Today's Episode

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You're very welcome to today's podcast episode.

Thanks for tuning in.

I thought today I would do a short little episode on the changes that I've made in 2023.

What's worked really well and things that I'll be carrying forward into 2024.

I know this is the time of year when many of you myself included are thinking about, well, you're reflecting on the year, aren't you?

I'm reflecting on the year and I'm also looking forward to the year ahead about thinking about what I'm going to carry forward and what I'm going to leave behind.

The reason I want to share this so much with you now is because I must say 2023 has been a very transformative year in my life.

It has been absolutely transformative and it has just been terrific in so so many ways.

And it comes after it comes after many years of not really feeling that I had ever found my groove or true happiness or true peace or true calm.

And I feel like I achieved an awful lot in 2023.

And I want to share with you the changes that I made to make this happen.

So let's just get stuck straight in and thank you so much for being here.

So the very first thing I decided at the end of 2022 was that I was going to start nurturing the other areas of my life.

And those of you that listen to my podcast know that I struggled a lot with friendships, not having very many friends, feeling isolated, feeling lonely.

So I used to focus all of my energies on work, all of my energies on work aside from Arthur and Emily and Joe, everything that I thought about and did and work towards was very work based.

It was, I suppose it was a real distraction for me.

Not only do I absolutely love what I do.

It was, it was, it was, it was great to be able to focus on it and ignore the other areas of my life that I feel weren't going so well.

But I decided to rip off the band aid or look under the rug, whatever that expression is.

And I just decided to expose all the areas of my life at the end of last year and decide that I was going to do something about all the other areas of my life.

So at the end of last year, I wrote in my journal, hobbies, likes, dislikes, finances, family connection, hobbies, friendships.

And I decided that I was going to make 2023 the year that I explored all those areas.

Like, what did I want out of my finances?

How do I want to spend my money?

Where did I want?

What did I want to focus on?

What hobbies was?

I going to find out that I really enjoyed.

How was I going to make friends?

I was just, I just decided to focus on so many other things aside from work.

And I must say it was one of the best things that I have ever done now.

I feel like I have, I, I know what I like.

I know.

What I dislike, I feel like I have a really strong sense of self now and that's been completely voided me.

I feel, I feel for most of my adult life, I was just kind of doing the things that I was used to doing, going out at weekends, drinking too much, drinking too much in my house at the weekends, emotional eating, overeating, not really thinking too much about things just doing them, not having any real true hobbies, any hobbies really.

Um, and it was really, really cool.

It was absolutely amazing.

I can, I can tell you now that it took the year.

But I have hobbies now and I have made lots of connections that I'm just so, so thrilled about and I look forward to meeting these new connections every week.

I go and meet people and do my hobbies three, sometimes, four times a week, which is absolutely huge.

One thing I noticed about that because I was really scared about going to do that and to take out time from my business and my work, I was thinking to myself, I don't have the time because I feel like we all say that as women over 40 we don't have the time.

We can never do it.

And we almost like dismiss it.

However, I do feel by dismissing it and saying that we have no time and just deciding that we have no time.

We're really missing out on many terrific years.

And our prime of our lives.

And I really do believe, I really do believe having gone through it myself that there's always a way, there's always a way to make time and I know there's always some exceptions to that rule.

Maybe you're caring for a very sick parent, um, or a sick child.

I definitely know there's exceptions to the rule.

But for those of you that you just feel like you have no time because you're spending all your time on your Children or on other people.

And work is just this huge thing in your life.

I really encourage you to figure out how to change that.

And what I've noticed is that I made the commitment to spend more time on myself this year before I figured out how to do it.

I just decided that I was going to make that my mission and it was nailed on.

I was going to commit to that and not try.

I was just committed.

And because of that, I, I became very solution focused about it.

I was like, well, I'm committed to spending more time on myself.

So now I just have to figure out, I have to figure out how to do it.

And what I noticed was that I started getting a lot more productive in work.

I started really focusing on the things that mattered and I started working faster and harder and better on them.

And I found I clawed a little bit of time back that way.

I spoke to my husband Joe about wanting more time.

I let him pick up some slack.

Maybe previously.

I was a little bit of a martyr thinking.

No, I'll do that.

I'll do that.

I'll do that.

Even though I must say he's absolutely terrific with all things house and kids.

