Tag Archives: goals

Simple kind of life

Every year I pick one word that serves as my guiding force.

In 2013, this word was a noun. I wanted to focus on something that seemed tangible. Something attainable. So I decided all my actions would lead to achieving an ultimate goal. And that goal was Balance. From an outside perspective, some may argue that I am far from living a Balanced lifestyle. I am constantly “on.” Always involved in some new project or adventure. Can’t relax. These are all facts, but the truth is that I make sure to spend my time doing things I truly enjoy. Feel challenged by life but relaxed enough to enjoy it. I’m enjoying it.

Balance? Check.

In 2014 I opted to take a different approach. Instead of picking a word that would serve as an end result, I wanted to close out my year with an ultimate definition of myself. A single adjective that could paint a picture of Emily Alvarez to any given stranger (and, unbeknownst to me at the time, I’d certainly be meeting a lot of strangers in the coming year). I decided my word would be Fearless. But one can’t just be Fearless. You have to earn the part. So I focused on doing things that made me slightly nervous. Or that scared me for reasons that were, in the grand scheme of things, unjustified. Like running a full marathon. Leaving a comfortable job that I knew deep down I wasn’t completely happy with. Packing up and moving cross-country to Los Angeles, where I knew almost no one and didn’t have work lined up. It sounded crazy to most people. And it felt crazy in the midst of the transition (and every moment leading up to it), but it was all for a bigger purpose.

Fearlessness? Check.

I closed out 2014 with some very personal decisions that only reinforce the Fearless factor. These decisions are the basis of the life I intend to lead in 2015. So what word will steer my path in the coming year? Something actionable. This year I will Simplify. I’ve come to the realization that I hold on to too many things that don’t add much value to my life. Why do I waste my time and energy on things I will not benefit from? I realize that may sound selfish but I encourage you to think about self-development for a minute. It’s something we should all strive for. If you have a limited amount of time and energy, you are limiting your opportunity to grow if you exhaust yourself on items that aren’t on your agenda for improvement. It’s time to let go. Reduce the noise and add some white space. Get rid of the negative and learn to say no to things that don’t matter. Get over the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  Free up some time for myself and enjoy the positive new opportunities that will present themselves as a result. But be careful not to overdo it (remember Balance!).

My best friend Gil, in all her wisdom, reminded me the other day that less is more.

“…spend your energy wisely and don’t overdo it. Otherwise you end up doing a bunch of things half assed.”

Simplicity? Added to the Checklist.

I read somewhere that it takes repeating an action three times before it becomes an official tradition. Year three. Word three. Cheers to new traditions.

Happy 2015.

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What SEXY really means

Let me preface this post with a brief explanation of SEXY Friday, for those of you who don’t already know. Almost two years ago I established Fridays as a day for women to celebrate themselves. This idea piggybacks off of “Handsome Friday,” established by my former trainer Ken Wawa and made popular among our group of friends and colleagues by our mutual (crazy) friend Joe Mazzella. I deemed my ban from their weekly man dates unfair and so came the birth of SEXY Friday.

I recently eavesdropped on a conversation between two women sitting at a bar discussing who they found attractive in the room. I took a good look around and (over)analyzed a few of the subjects at hand. I admit that I did have a few initial reactions but after a few minutes of close study I found it nearly impossible to decide who I was attracted to just based on physical appearance alone. I found myself instantly turned off by the vibes exuded from some of these people. I then started to question: What exactly is Sexy? Yes, physical attraction is extremely important (when it comes to intimate relationships). But beyond that it is a combination of the following things (in no particular order):

1. Emotional Security / Confidence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Confidence sans arrogance. There are tactful ways to display confidence in oneself without seeming egotistical. Anyone that can master this is definitely worth the time. Ditch the insecurities. It’s not a good look and will ultimately cause problems down the road. But don’t overdo it. No one wants to be around someone who thinks they are superior. As with most things, balance is key.

2. Compassion: Someone once told me to pay close attention to how a man treats his mother, for it is a reflection of how he will treat you. Generosity, kindness, love. Look for an open heart. (Ladies – this goes for you too). I don’t think anymore needs to be said here.

3. Sense of Humor: A good laugh can cure anything. I am such a sucker for someone who can appreciate sarcasm. If you can combat my wit, I commend you. A good sense of humor is nothing short of magnetic. Sex appeal at max volume.

4. Authenticity: There is no need for anyone to be anything other than themselves. Your experiences have molded you into the person you are. Don’t try to be someone you’re not regardless of your surroundings. Everyone will see through it. Be genuine and you will likely attract the people you want to be around.

5. Ambition: There is something so appealing about drive. A willingness and capacity to grow and learn and figure things out. An understanding and appreciation that change and transition are a part of life and human relationships, and the zeal to take things on regardless of fear. Be fearless. Remember that overachievers don’t exist. Always strive to be bigger and better. Reach one goal and transition straight into the next. Comfort with ones current state of being is a huge red flag.

There are, of course, other factors that contribute to overall “sexiness.” And these factors will, of course, differ depending on who you ask. I mean, someone who can appreciate a good tune and bust a decent dance move is always a plus in my book. But these other fun factors are just a part of the whole package: how we carry and treat ourselves, our loved ones, even strangers of the world are what really draw people into each other.

