J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 92.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Well, hey, welcome back. I'm Jen Riday and I'm here to help you love yourself, to heal your hearts and to figure out your priority and your purpose so you can live your priorities and your purpose instead of being stuck in the ‘shoulds’. This is all about living a life that feels balanced and simple and meaningful and loving. I'm so glad you're here. I want to talk to you about my weekend. Our family of 8 had a rather rough time, and I think that's because it's getting really dark and gray and there's no sunshine here in Wisconsin, and that means our moods can go down. I have a history of depression, something I inherited from my mom and grandmother, and I'm not sure what's happening on my husband's side. (Laughs). We won't go there, but, you know (Laughs)… but anyway, everyone was just a bit moody; I can tell you, we were just moody. And we were busy, we had to play the part of a nativity at our church's Christmas party, which was great and fun and bonding, but we were just super busy. And what happens when you're busy? Well, you don't take very good care of yourself; and that's what happened for me. I was a bit Moody, I didn't take time to take care of myself. And I feel like, energetically, when I'm off, everyone gets even more off. Can you relate? I've said in earlier episodes, “Women are like the sun, energetically.” That means, if we're glowing our brightest and we filled our cups and we've taken care of ourselves, we're grounded, we're centered, we're in our calm and authentic place and our kids pick up on that energy, they're like, “Oh, okay, mom's doing good, I'm going to do good.” That's saying, “If mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy,” there's so much truth there. Well, we mom's sometimes feel angry about that saying because that means we have to get our act together and we have to be the adult and we have to be the one that fixes everything, and that can stink sometimes. But it's in our best interest to do it anyway. Frankly, I really believe that God or the universe gave us women a superpower; and that is massive energetic and emotional capacity. We can feel. That means we can feel deeply and be drained really fast, but on the other hand, we can feel deeply and fill up our cups and love and give and help and just, energetically, raise the vibration, raise the energy, raise the love in our families and our homes, with our friends at work. We have so much power. And so, yes, that might be a little sexist, but that's my experience with the majority of women I interact with; they have amazing emotional and energetic capacity.
So how does that relate to my weekend? Well, I had to get my act together. Everyone was losing it, mom wasn't on her game and everything was getting worse, and I had to go back to the drawing board. I had to eat right. I woke up today and I was on track again with my Organifi protein shake, my green juice, my meditation, I had to get back in the game. And I'm proud to say I'm here. I'm so glad to be here talking with you. And I share in the spirit of helping, you know, that we all have cycles. I just happened to have one this weekend and I'm talking about it with you. It's nothing to beat yourself up about though. What it is, is a gift, a chance to recognize “Hey, wow, it really does matter that I meditate every day. It really does matter that I have protein for breakfast and I manage my energy,” like Jill Payne talked about last week; which if you haven't listened to it, it was one of my all-time favorite episodes. You can get it at jenriday.com/91. Anyway, when we manage our energy, we feel better, everyone else around us shifts in response, (I know this to be true) and then they treat us more the way we want to be treated. I've said it before and I'll say it again, “As we take care of ourselves and heal our own hearts, we simultaneously heal the hearts of those around us and help them to be their best selves.” We have such great power in our homes and over our kids and our spouses and we need to rise into that ability as women and own it; own our energetic and emotional capacity to thrive and lead and pull others upward with us. So no resentment for that role. Stand in that power, stand in your ability to heal your heart and simultaneously heal the hearts of those around you. And with that energy, you can have one of the most phenomenal holiday seasons this year. You can step into 2018 and have a phenomenal year, seeing yourself for this amazing and massive emotional and energetic capacity that you have. Now, where do we start? Eat right in the morning, have a little bit of protein, green juice, whatever it is, start it right with your body, exercise, go back to Jill Payne's episode and listen to how you can raise your energy every single morning, and meditate. I love meditating; coming back to your centered and grounded and authentic place, connecting with God or the universe or your intuition and remembering, “Wow, this is me. This is my best self.” This wonderful, loving, kind, amazing woman who has the capacity to raise the energy and to increase the love in her family and in her marriage and in her relationships and at work, wherever you are, shine into that place and be your best self. Now, Jill, in addition to that amazing podcast episode last week, was so gracious to offer those of you who are members of the Vibrant Happy Women Academy a video on how she is setting her goals and energetically managing her mood and her energy so that she can achieve those goals, and she talks about exactly how she manifests the things she wants in her life. I've been using Jill's strategies and they're pretty amazing. I've established my 20 goals, she says to do between 5 and 2o for 2018, and I've created the images that she says should go with them, and I'm so excited to try it out. Now, this is available (this video I'm talking about) only to members of the Vibrant Happy Women academy. If you're in there, you can find it in the member’s area. If you're not in there, I want to invite you to join us. This is the place to be if you want to rock your 2018. Not only will you get access to Jill's video on how to manifest your goals in 2018, but there's so much more on self-love and relationships and managing your mood and staying calm and patient with your kids. And I would like to invite you to join us, and that enrollment closes Tuesday, December 12th. So get in as soon as you hear this and you'll be in there for 2018. Doors won't open again until spring of 2018.
