5 THINGS: A Personal Exploration Worksheet to celebrate your year past & create what’s to come…

I love questions, especially introspective ones. Don’t you? Asking, answering, pondering. It’s all brain expanding. Yet I’ve noticed my most AHA! moments appear when I actually write down my answer to a personal question compared to simply thinking about it. Why is this? I’m guessing it has to do with centering my focus on one thing and simmering down the constant chatter going on in my head (right now it’s saying how much I love this music I’m listening to from the films Australia and Cloud Atlas).

When we have to choose our words more carefully, we are more mindful of the energy we use, as well as sharing an accurate portrayal of our perspective. We are simply more mindful of the words we choose. At least that’s how I feel. How about you? Do you find writing to be a useful resource for personal reflection, brain calming practices, and to clarify issues? Let that marinate for a moment, if you’d like (see, I love questions). 

With that said…

At the culmination of last year, I created Your Year in Review Worksheet, 8 questions to absorb the year’s nutrient dense experiences while hydrating your inspiration and motivation for the next. I highly encourage you to partake in this worksheet. It’s fun, reflective, nutrient dense (as suggested) and fuels your internal inspiration.

THIS year, I have chosen to share 5 THINGS: 10 questions to celebrate where you’ve been and explore where you’re going. Each question asks for 5 “things” (and maybe a few bonus opportunities) to help you wonder in awe over how great you really are! Yep. You really are a spectacular spectacle. Seriously, there’s only one of you in this whole ginormous world. Only YOU can make the unique impact on this world in a way that only YOU can…and choose to. Pretty rad! It’s like we’re all super heroes with our own special powers. In fact, maybe we need to make this worksheet 11 questions, the 11th being: What’s your super hero name and special power? Let that marinate for a moment…

Without further brain chatter,
please enjoy this opportunity to embrace your very own super hero personal exploration:

The first half of 5 Things provides an opportunity for you to observe, reflect & grow from your year past. There is always something to learn from an experience…if you are open to it. This is your chance to expand your perspective and appreciate how far you’ve come this past year.

The second half will focus on the present, which in turn dictates your future. Your mindset today influences your outlook on life and yourself. Looking at your year ahead, this is your opportunity to imagine, initiate & decide what’s to come.

My one non-negotiatable request: Write from your heart & gut. Put aside any expectations or assumptions, whether they stem from you or an outside influence. This is YOUR worksheet and YOUR life. Let’s act accordingly. Good talk.

My curious-like-a-cat request: You’ve done a fantastic job reflecting and creating by putting pen to paper. Now what? Pick your favorite or most eye-opening answer in the comments section below. You never know, you might inspire someone else with your words. (I’m pretty sure you will…you are a super hero, after all) 

A Personal Exploration Worksheet (Dec ’16)

A Personal Exploration Worksheet (Dec ’16)

Nurture your Intuition & Create a Happy GUT

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein.

I’m a dreamer. And I don’t mean “day dreamer”. Well, I guess I’m that too. But in this context, I mean one who dreams when they sleep; a mixture of real, random, magical, scary, lively, memorable, vague, and curious. Every night. While most of my bizarre dreams fall under the random category, there are vividly unique occasions when I sense my intuition is sending me clear messages…Apparently I’m too dense to listen during the day.


  1. the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. “we shall allow our intuition to guide us”

Here’s a question…are you really good at listening to your intuition? Keep this in mind as you read on. Try not to judge your response, just be honest and aware of your instinctual gut feelings.

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There’s more to your gut than meets the eye. Ever wonder why we use the term gut instinct? Often called your second brain, your gut “contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system”. Wowsers, we’ve got a pretty clever tummy. With all these neurons, I can see how the foods we eat can significantly influence the health, function and longevity of our entire body. If we can’t absorb all the nutrients we need, we’re going to have some serious issues getting our body to work (these neurons help the systems of the body talk to each other and stay connected, or as some might call it, online).

As we dive further into our intuitive experiences, keep in mind how the health of your gut (think: happy bacteria vs. lame bacteria) may influence the health of your entire body, including all these smarty pants neurons that send signals throughout your body and to your brain.

