Hope and Joy Wellness Blog
Hope and Joy Wellness Blog
Sharing musings, thoughts, anecdotes and life-changing resources that enhance self care efforts, and inspire our health and wellness focus.
Hope and Joy Wellness Coach
6:15 AM

My Hope and Joy Wellness Blog, By Nate Higgins

***I previously published this first blog entry in August of 2017. I had worthy intentions of writing each week, but with a full-time job in public education, being the primary home-maker for a family of four, serving a few clients with wellness coaching and trying to perform my best in a couple of time consuming hobbies, this "writing" was put on the back-burner. It was not something I could sustain consistently. I very fortunately now have committed my professional life to serving in the capacity of a health, wellness, life, hope and joy coach. This blog will serve as a gateway for me to get some thoughts out of my head, perhaps organize them a bit and at the very least, be used as a tool of personal growth for me, while just maybe...a resource in some capacity for others.


Like we need another blog huh? Well, maybe we do? I currently do not follow any blogs on a consistent basis, but perhaps some of you do?  To call this a “blog” makes me feel like an impostor. I am not a blogger and certainly not a writer, though if I could transpose the thoughts I encounter on long runs, perhaps I could be. Some pretty interesting things “run” through my mind while running.(sorry, thinking out loud) The onset of this certainly feels like a stretch to me. However, I do hope and trust that with each keystroke I will grow my comfort zone with this “blog” thing. Honestly, I really do not have a clear vision of where this writing/blogging is taking me. I am reacting on “gut instinct”  and signs that I am choosing to be open to explore a bit. Besides...stretching oneself, continual growth and pursuing what you want with some fear and uncertainty is what the Hope and Joy Wellness journey is all about.

I have wanted to do this for quite sometime, but just never felt “ready” for it. But you know what…, I don’t think I will ever “feel ready” so it’s better to take action and just jump in and do it. It’s a blog and not the “Great American Novel” right? I can try my best each time. Reflect and gather feedback. Learn how to get better, practice more, and get better. I cannot help but think that my beloved high school English teacher, Ginny Wallace will get her eyes on this and metaphorically pull me out into the hallway by my ear. I think that may have literally happened and I totally had it coming, multiple times.


Anyway...I believe that I am competent enough to articulate what it is that I want to say in each post and in at least a somewhat coherent way. We all have “Hope” (goals, dreams, desires, intentions, wants, etc.) and we all want to experience “Joy.” (love, happiness, fulfillment, comfort, satisfaction, etc.) There is no one way to transform our hopes into joy. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight or by chance.  It happens with small, sustainable actions that occur at and with the readiness level of each of us.


In this inaugural blog post I felt it important to set the stage and clearly define what this “blog” (that still sounds strange but will refrain to mention again) is all about. So to do that I am going to address/answer 7 questions that I hope will explain the “who, what, where, when and why” I am creating and publishing this blog.


So here it goes...yikes...


1. Why am I blogging?


I am blogging to improve the health and wellness of others and myself. My ongoing journey to intentionally improve my own health and wellness is a very gratifying and rewarding one. I might also add that it is a journey that I know is without destination, but we will table that thought for now.  


I encounter great resources and content that serves me well! But...I then reflect and think about how many others who have the want and desire to improve their health and wellness, but are not privy to this information, do not know how to find it or are not actively engaged in the right things and/or places to discover them for themselves. Additionally, I have come to learn over the past few years that what I believed to be common knowledge about health and wellness, just wasn’t to many others who genuinely want to enhance their health or reach their goals. “Hey, I can help others!”  I can help by leading them to resources, delivering content, creating conversations and providing a space to support their health and wellness efforts. “Yes, I can help others!”

Now, I am not pretending to have the map to lead you directly to your health and wellness “joy” on your hope and joy journey. In fact, there is no map and there are no shortcuts. However, that is exactly what makes your journey so exciting and rewarding! I look forward to unpacking this idea in future posts.


