Category Archives: Goals

7 Tips to Restart Your Exercise Habit

ExerciseHabitBlogIf you’re like me, you were hung-ho to start a new exercise routine in the beginning of January. Then, February rolls around. It’s cold and gloomy outside. You’re getting over a head cold. Your work schedule is especially hectic.

It’s easy to become derailed from your fitness routine. The important thing is to get started again.

Exercise has so many health benefits. It can help improve your sense of well-being, give you more pep and energy, let you sleep more soundly, make you feel more alert, relieve stress and give you more self confidence.

Here are 7 tips to get your exercise habit back on track:

Set specific goals
You might want to run a marathon, bike 100 miles or train for a triathlon. The best way to get there is to set specific, smaller goals that will lead to your big goal. You may want to practice running a mile first, or biking 20 miles and improving on the time it takes you. You may just want to get more active. You could set a goal to walk two or three miles every day.

Do activities you enjoy
There’s no rule that says you have to go to the gym or buy expensive equipment. I personally don’t like to run. So, I don’t run. There are plenty of physical activities you can do that you enjoy. It may take some time to find what suits your personality. You can try team sports, walking with friends, playing tennis, bike riding or whatever is fun to you.

Make exercise a priority
Until you put exercise at the top of your to-do list, you’ll find every reason not to do it. Make your exercise routine non-negotiable. Then, it will become an integral part of your daily life.

Create a ritual
Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or another cue will automatically lead you to begin your workout. If your physical activity is completely random, it’s harder to get in the habit of sticking to that ritual.

Mix things up
You can still mix up the types of exercise you work into your regular routine. You’re more likely to get bored if you do the same thing every day. Plus, if you work your muscles with the repetitive motion every day, your muscles adapt to it. You burn fewer calories and build less muscle. Switch up strength training with cardio activities like swimming, cycling or kickboxing.

Make it social
Commit to working out with another person. If you promise to meet a friend at the gym or go for a walk after dinner, you’re more likely to make it happen. You can also challenge your friends to meet their exercise goals through phone calls, texts or social media. A strong social network can motivate you to reach your goals.

Reward yourself
Experts say that making behavior changes is hard and that rewards motivate. Decide on a goal and a reward, and work toward it. You can buy new walking shoes after you meet your walking goals. Or get together with your exercising buddies and go out for dinner. Come up with rewards that will motivate you to keep at it!

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8 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

2015-2016We all have good intentions when we set New Year’s resolutions. We intend to make a change for the better. We want to reach our goals. We plan to make them happen. Yet, only about 8% of people achieve their resolutions.

So, how do they do it? Here are 8 tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions this year:

Keep it simple
We tend to get a little gung ho about the new year. It’s easy to end up with a resolutions list that looks like a grocery list. When you set your expectations too high, it makes it easier to fail. Try to limit your list to two or three resolutions you intend to keep. You’ll maintain your focus and efforts with just a few resolutions.

Make it realistic
You may want to lose weight as one of your resolutions. You need to set a tangible, realistic goal. For instance, you may want to lose 50 pounds. However, it may take you over a year to create a healthy routine that allows you to shed the weight and maintain your results.

Create a plan
One way to help keep your resolutions and meet your goals is to create a plan. If you want to lost weight, you can set weekly goals for changing your eating habits and establishing an exercise routine. For instance, the first week you can go through your cabinets and eliminate the less healthy food choices. Create a grocery list of nutritious food options. You might also decide to walk for 30 minutes 4 or 5 days a week. When you have short-term goals, you are more likely to stay committed and on-track for the longer term.

Be passionate
Make sure you choose resolutions that you really want. Put some careful thought into it. You may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with your work-life balance. Take some time to think about how you can create more harmony between these two parts of your life. You can make an effort to shut work off in the evenings after 6pm and all day Saturday and Sunday. You may want to work on your relationships with family. Develop a plan to do one fun activity with your spouse and/or kids once a week.

Track it
Tracking your progress will help you stay accountable and keep the resolution in the front of your mind. If your goal is to exercise, write your achievements on a calendar where you can check it regularly. Or, put a gold star on the calendar when you do something as a family. Seeing your results will encourage you to work even harder at maintaining your goal.