Side note: If you’re totally into the gut instinct thing, Here is an interesting entrepreneurial-minded article sharing various views of how people use their gut instincts, from the social thinker to the analytical thinker. Which one are you?

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I recently dreamt that I was locked in a room (part museum, part office) with a couple kids and cops. This was my last test of many battles by some bad mumbo jumbo villain. A poisonous gas would fill the room in 2 minutes if I didn’t find a way out. Eek! While the kids and cops were essentially picking their noses (I did my best to keep a calm head and focus on the task at hand – didn’t they care about dying??), I tried opening the vents and outlets, but they kept getting smaller and smaller as I’d try to open them. Dang, no way to squeeze through. I threw stuff as hard as I could against the windows. I couldn’t even make a crack! And then I looked around at the doors – No. It couldn’t be that simple. With seconds left to live, I ran to a door and turned the handle upwards – it flew open. We all ran out, thwarting this mysterious mumbo jumbo villain for good. Broohaha!

While still in my dream yet conscious of being in one (sometimes called lucid dreaming), I was honestly shocked I made it out alive, especially with such a simple solution. For one, I used to die in these types of dreams – I’d wake up and be pissed off that I didn’t get to see what else happened, or that I couldn’t save myself and others. Secondly, how could the answer be so seemingly easy?

I thought to myself, “sometimes the simplest solution is the right one.”

When I finally awoke, this thought lingered in my head…sometimes the simplest solution is the right one. Ha, well that sounds too easy (said the over-thinker stinker).

For one who loves to overcomplicate things with logistical questions, curious details, and assuming the potential outcome of everything, this intuitive reminder to opt for simple was clearly more than a dream of pink unicorns galloping in the Shire.

Maybe it’s time I let go of the assumption that I have to know the outcome of every situation and the purpose behind each decision. I mean, isn’t the idea of listening to your intuition all about going with your gut feeling, your heart, your first instinctual answer? Who says you have to know exactly where it’s going to lead? Maybe I should listen to my intuition instead of overthinking things. Hmm….

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While my personal experience may or may not speak to you, your gut may be trying to help you with another personal inquiry. Perhaps one or many (or none) of the following speak to you: you’re afraid to make a change or get out of your comfort zone, you’re not sure if you’re on the right path, you’re worried what others think of you, you never want to make mistakes, you do not want to disappoint others. Whatever it may be for you, does it get in the way of you listening to your intuition – making a decision that’s is in your best interest?

If you de-clutter your personal closet of habits and tendencies, what do you have? You. Purely, simply and awesomely you. No assumptions. No blame. No excuses. No expectations. No judgments. I think this is where your intuition lies. Listening to your intuition is like taking out your preconceived notions of a situation. You’re not relying on your past to dictate your decisions, nor over-analyzing your future’s outcome. It’s certainly not easy. But I think it’s possible. Don’t you?

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Every time Matt and I discussed our vision for AYT lifestyle, we always came back to a simple (go figure) goal: empower the individual. We want to help the individual (you) to live a healthier lifestyle, so we as a collective whole can make smarter, healthier, and more sustainable choices for our personal and global future. Yet here’s the tough part…how should we inspire you? Giving out information is not enough. One needs to be motivated to learn, improve and empower. So how on earth do we do this? How can we help you become your best and healthiest self (while expanding your perspective of healthy along the way)?

Well, maybe the answer doesn’t lie in us. We think it lies in you. If you can’t find or create the motivation within yourself, there won’t be enough fuel to power your goals or New Year’s Resolutions. Sure, we can (hopefully) jump start your journey or give you a little energy boost when needed. Yet you have to find that enduring light of happiness and purpose from within. Peeling off your past and exploring the present comes from listening to your intuition and learning what you’re really made of; what truly makes you happy. What does make you happy?

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Maybe this should be the pre-foundation for writing goals and New Year’s Resolutions – deciding who you really are, embracing it, and going with it. Owning it. 365 days of the year. Knowing that you get to define what success, failure and happiness really mean to you.

