How-To Gratitude: Be Your Own Best Friend

We’re told some big lies in our lifetime. The lies start before we reach high school. They continue for the next decades into careers, parenthood, and relationships. And contrary to how I act, I’m not yet living in my golden years so, I’m just assuming the lies will continue.

A few of these lies?
1. Do whatever it takes so that everybody likes you in high school (please don’t).
2. Your college degree entitles you to your dream job a big salary (it doesn’t).
3. Parents should be celebrated for doing things that parents should do (we shouldn’t).

I’m all about keeping it real. And this thought about lies popped into my head recently during a run.


Hands up, hype yourself up.

Side note: I’m training for a marathon and I famously run without headphones. So I get a lot of free-thinking time these days.

I was thinking about a blog to tee up my latest article for Fargo Mom. One of the key points in that article revolves around a big lie that exists in adulthood and my (cough, unpopular opinion) unique take on the situation.

The big lie? Your spouse should be your best friend.
My unique take: Be your own best friend. And it all starts by showing yourself gratitude.

Read the full article, which is all about how to show yourself gratitude, on the Fargo Mom site.

Or, here’s a quick hit of my top 5 ways you can show yourself gratitude:

1. Take time for yourself
2. Nourish yourself
3. Speak kindly to yourself
4. Journal about yourself
5. Celebrate yourself

It’s framed up thru the lens of a mother but it applies to everyone. The bottom line: Be your own best friend. Be self-aware and honest with yourself, yet bring the high-fives and the “hell yeahs!” Because you can like no one else can.

That’s enough for now. Until next time,

Nobody Asked Me: What To Do On Leap Day

Nobody asked me but there’s nothing extraordinary that you should be doing on Leap Day.

Wait, let me take a quick step back to explain…

In case you haven’t heard, 2024 is a Leap Year.

I’ve heard. More than just that, I’ve seen a lot of articles and TV segments and social posts lately that are all about what to do on Leap Day. How to make the most of this extra day. What we should be doing to embrace having one more day this year.

Now, back to my unsolicited opening thought. No one needs to do anything spectacular on Leap Day.

Let me rephrase: I don’t think anyone needs the pressure that they should do something spectacular on Leap Day.

Just Put On Pants
I took a similar stance in a blog post I wrote back during the early weeks of the pandemic.

With a surge of people gushing about how they were using their pandemic time to learn new languages, take up an instrument, or start their own podcasts, I had a different take. My unsolicited opinion was that it was okay to just hang in there during the pandemic.

If you didn’t use ALL the amazing quarantine time to do something great, no worries. Only thing you could bring yourself do some days was put on pants? Hey, perfectly fine.

The same goes for Leap Day. No matter how many articles and TV segments and social media posts tell you otherwise, it’s all good if you don’t use this extra day to do something extraordinary.


I’ll run on Leap Day, nothing extraordinary…maybe I’ll make it special by bringing the old man with for a few strides.

Now, some people may feel energized to see it as an opportunity to take the time for something special. That’s great! Yet, others may not be in the right mental health space to approach it with that same gusto. And that’s cool, too.

Thanks for the Check-In, Elmo
Surprisingly, that pandemic post I wrote nearly four years ago now resonated with a lot of people. It’s linked above if you want to check it out.

I think that same message might be needed again right now.

Because, as Elmo unintentionally reminded us recently, a lot of people still aren’t okay. Elmo’s mental health check-in revealed a lot are struggling and feeling fatigued and feeling pressure on a normal day. Layer in the stress of feeling like we need to embrace this extra day by doing more – I can feel the overwhelm already setting in.

So, on second thought, maybe there is something special worth doing on Leap Day. Perhaps the most extraordinary thing any of us could do this Leap Day is take a day off. If PTO isn’t doable, consider a day off in another, still impactful sense. Stay off social media, keep the TV channels away from the news, and don’t touch that inbox.

You can still appreciate every day and carpe diem while keeping things simple.

That’s enough for now. Until next time, stay well!

Nobody Asked Me: Instead of New Year’s Resolutions

Nobody asked me but I think New Year’s Resolutions are the worst. They commonly lack clarity. They typically lack a plan for action. And – the worst part – they too-often lack the space for and ability to embrace failures and setbacks. In short, they mean well but are a buzzkill waiting to happen.

With that, I strive to find positives and am always looking to offer solutions, not drone on about problems. So I’ve found a way to stay true to my anti-New Year’s Resolutions stance and still embrace the fresh feelings and excitement of the year ahead.

If you’re interested, try this instead of making a New Year’s Resolution: choose one word for the year. A word that will be your north star, that gets to the core of what you want in the year ahead and your goals for 2024.

