what you focus on you create more of
What are your health/fitness/wellness goals?
When we have a goal, whether it's health related or not, we are working towards it because we believe it will make us a feel a certain way. We think attainment of the goal is going to make us happier, more content, or more satisfied.
Good news! We do not have to wait until we reach our goals to start feeling the way we want to feel.
If we think about the identity we want to embody by the time we achieve our goal, and begin to make decisions like our future selves, we will begin to feel the way we want to feel before we reach the goal. This gives us forward momentum. It motivates us, and lays the foundation for future wins. It also helps to build the needed habits to become the person we want to be.
There is also a school of thought that says that every feeling has a vibration-- happier, joyful feelings have higher vibrations. Your vibrations attract like vibrations. It follows that if you are happy already, then you will attract more reasons in your life to be happy. That may seem too woo-woo for you, and that's okay. There is also science behind it. 👇
The reticular activating system in our brains filters for what we find important and what we are focused on. If we are focused on acting as if we are already happy in our skin and proud of ourselves, the brain takes note. It then filters for more ways to be healthy and happy. All of the sudden it feels like everything is falling into place. The solutions are all already there, it is just a matter of noticing them. So cool.
If we act as if we have already achieved our desired outcome, we will reach it more quickly, and also find happiness and contentment along the way. It's a win-win!
Try it out today. Have a good one!
Whenever I feel like I am in a slump, I try to find a book that will help inspire and motivate me to get back on track. It’s a little bibliotherapy, which I have recently learned is a real thing!
I am a big fan of Jen Sincero, author of You are a Bada$$ and other motivating books. This is just an example of the things she teaches:
“It is just as easy to believe we are awesome as it is to believe that we are giant sucking things.” She goes on to say that it takes up as much energy either way, so why do we always gravitate toward the negative? What if we became our own biggest cheerleaders? What if we operated from the same thoughts that our greatest fan has? What would that look like? How would that make us feel? How would it change our behavior?
As I was pondering this idea, I thought of the notion of leaving a review. What if we wrote a review of ourselves from the perspective of our biggest fan? What would that sound like? We all have a fan—maybe it’s a child, a best friend, a parent, a special auntie or grandparent. We all have that one person who thinks the world of us.
I thought of that fan, and I wrote a 5-star review of myself from the perspective of that person. I wrote and wrote until my hand hurt. When I finished writing, I read it over and it brought tears to my eyes. All the things I wrote from the perspective of the other person were things that I knew to be true about myself. I felt really proud and empowered by the words on the page. All the things that I wrote about were things that I have done for myself yet hadn’t given myself credit for. Yes! I deserve that 5-star review!
I don’t know about you, but somewhere along the way I learned that it is better to make myself small and invisible so that others are more comfortable. I am learning, slowly but surely, that I am allowed to take up as much space in this world as I need or want. I am allowed to think good thoughts about myself. It doesn’t mean that I am bragging or that I think that I am all that. It just means that I know my worth. Operating from that place of power is going to help me get to the next level—the next best version of myself.
I challenge you to write a 5 star review of yourself right now! If you can’t think of your biggest fan right off the top of your head, just make one up. Go find your journal, set your timer for 10 minutes, and get to writing. When you are done, read over it. Then read over it again. Let the words sink in. How do they make you feel? Bookmark that page and come back to it whenever you need a little pick-me-up. Read them until you completely believe them about yourself.
You are way more amazing than you give yourself credit for. Own it, and notice the way it changes your life. 💙
Linchpin: a person or thing vital to an enterprise or organization
As we get closer to the holidays, I am feeling a little more overwhelmed than usual. How about you? There are a lot more unknowns this year, and we need to be careful about how we are handling all of the added stress.
In times of change, transition, or turmoil, it is particularly difficult to stick with our good habits. Our primal brain senses fear and all it wants us to do is to be safe from it. This means seeking comfort. This could look a lot of different ways, but it usually looks like resorting to previously well-worn pathways in our brain- our former bad habits, aka our coping mechanisms.
It makes sense doesn't it? It takes effort to stay on the straight and narrow and stick to our good habits, right? Eat vegetables, drink water, write in our journal, exercise, sleep enough, be kind, be grateful, stay away from too much processed foods, have a growth mindset, be still, meditate, moderate in food and drink, etc, etc, etc.... So exhausting on top of everything else! If it takes too much willpower, the primal brain will take over.
So what can we do about it?
The first step is to notice that you are slipping back into habits that don't serve you. This takes some mindfulness. Once you notice, then you can do something about it.