Celebrate your successes
You deserve to acknowledge a job well done. Think about ways to treat yourself when you reach the milestones you’ve set. Just be sure it’s a positive reward that will help you on your journey to a healthier, happier you. If your goal is to get your finances in order and pay down debt, then going on a shopping spree may not be a good reward.

Believe in yourself
Your biggest fan has to be you. No matter how much friends or family may support you, it comes down to you. Breaking down a big goal into smaller steps can help you build up your belief that you can do it. Once you see you can make small changes in your behavior and habits, you will be inspired to do more.

Forgive yourself
Don’t give up if you slip up here and there. No one is perfect. It’s how you handle the setbacks that matter. If you go out with friends and eat too many fried, fattening foods topped off with a big dessert, then get back to your regular routine the next day. Getting off track every once in a while shouldn’t deter your from continuing toward your goal.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and more balanced 2016! Have you set any New Year’s resolutions? What will you do to increase your chances of keeping them?

16 Habits of Extremely Healthy People

healthy-life-sign-250x165As we head into cold and flu season, I wonder how some people always seem to stay so healthy. I blame my kids for spreading germs, but I’d like to think there are things we can do to stay healthier during the fall and winter months.

Real health is about more than just the physical aspects of wellness. It encompasses much more. You need to include your mental, emotional and spiritual health in your plans for a healthy lifestyle.

While there’s no magic plan or potion that will guarantee your health, you can take steps to increase your overall health. In the process, you may also boost your immune system to ward off those pesky cold and flu germs.

Here are 16 habits that healthy people incorporate into their daily lives:

Look on the bright side
Healthy people are optimistic. They don’t waste time and energy complaining. If they need to make a change in there lives, they do it. A positive mental attitude goes along way to promoting and supporting other healthy behaviors.

Commit to a healthy life
Healthy people aren’t born that way. They have made a choice to live a healthy lifestyle. They take it one day at a time just like the rest of us. Do healthy people slip up and revert to bad habits occasionally? Absolutely. However, they know not to let one setback hold them back and continue to actively work toward living a healthy life.

Eat for nourishment
Eating right isn’t just about what you eat. It’s also about how much you eat. Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough. Healthy people pay attention to their bodies and listen when it tells them they are full. You can stop eating when your hunger is satisfied, and before that bloated, full feeling sets in.

Believe in moderation
Healthy people don’t deprive themselves of the foods they love. They eat healthy the majority of the time, but enjoy their favorite unhealthy foods once in a while without feeling guilty. Eat a couple pieces of pizza or have a cookie. Just remember to stay on your healthy course the rest of the time!

Enjoy exercise
I am not here yet. Healthy people actually enjoy exercising. How do they do it? They spend time doing exercises they actually like doing and avoid those they hate. If you hate to run, don’t run. If you don’t like going to a gym, don’t go. Find things you like to do: taking walks outdoors, swimming laps, riding your bike or doing yoga.

Balance work and play
With technology taking over our lives, many people never really clock out from their jobs. You may check emails from your phone or send work texts at dinner. Healthy people know that work is important, but they also know that our health suffers when we don’t take time for us. Make sure you maintain a good balance between work and play.

Drink water
Everyone knows they should drink more water, but healthy people actually do it. Drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of water a day can help you in so many ways. You can control your appetite, avoid dehydration and be more mentally attuned. Keep a refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go.

Eat healthy snacks
Snacking can make or break your health goals. Healthy people choose snacks like vegetables, fruits, almonds and other nuts. Replace processed snack foods with raw types of snacks, and you’ll develop an important healthy habit.

Reduce stress
Some stress is a good thing. It keeps us on task and prepares us to handle important challenges. But, chronic stress can be bad for your overall health. It can even weaken your immune system. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy. Say no to stress!

Get enough sleep
Without enough sleep, your immune system doesn’t have the resources it needs to fight off illness. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Keep a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine at bedtime, relax and make your bedroom an oasis.

Just say no
Healthy people are attuned to their own needs. You can say no to friends and loved ones. It means that you are respecting yourself. When you’ve reached your limit, listen to your mind and body, and say no. Your friends and family will understand.

Kick bad habits
If you smoke or drink alcohol, it can weaken your immune system. Smoking is also likely to give you additional health problems. While a glass of wine or a couple of beers is okay, overdoing it can cause you to get sick more often.

Get a pet
Dogs and other pets aren’t just good to have as companions. They can help you get exercise and improve your health. Pets have been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, contributing to a healthier heart. Dogs can also be good for your immune system and help you relieve stress.

