good, but I also take everything seriously and that’s too much. I work, I take care of my family, make sure there is food on the table every day, I take on new clients, I help my daughters with homework, I feed the dogs, clean the aquarium… And I realize I miss feeling light and joyful and having fun and being spontaneous. I miss my inner child, the free kindred spirit that’s deep inside of me…

But that being said, where do I find the switch, how do I access it again and what does it mean in practice?

It’s not about changing who I am; I appreciate the fact that I am reliable and serious. But it’s about changing some habits… So here are some examples of what you can do to add more fun:

  • Find a new hobby: I made a few people laugh when I announced I had taken up pole dancing, well that’s a good start! And now I even made my friends (and kids) curious and eager to try, so we are doing it together this afternoon (am praying that my migraine will stop before then…). I also stopped drumming and took up bass guitar instead (I thought that was one of the reasons for migraine). I don’t know about you, but I love the energy of beginnings, I love starting something. So it doesn’t matter if I don’t become a good bass guitar player, it matters that I am trying and having fun with it…
  • Reduce stress: park your activities and duties for say 10 minutes (they will still be there when you come back to them) and meditate for 10 minutes, or dance, but give your mind a rest. You can use the Pomodoro method for working: put a timer for 25 minutes of uninterrupted work and then relax, take a break for 5 minutes before you start again.
  • Laugh more: if, like me, you don’t laugh that easily, find first people, movies that make you laugh and make a list (one of my favorite funny movies is A fish called Wanda, have you seen it?). And get those on DVD or downloaded so that it’s easy for you to watch and laugh!
  • Befriend a fun person, hang out with a kid: laughing is contagious, my youngest daughter has a laugh so contagious she can get the whole room to laugh with her without even knowing why. Be with people who make you laugh, who cheer you up, who always say something funny…
  • Dance! Put songs from your teenage time, songs that you can’t help but move when you hear them on the radio, songs that you danced to when you were going to the disco, put the Mamma Mia (or Fame) DVD and let yourself go crazy, nobody’s looking anyway!

So, what do you do to have more fun? Let me know!

If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

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How to be your own best friend

Hello gorgeous,

Today, I would like to encourage you to act as your best friend would and to be your own best friend. Who, better than yourself, know how to cheer you up and how to treat you well? I know, when you are feeling down, it doesn’t seem that way at all, and you feel you don’t know anymore what could help you and get you out of your funk. But I believe if you make being that person a habit, you will be less inclined to end up in a funk in the first place, and quicker to get out as well…

Let me give you a few examples to get you started:

  • Add fun things (and sometimes a little bit crazy) in your agenda. This does not have to cost a lot of money or time. How about a test lesson for a new sport, sports coaches often offer them for free, and it will cost you one hour of your time to discover something that might become your new passion…
  • Take a friend out for lunch. Imagine 1 to 2 hours of pure catching up with them and laughing at life together, including planning new fun things together… and how about taking yourself out for lunch? With a good book if you don’t like sitting around on your own or without if you would like to connect with others!
  • Have compassion and understanding for yourself. You would do it for others, so why not apply it to yourself, instead of always being so demanding with yourself? We are always so prompt to judge ourselves harshly, but we, as everybody else, do the best we can in our circumstances. We deserve compassion. We deserve empathy and understanding of our situation. If that seems difficult to you, simply try looking at you with the eyes of somebody else for once.
  • Use affirmations and compliments on yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror as if you were somebody else. How would you compliment this person, what would you see in him/her? Maybe that you are proud of them, that you love them, that they are a magnificent being, that they are so brave, so kind… Well, say that to yourself, use the “I” person, say it a few times, and do it regularly to make it a habit!

So tell me, how do you treat yourself as your best friend would? Let me know!

A best friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

Can we really change?

Hello gorgeous,

Some weeks ago, I watched a (long) video starring Tony Robbins in an interview and one of the things he said really stayed with me, and that’s what I want to talk about now. This same topic (“can one really change”) once caused a big disagreement with a friend of mine. I think Tony Robbins would have managed to get us to agree ;-). In case you don’t know who this big tall guy is, have a look at https://www.tonyrobbins.com.

