5 Things to Start in a New Month to Re-charge!

5 things to start in a new month to re-chargeI don’t know about you, but I am very thankful to see the start of a new month.  I feel bogged down by all of that old month’s nonsense somehow.  Like “get it out of here already” and let’s begin fresh.  Although to be perfectly honest, it could have to do with looking at your bank account at the end of the month and seeing how many “friends” you have in there and wanting them to invite more friends over there so you know, it’s not lonely.

So whee, start of a new month. I feel re-charged with the first day in a new month.  Like it has its own energy and I am going to plug into that.  So I wanted to share with you my tips on how you can use this in your own life.

For inquiring minds, it doesn’t matter if you are single, have kids, don’t have kids, have pets, have no pets except for dust bunnies, whatever.  This really relies on you.  I need you to get that concept like you need air to breathe.  The start of changing and re-charging is always up to you and it can be done at anytime you choose.  So with that in mind…here we go.

5 Things to Start to Re-charge:

  1. Embrace the morning.  Look.  I get it.  I actually do considering I have the Vampire disease and I really am a night person, but I have been setting my alarm clock back 5, 10, then 15 minutes earlier.  Why?  What does this do for you?  First, please use a real alarm clock.  Everyone who watches my videos knows I say this.  It gives back the power and takes it away from your phone.  Any number of things can and do go wrong with technology anyway, but the worst is checking out what everyone else is doing before you check in with yourself.  << Busted.  Seriously.  The urge to check-in on social media is an addiction that only you can start to change when you get fully centered in your own routines that don’t involve the phone being the first thing you check.
  2. Start with gratitudeSo this morning, as the sleepiness was wearing off, and I stretched in bed, I was thankful for my favorite flannel sheets that I use no matter what the temperature is outside.  I embraced my eyes opening, and said thank you for today.  I did a body scan quickly, and told my body how I wanted it to act today.  << This is something I teach in my club about the power of positive thinking and using it to manifest the desires we wish to see come true in our lives.  It’s kind of a long story about how I used to feel when I woke up, but for those of you who are new here, feel free to read this later >> About me <<.  I continued to say thank you for the blessings in my life as I got out of bed.
  3. Have a plan for your meals.  I start this off when school starts again in the fall because in the summer, its fresh veggies and fend for yourself.  However, there’s strength in planning as you don’t see the worst foods in your fridge and grab those…well if you do, it’s at least because you wanted it instead of there was nothing to eat.  I am certified in sports nutrition, but even I struggle with staying on track.  Because I am gluten intolerant and do still have autoimmune disease, I get that life isn’t always fair.  So in order to go around that thinking, I have everything that supports me fully in front of me.  Like 5 foods to boost my mood <<< Read later:)  A new month means a new plan for my fridge, which oddly enough, makes me feel so good!
  4. Move your body!  People who are not used to exercise are often drawn to my style of group coaching.  Why?  Because I get that you don’t want to move when you are in pain, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.  So this summer, I started a new program for myself and I was in some pain of my own making.  And you know what?  That actually feels freaking amazing compared to the pain of dis-ease.  My youngest daughter started to run cross-country as well and her results have been amazing.  Her entire energy changed.  She came home full of those great “runner’s high” endorphins and her entire mood was different.  She was doing things she didn’t think she could do so naturally this boosted her head, heart and health.  Get your friends, fam and anyone else out there walking with you.  No one said you have to start big, and if you need help, check out my baby steps program >>> 4 Weeks to Wellness <<< for a great start to your month.
  5. End your day with journaling.  The research on this alone is astounding as some of you know that I am a former teacher who loves brain based research.  Since starting my own personal journal practice in 2015, my life has changed for the better.  when thoughts struggle to overtake me, I do my yoga breathing, get centered and journal it all out.  I create my world based on how I want it to be and I start to remove my own blocks on paper.  The research on this is that we are using language more and thinking about how to remove these blocks thus improving our immune function as well.  << Seriously.  Writing also has critical connections to speaking, and your communication improves from the “dumbing down” we have seen do to technology and using abbreviations.  << Don’t be mad, it’s not my research, but it is true.  You can use this technique with your entire family if you want and measure the results in as little as 3 months.  Memory starts to improve, comprehension, and more. 

If you are interested in getting the best of my journaling bundle, I put together some of my best resources for you to take advantage of only until the end of this month.  >>> Journaling Bundle <<<  The bundle discount ends soon. 

I really hope this inspires you to start living your best life right now.  I know that if I can do it, and turn my life around, so can you.  ~Aimee

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Life!

Well, we did it.  We made it to the first day of spring, but for many of us, it doesn’t quite feel like that outside yet.  In fact, there might have been sightings of snow yesterday or it might still be on the ground.  Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the weather has been a bit interesting.

For many of us though, no matter where you live or what the weather is, we can all use a little light cleaning, or perhaps some deep cleaning, of our lives.  It’s time to re-evaluate who and what you want to keep in your life so let’s get started.