2. Who am I?


I'm a certified holistic health coach, a public school teacher,  husband of a strong and successful woman, father of two talented daughters, marathon runner (23 and counting with a PR of 3:10:12), ultra-marathoner, running coach, drummer for the band A Girl’s Journey, former college basketball athlete and coach and an individual who is passionate about pursuing the continual enhancement of health and happiness! I am excited to engage in the hope of others, walk with them on their transformational journey and celebrate in their joy of realizing their desires, visions and goals!


I am not someone who can profess to have a jaw-dropping “rock bottom” story to share or grab your attention with. I am pretty grateful to have lived a semi-charmed kinda life.


What I can say is that, I am a man who “binged” his way to becoming 50 pounds overweight and lacked the motivation to do anything about it for some time. I have been clinically diagnosed or “self-diagnosed” and struggled with; obsessive-compulsive tendencies, anxiety, negative self-talk, lack of self-confidence, body image (body dysmorphia disorder), "rubber-banding" eating issues, depression, binging on alcohol and food, and generally being very disconnected with myself, while making those around me unhappy as well. Psychologists, medications and diets did not help my situations and I felt very "stuck" and alone in dealing with these things. I am so grateful and fortunate to have found a path to a better life. It may at times still be an unclear path, under repair with its obstacles and challenges, but I have the support, knowledge, positive behaviors and the fortitude to get back on that path when I get "disconnected," which does still happen on occasions.


I like to think that because of who I am, and who you are, that we share common challenges, struggles and ambitions more than those with the epic rise and/or fall stories, though some of you may have tremendous stories on either end of the spectrum that I myself do not have.  No doubt we admire or are inspired by them but they may leave us with thoughts of, “who am I to complain,” “well I am just an average person, what am I capable of” or “who am I to set out to achieve such lofty goals?”  If you feel this way, and I know I certainly have, we all deserve to be so much more than mediocre.


For a more extended version of “me,” feel free to explore my website and this link to “My story.”



3. What will I blog about?


I will blog and provide content within all themes of health, wellness and self care.


Specific topics will include;
Stress reduction
Morning and night routines
Spirituality (includes, meditation, journaling, nature, time in thought, etc.)
Profession, job, vocations
Goal setting
Essential oils
Having fun (which might contradict other areas or content I dive into, however I am a huge believer in “bio-individuality” which basically means, know yourself and what serves you best and makes you happy.  For instance, I know that having a couple drinks and staying up late with friends for a “just gotta see” favorite artists’ concert, that occurs near a race you have been training for, is not the best choice. However, I would argue that the lasting memories, laughter and joy of the evening makes you a happier and more fulfilled person going forward. It’s your choice and what best serves you. Can you tell the specifics of this example is one I have personally encountered on a few occasions?)


4. Who are you writing for?


I am publishing this blog for individuals who have prioritized their health and that of those they love, serve and care about.
Those who want more than a “mediocre” life but continue to find themselves in a vicious circle of choices that does not serve them or provide the foundation needed to create their best, most authentic version of themselves.
For people who believe, or want to believe that they have a power in deciding how their life unfolds for them in the present and future, and that they are the author of their next chapter in life.
Individuals who will commit to sharing the health and wellness information that they have empowered themselves with on whatever small or large platform that they have, and we all have platforms to share and help others.


5. How can you (viewers) get involved?


Of course this blog will be published by me and hopefully read by you. However, I embrace you getting involved and maximizing your time investment in this blog. You can do that in a number of ways.  
Commenting and sharing your thoughts, ideas, stories and what’s working well for you applicably with the topics we cover is a way for us to build community and squeeze all that we can out of important topics.
Try things, apply things, crowd in and crowd out things. You should be open and flexible to try some things, crazy as they sound perhaps. But knowing YOU and deciding for yourself if “things” serve you is critically important.