Another cool thing. Many of, you know, I'm leading a self-love, heal your heart journey for 2018 and I'm offering a workshop all about the details and that's on Thursday December 14th, this week, and you can sign up for the workshop at jenriday.com/selflove2018, all one word, selflove and then the number 2018; jenriday.com/selflove2018, all one word. I would love to have you join us for the workshop. I'm going to share some tips on things you can do on your own for 2018 to increase your self-love and I'm going to be talking about the program I'm going to be leading in 2018 if you want a step-by-step plan and a community of other women who are on the same journey and the guidance of an expert self-love and heart healing coach; that would be me. I can't wait to help you on that journey. Because when you love yourself, man, it changes the game in your relationship with your spouse and with your kids. Like I said before, when you heal your own heart, you heal the hearts of those around you; energetically, it can't work any other way. Again, that workshop is at jenriday.com/selflove2018; love to have you there.
Well, last week, as you know, I spoke with Jill Payne; it was amazing. But today, I’ll be talking with Tonya Dalton all about teaching your kids how to set goals and be productive. It's not easy to set goals as adults, but then how do you shift even further and teach your kids how to do it? Well, in this episode, Tonya talks all about it how to start that process and how to make it rewarding and fun for your family. So let's go ahead and dive in.
My guest today is Tonya Dalton and she's a productivity expert who believes that too many women feel overwhelmed with all that they have to do each day. She owns inkWELL Press, a business focused on helping women use productivity to pursue their big goals and each day feeling satisfied and successful. This is super aligned with what I love to talk about as well, so I'm so excited that you're going to be on the show today, Tonya.
T: Well, I'm excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
J: Thanks for coming. And what quote would you like to start out with today?
T: Well, every year with our planners, I focus on a different quote. And this year for 2018, the quote I've chosen is, “Forever is composed of ‘now’s,” which is part of a poem by Emily Dickinson. And I feel like it's so important because we get so caught up in the day-to-day of everyday life that we forget that our forever really is composed of these tiny moments in our lives. For me, my son has just entered high school, which seems crazy because I think of him as being like 5 years old. (Laughs)
T: But he's in high school now in this countdown that I'm on of I have 4 years left with him at home. This is really resonated with me, which is why I made it our quote for the year is because I need to make sure I'm capturing these ‘now’s, not with a camera, but with me being very intentional with being involved and noticing these moments that we have together while I still have them at home. You know, along with my daughter of course, but just being on this countdown has really made that a little more clear for me.
J: So you have 2 kids?
T: I do; I have an 11 year old and a 14 year old.
J: Wow. And you may be panic when you said 4 years left because my son is a high schooler as well; my oldest.
J: And yeah, that panic truly starts to set in.
T: It does.
J: So what has helped you to figure out what you want those ‘now's to be composed of; the things that are most meaningful for you?
T: I think that's a really good question because there is so much hecticness in our lives and so much chaos in our daily lives, really clearing those moments so that we can truly focus in on our kids. One of my favorite parenting books is ‘How to Really Love Your Children’ by Dr. Ross Campbell, and he talks a lot. This is a book I read when my kids were little bitty and I continued to reread it on a regular basis. And he talks about how taking very intentional time for your children is very meaningful for them; even if it's just a 5 minute, you know, talk. While you're in the kitchen chopping vegetables, stopping what you're doing, looking them in the eye and really taking in the conversation, not as background noise, but as the focus of your attention. So, you know, sometimes, you know, that advice tends to slip away from our minds, right?
T: We need to re-center ourselves. So with this countdown that I'm on with him, I feel like I'm being so much more intentional with that time and really trying to make sure that I'm carving out these moments for the 2 of us to spend time together, and then time for my daughter and I to also spend together, but really making sure that these moments are meaningful to him and to me. And they're not just about what I want to do, it's really trying to understand who he is as he's growing into becoming an adult, which is an amazing phase in their lives, and it's such a gift to be a part of that; watching him grow. But seeing what are the things are important to him and trying to become more active in having conversations about those things that are interesting to him; and that, to me, is… is what's really important.
J: Yeah. And you're not just doing what you think is important to him, but actually finding out.
J: Because so many moms get stuck in elaborate meals or decorating or just all the stuff that kids don't even care about.
J: And also, when you shared about that, it reminded me one time I sat around trying to get into my kids heads thinking about, “What is their experience?” You know, not exactly talking to them, but I thought back to when I was a kid and I realized the thing I wanted more than anything was just attention, focused attention, and approval; a little bit of validation. And so that's kind of been a mantra for me with my own kid is to, yes, stop what you're doing, give them a detention and give them that love and approval, which most of us crave even as adults. So I love what you… you're doing there; that's great.