This is where your linchpin habits come in. A linchpin habit is a powerful habit that is vital to your well-being. Everyone has their own set of linchpin habits. To figure out what yours are, just think about the top three things that make you feel the absolute best when you do them consistently. These are the habits that will keep you healthy, vibrant, and energetic through the holiday season. Mine are drinking plenty of water (half my body weight in ounces), sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and getting outside every day.
Here is the magic: Forget the rest. Let them go for now. Give yourself permission to simply concentrate on your chosen linchpin habits. This way there is less overwhelm, but you are still taking steps in the direction of your health goals.
Choose your linchpin habits today. Write them down on post its, put them on your calendar, do whatever you need to do. Then commit to keeping up with them to keep yourself happy and healthy through the holiday stress. 🧡
Every once in a while we need a little shot of confidence. We tend to lose confidence when we feel overwhelmed by life, relationships, or the pursuit of our goals. Whatever the case may be, we often get lost in the day to day grind and we forget just how powerful we are.
To get back into our power, sometimes it is helpful to remember the difficult things we have already accomplished in our lives, and to celebrate them as personal victories. Thinking about these personal victories helps us to remember that we have gone through difficult things and have made it to the other side successfully. It gets us back in touch with our inner bad-a$$.
I encourage you not only to think about these things, but to write them down. Make a list. Add to it over the course of several days. Aim for 100 of them. Add to it as you celebrate new ones. Think on it. Be proud of it. Feel good about what you have already accomplished in life, and gradually your confidence will be bolstered and you will be able to take the next right step in your journey.
I challenged myself to think of 25 personal victories to give you a jumping off point. It's hard to come up with them at first, but once you begin, it gets easier.
1. I successfully complete high school.
2. I successfully completed college.
3. I successfully completed grad school while teaching and having my first child.
4. I have been married almost 29 years.
5. I moved away from home and thrived on my own after college.
6. I moved farther away from home and thrived in a new state with my new little family.
7. I gave birth to 2 pretty cool kids.
8. I taught elementary school for 20 years.
9. I began a second career as a personal trainer and wellness coach.
10. I am learning to keep houseplants alive.
11. I am thriving with chronic illness.
12. I started my own company.
13. I have competed in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, 1 marathon, mud races, and sprint triathlons.
14. I have built muscles.
15. I have learned to cook.
16. I have learned to make my own kombucha.
17. I learned (and forgot) how to knit and crochet. (I have to relearn!)
18. I have taken solo road and plane trips.
19. I have made it through several biopsies-- some scarier than others.
20. I have learned to meditate.
Begin your list today, add to it each day, and remember that you are already powerful and brave.
Peanut butter, banana, chocolate... they go together so well! I tried coming up with a granola that would be fit to give for the holidays-- something healthy, but not quite as healthy as my usual granola. 😂 It's meant to be for snacking as opposed to eating it with milk. I would give it 👍👍-- it's perfect if you are looking for something a little different than the average holiday cookie to gift at the holidays.
2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1 large over-ripe banana (The riper, the better! )
1-2 T pure maple syrup
3 T melted coconut oil, divided
4 T peanut butter (The runnier, the better. I use Smucker's Natural PB)
3 T dark chocolate chips
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon, if desired
1. Preheat the oven to 325° and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you don't have parchment, just use a little coconut oil on the cookie sheet.)
2. In a medium bowl, mash banana with a fork.
3. Add 1-2 T pure maple syrup to the banana. (If you have a sweet, ripe banana, you can use less maple syrup.)
4. Add 2 T coconut oil and 2 T peanut butter to the banana mixture.
5. If using, add in vanilla and cinnamon.
5. Stir in oats.
6. Dump the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Use hands to spread the mixture out into a thin layer.
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Add half of the leftover coconut oil to the chocolate chips and melt in microwave-- 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each time. Take your time with this. You don't want the chocolate to seize up.
9. Mix the other half of the coconut oil with the remaining 2 T peanut butter in the same manner. You want it loose enough to pour over the granola.
10. After 15 minutes of baking, pour the peanut butter/oil combo over the granola. Then pour the peanut butter mixture over the granola.
11. Bake another 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven.
Let cool completely before you dig in! The peanut butter and chocolate will harden back up as it cools. The waiting is the hardest part!
Optional add-ins: I think cranberries would be delicious if you wanted to bulk it up and add a little color to it. Almonds might be nice as well. If you are add in cranberries or another dried fruit, you can add it after the granola is baked and cooled. If you are adding almonds or other nuts or seeds, you can add it in before baking.
There is a chill in the air today, which makes me think of turmeric tea, aka "golden milk."