Choosing Your Word for 2024
It probably goes without saying but I did not come up with the concept of choosing one word to shape your year. I got the idea from a marketing industry expert I heard speak at a conference years ago and who I continue to respect and follow. His concept was based on choosing three words for the year, verbs specifically, but I customized my version of this practice to be one word.

Now, this word doesn’t come out of thin air. Words matter and this one especially needs purpose and intention behind it. Here are a few steps to get in the mindset of choosing your word.

Planning 2024

Grab a pen, find some paper, & get ready to write

First, reflect on 2023. What brought you joy? What depleted your energy? What do you want more of and what would be helpful to adjust or cut out?

Next, apply those thoughts and get more specific on what sort of space you’d like to be in tomorrow, next week, next quarter, and at the end of the year. You can think about smaller or more immediate goals, as part of bigger-picture goals for 2024, tying things together.

This exercise is meant to help you get clear on your priorities and potentially uncover true goals for the year ahead – what you really want from the year, not what you “should” do right now.

Once you are clear on how you want to be and feel for the entire year ahead, then it’s time for the fun part: choose one word that sums up that focus.

Start by brainstorming single words that tie back to those big-picture priorities, goals, and feelings – what you really want from yourself and from the year ahead. Then narrow it down to THE ONE. Draw on THE ONE all year when you need to pull yourself back to your priorities, when you need to focus, and when you feel you’re straying from the path you set for yourself.

The Word for 2024 Is…
Full disclosure: I have not yet determined my word for 2024. I have a solid shortlist of candidates but I’m still working thru final reflections from 2023 and clarity of what I want, those bigger-picture goals for 2024.

Last year, my word was: Perspective.

It was just one word but it meant so much. It was layered. I chose it with intention. It had purpose behind it. And it summed up the core of what I really felt would help bring me more peace, more focus, more energy, and more gratitude.

Want to know the best part? It did.

I really believe that focusing on this one word, with all its layers, made an impact. Always going back to this place of Perspective made my 2023 better than if I had “resolved” to do something short-term or knee-jerk based on the previous weeks of holiday hell – I mean, holiday celebrations 🙂

As a writer and aspiring empath, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever: words matter. And this is a word that may lead to a new goal, a new change, or a new “why” that drives you in 2024.

If you feel inspired to choose a word for 2024, I’d love to know it and your “why” behind it. You won’t find me on many social channels but I appreciate connections on LinkedIn. And I’m still keeping it real and bringing up the positivity on X as @LindsayIRL.

That’s enough for now. Until next time,

Nobody Asked Me: Stories, Advice, and Unpopular Opinions

You know how you read articles, watch YouTube videos, or see other content where the “expert” leads off by saying, “People are always asking me X, Y, Z…” Then they go into their elevator pitch on said topic?

This is not how I come up with most of the stories I share, wellness or otherwise. Generally, nobody asked me about anything I’m writing.


Like I tell people when they run in my pace groups, “Come along, I’ll make it fun!”

Now, there have been a couple occasions where I’ve written about a wellness topic because someone actually did ask me. These scenarios usually happen because I’m…well, unique.

I often act differently than what’s considered normal. Most of my opinions are unpopular ones. I’m happily disconnected from the mainstream, pop culture, and, in general, the realities of my generation.

This oddball nature has been fascinating at least a time or two, enough to the point someone has asked me.

But let’s not get too crazy here; most of the time, when I share a story or point of view, nobody asked me.

It’s inspired me to create a new series on this wellness blog, still keeping it real, and in the best way possible: stories, advice, and unpopular opinions that, quite literally, nobody asked me to share. I hope you’ll come along. I’ll make it fun!

More to come! Until next time,

The One Holiday Budget You Should Create

Setting a holiday spending budget. It’s something we should do every year, right?

But in the shuffle of budgeting money for holiday gifts and decorations, travel and food, we may neglect the most important budget of all. The budget to manage our most important resource; one that holds even more value than money: Time.


Taking time for things that really matter.

Time is finite. You can’t make more of it. And, unlike money, we all get the same amount of time each day.

In the same way you budget money to make sure there’s enough to go around, budgeting your time is a great way to make the most of this asset. Not so you can do more this holiday season…but so you can DO LESS. It’s crucial to your wellness – and, especially, your holiday wellness – to save time for yourself.

In my latest Fargo Mom blog post, I share five tips to create a time budget for the holidays that leaves plenty for you this holiday season. I’ll share a quick snapshot below, but definitely click above to read the full post!

1. Plan Ahead
2. Don’t Schedule Too Much
3. Divide and Conquer
4. Define Need vs. Want vs. Waste
5. Just Say No

I hope this helps you budget your valuable time and make the holiday season a bit merrier and brighter.

