Posts Tagged ‘change’
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Mundane: (adjective) typical, ordinary, lacking interest or excitement, dull.
Mundane a great word. The way it rolls off your tongue even sounds mundane. I know it’s an adjective but I wish it was a noun. I’d define it like this:
Mundane: (noun) the dreaded place people settle into when they stop challenging themselves, stop trying new things, stop dreaming.
When you’re there, the days blend together. You come home from work, grab the chips out of the cupboard, turn on the TV and eventually fall asleep on the couch, day after day after day, all the while promising yourself you’ll start that exercise program tomorrow. You take a sleeping pill to go to bed and caffeine when you wake up. You’re not happy but no one knows that because you smile and function reasonably well at work. Mundane is a secret that turns into a habit that weighs you down but you rarely complain because life is good enough…ugh.
I saw a post on Facebook once that said something like this:
The definition of hell: At the end of your life, meeting the person you would have become if you had lived to your potential.
That’s an unsettling thought, more unsettling if “Mundane” rules the day. On the other hand, if you love your life, if you’re living without regret, I don’t think it would matter because life is filled with infinite possibilities which are narrowed down by a combination of circumstance, opportunity and the choices we make. Honestly, where we end up isn’t as important as the way we travel.
So pay attention to how you travel. Loving your life and escaping the grips of mundane is about traveling through life with purpose. Every day you cross the paths of numerous people…family, friends, co-workers, and strangers and your impact on them is either positive, negative, or neutral. Choose to make it positive.
The last thing I say to my kids as I drop them off to school in the morning is, “Make someone’s day better, today.”
It’s so easy…smile, hold a door open, help with a project, compliment someone, thank someone, listen. The ripple effect of kindness is beyond measure and if you live with that intention your life will never be mundane.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
- Why does the young boy growing up under the influence of the Taliban hate Americans? Why does he believe giving his life in an act of terrorism will be rewarded in heaven?
- Why do children who grow up under the influence of the KKK believe white people are superior?
- Why do most Americans still think cows milk does a body good?
- Someone in a position of trust or respect said so.
That’s why, generally speaking, we stick with the religion we were taught as children…it’s what we’re comfortable with…it’s who we become. Throughout our lives we are highly influenced by the views of parents, teachers, physicians, friends, and the media. We rely on the “experts” to steer us in the right direction. Unfortunately that information can be misguided and when we accept it blindly, we’re behaving like cattle being led to the slaughter house.
How many of your “truths” have you verified? Thanks to technology, for the first time in history, we literally have information at our fingertips. With laptops, tablets and smartphones there’s no reason to be a victim of misinformation. When presented with an idea, Google it!
Knowledge is power. It could save your life. Maybe someday it’ll lead to world peace.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Do you love your life? Are you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Are you thriving in your current situation or just surviving?
Several years ago, I woke up one day, wishing I was somewhere else. I guess I was so caught up in the routine of getting through my days that I lost sight of the bigger picture. Instead of being proactive, I was re-acting to the things going on around me. That’s not to say my life was bad. It wasn’t, but it wasn’t great either. It was “good enough.”
There’s no passion in “good enough.” It’s safe and it comes with sympathy from the rest of the “good enough” people in the world. For example: “Oh, so what your boss micro-manages you; at least you have a pay check. You should be grateful for that.”
Stop thinking that way! You weren’t born to acquiesce your way through life. Here’s what you need turn it around:
1. RIGHT PEOPLE:
- Personally – Who do you spend the majority of your time with? Who are the major influencers in your life? Regardless of your age, you’re a reflection of the company you keep so choose to spend time with people you admire, people who love their lives, people who are always looking forward. Remember, friendship is a privilege not an obligation.
- Professionally – Who do you align yourself with in the office? These relationships need to be strategic. Negativity and gossip can derail your career. It’s important to build relationships with co-workers who support the vision of the organization.
2. RIGHT GOALS:
- What would you do professionally if money was no object?
- What could you change about your personal life that would make you happier?
Be specific. Paint a clear picture of what your life would look like in five years if you accomplished that goal. Is it different than your current path? If it is, CHANGE your current path! Start taking small steps that move you in a direction you love. Dream about it. Visualize it. It’s never too late to create something that excites you.
3. RIGHT THINKING:
Believe in yourself. Change, adversity and roadblocks are part of everyone’s journey. You might even be victimized but being victimized isn’t the same as being a victim.
- When you carry yesterday with you, it turns into baggage. It becomes a self-limiting excuse and you become a victim.