T: Absolutely. Well, one of the things I did with my kids recently that I thought to myself, “Why didn't I do this sooner?” is I had them take the love languages test. There's a love language test for kids…
J: Uh-huh, mm-hmm.
T: … that you can have them take. So I figured out what their love language is, so then I can really hit home with them in the ways that they perceive love. And I thought that has been really powerful for me to know that my son is acts of service. So I make sure that I'm doing acts of service for him because I know that's how he receives love. So sometimes it's just figuring out what are their little key points; what are the things that are important to them. So I love what you said there about, you know, really figuring out things that are important to them. And it's not the birthday parties, it's not the elaborate, you know, home-cooked meals, it's really about the time you're spending together and expressing your love and the way that's meaningful to them.
J: Yeah. And I love the love languages questionnaire, and I'll put a link to it on our show notes page for everyone; you should definitely try it with your kids. And that'll be on jenriday.com/92; you can find that link. Well, let's go all the way back, Tonya. So I'm sitting here thinking, you sound amazing, you know, you have developed all these planners with inkWELL Press, but let's go really far back when you were a new mom, and tell us about a moment of chaos and struggle when, you know, you knew you had to shift something.
T: Yeah. Well, so when my kids were little, I was a stay-at-home mom, full-time stay-at-home mom, and my husband had a job where he was doing marketing for these fortune 500 companies. So he would leave our home, we were living in Dallas, Texas at the time, and he would fly going, you know, towards New York, and he would fly back from the west coast. He'd go all the way around the world (unclear) [15:26].
J: (Gasps) Whoa!
T: 3 and a half, 4 weeks, he'd go to almost every continent.
J: (Laughs). Oh my gosh!
T: It was a crazy, crazy time for us.
T: Because my kids were really little. And so we had this routine he and I did where we would talk in the morning and in the evening; as one of us was getting up, the other one was going to bed, we'd talk about our days to kind of keep, you know, touch points with each other. So I had this conversation with him, it was evening for me and I was chattering away about all the things that they were doing and the new words Kate was saying, and he got really quiet.
T: Like scary quiet; he didn't say anything. And he's normally a pretty quiet guy, but not that quiet. And I said, “What's wrong?” and he said, “I'm missing everything.”
T: He said, “I'm missing it all.” I was like, “No, no, no, no, you're not. You know, the kids are really excited when you come home. Don't worry about it,” but it really pulled on him and that was a really a problem for him. He loved what he did, but he didn't like how much time it took away from where… with being home with us. So I hung up the phone with him and I stood in my kitchen, my kids were playing in the backyard, I can picture it right now it was very moment, then playing in the backyard and then me standing in the kitchen as the sun is setting and I thought, “My life is about to change. I am going to take this little…” I had a side business I had started with $50, and I said, “I am going to grow that business to the point where he can quit working at corporate America and come work with me and be at home with the kids as much as he wants.” Because I love that he's such a great dad, I love that that was a poll for him. So how am I going to make this happen? How am I going to do this when I have a husband who travels for 3, 4 weeks at a time? I have 2 small kids and, you know, life happens. So I sat down and I created systems for myself. I just… I created a plan for how I was going to make this work that I was going to be able to raise my kids, still making them a priority and grow a business so that my husband could quit working in corporate America and come work with me. And, you know, I thought, “Is this even possible?” but I took that big goal, that big dream, and I broke it down and made it into bite-sized pieces, and within a year, he was working alongside of me at my business, and we were able to absorb that income that he had been making with the business that I had grown at that point. So, to me, a lot of that time was really about productivity and finding ways to make systems work so that my kids could still have me as their full-time stay-at-home mom, but still be growing a business and doing all these things that I had going on in my life. So that was definitely a hard time for me, but figuring out those systems and creating a productive life for myself has made all the difference because now I own a business that I love. I work at a desk where my husband sits across from me; we're together 24 hours a day, which works really well for us, and I have kids who are very productive, who come in who can help us out of the business and who are very actively involved. So, for me, that was a big turning point in my life.
J: Awesome, awesome. Well, as you look back on the process, when did you decide that planners was the thing you're going to do, you know?
J: And what struggles led to that?
T: That's a good question. Well, to be honest with you, that business that I was just sharing with you that I created was not the business that I have now; it was a jewelry company.
J: Ah! Okay.
