Finish Strong

IMG_6029
You can’t go back and change the beginning.  But, you can start where you are and change the ending” -C.S. Lewis
“The person who starts the race is not the same as the person who finishes the race.”
-Unknown

I’ve been there so many times.  I have started something with glee.  I started a new workout plan, diet, or project. I am so excited at the onset.  I think to myse;f “I am goint to CRUSH this.”  For example, I recently signed up for a 10K charity run.  I was excited to start training and adding in more cardio.  I was confident that this would be a piece of cake. I ran a 10k before.   Heck, I ran a half marathon before! This would be a proverbial “walk in the park.”  I had a positive mindset and nothing was going to stop me from reaching my goal.

Or, was it? 3 weeks before the race, I started to train outside.  I quickly realized that I was not in the kind of shape I used to be.  I would get tired and pained quickly during my runs.  How was I supposed to run 6 miles?? My confidence and belief wavered.  You see, the deeper you go and continue to work, obstacles will almost always rear their ugly head.  Maybe you get tired. You get injured.  You get tempted and give in.  Is that the end?  Some would say so.  You failed. You “fell off track”.  It’s al l over once you hit a rut.

Or, is it?  You see, struggles and obstacles are part of the process.  They test your behaviors, discipline, and will to go on.  They make you want to turn back.  You feel like throwing in the towel.  But, These obstacles are just speed bumps. The glory lies in continuing on.   Working through and past obstacles.  Your spirit and will are stronger than the small obstacles in your way.  In the end, I did run that race.  I worked through the discomfort the whole way.  I committed to the process and took one step after another.  It was tough.  But, I knew there was an end to it.  As I reached the finish line, adrenaline kicked in.  I sprinted the last few hundred yards after an hour plus of running.

When you feel you are struggling, do not take the easy route.  Do not turn back or stop trying.  No, no, no.  Straighten yourself up. Proclaim that you will not be deterred.  These measly obstacles will not thwart you from reaching your goals.  Keep trying and pressing through your struggles.  You will come out stronger and smarter than ever before.  I promise.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 
Advertisements

Start Slow

IMG_6017

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”. -St. Francis of Assisi
“Start where you are. Use what you have.” Do what you can.-Adam Ashe


A few months back, I signed up for a charity race.  My company was sponsoring the event.  I had to work the vendor table before the race.  Naturally, I decided to run the race as well.  The problem was that I signed up for the 10K without a training plan!  Not the best strategy I assure you.  Even so, I began working toward running 6 miles.  At first, I ran on the treadmill for 10- 15 minutes.  After doing so for a week, I bumped up the time.  I ran for 20 minutes, 25 minutes, and so forth.  I worked up to 45 minutes comfortably on the treadmill after a few weeks.


Then, the weather finally improved enough for me to run outside.  I was stoked!  It had been close to a year since I have ran outside.  I was so confident I could pick it up quickly.  To my dismay, I STRUGGLED on that first run.  I had to stop at 3 minutes!  I eventually did a loop that took me 45 minutes while jogging and walking.  It was tough!  That run made me realize how different a jogging on treadmill and outside really are.

With 3 weeks before the race, I knew I was in trouble.  I was not prepared.  My endurance and weight was not where it should be to run 6 miles!  But, I did not want to turn back.  I did not want to shy away from the challenge.  So, I ran anyway.  Sufficed to say, I ran the race and finished.  I didn’t break any records to say the least.  Some lessons did come from this experience:
  1. Start any new goal/ venture/ change slowly
  2. Pace yourself and your progress
  3. Train with he same activity as your end goal/ event
  4. Work p to a goal
  5. Do not overwhelm yourself with a huge goal!!

Overall, the race was a great experience and I am glad I stuck to my guns and ran.  Next time, I plan to train more appropriately and seriously.  Have you ever set a goal and worked up to it?  Comment below! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Labels- Do’s and Don’ts

IMG_5849
Labels- we seen them everywhere.  We label people.  We label products.  We label foods.  Depending on the label we give something, it will change the meaning and the perspective we take.

For example, we label people.  We generalize.  We label rich people as “greedy,” “grimy,” or “despicable”.  We label overweight individuals as “lazy”, “losers”, or “undisciplined”.  These labels we use create how we interact within the world.  If you see the people I outlined above in this way, would you interact with them?  Probably not.

What if we turned this concept inward to ourselves.  If we see ourselves as “lazy”, “uncommitted”, “no good”, or “weak”, how do you think we would act?  Like losers, I’m sure.  So, why give yourself labels like that?  Consider changing the way you see things. Change the way you see others and yourself.  Choose constructive thoughts, words, and actions when viewing other people, yourself, and products.  Choose products and people that will benefit you in your mental, physical, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual health.  For example, call yourself “loved”, “worthy”, “enthusiastic”, or “strong”.