I first learned about the power of fresh turmeric three years ago, when I was a CSA member at JennyJack Farms. Each week we received a beautiful box filled with the vegetables that were harvested that week. We were introduced to several interesting and new items this way. I loved looking up recipes and trying to figure out what to do with our weekly bounty.
When I looked up turmeric recipes, I found out that there is evidence that it is a highly medicinal root. Here are some of it's benefits:
1. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
2. It may help prevent cancer.
3. It may help improve brain function.
4. It may lower the risk of heart disease.
5. It may help with mood.
I began making turmeric tea and drinking it before bed. It is delicious, and it helped me relax and prepare for good sleep.
These days I get my turmeric at Kroger. I usually buy more than I need when they have it, and I freeze the extra. In a pinch, I will use powdered turmeric, but it definitely is not as tasty.
2 C milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
1" piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped (or 1 t turmeric powder)
1" piece of ginger, peeled and chopped (or 1 t powdered ginger)
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t coconut oil*
1 t peppercorns*
1. Place ingredients in a sauce pan and let come to a gentle boil.
2. Turn heat down and let simmer for 10 minutes or so. (You may alter the time, depending on how strong you like your tea.)
3. Strain the tea into two mugs.
4. Add maple syrup or honey to taste.
5. Garnish with a little extra cinnamon.
*The peppercorns and the coconut oil help with the absorption of the curcumin in the turmeric.
Sometimes I will make a double batch and keep it in the fridge. That way I all I have to do is warm it up.
I am the absolute worst at "shoulding" all over myself.
I should write her a thank you note.
I should write a new blog post today.
I should use this time wisely and get ahead on my work.
I should get to bed earlier.
I should call my mom.
I should talk to my boss.
I should make that phone call.
I should have that conversation today.
Our intentions can be the purest of pure, but if we don't take action on them, they are worthless. They are just a bunch of nice words hanging around in your head or on a post-it or on a pretty quote card.
We must have a bias toward action regarding our intentions and in all we do. We cannot simply think ourselves happier, healthier, wealthier, into a better relationship or better job.
I challenge you to join me in turning our shoulds into musts.
Why do we should ourselves to death and neglect to follow through? I think it is because we are afraid. We are afraid for so many reasons. We are afraid to succeed, and we are afraid to fail. We are afraid of what “they” will say about us. We are afraid to be vulnerable. We are afraid we aren’t good enough. We are afraid we won't know the next right step.
What if we turned the feeling of fear inside out and really looked at it? What does it feel like in your body when you are afraid? What is the actual sensation? Where do you feel it? Try to put it into words.
I feel fear in the pit of my stomach. It is hard to explain but it is kind of like the feeling when you are on an amusement ride and your stomach kind of drops—kind of like the bottom has fallen away under my feet. Sometimes I get butterflies when I am scared, and sometimes my ears ring a little. I even get a little twitch in my eye on occasion.
We all get similar feelings from time to time. Here is something to think about: What if that feeling isn’t fear at all? What if we could redefine it as excitement, encouragement, fuel, fire, or motivation? What if we took it as a sign that we are alive and that we are headed in the right direction?
Think about it. Things that don’t give us that feeling are not the things we are going to be recollecting when we are old ladies. No. We are going to remember the things that made us feel—the things that woke us up and reminded us we are alive. We are going to remember the times when we were scared and did things anyway. Those are the stories that we are going to look back and be proud about.
Take bold action. Take risks. Turn your shoulds to musts. Turn your fear into energy to propel you forward. Turn it into excitement. Use it as a sign that you are headed in the right direction.
Let me know how it goes.
We all know we need to exercise to stay fit and healthy. Exercise helps us fight disease, it boosts our immunity, energizes us, and it makes us happy. It gives us confidence, helps us keep our weight in check, and helps us to age gracefully.
But there is a point of diminishing returns at which we don't get the benefits of the exercise. This can happen in a variety of situations. It may happen if you are forcing yourself to engage in a physical activity even though you don't enjoy it. It may happen if you are overriding your body's need for a rest or a different type of exercise. These situations can cause more harm than good. They cause mental and physical stress, which usually results in injury or non-compliance.
To figure out if our exercise routines are healthy for us, here a few questions we can ask ourselves:
1. Do I look forward to exercising?
2. Am I exercising as a punishment for the food that I ate?
3. Does this exercise bring me joy?
4. Do I feel like doing this particular exercise today?
5. What exercise do I need today?
6. How do I feel after I exercise?
7. WHY am I exercising?
It takes a paradigm shift, but if we find movement that we enjoy, and if we can do it as a celebration rather than a punishment, we will be more likely to continue with our exercise routine and we will reap the benefits.