T: And so I had that jewelry company for quite some time. But in around the fall of 2013, I was realizing, that was not fulfilling to me. I was feeling just like I love the business, like the business side of things, like running the business. I liked working alongside with my husband, but I didn't love what I was creating. It didn't fulfill me and what I really wanted to do in my life. So I went to my husband and I said, you know, “I don't know what to do because I'm not happy.” And this is… of course, this business at this point is our sole income. This pays our mortgage and it pays our bills and feeds our children, so that was very scary to go to him and then to say that out loud. Because I've been thinking it for some time, but to say those words out loud was frightening. And he said, “Okay, let's figure out what it is you want to do and I will follow you wherever you want to go.” So that was hard because I thought, “Why am I leaving a business that has been successful enough that we're able to live, that, you know, does really well, that, you know, has… has worked for all these years? Why am I leaving that should jump into something new? And what if there is nothing new? Like what if there I don't have a purpose?” So I sat down and I started, you know, looking up how to figure out your purpose. And a lot of things were like, “Well, what do you think is your meaning of life?” and I'm like, “I don't know; that's my problem,” right? So I sat down and I created a series of exercises for myself, figuring out, “What are the things that are important to me? What are the things that are my priority? What is part of my purpose?” And I came up and I honed in on 3 things that were really key for me personally. So education was really important to me. I used to be a teacher, so education of other people has always been so important to making my heart feel full; so I loved that. I was doing a lot of small business consulting and I loved empowering women. I love the way it felt when I got off these calls and these women felt like they were ready to go. And I love productivity because that is what allowed me to grow a business to the point that I had. So I thought, “Okay, I have these 3 things. These are so unconnected, how am I ever going to create anything out of this?” So I had to create a thread that connected these 3 priorities, these 3 passions for myself, and inkWELL Press became that thread. So it's a Productivity company that, not only do we have the tools, it's not just about having the planners, it's got a very strong foundation in the education. So when you purchase a planner from us, it's not, “Here's your planner, come back in a year,” it comes with a series of videos that walk you through how to create a Productivity system that works for you; “What are the things that you want to do in your life? How do you set your goals?” So education has always been a strong foundation for that..
We've been focused on women since the beginning because women have a unique role as the CEOs of the office and CEOs of the home. So it's really designed so it works really well for the way that women run their lives. So that was my way of connecting those 3 things. And then as this business has grown, that mission of mine has expanded. So now I have the productivity tools and the trainings through courses and things like that, but now I also have podcasts and I have ways that I educate others so that it's not just about the tools, it's about creating the best life for yourself.
J: Awesome. Well, what if someone says that they don't know their purpose, how do you get them to figure out, you know, really tap into that intuition and listen to that idea inside of them?
T: Yeah, I have to say that is a really common thing that I hear from people, they say, “Well, how do I know?” And that's how I felt when I sat down and I was like, “What am I going to do? What if I can't figure out my purpose?” And I think the most important step when you're sitting down, whether it's for goal setting or project planning or figuring out your purpose, is you have to look backwards so that you can then look forward; which seems counterintuitive, right, to look backwards. But, to me, reflection is one of the most important parts of the whole foundation. So one of the things I think is really helpful when people say, “I have no idea what my purpose is or what my priorities are,” I say, “Look back over the last year. And I want you to think about, what are the things that went really well? What are the things that you really enjoy? What are the things you want to repeat? And that's good, let's talk about those. And then I want you to dig a little bit deeper and I want you to look at the things that are not so good. What were the things that you regretted from the past year? What were the things that… that you don't want to repeat? And then I need you to dig even deeper.” So we look at the good, we look at the bad, and then we got to look at the ugly.
And the ugly is the things that you really don't want to think about from the past year, “What were the things that were really hard? What were the things that that you really are upset about or disappointed in?” And when you start to really look at this, I find that most times for most people, the things when they look back and the things that are good, that's great, but the things that are the… the bad and the ugly, those are the things that are truly part of their purpose and their passions because… especially as women, we are givers. We give, give, give, and we tend to push aside the things that are most important to us; and those are generally our biggest regrets. The things that really are important to us, we tend to push to the bottom of the list because, “Well, it's just us. it's just me. You know, it's okay, I can give to these other people, but I'll push my own things aside,” and those are the things that you feel the most regret for. And I think that's very common for people to do. Because I like to tell people that. “Every time you say yes, you're saying no to something else.” So every time you're saying yes to a volunteer position or yes to, you know, baking cookies for the local bake sale or say yes to another project for your boss, you're saying no to something else. And generally, the thing you're saying no to, are the the things that are most important to you, because you don't want to impact other people. So the things you've been saying no to over the past 12 months or 36 months, however far back you want to reflect, those are generally the things that are at the heart of your purpose. And that is why, a lot of times, we feel unfulfilled and we feel unsuccessful because we're not really tapping into those. We keep pushing them aside because we're saying yes to all the other things.
J: So what if they're saying no to something they know they want to say no to? Then that's okay, but…
T: No, absolutely.
J: When they have regret.
T: Yeah, you shouldn't… you don't feel regret. When it's something that you feel solid in your no, you know, I think it's really important to be saying no on a regular basis as a matter of fact. When you're saying no to things that are not aligned with your priorities, we don't feel regret for that, we don't feel that pull or… we feel regret for the ‘no’s that are really tied to the things that are important to us.