Have a laugh
Laughing can be good for you. Research as shown that laughter may help boost your immune system. Laughing and smiling also help relieve stress and put you in a good mood.

Live in the moment
Take time to enjoy life’s little pleasures. Be thankful for everything that is good in your life. The ability to appreciate the things you have, regardless of what else might be going on, helps you maintain a peaceful mindset rather than focus on what you don’t have.

Be kind
Healthy people treat others how they want to be treated. Creating a habit of kindness and respect will make you feel good about yourself and build strong relationships with your friends and family. Small acts of goodness can change your life – and can impact someone else’s life, too. Be compassionate, and you’ll give off a healthy glow!

7 Common Organizing Mistakes to Avoid

closet-organizedToday, I decided to tackle organizing my closets and dresser drawers. With fall upon us, it’s time to switch out the summer clothes for the warmer winter styles.

I try to keep my closets, and the rest of my house organized. No matter how hard I try, it seems like I can’t get it right.

The trick to becoming organized is identifying the habits you need to change, as well as the habits that are worth keeping. It can be your kitchen counter that gets piled with clutter, a home office area, or a dresser drawer that will no longer close.

Here are 7 organizing mistakes you may be making and how you can correct them:

Finding the perfect place to start
Not knowing where to begin is often the result of being overwhelmed by clutter. It can be a vicious cycle. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to get started and think clearly about your goals. Start with something simple. Grab a trash bag, pick a room and get started. Fill your bag with either trash or things you want to donate to charity. Once you take this simple step, you’ll feel more motivated to tackle more areas.

Overusing reminders
I am the queen of lists and sticky notes. However, this practice can contribute to feeling overwhelmed by clutter. If you’re constantly searching for notes, creating more Post-its and updating your dry erase board, you’re not getting anything done. Keep a central calendar that everyone can view and make a new list of your important to-do items each day. Focus on what’s most important and let the rest go.

Relying on technology
As technology takes over our lives, we are using our computers, smartphones or tablets to try and organize every minute of our day. While it’s good to archive important information or set appointment reminders on your phone, try not to let technology control you. If you’re constantly checking your phone, you may end up on social media sites, online shopping or sending unnecessary texts or messages. Stay focused on what you need to accomplish instead.

Stashing things
Who hasn’t thrown items in a drawer, closet or room when you know company is coming to your house? We also stash clutter rather than truly put it in it’s rightful place. That place could be a shelf in the basement, another room or even the trash. Hiding things creates the illusion of cleanliness and organization, but will catch up with you when you can’t find what you need or the junk drawer will no longer shut.

Buying too many containers
Containers can play a valuable role in putting together an organized space, but it can be a mistake to make a trip to the container store before you even start organizing. First, bringing containers into a cluttered space can just make it look more messy. Second, you may uncover or reuse containers as you are decluttering. And, it’s much harder to know what types of containers you need before you even start organizing. The solution: shop for any storage solutions after you’ve gotten started on the organizing process.

Getting emotionally attached
I have a sweatshirt in my closet that I wore in high school. I don’t wear it anymore. I keep it because it holds memories for me. It’s easy to getting emotionally attached to our possessions. Yet, you need to try and approach decluttering rationally and logically. Do I need six black sweaters? While I could try to justify that they are various styles, I probably do not need that many black sweaters. While it may be painful to cut down on your belongings, you will be happy you did when you’re space feels organized.

Unrealistic expectations
The key to organizing is taking it slowly. Once you get started tackling your clutter, you’re going to want to organize everything RIGHT NOW. It’s better to pace yourself – both in a single organizing session or as part of your overall organizing plans. You’ll keep from burning yourself out and be able to maintain your focus as you organize your home.

Being more organized will benefit you in the long run. In order to achieve lasting change, you must find the system that works best for you. Then, you can clean up your space, find what you need quickly and reclaim your life!

Are You Always Late? Be on Time Now!

clock-running-lateI am often running late. In fact, I was born a week late. I have good intentions. I want to be on time. Yet, it always seems I’m running 5 to 10 minutes behind schedule.

Most people don’t like to be late. Being late may actually be a habit you’ve developed over time. Think about your history and patterns. Are you late to everything or just some things? What causes you to run behind? How do you feel when you’re late?

