Motivation Monday: simple changes for a healthier life

When most people decide it’s time to make a change to their lifestyle, they feel extremely intimidated/overwhelmed by all of the “must-do” things that are suggested over and over by health gurus/media/women’s magazines, etc. etc. [juicing, #cleaneating, hitting the gym hard everyday, and on and on foreverrrr]. So overwhelmed they just stop.

It’s too bad!! Even little changes can make a big impact, and especially for those who currently aren’t doing much in the health/fitness aspect of life.

SO…if you are trying to get a little more fit, or just want to be even more bad ass then you already are, or just start from scratch, here are a few ideas.
Don’t forget!! If you are trying to adopt a new habit – only do one thing at a time!!

simple-changes

  • one 8oz glass of water before your morning cup of coffee (or diet coke)
  • a 15 minute walk after dinner
  • try 1 new class at the gym
  • 5 minutes of meditation (even in your car!!)
  • youtube yoga sesh
  • walk while you watch your kids play sports
  • always drink water with dinner
  • try meal prepping 1 item this week
  • get up from your desk and walk 2x per day
  • invite your co-worker (or child/friend/whoever) for an after lunch walk
  • or take a walk with your thoughts
  • try a new-to-you walking or hiking path
  • pack your lunch 1 extra time this week
  • give meal planning a try (or just plan dinners or lunches or snacks)
  • swap 1 soda for 1 extra cup of water today
  • put in your headphones and go for a walk, jog, run, bike ride! (i LOVE listening to podcasts while walking)
  • take your dog for a walk instead of making your kids do it
  • if you already walk, take a jog!
  • do a 10 minute HIIT/circuit workout

Again…just pick ONE and stick with it for a week or 2. Think about how you felt after, if it’s something you like, brought you happiness, or made you feel better in any way, keep it up! Remember that exercise is for so much more than just losing weight. These days sitting is considered the new smoking so just moving a little more during the day can prevent muscle loss, chronic diseases, and of course- help with weight. Exercise is also great for improving mood, focus, and depression/anxiety. I 110% believe this with my whole heart….give it a try 😉

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What small changes have you seen make a great impact in your life?? Tell me about it here, or tweet at me @afitgirlsguide.

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Motivation Monday: 5 minutes to more motivation

I think everyone faces a lack of motivation at some point. It’s normal for this feeling to ebb and flow, but what about when you just need to get your act together? Sometimes you have to be a big girl, but let’s face it…..sometimes you want to just snooze a little longer (or just waste a little more time instead of actually getting to work)!
I had a recent epiphany though, that no matter how many times I press snooze (or how good it might feel in the moment), it does NOT lead to feeling more rested. If anything I end up feeling rushed AND tired, instead of just a bit sleepy. Now when I’m feeling lazy in the morning, I make myself get up and make my bed. It leaves me feeling productive, and then I can start my morning.

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Whether it’s work, fitness, or just life that needs to get done…here are some tips for YOU.

  • Go outside. Take a 5 minute walk and listen to your favorite song, or even better- this podcast.
  • Keep a private Pinterest board called motivation, with the things that speak to you personally. When the going gets tough, open up your board and remind yourself WHY you are going to push through.
  • Meditate. Take 5. Close your eyes and imagine yourself being successful, working hard, and kicking butt. Set a timer on your phone, and when the alarm rings, it’s time to get moving.
  • Ask yourself WHY. Are you just sleepy? Feeling lazy? Not excited about your goals anymore?  Asking yourself why can get to the root of the problem! If it’s just about of laziness, give yourself 5 more minutes to do whatever you want…pinterest, online shopping…but SET A TIMER!! And then get to work!
  • Stand up and stretch! There is something about getting the blood moving that wakes up the mind, and allows you to keep powering through. Look up some videos for stretching on youtube. There are a ton, no matter your level of privacy or surroundings!
  • Drink a large glass of water. Seems weird right? But dehydration can do some funky things to the mind and body, so drink up! Doing something good for yourself will give you a little step in the right direction.

Do you have any tips for getting sh*t done?? If you want some more productivity tips, check out this post.

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Motivation Monday: Power in the ritual

As I was preparing for the week ahead, I realized that there is really something to be said for a good ritual. I am definitely a creature of habit, but I think if you are trying to change any habits, then routine is necessary!! For example, I LOVE giving my apartment a good scrub down before the week starts. It helps me start fresh, and there is nothing better than going to sleep in a fresh bed! On Saturday I went to town scrubbing floors, bathrooms, washing the sheets and towels, and even my makeup brushes. It made my Sunday so much easier (and much more enjoyable), since I could just relax before starting a new week.

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A few other rituals that can start your week on the right foot….

  • a little meal prepping
  • a long bath/shower
  • decompressing with a good book
  • meditation
  • a sweaty workout
  • a fresh mani/pedi
  • deep cleaning your home!
  • tidying your work space
  • hanging up your clothes (SO guilty of letting this get out of hand during the week…)
  • meal planning

If I had all the time in the world I’d do them all, but hey….just choosing one or two will help you start the week on a productive note!!

Enjoy your week!

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4 tips for adopting a more focused life #essentialism

What is essentialism?? According to Greg Mckeown, author of Essentialism:The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, it involves pursuing the things that are truly important to you and eliminating the rest. When I first heard of this concept I thought it was fascinating, but didn’t know if it was do-able. At this point, considering the evolution of technology, the amount of distractions in life are endless. I wondered if it was possible to tune this out. What I found out was that you aren’t necessarily “tuning out”, but really just “honing in” on the things that you actually find meaningful and important.