Wow! This accountability is quite powerful! The final item of 16 Uncomfortable Feelings You’re Actually on the Right Path sums up this feeling perfectly:

16. Realizing you are the only person responsible for your life, and your happiness. This kind of emotional autonomy is terrifying, because it means that if you mess up, it’s all on you. At the same time, realizing it is the only way to be truly free. The risk is worth the reward on this one, always. 

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I find it slightly funny that we, as a society, tend to look outward for personal energy instead of within. We look to the media for what’s “in”, what “beautiful” looks like, and so on. I realize I am totally over-generalizing. So please take this with a grain of Celtic salt (yum).

Here’s the truly beautiful thing. Your happiness is connected with your outlook on life. Your outlook on life is connected with how you perceive yourself and those around you. How you perceive yourself is dependent on if you are being true to yourself. And that brings us back to your gut, heart, true and instinctually real self. Wow, that’s seriously cool. You are a sustainable source of awesomeness. You should say this to yourself everyday aloud. Come on, try it out: “I am a sustainable source of awesomeness.” Feels good, doesn’t it?

care bear stareYou may have already discovered your own self-powered happiness. If so, I ask you that you continue to share your enduring light with the world. It is a contagiously beautiful energy! Yet for me, I sometimes have to fall asleep to actually wake up. Quite literally. And now I hope my light shines a bit brighter for you. Are you picturing a Care Bear Stare? Me, too :).

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If you take out the distractions…What do you look like if you de-clutter your personal closet of habits and tendencies? Who is the real you? What is your intuition telling you?

The seemingly simple action of inaction can help us find the internal balance our body craves. Here is a video we filmed in Yosemite National Park, taking you through a short breathing & awareness practice. Quieting the chatter of our thoughts while relaxing any tension of our body creates space to listen to our intuitive gut. I find this type of practice super crazy helpful when I’m feeling a bit all over the place, overwhelmed or indecisive.

By the way, did I mention you are a SUSTAINABLE SOURCE OF AWESOMENESS?! Ya, you’re rad.

Now go outside and Care Bear Stare the world. 

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Curious about how to improve your gut health?

Download our complimentary Recipe eGuide here!

How to take Initiative, get Moving & Live YOUR Life

Here’s some honesty for you. I’ve been feeling a wee stuck as of late. Stuck with where I want to dedicate my energy and focus and how I should go about doing it. Have you ever felt like this? As though you’re waiting for something to happen, someone or something to help you, or for life to come to you?

Once you feel like you’re “stuck in a rut”, it can feel like an insurmountable challenge to find the momentum to start moving forward again. It takes a lot of gumption and grit to live your life on your own terms. Yet there is hope (there’s always hope). There is a way to defunk your gunk and get moving again. As Sir Isaac Newton discovered, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest will stay at rest. So maybe the key is that we have to just start moving.

From a physical standpoint, movement is vital for our cellular health and regeneration. When we contract a muscle, this increases blood flow to the area, sending oxygen (nutrients) into our tissues and taking Carbon Dioxide (body’s waste) out.

From a metaphorical view, the idea of moving forward or progressing in your life can provide a sense of fulfillment and mental stimulation. I mean, who wants to stare at a wall all day long, right? We crave variety, change and growth. While we each have our own version of mindful stimulation (who’s up for hike?), we might find this in meeting new people, doing the daily crossword, taking a trip (my vote: Ireland), picking up a new hobby (I recommend smashball), or growing your business (or a garden).

For the sake of this article, let’s use the word MOVE as a way to describe both the physical and metaphorical context. Think of this as combining your body and mind.

Please note: just like for the physical body, there can be too much stimulation for the mind. Think of how often you’re on your phone, swiping from one Instagram pic to the next, jumping from one email to the other, skimming your Facebook newsfeed, driving amongst the bright lights and car horns. You get the picture. Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time – multi-tasking taxes your body by requiring more energy to jump back and forth between one thing and another. As for your body, if you over-stimulate it (push it too hard, per say), your body will experience more stress than it can handle; resulting in lowered immune and digestive systems, slower recovery time, fatigue, and possibly injury. Ideally, we want to find a good balance between too little and too much stimulation. Not sure how to tell? The “cleaner” your body is (via nutrition and varied movement), the easier it will be to tell. Good talk. Let’s continue…

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A different way of moving and doing…How we “move” in the 21st century is different from how our parents moved and how their parents moved and how their parents moved. Remember, we’re talking about how they physically moved in their daily life and their version of mental stimulation.