I am noticing this in real time with my own exercise habits.
For the first time in the last 6 years, I am not teaching group fitness classes. I have always loved being a group fitness instructor-- I love the energy and the sense of community I got from working in the company of others. But things have changed, and my workouts look different lately.
I now work out with my husband in our garage at 5:45 four mornings a week. We work out with heavier weights for a shorter amount of time, we sweat a ton, and don't really speak to each other very much. 😂 I absolutely love it. I love how my muscles are reacting, and I love how strong I feel. On the weekends, we may ride our mountain bikes on the trails, or we may take a hike, we may simply take a leisurely walk, or we may not do anything. It depends on how we feel.
Last weekend, the weather was cooler and I felt like running. So I did. It was great! I loved how I felt afterwards. I was sore the next day, so I took a rest day. I stretched because that's what I needed.
Do you notice a pattern? I am in the habit of lifting 4 days a week. I very rarely opt out. I may go lighter or take more rest breaks, but I created this habit and I don't have to think about it. This leaves lots of time for other kinds of movement, if I so desire. I like to mix things up, so I decide what I need when it is time. This makes things more interesting and enjoyable and I am more inclined to move 6 days a week because of it. I am listening to my intuition and the feedback my body is giving me.
If you are in an exercise rut, or if you are just trying to build an exercise habit, consider asking yourself the questions above and figuring out what movement is going to bring you joy and give you something to look forward to.
If you need some guidance, drop a comment!
, forI just finished cutting the grass. I really didn't feel like it. Rain is rolling in tomorrow, however, so I knew I should get it done sooner rather than later. So I made a deal with myself. I told myself I only had to do the front parts because they are the longest and they are more visible to the neighbors. 👀
After I finished the front portions, it seemed like a no-brainer to keep going. Habit had kicked in. So I continued, telling myself I could stop whenever I got tired.
We have a patch between our yard and the neighbor's yard, and I have always hated mowing it. It's all uphill, and there are trees and bushes in the way. I had an "aha" moment when I was mowing that today. I don't dread it so much anymore. I tried to figure out why.
It dawned on me that I mentally break it into sections, giving myself full permission to skip any section I want. The grass doesn't grow as thick there, so if I skip parts once in a while, it is barely noticeable. I break it into small chunks, and I take it once chunk at a time. I hadn't even realized I was doing that! In addition, I realized that the chunks aren't really as annoying as they used to feel. I pondered that for a minute and realized the difference.
We got new sod a few years ago. Before that, there were a lot of bare patches and a lot of dust would be kicked up when I mowed that section. Since I don't get a dust bath every time, I enjoy it more. Now that I have had that realization, I can change my thinking about that part of my mowing duties.
Is there something in your life that you don't feel like doing? You know you should, but the idea overwhelms you? Try making a deal with yourself. "I only have to walk to the end of the driveway." or "I will drink one extra glass of water today." or "I will eat one new vegetable this week." Maybe you will take that first step and allow yourself to be propelled forward by your momentum.
And while you are at it, challenge your old way of thinking. Maybe you are only thinking a certain way because it's a habit and you haven't really questioned it. Maybe you think you are the kind of person who hates vegetables, for example. When was the last time you tried a new one? It's worth figuring out if you still feel the same way or if there is one small step you can take in the right direction. You may be surprised what you learn about yourself, and what new habits you begin to create.
I think there are two kinds of people in this world. Those that put off doing boring or scary things, and those that do them right away to get them over with. I am actively working on being the latter.
I have been reflecting a lot about my procrastination, as well as researching some reasons why I do it. I have even worked on it in therapy. Here are some of my "AHA moments" thus far.
I think the best way to start to kick the procrastination habit (Yep-- it's a habit!) is to first decide WHY we do it. There are lots of reasons, but I think they can be put into a few categories.
These reasons are really specific to situation. You may be able to buckle down and get things done at work when you are so busy you don't even have time to sit down, but when it comes time to fold that laundry at night, you decide you can do it tomorrow. (or the day after, or the day after that..) Think about a particular area in which you are good at procrastinating, and then see which reason sounds familiar.
Once you figure out why you are procrastinating, here are some strategies to try:
If all of this sounds overwhelming, don't worry. You can think about it later. 😂🤣😁
About the Author
Kim is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and group fitness instructor. She is a mom of two grown kiddos, and a former elementary school teacher. Most days, she can be found training clients, prepping food, thinking about food, or writing about food. She is also obsessed with mindset and habits. She is a 9w1 on the enneagram.