“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” -Anon

It’s a few days into the New Year which means by now a few of us have already failed on some resolutions while others are probably proud of themselves for sticking to it for a week. Whichever category you are in, and even regardless of whether or not you even made a resolution, I hope that you continue to critique and analyze your own-self for areas of improvement. Nobody is perfect but this does not mean we should not strive to be a better person in whatever form that may take. Health is not just the lack of symptoms or ailments. Health is a collection of mental, social and physical elements combined. If anyone dares to argue that our mental and social well-being does not have an effect on our body then reflect back to a time where you were stressed about something or over someone. How did you feel? Many women tend to carry their stress in their neck and upper back. It is easy to tell when patients are experiencing increased bouts of stress just by feeling how tight and taut their muscles are. They think I’m a mind-reader when I ask them to tell me about the stress that is happening in their lives after palpating their shoulders. But I digress…the point I really want to make is we have everything we need to deal with whatever comes our way. Attitude is everything and I believe it is the primary difference between success and admitting defeat. We are products of our environment but more importantly we are products of our mind. That being said, I don’t expect anyone to change their mind-set or their behaviors over night. Growth is the sum of many small changes over a period of time. If we make a point of trying to better our lives through education, personal development and healthy living habits growth will come. Self-change is difficult and there will be set-backs. If you continue to strive towards your goals then that is growth. Many of you have probably already seen this article taken from the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog but it is worth reposting. The title is ‘30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself‘ and is an excellent read. Personally for my own growth and mental improvement this year I’m starting with focusing on #2, #3, #4, #5 and #16. I’m happy with my growth in accepting #18, #22 and #30. Pick out a few that you know you are weak in and seek improvement. Congratulate yourself on any points in which you have already accomplished!

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people who stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

Source: http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/12/11/30-things-to-stop-doing-to-yourself/

What is Fitspo?

Fitspiration, or Fitspo for short, is a term used to describe something that helps inspire others to healthy eating and exercise. These websites should not be confused with ‘thinspiration’ sites. Thinspo sites are common as well but generally promote being skinny over being fit. In Fitspo blogs you should see toned and muscular figures as objects of motivation. Just because someone is skinny does not mean they are healthy (an extreme example would be an anorexic). Fitspo websites are commonly in the forms of blogs where the author posts daily recipes, inspirational stories, exercise plans or photos of fit men or women for motivation to do the same for themselves and their readers. I highly recommend you follow or start your own fitspo blog or site (such as pinterest or tumblr) to help reach any health goals you have set for yourself this year. Goals are met by taking the time to daily address them through small steps. Having your goals stare you in the face everyday will consistently provide motivation and the support needed for change. You can google ‘fitspo’ for some examples. I myself keep track of inspirational photos, quotes and recipes by pinterest and I’ve included an example of a pin from my ‘healthy living’ board. Remember, YOU are the only one standing in the way of yourself and the goals you want to reach.

Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/134122895122311591/

Grit

Grit is defined as “sustained perseverance and passion for long-term goals (and) entails working strenuously toward challenges and maintaining effort and interest despite failure, adversity, and plateaus. While some people cut their losses when faced with boredom or disappointment, those with grit stay the course.”

I found this was an appropriate topic in one article of my latest Women’s Health magazine since I have put off writing my first blog for almost 2 months now. Procrastination…what a love/hate relationship.

No one is perfect and as a new healthcare professional focused on promoting healthy lifestyles I find myself not living up to my own expectations of my choices. While I still am active and try to eat well, there are times where it is easier to just sit on the couch instead of doing yoga, taking the dog for a walk or ‘attempting’ to do Insanity. There are moments when instead of preparing breakfast I stop at McDonald’s for a sausage egg burrito (which is one of the worst items on their breakfast menu by the way). We all have these moments, some more or less than others. But what it does come down to is grit. As one with extended studies in nutrition I still choose to disregard my education to take the easy way out at times and this is where I need my grit to kick in.

You may be wondering why I posted photos of a horse. Well he use to be my horse before I had to sell him after I graduated…student loans + moving to Kansas + no money + horse is not a good equation. Fortunately, I found a family that treated him better than I did and he was spoiled beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. This is a wonderful, yet bittersweet feeling for anyone who has had to rehome a beloved pet. Needless to say the new owners recently contacted me to tell me he had to be put down. He had gotten sick suddenly and within a few days they discovered he had severe liver failure and there was nothing more they could do. What does this have to do with grit? How many of us know how someone who’s life is consumed with a disease or illness? Sometimes there are little to no warning signs such as with my horse, Joey. Yet, especially in humans, where the number 1 killers are chronic diseases, there are warning signs. We have choices that determine our path into ‘old age’. My message is to cultivate your grit. Find the determination to live a better life now and not HAVE to after you develop obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

As the old saying goes…’an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’