The Top Six Blogs of 2021

by | Dec 28, 2021

Darcy Luoma is one of America’s most highly credentialed coaches. She’s worked in 48 industries, with more than 500 organizations, and has impacted tens of thousands of leaders and employees.
As 2021 draws to a close, it’s helpful to reflect on the year that has passed: the good, the bad, the ugly –  and the lessons learned. Those of you who’ve followed my journey for a while know that I have a fondness for Germany, having spent a year there in 1989. The Germans have a nice, poetic word called “besinnlich,” which is often used around this time of year to wish friends and family a “besinnliche Zeit,” or “happy time of contemplation.” It’s normally accompanied by some warm Glühwein and a family trip to the Christmas market. In that spirit of reflection, I thought I’d take this opportunity to go back through our blog articles from the past year and share some of the most thought-provoking ones.

If you’re struggling with self-sabotage, you might be interested in this method to develop the Strength to choose how you respond to emotions.


Darcy (00:02):
So I’ve been reflecting on my annual intention of playfulness and I’m going to be sharing a blog update for my Thoughtfully Fit tips on how I did and spoiler alert. Let’s just say I did not get an A or maybe even a B. So this is my like last minute attempt to try to bring in a little bit of playfulness to our Thoughtfully Fit Thursday, holiday edition. So I’m guessing this might be just a little bit distracting. So while I’m excited about being playful, I also will honor you and not keep that on for the entire Thoughtfully Fit Thursday.

Darcy (00:45):
So today I just wanted to connect with you about the holidays and this time of year, which can bring up a lot of anxiety for people dealing with family dynamics, and stress, and loss, and transitions. And what I have found in working with clients and certainly in my own experience is that a lot of times we self sabotage and we find ways to deal with the anxiety that aren’t always healthy. For me, I have a history which I did not actually define until 2018. I have a history of food addiction and I’m a compulsive overeater and I would use food to numb out and to deal with the anxiety, or should I say, not deal with the anxiety.

Darcy (02:08):
And it took a lot of inner work and therapy to be able to admit to myself and recognize that I was really sabotaging myself. And so it would go something like this. I’d have a tough day at work and I would think, oh, I need to comfort myself. And so I would binge on whatever favorite carbohydrates were there or ice cream, or what have you. And I’d get short term relief, but I’d have long term shame and pain. And I’ve worked really hard to rewire this habit. And now if I think, oh, I had a really bad day, instead of thinking, oh, I need to comfort myself, I’ll think, okay, I need to blow off some steam. And I will go for a run and I’ll have short term pain and long term relief and joy.

Darcy (03:20):
And so that’s what I wanted to invite you to do for your core workout this week, is to notice and reflect on, are there any habits that you have that aren’t serving you right now? And notice if you have some self sabotaging thoughts, that’s okay. That’s our humanity. So it’s not about changing your thoughts. It’s about recognizing them and then consciously choosing what you want to do instead. So as always, that core workout, when you notice that you are at risk of sabotaging, when you notice, I want you to pause and just notice that thought, that sabotaging, and then think. Ask yourself some thoughtful questions.

Darcy (04:16):
How do I want to proceed right now? What can I choose that might be hard in the moment, but that will bring me better results in the long term? This is all about strength and with thoughtfully fit strength, it’s about consciously choosing how you want to show up in every moment and then act thoughtfully. And I just want to send this reminder to you as you go into the holidays and Christmas and New Years, to continue to engage your core and create some time and space for you to pause, think, and act. Thank you so much. For those of you who are celebrating Christmas, happy Christmas Eve tomorrow and Merry Christmas on Saturday. I am so grateful to be on this journey with you and stay tuned. I am going to be giving an update on my playfulness annual intention, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take care, everybody.

One of my observations from coaching executives is that most people believe they’re a good listener. About 96% of professionals, in fact, according to research by Accenture.

But a more sober look at the evidence reveals that many people could stand to improve their listening skills. And in this article, I share what my coach training taught me about the different levels of listening:


    • Level 1 listening is a focus on self. You’re hearing what the other person is saying, but you’re so focused on your own experiences and thoughts that you’re not actually listening that deeply.
    • Level 2 listening is a focus on the person speaking. You’re concentrating on every word they’re saying, perhaps summarizing their thoughts in your own words as a way to clarify your understanding.
    • Level 3 listening is a focus on the energy in the room. You’re paying attention intuitively to the non-verbal information around you: both from the other person and from the emotional field in the room as a whole.

It’s so tempting to believe that we’re a prisoner of our emotions. 

If someone stands you up for an important meeting, it’s likely you’ll feel annoyed. If another less-than-ideal event happens, such as your dog pooping on the carpet, then you can rest assured it’s now officially a “bad day” – leading to feelings of grumpiness and repeated complaints to understanding friends.

I’m not saying you can always control your mood. Sometimes life happens, and we just have to deal with it.

But we do have more of an impact on our mood than we think we do. We can always choose how we respond; the Thoughtfully Fit Core Workout framework is a phenomenal tool for bringing awareness to our responses. 

And, with a little self-awareness, we can also learn what things influence our moods positively – and do more of those.

This article is a great primer on how to balance your needs with those of the person you’re speaking to. To make these concepts easier to remember, I like to think of them as the three C’s:

    • The Courage to be direct and speak your truth, especially when it’s hard.
    • The Compassion to express yourself sensitively and in a manner that treats the other person with kindness.
    • The Curiosity to ask open-ended questions, go deep, and not believe you have all the answers.

Note that because tone is so hard to pick up on from writing, it’s easy to feel like someone is missing one or more of the three C’s in an email. And, of course, it’s tempting to react in kind!

By keeping the three C’s in mind, you’re more likely to respond thoughtfully, and less likely to lash out emotionally.

I’d been having persistent pain in my butt (yes, really), and felt relief after my physical therapist was able to name the problem I was experiencing.

In the same vein, you can feel relief from your people problems if you’re able to name them explicitly. Some of the common problems I discuss in this article include:

    • Triangulation: when you’re having a conversation about another person with a third party, instead of with the other person directly.
    • Vulnerability hangover: the feeling of regret after over-sharing with someone you don’t trust fully.
    • Negativity bias: if you have a negative opinion of someone in the present, you’re likely to assume the worst from their future behavior as well.

In this article, I describe my punishing Ironman training regime, complete with “brick workouts,” so-called because you stack multiple disciplines on top of each other and your legs feel like bricks afterwards!

Regardless of how hard you train, you will have thoughts during your race of “I can’t do this anymore.” It happens to the best of us – that’s just human nature. The same applies to working towards any challenging goal, such as starting a business.

It’s smart to expect hurdles and have a plan to overcome them when they inevitably show up. For triathlons, that means wearing the right shoes, hydrating properly and getting good nutrition before the race. Together with my training regime, these things help me endure when I want to quit.

What was your favorite?

So, I’m curious what your favorite blog article was this past year. Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, it only remains for me – and the whole team at Darcy Luoma Coaching & Consulting – to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year! We’re so grateful to be on this journey of self-discovery and growth with you.

Here’s to more training together in 2022 to get Thoughtfully Fit!


Hate small talk? Don’t feel like you connect well with others in conversation? Thoughtfully Fit Coach, Sharon Barbour, recommends Judith Glaser’s Conversational Intelligence. Glaser shares tips to better connect with others by learning from past mistakes and re-building a foundation of trust in our relationships.