On this SEXY Friday focus less on what you look like in the mirror and more on how you carry yourself and treat others. Exude confidence. Practice compassion. Make someone smile. Take one step toward your ultimate goals. Be you. Be sexy.

Love,
Em

 

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Fear Not

Last January I decided to focus my self-improvement efforts on a single word that would guide me through 2013. It would be the driving force behind all of my actions. That word was Balance. As I reflect back on the last year I feel a personal success in my implementation of this word in my daily life. But enough about the past. Moving on. New year, new goals, new word.
While reading the article 37 Life Lessons in 37 Years, one of the author’s lessons really resonated with me: Fear is often a very good indicator of what we really want and need in our life. Let it be your compass and enjoy the exciting adventure it leads you on.

So it was decided. 2014 will be a Fearless endeavor.

We are all individually capable of so much, yet tend to hold back our potential because of our fears. Fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear of  making mistakes. These fears cloud our minds and divert our attention away from our goals and the things we really want. We settle. We become comfortable. We don’t jump hurdles or take leaps into what could be a happier future. It’s too risky. We’ve got to much to lose. But do we?

I am an extremely ambitious person, always wanting to achieve bigger and better. And when I want something badly enough, I get it. I’ve always known that I will do great things someday. Someday. (Note: I define “great” as that in which is meaningful to ME, realizing others may not see it as such). But why am I waiting for Someday? The fears within that are keeping me from accomplishing these things NOW will only intensify as the clock ticks and I may eventually convince myself that I have more to lose than I once did.

So here I am, ready to push this new strategy. From this point forward I will base my decisions on the answer to the following question: What would you do if fear didn’t stop you?

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This is not about me

I have a goal. A goal to run a full marathon in a decent time.

My best friend, Allison, has a goal. A goal to finish her very first half marathon.

We joined forces and agreed to achieve our respective goals on the same day. Same time. Same place. Same race.

I proposed the idea of combining our training efforts and tackling this together to make it a more pleasant experience for us both (well, as pleasant as running 26 miles can get). Every Sunday we pound the pavement together for our long distance runs and check up on each other during the week to make sure we’re keeping up with our middle-of-the-week training. Allison typically runs half the distance of my scheduled run. A win-win situation. As a neophyte to running, Allison benefits from having someone to pace her, correct her form when her physical fatigue becomes obvious and keep her convinced that she can go just a little further every time she’s considering a walk break. On the flipside, I have someone to accompany me, keep me from getting overzealous, exert too much effort during the first half of my run and burn-out before finishing my target mileage.

I have always been one to get a thrill from motivating other people and watching their progress (and Allison has made incredible progress). Encouraging someone to keep going harder and stronger makes it easier for me to do the same. Amongst other things, coaching Allison has taught me patience. As mentioned above, I have tendencies to go too fast, too soon. This has resulted in injuries, fatigue and eventual abortion of race goals. Last Sunday I found myself wanting to speed it up and had to remind myself that as focused as I am on reaching my own goal, this is not about me. I am equally in this for my friend. To watch her succeed and witness her happiness when she reaches the finish line. So why go faster? Why fly solo? After all, I’m doing this with her so we can both enjoy it. My struggles come when Allison leaves me. I suddenly have no one to feel proud of, or laugh at how exhausted we are, or question why we are voluntarily suffering in what feels like a humid hell rather than drinking mimosas on the Atlantic shore (which, by the way, lies less than 50 feet away during our entire run). So why leave her?

My point in sharing all of this is the following: Find something that motivates you and run with it. In my case, it is literally Allison. Your inspiration may not be a person but rather lie in a song, a quote or a memory. Different strokes for different folks. But whatever it may be, keep it with you, whether physically or mentally, and you will find your goals to be more attainable than expected. More realistic than you originally thought they were. You might actually have a good time jumping the hurdles and dodging the bullets to reach them. And you will feel like a superhero.

With that said, thank you Allison Sens for making me feel like Wonder Woman.

Stay strong and Happy Holidays.

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A little bit of this with a little bit of that

I came across this challenge just before the start of the new year. The idea is to pick one word that will serve as your driving force. A word that will serve as a constant reminder of your goals. I’m not really sure I believe in New Year’s resolutions. I think anytime is a good time for a fresh start. So what if it’s already May, right? But I thought this was a neat idea, so I decided that my word for 2013 is Balance.
The fact that I haven’t written anything in a while is testament to the fact that I don’t know how to relax. I’ve mentioned before that I tend to overwhelm myself. It’s just part of who I am. A can’t-sit-still-Cuban. But I’ve realized that I need to occasionally slow it down for my own damn sake. Take a chill pill, Em. Hell, take two! Indulge in the things that make you happy. After all, what’s life if you don’t enjoy it?
I take pride in my accomplishments and all the things I juggle. I don’t know how you do it (words I hear often from friends and family). Good time management? Perhaps. Wonder Woman? We already knew that. But on those rare occasions that I do step on the brakes and breathe, enjoy my own company or the company of friends, I realize that a break can be so nice. I don’t want to become a workaholic or so busy that I don’t have time for the people that are important to me. I need to learn to make more time for them. I need to make more time for me.

My ultimate goal: Feel challenged by life but relaxed enough to enjoy it. My reminder: Balance.

So far, so good.

Albert Einstein said “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” I do believe that living a balanced life comes easier to you as you gain momentum. But listen, Einstein, sometimes you just need to stop moving so fast.

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