Don’t
Allow others to determine your identity
Choose friends who do not want the best for you
Listen to negative messages
Dwell on negative thinking
Beat yourself up

Do
Choose a strong personal identity
Choose people who raise you up
Listen to positive messages
Cultivate positive thinking
Love yourself unconditionally

Choose people who support positive labels about you.  Choose people in your live who call you “smart”, “great”, “helpful”, “compassionate”, etc. They will support you both when you are on top or rock bottom. You will notice how you feel about your confidence, self-esteem, and decision-making.  Do this over time.  You will not only take on behaviors of positive labels. But, you will become more of those qualities!  As Always, Eat, Move and Improve!

“P”atterns

IMG_5824
The direction of our lives depend on the patterns we create each day.  This means our behaviors, habits, thoughts, words, and actions form who we are and where we go. They are subtle but they drive our actions and interactions with the world.  If we are not careful, our minds will choose the patterns that are most accessible. Mostly, negative messages and tones from around us! I let that happen to me before.  Not a road you want to go down.  Trust me.  Want positive changes in your life?  Choose positive “P”atterns throughout your day.  During the day, I will speak these words to myself to repeat these patterns so they become second nature. Below, I outline some “P”atterns I use.  Find the words that speak to you and focus on adding them to your daily routine!

Peace: In this day and age, it is so difficult to find a mindful calmness.  We have distractions, loud music, annoying people, and electronics that keep us busy.  Finding peace and quiet almost means locking yourself in an empty room with nothing to do.  Or, does it?  The secret to outward peace is inward peace. Our minds create peace or chaos depending on what we feed it. If we feed busy distractions and fill our lives with commotion, our body will feel the business.  If we fill our minds with peace, quiet, kindness, and compassion, we will feel such.  Give yourself some quiet time and your body and mind will thank you.


Positivity: Our world throws so many messages at us.  Negative news, rude people, tough situations.  It’s sometimes easy to dwell on the negatives in this life.  It is so critical to develop a positive mindset.  Practice gratitude, looking at the bright side, interacting with positive media, and smiling.  You will see how your perspective will change for the better.


Passion: Passion is tough to define.  A dictionary definition seems cheesy here.  To me, “passion” means a burning desire to spend time with something or someone you love. Life seems dull without it.  Passion makes life exciting and meaningful.  Find your passion and you will find your direction and reason in life.


Power:  The world makes us feel powerless sometimes.  We get beat down.  We fail.  We get criticized or discriminated.  DO NOT allow the world to make you feel powerless.  YOU are powerful!  You have the power to make decisions and determine your outcome. Personal power comes from owning who you are and your choices.  If you do this, no one can make you feel any less about yourself.  Own who you are and step into your personal power!


Presence: Our culture and thinking has a way of turning us away from the present moment. Technology, distractions, the news, situations all have a way of taking us away from a mindful moment in the here and now.  We dwell on the past on past mistakes.  Or,we overthink and overanalyze in the future.  Past and future thinking robs us of the peace in the present moment. Find strategies that put you in the present moment.  You will feel more at peace and powerful to make great decisions.

Patterns make us who we are- good and bad.  Choose patterns and behaviors you can be proud of and see your life change.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

#Despite

IMG_5366

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”-Elon Musk


“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” —Conrad Hilton


“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.”—Marianne Williamson


I have been having a tough time lately.  Whatever I do, it seems things have not been working out.  To add to this, I had a few challenges all at once in a single week.  I’m ok with one or two challenges at a time,  But three to four?  Give me a break!  I felt like I couldn’t catch a break!  I felt stuck.  I was anxious and overwhelmed.


But, something interesting happened.  I spoke with my friends and share with them what was happening.  They reassured me and gave me some perspective.  They made me realize that these circumstances were only temporary.  On top of that, they weren’t as big as I made them out to be!

These events made me rethink difficult times.  They reminded me that we all have challenging times.  They reminded me that I am not alone in my journey.  They made me realize that i can overcome difficulties despite obstacles.  I can survive DESPITE hard times.  They are only temporary!