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We use cars, bikes, or public transportation to get just about everywhere, forgoing the natural movement of walking on unpaved roads (it might even be tough to find an unpaved road or trail in one’s neighborhood). More food is accessible year round, while the quality has changed with its production and processing methods. Because our modern lifestyle and amenities do not require us to move as much (and perhaps we have more time because of this), the fields of fitness and sports have grown exponentially. Our movement has been condensed into classes and games.

I am not saying these changes are good or bad (well, many of them aren’t exactly great for your overall health – this is why making smart lifestyle choices is more important than ever.) Let’s face it, our modern amenities have created a significant change in our lifestyle. Not just each century, but perhaps each decade. Hmm, so how can we make these so-called smart lifestyle choices??? If you haven’t read it yet, check out my 5 Proactive Changes I made in the Kitchen and 5 Proactive Changes I made in the Bedroom. This is a solid place to start.

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Entrepreneurs, digital nomads, mobile businesses, consulting, oh the options! We have stepped beyond our parents’ social norms, potentially forgoing the security of a retirement package and benefits to pursue our own version of a fulfilling career on our own terms. I am extremely grateful that my parents support my entrepreneurial path, yet I imagine it might be tough to watch. Eek, the uncertainty of the future!

We, as human beings will always have personal opinions thus the possibility of discrimination upon another. Yet the last 50 years has seen leaps and bounds in the equal rights and respect for ethnicities, religion, sexual preference, and gender. Being a woman, I can say there is more opportunity than ever to pursue professional sports (Women’s water polo has only been in the Olympics since 2000, after all), career leadership, as well as honoring my own choice to wait to have kids. I’m guessing that back in the day these lifestyle choices, let alone the opportunity, were quite rare indeed.

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Sometimes we need a little boost to get ourselves rolling (roll that beautiful bean footage – remember that commercial?). The boost can come from anywhere – a volunteer experience where we discover a new passion, joining a community of like-minded folk, writing in a journal, continuing your education, accessing podcasts, blogs (like this one!), or books for their momentum-building resources. These experiences can stimulate our body and mind to initiate movement from within (motivation).

Have you ever taken a long flight and upon arriving at your lovely destination, your lethargic and jetlagged body is begging you to just go up to your hotel room and lay on your bed? I’ve definitely been there and done that. Yet if you can muster up the motivation, walking around and getting your blood moving through your body (extra bonus if you’re wearing minimalist shoes and walking on varied terrain) will reawaken you from the inside out. Plus you’ll feel so much better the next day!

Even choosing a walk over a hotel nap can require digging deep for motivation. And this is only a flight! What about your life?

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When it comes to your life(style), how can we go from sticky feet to moving with fluid and courageous momentum on a daily basis? How can we make a change that’s been on our mind? How can we bravely take action while being true to ourselves?

Sometimes when you put the intention out there in the world that you’re ready to get moving, take action, and whole-heartedly pursue your dream – the world answers back. Yet it only happens if you reach out and ask. I went looking for answers. I wanted to go from stuck to unstuck, which first required me admitting that I felt stuck. It also required me to realize I needed a gentle nudge in the right direction. So I asked for it. 

The following resources have helped me defunk my mental and physical gunk. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have! If you have any of your own, please share them with all in the comments below!

So what helped me go from stuck to unstuck?

If you’re looking to make a change in your life, big or small…take the L.E.A.P. with the Do What You Love mini e-course. I’m in the middle of the L.E.A.P. e-course as I write this. It has been a catalyst to get me moving and redirect my energy and focus in a direction I love. Enjoy!

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If you’re in a mental pickle and looking for motivation for pursuing your own 21st century career, learn from Rob Symington, Co-Founder of Escape the City with his guide to Building a 21st Century Career.

