Gratitude cake with guilt frosting
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One of my favourite daily practices is to do a gratitude journal in the morning. Just asking 3 things I’m grateful for, and being super specific (not just “food” but “the delicious avocado on toast I ate this morning”).

However, I was talking with my cousin’s girlfriend this week, and she mentioned something I thought was quite profound: being grateful for something doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it.

There is a stigma – especially for women – that they should be grateful to some external source for what they have because they are just lucky to have it, and none of the gratitude is for themselves. That we should be grateful for what we have, but at the same time, feel guilty about it, because we don’t deserve it. We’ve been icing our gratitude cake with a thick layer of guilt frosting.

And while there is almost always an element of luck involved with the things, experiences, resources and people you have in your life, gratitude is mutually exclusive to luck and deservedness and worthiness. Being grateful is only about being grateful. It’s got nothing to do with anything else.

In fact, the whole notion of “deserving” something has, in my opinion, gotten completely out of hand. In our society, we talk about “deserving a break” or “deserving a cup of tea”. If you think about it, it’s preposterous. You don’t need to justify a certain level of effort has been exerted before you can give your body and mind the things it needs. You would never ask a baby to do anything. It’s deserving of everything it needs (and wants) because it just exists. You being right here, that’s enough. You’re enough.

Dont punish yourself with guilt for the gifts you have received in this life. Treasure them and pay them forward.

Push ups: Week 11
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Where I went running today, to warm up before my push ups.

Where I went running today, to warm up before my push ups.

Day: 71
Push up ability: 25

I made it to 25! That’s 1/4 of the way to my goal. I’m determined to speed up the process a bit too, so I’ve added it to my habit tracker so I’m reminded to do them daily (that’s where I track all of my other habits, like meditation, running and blogging). I said last time that I want to work on my form, and I feel like my form is definitely better, so I’m counting that as a win.

Today I did them just after I went for a run, and I found I had more energy than when I do them later in the evening, so I’m going to try to keep that up too.

I’ve also had a few people ask me to create vlogs about it. With my hectic schedule at the moment, I’m not sure if it should be a priority on my list, but it would be so cool to have a record of it for when I reach 100 in a row. Hopefully I can get some sorted!

For now, celebration that I’m at 25! I feel like I’m beginning to break a belief ceiling, because I genuinely believed for most of my life that I wasn’t physically capable of doing more than 10 or so (and I had never even done a single push up successfully because I didn’t ever train – I could only do knee push ups). Isn’t it amazing what the mind can do when it’s put to the test?

How to solve any problem
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In my first year of university, my friends and I would always talk about “The Ideal Woman”. We’d think about how The Ideal Woman would have both sparkling and still water to offer her guests, and she’d always look her best and hand in assignments before the due date. When we were out, and we’d spot someone who looked like The Ideal Woman, we’d call each other to describe why she was so ideal.

Obviously, our idea of The Ideal Woman is just a joke, and I certainly don’t subscribe to the idea that women (or anyone) should be a certain way. However, The Ideal Woman represents a wonderful idea I’ve thought about since I was old enough to conceive of a better, future version of me: Aspiring to become your ideal self. Ideal meaning YOUR ideal – not societies ideal.

What would your ideal self do? This question is possibly one of the most important questions you can ask to move forward in life – or more accurately, “Now that I am the ideal version of myself, what do I do?”

I love this question because it so simply helps us work through problems from the perspective of having solved them. The beauty of it is that you remove yourself from the struggle and the fog that comes with not knowing what to do, and you put yourself in the position where you know exactly what you need to do.

Here’s a list of the problems it can help with:

  1. Everything.

Here’s a list of the times you can ask it:

  1. Any time

It doesn’t necessarily mean every problem is solved on the spot, but it does mean you’ve got a direction to go in, and sometimes that’s the game-changer.

I’m off to do some more journaling on it now. “Now that I am the ideal version of me, what do I do?”

Pockets of Routine
Delicious granola I had today – totally irrelevant to this post but absolutely worth posting because it’s so pretty!

Delicious granola I had today – totally irrelevant to this post but absolutely worth posting because it’s so pretty!

