Can I Keep It?

Can I keep It?

As I approach my 33rd birthday, I look back and reflect on everything I have learned. I am unsure about a lot of things. Like, for example, where I’ll be a year from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now. But I do know one thing for sure. I get to decide who I want to be when I grow up, essentially who I want to be when I’m 33. In this old(er) age, I’m aware of what I can’t change about myself, of what I can change and want to change, and what I want to keep. In celebration of the fact that I get to live one more year, here are half of 33 things I want to keep. The rest can be discarded as I continue to live my #bestlife. Oh, and it’s half of 33 wants because the other half I get to come up with after growing a little wiser and I’ll voice them this time next year to complete the cycle of living my #bestyearyet.

1. I want to stay grateful. Not let my wants cloud my view of what I already have. Not let my pursuance of that unreachable yoga pose, overshadow everything my body can already do.

2. I want to keep my circle of family and friends, you know those people that make days brighter, funner, deeper?

3. I want to keep my passion. I want my zest for life to stay bright, so I have to not let experiences, hardships, failures dim it.

4. I want to keep moving. As my physical body keeps moving, can my actions keep moving towards my goals?

5. I want to keep my mind young, and in order to, I have to keep reading and learning. I have to continue to be open, be it to new experiences, thoughts, opinions.

6. I want to remain physically healthy. So, I’ll keep on drinking my greens since I don’t really like vegetables and prefer burgers and fries and lobster rolls and steak, etc.

7. I want to improve my mental health and the first step is to stay away from negativity, which includes my own thoughts and other people.

8. But what about my spiritual health? Can I keep it? Maybe if I stay doing the things I love.

9. I want to go even when it’s uncomfortable. It can be so easy to get stuck in the comfortableness and stay under the covers instead of going out and changing what doesn’t work, letting go of what doesn’t belong anymore, dropping what stopped serving its purpose.

10. I want to be happy, so I’ll stop expecting and start creating.

11. I want to stay strong, as I keep lifting heavy weights, I want to be able to rely on myself to get through hardships, to get past curveballs, and be resilient.

12. I want to keep making mistakes, because I want to stay alive.

13. I want to keep finding opportunities. Opportunities to grow, opportunities to help, opportunities to be better.

14. Can I stay confident? Can I keep my strong throaty voice and continue to be outspoken in what I want and what I believe in?

15. Can I keep smiling every day knowing it’s impossible to be happy all day everyday, but just let those little moments of happiness outshadow all the other unhappy or monotone ones?

16. Can I still be my own cheerleader? I want to keep that voice when I’m in the gym motivating myself to do that last rep. I want to keep that voice that says get over it, when a thing doesn’t go my way.

16 ½ . Can I keep going on solo trips to satisfy that longing to live life to the fullest.

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How to Build or Change a Habit

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create a habit

Make Your fitness Routine Stick!

Habits are defined as choices that all of us deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about but continue doing, often every day. In The Power of Habit, business reporter Charles Duhigg shows how habits work and how they can transform our lives. “Keystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate”, and they “start a process that, over time, transforms everything.” Keystone habits are a series of changes that ultimately radiates out to every part of our life. By focusing on one pattern, other areas of our life are reprogrammed.

Keystone habits are a series of changes that ultimately radiates out to every part of our life. Click To Tweet

There have been studies that habits, like  memory and reason, are at the root of how we behave. We might not remember the experiences that create our habits. But once they are registered deep within our brain, they influence how we act. We might  not even realize it. The habit loop, as explained by Duhigg consists of a cue, a routine, and a reward. However, what powers the loop is a craving.

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Make Fitness a Habit

Understanding how habits work is very important when trying to establish a new fitness routine. Or simply start working out more. By understanding the loop, we can incorporate fitness into our lives. Excitingly, the benefits will spill over to other areas.

In order to create a habit we need to find a simple and obvious cue. Then clearly define the reward. Habits are powerful because they create neurological cravings. We’re already anticipating the reward before doing our routine. As we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving emerges from our brain. It starts spinning the habit loop. Habit emerges once we begin craving something associated with the cue.

For example, a simple cue can be our alarm going off in the morning. The routine would be exercising first thing in the morning. And the reward would be starting our day calm, collected, and centered. We need to allow ourselves to feel these benefits so that eventually the craving of them will make it easier to fit the 45 minute workout first thing in the morning. When our brain starts expecting the rewards we feel after exercising, which are a clearer, calmer mind and an energized body, we will begin to crave those feelings. It will become automatic to exercise every morning. Or at least five times a week. The cue must trigger the routine and the reward to come. When the temptation to sleep longer instead of waking up earlier to fit a workout in, we have to focus on craving the rewards that exercise brings because only the craving will drive the habit loop.