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Here are a few of my favorite videos which share how to increase your movement throughout your day. Remember, our body will be it’s healthiest and happiest if we move in variety of ways. (in other words, staying in one position for a long time, like sitting or standing still, while condensing all your daily movement into an exercise class isn’t great for ya.) I hope these get you rollin’, literally!

Want to see more videos?


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Your Year in Review: a Reflective Worksheet for YOU

Reflect. Appreciate. Honor. Absorb. Learn.

Don’t you feel like the hottie toddy topic of discussion at the end of December is always about the upcoming New Year? Any New Year’s resolutions? How are you going to make next year better? How are you going to be better?

Is it possible we’re jumping the gun a bit here? Perhaps we owe it to ourselves to reflect, appreciate, honor, absorb and learn from 2015. How else are we truly going to help us become better individuals for ourselves and others? How else are we going to leave this world better than when we came into it?

So before I post a downloadable worksheet on 2016: Year of Your Awesomeness resource filled with goaliscious prompts to inspire you into action…

I’ve created for you a free, downloadable 2015 Reflective Worksheet to better absorb the year’s nutrient dense experiences and to hydrate your inspiration and motivation for the next.

How to use: Download this AYT lifestyle pdf to print out or type in your answers. Depending on how you roll, you may want to find a quiet space or even do this with friends on New Year’s Eve. Either way, 

Extra Clever Pants McGee Bonus: Fold up your finished sheet and place in an envelope. Also add a blank copy of the Reflective & Connective Questionnaire in the envelope. Place it in your 2016 calendar book or a spot you’ll find it to reopen (and fill out) at the end of 2016. If you typed your responses on the computer, schedule an email to be sent December 30th 2016 with your newly written pdf attached. Talk about reflective fun!  

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Why 8? How about because 2+0+1+5 = 8. Tadaaaaa! Or maybe just because I came up with 8 solid questions. Either way, it’s really just a matter of perspective. Which I suppose is what reflecting on each year is all about; Perspective. Your opinion. My opinion. The bigger picture. The whole picture. The joy, happiness and successes of your entire year are purely dependent on your perspective. Wow, that was deep. And we haven’t even started the questions….

Download your FREE worksheet below!


Your Year in Review

*If you have already entered your email before with AYT, you will not receive additional emails. Don’t fret, we do not share emails with anyone!

Self-Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Ice Cube had it right when he rapped “you better check yourself before you wreck yourself”. Man, he was way ahead of the game.

It’s time to check your balance, and I don’t mean your checkbook (My dad would be very upset if you didn’t own one, by the way. Besides cash, it’s the best way to avoid identity fraud or pay peeps if a worldwide electricity outage occurs. Just saying, he prepares well.)

Back to the point: Doing a “self-check” is HUGE for our overall wellbeing, helping us assess where our body and psyche are at, as well as our personal goals and overall happy-state. Yes, happiness is important. And so is balance.

Let me ask you this to start off: how often do you look at the balance (or lack there of) in your life? How often do you give yourself a “self-check”? If you’re asking yourself, what on earth does this gal mean by a self-check – do I have to touch myself to check for any lumps? While this article isn’t geared toward touching oneself, I do highly encourage you to educate yourself about your body and with that, acknowledge any lumps that may need to be addressed to a health professional. By “self-check”, I mean, where are you at right now in your life, physically and mentally? If we don’t know where we’re at in these areas, we can’t make logical decisions to improve the balance in our lives.

Ice Cube knows best. Let’s check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. Answer these following questions in your head or on some good ol’ pen and paper. Come back to these questions as often as you see fit. I recommend at a minimum of every season or quarter. You’ll be surprised at how often they may change.

* Don’t be afraid to ask the why’s behind your answer to get down to the nitty gritty reason.

The Big Boys:

How happy are you on a scale from 1-10? What is getting in the way from you saying a higher number? Is there anything you can do to increase this number?

Let’s rewind. How do you define happiness? 

Your life in balance. What does it look like? How does it differ from the way it is now? What is lacking? What is there too much of? How can you improve balance in your life? How do you plan to keep yourself accountable for this? 

How is your body feeling today on a scale of 1-10? Why? What can you do to improve this number? 

How is your body feeling in regards to aches and pains? Do you have them? How do they influence you day-to-day? 