Traveling has thrown my habits far off balance, and it really makes me think about how important routine is for habit formation. But a lot of the time, we don’t have a constant routine. Solution?

Create pockets of routine.

No matter where you wake up, do a one-minute meditation. No matter when you go to sleep, say something you’re grateful for. (These are just examples, not a prescription.)

I’m going to try to build more pockets of routine into my day, so I’ll let you know how it goes - off to do some push-ups now.

Just call me Tiger
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Impossible goals or impossible holes?

This was my first ever time picking up a proper golf club (and not a mini golf club), and it was in what you might call the most impossible setting. What are the actual chances of me getting that ball even near the green, let alone into the hole? It doesn’t matter the chances if you’ve got an impossible goal. But the real question to ask is, do I even want to get it into the hole?

I think this fits a metaphor: Make sure you’re going after the right impossible goal. I’ve been reflecting on this recently – which, if any, of my impossible goals are actually for someone else to take on? Which, if any, of my impossible goals aren’t the right ones for me?

For example, I’ve been thinking about the way I’ve set up my impossible goals. For example, I have a goal of reaching 100k subscribers on YouTube. Would 99k suffice? 101k? Why 100k? Do I care about the number? Or do I care about the actual experience? Would it make more sense to readjust my goal to making 100 impactful videos? Or impacting 100 people’s lives deeply? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not giving up on my goals at all. I’m as driven and dedicated to them as possible. I’m simply examining the goal post. We all know the story of the person who got everything they ever wanted, it just turns out they wanted all the wrong things.

No changes yet – just food for thought.

Gorgeous day
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There are hundreds of pictures from my uncle’s amazing wedding, I truly don’t even know where to begin. I will write another post with all of them, but for now, I’ll just share this one picture, and leave it until I’ve got the photos ready to share a proper wedding post!

I had a really interesting conversation with my cousins, aunts and uncle’s today at the celebrations about aspirational lifestyles, and what it’s like to post things online, what’s real, what’s fake, what’s in between – and most importantly, where we stand on the morality of it all. For example, this picture above could easily be taken out of context to look like our own wedding photo. I think everyone has heard the “social media is fake” argument, so that’s not what I want to say here. I’m actually thinking more about portraying an image of oneself online. Is it possible to portray a true projection of yourself? Should you even try? Can we even do it in real life? Why do we try to make project an image of ourselves at all? I don’t have answers to these questions right now, but it’s something I’m keen to dive deeper into and share conversations with people about. All thoughts are welcome – in the comments, in a message or via email!

AKL > WLG
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My cousin’s beautiful girlfriend, Julie. How delish is this hotel room?

My cousin’s beautiful girlfriend, Julie. How delish is this hotel room?

We flew from Auckland to Wellington today for my uncle’s wedding tomorrow! I’m seriously excited to see everyone, there’s people coming from all over the world – different parts of Asia, USA, Europe, UK, Australia and everywhere in New Zealand.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post how its been a bit tricky staying on top of my good habits while travelling, so I’m determined to get back into a good routine tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s plan:

  • Sleep in (I’m a little jet lagged)

  • Meditate

  • Gratitude journal

  • Workout, including push ups (and then I’ve earned my shower!)

  • Café trip (this is guaranteed if you’re with my family, haha!)

  • Get dressed up for the wedding

  • Taking a million family photos

  • Wedding ceremony

  • Dancing

  • Blog

  • More dancing(?)

    That is, if it all goes to plan (everything could easily change, family events tend to be chaos!).

Habit update
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We arrived into NZ absolutely exhausted but super happy to be here! We are here for my Uncle’s wedding and I’m absolutely ridiculously excited to see everyone. I thought I’d give you a habit update today because I do quite a few things every single day, and I realise I don’t share my progress of them enough.

  • Fear of Flying: totally amazing. I’m so so so grateful I stumbled upon a way to overcome this. London to Auckland is almost one of the longest flight times and layovers you can take in the world, and in the past I have found these terrifying. The combination of fear, exhaustion, bad plane food (or no plane food, if they didn’t get our request for vegan meals) and stress used to be a recipe for a major internal meltdown. I used to find it excruciating to fly, especially on my own. I’m actually writing this in the sky on our domestic flight from Auckland to Wellington, during some pretty intense turbulence! But this entire trip, I felt happy, free and safe the whole time. I’m so relieved I’m done with being afraid! If you have any questions about how I overcame my fear want or to chat about it (for free of course) email me at hello@saraharnoldhall.com.

