Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

Rachel is surprisingly infectious; her style is upbeat and approachable. Sure, none of what she says is brilliantly new (is anything??), but she manages to reframe and re-name concepts we all know yet typically don’t embody in an “Oh, that will be useful” kind of way. As my favourite Peloton instructor, Cody Rigsby, might say, it is “fun and flirty.” Girl, Stop Apologizing is full of excellent information presented in a motivating and digestible manner, mostly owing to Rachel not taking herself too seriously!

My Favourite “Rachelisms”

Approach new challenges with “toddler status”

By this, she means you should get excited by new challenges and lean into progressing through appropriate phases of learning and development. As an infant, we don’t expect to know everything — we bask in the joy of figuring sh*t out — yet as adults, we often get discouraged and quit when we don’t know something we have no reason to know. Regardless of the skill, you are attempting to learn, be okay metaphorically “learning to turn over before you can crawl” and then with “crawling before you walk.”

If you are familiar with Buddhist language, you might articulate this concept as “using beginner’s eyes.” If you are a fan of Carol Dweck, you might say “have a growth mindset and embrace the word yet” — instead of becoming discouraged by challenges, embrace that you don’t know the solution yet. In Kathleen speak, have realistic education-based expectations. If you are in “grade 1” of learning something new, of COURSE, you are not ready for “grade 12.” Work through the “grades.” Rate your progress appropriately.

The main take-away is the same: The only way to ensure you never find a solution, learn something new, or improve a skill is to stop trying. If you are new at something, EXPECT to suck. Be excited to learn!

STOP beating yourself up for being on the “beginning side of yet”!!

Taking that further, focus on your growth opportunities and possibility versus berating yourself for what you don’t know yet.

Being on the “beginning side of yet” — i.e., being new at something — is not something to feel ashamed about; it just means you are at the start of your journey. Being on “this side” of yet doesn’t make you “less than”; it simply makes you a beginner at that particular growth opportunity. It also means you are at an exciting part of your journey — you have lots of learning to do, many adventures ahead.

Flip the script. Find and embrace “opportunities for growth.”

Not having knowledge makes you teachable not stupid.

Not being fit makes you moldable NOT lazy

Not having experience makes you eager, not ignorant.

Feel lacking? Unworthy? DO SOMETHING to make yourself feel worthier. The only way to stop feeling that way is to make the “lacking” feel irrelevant — practise enough to improve.

Self-talk based on being “stupid,” “lazy,” and “ignorant” is simply shame-inspired self-sabotage. You CAN get to the other side of “yet” — but only if you stop berating yourself and START ACTING. Getting to the other side only happens with work.

Focus on fixing the behaviour — figure out how you can learn, get more fit, get smarter, etc. — versus leaning into the shame-soaked labels of who you are.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for HELP!!

“Hoping” yourself towards a healthier lifestyle is not a useful strategy. Reaching a goal requires action, and acting requires appropriate strategies and resources. Asking for help does not make you weak; it demonstrates that you are smart enough to pinpoint the resources you need and figure out how to get them.

Take an inventory of what you need to get to your next level and who can help. Do you need help with childcare? Nutrition? Professional guidance regarding your fitness program?

Then, get your team together! Do you think any CEO or celebrity does EVERYTHING on their own? NO! No one can navigate everything alone.

“There are a hundred ways to learn to swim and one very easy way to drown, and that is by being unwilling to admit you’re drowning in the first place”!!! —Rachel

Build a foundation for success

It doesn’t matter how motivated you are if your day-to-day life sabotages your success.

Sure, you can reach health goals without setting yourself up for success, but it will be like driving with a flat tire through the mud. Why put yourself through that? Why make it harder for yourself??? Reaching a health goal is challenging enough with all the resources in the world and a mountain of motivation.

Set yourself up for success; make the journey as (relatively) pain-free as possible — build a solid foundation. The spaces you inhabit can be the platform you build a new life on OR the anchor that pulls you back under the waves. Create an environment — a life — that inspires, “primes,” nudges you to be the best version of you that you can be. (For more info on priming, read my review of You Are Not That Smart.)

