• Stephanie Ann Ferguson

These Last 90 Days

It is December 31st and as per usual, I am sitting here reflecting on my year as a whole.

There are so many things to be grateful for that I can rattle off without thinking too hard about it: we welcomed our fourth son into our family, we moved into a cute 50's ranch house that we love, we were intentional about who we surrounded ourselves with this year and love our friends like family. That's really just the tip of the iceberg.

I know that because I have been taking time each morning for the last three months, to write out things I am grateful for. I really enjoyed this habit of practicing gratitude because it helped me focus on the good things, instead of things that could potentially cause negative overwhelm.

I didn't come up with this idea on my own. My natural tendency would be to look at the things around me that I don't like, and complain or wallow. Not anymore!

This year, I started following Rachel Hollis. She is the founder of The Chic Site, author of the NY Times Bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face (sidebar: if you haven't read this book yet, go get you a copy like, yesterday). She is the founder of the successful RISE podcast which was nominated for Best in Business + Entrepreneurship Podcast on iHeart Radio, and the equally fabulous RISE conference, which I plan to attend in my lifetime if the tickets ever don't sell out in the first 24 minutes of being made available.

Seriously, she's like the Beyonce' of white girl business boss babes.

I fully intend to be nearly as successful (*insert chic hair flip) and we will interview each other on our respectable, yet relatable podcasts, like two old friends. Mark my words!

Since I found her and her sweet husband Dave so relatable, I started joining their live broadcasts each morning at 8am CST (9 am EST). IF you have seen her earlier YouTube "Rach Talk" shows, its nothing like that really, but just as entertaining. They call it The Morning Show That No One Knows, it has a them song and everything, but I can't imaging no one is talking about it, because I do all the time. It has really given me some practical tips in the wake of reading her book, that I can apply seamlessly to my life. It is practical for where I am at right now as a wife, mom and entrepreneur, and SO relevant.

Seriously though, you need a copy.

If you know me at all, you know I love goals, a good challenge, and a checklist. I am definitely into self-improvement right now too as it is in my wheelhouse of clean living, but also because it is so much more than that. If I claim to be a good steward of myself and of my family, I need to be open to constantly being aware of where I am good and have a handle on things, and where I need to do better.

In October, Rachel challenged her "tribe" of followers to a #Last90Days challenge. I loved the concept of finishing the year as strong as most people start it. You know I was all like, "Count me in!". The challenge included a Five to Thrive practice which is a list of five things that she has adapted daily and feels they are essential to thrive everyday:

1. Get up 1 hour earlier than usual to spend time doing something for yourself

2. Drink half of your body weight (in ounces) of water every single day

3. Exercising at least 30 minutes every day

4. Giving up one item/category of food that you know is not servicing your body well

5. Writing 10 things you are thankful for everyday

Shortly after the challenge started, she added an option for us to write out 5 dreams as if they were already true. For example: "I am an exceptional mom" or "I am a positive role model" or "I have grown my business to six figures" or whatever your dreams are. The key was writing them as if they were already in effect.

I had started the gratitude and dream aspect of the challenge by keeping them in my digital journal on my phone. That is, until I heard Rachel (see how we are totally on first name basis #bff) preach about the importance of physically writing things down. I have done this with prayer journals and vision boards, and knew that to be a valid argument.

So, I went to Target and purchased a cute journal and began writing it down daily.

I loved this practice! Not only did it help me shift my focus to positive at the start of each day (I do this in the morning after my Bible study), but it also helped me dream again.

As a mom, I know I can tend to put my needs last and not even bother with dreams when I am busy molding tiny humans, but I can tell you from experience--we do ourselves a disservice when we neglect ourselves in that way. It is super important for us to take at least an hour each day to do something that fills our own tank, and to remember what we enjoy, what we love to do, and what gives us life. We can't pour from an empty cup my friends! I have a 7 month old baby, so getting up "earlier" was laughable to me. I chose instead to get up after his 6:30am feeding, instead of laying back down. I would either get my workout in, or read/listen to a podcast, or do something creative (my personal tank-filler). I would have a healthy breakfast, take care of my kids, then after lunch I would take my two youngest on a 3 mile walk and listen to a podcast. This allowed me to both get in my activity, and get outside--both things that help me feel like a normal human. I imagine these things will change over time as the structure of my life changes, as do my goals. But for now, this framework has been super helpful to me! It has helped me to maintain priorities I have for myself, to take good care of myself as I do for others in my life, and to start dreaming and spreading gratitude.

It made me wonder...if I had to add to this list, and add my own Five to Thrive, what would it include? I don't think it would be much different, but here's what I came up with:

1. Eat clean, no excuses

2. Plan out my work so that I don't get rushed/frazzled

3. Get in the bed by 10pm

4. Appreciate the world around me through nature/art/music

5. Make a point to get a really good laugh in each day

Have you done this challenge or anything similar? How do you think your life would change for the better if you tried the Five to Thrive habits?

Be Healthy. Live Beautifully.

~ Stephanie

#RachelHollis #RISE #GirlWashYourFace #podcast #FivetoThrive #Last90Days #NewYear #healthyhabits #gratitude #dreams


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