My view was that people could change and hers was that they could not. Well, what Tony says is that it is easy to change if you decide to change a pattern instead of thinking of changing as a human being. I think he is right. Although we do change during those years (who here hasn’t heard something along the lines of: “you are not the same than the person I met/married…” or could have said that to her/his spouse?…), we don’t see change as being easy, and we often give up before we try…

It is true that change requires work and patience. If it were easy, we (and humanity) would be a lot further in our personal development… But so does mastering a sport or a skill, and still we do that (when we are motivated…). We learn how to walk, even though it means falling and getting up countless times before we finally manage, we learn how to cycle, first with the small wheels, then without, we learn to play an instrument (in my case, even with a helluva lot of work, I don’t think I will ever be a good drummer, but who cares! ;-))…

When we are busy changing, we step into our Learning zone, out of our Comfort zone, which can be painful. But only until we complete the change process and it becomes part of our comfort zone. But we never gain anything by staying all the time in our comfort zone…

I think what matters is why we are doing it, what motivates us to change. Is it pain or pleasure? I believe that pain avoidance is a bigger motivator than pleasure seeking. But what I am sure of is that we need to have a big Why in order to go through the change process and keep going until the new habit is installed and becomes our new routine…

And it helps as well to see some results quickly to keep going…Research says (My reference here is Robin Sharma and Mindvalley) that it takes 66 days to get a new habit installed. 66 days is pretty long if you need to wait all that time to see some results of your efforts. But some can also be visible pretty quickly. When I started a gratitude journal for instance, it made me feel good every time I was writing, and so feeling good became more constant in my life, but luckily it didn’t take 66 days to see that and feel that way! Or if you intend to start the Miracle Morning routine (read Hal Elrod’s book or my blog post here), you should also notice rather quickly that you are feeling better, sharper, more focused etc. after only a few short weeks. So think about that when you want to make a change. How long is it going to take for you to see some improvement of your situation?

One thing that helped me, when I was busy installing a new habit, was to install a new routine for it (and what put me off was changing my regular routine, like travelling etc…) that fitted it. So for instance, to write on the gratitude journal before going to bed, having my journal always on my bed side made it easy to do it every time (while being in a different place made me interrupt it). What works for me too is external triggers, like reminders on my phone or post-it notes on my screen or on the fridge, until they become transparent and we don’t see them, notice them anymore, which means it’s time to change them to a different place/sound etc.!

So… what (next) change are you considering? Let me know!

Change is hard at first

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine

Who are you?

Hello gorgeous,

I am going to follow a training this week and I am busy preparing my trip. Like every time, I started thinking about meeting new people and having to introduce myself. For me, as an introvert, it is always a difficult task to go through. And yet, I have practiced a lot in the past years and thrown myself into a lot of networking opportunities, so that it would become easier… So it did, a bit, but the very shy teenager that I was always comes back and I need to force myself every time again.

Moreover, I noticed we always tend to define ourselves by the things that we do, the job we have, not by who we are, independently from the current job we might have – or not have. So I thought it would be a nice exercise to try and define ourselves with sentences using the verb TO BE instead of action verbs.

So my first ideas about me were: I am a crochet and DIY addict ;-), I am French, I am 50, I am a slasher / multi-passionate, I am a wife and a mother of 2, I am a personal development freak, I am warm, friendly, kind, driven, curious, I am a lifelong learner, I am bad at difficult conversations, I am good at helping people, I am sometimes not focused enough to finish all I want to finish… And there it becomes difficult to continue using the TO BE verb and not switch to another one to finish my description…

Do you want to give it a try and see how far you can go? Keep asking yourself the question: “Who am I?” until you come up with enough traits.

And then, looking at that description, I want to take some time to reflect and ask myself if I am happy with how I describe myself. Does it feel like me? Does it feel honest, true? Does it represent all of me? I guess not yet ;-). What did I forget? Am I happy with being all of that or do I want to change some aspects of myself?

That brings me to an exercise I did some time ago: to do a Be / Do / Have list. It’s a simple list you can do on a piece of A4 paper (or on Excel ;-)), where you do 3 columns, and start filling them with what you want to be, do or have. It works best if you give it a deadline, and review it regularly. Even better is to get yourself an accountability partner to review this list with, so that you can’t really make up excuses for what you didn’t manage…

I trust I have given you enough self-reflection for the week ;-). Let me know how that goes!

You can only make a difference

Take good care of yourself and enjoy life!

Much love, Madeleine