*Are you happy at the moment?
Yes, I am happy most days, sometimes I am absolutely blissful and other days I am just grateful! Life likes to throw a little curve ball (or a big one) every now and then but I feel happy knowing I have learned strategies that allow me to step back and evaluate my situation so I do not get swallowed up by circumstance. I also am happy knowing and believing that I can be happy despite events happening around me that are not necessarily positive or uplifting. Every single day I get to decide to be happy.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
I would tell my 16-year-old self to never allow herself to slip on to auto pilot and to never become indifferent to the decisions that are hers to make. I would also remind her that she doesn’t have to ever tolerate a life she hates and that if she finds herself unhappy, it is up to her alone to change that. I would remind her that mistakes can take her to a life she never imagined for herself so she should be gentle on herself and learn as she goes. I would tell her to accept responsibility for this life she has been given and create something amazing by finding her passion and following her dreams. Anything is possible.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
The most important thing I have learned this year is that it is incredibly beneficial to learn to be happy despite your circumstances. Life can change on a dime and it is critical that you have the strategies and tools you need to maintain a healthy mindset regardless of the events that take place in a given day, week or month. Also, when negative things do happen, knowing there are two or more ways to look at things can really help you maintain a sense of gratitude in your life.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I want to continue spreading the messages I teach about in my bestselling book, WTF to OMG: The Frazzled Female’s Guide to Creating a Life You Love. I know that this book contains strategies that, when applied, can really change one’s life. I will continue to develop products, retreats, and workshops to help share these tools out on my websites: www.swiftkickfitness.com and www.wtfomgbook.com because I know there are people struggling needlessly. I know there are people that need guidance, support and a tribe to belong to that will help them to move forward. I want to help. It is that simple.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
I have several. I outline many of them in WTF to OMG but the top one is truly understanding that happiness is a choice. Perspective is a choice. If I don’t like something and I can’t change it, I work hard to change my understanding and perspective of it. I also always look for the lessons when I am faced with something difficult. I understand that failure can be a gift.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I think regular self-care is essential for a healthy and happy life. When I start to feel overwhelmed and taxed beyond my comfort levels, I make sure I am paying attention to my nutrition, sleep, hydration, and exercise. I call this creating a foundation for bliss and it really is about making sure your foundation is strong and healthy. I also practice gratitude and while it is a simple process, it has changed my life.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I have no regrets. I have opted to find the lessons in the past mistakes I may have made. I really think that there is so much we can learn from our failures if we are open to them and these lessons can make us much stronger, deeper human beings. Also, now that I am getting older, I can look back and see how one life event may have led me to an unplanned (but better) destination which has really given me a faith in knowing things will work out even if I cannot see the way at the time.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I hope that my children truly understand that it is up to each of us to find and create our own happiness. I want them to live their lives with passion and zest and if that means they need to stand up and speak from their place of truth to do it, I hope they have the strength to do so. I never want them to live a life based on someone else’s expectation of them. They need to define happiness for themselves and then do what is required to make it happen. I have worked hard to demonstrate that happiness is our own responsibility.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I think that at times my desire to do things perfectly can keep me from getting started. On the days where I master imperfect action, I make so much progress even if things are not perfect. In my books, progress trumps perfection so I would love to soften my desire for things to be a certain way all the time. I am getting better, but I am a work in progress.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am proud that I mustered the strength to face my fears so that I could create a life I love. I have realized that fear teaches me what means the most to me. I have learned that I can feel fear and appreciate that it doesn’t need to mean I can’t do something. I am also very proud of the feedback I have received from WTF to OMG and the best part of writing a book is knowing that my words, stories and tools have changed people’s lives in a positive way.
*When were you happiest?
I am happiest right now. I feel powerful and decisive. I feel like I have really changed so much in the past few years and I am really clear about what matters to me in my life. This allows me to live a streamlined, focused and productive life. I finally feel like I am comfortable in my skin and I am less impacted by the things people might say and do. I feel in control of myself, my thinking, and my own happiness.
*What ten words best describe you?
Grateful, open-minded, funny, loyal, intelligent, honest, loving, creative, spiritual, and optimistic.
Jennifer Sparks is a teacher, an Ironman triathlete, life coach, certified personal trainer and single mother. In 2003, Jennifer began her personal journey from WTF to OMG by addressing her lack of fitness but by 2010 she realized it was going to take more than a focus on physical fitness to move her forward. She began examining all the facets of her life and implementing change. In 2011, while on educational leave, her daughter developed a neurological condition. Feeling overwhelmed, Jennifer focused on learning strategies to gain control over her life. She had found the golden key! Her ever-expanding knowledge about fitness and lifestyle design led her to create www.swiftkickfitness.com to fulfill her desire to share what she has learned over the past ten years about health, wellness and mindsets from a holistic perspective. In her bestselling book, WTF to OMG: The Frazzled Female’s Guide to Creating a Life You Love (Amazon), Jennifer shares how every person can achieve an increased sense of wellness. Online courses, coaching and resources to further support those in need are available on her website, www.swiftkickfitness.com and on her www.facebook.com/swiftkickfitness page.