Goals

You Don't Have to Love It // The Secret to Getting Started

You Don't Have to Love It, The Secret to Getting Started - Josie Feather Blog

The other day I was checking in with a friend on how of her fitness goals have been going and she said they had come to a halt because she “just hates running”. Oh gosh, have I been there. If you all think that I was born loving to run, work out, meditate, eat spinach, or basically any of the other things I do on almost a daily basis, well let me just tell ya - you’re wrong.

When I started running I hated it. If they handed out world records for how incredibly bad you could be at running then I would have easily won. My breathing was so bad I felt like I was constantly being strangled. I got side cramps like you wouldn’t believe. I was slow. SO SLOW. In fact, I am still incredibly slow compared to most “runners”. When I started going to the gym I hated that too. I felt like everyone was looking at me, probably thinking about how I was using every single machine wrong. All I wanted to do was get the heck outta there. Don’t even get me started on my switch to working out in the morning, that just felt like some type of cruel and unusual punishment.

But I didn’t stop running, I didn’t stop going to the gym, and I didn’t stop waking myself up at some ungodly hour to sweat first thing in the morning.

Even though I truly and deeply hated these things, and was legitimately bad at them, I kept with them. I knew they would make me a better person long term, and they were part of a process of achieving bigger goals, and if I gave up I would save myself the short term pain, but set myself up for long term frustration. I know that, because I had given up about a million times before that, and it had only served to make me feel worse.

You go to work every day even though maybe you don’t absolutely love it, right? Filing documents, answering annoying emails, or dealing with customers may not be at the top of your list of things you love, but you find a way to get it done anyway. So what if I told you that when it comes to things that are good for you, you don’t have to love them? You don’t need to feel like they’re your life’s calling in order to do them. What if you stopped putting the pressure on yourself to love every single thing you do, and instead learned to sit with that discomfort?

In fact, I’m giving you full permission to hate those things.

but hate them while you do them

Let’s get something straight here though. I’m not talking about forcing yourself to do the bizarre things that the “Wellness” or “fitness” communities tell you to - or basically anything anyone tells you to do (except maybe your doctor). I’m talking about things you intuitively know are important for you. I definitely don’t believe that everyone needs to run, but I do know that everyone needs some type of regular movement in their life. I don’t think you need to eat all organic food or swap your chocolate chips for fancy cacao nibs, but you should probably make sure that you at least eat some veggies occasionally.


All I’m trying to say here is, there are things in our life that are good for us, even though we don’t love them, and that’s okay.


It’s okay not to love them, but never eating a vegetable because you don’t love them is probably something you need to work on getting over.

This is definitely not just about exercise or eating right, it’ll probably come up with almost any habits you try to build in your life. Let me tell you, I still don’t love waking up at 5am even though I’ve been doing it almost every day for a year. I’m okay with the fact that I’ll probably never love it, but I can see how much good it does in my life, so I keep my focus on that instead of constantly talking to myself about how much I hate it.

Learning to sit with the discomfort of not liking something, but pushing through it anyway has taught me so much more then I ever would have learned by avoiding tough things. And who knows? you might find yourself ending up like me and learning to adore some of the things you used to absolutely loathe, like running!

My Morning Routine (with a full time job)

My Morning Routine (with a full time job) - Josie Feather Blog

The beginning of last year I was freelancing, so life was a little different then. When I accepted a full time position in May I knew I needed to make some changes. Not only was I going back to the 9-5, but I was also going back to a commute into the city (an hour each way) so my free time would be a lot more limited. I knew I wanted to set aside my nights to recharge and spend time with my husband, so that meant I needed to start taking advantage of my mornings as the time to work on myself.

My mornings feel a little crazy at times, but it’s worked well for me. Since we live in the middle of nowhere my gym is about 20 minutes away, which takes up a lot of time, and I’m really hoping I can change that in the future. Either way though, I am so glad I’ve found something that works for me, and I really wish I had started a morning routine a few years ago!

5:00 // WAKE UP

My husband makes fun of me for it, but when my alarm goes up I sit right up. My brain is not on, and I’m essentially a zombie, but I know if I let myself stay laying I’ll be passed out asleep again in no time. So I sit up and give myself a minute to adjust.