  • 100 Push Ups: I was considering doing some push ups in the airport but I was just so sleepy I didn’t manage any at all. I’m a little nervous about achieving my October goal of 25 push ups in a row, as I’ve really been pretty slack on it. I received the most lovely email from someone telling me they’re enjoying my push ups journey and that I should make vlogs on the days I train. What do you guys think? Would you want to watch them?

    365 Days of Meditation: Currently on day 208. This morning I saw my aunt’s meditation space/sanctuary with pillows, prayer flags and candles, and it was so cosy! I realised I’d like to make a dedicated meditation space in our house at home too, because it will also make it easier for me to define what actually “counts” as having meditated that day. Every time I tried to meditate on the flights to NZ I just fell asleep, haha! I still managed to get a few minutes on each flight though, so that’s good. I’m working on making this habit more about really enjoying doing it, and less about just ticking it off my daily to do list.

  • No complaining for 21 days: I don’t complain a lot, but occasionally I’ll notice a complaint just slip out, which is the whole idea behind doing this challenge – to train my brain not to allow negative thinking on the automatic program it runs. I’ve had to restart a bunch of times (15, to be exact), but I do think I’m becoming more aware of it. If I’m honest with myself, I haven’t been totallly dedicated setting the intention to not complain daily, which is why I think I haven’t seen the progress I’d like. I’ve been doing it for 56 days and currently on day 6 of no complaining (since I start again each time I complain). The longest I’ve gone without complaining is 10 days (almost half way to the goal!).

  • Running before showering/earning my showers. Flying really threw me off this actually, for the first time. However, I think it’s really important to make planned exceptions, and I knew flying would, so I did. I made the exception that I could shower before and after the flights without exercising, just to reduce any unnecessary stress or exhaustion. What’s really important is that I made these exceptions BEFOREHAND - not in the moment. That way, I know I’m not just being lazy or making excuses. Tomorrow is the wedding and it’s tempting to just have a shower first thing, but nope! I’m going to do a workout (especially working on push ups) first.

  • Gratitude journal: Okay, this one I have been shocking at. There’s no sugar-coating it. I just haven’t made it a priority, which needs to change. I’ve just downloaded an app to answer my questions on there instead. I’m making a commitment to do it tomorrow morning!

  • Daily blogging for two years: This a habit I have been very dedicated with, aside from time when I was flying and physically couldn’t post. I’m not sure if the content I’m creating is resonating with people, but I’m just going to keep going until I find my groove. The thing that I’m working on the most right now is posting better photos with my written content. I have dreams of photographing more beautiful shots for this blog, as there are many blogs I follow with stunning photographic content and I think it really enhances the blog overall.

HabitsSarah Arnold-Hall
Lost a day
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We actually lost a day coming to NZ because of the time zones, so Wednesday didn’t really exist in my world! I’m posting this afterwards though - now that I’m in NZ and have wifi. On the flight I spent most of the time listening to podcasts, as well as brainstorming business ideas – I an idea that I want to release some of my exclusive content that’s usually just for my paying clients. It will be coming your way soon 😍 

If you’re a podcast person, read on. If not, feel free to skip this blog and check out another one of my many, many daily blogs (I’m blogging daily for two years straight!).

The podcasts I listened to and my takeaways:

The Life Coach School Podcast, Episode 190: Lessons from Frank Kern.

I am OBSESSED with this podcast. At first I thought it would be so cheesy because the name “The Life Coach School” is super generic. But now I’ve listened to dozens of episodes and it’s totally changed my outlook on many things, money in particular. I can’t recommend it enough, whether if you’re interested in Life Coaching or not. This episode was a Frank Kern is an online “Every business problem is just a math problem.” - Brooke Castillo (she’s the creator the Life Coach School). I love this so much. It’s really just a numbers game - e.g. how many people, how many goals, how much value, how much profit, etc. Everything else is just drama. And when you can focus on the marketing like it’s just math and drop the drama then you can let go of the stress and get back to actually helping your clients or customers. I needed to hear this!