- When you treat yesterday as an event, separate from who you are, you can let it go. You can even use it to build a stronger foundation for tomorrow.
Bottom line: Expect to struggle but remember, you’re not defined by the challenges you face. You’re defined by how you face those challenges. Life is a gift. How you travel through life is a choice. With right people, right goals, and right thinking you’ll never wake up wishing you were somewhere else.
You’ll love your life.
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
How much do you know about digestion? How much do you rely on the “experts” to guide your food choices? Have you ever believed any of the following statements?
- “I like diet coke. There’s no way it can be THAT bad for you. Those additives have been tested and re-tested.”
- “A high carb, low fat diet is good for your heart.”
- “Sugar has to be okay, it’s in fruit. It’s natural. It’s fine as long as the rest of your diet is healthy.”
- “You’re not going to get cancer just because you eat sandwich meat or cheese with rBGH…that’s ridiculous.
- Every time you turn around there’s some study out there telling you something’s bad for you.”
We live in the United States of America. We have the safest food and water on the planet…don’t we? I’ve always trusted the people who regulate these things because they know more than I do and it’s their job to keep us safe.
Wake up! THEY’RE NOT KEEPING US SAFE!
After years of listening to mixed advice and wondering about the unexplained cancers and illnesses of several of my friends, I decided to started reading. I read Alejandro Junger’s book “Clean“. He talks a lot about the acid/alkaline affect of food so I read a book by Chistopher Vasey called “The Acid-Alkaline Diet,” however, there are many more books available on this topic alone. Honestly, the number of books and blogs on nutrition is mind-boggling. A friend recently gave me Marion Nestle’s book “Food Politics” and I learned how influential the food industry is on government nutrition policies. And then, this morning I read an article on Mercola’s blog explaining how some of our biggest, most trusted companies put chemicals and additives in our food that are banned by other nations. Turns out, they provide the same products to those countries without the banned substances!
As a result of the research I’ve done, I believe most of us are dangerously ignorant about our food supply and to make matters worse, most of us have a limited understanding about how our digestive systems work.
It’s challenging to sort through differing opinions and come up with a food plan that will insure long-term health. There are no guarantees and it’s much easier to simply eat for pleasure. But that’s not a risk we can afford to take. My health is my responsibility so I’m choosing the following:
- Minimize sugar except the sugar that comes from eating fruit. Sugar in any of it’s forms…fructose, corn syrup, sucrose, etc… has no nutritional value and it’s acidic in our bodies. Cancer cells love that (knowledge trumps temptation).
- Switch to organic meat, eggs, cheese, vegetables, and fruit. It costs more but I think the hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and genetically engineered crops we ingest thanks to big corporate farming are more dangerous than we realize.
- Minimize consumption of wheat. You can’t buy wheat that hasn’t been genetically modified. The more I read about it, the more I realize I don’t need it or want it in my diet…not even 100% whole grain. Before you disagree, google ”is wheat bad for you” and read several of the opinions out there.
- Absolutely no artificial sweetners. Stevia (not Truvia) is a natural low calorie option and it looks like Nectresse might be okay, too.
These are the choices I’m making. I recommend you pull your head out of the sand, do some research and make your own set of choices. You life could depend on it.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
It’s a strength challenge that’s part of the February Challenge. It’s a variation of push-ups, sit-ups and squats. The attached video shows my noon Lawrence University class doing one set. Then it shows my 80 year old mother doing the same thing, slightly modified for her level of strength. If you choose this as one of your goals, you need to commit to doing 6-10 sets per day. Remember, 1 set = 10 push-ups + 10 sit-ups + 10 squats. This sounds like a lot but you can split the work up throughout your day; maybe 2 sets in the morning, 2 after work and 2 after dinner. Once you get past the first five days, it gets easier and you’ll feel the difference. Good luck!
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
We over-eat for a variety of reasons including stress, boredom, comfort, social pressures and the simple fact that food is EVERYWHERE! Over the years our plates have gotten bigger and it seems our appetites have grown to match. But is that true? Do we eat more because we’re hungrier than we used to be?
In part, we could be hungrier because we eat more GMO food, processed food, and sugar than ever in history and these things affect appetite; but that’s only part of the problem. I believe a big reason we over-eat has to do with a change in our perception of what it means to be “full.” Do you think you’re full when you’re satisfied or are you full when you’re slightly uncomfortable? And, by the way, how do you define “satisfied?” This isn’t a game of semantics. It’s about the messages you send yourself everyday. It’s about your appetite thermostat.