That’s enough for now. Until next time,

Let’s Keep Running the Miles for Mark

Imagine something in your life that is the essence of who you are and root of many of your proudest moments. Now, think about a person who had the most significant impact on that something. Regardless of your “something”, the person is probably a parent, maybe a grandparent, or, if you were lucky, a really great teacher.

For me, that “something” is running and that person is Mark Knutson. He wasn’t a family member or a teacher, but he was a friend and someone I respected as a leader.

In one of his more well-known capacities, Mark was the founder and director of the Fargo Marathon. He was incredibly hands-on with Fargo Marathon and every other race that he put on.

I was shocked and saddened on Sunday afternoon when I found out he had passed away after being hit by a truck while biking earlier that morning. Both because of the tragic, unfair nature of what happened but also because of how much I was personally affected by his passion and hard work in bringing the Fargo Marathon to life nearly 20 years ago.


My first full marathon circa 2009. Oh, that photo quality…

Run Fargo
Now I know the Fargo Marathon certainly was not the first race to exist in the community. But for me, it was the beginning of my running journey. It was the reason I gave running a shot and dove in headfirst, signing up for a half marathon as my first race when I was 23 years old.

And while I have other people to thank for helping me get into running itself, I’m not sure I would’ve been inspired enough to get immersed and stick to it had the Fargo Marathon not been there to help me fall in love with everything about running, the full process.

The Fargo Marathon introduced me to this bizarre concept of training for months and paying to run 3.1, 13.1, or even 26.2 miles. It gave me a lofty goal to put on my calendar and achieve – year after year. It is where I’ve had the privilege many times to help others achieve their goals as a pacer.

It was because of Mark all that happened.

The Power of Running…and Gratitude
Anytime I saw him out on the course or around the expo, he’d always smile and say hello, and I’d be sure to offer him a sincere thank you for putting on the race. I had an enormous amount of gratitude and appreciation for him, not only because I know how much hard work it takes to put on events, but also because of everything the Fargo Marathon has given me.

Would I have run my first race, qualified for the Boston Marathon, and experienced so many proud moments had it not been for the Fargo Marathon? I honestly don’t know. All I can say for sure is that I was and am grateful to Mark for making racing accessible. For creating community and bringing together so many people in Fargo. For giving us the reason to get up early, power through those tough long runs, and get to do something healthy and fun.


Today’s run, the first of many #milesformark

It hurts to know I won’t see Mark at packet pick-up, at the start line, or out biking the course ever again. It’s bringing me to tears right now, actually typing those words and coming to terms with the reality. It’s amazing the significant impact someone can have on your life and they never knew it – honestly, I never really acknowledged it or even realized it until now.

So, everyone reading this, I hope you will pause to acknowledge the impact Mark and the Fargo Marathon made on your life. If you’re outside the Fargo-Moorhead or Detroit Lakes communities, consider getting inspired to run a local race or at least get out there and do something that makes you proud.

Looking ahead, let’s all keep running, walking, or biking the miles for Mark. I think that would be a great way to honor him and keep his legacy strong.

That’s enough for now. Until next time,

How to Meditate? 3 Ways to Try Meditation

There’s only so much you can avoid something that you know is good for you. Enter meditation.

As much as I love being mindful and taking moments to breathe, meditation, as a practice in itself, has never stuck with me.

But, not long ago, I realized it was something I needed.

How to Meditate

Shhh…it’s meditation time.

I recently wrote a blog for Fargo Mom about my experience of trying to get into a meditation habit. Read that full article or check out my summary of three ways to meditate that might work for you.

1. Morning Meditation
Upside: How you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Beginning each day purposefully and starting it off with calm and clarity is a great reason to meditate first thing in the morning.

Downside: If you’re already a morning person with a solid morning routine, morning may not be the most beneficial time to meditate.

2. Mid-Day Meditation
Upside: Everyone is busy and everyone encounters chaos every day. The mid-day meditation offers a chance to take an intentional – and, likely, much needed – break to reset and realign.

Downside: It’s incredibly difficult to step away from work, parenting, or whatever it is that fills the day, even just for a few minutes. The mid-day meditation is likely the one that gets neglected in favor of other, pressing tasks during the day.

3. Sleep Meditation
Upside: I can’t guarantee meditation right before bed will lead to better sleep. However, when I do a meditation right before bed, my mind is way more likely to calm down or shut off, and allow for falling asleep easier and feeling more rested the next morning.

Downside: After a full day, meditation may unfairly feel like one more thing to do instead of the calming, wind-down experience it is meant to be.

If you’ve ever wondered how to meditate, consider first starting with finding the best time to meditate for you. Meditation requires no fancy equipment, it is totally customizable to your needs, and it truly is for anyone looking for calm, focus, mindfulness, or other positivity in life.