Magic Lessons, Episode 208: ‘Leap into the Fire’ featuring Martha Beck. 

Paraphrasing: “They told me I was throwing my life away if I had this baby. And I said yes, I am throwing my life away, and thank god because it was awful.”

I’ve never heard “throwing your life away” used in a positive sense before. How amazing is that? Maybe throwing your current life away is the best thing you can do right now. Makes me think about the things in life that might need throwing away. Expired ideas, beliefs, values, even toxic relationships.

Lewis Howes, The School of Greatness Podcast: Marianne Williamson on Running for President.

As a NZ citizen, I don’t have the ability to vote in the US election, however, I am really excited about Marianne running for President. She would be phenomenal. I’ve followed her as a spiritual teacher for many years, and my mum used to have her famous quote on the wall as a kid.

These words I can recite from heart:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

One thing I adore about Marianne is that she really knows what she’s talking about. She didn’t just wake up one morning, cut and past a few ideas together, and decide to run for president. She has been doing her incredible work for over 50 years! She essentially wants a moral revolution. She wants to begin a Department of Peace in the government. She wants free education. She wants rights for women and people in poverty. Marianne, I hope you win!

MotivationSarah Arnold-Hall
GTW > TPE
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We’re New Zealand bound! We’re heading there for my uncle’s wedding, which we are SO excited about. It’s an opportunity to see so many family members and definitely do a lot of group dancing (which if you know me, you’ll know is pretty much my favourite activity of all time).

Today we left for Taipei, which was an 11 hour flight, and now 6 hour layover before 14 hour flight to Auckland. People who live in NZ or Australia know this is normal, but if you live in a country close to other countries, I know it might seem like a lot to travel for two days straight from door to door!

I’m stocked up with personal development Podcasts and books to keep me sane during the journey (of course – what else would I do?!), and have enough instant noodles to feed us for 3 days (seriously – because sometimes we don’t receive our vegan meals if there’s a flight change so we have to be prepared!). Luckily, we found these amazing Lazyboy chairs in Taipei because the airport was deserted, and I slept really well.

See you on the flip side – of the world!

Sarah Arnold-HallComment
Burn the boats, not the weapons
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If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats.

Today I have lost my voice (been doing far too much talking!). So lucky this isn’t a daily vlog or I would have nothing to say! I was just on a coaching call with one of my clients, and we were talking about something Tony Robbins shares all the time: If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats.

(This quote comes from the story of when Julius Caesar set out to conquer England - he knew that in order to win the battle and take the island, he would have to convince his soldiers that there was no other option. So he ordered them to burn their boats once they arrived, so if they ever wanted to go home to Rome, they would have to conquer England. And despite being a much smaller army, they won.)

In other words, if you want to go after your dreams (e.g. entrepreneurship), let go of the things that are keeping you comfortable (e.g. a job).

HOWEVER:

Here’s an important distinction that I think hasn’t been made. Please don’t confuse burning the boats with burning your weapons. Don’t go into battle in a t-shirt and shorts, like I did.

When I first started my business, I thought I was burning the boats, but what I was really doing was burning my weapons.

Yes, I quit my job, just like I was told I needed to do. I wasn’t going to build a successful business if I was comfortable in my job, and that is true.

But then I went and burned my weapons (aka, my investment capital).

I invested it (and I’m glad I did), but the problem was, I invested every last penny of it. And then I was left with zero dollars to push my business forward. Zero dollars to attack with. So I had no money and no job, and instead of feeling powerful like Caesars soldiers, I felt overcome by anxiety and crippled with the ever surmounting pressure.

Yes, burn your comforts. But don’t burn your tools.

If you want to quit your job to start a business – do it. But ONLY if you have sufficient weapons. And the moment you run out of ammo, you better go get you some more any possible way that you can. Take that advice from a girl who’s been there!

