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Are You Obligated To Your Life or Are you Optimizing It?

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Are You Obligated To Your Life or Are you Optimizing It?

Are you the one that’s ALWAYS making it possible for family to gather? Yes, it’s important. But if you look at your disposable income and see that most of it goes toward things like flights to make sure every member of the family gets a visit every single year, and all 27 of your siblings, parents, nieces/nephews get birthday gifts that arrive on their doorstep all over the globe- it’s a good time to optimize your precious resources (time + money).


Since how we love and show up for others is a reflection for how we are loving/showing up for ourselves, it's important that the way you are spending your time and money also serve the intentions, goals and desire you have for your life. It benefits them, too. And that includes your children.

Feel free to find your own method, but I choose ONE thing per quarter that supports my biggest goals for the year. I register/pay in advance- to ensure that my calendar and energy and money doesn't get too busy with all of the obligations that come up.

So I choose my optimizers. The commitments that are going to expand me rather than drain me.

In other words, we spend money in ways that decrease in value (like a car- necessary but not an investment). And in ways that increase in value (like a house- sometimes). So last year, Q1 I booked a yoga retreat- a week just for me.  I had never committed such an act of rebellion. I had never made a decision SOLELY on the fact that I was worthy of it. It changed me in all the right ways and now I’m leading three retreats this year. That experience expanded me and the ROI is off the charts.

Yes, I also have a family. And yes, some of them also find it selfish when I prioritize my own health and joy over spending my time/money traveling to see them.

But I will tell you one very true thing.

Starting my year off with such a grand gesture of self love and nourishment- set the entire tone of the year.  I didn’t sacrifice my well being, my mental, emotional or financial health in order to fill a single obligation. I saw family. I didn’t see every single person in the family. And it's okay.
I’m not saying to stop giving the beautiful gift of a thoughtful gesture or investing time/energy/money in spending time with those you cherish.  When it comes from a genuine place of love and generosity- do you and let it touch others deeply.

Just know that when you stop living from a place of obligation- you get to make the best, most effective use of your one very precious life. And it's everything.  I promise. 

Your optimizers may or may not be a big quarterly commitment like a yoga retreat or a business coach- mine have certainly escalated over the last few years. Yours might be a monthly commitment to start-just a full blown, all in commitment of your schedule, money and energy toward something that supports your goals. Like a date night or a girls weekend or keyboard lessons or a facial or a writing workshop or a cooking class that supports your health goals. Maybe it's a workshop (the next Flower Club workshop, perhaps!) that supports your personal growth and big goals. Maybe it's as simple as doing something that surrounds you with other women who care about more than fine lines and new counter tops (although, trust me, I'll be tackling those too).

If you're one of those–like me–who likes to put all kinds of pressure on yourself about all of the commitments we will DEFINITELY not keep but love to dream about and then beat ourselves up for not keeping- let's just NOT.

Let's just collectively not be obligated to the same old year for the next ten. Let's spend this week and the next 51 committing and re-committing to a year that looks like the one we claim to want.


Kelly Macdonald is a negotiation coach based in San Diego. Her ultimate goal is to help you reach yours–negotiating your deepest desires from a place of your truest worth. Learn more at

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