As a former type-A lawyer and financial planner turned grounded, present living wife and mom, there’s nothing that’s been more powerful in my own personal transformation than applying the tools and practices I teach to my own life.
These practices help me navigate daily challenges like stress and overwhelm, as well as some of the hardest moments I’ve ever experienced, including my dad’s death. They also are how I’ve made career changes, stopped yelling, paid off debt, lost 40 pounds, moved across the country (twice), and continue to live into my future.
While there is no perfect way to navigate life, these practices and tools have made my life significantly better, happier, and more fulfilling.
In this episode you’ll learn 15 specific practices I use to help make my life better as a professionally trained advanced life coach.
If you’re a mom, you’re in the right place. This is a space designed to help you overcome challenges and live your best life. I’d love for you to join me inside Grow You, my community for moms where we take this work to the next level.
Hi there. Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon and I’m an Advanced certified Mindfulness Life Coach as well as a wife and mom, if you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.
Hello my friend. Welcome to today’s podcast. I’m so excited to be here with you today because I have a really fun episode for you. I am going to be sharing how I use these practices in my everyday life. I talk a lot about concepts and teachings and ideas and tools, and hopefully all of them, or at least some of them are pretty helpful for you. But I thought it would be fun for you to hear the tools and practices that I use most often in my everyday life. This definitely isn’t an exhaustive list. There are lots of other tools. In fact, all of the tools that I teach, I am a student of first and foremost. But I think that it can be helpful to hear how our own teachers and coaches and mentors are applying the tools in their life through real examples. And so that’s what I want to share with you here today.
Before I dive into all of that goodness, I want to invite you to come join me for Ask, Natalie Anything. I am going to be teaching how to coach yourself and how to overcome any challenge that you are facing using the main tool that I use in my own life and in my client’s lives. You can get specific feedback from me on anything that you are struggling with. If you’re struggling with having more patience with your kids, like yelling, if you are having a lot of anxiety or overwhelm or maybe you want to increase connection or intimacy in your marriage. I can also coach you on overeating or over drinking anything that you are doing as a bad habit that you want to stop or maybe you want help with time management and balance and transitions or goals and fulfillment. All of these are topics that I coach on using the tools that I have been trained in as a professionally trained Life Coach, as well as having the privilege of coaching thousands of women and moms in my Grow You coaching program.
So this is a free public coaching call and what that means is all you have to do is head on over to nataliebacon.com/asknatalie, that’s all one word, and click on the link and reserve your seat. You’ll get an email to join me on Zoom and no one will see you or hear you. You can kind of just hang out and listen if you want, but you can also type in the q and a or raise your hand and get coached. I think that testing out coaching and seeing what it’s all about is one of the best ways for you to take care of yourself. It is self-care on steroids. I think that because I have utilized these tools so much in my life, there is nothing that I am more passionate about in terms of one strategy or kind of tool that will help you.
Um, because of how much it’s helped me in my life, I have stopped yelling. I have just become more calm and less rigid in, in Type A. I’ve changed my careers. I quit drinking. I lost over 40 pounds with my first child. I have created a really healthy, incredible marriage and I don’t say any of this to brag or think that I’m somehow this um, special person or, anything like that. I just want you to know that, um, I am a student of these tools and I believe in them so much and they’ve made such a difference in my life, and I want you to have the opportunity to see what that’s like. So Ask Natalie Anything. Join me. This one is happening on May 11th. You can get all of the details over at nataliebacon.com/asknatalie. It’s free. You can register there and I personally just get excited to connect with you all more there since on the podcast, it’s a little bit more one-sided with me teaching and talking.
So come on, hang out with me for about an hour or so and I would love to get to know you there. Now let’s dive into the tools and practices that I love using in my everyday life. Number one, I talk in clean thinking. This means that I attribute my feelings to my thoughts, not my circumstances, and I separate out my feelings from my actions. So for example, I won’t say something like I’m feeling really stressed because of what’s going on in my life that would be attributing my feelings to my life. Instead, I try to talk in a way that attributes my feelings to the thoughts that I’m having about my life. So I would say something like, I’m feeling really stressed because I’m thinking everything that I have going on is too much. It sounds like semantics and, and so subtle. And yet talking in clean thinking allows me to take responsibility for my emotions, which is so huge.