And it was funny, like just when I decided that I was going to figure out how to spend more time on myself.

I did now, I did feel in the beginnings, I felt very guilty and anxious, like I had this low level anxiety inside of me, um doing it and I felt uncomfortable doing it.

And when I went out for my hour to do my hobby to meet my buddies, my new connections, I had a great time.

But then I would, like, jump in the car and feel really guilty and feel really bad and try to rush back to work or rush home.

So that does go by the way, it does go just with practice.

Just keep going and doing the thing that you're doing.

Feel the feelings of guilt, feel the anxiety over time and practice.

You'll just be jumping into the car and going and doing your hobby and you'll have no guilt at all.

I really encourage you to just imagine you're talking to your best friend when you're thinking about things for yourself.

I really feel for those of you myself.

Included when you don't really love yourself enough and you don't really value your time spent on yourself as much.

It's good practice to just pretend you're talking to somebody you really love and ask them.

Well, what would you advise them if your husband came to you and told you or your friend or your partner that, um, he really feels like he needs to just explore a little bit of time on himself and figure it out.

You would.

I'm sure wholeheartedly go.

That's exactly what you have to do.

How can I help?

So, try to talk to yourself as you would a best friend.

And if in doubt and think, am I spending too much time on myself?

Just think, well, if your best friend came to you with this exact problem, would you honestly think she was spending too much time on herself and then figure out your answers that way?

And, um, that's just been absolutely terrific for the first time ever in a long time.

I feel like there's so many different parts to me.

There's the connection side of me, the friendship side of me, the friend side of me, mum.

Um Then the work side of me is like, I feel like 1/5 of my life now as opposed to 6/8.

Um, and, and I really love that and it's just terrific and I wanted to share that with you.

The second thing that I really focused on in 2023 was boundaries and boundaries are really amazing if you haven't tried them before.

Um Boundaries really help you learn how to love yourself again.

I believe that boundaries really help you become confident and very assured in yourself.

Boundaries.

For me, built my confidence because it helped me learn how to say no.

And I used to see these things on social media and memes saying like, you know, learn how to say no, learn how to say no.

And I don't think I really got it.

I think I just visualized an employee saying to a boss, no, I can't make that deadline.

And I never really thought about all the times we say yes in a day that has nothing to do with work.

Like if your phone rings at a really inconvenient time and you answer it anyway, that's saying yes.

When really it would have suited you better to say no, when you try to stick on a wash in between work calls.

For example, if you're working from home, that's saying yes, when really it might have suited you better to go and get a coffee and have said no.

But there's so there were so many things that I was saying yes to throughout my day that was leaving me feeling really under pressure, really stressed out and really busy.

And a lot of it I was doing myself.

So I've really come in 2023 to understand that boundaries and boundary yourself up means figuring out how you want to go about your day and like writing it out and having clear guidelines for yourself.

And then sticking to those guidelines, for example, what's worked for me?

What time do I get up in the morning?

What time do I turn on my phone?

So for example, now I have a certain amount of time pass before I turn my phone on.

And that is me saying no to social media and to my iphone and to the technology that wants me to get a dopamine hit from the second I wake up in the morning to the second I go to bed.

That's me saying no to that.

So I feel like that's a boundary.

It is a boundary.

Then it's like when do I have breakfast?

When suits me best?

What happens when my phone rings?

Do I answer it any time it rings or do I answer it when it suits me?

How can people contact me?

Do they contact me through whatsapp through email?

You'll have different people in your life that you'll want to contact you on different channels.

Do you have boundaries there or does everybody contact you all over the place?

Do you have people Facebook messaging you, Instagram messaging you while at the same time emailing you and do you need to boundary that up and make sure that everybody to do with work is emailing you?

And then when you're on social media.

That's how they contact you and your friends, contact you through whatsapp and text message.

Like, how do people know how to contact you?

And what about your me time, the time that you spend on yourself?

I realized that I was kind of taking the Dregs at the end of the night and I have this chat with many of my clients when they're struggling a little bit at the start to fit in time for their workouts.

And it's like, well, look, I'll just try and get it done at the end of the evening.

At the end of the evening, I really believe is so tiring for so many women.

You've all this stuff done.

You've just got the kids to bed or if you don't have kids, you've just sorted out the house or whatever it is.

That's made you busy that evening and you flopped down on the couch.