If you truly want to make a change, you can overcome lateness. Here are 9 steps you can take to be on time:

Make a To-Do List Every Day
Each morning, make a list of things you want to accomplish that day. Try to create a realistic list, so you’re more likely to achieve your goals. Arrange tasks in the order of importance, urgency or time of day. Cross off each item when you complete it. I actually like to write out my to-do list the night before so that I don’t worry about it while I’m trying to go to sleep. Plus, I’m more awake and function better at night than I do first thing in the morning.

Schedule Events on Your Calendar
Keep a desk calendar, day planner or use a smartphone app to keep track of appointments or activities. Getting into the habit of keeping track of events on calendar can help you become more organized and prepared for what you need to do each day.

Check Your Calendar 3 Times a Day
Make it habit to check your calendar at the same times each day. It might make sense for you to review it first thing in the morning, after lunch and towards the end of the day. While writing things down may help you remember, be sure to check our calendar regularly to ensure you’re on track.

Be a Time Pessimist
Assume that everything will take a little longer than you anticipate. This approach will keep you on time, or even make you a little early. People who run early tend to be more calm, organized and ready to handle whatever comes up.

Plan to Be Early
Late people always aim to arrive right on time, but that leaves no room for contingency. You may know that you can drive to work in exactly 15 minutes. Yet if you get stuck in traffic due to an accident or have to run back for important papers you forgot at home, it makes it impossible to be on time. You should plan to be 15 minutes early to everything.

Welcome the Wait
If being early freaks you out, look at it as an opportunity to have some down time. Bring a magazine or book to read, call a friend for a few minutes, or go over your schedule for the week. If you make it an activity you will enjoy, you’ll want to be early.

Prioritize
You may be late simply because you don’t have time to do everything. The only way to change this is to cut back on what you’re doing. Figure out what’s most important and make it a priority to check these items off your list.

Be Honest with Yourself
Why are you letting yourself be late? Why aren’t you controlling your time? Part of being on time is acknowledging why you’re late. You’re letting your schedule run your life. To be on schedule is to plan the life you want to live and then create a plan to make it happen.

Make Organization a Daily Habit
You can make a change that will help you achieve a more balanced life. You can become more organized and create a habit of being on time.

10 Common Habits That Get You Hooked

hook-485885-mYou probably have activities that you love to do. What you may not realize is that normal hobbies and habits can turn into an addiction.

When you hear the word addiction, your mind may automatically think of dependence on a substance, such as drugs or alcohol. But, the definition of addiction may surprise you. According to Wikipedia, “Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.

That means you can also become addicted to “behaviors.” Something that starts out as fun turns into a habit, and then becomes a compulsion.

Here are 10 surprising things you may be addicted to:

The Internet
You may think that browsing the internet is just a fun way to pass the time. However, studies have shown that internet addiction actually alters the brain in ways that are similar to the affects of drug and alcohol addiction. An addiction to the internet involves loss of control, as well as negative consequences at home and at work.

Smartphones
Smartphones are another new habit that can become an addiction. You keep it with you all the time and check it every few minutes. You ignore in-person interactions to catch a text or a post from someone you haven’t seen in years. You work too much because you’re constantly checking your phone. Put the phone down and have a conversation!

Coffee
You may not realize that caffeine is a drug. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I want coffee. I am on edge without it and will get a headache from caffeine withdrawal. Coffee, soda and energy drinks can all be overused. As long as you don’t overdo it, your caffeine habit can be harmless.

Sugar
Many people get sugar cravings. Foods high in carbs, fats and sugar can affect your brain just like drugs do. You may be craving a chocolate candy bar or an ice cream cone. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted, but your sweet tooth can get out of control and contribute to other health problems.

Shopping
I admit it. I have a shopping addiction. I love clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets and more. I just enjoy the act of shopping. When you shop, it may lift you up when you’re feeling down or just make you happy. That’s because your brain actually releases a feel-good chemical called dopamine. Chronic shopping may also mean you have impulse-control problems or anxiety issues. Shopping too often can also lead to financial, social or deeper emotional problems.

Tanning
You can become addicted to the sun. The ultraviolet spectrum of sunlight releases chemicals in your body called endorphins. They make you feel good. You may also feel like you’re never tan enough no matter how tan you get. This may be a sign of an obsessive-compulsive or body dysmorphic disorder.