The same is true with separating out feelings from actions. So you may have heard me talk about this on Instagram over at Natalie Bacon Coaching. A lot of times what we end up doing is apologizing for being angry and I never apologize for my feelings, but I will apologize for my actions. So I’m separating out what actions are. Okay, maybe I say a rude comment or something like that. I’m gonna apologize for that, but I’m not gonna apologize for feeling upset. So when you can categorically separate out the thoughts from your feelings, from your actions, from the facts and talk in that way, it can really help you feel more empowered in your life. Life. So that’s something that I try to do. Of course, I’m not perfect at it by the way. I’m not perfect at any of these tools, but these are the tools that I use most often in my life that I think help empower me to live my best life.
Okay, number two, I try to use the emotion of curiosity as much as possible. Curiosity gets me out of judgment. My brain loves to judge it loves to judge myself. It loves to judge others. Sometimes this is useful if I am reading a legal brief or um, going over something for my business. It’s very useful to be pretty critical, not so useful when it comes to my relationships. So something that I try to use is curiosity. Curiosity is just I wonder, I wonder what’s going on for this person. I wonder what motivated them to act in that way that I might not be seeing. Or if it’s something about myself, I wonder why I decided to eat all of that ice cream. What was going on for me in that moment, huh? It’s this fascination and wonder about whatever it is that I want to figure out or navigate that helps me. Curiosity is like the secret sauce to coming up with solutions and moving forward and judgment blocks that.
Number three, I do my best to take extreme responsibility for my feelings. What does this means? It means that on default, my brain wants to delegate my emotions. It wants to say that I am feeling anxious because of what’s happening in the world. It wants to say that I am feeling, um, jealous because what I saw on social media made me feel that way. It wants to think that anything that I’m feeling is coming from outside of me. And the problem with this is that I can’t control other people or the world. So what I try to do, what’s always my goal is to take extreme responsibility for my feelings and at a minimum just notice where I’m delegating my feelings. So when my default brain delegates my emotions to Steve or to my family or to what’s happening in my life or my business or the world, whatever it is, I just notice it and I take responsibility back.
I just say, oh, that’s interesting. I’m feeling this way because of what I am thinking and what I’m making it mean, not because of anything that’s happening outside of me. Now, it doesn’t mean that I’m wrong. I don’t do this as a way to invalidate my experience or think I shouldn’t feel these feelings. I just do it because it puts me in the most empowered place because I can control how I think and it doesn’t mean that I’m ready to not feel however I’m feeling. It just means that I always want to take responsibility for my feelings because I know that that’s the most helpful place for me to be in and and for me to move forward.
Number four, this is an activity that we do as a family. We go around and we talk about our top feelings of the day. We don’t do this every night, but we do it a few times a week. So we just go around and everyone says what their top three feelings were from that day with no agenda. We’re not trying to come up with positive emotions or negative emotions, we just take it as a moment of fun reflection that helps us connect with each other, understand each other better, and understand ourselves and increase our emotional vocabulary and emotional awareness and strength. And sometimes we will attribute it and name the thought that created the feeling. Other times we’ll just go around and if you have littler kids, what you can do, like in my case with my son, we will just say what we think his top feelings were for that day. And when he has the capacity, when he’s a little bit older, then of course we will offer to him that he can choose like, what were your top three feelings today? And again, this isn’t from a place of there’s a right and wrong.
So even if someone in your family says what their top three feelings were and you were around them all day and you don’t agree, it’s not for you to say, it’s just for them to reflect on. I think it can be really powerful, um, as a connection point as a family to just have that emotional awareness and those moments together in like a lighthearted way.
Number five, 10 minutes of silence. You’ve heard me talk about this before. I was just coaching on it. Inside Grow You. It is life changing. I don’t do it as much anymore because I’ve done it so much that I feel really grounded. This practice is one that I have always like as a tool in my back pocket for whenever I get too much in my head, whenever my nervous system is too activated. Whenever I’m in that go, go, go energy and feel like I can’t slow down or take a break, I practice 10 minutes of silence by just setting the timer, sitting still, being with myself, and just taking some breaths.