And I really believe that time where you're sitting watching Netflix having a cup of tea isn't really me time.

That's just the little unwind before bed.

And I don't count that as me time whatsoever.

So I spent 2023 creating boundaries to allow me to have me time.

For example, my me time is a coffee break that I go on at 11 a.

m.

or around 11 a ma lunch break.

My me time is when I go out of the house and do my hobbies.

My me time is when I go out of the house and meet my friends.

And for me, these are nonnegotiable, non movable things.

I mean, Joe laughs so much now.

He's just like you are so obsessed with your hobbies because I am, I just, they're so guarded, they're so protective.

I would literally cancel other events just to make sure that I can go and do my hobbies and my me time.

I have a lovely, we do self care Wednesday with my clients on a Wednesday where we just celebrate ourselves and spend a little bit of extra time on ourselves.

And I always take that Wednesday morning off to journal to have a coffee to go into town and to have breakfast by myself and I love it so much and it's so treasured.

Um Me time can also be bounding up your shower time.

So rather than legging it into the shower, towel, drying yourself off furiously.

Maybe you have boundaries around.

Well, look, every time I have a shower, I ensure that I have the door closed that I have time by myself.

I can take my time.

I can be gentle.

I can put on moisturizer if I want to.

At the end 2023 I did a lot of that actually like showering um slowly putting cream on, slowly figuring out what cream I loved to wear and what suited me spending time on my hair like up until a couple of years ago, I would just race out the door with wet hair.

I wouldn't dream of doing that anymore.

And I believe that comes down to actually creating boundaries.

It's not as easy as thinking.

Oh, well, you're just spending like a bit of time on yourself and your appearance.

No, I've actually bounded my time if I don't let the kids or I don't have something scheduled 15 minutes after my shower has begun.

So if you feel this year for you has been a bit of a struggle in terms of that manic, stressed, busy, rushed feeling and you don't like it anymore.

I really encourage you to think of, to think of your day and your week in your life.

Where can I create boundaries all day, every day?

What are they?

And I would really, I would write them out, what are my boundaries and when are my boundaries and what's important to me and then be really strict about it and be really serious about it until it's second nature to everybody around you.

So the third thing that I did this year that's really paid off massively is that I've really worked on myself.

I've worked so hard on myself this year.

I've tuned into how I was feeling and I want you to listen to hear me when I tell you that if you're comfort eating now, like you've had an emotional day and you comfort eat or you've had an emotional day and you had a have a glass of wine and you don't want to anymore.

I want to tell you that if I can do it, you can do it.

I would have had emotional eating stamped on my forehead.

I was the biggest emotional eater.

You can imagine.

I ate, I only ate food for comfort food for me was just the biggest comfort in the whole world.

I would eat off people's plates, eat massive portions, eat when I was stressed, eat.

When I was upset, I found not eating after dinner.

One of the biggest struggles ever.

And I can tell you now I don't comfort eat anymore.

I actually do not comfort eat anymore.

In fact, when I have had a tough day, um or I've, I've been around people that make me feel a little bit stressed out, a little bit on edge, a little bit anxious.

I actually, even if it's like a scheduled treat night where I want to go and have a dessert, I actually don't want to, I have actually healed myself that much that in a sense I can't stand emotional eating anymore.

I hate it that if something bad happens to me that day and I feel emotional, I actually don't want to go ahead and have that treat because I just feel I have spent so many years doing that that I just don't want to associate having a nice dessert with a shit day anymore.

Um And how I did that was really tune in to how I was feeling and I tune into how I was feeling and tuned in to where those feelings were on my body.

So, for example, if I had something planned and I was going to be around people that made me feel anxious or just stressed out and uncomfortable inside in myself, I would really feel those emotions, I would think like, oh my God, I can feel that my heart is beating a little bit faster.

My palms are sweaty.

My legs feel a little bit shaky.

Wow.

Isn't that so interesting that I'm on the way to this place where I'm about to meet these people and my body is reacting really badly.

Wow.

Why is that?

I spent this year really digging deep into why I was feeling certain feelings and it worked because I was really able to start to understand myself.

And I really hope I'm getting this message across that like for years and years and years up until really a year ago, I would just feel anxious.

I wouldn't even question it or think about it.

I would just feel anxious and I'd be like, God, why am I anxious?