J: Okay, okay.
T: And regret is a really strong emotion to help tap into what your purpose is.
T: It seems funny because it's the opposite of what you would think, right?
J: Yes. Well, let's take a quick break for our sponsor and then we'll come back.
(Interview resumes) [27:55]
J: Alright, welcome back. And you kind of inspired me, let me ask you a really practical question.
J: 2018 is coming up, walk us through exactly how we can plan a 2018 that's more in alignment with what we really want to be doing.
T: Mmm, yeah, I love that question. So, as I mentioned, I would start with reflection. I think that that is such an important part, and obviously I just went into depth with that so you get an idea of how I do that. But I do a reflection every year at the beginning… well, at the end of one year as I'm transitioning into a new year, I like to do a really deep reflection. And then the next phase I think is projection; projecting what it is you want to do. So I'll go ahead and give you like a personal example. For me, I had a year where things had… I had received… you know, I've had some issues at work that had caused me to really pull a lot of my time into being at the office for more hours than I really liked. So when I was doing my reflection, the real ugly part, the part that I didn't want to talk about or think about was the fact that I felt that my kids were not getting the best mother that they deserved. And that was a very hard thing to come to a conclusion about, right, because that's not something you say lightly, that's something you cry about and you feel really guilty about. So I looked at that and then I projected forward, “Okay, if I feel regret for this, how am I going to fix this so that I don't feel regret moving forward?” So then I projected and I set a goal for myself of leaving work every day at 3 o'clock so I can be home and I can change hats and I can go into my mom mode and I can focus on my kids and give them the attention they need and they deserve. So I set that projection; so that to me is the next part. And then the third part is action. So it's not enough just to put it out there into the world and say, “Well, I'm going to start going home and be at home at 3 o'clock,” you have to create a plan for that. And I think that's one of the reasons why so many people fail at their new year's resolutions is they throw them out there, they say them verbally, you know, you're around a table having drinks for New Year's and we don't create an action plan for them. And I think the action plan is so important because you need to know, “What is the next step I need to do to get this ball rolling to start the momentum of actually achieving this goal?” So, to me, you sit down and you write down, “What are the steps I need to do?” So, for me, leaving work at 3 o'clock meant I needed to make sure that I had certain things done at work before 3 o'clock. I needed to have a plan for what days I was going to work at home in the evening after the kids went to bed so I could create container so that didn't bleed into all of my evenings, right?
T: So then you have to create… once you've had that action plan, that tells you what steps to do next. And I often say that overwhelm is not having too much to do, it's not knowing where to start. Having an action plan fights that overwhelmed because it shows you, “Here's where I'm going to start. The next step after this is I need to do this, then I need to do that, then I need to move forward.” And that's what gets you closer to your goals and that's what makes living your life centered around your priorities able to be your focus.
J: Oh, that makes sense. So how would we do this process with our own kids, teaching them to be goal minded?
T: I think that's a really good question because, to me, one of our jobs as parents is to raise these children who are ready to fly out our nest, right? When my son leaves to go to college, I want him to soar out of my nest and not to have to run back to me to have everything done for him. So I think it's really important that, while our kids are at our homes and we have a little more say in how they run their days, that we teach them about productivity. So one of the things that I do is, part of my routine, is that on Sundays, we do family planning time. And that is a time for my family of 4 to come together, and it's usually in the afternoon, we all bring our planners, we sit down, we talk about what each of us has going on for the week. And the reason we do this is a couple of reasons. First of all, it gives us a chance to connect and to really be able to see like, “Who needs support? Who needs help? Who needs to, you know, create an action plan for a project?” but it allows my kids to also see vulnerability in me. And I think there's a lot to be said for creating that team mentality when your kids feel like they are able to support you just as much as you are able to support them at times. So I will be honest with my kids and say, “This is a hard week coming up. I have this going on and that going away. I got this launch. I need you guys to really step it up at home.” And 9 times out of 10, they do because that really helps build that team mentality and it lets them understand the ebbs and flows of how life works along with, you know, being productive. So then we sit down while we're doing this. And so a good example is that my son is working to become an Eagle Scout. And so all along, as he's gone through each of the different, you know, stages, the different badges and all that, he creates an action plan. And, for me, I sit there and I am his guide. I do not tell them, “This is what you need to do, then you need to do this next,” I sit down with him and I say, “Okay, what's your goal for, you know, when this… you need to have this project done?” and he'll say, “Okay, I'm going to have it done here.” And I'm like, “Okay, then you write out all the steps. What are the steps that you need to do?” and he'll write out the steps. Then I say, “Okay, now what do you think you need to do?” and then he starts plugging them in. So I guide him into creating his own productivity flow for how he's going to achieve these goals. So instead of me telling him what to do, he's doing it himself.