In Kathleen speak, “Set yourself up for success. Create systems to save yourself from your future tired, busy, unmotivated self. Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.”

Use Rachel’s five to thrive

Drink water. Drink half your body weight in water every day. If you are 100 pounds that means 50 ounces daily. (I set myself up for success by using a bright purple bottle that I love. I know I need to drink at least 2.5 of them a day.)

Wake up earlier to get “you time.” If you’re not a morning person, carve out alternate time for yourself. We all need time to ourselves to reflect, plan, and just take a breath.

Give up one category of food for 30 days. Prove to yourself that you CAN eliminate something/keep your word. Prove to your tummy that it can survive. Create a new habit. Win. Win. Win. Anything will work — white carbs, sugar in coffee, hard candy, etc.

Move your body every day. You don’t need to run a marathon; just move in any way that makes you feel good. Dance, walk, do yoga, etc.

Practice gratitude. Each night write down 10 things you are grateful for. This helps you focus on positives throughout the day because you will be looking for things to journal. In Kathleen speak, look for your pockets of joy. When you can’t find them, CREATE a few.

Learn to SAY NO and STOP allowing other people to dictate YOUR choices

As Dr Seuss reportedly said, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

People who love you will not criticize; they might even applaud your choices. Those who criticize will criticize no matter what — and they don’t matter. Haters will hate.

OWN your choices. Decide what matters to you — what choices will make you feel you are living with integrity — and then stick to your guns no matter what people think.

Sure, people will question your choices, but learn to simply think “This criticism is more about them than me.” When people give you a hard time, it is easy to let their emotions galvanize your internal struggle. You want that cake. Someone nudging you to eat it might be enough to make you cave. Resist by ALWAYS taking a pause and reminding yourself of your “why” and that your goals will involve trade-offs — you might have to skip a few desserts; you’ll have less free time for friends/family because you’re working out; people might feel inconvenienced; people might feel their own shame because of your choices. All choices have trade-offs. Only make goals that involve trade-offs you can handle and that are based on your values — then STCIK TO YOUR BELIEFS.

Live life in a way that makes sense for YOU and your family.

Say NO to what doesn’t work for you.

Stop living exhausted and overextended. If everything is important, then nothing is. If everything demands your attention, you will never have focus. If you allow other people to dictate your schedule, they will.

Every time you give any one time, that is less time you have to give yourself, your family, and YOUR priorities. You can’t do everything

A yes to someone else’s agenda is a NO to yours.

Intensity is not as important as consistence

We often think of health success as “I change one thing and now I am fit.” But success is actually doing many things regularly — over and over.

Working to create our fittest, most emotionally mature self is a lifelong process — it does not have a finish line. Embrace the process. Embrace consistency. Gradually change many habits; consistently make better choices. It might feel as if nothing is happening for a while — or things will happen and then you plateau — but stay on course.

Keep going — don’t quit — even when the results are not flowing freely. After a bout of consistency, all of a sudden your healthier choices add up and “out of nowhere” you feel better — you will think “How did this happen?” Health success is an aggregate of all the small and large changes you make over a long period of time.

In Kathleen speak, you have to CONSISTENTLY show up for yourself. You don’t go to work only on days that you feel good. You show up every day because that is being professional. Same with your health. Show up on ALL days, not just the days you feel like it.

Concluding Thoughts

Reaching your goals won’t “just happen”! To successfully reach your goals you will have to live the way others won’t so that you can have a life that others can’t! You will have to ask for help, be introspective, do research, AND most critically DO THE WORK!

The easiest way to get where you want to go is NOT TO QUIT on yourself. Stop walking away from your health — “doubt will kill more dreams than failure ever will.”

Time will pass no matter what. You might as well spend it in pursuit of something more … no matter how long it takes.

Keep going. Keep showing up for yourself EVERY DAY!!!