Monday Movers – Journaling

If you frequent my site, you may be aware of some of the food logs I have posted, predominately in the beginning of 2012. Since sharing my meals on my blog, I often track my food intake and health goals with traditional pencil and paper. What have I realized with both methods? Keeping track of what I eat is a SUPER easy way to stay motivated and it facilitates making the right health decisions.

The best thing about a diary is it does not have to be all about what you eat. Just logging some personal thoughts can go a long way. As mentioned above, I make weekly goals and write them down – if I do not write them down, I find I do not stick to them. Certainly I have learned to phrase my goals in a positive light as self-talk is nearly as important as laying out a personal goal. For example instead of saying, “do not eat nuts this week,” I phrase the goal to say, “seek out meals and snacks that include good protein, vegetables, fruit and good fats.” Other things I jot down include intentions to do some fitness classes during the week or no caffeine for better sleep on school nights.

The benefits of keeping a journal are extensive and can include the following:

–        May help with self-intuition and stress management.

–        You may realize that some of your staple snacks/meals may not be making you feel your best. I just realized this with nuts. I love macadamia nuts but lately I have been making my way around them and found I feel better and have more stable blood sugars.

–        It can help build self-esteem. Once you make goals or write down anything you have overcome, it is as if you are patting yourself on your own back. Start with small goals and slowly make bigger ones, week by week.

–        May help keep optimal health in check. Whether you are looking after your weight or nutrient consumption, logging information is making you attentive and cautious of what you want.

–        If you decide to jot down some notes in a journal or on some scrap paper, make sure you do not stress over keeping a perfect record. This diary is to help you, not to fuel more strain.

What weekly goals do you intend to make for yourself? Do you have any good experiences with journaling?

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Monday Movers – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

After wrapping-up some must needed domestic duties this weekend, I found myself reading one of the most interesting and epic studies of the year – the research was all about smiling.

In a nutshell, doctors Marc Gillinov and Steven Nissen reported on a study rating the smiles of 230 baseball players (pre-1950 athletes) from the Baseball Register. Can you guess what they found when cross-checking these player’s smiles to their longevity?

  • No smile = age 73
  • Partial smile = 75
  • Full smile = 80

Pretty interesting, right? This study is consistent with other data addressing emotional health to heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. Optimistic people have half the risk for cardiovascular diseases when compared to the least optimistic folks. Stress does more than just turn the wheel in our heads. It has been associated to harm our arteries and our tickers. Shall we let the science speak and turn all frowns upside down?

If only it were that easy.

But it can be. If you are having a tough time right now, relax. If you are frustrated about something, try to let it go, or work it out. But do not fret; too much.

A smile may not be a game-changer but our outlook on each day may be. This data along with other supporting research on mental health share a common denominator of a positive, optimistic outlook on life and each day.

Mondays are no fun nor are cold days (it’s winter in Australia) but they can be. A change in perspective is all it takes. Find out what you like doing, who you enjoy hanging out with and what invigorates you and do more of it.

This Monday I have booked a yoga class for the evening and plan on walking to work (LOVE walking). What is on your agenda? I hope it is something that makes you smile.

Cheers to you and good health!

Monday Movers – Things to Start Doing for Yourself

Along with last Mondays blog post, I have another inspiring list to enlighten your thoughts and day. Cheers to you and good health!

  1. Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.
  2. Start facing your problems head on. – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them.  Problems will not disappear unless you take action.  Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done.  It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch.  These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.
  3. Start being honest with yourself about everything. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are.  Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.
  4. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter.  If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself.  Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you.  And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.
  5. Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
  6. Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle.  Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future.  Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past.  Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening.  Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.
  7. Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. – Mistakes are okay; they’re the stepping-stones of progress.  If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning.  Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again.  Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving.  Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures.  One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.
  8. Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?  The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.  You must love who you are or no one else will.
  9. Start enjoying the things you already have. – The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind.  You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now.  So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.
  10. Start creating your own happiness. – If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’re missing out.  Smile because you can.  Choose happiness.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow.  Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it.  If you look for happiness within the opportunities you have, you will eventually find it.  But if you constantly look for something else, unfortunately, you’ll find that too.
  11. Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. – In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.
  12. Start believing that you’re ready for the next step. – You are ready!  Think about it.  You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward.  So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.
  13. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be.  Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment.  And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
  14. Start giving new people you meet a chance. – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made.  People and priorities change.  As some relationships fade others will grow.  Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work.  Trust your judgment.  Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
  15. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  Aim to break your own personal records.
  16. Start cheering for other people’s victories. – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them.  Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So be happy for those who are making progress.  Cheer for their victories.  Be thankful for their blessings, openly.  What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
  17. Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. – When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
  18. Start forgiving yourself and others. – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others.  And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.  Forgiveness is the remedy.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
  19. Start helping those around you. – Care about people.  Guide them if you know a better way.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth.
  20. Start listening to your own inner voice. – If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition.  Be true to yourself.  Say what you need to say.  Do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks. – Slow down.  Breathe.  Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose.  When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity.  These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.
  22. Start noticing the beauty of small moments. – Instead of waiting for the big things to happen – marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery – find happiness in the small things that happen every day.  Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner.  Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.
  23. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. – Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are.  Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal.  No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.
  24. Start working toward your goals every single day. – Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen.  Get out there and DO something!  The harder you work the luckier you will become.  While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result.
  25. Start being more open about how you feel. – If you’re hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it.  Talk to those closest to you.  Tell them the truth about how you feel.  Let them listen.  The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.
  26. Start taking full accountability for your own life. – Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.  Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.  You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.
  27. Start actively nurturing your most important relationships. – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
  28. Start concentrating on the things you can control. – You can’t change everything, but you can always change something.  Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.
  29. Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. – The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.  Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward.  No, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether or not you’re happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.
  30. Start noticing how wealthy you are right now. – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”  Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.  You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.  You didn’t go to sleep outside.  You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.  You hardly broke a sweat today.  You didn’t spend a minute in fear.  You have access to clean drinking water.  You have access to medical care.  You have access to the Internet.  You can read.  Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.