And that’s it. The more you do this consistently, the greater impact it has on you. In fact, the first handful of times, maybe up to a few weeks. So if you’ve done this, I don’t know, 7, 14, 21 days, it will take that long to move through the discomfort of it if you are used to being someone who can’t sit still. But then there is sort of this tipping point where it becomes so powerful and something you really look forward to as a way to self-regulate and feel an experience more calm. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with productive stress. In fact, there’s research and studies that show that there is good stress that is useful and and you can use to solve problems. However, if you are constantly in a state of stress and your nervous system is always activated, that is not useful, that is bad. So you want to make sure that for your own physical health, mental and emotional health, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to slow down and get your body in a state of rest while you are awake. I’m not talking about sleeping here.
Number six, creating a being list. This goes to how I think about my own identity and thinking about who I want to be and who I want to become. And writing that down. I use the mindful journaling practice inside Grow You to do this. So in a nutshell, what it is is I wanna write down the future me that I am creating, but focusing on who I need to be, which is my thoughts and my feelings that create that identity, not necessarily the actions that I’m going to take because those actions will flow naturally. It might include some actions, but mostly I’m focusing on, okay, if I want to feel more connected to my friends, that version of me who is more connected to my friends, what do I think about?
How do I think about myself and how do I think about my friends? What’s different about me as someone who’s really connected to her friends than who I am now? And I just write about that. I write about who I want to become so that I give my brain new, I call ’em like future memories that I can call on because the default brain will always pull on the past. You can do this for any area of your life professionally in your career as a mom, as a woman, wife, whatever role you’re in or however you want to change can be something more specific. Like if you want to drink less or eat less sugar, who do you need to become? What is the version of you who eats less sugar? Think about on vacation or what does she think about when she is out to eat and other people are ordering dessert? What’s her mindset? How does she relate to those circumstances? This is an exercise actually I was just coaching someone on and she was pulling so much from her past, and so we did this so that she could pull from her future. I think it’s just so powerful. It’s one I’ve been using for years. I continue to use it whenever I am wanting to transform and become that next version of myself.
Number seven, when I am making decisions, I try to remember to focus on making decisions from abundance. Instead of making decisions from scarcity, my brain loves to look for what’s wrong. So when I’m weighing two options, it might on default just weigh the worst of each option. So for example, when we were deciding whether to stay in Charleston or move back to Chicago, it was easy for me to come up with the cons, the downside of each and what would be bad or what wouldn’t work or what would be hard in both places.
And there’s nothing wrong with like a pros and a cons list, but I just noticed that for myself and for a lot of my clients, we tend to make decisions from what has the least amount of negatives. And so what I try to do is after I’ve given my brain a little bit of airtime with those negatives, I say, okay, now what if in each choice it ends up better than I can even imagine? It’s amazing and I create that experience, then what do I choose? And your brain will not wanna do this because your brain will say, okay, well then it doesn’t matter. And that’s sort of the point, is seeing that you can create your experience and that there isn’t a right decision, that there is always gonna be good and bad problems are forever. And that how you show up and the experience you create is something that you have a lot of control over. And I like to remind myself, I can always redde decide, I love telling myself this. Nothing is permanent. I can always redde decide. This helps me make better decisions and make decisions more quickly.
Number eight, embracing the 50 50 of myself and of others. Oftentimes, I want to control the world and I want to control other people, and I want to control my friends and my family, and I think that I know what’s best. Can you relate to this at all where you think if they just did this or if you say something like, I would never do that, or if it was me, I wouldn’t have said that. We sort of do this as a way to center ourselves and make ourselves right. And for me, what’s been really helpful for this is to just remind myself that everyone has a different mind. So they operate with completely different thoughts and feelings and actions, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
It would actually be very boring if everyone was just like me, and yet my brain thinks that everyone should be just like me. Like trust me, if you just did this this way, it would be better, right? And that’s of course not true. And so a tool that I use to embrace other people who are different from me is reminding myself that everyone is supposed to be different. And there’s 50 50 in everyone, meaning there’s good and there’s bad and people are complicated, and life gets kind of messy sometimes. And the more that I can give myself compassion, meaning, the more that I can give myself a break and love myself, even when I make mistakes, the better I get at loving my family and my friends and other people in my life. So I embrace the goodness and the awfulness and the messiness in myself and in others. Of course, this isn’t easy, but having this as a belief helps me to redirect my mind and really practice it when those default thoughts that aren’t supportive come up.