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Photo © Michelle Fimbres

Beauty of Keystone Habits

When we start habitually inserting the new routine of a workout first thing in the morning, we will start changing other seemingly unrelated parts of our life, often unknowingly. Exercise is a keystone habit that will trigger widespread change. It makes other good habits easier. I believe that we will start breathing more efficiently throughout the day. We will be more productive. We will have more energy and patience. Maybe, situations will cause less stress and anxiety. Maybe the habit will spill over to our eating and drinking habits. It will even change how we treat other people.

All You Need Is Willpower

To make exercise a habit, all we need is willpower. I believe that willpower might be the most important habit for individual success. In a 2005 study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 164 8th grade students. Those that exerted higher levels of willpower earned higher grades and got into better schools. Having willpower was seen as even more important to determine this, than having a high IQ. Cultivating self-disciple and turning willpower into a habit will ultimately spread to other areas of our life as well. We will have the power to refuse things we know are not good for us.

Studies show that willpower is a muscle. As we strengthen our willpower muscles, good habits spill over. “When you learn to force yourself to go to the gym or start your homework or eat a salad instead of a burger, part of what’s happening is that you’re changing how you think,” said Todd Heatherton, a researcher at Dartmouth. “People get better at regulating their impulses. They learn how to distract themselves from temptations. And once you’ve gotten into that willpower groove, your brain is practiced at helping you focus on a goal.”

What to Do When the Going Gets Rough

Duhigg points out that another important ingredient to the habit loop is how to design willpower habits to help us overcome painful inflection points. This translates to designing a plan when we don’t want to wake up earlier. Or when we feel unmotivated. We have to tell ourselves how we are going to make it over the hump. We can write out plans that anticipate how we will approach situations like these and practice the plan again and again until it becomes automatic. This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives.

So if we want to make exercising daily a habit, we can start designing our habit loop that includes the cue (alarm waking us), the routine (a workout), and the reward (feeling good throughout the day). The craving and anticipation of all the benefits we will receive throughout our day from simply starting with an exercise of our choice will power the habit loop daily. We will exercise our willpower muscles on a daily basis and the benefits will spill over to other areas of our life! Let’s get started!

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Photo © Michelle Fimbres

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Top Mother’s Day Gifts to Promote Self-Care

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self-care-gifts

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”

― Tenneva Jordan

Mother’s day is just around the corner. On May 14th we get to celebrate the woman who is always in our corner, cheering us on, making countless sacrifices, thinking of everyone before herself, and loving unconditionally. There is no greater selfless person.

Given their selfless nature, at the bottom of a mother’s priorities is self-care.

As far back as I can remember I never saw my mom taking time for any sort of  indulgence. I rarely saw her in a workout outfit because there never seemed to be time for exercise. She ate whatever was fast and convenient in between carpools and PTA meetings. And she definitely didn’t make time for a spa day.

For mothers, it’s hard to find the time and energy to take care of themselves. Their optimal health is at the bottom of the barrel, with emotional well-being not even being a blimp on their radar.

Sooo…what is self-care?

The term describes the actions you as an individual take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health. In other words, choosing to do something nourishing for yourself.

It doesn’t necessarily entail expensive trips to the spa or “treating” yourself to consumer goods. Self-care can include those things, but it can also mean simply taking a walk or unplugging from a mobile device or social media for an hour. Small actions that help restore a sense of balance to daily life. By blocking out time for self-care, you furthermore refuse to feel guilty about putting yourself before others. Which is something mothers tend to struggle with.

Research has illustrated that adding self-care into your daily routine reduces stress, decreases the chance of mental and physical ailment, increases productivity, and inspires feelings of happiness. By giving yourself a daily dose of self-love, you are able to approach work and relationships with a clear, happy mind, thus allowing the cycle of positivity to continue.

So for mother’s day, why not give a little nudge to the last person who would take the time to care for themselves.

Here are the top ten gifts to promote self care:

1.Gift basket full of goodies to promote a bedtime ritual

After a busy day, there is nothing like a bedtime ritual to decompress and apply all kinds of lotions and potions that promise to enhance a good night’s sleep. Taking the time to ensure you get the restorative sleep your body and mind needs is of the utmost importance. This determines waking up the next day feeling refreshed and energized.

Give mom the opportunity to schedule in that hour before bed to relax and indulge and create habits for a good sleep. Luckily, there are beauty items that she would love, not only because every woman does, but because they are special for overnight recovery. Such as this Serene Sleep Set from Kiehl’s. You can also add this Tata Harper Aromatic Stress Treatment.  It promises to provide a sense of calm and inspire feelings of peace and relaxation. You can customize the basket to fit your mom’s likes and needs while also sharing your favorite treats!