Impossible indicator
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I have this one coaching client I know without a doubt is going to succeed with her impossible goal. For a while, I used to just have an intuitive sense about who would succeed and who wouldn’t. But after coaching a lot of people and self-coaching too, I’ve learned that my intuition can detect the level of determination someone has, and that’s really it. It depends how determined someone is. It depends how strong their WHY is. This client of mine I know she is going to succeed because her why is so strong. In our first session she told me she basically sees not succeeding in her goal as worse than dying. At first my reaction was “uh oh, what if she doesn’t achieve it? She will be distraught.” And then I almost laughed at myself out loud, because that’s the whole damn point — it’s that exact answer that proves certain she will achieve it. She wants her impossible more than she wants anything else in the world, including comfort right now. She wants it more than 10/10. She wants it more than she wants to BREATHE. I’m in awe of her gumption and passionate determination.

This made me think about an assessment to see if you’ll achieve your goals. 

Here’s my work-in-progress assessment.

Let’s call it the Impossible Indicator.

There are two questions:

  1. Why do you want your impossible goal?

  2. What are you willing to do to get it?

If your answer to number 1 doesn’t make your whole body shake with excitement and your heart beat with exhilaration (and terror), then you need to come up with a stronger why.

If your answer to number 2 isn’t “anything and everything — whatever it takes”, please revise your answer to number 1.

GoalsSarah Arnold-Hall
Cardiff
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Today we spent the day with Daniel’s new baby cousin, he is so cute! He laughed and smiled so much too, I love happy babies.

It’s been so relaxing to spend some time away from my regular routine working. I did a little bit of work this morning but it was so fun to just hang out and chill for the day. We went for a lovely walk in the forest too. The air is so fresh here, I forget that when living in the city. I’m looking forward to meditating and then falling asleep early(ish) tonight.

Moral of the story: take time out to relax. This is being hammered into my head more and more these days!

Sarah Arnold-Hall
One thing
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Today we’re headed from Brighton to Cardiff to go and visit Daniel’s new baby cousin! So cute, I can’t wait to meet him. 

It’s a 5 hour journey (writing as we go - I’m not driving!) so I’ve had a lot of time to think - and so I’ve been devising a plan for the last 3 months of this decade (I didn’t even believe it when someone told me that yesterday - 3 months left of this decade?!).

One of the major learning lessons I’ve had in 2019 is to prioritise my ONE THING.

The reason I managed to create my membership site, Impossible Incubator, is because I stopped trying to focus on ANYTHING else. I made it my one thing. And even more specifically, I made each task ahead my one thing. I remember being overwhelmed by the prospect of creating videos with a videographer, so I broke it down into small steps and physically covered up everything else on my to do list with a sticky note until I had found a videographer. That was my only task. I wasn’t even allowed to do anything else to do with that project until I’d done that step. Then once I’d found a videographer, I focused on writing the content for the videos. Nothing else but that. And so on until I ended up creating an entire membership site.

That technique worked so well for me, that I’ve decided to put weekly YouTube videos off until 2020 so I can focus on really nailing this blog. However, as one of my impossible goals is to reach 100k subscribers on YouTube (I think I’m at 270 as of today, haha), I’m definitely not giving up, just prioritising my blogging goals as my ONE THING first.

I’m really keen to focus on my blog and creating better and better content for you guys. (And then my next ONE THING is to work on some free content to share how I set and commit to my impossible goals, which should be coming your way by the end of the month 🤞).

GoalsSarah Arnold-Hall
Chill

Sometimes I’m so go go go that I forget to relax, so I’ve started scheduling time into my calendar to relax. Instead of making relaxation a reward for completing all the things (all the things never actually get done), seeing it as it's own important aspect of life (because it is – our brains and bodies need time to rejuvenate in order to function at 100%). It might seem a little over the top to actually schedule relaxation into your schedule, but tonight I did and it worked really well (we watched Cool Runnings and did face masks, which was a brilliant combination). I didn’t feel guilty for taking time off because I had scheduled it into my week – not that I should feel guilty anyway, but it can be easy to get so focused anything else feels like a distraction. Tomorrow we head to Cardiff for the weekend, which I’m really excited about because I’m looking forward to a break from our usual routine.