If you are going through a difficult time, know this:  it is not here to stay!  Things will get better.  You will get better because of it!  You will persist DESPITE your circumstances.  Use these strategies to get through your tough times:

-call a trusted friend and share your struggles
-journal your thoughts and experiences
-reframe your expectations or perspectives on the event
-take care of your body- eat well, sleep, and stay active.
-do what you can at the moment.  Your strength and spirit to confront the big stuff will return.
-LAUGH!  Do something you enjoy that puts a smile on your face

In the moments you feel down and challenged, remember that challenges are temporary.  They are actually good for us because they make us stronger and more resilient.  Next time that you are in a challenging time, decide to persist DESPITE the challenge!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 

“V”alues

IMG_5303
Value:  something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable (Meriam Webster dictionary)

“In order to lead a meaningful life, you need to cherish others, pay attention to human values and try to cultivate inner peace.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“It’s silly to have as one’s sole object in life just making money, accumulating wealth. I work because I enjoy what I’m doing, and the fact that I make money at it – big money – is a fine-and-dandy side fact. Money gives me just one big thing that’s really important, and that’s the freedom of not having to worry about money. I’m concerned about values – moral, ethical, human values – my own, other people’s, the country’s, the world’s values. Having money now gives me the freedom to worry about the things that really matter.”
-Johnny Carson

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”— Roy Disney


The other day, I spoke with my grandfather on the phone. We had a wonderful conversation and it was the highlight of my day.   If you don’t already do, I encourage you to do the same.  Our grandparents are full of wisdom and knowledge from life experiences and will only be around a little longer.  It’s a shame to think that some people do not appreciate their grandparents.  We got on the topic of attitudes and values.  My grandpa shared one of his lessons with me on how he has continued to stay positive and energetic despite his age.  He named 5 “V”alues that allow us to become our best selves.  Below is a summary of our discussion:


All Definitions from Meriem Webster Dictionary 
-Vim: Robust energy and enthusiasm.
In order to achieve anything in this world, it is critical to attack it with Vim.  Genuine, authentic energy will take you to places you never expected.  Energy and enthusiasm move the world forward. Strive to live each day with a sense of robust energy and enthusiasm.

Vigor: intensity of action or effect : force

Vigor can be another term for passion.  We know that passion is essential in our day to day.  But, why?  Passion drives us forward despite obstacles.  This intensity helps us become a light that shines on others.  People take notice.  They realize you mean business.  You aren’t messing around.


Vitality:  lively and animated character/ the power of enduring

Without vitality, we would be boring.  The people with a lively personality make friends easier and can change more effectively.  They are fully alive in themselves and show it.  Also, vitality brings a sense of perseverance.  This kind of person can endure the toughest circumstances all with a smile on their face.

Vertical:  perpendicular to the plane of the horizon or to a primary axis : upright

Every day above ground is a good day.  Sometimes, it is easy to get bogged down in this world.  Disasters and tragedies occur almost daily.  There is an overwhelming sense of negativity.  Sometimes, reminding ourselves that we can stand and work can change our whole attitude about our day and lives overall.  Focus on being grateful for being alive and vertical.

Virtuous: morally excellent : righteous
It is critical to be ethical.  To live by a code of conduct that aligns with a system of values.  If each individual did not have a set of virtues, society would not exist and this life wold be a nightmare.  Choose your virtues wisely as they will define your behaviors and actions

There you have it.  5 “V”alues that can create a vibrant, exciting, productive, and long lasting life.  Do you have other “V”alues that you live by??  Comment below! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Get Dirty

IMG_5181
“I can say the willingness to get dirty has always defined us as an nation, and it’s a hallmark of hard work and a hallmark of fun, and dirt is not the enemy.” -Mike Rowe
“Opportunity is missed by most people because its dressed in overalls and looks like work” -Thomas Edison
“Learn young about hard work and manners-and you’ll be through the dirty mess and dead again before you know it” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m noticing, almost daily, how there is a lack of work ethic amongst people.  While I am not perfect, I value and understand hard work.  I have been a part of the work force for 10 years.  I have worked in several industries and varying capacities.  One practice I have had all the way through is to do my very best.  I make a point to do everything I can- prepare, serve others, problem solve, get rejected, learn and study more- to complete my work.  Again, my work isn’t always on point or close to perfect.  But, I put my best foot forward each time.

We are afraid to get dirty.  We are afraid to look bad or make a mistake.  This is a viral issue.  It pops up wherever hard work is required to have progress- a diet, a workout program, the workplace, relationships.  We are insecure about putting in the effort without having all the answers.  We want a sure outcome before going in.  We don’t feel ready so we wouldn’t try.  But you know what?  Life is messy.  It’s not clean and efficient all the time.  Sometimes, to get what we desire, we need to get dirty to some degree.  Yes, I am talking about sweat, pain, and effort in the gym.  But, it goes deeper than that.  In order to progress, we need to be willing dive into the “gunk of life”- scary emotions, scary situations, tough decisions, taking risks.  Life becomes more meaningful when we accomplish things through effort and sweat.

What examples do you have of getting dirty??  Comment below!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!