Look at the 1-10 scale below:
- Starving (no food for days, think of third world circumstances)
- Extremely hungry (hiked uphill for 3 hours and only to realize we left the lunch in the car)
- Hungry (stomach growling, sense of urgency to eat)
- Slightly hungry (feeling empty, could definitely eat something)
- Neutral (no sense of fullness or hunger)
- Satisfied (but room for more, could still go for a run)
- Slightly full (if I eat more, I’ll regret it, wouldn’t want to run but could go for a hike)
- Full (but boy was it good! I’ll feel better in an hour. Maybe I’ll take a Tums)
- Extremely full (a nap would be good, need to loosen my belt, not feeling so good)
- Stuffed (Thanksgiving after the third piece of pie. I feel terrible, can’t believe I did that again)
This scale represents your appetite thermostat. Just like some people like to keep the temperature in their homes at a cozy 74 all winter while other people are comfortable at 68, some people like to eat until an 8 or 9 while other people stop at 6 or 7.
When do you stop eating? What’s your number?
If you want to maintain your current weight you should rarely go past 7. If you’re trying to lose weight, you should stop at 6. (Avoid 8,9 and 10. Too much stress for your digestive system.)
Three tips to help you stop sooner:
1. Chew longer…much longer. Turn your food into baby food before you swallow.
2. Don’t mindlessly eat and multi-task. Take the time to taste your food.
3. Decide that restaurants want to feed you for two days. Try to save half the meal for tomorrow.
If you consciously work on eating less for the entire month, you will reset your appetite thermostat. It’s a habit you’ll be happy to keep. Good luck!
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
The fruits and veggies rule is part of the February Challenge every year. I wish this choice wasn’t a challenge. I wish we were already eating lots of produce. It’s the stuff that keeps us healthy.
Unfortunately, most of us didn’t grow up with vegetables taking up 50% of the space on the dinner plate. Instead of supplementing our greens with a little bit of meat, we’re used to supplementing our meat with a little bit of greens. Have you ever ordered a supreme pizza and felt good about it because it included mushrooms, green pepper and onion?
The February Challenge is designed to change that. If you make fruits and veggies a focus for the entire month, you’ll notice some changes. You’ll be less fatigued; you’ll sleep better; your skin quality will improve; and you’ll spend less time sitting on the toilette, i.e., your stinky sinkers will turn into fluffy floaters. That’s an experience worth having
Bottom line: For the month of February, eat 4 cups or more of a combination of fruits and vegetables every day. Try adding a cup of frozen blueberries (thawed in the microwave) to yogurt or try making an omelette with 2 egg whites, one full egg, a little feta cheese and two cups of fresh spinach. The spinach will shrink when heated to less than 1/2 it’s original volume. This combination will give you tons of antioxidants and keep you satisfied for hours.
What’s your favorite way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet?
Monday, January 28th, 2013
The first rule of the February Challenge requires you to drink a half cup of warm (not hot) water with the juice of half a lemon…with intention. This rule could be the key to your success.
Seven great reasons for warm water and lemon are explained in an article I found on MindBodyGreen.com. According to them, it boosts your immune system, balances pH, helps with weight loss, aids digestion, acts as a gentle diuretic, clears skin and hydrates the lymph system. I don’t know about you but just one of those benefits is reason enough for me.
I’ve been testing this concoction for the past couple of weeks. I thought it would be too tart…it’s not. I thought it would be too much work…it’s not. I’m already a fan. The thought of starting my day with something so simple, so clean, makes me happy. But what makes it powerful is adding intention.
“Intention” is an internal statement or conversation about what you intend to accomplish. For the purpose of the February Challenge, your lovely morning lemon drink is accompanied by very specific thoughts and plans for the health choices you will make TODAY, only today. Sit down for a few minutes, savor your warm lemon water and visualize your success.
It might go something like this: “As this water cleanses my system, I know I’m going to follow it with healthy food all day. When I get to work and I’m faced with the candy jar, I’ll walk by and immediately feel proud of myself (see yourself doing that). When Jane brings in her grandmother’s homemade baklava and insists I make an exception because she has never visited this country before and I’ll never get the chance again(these things always happen), I’ll realize the trap. I know baklava won’t help me succeed. It’s just sugar and fat in a tempting little package. That’s not who I am today so I’ll say, “Thanks, but no thanks, not today, it looks great but I really don’t want any.” After she picks her jaw up off the floor and walks away, I’ll feel crazy happy. Today, every time I walk away from temptation, I will become stronger and happier.”