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2. The Happiness Planner

Mom spends so much time thinking about everyone else. This year, give her something that puts the focus back on her. This notebook serves as a planner, but also includes daily and weekly exercises to help her set goals, practice gratitude, and focus on the positive. This daily mindfulness planner is like a beautifully crafted happiness road-map. Daily and weekly exercises will help her reflect on what brings her joy and focus on making it a habit. She’ll be prompted to build reflection into routine, set goals, practice gratitude, note the good stuff, and track her progress.

Self-Care-Gifts

3. Stainless Steel Water Bottle

I often rave about drinking more water and how it changed my life. I used to get almost daily headaches and without knowing, it was because I was severely dehydrated. After making drinking more water a habit, the headaches disappeared. So, why not give mom a water bottle she will love and get her to create drinking more water a habit. This one includes a motivational message. Keep her hydrated throughout her busy day!

Mother's Day Gifts

4. Mom and me cooking class (or any mom and me activity)

Turn the gift into an activity that also counts as special bonding time. She will love the gift and experience. There are studies that reflect the power of shared experiences. This study by Yale University, demonstrates how sharing an experience with others makes the experience more enjoyable.

Shared experiences are powerful because they bring people together and enhance each person’s individual experience.Click To Tweet

shared-experiences

5. Moon Juice Swag

Amanda Chantal Bacon is the founder of Moon Juice. A shop full of tonics, herbal supplements, and probiotic snacks. Google Amanda and you’ll quickly find a slew of criticism for her esoteric health brand. However, her take on health is intriguing and she offers a style of eating focused on ingredients derived from Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Her new The Moon Juice Cookbook includes helpful information on how to harness the power of plants to nourish and elevate your body, beauty, and consciousness.

Moon Juice products, which Amanda describes as “medicinal-grade,” are labelled according to their purported effect on she who consumes them: Beauty Food, Stress Reliever, Joy Promoter, Brain Activator. The promise of transport is powerful. We are all a sip or a shot or a dusting away from being ugly, bummed, harried, dumb. Mom is sure to be intrigued and seduced by these products.

Self-Care-Gifts

6. Class Pack for an exercise mom will absolutely love

Exercise is not only important for a person’s physical well-being, but for their spiritual and emotional well-being as well. This gift will give mom the opportunity to get stronger mentally and physically, happier, less stressed, and infused with confidence. Mom will get countless benefits with this gift that keeps on giving. Every fitness studio offers class-packs so that students can try a class for an extended period of time. It ensures they get the most out of it and start seeing results. Maybe give mom the experience of trying out something new!

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7. Self-Massage Kit: Foam Roller & Massage Ball

A post-workout routine is just as important as the workout itself. The best thing is that it can also be applied after a hard day’s work. The foam roller is the perfect at-home tool for massaging sore muscles and improving circulation throughout the body after an intense workout…or a hard day at work! Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release stretching technique. By using a foam roller, mom will give her muscles a deep massage and break up the “knots” in the soft tissue. The benefits include: increased blood flow throughout the body, better movement, increased range of motion and flexibility. This is the best Foam Roller. You can also include this product by TriggerPoint. It is designed to replicate what it feels like to be pummelled in the deep tissue. Whenever, mom needs a massage, it will be fingertips away with these products!

8. Essential Oil Best of the Best Set

This set of 14 10mL bottles of assorted essential oils is perfect so mom can reap the benefits of aromatherapy. They will help reduce anxiety, boost energy levels, eliminate headaches, boost cognitive performance, induce sleep, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain, improve digestion, and increase circulation. As a plus, this set is packed with an informational guide explaining the therapeutic benefits of each oil.

Self-Care-Gifts

9. The Five Minute Journal

Help mom form the habit of starting the day off in a state of gratitude with The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day. 

Research shows journal writing can make you healthier. Studies have found that emotional or expressive writing can reduce high blood pressure, enhance the immune function, and more. This journal is simple, quick, and effective with its simple structured format that takes just 5 minutes. It uses the science of positive psychology to improve happiness. It will focus mom’s attention to the good in her life, improve her mental well-being, make her feel better every day, and help cultivate gratitude.

The-Five-Minute-Journal

10. Tank with an attitude

A new addition to mom’s workout gear is a fun and encouraging gift. It can only motivate her to keep up with that fitness routine and her wellness goals. Why not get her a tank with a fun slogan. For example, if she loves yoga, she will love this Happy Baby shirt!

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