J: And I like how you got him to list the action steps because a lot of kids stare at a project and don't realize that, if you break it down, it's so much more doable.
T: So much more.
J: So that's really smart.
T: Thank you, yeah, it's so much easier. It's true for us as adults with our big goals, right, it's writing down those steps. But, for kids, a lot of times they sit there and they go, “I don't know. I have no idea,” so they need you to give these probing questions, “Well, what do you think is the first thing? You know, why don't you tell me what you have to do? Okay, let's write those down. What do you have to do to get this thing done?” and you just start giving these probing questions and that starts to get them thinking and it gets their wheels turning. And then you walk away and you say… I'll say, “Okay, I'm going to come back in like 5 minutes or 10 minutes,” however long, “and I want to see what you come up with and let's see if this is realistic.” So after that 5 or 10 minutes, we sit down and we talk about, “Is this plan that you've created realistic?” sometimes it is, sometimes it's not, and we discuss why. And then I help him make some adjustments to make it realistic if it's needed, and then he's in charge of making sure that he's getting it done. He writes things down in this planner, he has to… you know, each week when we're meeting for our Sunday meeting or we're asking for a check-in, “How are you doing with that project? What's going on with, you know, this next badge that you're working on?” and he gives us an update. And that helps hold him accountable, but it also gives him the room to soar and to fly to spread his wings so that he can be in charge of it. So now at the point where he's 14, he's much more able to do that because he's been doing it all along with me. So that's one of the ways that I really empower my kids to be productive is, I give them control over their lives. They have a big say in how they do these things.
J: What age do you start the planning process, the family meetings and giving them their own planner? (Laughs)
T: Mm-hmm. I mean, I started it when my kids were really little. When my kids didn't know how to read, they had planners and they could draw pictures of what were the things that they needed to do. Because my kids had chores and things like, so they could draw a picture of their chore, they could paste in pictures. I think you start kids with these productivity tools as early as possible because then they don't… it becomes second nature to them. So, for my kids, hearing about, you know, “We're going to meet on Sunday, we're going to talk about our week, and let's…” I call it the rhythm of our week. With the rhythm of our week like, “What are our busy times? What are our quieter times? You know, how do things flow?” My kids don't think anything of that, that's just part of how life works in their opinion. (Laughs)
J: Right, right.
T: So… so they don't think anything of it.
J: So your son's a high schooler and I'm guessing he doesn't carry a planner around all the time because it's not so cool. How does that integrate well with like a smartphone?
T: Well, so I think smartphones have their place. I think they're going to be a happy marriage between technology and planners. And my son actually does carry his planner with him in his bag. Because one of our products we have is a quarterly planner so it's got the year divided into 3 month chunks, so it's nice and small and it's just… it's sewn binding so it's easy for him to toss in a bag.
J: Oh, okay, okay.
T: So he does carry that with him. I do think that digital planning can be beneficial when you're planning as a group, but there is something vastly different that happens when you write down your plans and your goals. As a matter of fact, Harvard did a study of graduate students and ask them about their goals when they were graduating. And they asked and they had 84% did not have any goals whatsoever, I think it was 13% had their goals in mind, but they had not written them down, and 3% had written their goals down on paper and had it somewhere where they could look at it.
T: So they went back after 10 years and they looked to see how these different graduate students were doing. Well, the 13% who had goals in mind were making twice as much money as the people who had no goals whatsoever. They had had directions, they were making twice as much money.
T: But the 3% who had written their goals down for making 10 times the amount of the other 2 groups combined.
T: And that is because writing is such a powerful tool. It engages your brain in a very different way than technology can because it integrates the 3 main learning styles of auditory, kinesthetic, and visual into one system. So it's very powerful, and not only are you writing it down so you're physically seeing what you're writing, but you're having to take your ideas, which are a lot of times are very abstract, and you have to put them into words, which makes them more concrete. And when you make things more concrete, you're able to visualize them better, you're able to create a plan for them better, and it really can make a huge difference. So I am a huge plan of writing your plans down. And that's why we don't have an app for productivity that I create. People have asked me if I will and I… I don't think I will because, honestly, writing makes such a huge difference. I use a digital planner for, you know, trying to sync up schedules between my kids so that way they can add something on, you know, their phones and it syncs up with our main family calendar. But for making plans and for setting goals, I always have it written down.
J: You write it down.
J: That makes sense. So if someone's listening and they're like, “Okay, I see the point we need to teach our kids to plan because it teaches them how to break things down into bite-sized chunks and, you know, I think I want to try this. How would we break that down? Where do we start?”
T: How to take their goals and make it into bite-sized chunks? That's a good question.
J: How to get our family… where do we start just with this process? I guess first…
T: Oh, okay.
J: … we'll call a meeting, we set a meeting time.
T: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
J: And how would you recommend we introduce it to our kids?