Share the blog with others you feel it might resonate with or who could contribute as well. We are always looking for helpful information and different perspectives.
Contact me directly. If you want to advance the topic or personalize it, please contact me via email nate@hopeandjoywellnesscoach.com or direct message me on Facebook. I will always leave my email and you can find me on Facebook under Nathan Higgins, Wellness Coach at Hope and Joy Wellness. I WOULD EMBRACE ONE ON ONE CONVERSATIONS AROUND BLOG TOPICS :-)


6. My blogging goals?


My main goal for this blog is to do what I can to enhance the ripple effect being created in the  concepts of health and wellness, while encouraging people to commit to self care that best serves them.
I want to shine a light on challenges and resistance we face everyday and discuss possible solutions, alternative ideas or paradigm shifts that will lead us from hope to joy.
Keep it short Nate. I have a short attention span while reading on a computer and I am hoping that my future posts will be much shorter.


7. When and where can you expect a Hope and Joy Wellness blog post?


I will publish, (to the best of my time and energy) on Monday morning each week. This is a strategic day and time for me.  I always MAKE my weeks better when I start the week with actions that serve me well and this will be just that for me.  My hope is that it will include some useful things or thoughts for you as well as you embark on your new week.


You will be able to find new and archived blog posts at:


There is also an RSS Feed built in so that you may be notified when new posts are added, that is only if you choose to opt in for that.
I will post on Facebook and there you will be able to click on the link to access the blog post.
Eventually I will send out an email newsletter that contains the blog if you choose to subscribe to my email list.


So...there we have it!  A pretty extensive blog description that evolved from my initial want of, “hey, I wanna write some things down that are going through my head. And you know, I am pretty sure similar things go through the minds of many others who have hopes, dreams, desires and goals.” Remaining alone with these thoughts allows resistance to persist, keeping us all from performing the actions necessary to realize those hopes, dreams, desires and goals. I’m willing to battle my resistance and envision a community of others who are willing to battle theirs as well.


I thank you in advance for your time and consideration of this blog concept of mine.


Hope, Joy and Wellness,




Next post: "Hope" is Not a Strategy


Hope and Joy Wellness Coach
9:30 AM

Ambition Can Be A Real Bitch

You've heard the sayings, "Life's a bitch, Love's a bitch, That son of a bitch." Even one of my favorite characters all-time, Micheal Scott from The Office has a phrase, "Downsizing is a real bitch" upon hearing his love and passion, Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company, was in financial trouble. We have had those "bitch" moments and they certainly, well, suck. But where do those moments originally come from? I observe that a great many come from Ambition.


So is Ambition a bitch?


We may not label them as such, but those moments of stress, sadness and disconcertion come from caring a lot, and being passionate. Perhaps we've dedicated time, effort and resources to areas of our life, only to have things not meet our expectations and what we envisioned.


Events this week have made think about Ambition and its positive and negative effects on us. A best friend suffered a setback that led all of us to feel sad, mad and frustrated. A dream so close he could touch it! Personally, this week, a dream for me has almost become realized. A dream so close I can touch it! Completely different dreams that are not comparable or on the same level, but each respectively requiring years of effort, sweat and tears. At the core of both is Ambition. In this isolated week, his Ambition has led him to a place of disappointment and sadness, mine, to a place of inner reward.


Ambition certainly has its drawbacks. It requires you to sacrifice, to be disappointed, to hurt and to wonder, "why the hell am I doing this?" Maybe you are eating "shit sandwiches" on a daily basis in a job you know that has the potential to be something magical and fulfilling. Perhaps you miss qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 12 seconds one year, 59 seconds the next and then by 3 minutes the following year. Or, you applied for a dream job in which years of proof makes you a "slam dunk" for the position, only to have that decision be in the hands of others who clearly have an agenda of their own to fulfill at the expense of you. In those moments Ambition has led you to moments of despair.  Ambition IS a real bitch. 


In that space of disappointment you sit in your "chair of choices." Now what do you do when faced with your failure, your obstacle or your challenge? Life doesn't stop or slow down for you to decide what you are going to do next. You are either living or dying, going forward or going backward in relation to your hopes, goals and dreams. There is no stasis when it comes to what you are ambitious for. Each action has a reaction leading you towards or away from your Ambition. 