That’s enough for now. Until next time,

Unpopular Opinion: I Am Proud of My Age and Embrace Getting Older

Today is my birthday. I am forty!


Pro-aging NOT anti-aging.

While many people who reach this milestone like to say they’re turning 39 one more time or, worse, wishing to be 29 again, I am proud to be another year older and another year wiser. Better yet, I am excited for a new decade with new experiences.

With the big 4-0 on the docket this year, I recently wrote an article for Fargo Mom sharing one of my biggest unpopular opinions: positivity around getting older.

Check out the full article on Fargo Mom or, if nothing else, consider this thought that really sums up what it’s all about:

Aging is something to embrace, not curse. Getting older should be celebrated, not dreaded. And taking another trip around the sun deserves to be met with feelings of gratitude, not fear.

That’s enough for now. Until next time,

How to Manage FOMO? Live In Your Season

You’ve heard of FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out. Social media essentially created FOMO, this feeling of anxiety or jealousy about what others are doing that you’re not.

I rarely get FOMO. In fact, I embrace JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out.

I love when I don’t have plans. If I have plans and they get canceled, I’m not sad. I’d rather hang out with my kids and go to bed early than go to a party and hang out with drunk people.

Maybe it’s the introvert in me; maybe it’s the tired working mom side. I’m not sure but all I can say is I take pleasure in doing my own simple life and feeling no need to participate in what the masses are doing at any given moment.

Except when it comes to running full marathons.


I miss this season. I miss everything about it. But it’s not mine right now and that’s okay.

Having Marathon FOMO
I get serious FOMO whenever I see someone else running or training for a full marathon. Between the recent Boston and London marathons, plus the excitement of my upcoming hometown favorite, the Fargo Marathon, I’m feeling it big time.

See, I LOVE a full marathon. But not just the reward of running the race itself on the day. I LOVE the process of training for a full marathon.

I love planning all my runs then feeling the satisfaction of hitting my weekly mileage goals. I love the feeling of being sore and spending time foam rolling, icing, and taping up my body. I love nourishing my body even more excessively than my usual excess (code: I love to eat). I love extra weekend rest after those 16, 18, and 20 mile long runs.

Just as much as I enjoy the elation of running on marathon day, I love the routine, discipline, and the hard work that goes into it.

Odd, I know.

Be In Your Season
This all made me think about a piece I recently wrote for another blog about seasons of life. I’ve decided that life is less about your age and more about the season of life you’re in at any given time.

Think about it. We are all in different seasons, at any given time in our lives. Many people embarked on marriage and parenthood in their 20s, both of which I did not experience until my 30s. Others were career-focused early on in life, while some find their calling two or more decades after high school.

After changing priorities and lifestyle in my mid-20s, I found running. Those mid-20s to mid-30s, I was in that marathon season of my life. I ran at least one marathon every year, not to mention numerous other races. Oh, so many races.


This is my season now and I’m here for it.

Now, I have two young boys. My job is challenging and demanding. Sure, I could “make time” to train for a marathon, strictly speaking getting in the miles. It’s the rest of the process I cannot make time for right now. There are so many things that take my mental and physical energy, I simply do not have enough left over to put in all the work needed.

How to Manage FOMO
When I start feeling that FOMO for my marathon running friends, I remind myself that this isn’t my season to run full marathons. It’s just not. I am making that choice and I am very much okay with it.

I share this story to remind you to live in your season. If you find yourself feeling jealous or having FOMO, it may be because you’re not in the season to be there.

Everything in life requires time, energy, and focus, all of which are finite. Where we choose to put our time, energy and focus is one of the most powerful choices we get to make. And I know where I’m putting mine, the season I am in, is exactly where I want to be…even with those little twinges of FOMO!

I’ll end with a great quote I once heard from a CEO who shared her advice for working mothers: “You can have it all…just not all at once.”

That’s enough for now. Until next time,

The Gear You Need and How to Layer to Run Outside in the Winter

Special post: Winter running tips: What you need to run outside

“There is no bad weather, just bad layering.”


Layer up & get out there!

I am sure someone said this long before me but I’m not here to take credit for the quote. Rather, it’s my way to introduce something I can’t get enough of: winter running.

Yes, it can be enjoyable to run outside all winter long. All you need is the right gear and a good layering strategy.

In my latest post for Fargo Mom, I break down all the winter temps – including below zero – and share my top gear must-haves, as well as a layering strategy for every occasion. Click and read the full post to learn what gear to get and how to layer to run outside in the winter.

What are your running tips and must-haves for getting outside in the winter? Is there anything you especially love about winter running? Please share a comment here or on the Fargo Mom blog.

Connect with me @lindsayinreallife on Instagram or @LindsayIRL on Twitter. Subscribe to Wellness in Real Life for more about running, wellness, and keeping it real.


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