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Updated: Nov 28, 2020

My journey in life so far has brought me to understand that these five key elements have been responsible for me finding the calm and serenity I desire. The five elements are: preparation, expectation management, active living, challenging myself and escaping my comfort zone.

Preparation has allowed me and continues to allow me to maintain success. It doesn't matter what phase of life I am in or what stage of the project i'm in, I need to prepare both mentally and physically. I have two things that I use to prepare for everything.

  1. Create and maintain a supportive network because when you have that very challenging day they will be there with words of encouragement and cheering for you when you are all cheered out.

  2. Get a good amount of sleep. I am not going to give you the statistics but I believe sleep is a huge contributor to obtaining success and staying motivated. Remember that everyone is different. My sweet spot for sleep is about 6 hours. Your body will definitely tell you if you are not getting enough sleep.

Expectation management is a significant part of the me finding peace. I manage my expectations by setting goals at regular intervals. Over the years, I have found that setting 2, 4, 12 and 52 week goals is best for me. It keeps me both focused and motivated. I often remind myself that failure is another opportunity for success.

Active living has a lot to do with my physical wellness. I walk twice a day typically mid- morning and late afternoon. This is in part thanks to Diva, my energetic puppy. Once I retired and stopped moving, I had a great deal more aches and pains. So for the last two years, I have committed to staying active. My recommendation is to stay active by walking, doing yoga or any type of physical activity that can be incorporated in your everyday life. This has helped me both physically and mentally.

Challenging myself has led to a lot of personal growth for me. This allowed me to figure out who I really am, beyond being a mom and a soldier. My first reality check about needing to find me was when my sons got their driver's license. The second time I thought about it in any great detail was when they went to college however the biggest reality check of all was when I retired from the military. This was one of the scariest times in my life not because I hadn't prepared but because I would have to challenge myself after over 20 years. I started by setting goals like finding a new career, starting a new routine, exercising daily, staying connected with friends and finally reconnecting with family. These things have kept me busy for the last five years.

Escaping my comfort zone in 5 steps:

  1. I don't take anything for granted

  2. I try new things (food, music, activities, etc.)

  3. I start conversations with strangers (work in progress)

  4. I move forward even when your afraid

  5. I take risks

I struggle the most with implementing # 3 but I am working everyday because I believe that mastering these elements are the key to maintaining P.E.A.C.E.

Let me know you thoughts about finding P.E.A.C.E. and any elements you might add to the list.

Check out and meet Jacqueline Hill, an Army retiree and current federal employee.

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