Once I drag myself out of bed I brush my teeth and throw on my gym clothes. Packing all my bags and setting out my clothes the night before is the most important part of having a successful morning for me. If I have to think about finding clothes in the morning I might as well just go back to sleep.

I grab my lunch for work and I am out the door and on my way to the gym. I’ll usually eat a banana on my way, although I don’t find myself as hungry first thing in the morning as I was last year when I first started my routine, so I go with how I’m feeling that day.

5:40 // GYM TIME

The thing I love about my gym time, more than the endorphins and more than feeling vaguely like wonder woman afterwards, is that it’s the one time of day I can always count on to be “me time”. Even if the rest of the day is pure chaos, having that chunk of time in the morning to only worry about me and focus on what I’m doing is such a huge mental help.

After I throw everything into my locker, I do some stretching for a few minutes before I hit the floor. I’ve been working my way through the BBG program (which I talked a bit about here!) which has helped me lately, since I’m no longer wandering aimlessly around the gym. After I wrap up whatever’s on my BBG schedule I try to do a few minutes of yoga and more stretching!

6:40 // CLEAN YASELF UP

I try to shoot to wrap up my workout around 6:40 and jump right in the shower. I KNOW, everyone is freaked out by gym showers, I used to be too. I have been pleasantly surprised by how clean my gym keeps their showers, and really, there’s just no way I could make it home in time to shower and still stay on schedule, so it’s really my only option. So far I’ve lived to tell the tale.

I usually only do my hair once or twice a week and then just dry shampoo the other days so I don’t have to wash or style too much. I’m all about keeping it simple.

7 // ON THE ROAD

On my way to work I try to either listen to an audiobook or start the day with an inspirational podcast (I love Optimal Living Daily and Chasing Joy!). Starting my day with something inspirational always helps to put me in a good mood and focus my brain on big-picture goals.

8(ish) // QUICK “MIRACLE MORNING”

Once I get to work I usually chill in my car for a few minutes and go through a short and sweet version of the “miracle morning”. A few minutes of meditating, affirmations, and visualizations, followed by writing just a bit in my journal. It all sounds so cheesy, and I was hesitant to try it at first too, but I have been loving the new additions! I am still really really really bad at meditating but it’s all about practice, right? I would definitely recommend adding in some or all of these to your routine. They’ve been really helping me start my day with a positive and clear mindset!

That’s it! It might seem like a lot, but adding these to my mornings instead of rolling out of bed and heading right into work and any craziness that might ensue, has helped so much with my overall happiness. It’s a lot harder to have a bad day when you’re full of endorphins and spent a few minutes clearing your brain out!

I am obsessed with hearing other people’s morning routines, so tell me what you are currently doing for yourself in the AM!

5 Habits I'm Glad I Stuck With

5 Habits Im Glad I Stuck With - Josie Feather Blog

Photo by Samantha Jay Photography

I am all about them habits. Seriously, building positive habits into my life has been the ultimate game-changer for me. When I look back on who I used to be, struggling to get anything done even with 10x more free hours in the day then I have now, I feel a little bad for that girl. She was doing her best, she just couldn’t figure out how to pull it together. Days started late, focus was impossible, and energy was non existent. Committing myself to building positive habits has totally flipped all of that. Don’t get me wrong, most of these were incredibly hard to get past the stage of my brain screaming “I don’t want to do this!”. The struggle was real, but it sure as hell was worth it.

5am Wake Up

Okay, okay, I know I’m already about to loose you here, but hang on for a minute. Sometimes desperation breeds good things. Last year I transitioned back to a 9-5 after working freelance for a year. I was heading back to a full time gig with a nice long commute and I knew I didn’t want to revert to how I’d been in the past, letting work and driving be my entire life. I knew I wanted to keep my nights set aside to spend with my husband, so there was just not a lot of options to fit in time for myself and my own goals. I went from waking up between 8-9am everyday to waking up at 5am and am honestly so glad I did.

