Less Intention – More Direction, or How to Throw Your Big Plans Out the Window

If, like me, you’ve been a life-long planner only to realize that at least half of what you plan never turns out the way you planned it, then you’re probably looking for a new approach. I wrote, at the close of 2011, about how I was trying to approach 2012 differently. No big plans or goals and few definite timetables – less intention and more direction.

It’s a good thing too, because in the first month of the new year, my workload has unexpectedly increased, a couple of unanticipated projects have come my way and…my laptop crashed. Died. Destroyed. Failed. So there go my big plans for January, 2012 …except I hadn’t really made any. For once.

Instead, I’d been making small changes to get rid of bad habits and replace them with good ones. Every single day – not declaring intention, but instead heading in the direction of the place I want to be.  And no, (ok, very few) goals. In his guest post on Zen Habits, Jeff Goins wrote about what to do instead of setting goals…

There is an alternative to setting goals that will bring you closer to the life you want. Focus on a few practices you can enjoy doing on a regular basis. The trick here is consistency. These four helped me:

  • Get up early. When the world wakes up, distractions abound. If you are going to focus on creating a new life for yourself, you’ll need to find the time. The best way to do this is to work while others are sleeping. At first, I didn’t like waking up before the sun, but eventually my body adjusted and I began looking forward to the solitude.
  • Over-commit. The adage “under-promise and over-deliver” is a farce. It only propagates the status quo. Real difference-makers push boundaries. They test, prod, and poke until something gives. You can do this, too, by saying “yes” to more things than you’re comfortable with. Learn to stretch yourself. You might be surprised by what you’re actually capable of. Your confidence will grow, too.
  • Talk to strangers. Relationships are what make the world go round. This is true for your career, personal well-being, and inner life. When you meet new people, you make connections that can lead to all kinds of future breakthroughs. Even when it’s uncomfortable, reach out and introduce yourself to new people. The worst they can say is “no.” Fortunately, many won’t.
  • Practice generosity. Give away your time, money, services, and ideas. When you do this, you will get a lot more than you give. People will learn to trust you, and if you really help them, they will tell others about you. This will build your reputation, and you will have more friends than you know what to do with. And as the saying goes, what goes around really does come around.

You can read Jeff Goins’ entire post here. How much closer are you to giving up the life you’ve planned for the life that’s waiting for you? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on our Facebook page.


Kalin’s Chronicles: Vacation Rentals – A Home Away from Home

Though there are countless hotel and B&B options for travelers, many are choosing to rent vacation homes.  I’ve had wonderful experiences renting vacation homes as part of girlfriend getaways on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  According to TripAdvisor, the Southeastern and Northeastern United States are the top two destinations for vacation rentals.  And 88 percent of travelers say they would choose a vacation rental over a hotel if it was a better value.

Some of the advantages of renting a vacation home include:  more bedrooms and bathrooms, a full kitchen, more economical for parties of 3 or more, more privacy than a hotel, and most have all the comforts of home — and then some.

I recently celebrated my birthday with girlfriends at a St. Simons Island vacation rental and had a great time.  The four-bedroom, 4 ½ -bath home  was yards from the beach; had its own pool; provided four bicycles and an electric car; had a large and well-stocked kitchen with digital appliances, where we had a wonderful time bonding while preparing meals;  had a screened-in back porch and a wraparound front porch with rocking chairs.  The owner even welcomed us with two bottles of wine.  It was fabulous!  I plan to rent that house again, and am now open to renting homes more often.

Here are a few sites that specialize in vacation rentals:

So as you plan your travels for 2012, consider booking a vacation rental.  You might find it’s the perfect option for a girlfriend getaway, a romantic weekend, or even a family reunion.  It’s also a great way to celebrate turning 40!  And remember:  “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain (Photo: Washington DC Vacation Home Rental)

Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.

Born to run…or walk at a relatively fast pace

As a sheltered kid growing up on the mean streets (not really) of Teaneck, New Jersey, my overprotective mother would allow very few activities where she couldn’t keep a vigilant eye on us. That left us with precisely two play areas – the backyard and the short stretch of pavement at the end of our dead-end street.

Back when kids still played in the street, my sisters, cousins and I spent hours racing down to the end of that dead-end. In my memory, I was fast. Really fast. I would also say I won all the races. And while my memory of my win/loss record is sure to be called into question, (see I’d forgotten about that for more on my awful memory), one thing I do know for sure is that I loved the way I felt when I was running.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t confident enough at the time to transform that love into joining the track team or even taking running up as a hobby.

Fast forward 25 plus years and I still love the feeling of running.

When I imagine doing it.

In my mind.

Because when I’ve actually tried to do it, the feeling I get is not the same as the one I got years ago.

Running down that dead end street as a kid I felt fast, carefree and like I could run like that forever.

Now when I run I feel…my right hip, my left knee and the chafing of my construction grade sports bra against my back. *Sighs*

A younger cousin ran for a while and wrote about the hip pain she felt that led her to give up running. I now understand. And the truth is, no matter how much I want to run, me, on all fours (crying) on the corner of “bless her heart” and “she just wouldn’t listen” is not a good look. And not good to look at.  And hollering at the local hotties while sweating in the fetal position on the sidewalk is no way to meet a man.  Not one with teeth anyway. Trust me.

This is not to say that women runners in their 40s and beyond aren’t tearing it up on the side streets of America. I know they are – the bright light of their fitness glory blinds me each and every time they whiz by me on my WALKS. Kudos to them and those aerodynamic baby pusher things that have them navigating through the streets of Oakhurst like they’re training for decathlons.

As for me, I’ll keep watching the runners enviably from the sidelines. In the meantime I’ve got my walking and I’ve found a new workout muse – Michael Jackson The Experience. Michael Jackson and I have been tearing it up on my Wii.  If enough of you ask I’ll even video a session so you can get a good ab workout from laughing with me while you watch. No, not really.  Image: Not me running – Source:Flickr: Emanuel Leanza “Eleanza”

What’s your fit-at-forty story? Share in the comment section or on our Facebook page.