T: Like anything, with kids, I think you introduce new things a little bit slowly. And I think what's really important is giving your kids a voice. There's a lot to be said for letting them put in their own opinions and their own thoughts. So, with us, for our family planning, it's not me guiding it and doing all the talking, everybody has their own sections where they're talking. So I think what's important is you create a system that works for your family. So, for my family, Sunday afternoons work; we usually do it around 4, 5 o'clock before dinner starts and that way we can spend our Sunday evening doing something together as a family. But what I would start with is just sitting down and talking about, “What do we have going on this week? What do we all have going on this week?” and then making it like a conversation; not formal, just, “Everybody, go around and tell me like what do you anticipate happening this week? What is the goal you have for this week?”
T: And then grow it from there. The next step would be, “Alright, let's start writing these down. Okay, the next step is I want you to start writing it down and I'm going to be writing my things down, you write your things down.” And so it gradually builds over time, you know, you could take a good month or 2 to really get it to a point where you're all writing things down. But…
J: I like that.
T: … make it approachable. I think any time that you start things off as just conversation, that feels easy and it doesn't feel intimidating. But if you start and you say, “Okay, everybody has to have a planner.”
T: Then they go, “Oh gosh!” right?
J: Yeah, yeah. (Laughs)
T: I mean, and the thing is…
T: … is you don’t even have to have… the kids don't have to have planners, they could just use a calendar. So every year for Christmas, you know, one of the things Santa brings is a calendar for… for everybody in our family.
T: Because I like for them to have a calendar that they can look at; that they can write down their things that they have going on. So you could have your kids get a calendar and start doing it that way, “Let's bring your calendars down and let's write down the days that you don't have school,” or, “Let's write down the day you're going to visit Grandma. Let's write down…” and start getting them excited about writing these things down and looking forward to these activities that are coming up in their lives.
J: Ooh, I love that. Tonya, I'm loving this so much. I really have to do this with my kids; do better with this. So… but let's dive in and talk about a few of your favorite things. So what is your favorite easy meal?
T: My favorite easy meal is pasta in a little homemade marinara, which I've just recently discovered how to make and it's so easy, because I literally keep the ingredients on hand all the time. An onion, garlic, a can of, you know, not crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and a little bit of basil from the garden, that's a dinner; so easy and I don't even have to think about it, and I don't have to run to the store most times. (Laughs)
J: Yum! That's so good. And you keep basil in your garden? You're not in a snowy area then, I take it.
T: No, I have like a little basil plant like inside. I'm not much of a green thumb, but I can grow little simple herbs like that. (Laughs)
J: Yeah (Laughs). And I've noticed our grocery store sells the plants, you know?
J: If you kill one, you can go again. (Laughs)
T: Yeah. I'm a fan of the, “It's okay to kill that because you can put get another one fairly inexpensively.”
J: Yeah, exactly. What's your favorite way to relax?
T: Well, I love… one of the things that I have is I have a Sunday routine for myself that's all about relaxation and feeling focused. And so I usually take like a nice long bath on Sundays. That's my day where I do like a full deep cleansing of my face; I steam my face, I put a mask on.
J: Mmm, nice.
T: And my kids know like, “Sunday night, that's mom's time that she's going to, you know, relax and start doing that.” And what's interesting is, as my kids got older, then they were kind of excited for, “When do I get to start deep cleaning my face?”
T: Like, “Well, okay.”
T: “We can figure that out for you.” But… but, yeah, that, to me, is having a little bit of that white space for myself is really…
T: I love that.
J: Yeah. And how about your favorite mood booster?
T: Mmm, my favorite mood booster, that's a good question. I think music.
T: I love having music going. We have a speaker that's in our kind of kitchen breakfast room area. I love having that going and changing the music to reflect the mood I want to be in. So sometimes it's, you know, a dance party kind of mix and sometimes, I… we do a lot of like old-time swing kind of music.
T: Because I think that’s good to listen to. Sometimes we do like 50s and 60s music. So I love how music can really affect your mood.
J: Oh, for sure, definitely. And what's your favorite way to connect with your loved ones?
T: Ooh, that's a good question. Well, for my kids, I really like carving out specific time for them. And one of the things as part of my morning routine is that I go up and I wake my kids up and I spend a few minutes with each of them in the morning to kind of set the mood for their day, and I love that part of my day; which is funny because I am not a morning person at all (Laughs). But I feel like it sets my day too in such a wonderful way. For the people who are further apart for me, one of my favorite apps is Voxer.
T: V o x e r.
T: Which basically turns your phone almost into like a walkie-talkie where you could have conversations back and forth. My best friend lives in Dallas, I now live in North Carolina, and it's such a fun way for us to connect that is way more personal than texting because we can have these conversations back and forth, it doesn't have to happen in a big chunk because we don't have a lot of time, right, in our days.
