“Finding Ways to Feel Healthy”

Meet Samantha Curley. She’s a 30-year-old LA transplant from Chicago who loves Los Angeles as much as she misses deep-dish pizza. Sam is the Executive Director of the nonprofit Level Ground and a newlywed. She loves vegetarian cooking and creating events with meaning. Amidst her busy schedule, she’s learning how to make fitness work for her (which sometimes means taking a break).

We talk to Sam about her busy life and more, including how:

  1. A structured schedule can provide opportunities for creativity.
  2. It’s okay to take a break when life gets busy.
  3. Giving up on multitasking can help you get focused.

Interviewing Sam is DTGS Founder, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Villa. Fun Fact: They’re close friends and Sam interviewed Lizzy for her profile here. Let’s go!

#1 — A structured schedule can leave space for creativity.

Lizzy: What does a day in your life look like?

Sam: I used to love that a day in my life never looked like the one that came before it. I’ve since realized that I enjoy and even thrive with more structure. So on my best days I wake up before 6am and drink Chemex coffee that my husband makes us on the mornings when he wakes up on time. I get to the office to eat breakfast around 7:30am and spend a good 5 to 6 hours working at my computer. I get a HIIT workout in around 4:30pm, make dinner around 6pm and usually have some sort of meeting or gathering in the evening.

L: I think I know the answer, but what’s good about it?

S: I love the structure. It helps ease my mind to think more creatively about the things I really care about.

L: Yes! I knew it. We love structure so much these days. You have some pretty jam-packed days. Is there anything that’s hard about it?

S: It’s hard when I skimp on eating a good lunch, or skip lunch altogether.

L: Quick… Are you more of a Scheduler or Spontaneous?

S: Scheduler. Though I think that when I have a schedule, I’m able to be more spontaneous. Without a schedule though I’m just a big anxious ball of stress.

L: I’ve never seen that before. JK JK. Do you have any “lifestyle hacks” that you use to help you fit exercise into your busy days?

S: Honestly not really. Anytime I feel off or too stressed, I’m learning the only way out is to get back into my rhythm and routine. I can’t hack my way there.

L: Wise woman. Although I prefer believing that there are hacks for everything.

When do you feel most like yourself?

S: Two things come to mind. First, whenever I’m producing an experience for a group of people (it can be a meal, an event, a meeting, anything really). And second, after around 1.25 glasses of wine… that’s when I forget about my to-do lists and stress, and really live into the moment.

L: I love 1.25 glasses of wine Sam! Sober Sam too. Don’t worry.

Who is an influential person in your life?

S: The president of Level Ground’s board has helped me grow into a more mature human and business woman. He has pushed me to think better, act smarter, and make strategic, patient decisions that work towards success over the long haul.

#2 — It’s okay to take a break.

L: How do you feel about fitness in your life right now?

S: Tired, bored, and okay. I’m in a season where life has been so busy, and so much has been changing that I’m just tired. So tired that I don’t want to do the work of re-building a fitness habit that will energize me again.

I’m also just kind of bored with working out; lacking in inspiration and creativity for what that time could hold for me. And I feel okay about all of that.

I’ve learned myself enough to know that this season isn’t forever and I can find other ways to feel healthy and take care of myself until I have more space to come back to fitness in the more traditional sense.

L: I love that you’re acknowledging the season you’re in and not forcing perfection through it. V smart, Sam. V, smart.

What’s your “why”? Do you find your internal “why” in conflict with external expectations?

S: My why used to be all about how I looked. Over the last few years it has become way more about how I feel.

L: Any labels you’ve pursued? Found? Shed?

S: I grew up thinking of myself as an athlete. In college I had some pretty disordered eating and fitness habits that I would label as binging. I’m not really sure what label I would have now. I like to think I’ve found a new label, healthy, to live into.

L: I love that you’re listening to yourself, focusing on how you feel, and living into your own version of healthy.

How have you seen that posture affect the rest of your life?

S: The best tangible benefit of feeling healthy is that I spend less time thinking about myself and have more time and energy to give to other passions and relationships.

L: And you’re so great at it! What have been the biggest barriers?

S: My biggest barrier is time and energy.

#3 — Get focused.

L: What are your thoughts on resolutions? Do you have any? What are they?

S: More than resolutions, I try to pick a different “project” to focus on each year. I’ve had various projects over the past 7 years. From giving up dessert, to mailing someone a letter everyday, to learning personal finance. In 2017 my project is to do less multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time.

L: I love that project. What’s something you’re looking forward to in 2017?

S: 2016 has been rough in so many ways politically and socially it’s been hard to pick my head up and think much about next year. I am definitely looking forward to not having to plan a wedding on top of all the other things going on in life.

BONUS— Just do it for YOU

L: Are you more of a People Pleaser or Self-Driven?

S: Self-driven. Any people pleasing whims I have are rooted in my own self-driven desire for achievement.

L: Are you more of a Thinker or Doer?

S: 100% a doer. I can get into thinking moods, but my tendency is to quickly turn thought into action.

L: What self-talk have you developed to help you?

S: A rational self-talk that is based more on reality than results.

That’s it for this convo for now… You can keep in touch with Sam by following her @samanthacurley


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