Number nine, believing in taking care of myself. This is a big one, particularly in western culture as a wife and a as a mom, there’s sort of this narrative that moms eat last. Moms shouldn’t take care of themselves, and the more that they self-sacrifice, the better job they’re doing. And I call BS on that. I do not believe that. I do not want to believe that. I don’t think it’s healthy. I think it makes women and moms invisible. That is not what I represent. That’s not who I want to be, and that’s not the message that I want to send. So what that means is believing that I am worthy of taking care of myself, of caring for myself.
I think the word self-care is powerful, yet it’s overused so much that we sort of blow it off. But I like to, instead of saying self-care, just say to myself, taking care of myself. When I say, am I taking care of myself, that sounds a lot more genuine and authentic than am I practicing self-care. So examples of how I take care of myself vary on the season. It varies by the capacity. It varies, um, by kind of what’s going on in my life because I think that taking care of myself is personal as it is for everyone. That’s why we can’t really prescribe self-care in terms of an action. So I like to take care of my physical appearance. I like to have nice clothes and I like to get my hair cut and sometimes colored. I like to get ready every day. That’s a way that I take care of myself.
I like to make sure I clean out my mind and coach myself and get coaching and, um, finding ways for me to practice mental and emotional wellness so that I can show up in my life in the way that I want to show up. Taking care of myself means growing and taking care of myself physically. What am I putting into my body that I’m eating and products and, and products that I’m using. So those are just some examples of self-care for me. Um, you might have a completely different list, and that’s the point. It’s so personal, but really it stems from having the belief. A lot of times we think it stems from having the time, but it’s just not true. What really is the best way to start taking care of yourself is to have the belief it’s important for me to take care of myself. That belief alone can change your life.
All right, number 10. I like to work on my marriage from a good place. I think that culturally we believe in working on our marriage from a bad place. So if your marriage is in trouble, you might go to marriage counseling. It’s just general, right? Of course there’s exceptions, but what I like to think about is how can I show up more intentionally in my marriage? How can I be the wife who I want to be? Not from a place of putting pressure on myself, but just from a place of this is something that I care deeply about. I want to prioritize my marriage, and I want to grow in my marriage, and I want to work on it from a good place. I think that we need to change the narrative from we only work on things that are in trouble to, we work on things that we care about.
So for example, you may take care of your health or care about what you eat or work out because you care about your body, not because your body’s in trouble or bad. So the same can be true for our relationships. You could do this with friendships as well. How can I be a better friend? What does it mean to me to be a good friend? How am I showing up in my friendships? Again, using that curiosity to just play around with how you’re showing up in relationships that matter to you. That’s sort of the energy that I come from with respect to my relationships. And again, not perfect at this, but it’s something that I do believe in and operate from.
Number 11, I love the mantra and use it in my everyday life. We’re on the same team. This is so helpful for me because again, that brain scanning for what’s wrong is easy to notice what Steve’s doing, quote unquote wrong in my mind or my family, my kids, whatever is on my mind for that day. The house, right? Whatever is wrong, it can be very separating and it can seem like it’s me against you when I tell myself, we’re on the same team, it’s me and you on the couch together, and the problem is in front of us. So I’m gonna just kinda make up an example here, but let’s say that dinners have been really challenging. Instead of it’s me against my son or me against my husband, it’s no, we’re all on the couch together on the same team. Navigating dinners and dinners is the challenge in front of us. It’s a completely different energy. And from that mindset, we’re on the same team. I come up with such better, more creative, more connecting solutions.
Number 12, I don’t see my kids as an extension of me. This was something that truly changed my life. Instead of seeing kids as an extension of what you do, meaning their behavior, how good of a job they do, quote unquote, is reflective of you. Instead it’s no, they’re on their own journey. And as mom, as a parent, I’m here as their teacher, their mentor, their mother to help them, to guide them. But it’s separate. There’s this separation. So when my son does something and someone is really impressed with it and they tell me I’m doing such a good job, I don’t take that personally at all. I, I started this from such a, a young age with RJ on airplanes. You may have heard me talk about this before, when he would be like really quiet and um, not crying on airplanes, calm, people often after the flight would tell me what a good job I’ve done. Or they would say, he’s so good. And I just remember the thoughts that I would have on purpose. Instead of making that mean, oh, I’m doing a good job, I would just make it mean that he had a great flight and it had nothing to do with me.