La, la, la, la la.

Then I'd spend the day feeling stressed out and anxious and then I'd go home and I'd eat a load of food and I'd go to bed.

Whereas now if I'm sitting in the car on the way to somewhere and I'm feeling anxious.

I'm thinking to myself.

Wow.

I'm feeling anxious.

I can feel this on my hands.

My heart's beating fast.

I'm finding it difficult to catch my breath.

Ok.

Why am I feeling anxious?

And I get to the root cause of the problem.

And then the year for me has been spent developing tools that help me unlock my inner peace and calm.

So I've learned for example, how to mother myself, how to emotionally regulate how to be calm when all around me is chaotic, how to have certainty in myself, how to make sure that I'm the only person validating me that I'm not seeking external validation whatsoever.

And I've noticed that all those trigger things that made me feel really anxious when I don't react to them in the way I used to, for example, like people pleasing external validation and I don't do that.

And I stay authentic to myself that over time I've developed this peace and calm around people and things that used to make me feel anxious and stressed out.

And when you start to realize that that's happening inside of you and that you can finish your time with whoever you are with and get back into the car and have retained your inner peace and calm.

Sure.

It's the most rewarding feeling that the last thing you honestly want to do is go home and eat a cake.

It's just the last thing because you're so proud of yourself.

You emotionally regulated yourself with nothing external, no alcohol, no food.

You didn't go crazy online shopping.

You just sorted yourself out inside of yourself.

And that's what I've been practicing all year long and it's addictive.

It's really amazing when, when you start to go.

Oh my God.

I didn't seek comfort outside of myself.

I self soothed.

And another thing that helps me is I don't seek comfort from other people who I used to turn to for comfort.

I mother myself, I go in and I mother myself and I've learned how to do that and it is really, really powerful.

Ok.

So the next thing that I did was I got a cleaner.

Um, that's been pretty life changing.

It's been really, really amazing.

And the reason it has is because I really don't like to be busy anymore.

I like to spend time on myself slowly and with ease.

I like to produce great stuff for my business and for my clients with ease.

And I feel like I've spent so many years rushing and racing that I'm, I'm allergic to it now.

So I decided this year to ask for help, um, which I think many women have trouble with.

And I decided that every second Thursday, a cleaner could come around to my house just for a couple of hours and help me do the stuff that gets me down and frustrated about things, which is really the shower, the shower, all the plug holes, the glass in the shower, it's to mop the floors, it's to clean thoroughly, the bathrooms and the sinks and, um, other things that I generally don't have time for and then I get really stressed out about it and then I make time for and then something else and my work drops.

So I kind of figure to myself what's more important to me, for example, this year is it growing my podcast and clawing back those extra couple of hours and the hours thinking about the bathroom, I had to clean or do I go and pay somebody for a couple of hours every second week, they take care of that.

I get peace of mind that the house is clean and I get to spend that extra two hours plus those extra two hours plus, because all the thinking about it would drive you crazy.

And I used to do it in such sporadic times, like in between work, I would leg it up to the shower and just clean it and the headspace of getting into the shower every morning and thinking, oh God, I have to clean the shower.

That's all gone now.

So that's just been invaluable to me and it's, it's just been absolutely terrific.

Um The next thing that I did in this year that's worked really well is that I simplified my work.

I went in this big massive subtraction in work and I just got rid of all the stuff that wasn't producing the best results.

And I really laser focused and went deep on the things that were working really well.

And this freed me up to get good, really good at the things that I believe I can deliver the most value for women over 40 that want to get fit and healthy and learn how to love themselves.

Again.

For example, I went deep with the podcast, super consistent, two episodes every week, Tuesday and Thursday, rain, hail sleet or snow, the workouts, the thrive times, the message of the day.

All of those really important foundational pieces of my program that I deliver to my members every day in thrive academy.

I went deeper on and I got rid of the fluff.

I got rid of the things that I was doing only to make myself feel better because I was worried I wasn't enough.

Does that make sense?

So when I started to heal, to heal myself and discover that I am enough and, and, and I was able to analyze, well, why am I doing this?

Well, I'm doing this because I feel like I'm not enough rather than just focusing on delivering great content.

So I got rid of a lot of the stuff around the things that I do and I laser focused in on what how I can deliver the best content and that has paid off so much.