T: So we might have a conversation that goes over the course of several days, but I can hear her laughing, we can… you know, she can hear my voice and hear the inflection. And I think it's really made it so that we can connect a lot easier. So I love Voxer as a way to connect.
J: Hmm, I've heard that before, I'm going to give it a try, I think; 2018 goal, yeah.
T: (unclear) [44:03].
J: What's your favorite book?
T: My favorite book for parenting, I think I mentioned earlier is ‘How to Really Love Your Child’. That's one of the books that I go back to you again and again and again. For work, I love Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’.
T: I just really love him. And, for personal, I really found Liane Moriarty recently in the past year, and I've been devouring her books. She's… ‘What Alice Forgot’ and she wrote ‘Big Little Lies’, which they just did the HBO series based off of her book.
T: She has great books, so I love her.
J: Nice. And what is the best advice you've ever received?
T: That’s a good question too; you had lots of really good questions.
J: (Laughs). Uh-huh.
T: I think that time goes quickly. I remember when my kids were born and people would tell you, “Oh, time flies,” and you think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and it does. Time fly so quickly, so to really take the time to stop and enjoy it, I feel like I've really started to take that to heart, you know, recently. Because I'm realizing, as I impatiently reach my hand back to grab my daughter's hand, at some point, she's 11, she's not going to reach back for my hand.
T: So I need to stop and enjoy the fact that she…
T: … she… that, yes, I do…
J: It’s so sad! It’s so sad! (Laughs)
T: Yeah, right?
T: I do walk slower when she's holding my hand, but…
T: … is that such a bad thing? It's really not. It’s…
J: No, that's good.
T: It’s good. Yeah, it’s good.
J: You know, it's so sad when… if thinking that she won't reach back someday, that made me sad. Aww! (Laughs)
T: (unclear) [45:27]… think so. And it’s… it's a good thing. It's amazing watching your kids grow and get bigger. It is sad at the same time, but amazing.
J: Yeah, for sure.
J: For sure. Well, I'll remind our listeners, you can find links to everything Tonya's been talking about, her planners, those books she loves, everything else at jenriday.com/92; our show notes page. And now, Tonya…
J: … the big question; what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?
T: Oh, well, I think really, to be vibrant and happy, I think you have to live a life that's focused on your priorities and really making those priorities front and center in your life. And I think that is the key to happiness every single day.
J: Love it. And let's have a challenge from you to our listeners and then we'll say goodbye.
T: Okay. So I would challenge your listeners to start trying to figure out a way that they can create a way for their family to plan together; to really start integrating your kids into looking at your week ahead and start that, you know, even this week with just having a conversation. Calling a little meeting and just saying, “I just want to get together,” maybe you create a special snack so it feels a little bit special. But calling them together and saying, “Let's talk about our weeks and what we want to get accomplished.” And then start building up that from there so that eventually you are planning together as a family and you're giving your kids those tools they need to be productive adults.
J: Love it. Well, Tonya, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the show.
T: Well, thank you so much for having me. It's been a really great time, so thank you.
J: Take care.
Hey, thank you so much for joining us today. It means a lot that you listen, taking time out of your busy day, and I hope it inspired you. I want to challenge you to come back next week when I'm talking with Dr. Laura Froyen, all about boundaries. I don't know a single person who doesn't need stronger boundaries in some way or another. And in that interview, we talked about teaching our children to have boundaries and to be strong and empowered in their interactions with adults and with each other; having boundaries in marriage, having boundaries in all aspects of her life. We even do a fun little roleplay where I get to play the part of the man, the husband, and she plays the part of the wife. It's crazy, we talked about everything in that interview and you will love it; so inspiring, Laura is amazing. And also, if you have ever been touched by this podcast or any of the guests’ messages or anything I've shared from my heart, I would love, love, love for you to do me a favor today. Take 1 minute now and head over to jenriday.com/itunes and leave us a review. There's a video on that page, jenriday.com/itunes, i t u n e s, will show you exactly how it's done. Share what you think of the podcast and leave us a rating, and it makes all the difference. Because the more reviews we have, the more people this podcast can reach, and the more hearts we can heal. I'll tell you something, I have a goal, a goal I've set; one of my top 20. I envisioned someday, somehow, virtually or maybe all in person, to have the 1 million woman hug. Can you imagine the power of 1 million women coming together just to share the energy of love and healing our hearts and loving each other? Ohh, the power! So that's a goal. So to reach those 1 million women, I need your help, and I would love for you to leave a review by going to jenriday.com/itunes. Thank you so much. Don't forget to sign up for the self-love workshop, it's on Thursday. You can sign up at jenriday.com/selflove2018, all one word; jenriday.com/selflove2018. I will see you again on Thursday with a happy bit. And until then, have a phenomenal week, and take extra good care of yourself because the holidays can be really draining. I'll see you next time.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.