 

Monday Mover – Rules for Living

A friend passed this list along to me recently and I thought it was worth sharing and worthy for a Monday Mover blog post. Cheers to you and good health! 

  1. Your own negativity. – Be aware of your mental self-talk.  We all talk silently to ourselves in our heads, but we aren’t always conscious of what we’re saying or how it’s affecting us.  Start listening to your thoughts.  If you hear negative thoughts, stop and replace them with positive thoughts.
  2. Unnecessary miscommunication. – Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.  Speak clearly.  Ask questions.  Clarify things until you understand them.
  3. People who bring you down. – Relationships should help you, not hurt you.  Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.
  4. A work environment or career field you hate. – Don’t settle on the first or second career field you dabble in.  Keep searching.  Eventually you will find work you love to do.  If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work isn’t hard when you concentrate on your passions.
  5. A disorganized living and working space. – Clear the clutter.  Get rid of stuff you don’t use. 
  6. Your own tardiness. – Get up 30 minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush around like a mad man.  Those 30 minutes will help you avoid speeding tickets, tardiness and other unnecessary headaches.
  7. Fear of change. – Life is change.  Every day is different.  Every day is a new beginning and a new ending.  Embrace it and make the best of it.
  8. All work and no play. – Enjoy yourself and have a little fun while you can.  If you’re smiling, you’re doing something right.
  9. People or beauty ads that make you feel inadequate. – Good looks attract the eyes.  Personality attracts the heart.  Be proud to be you.  You are already beautiful.
  10. Not getting enough sleep. – A tired mind is rarely productive.
  11. Doing the same exact thing over and over again. – You are the sum of your life experiences.  The more you experience, the more interesting your life story gets.
  12. Personal greed. – Don’t let greed and deceit get the best of you.  Greed will bury even the lucky eventually.
  13. A mounting pile of debt. – Always live well below your means.  Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.  Always sleep on big purchases.  Create a budget and savings plan and stick to them.
  14. Dishonesty. – Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless.  Period.  Don’t be dishonest and don’t put up with people who are.
  15. Infidelity. – Intimate relationships are a sacred bond – a circle of trust.  If both parties aren’t 100% on board the relationship isn’t worth fighting for.
  16. Being unprepared. – Life is unpredictable.  And there’s a big difference between being scared and being prepared.  Always be prepared.
  17. Inaction. – Either you’re going to take action and seize new opportunities or someone else will.  You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress by sitting back and thinking about it.

And remember, you only live once, but if you live it right once is enough.

Monday Movers – My Hero

Ten years ago, February 5, 2002, my family was truly blessed. On this particular day my dad received a dual transplant for a kidney and pancreas. And yes, I will state that again, it has been 10 years and he is doing well!!

This occurrence among many others has taught me and those close to my family how precious life can be. Regardless of what we are dealt with, we have to keep moving on and looking ahead, continue being a good person and having fun while we are at it.

Today’s post is dedicated to my Dad. He inspires me to be the best person I can be and to always remember that when the going gets tough, to never give up. He is a fighter and at the same time one of the most genuine people I know.

I am proud of you Mike O’Connell. You are the best Dad and Grandpa (since 2011) anyone could ask for.

Cheers to you and good health!

Monday Mover – What I Have Learned in 2011

How has 2011 treated you? Are you wishing it away and itching for the new year or are you trying to hold onto every last bit?

I am indifferent about 2011. It has certainly been the most courageous year of my life. I left my amazing family in the States to relocate with my now husband in Melbourne, Australia, got hitched, started a new career in a new industry, broadened and nurtured relationships and friendships, became an aunt, traveled to New Zealand, had a rough accident, and more. All in all I do not have a single regret.