I have a wonderful audience.

Now, you guys thank you so much for my podcast.

We're nearly hitting now 50,000 downloads, which I'm so so proud of.

And thank you so much for sharing these podcast episodes with your friends.

Many of you message me or DM me on Instagram to tell me that.

Thank you so so much.

I appreciate it so much.

I've laser focused in on the thrive time and the workouts of the day in my membership program, thrive academy and that has paid off so much.

The workouts are better than ever.

The results my clients are getting are better than ever.

They're learning how to love themselves again and really going on a really terrific and deep journey with themselves, which I love so, so much and it is just so terrific to watch their journeys.

I do a lot less now.

I don't work less, but I do a lot less.

Um And I focus the things that I get done.

For example, between nine and 11 in the morning, there's less of the stuff that I'm focused on.

However, it's just so much better, the stuff that I'm producing.

And my last thing that I really focused on in 2023 was that I really worked at learning who I was.

What are my likes?

What are my dislikes getting rid of conforming to society and doing the things that I always just kind of did on autopilot?

Like, for example, I would ask myself like, what do I want to do with my disposable income.

And I learned that I just love traveling so much and not just any travel.

I want to see the world, I want to see the world.

And I never really felt that way before because I hadn't really focused on identifying things.

I've realized that I don't like eating out late at night.

I realize that I don't like noisy places.

I hate queues and I'll try and avoid all that stuff.

Whereas I don't think I knew that last year.

I realize that I love friendships.

I love good banter and I love laughing so much.

I love reading books before bed.

I'm impatient.

I didn't know that so much about myself, but I'm super impatient.

I'm competitive when I play sports.

I love playing sports.

I play hockey on a Sunday.

A really relaxed, no contact hockey.

And I absolutely adore the group that I'm in.

I love playing sports.

I love being competitive and I allow that side of my personality to come out now and 2023 because of this has been a terrific year.

And I want you to know if you are thinking that you have a lot of changes to make, to become happy or fulfilled or to discover who you are that it's ok that there might be a lot to work on and it's ok to be scared.

You know, I told you about the time last year when I had decided I was going to make connections and I was sitting in the car waiting to walk into the room and it sounds crazy now because I feel like I'm a different person.

But I rang Joe crying and said, like I can't go into the room.

I'm so scared and he was like, oh my God, get off the phone, walk into the fucking room.

I was terrified, shaking, so scared, so terrified.

And it was the best thing I ever did.

But it was only because I cringed, cliched, felt the fear and did it anyway that I was ok with working on all these aspects of myself, knowing it was going to be difficult and reminding myself that even when I was doing what I wanted to do, it'll still feel difficult because I hadn't practiced it.

So really tuning in to that practice side of things.

And the kids helped me so much with that, like watching them practice their soccer, their basketball, their football.

I was like, oh my God, they're practicing and they're getting better.

And I know that sounds really obvious, but I just kind of took that and used it for my own motivation.

Like it's ok, Jessica, you're finding it difficult to talk to people, but just keep going, just practice, just think of your kids and their practice and all of a sudden you'll start to get good at that too.

And um it helped so much and I was so honest with the kids, like, oh, Mummy's going out to make new friends, just like you guys like making friends.

And then they'd ask me every week, like, are you making friends?

And I would tell them different people's names and um practice has become a big thing in our house that we chat about.

Practice.

Um So I want to wish you a really wonderful, wonderful year ahead.

And I also want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for listening to my podcast.

Um I love it so much when, when you contact me and you tell me that something that I said or a podcast episode resonated with you.

It's just like what?

Oh my God, we have a tribe.

If I'm saying things that resonate with you and that feeling you get, when I say something that resonates with you, I get that feeling when you tell me it resonates with you.

I get that feeling too.

I feel like we're so bonded and so connected.

Um And I want you to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I love this tribe that we have.

And um let's continue to help each other grow and strive um to really discover ourselves and to be fit and healthy and learn how to love ourselves again.

So, thank you so, so much for tuning in.

And if you could share it with a friend, if you, if this episode resonated with you, um that would be amazing.

It is my absolute mission to help women over 40 get fit and healthy and learn how to love themselves again.

Thank you so much for listening.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the Jessica Cook Podcast.

Did that go by way too quickly or is it just me if you want more, you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot IE forward slash playlist.

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