You get the idea. You have to imagine your success in the face of things that have tripped you up in the past and you have to imagine how great that feels. If you take a few minutes every morning to set up the day, you will win. But remember, it’s just today. Don’t take on the whole month of February. Just take on today…and then do it again, tomorrow.
A half cup of warm water with the juice of half a lemon and a few minutes of intention = the beginning of a great version of you.
Friday, January 25th, 2013
The February Challenge started 15 years ago because a group of friends wanted to help each other shed the pounds they gained over the holidays. They chose February because: the holiday parties were finally over; it gave them something to focus on in the dead of winter; they wanted to jump into spring already in shape for summer; and it was 28 days, exactly four weeks. They figured they could do anything for four weeks…if they did it together.
It worked and has become an annual event. The rules might change little from year to year but the goals are the same: Get in shape and lose a few unhealthy habits.
Many people give up on health related goals because lifestyle habits are tough to change. Plus, we live in a culture that promotes excess. So instead of trying, we make excuses…it’s too hard; I have no self-control; there’s too much stress in my life; I don’t have time; I do worse when I put pressure on myself; I don’t like to exercise and I love food so it’s hopeless.
The dialogue that runs through your head is also a habit. The messages you repeat to yourself over and over again determine your success or failure in reaching any goal. You know the saying: “If you think you can…you can. If you think you can’t…you won’t.” This year, for the first time, we’re going to try to change that dialogue.
Bottom line: If you want to get in shape, join the February Challenge. Come on! Yesterday’s mistakes were homework. Today you can succeed. Besides, it’s free. There’s no opt-in page and you won’t show up on any lists.
Below is an overview of the 2013 rules. Details and rational for each rule will be provided during the upcoming week.
Rules for everyone:
- ½ cup warm water with ½ a lemon first thing every morning with intention (the dialogue)
- 4+ cups of fruits-veggies/day ( 4 cups=8 servings)
- Avoid feeling full
Extra rules (Pick at least two):
- 10-10-10 challenge (sit-ups/squats/push-ups)
- 6+ glasses of water/day (in addition to other liquids)
- 7+ hours of sleep/night (or 49 hours/week)
- 1+ hour exercise/day (or 7 hours/week)
Recruit your friends and get ready to test yourself. On the February Challenge Facebook page, you’re invited to make comments, ask questions, make recommendations or just whine. The more conversation, the better (Please don’t advertise). You can also post comments here.
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
There’s a difference between being victimized and being a victim. You’re victimized when something bad happens to you. You’re a victim when you let your past define your future.
When I was 15, I was victimized by a rape. I didn’t talk about it at the time. Instead, I handled it alone. At some point I decided your opinion of me determined my value. As a result, I became a victim. The choices I made in an attempt to be “good enough” led to eating disorders and failed marriages. Somewhere in my head was a little voice that kept saying, “I can’t…I’m not…If only…” Maybe it’s easier to live the life of a victim because as a victim you always have an excuse.
I have a close friend who recently made a New Year’s Resolution. She vowed to start an exercise program and eat healthier. Her goal was to lose the 20 lbs that we’ve listened to her complain about for years. She did several things in preparation. First, she joined a health club. Then she cleaned all the junk food out of her kitchen, putting the ice cream and fudge (left over from Christmas) in the basement freezer so the kids could still have it. She even bought a journal to record her eating habits. On New Year’s Eve we went out to for one final night of gluttony. She bragged about the great things she would accomplish next year and we were ready to support her efforts.
The next morning, January 1, she got out of bed, went to the basement, got out the fudge and the ice cream and took them up to the kitchen. She carefully warmed the fudge in the microwave and then topped it with ice cream, caramel sauce and nuts. She ate it. When she was done, she called me and confessed.
“What are you thinking?!” I asked.
“It was too much pressure. I needed to end it. I’d only fail anyway. I couldn’t deal with it and truthfully, I’m relieved.”
So that’s that. She’s done. She quit before she started. My friend is another great example of living life as a victim. She has failed before so of course, she will fail again; at least that’s the convenient line of thought.
Unfortunately, it gets you nowhere. Her sources of happiness are external. They come from the things her kids do, the shows she watches on TV or the short-term reward she gets from some kind of comfort food.
Don’t do that! Stop being a victim and become a champion. You’re not defined by your past, you’re defined by the way you move forward. Make this year different. Fight for change. I promise you, through the struggle, you’ll find self-esteem, confidence and joy.
Happy New Year.