Gambling
Of the behavioral addictions, gambling is the one most closely related to drug and alcohol addiction. Gambling lights up the same areas in the brain as drug addictions. You may bet on an office pool, gamble online or gamble more seriously at slot machines, poker tables, or off track betting. If you’re not lucky, betting can wreak havoc on your finances, job and family life.

Work
As I sit here writing this on a Saturday morning, it’s possible that I am addicted to work. While most of the work world looks forward to weekends, those who have an addiction may find themselves working nights and weekends. While we joke about being a “workaholic,” it can jeopardize a person’s health and relationships.

Videos games
Can’t put down the video game console? Do you think about playing games while doing other activities? Research shows that boys and men most commonly have a video game addiction. If you’re shirking responsibilities, work or social activities to play video games, you may be addicted. With games becoming more realistic and challenging, it’s even harder to separate fantasy from reality.

Food
Food can become a problem if you’re eating to ease emotions, overeating while alone and then feeling guilty after the binge. While food can seem like a drug for people with eating disorders, it’s not considered a true addiction. It’s important to develop healthy eating habits and avoid issues with food.

It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Any activity or habit can become an issue if it begins to control your life. It’s important to find balance in everything you do. If you discover that you’re hooked on a behavior and it’s having negative consequences, it may be time to make a change!

9 Quick Tips to Organize Your Life

7282552_origI used to be organized. Then I got married, had three kids and somewhere along the way I lost my ability to remember things, find stuff and efficiently manage my time.

Most people are not born organized. They cultivate healthy habits that help them become more organized. A big part of creating a more balanced life is getting organized and finding a routine that allows you to achieve your goals.

Here are 9 great ways you can live a more organized – and balanced – life.

Organize for 15 minutes each day
It seems like the clutter at my house multiplies over night. If you spend 15 minutes each day organizing something, you can stay ahead of the stuff that piles up. It could mean sorting the mail or going through a pile of important papers that need to be handled. You can throw the mystery foods out of the refrigerator. Just 15 minutes of organizing a day can make a huge difference over time.

Choose the 3 most important tasks
I am a big believer in the daily to-do list. I tend to forget what I need to accomplish, and it seems more manageable when I see it on paper. On the downside, I might end up with 10 things on my list. At the top of your list, write down the three most important tasks that need to get done for the day. Everything else will typically fall into place after that.

Write things down
Trying to remember things will not help you stay more organized. And if you’re like me, my memory seems to get worse with every year. Write down everything. Make a list of birthdays, meetings, groceries, holiday gifts, and other things you need to remember.

Create a family information center
I feel like every day is a logistics nightmare, trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to be each day. I have a white board on the back of our door that leads to the garage. The whole family knows that this is the place to see what’s going on. Each family member has their own color of marker, and we write down meetings, dentist appointments, school activities, and sport practices and games.

Make schedules and deadlines
Organized people don’t waste time. They make schedules for the day and the week. They make deadlines and set goals – and stick to them! You can plan out how to declutter your home, the steps you need to take to go on vacation, or how you’re going to move up in your career.

Do one thing at a time
I am a big believer in uni-tasking. It seems to be human nature to want to multi-task. However, you’re not really multi-tasking, but switching from one thing to another very quickly. Concentrate on one project at a time, and you’ll find that you actually get more done and probably do it better.

Avoid procrastinating
When I was younger, I was the kid who turned in my homework assignments before the due date. I have lost that ability over the years. The longer you put something off, the more difficult it can be to get done. To create a less stressful and demanding life, organize and accomplish tasks as soon as you can. Getting things done as soon as possible will lift a weight off of you and free up time to do other things.

Have less stuff
As a whole, Americans like their stuff. However, we could all learn to live without all of the material possessions. I have more clothes and shoes than I ever wear. I probably only use about half of the gadgets and cookware I have in my kitchen. Make it a point to purge the unnecessary stuff in your life. Avoid the temptation to pick up a bargain or buy things you don’t need because they’re the newest and greatest trend.

Take control of your life
Make your electronics and organization methods work for you not the other way around. There are many tools and technologies you can take advantage of to help you get more done and be more efficient.

Progress and change take time. It’s hard to change habits, because they’re habits. You can create a more organized life if you’re willing to work at it. You can cultivate healthy habits that will allow you to be more productive and organized!