If your Ambitions are lofty, aggressive and big, you will find yourself in these moments of adversity and pain. You will or should fail on occasions. That will not feel good. So why possess and pursue Ambition? Well, on your pursuit or journey, if you look, there are a lot of special moments and great things happening to you and those around you. 


When I turned 40, my girlfriends from college gave me a gift of a sign that hangs in my home. It reads, "Life is about the journey, not the destination." In my adult years I can say that I consciously live that quote, but I had not articulated that or even been conscious of it. They have no idea what a valuable gift that has been for me to look at everyday since then. I now recognize that Ambition is rewarding us with "trophies" all the time on our journey. Unfortunately, we miss out on these moments far too often. We are ingrained to believe we only win or get a trophy at the end of our destination or what we set out to accomplish.

 Life's about the journey_copy

Your Ambition takes you to great places. With Ambition, you are winning all the time! In just a small window like this weekend, my Ambition will take me;

  • on a 20+mile trail training run
  • to the Leinenkugels Oktoberfest to play drums on stage with great musicians in front of great people (even if most were Packer fans)
  • on a date with a wife who loves and supports me
  • to a viewing party to watch the Vikings kick the Packer's ass, hopefully, while being surrounded by my family, new friends and old friends
  • to First Avenue to see Wolfmother in concert with my rock and roll Pals
  • to enjoy "Donuts with Daddies" at my 3rd grade daughter's school Monday morning

None of that occurs without Ambition.


I encourage you to recognize and label your Ambitions, be intentional with your actions around them, and pursue them with passion! Know that failure and/or disappointment will likely come along the way. See a setback as a tremendous gift that may actually bound you forward towards your goal depending on how you frame it. Take time on your journey to celebrate a win and give yourself a metaphorical trophy! Life can be be a bitch, but life can also be bliss!


Where has Ambition taken you? Where does it lead you today? Where will it lead you tomorrow?


With Hope, Joy and Wellness,


Nate Higgins 








Hope and Joy Wellness Coach
2:35 PM



I really looked forward to running this morning. I planned out my day, organized my mind and felt confident that I was going to MAKE it a great day!  With that mindset, I headed out “unplugged,” to just get into some easy, zone 2 running. It never takes long to get my mind wandering and often starts by reflecting on the past or getting nostalgic for the future.


Today, I realized it has been over 3 weeks since qualifying for the Boston Marathon. And though I rested completely for 10 days, I have been back “exercising” for almost two weeks now and for no reason other than the grateful feeling of, “I get to” run today.  Coincidentally, I noticed my virtual mentor, Rich Roll, posted this very sentiment on his Instagram account the other day. I only saw it on my way to my Hope and Joy Wellness site! I really believe we have kindred spirits with others and this was a perfect example...and a little scary!


In 2009, I had been running marathons since 1997, but I made the decision to level up and try to qualify for the Boston Marathon. That was a “BIG thing” to throw out there for me. I simply started out with saying, “ I WANT to qualify for the Boston Marathon.” Since that statement was made to myself, and then externally to my friends and family, a lot has transpired. The list of positives and negatives is too long to list. But on this journey to reach my lofty goal, I often recall me feeling and saying, “I have to” go run. That is certainly not a feeling that I desired to have at any moment. However, like anything worth pursuing in life that I know will add joy to it, there are going to be challenges, doubts, disguised resistances and obstacles to see your way through. When those things appear as you show up each day to pursue that goal, you may not feel like, doing “the thing” that will get you closer to your goal or where you want to be. But you do it anyway and know that you will never regret that decision!


But the reflective lesson I spent some time with on my “I GET TO RUN” run today was this, those moments of feeling like you “HAVE TO” are normal, are ok and are often necessary to face while pursuing and reaching your goals. And more importantly, after seeing through to the end of your goal, no matter how long it takes, and if you love what you are doing and it serves you well, you come full circle and realize that really...you “GET TO” do those things.  Grateful.


Gratitude is a gift available at all times! (Reminder to self)