The Quick ones: 

I am stoked about:

I am ready to: 

I am hesitant about: 

These last few months, I’ve learned: 

Today I feel:

In the upcoming months, I want to: 

Biggest learning experience in the past month:

Where I can improve: 

Where I’m awesome (don’t be shy):

I am inspired by: 

I am curious about: 

Where / when am I too hard on myself? 

When / where can I push myself further?

If I could do anything, I would…..

(what’s stopping you?)

Bonus: Create your own questions.

Disclaimer: these questions are meant to stir up the thought process…there’s no right or wrong answer, though I do ask that you are truthful to yourself.

Ready to create balance from the ground up?

We show you how in our Mind Your Toes “Body Assist”, filmed in Yosemite National Park. Subscribe to the MAT movement YouTube channel for more!

Featured Photo: using friends to help us find balance in Gatagara, Rwanda with Kids Play International

Running with Your Eyes Closed

WARNING: Running with your eyes closed may result in serious injury. I mean it.

Sensory overload. There’s so much noise that something can be missed. It’s faint and subtle, yet all the more reason we often forget it’s even there. But what is it?

Pat. Pat. Pat. Pat. When I dare to run without my mashup-blasting, mind-distracting earphones, I hear but a few noises. The wind amongst the reeds growing in the marsh. The distant buzzing of a hummingbird. Cars from a nearby street. And my feet against the concrete. The Pat, Pat, Pat. The more I listen, the more aware I become. The softer each Pat sounds.

And then I say, what the heck, let’s try this. I close my eyes. And I feel. I listen. The muscles shift, sharing each loaded step. I sense the balance from side to side, and the imbalance my body oh-so-cleverly masks to keep me moving forward. The pelvis drops to one side as I fall deeper into one foot, staying longer in this stride. Something I NEVER noticed before. Something I learned, just from listening.

Being mindful of our foundation can open up unseen doors.

Being mindful of our foundation can open up unseen doors.

To listen to our genuine nature, our true self, can be a difficult task. Our daily lives are layered with opportunities to de-sensitize and cover them up. Yet maybe these distractions aren’t to blame. Maybe we should be taking responsibility for using these as excuses to not listen to what is truly going on in our lives (and body).

I mean, who wants to talk about the source of one’s unhappiness, imbalance, weakness or fear?

Yet what if we did? What if we dared to put ourselves out there? In order to initiate positive change, this conversation must happen first and foremost with ourselves. We don’t have to close our eyes to find our authentic and inner voice. Yet it just might be a good place to start. Find the simplest (and best) version of you. The simplest version of what makes you happy.

And with this, my steps suddenly become silent. I feel, I move, I listen, I am. 

photo by: Achilles Imperial of lululemon athletica Newport Beach

photo by: Achilles Imperial of lululemon athletica Newport Beach

* Feature photo by Achilles Imperial of lululemon athletica Newport Beach. Let’s be honest. He’s awesome.


How to Have Yourself a G’Day!


With photos featured from a past adventure in Australia, here are a few inspirational quotes to keep you smiling through the week!



“You don’t know what you get back until you give.” -Bill Clapp






“There are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents.  Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give.” -Leo Buscaglia




Compassion“Everything affects Everything.” -Hannah Baker



Grow from the heart


“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.” -Robern M. Pirsig





A little light


“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.  There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.  You feel it, don’t you?” -Rumi


Say What?


We all love that yummy feeling we get when we hear a quote that really speaks to us.  It’s elevating, makes you smile, inspires you to dream big, opens the world up to possibilities.  Here are a few top picks of the week:


Tamarindo, Costa Rica


“It was only a sunny smile…But it scattered the night like morning light, and made the day worth living.” 





Follow your heart

Fraser Island, Australia


“The work of your heart, the work of taking time to listen, to  help, is also your gift to the whole of the world.”

-Jack Kornfield




Drink in the wild air

Flamingo Beach, Costa Rica


“Live in the sunshine.  Swim in the sea.  Drink the wild air.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson





Love what you do

Tamarindo, Costa Rica


 “Love what you do.  If not, change it.”