If you think you’re “not a morning person” and are already tired waking up later, so why would you wake up earlier? Well so did I, but now I’m eating those words and am not even mad about it. I actually just finished reading “The Miracle Morning” and found myself really relating to a lot of his sentiments about early wake up calls and making the most of that time - I would highly recommend it if you are thinking about becoming an early riser too (plus then you don’t have to listen to me ramble on about it:).

Daily Exercise

You knew it was coming! Making exercise a daily habit was incredibly hard, but the most important habit I’ve built so far. Getting my blood flowing and focusing on my movement every day has really helped me fight depression, gain more energy, and build confidence. It’s also my dedicated “me time”, and I’ve come to really appreciate having that! I won’t prattle on (mostly since I already did that here) but seriously, I know you may think you aren’t a work out person, that you hate gyms, and that you’d rather do anything besides exercise, but I promise that it is worth the those first few painful months to make it a habit.

AM Workouts

This is essentially the baby of the two habits above, but I feel like it needs it’s own little section because I used to truly, deeply, and profoundly hate working out in the mornings. I avoided it at all costs. You can ask my poor husband who had to listen to me complain about it daily for at least two months before I finally learned to love it. I was an incredibly slow runner in the morning, and it felt like every move was agony, but when I went back to my 9-5 I knew night workouts weren’t something I could keep up consistently. So I did it, even though I absolutely hated it. And then I kept doing it. Then I noticed I felt better throughout the day and loved being able to check such a big thing off of my to do list before I even got to work.

Working out in the morning also has the major benefit of being hard to back out of. If you wait until later in the day it’s easy to talk yourself out of it, or find a million excuses. As soon as I wake up I throw on my gym clothes and am basically out the door, so it’s a lot harder to talk myself out of it since my brain isn’t even on yet.

If you’re a PM exerciser and trying to switch to AM my biggest piece of advice is to be kind to yourself. Your run times may be slower, but just give yourself a big gold star and a pat on the back for getting it done!

Audio Books

And now for something completely different. I spend 2+ hours in the car every week day, and usually a good chunk even on the weekends, so I have all this car time that, for years, I really didn’t know what to do with. I would actually re-listen to podcasts a lot. I always had struggled with getting into audio books. I really struggled with finding narrators I could stand to listen to for 6+ hours. I wrote them off as “not for me”, but then one day I got really bored and decided I needed to use all of this car time smarter.

Honestly, this one has been difficult at times. I’m still really picky about narrators (just this morning I turned off a book 2 minutes in because of the narrator), and generally like to stick to non-fiction since I’m driving and don’t want to get too caught up in a fiction world (I’m crazy, I know). I also like to try and keep costs down so I try to find as many through the Libby library app, but that often means having to wait for holds. I try to spend just 5 minutes a week going through available audiobooks from the library and placing holds on anything that looks good so that I constantly have new holds coming in after I’m finishing other books. The best part about using the library is that I don’t feel guilty if I don’t like a narrator and decide to skip the book altogether!

The reason that I’m so glad I’ve made listening to audio books a habit is that I’ve listened to so many life changing books in the last year that I know I wouldn’t have gotten through if I had to try and find time during the rest of my life. Utilizing that driving time has been one of the best things I’ve done for myself recently!

Writing

When I was a teen I used to scribble in my journal every night. What started as an english assignment easily became a habit I loved and that helped me a lot. When I started to get paranoid that someone was reading my journals I stopped altogether. Ever since then it was a struggle to get myself to write. I would buy myself a nice notebook, write in it for two days, and then never touch it again. Even on my blog I would avoid writing more then a paragraph or two, mostly just about style and other easy things.

The beginning of this year I put my foot down. I knew writing was something I always loved and I needed to get back to, so I made a goal of writing every day, even if it was just jotting some thoughts down in my phones notepad app. Not only have I really enjoyed sharing my writing on the blog now, I also have gotten back to daily journaling as part of my morning routine. Getting my brain moving and having a space to release some of my trapped thoughts has really helped me let go of things just a little easier.

Overall I think building positive self-growth habits into your daily life is something we should all strive for. I really struggled with all of these things, but I took them one at a time, and one day at a time, and once I got through that painful adjustment period I found myself wondering how in the heck I had made it this far in life without them!