Melbourne is one of the best cities I have ever been to, let alone lived in. The cafe lifestyle, the friendliness, the amazing wine and sexy-delicious food is irreplaceable. I have become more patient as a person with this city and I have grown to appreciate the smallest things- like shops being closed on Sundays or my boss suggesting I go for a run on my lunch break. I am obsessed with Australia’s nature, I love my daily walks, and biking (when I can) and more.

Getting married has been wonderful too. That is an understatement; I love being married. It is a sureal feeling and blessed relationship. Ask me this again in 5 years…kidding!

Shortly after we stated our vows I got in an unfortunate accident. However, I am on the mend and learned a lot about myself. There are so many things that can be handled better when you put your mind and positive focus to it. This accident crushed me but with the support and prayers from home, I have held my head high and am forever grateful for friends, family and personal capabilities. For a span of this time I was not able to speak. From having to write and motion everything to my nurse husband, I finally was able to talk but then could not smile. My smile is almost back and a simple thing like this is something I took for granted.

Oh 2011 you were a joyous one and a challenging one. I have learned to live in the moment from you and you have made me excited for the bright year ahead. In 2012 I want to be my best person and continue to grow. But please, play nice.

I would love to hear your thoughts about 2011.

Cheers to you and good health!

 

Monday Movers – Almost Christmas

Christmas is one of the biggest holidays for my family and I think it is safe to assume for many Americans. But this year, living in Australia, it is easy to forget that the festive holiday is just a few short days away. It is the middle of the summer, there are more palm trees than pine, no one in the neighborhood has holiday lights and when snooping through the windows I am convinced we are the only ones that have stockings hanging up. This may be an exaggeration because we live in the city but it is extremely different than my experiences in the US.

However, it is okay to be different and it is okay to put your time and energy in other things. Perspective is everything and this concept came to life when catching up with my parents this weekend when feeling a little homesick (Don’t get me wrong, I love Melbourne and I love living in another country; it’s just holidays, birthdays and newborn babies that get the best of my emotions). In life there is not always an answer and even when you believe everything happens for a reason, you have to stay strong and live in the moment of good company and faith.

As today’s Monday Mover think of something you love and think of something, a situation or a position that you do not enjoy. What can change about the something, situation or position? Start with altering your perspective.

Your outlook on life is everything. You are in charge of how you think, how you act and how you treat others, including yourself. Make the most of each day, no matter where you are. If you feel like you have hit rock bottom, know the only way to go is up and if you are glowing and full of energy, share it with others.

Today is a new day, a new week and if you want, a new you. This week I am starting early on one of my New Year’s resolutions by being the best person I can be. Starting with positive internal thoughts, appropriate compliments, extending a hand when able, making good food choices and exercises for my body and sharing the holiday spirit.

Cheers to you and good health!

Monday Movers

Tis the season to be Jolly…falalala la la la…

Have you finished you holiday shopping? Have you started? Right about now I am thinking that I could have easily done some Christmas shopping this wekeend and….I did not. In all honesty at this point in the game I have only frequented my friend Amazon for gifts. But really, eeek, Christmas is around the corner! Along with this beloved holiday there can be a truckload of to-dos, let alone breaking your nice daily routine of work, gym, personal time, etc.

However, embrace the chaos and alter your perspective; if your thoughts are similar to the Grinch’s. Christmas comes only once a year and this week go with the flow and choose your food wisely and fit in fitness where you can. Hey, why not sing some Jingle Bells in the shower while you are at it. I will.

Along with my caroling this week I am lacing up my sneakers and plan to get back to running. It’s been months! My jaw is healing pretty well, the pain is subsiding and running is calling my name. For a little inspiration and perspective alteration, read what Dean Karnazes has to say:

“Running has an uncanny ability to mellow the soul, to take the edge off hard feelings, and put things back into healthy perspective.”

Monday Mover

Case of the Monday’s already? You just woke up.

Monday’s are not my favorite day of the week but it is a good day to plan what is ahead for the next 5-7 days. Think of any adjustments you can tweak, let it be organise your calendar, plan some dates with friends and husband/partner, wake up early and watch the sunrise, clean up your indulgences from the weekend, etc.

Look at Monday’s as a fresh start, as something new. It’s a new week, new day and you can be a new you. Set you mind to something and reach for it and beyond.

Make a goal this Monday. Typical, I first think of health goals, then fitness then creativity. This week, this is what I am reaching for:

  • Take at least 1 picture a day that inspires me
  • Eat the cleanest I ever have for a week straight – avoiding inflammatory foods such as legumes, dairy, sugar, grains. No slip ups.
  • Hit the gym as often as I can and as often as my body wants to, channeling in when I feel I need rest. And attend one new fitness class.
  • Start reading a new book. I just wrapped up “One Day,” which was so divine. Loved it.
What are you aiming for this week? Nonetheless, have a great Monday and treat yourself to some nice green tea or coffee.
Cheers to you and good health!

Monday Movers

There is Today & There is Tomorrow

….and that is it. Life is short and we need to take responsibility of our own health right now. An investment in health in an investment in long-term wealth. Eat something healthy for me today!

Have a healthy and fit day!