Monday Motivation: let the dead leaves drop

This quote from Rumi is my theme for the week, especially since it’s the last full week of the year: Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop. Short, sweet, and powerful.

Over the past twelve months, the leaves we gather grow and build up. A few of the dead ones may still be hanging on, for no good reason at all. People whom we get worked up over or situations we stress out about hang around and weigh us down. Do we really need to hold on any longer?

Be Like a Tree

A tree, as it grows older, is strong and sturdy. Its roots are intertwined deeply into the ground, which allows it to stand firm in its place. The older I get, the more I am like this part of the tree: I stand firmer in my core beliefs, mean “no” when I say it (most of the time), and am evolving more into my personality (“true self”?). In this year alone, I’ve learned to not only mean “no” but say it more often, in order to take care of myself. I’m aware of when I start to hit burnout and take appropriate measures (AKA at least one day off of personal training) to stay fresh.

After being incredibly moved by Rolf Gates’ yoga workshop in Richmond, I can drop the rock and not take things personally. My yoga practice helps solidify that, and I can reinforce it during the yoga classes that I teach every week.

In 2016, we can all be more like trees. Knowing who we are and what we’re capable of, we can grow strong and stable in our foundation and goals. Yes, you can definitely commit to running a mile in less than nine minutes this year. Oh heck to the yes, you will be capable of more balanced and guilt-free eating habits!

Let the Dead Leaves Drop

So maybe it’s easy to “be a tree”. But letting the dead leaves drop isn’t quite as simple. In order to let go, we have to acknowledge that there are leaves to drop. Once we determine that they are there, it’s our choice to either drop them (or not).

One of the most common resolutions for 2016 is to lose weight. Now, going behind the reasons why that could be a goal (or why I don’t think that’s the most effective goal to make) is for another time. But, consider for a moment, having that goal and also allowing the dead leaves to drop. The following will happen:

  • Acknowledge that there is a change to make
  • Decide to actually make the change(s)
  • Watch the progress unfold

If our stress levels are too high or we’re not getting enough sleep and we do nothing, that may not help with weight loss. If our eating habits favor processed foods and portion sizes that we don’t necessarily need, will the weight loss occur? Not likely.

Bring on the Progress

“Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop”. Easier said than done, right? Taking notice of the things we can let go allows us to start fresh. But starting fresh isn’t limited to once a year – we can start fresh each month, once a week, or even every day if we feel like there’s a positive change we can make. So, be like a tree. Let the dead leaves drop. And BRING ON the progress!


Hope you are all having a great Monday so far! As you read this, we are enjoying our last day at the beach. Catch up with the latest happenings on Instagram and Facebook.

Let’s chat!

  • Will you tell me about leaves you can drop?
  • Are you familiar with Rolf Gates?
  • How was your weekend?

By Jess

Jess is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga teacher. She enjoys sharing her passion and enthusiasm for health and fitness with friends, family, clients, and readers.

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31 comments

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe

    December 21, 2015 at 7:37 am

    I absolutely love this, and it is perfect for the new year. Simple, to the point, and exactly what we all need to keep in mind!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Hand Bikes and Holiday Desserts Quality ControlMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Simple and to the point is how I hope to roll 🙂

  • CARLA

    December 21, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I adore this as lately Ive been droppping even GOOD LEAVES which no longer serve me.
    <3
    CARLA recently posted…Mama, Im so strong!My Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Oooo dropping dead AND good leaves. You’re onto something 😉

  • Amelia@RXforWellnessDC

    December 21, 2015 at 8:41 am

    This post really hit home for me today. As I sit down this week and start to thing about what I want to accomplish in 2016, letting the dead leaves drop needs to be a huge focus. Thank you so much for your constant inspiration!
    Amelia@RXforWellnessDC recently posted…A Well Girl’s Holiday Gift GuideMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      My pleasure, Amelia 🙂 that quote really got to me, and I’m glad it is positively affecting others, too!
      Hope you had an awesome holiday!

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    December 21, 2015 at 9:15 am

    What a great motivation. Definitely something to think about for 2016!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Haleakala Volcano Sunrise and the Upcountry of MauiMy Profile

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    December 21, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Ah, this is a great quote !
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Cranberry Pecan Spiced Skillet GranolaMy Profile

  • Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner

    December 21, 2015 at 10:52 am

    What a great message to end 2015 Jess! It fits so perfectly to just about any situation. I am trying to take in all what’s left of this year and just move past all the negativity that came at the end.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…How to Survive Night ShiftMy Profile

  • Ivanna

    December 21, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Great post to start the week Jess!
    Ivanna recently posted…Our Weekend in Review 12/19/15: Purple Door CoffeeMy Profile

  • Brittany

    December 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Ohhh I love this. I’m obsessed with trees, so this is a new favorite quote for me! Thanks for sharing.
    Brittany recently posted…Bubble JawMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Yay!! Happy to contribute 🙂

  • Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen

    December 21, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Man Jess I love this! Definitely some things I should probably write down so I can “let dead leaves drop” and also keep them in mind going into 2016. My weekend was lovely! Thanks for asking 😉 Spent time at my husband’s family’s Christmas party on Sunday during our drive back home, and then Sunday just hung out with my little bro and parents and dogs (as seen from my snaps) lol 😉
    Hope you have a great week Jess!! <3
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen recently posted…Kale and Feta Egg BakeMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      HI!!
      Keep those snaps comin’, haha! Thanks for all the wonderful, thoughtful feedback 🙂 XOXO hope you had a nice holiday!

  • Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    December 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I so love this Jess. What a great metaphor for life and for starting the new year with a fresh slate.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…Paleo Salted Gingerbread Cookies {GF, Paleo, Low Cal, Vegan}My Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks, Megan!! That quote really hit it home for me 🙂

  • Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job

    December 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Great message. I’m always about dropping those things that aren’t working for me anymore and working to grow and improve every day 🙂
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like ChristmasMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      OH yeeeess!! I’m excited to see developments in 2016!!

  • Hannah

    December 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I LOVE THIS. It can be so easy remain stagnant, but change is what keeps us growing and getting better! 🙂

  • Hannah

    December 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I love this! Definitely some great thoughts on change around the New Year 🙂
    Hannah recently posted…Holiday Travels: Tips and TricksMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks, Hannah 🙂 trying to help get those gears turnin’ a little 😉

  • Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog.

    December 22, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Love this comparison. Especially cause i just went over figurative language with my 3rd graders! 😉

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Oh nice!! Ahhh third graders are so cute!!

  • Kristen

    December 22, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Love this! It’s so powerful and true. I think all of us have a few dead leaves to drop that will make us better in 2016 🙂
    Kristen recently posted…Try New Things Tuesday: Cutting Down A Christmas TreeMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      So so true, Kristen!

  • lindsay

    December 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    so true. Leaves turn, die, drop and rebirth later into something better. Great metaphor for ANYTHING in life, right?

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      fo. Sho.

  • Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes

    December 22, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I love this metaphor – it can be hard to drop things, but dead leaves only hold the place of more beautiful ones. I recently dropped a dead leaf – a freelance (emphasis on free) writing and editing opportunity that was great at the start but now wasn’t good for me or for the team I was with. It took courage to let it go, but I’m glad I did!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…5 Step Guide for Planning Your Annual Racing CalendarMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      YES, you got it, Laura!! On to bigger and better things 🙂

  • Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    December 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I’m going through the process of dropping leaves right now. I started this earlier this year with my old corporate job. It’s so refreshing when it’s over but the task is daunting and scary

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      I’m really excited to see you grow, Sam 🙂
      Hope you had a nice holiday!

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