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I’ve found that this is just like adopting any other healthy habit. Instead of focusing on what you are NOT going to do…ex:”not eating fast food”, focus on what you ARE going to do ex: “cooking at home”…Put the emphasis on what you are in control of, versus what you are avoiding.

Upon looking at my own habits, I realized I had a few goals that were going unmet, and meanwhile I was wasting time every single day doing things that I really didn’t care about (looking at gossip websites/magazines/social media/ blah blah blah). I am still at the beginning stages of adopting this philosophy, but was able to recently listen to a talk at a work conference on a similar subject, and had a few lightbulb moments.

As a real “people-pleaser”, it sounds heavenly to be able to focus on what really matters, while letting go of the rest… aka JUST SAY NO. I’ve been trying to use the word “no” more this year, and it’s surprisingly satisfying.

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Between my own experience, and from the extra materials I’ve been listening to, here are 4 tips for adopting essentialism:

  1. Know what you want. This is ABSOLUTELY the most important. It’s impossible to decide what doesn’t matter, if you don’t know what does matter. This may take a little soul searching, but think about what you want in life. How you want your life to feel. Consider your work life, home life, relationships, and even your personality type. Keep in mind, what looks good/fun/exciting on the outside, doesn’t always feel that way from the inside. If you are lost, I highly recommend listening to this podcast.
  2. Create a mission statement. After deciding what absolutely matters most (again this can include any/all aspect(s) of life… home life, family life, personal, spiritual, etc), create an overarching mission statement that will help guide your decisions.
  3. Accept the fact that saying no to what doesn’t matter =  saying YES to what does matter. It gives you more time  and resources to focus on your mission!
  4. Post your mission statement. In the conference I attended, we were encouraged to post the mission statement in a frame on a nightstand or on a bathroom counter, or even your desk. This ensures you are looking at it multiple times a day, and you can reflect on how your choices are measuring up.

Since I’ve had the topic of essentialism on my mind, I’ve been able to ask myself regularly “is this activity that I am doing right this second something that is leading me to my goals?”. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean going-going-going non-stop. Part of my mission statement includes nurturing my relationships, specifically with my husband. So if we are sitting on the couch together watching TV after a long day…well that’s time well spent! I’m mindful of the other activities we do together, but I don’t feel pressure to be chasing the grind 24/7.

One thing Greg said, that I thought was interesting is that people (esp in the beginning of a career/new job) want to be the “yes” person. While this may help you get ahead at the beginning, it’s no way to spend a career. You end up unable to focus on what you are good at or where your talents really lie. He mentioned that people actually end up getting farther ahead when doing what they are good at! Imagine that. #nobrainer

As I continue to adopt the practice of essentialism, I will continue to update with any changes I notice!

BTW here’s a great article from NPR, and there’s an interview with my girl-crush Chalene, on episode 3 of her podcast.

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Half-way point

Somehow we are half way through 2015!!! SO crazy. This is a good time to check in and see if you are on track to accomplishing what you wanted to this year. If you wrote down your New Years Resolutions, have a look at them, otherwise just evaluate where you are at [personally, professionally, physically….]

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If you aren’t making progress or heading in the direction you want, only YOU have the power to drive your life in a different direction. Now ask yourself, where do you want to be on January 1, 2016???? What do you want to be the same? Different?

For me it’s been a crazy but fun year! I am half way done with grad school, we got our puppy who is now a (n obnoxious but cute) member of the family, almost done with my Masters Project, took a couple trips to CA, and finally- started a new job that I am so happy with! Going forward, I want to be sure I’m focussed on a couple financial goals I had set at the beginning of the year, and make sure I am continuing to make exercise a priority.

I know I said it before, but I really love this time of year…the temps are crazy this week, but I am so excited for the 4th of July. I want to make sure I’m soaking up as much of the summer as possible before heading into an insane fall semester.

Have a great month!

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Motivation Monday: a brand new month

Happy Monday! I LOVE when the 1st of the month is on a Monday. It feels like such a fresh start to the month. This month I’m looking forward to visiting Santa Barbara with my family and naturally I’ll be laying on the beach. Can’t wait.

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With the crazy summer months upon us, I thought I’d share a little reminder that your workouts don’t have to take place in the gym! Go for a hike or a walk on the beach, do yoga in your backyard, swim laps at your hotel, go paddle boarding in the ocean. Fitness should add to your life, not be the focus of your life. It’s also important to remember that you feel better when you are working out (versus skipping your workouts entirely).  Sometimes I need this reminder.

Have a great month!

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My new obsession…

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself reminding myself how much stuff I have to do. Assignments, housework, blah blah blahhhhh.  But since I’ve started going for long walks around the lake with my pup, my mind feels so much clearer…I throw on my shoes and listen to a podcast and it is SO refreshing. I listen to different podcasts depending on my mood, and it’s such a great way to work on self-improvement/personal development or even just zone out and soak up some vitamin D.  Of course I love going hard in the gym, but I am LOVING getting some fresh air and clearing my head in the great outdoors….

And what’s not to love about this view…..


my guys ^^^ 🙂

And now a few podcasts I am loving:

The topics are kind of all over the place, but that means something for everyone 😉 I’m also interested in listening to TED talks this way, but haven’t yet…I’ve only recently gotten into podcasts (started with my Serial obsession a few months back), and I know there are SO many different types. I think it’s such a great way to spend a commute, or even just listen to while driving or walking around town.

Now tell me…what are YOU listening to??

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