Because here’s the problem with making it mean that I’m doing such a great job. Those other flights, when he wasn’t calm, when he was upset, they weren’t saying those things. And I don’t think it’s useful for my child or myself to take it personally because then what happens over time, this goes far beyond flights, right? We end up trying to control our kids. We think that their grades are a reflection of how we’re doing. As parents, we think that whether they have friends is a reflection of whether we are being a good mom. And so when there’s no separation there, we make it all about us. And number one, it’s not about us. They’re living their own lives and they have their own agency and they’ll have their own challenges. But number two, it’s also just not useful for how we want to show up as parents.
It doesn’t actually help us support them. So I just allow myself to have whatever feelings I’m having based on what’s going on, but then remind myself that I can still be an active participant in helping my child navigate any challenges or any challenging behaviors. Not from a place of you need to perform so that I can feel good about myself, but from a place of I genuinely wanna help you overcome this challenge. It’s a completely different energy and it helps me show up in such a better way as a parent.
Number 13, I have this belief that death is a completion of life. I’ve used this for my dad who passed away a few years ago, and I have already used this preemptively thinking about my dogs dying in the future. Because if you don’t know this, I’m extremely attached to my dogs. I’m obsessed with them. I love them. And my primitive brain, that fear-based part of my brain goes into overdrive thinking about them ever dying. So I just remind myself, death is a completion of life. Everyone has a death date and we don’t know when that is. And I always go back to can I accept life? Accepting life means that part of life means there is death, because the only way we define life is that there is a death, there is an end date. And it can kind of sound a little bit morbid, but I promise you it can be so helpful. This doesn’t mean that there’s not a grieving process. I think grieving is so important and critical for our souls, for our own growth. But that can be from clean pain, from heartbreak, from, you know, kind of feeling devastated. That’s very different than what I call the dirty pain, which is the resistance. The thoughts like this shouldn’t be happening, something’s gone wrong. That’s the part that I’ve completely cleaned up with respect to death because I just think of it as a completion. Okay?
Number 14, I think from my future and believe in the possibilities that I want to believe in, not based on the past. And this is a skill, not perfect at it, but something that I use a lot when I want to create a transformation. So instead of going to who have I been in the past to dictate who I’m going to be in the future, I go to my future. And the reason that this is harder to do is because your future is blank. I just had someone write in into a Mindful Message request in Grow You. And she said, I want to show my kids and my spouse that I care more.
But I’m struggling with ideas for how to do that because in the past I’ve been so negative. And this is exactly why, right? Because when we’ve been negative in the past or when we’ve done certain things in the past in a certain way, that’s what our brain remembers and that’s what we have evidence of. And so your brain can pull from that very quickly. Your brain wants to be really efficient. So when it pulls from the past really quickly and your past is full of maybe actions that you don’t wanna repeat, it’s not that you can’t change it, just that it takes more brain power to come up with a new creative solution. Brainstorming and coming up with new ideas. It’s not hard. It just takes more thinking power. And I give myself permission to slow it down and take some time and think from my future, like what’s next?
I love growing my family. I love growing my business. I love my friendships, I love my health. Who do I want to become? What’s next in my future? Just for fun? What kind of transformations do I wanna have? Not because it makes me better and I’m lacking now, but because you know, from the moment I’m born to the day I die, it’s a growth journey. And why not pick those growth journeys on purpose? And the last tool that I wanna share with you that I really love is getting future self wisdom. So whenever I’m going through something like a challenge, or if I have an obstacle and a goal that I am trying to achieve, I love accessing the wisdom that my future self has. So if I am eating sweets and I wanna work on eating less sugar, I can access my future self 10 years from now and ask her what advice she has to give me.
You can do this for anything you’re going through. You will be amazed at how calm and loving and caring and wise your future self is. My future self often gives me advice like, don’t worry about this. It’s going to work out. This is happening for you. Accessing that future self wisdom is so helpful and validating and comforting in a way that it’s hard to get otherwise. So I just absolutely love that practice. Alright, my friends, these are the practices that I’ve been using in my everyday life. I hope that some of them resonated with you. At a minimum, if you would like to share with me which ones did, which ones you’re using in your life, head on over to Natalie Bacon Coaching and send me a dm. I would love to hear with you and connect with you about this episode and talk with you more about these practices. I’ll talk with you next week. Take care.
If you loved this podcast, I invite you to check out Grow You my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.