5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Life:

  1. I have no closet space!  Okay, so guess what this means?  It’s time to take out as much as possible, try it on, and part with it if it doesn’t fit, you aren’t going to wear it again, or you haven’t worn it in 3 years.  Yup.  Now make those piles, and include your shoes.  If you don’t love it, and it doesn’t work for you, it goes.
  2. Check the expiration dates…in your fridge.  It’s time to get some fresh food in there, you know?  Start with some nice leafy greens, more fruits and veggies and less processed stuff.  You will start to feel better.  More smoothies, and more prepping the snacks ahead of time.  Go ahead and add some fruit water while you are at it.  You will feel much better.
  3. And cue the Rocky music in your head.  It’s time to add a bit more exercise to your day.  I know, I know.  You have been avoiding it.  Well, guess what?  93 days until summer starts.  Let’s make the best of it right now!  Try some exercises at home if you don’t want to get out or even jump-start the next 4 Weeks of your Life with my baby-step plan.
  4. Clean the friend lists and streamline social media.  If you don’t really speak to acquaintances who send you requests because you might know each other from something long ago…or even better, have never met and they don’t speak to you, start thinking about clearing some space.  Especially if they are politically charged and you don’t have the energy for that in your face all the time.  Your energy is important…and keeping it clean is valuable.
  5. Mirror, mirror on the wall…I need sleep before I fall.  How’s your sleep schedule?  Try knocking off from technology an hour earlier.  No matter what.  Tell people as well.  Look friends, I really like you, but at 9p.m., I shut my phone off  There.  It’s done.  Now relax with a new routine.  Read a book, soak in the tub, and get some sleep.  Start a gratitude journal practice.  But try something new that helps get you into better sleep habits.

Start being more mindful today of what you allow into your home, your car, your work area, and of course, your life.  As you work to spring clean your life,  things will start to fall into place.

 

 

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10 Tips for Quitting Smoking

A Guest Post By Leo Babauta

I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary of quitting smoking (editor’s note, he quit in 2007). Well, of finally quitting … like most smokers, I had tried to quit many times and failed. But this quit stuck, and I’d like to share the top 10 things that made this quit successful when the others failed.

1. Commit Thyself Fully. In the quits that failed, I was only half into it. I told myself I wanted to quit, but I always felt in the back of my mind that I’d fail. I didn’t write anything down, I didn’t tell everybody (maybe my wife, but just her). This time, I wrote it down. I wrote down a plan. I blogged about it. I made a vow to my daughter. I told family and friends I was quitting. I went online and joined a quit forum. I had rewards. Many of these will be in the following tips, but the point is that I fully committed, and there was no turning back. I didn’t make it easy for myself to fail.

2. Make a Plan. You can’t just up and say, “I’m gonna quit today.” You have to prepare yourself. Plan it out. Have a system of rewards, a support system, a person to call if you’re in trouble. Write down what you’ll do when you get an urge. Print it out. Post it up on your wall, at home and at work. If you wait until you get the urge to figure out what you’re going to do, you’ve already lost. You have to be ready when those urges come.

3. Know Your Motivation. When the urge comes, your mind will rationalize. “What’s the harm?” And you’ll forget why you’re doing this. Know why you’re doing this BEFORE that urge comes. Is it for your kids? For your wife? For you health? So you can run? Because the girl you like doesn’t like smokers? Have a very good reason or reasons for quitting. List them out. Print them out. Put it on a wall. And remind yourself of those reasons every day, every urge.

4. Not One Puff, Ever (N.O.P.E.). The mind is a tricky thing. It will tell you that one cigarette won’t hurt. And it’s hard to argue with that logic, especially when you’re in the middle of an urge. And those urges are super hard to argue with. Don’t give in. Tell yourself, before the urges come, that you will not smoke a single puff, ever again. Because the truth is, that one puff WILL hurt. One puff leads to a second, and a third, and soon you’re not quitting, you’re smoking. Don’t fool yourself. A single puff will almost always lead to a recession. DO NOT TAKE A SINGLE PUFF!

5. Join a Forum. One of the things that helped the most in this quit was an online forum for quitters (quitsmoking.about.com) … you don’t feel so alone when you’re miserable. Misery loves company, after all. Go online, introduce yourself, get to know the others who are going through the exact same thing, post about your crappy experience, and read about others who are even worse than you. Best rule: Post Before You Smoke. If you set this rule and stick to it, you will make it through your urge. Others will talk you through it. And they’ll celebrate with you when you make it through your first day, day 2, 3, and 4, week 1 and beyond. It’s great fun.

6. Reward Yourself. Set up a plan for your rewards. Definitely reward yourself after the first day, and the second, and the third. You can do the fourth if you want, but definitely after Week 1 and Week 2. And month 1, and month 2. And 6 months and a year. Make them good rewards, that you’ll look forward to: CDs, books, DVDs, T-shirts, shoes, a massage, a bike, a dinner out at your favorite restaurant, a hotel stay … whatever you can afford. Even better: take whatever you would have spent on smoking each day, and put it in a jar. This is your Rewards Jar. Go crazy! Celebrate your every success! You deserve it.

7. Delay. If you have an urge, wait. Do the following things: take 10 deep breaths. Drink water. Eat a snack (at first it was candy and gum, then I switched to healthier stuff like carrots and frozen grapes and pretzels). Call your support person. Post on your smoking cessation forum. Exercise. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES, BUT DELAY, DELAY, DELAY. You will make it through it, and the urge will go away. When it does, celebrate! Take it one urge at a time, and you can do it.

8. Replace Negative Habits with Positive Ones. What do you do when you’re stressed? If you currently react to stress with a cigarette, you’ll need to find something else to do. Deep breathing, self massage of my neck and shoulders, and exercise have worked wonders for me. Other habits, such as what you do the first thing in the morning, or what you do in the car, or wherever you usually smoke, should be replaced with better, more positive ones. Running has been my best positive habit, although I have a few others that replaced smoking.

9. Make it Through Hell Week, then Heck Week, and You’re Golden. The hardest part of quitting is the first two days. If you can get past that, you’ve passed the nicotine withdrawal stage, and the rest is mostly mental. But all of the first week is hell. Which is why it’s called Hell Week. After that, it begins to get easier. Second week is Heck Week, and is still difficult, but not nearly as hellish as the first. After that, it was smooth sailing for me. I just had to deal with an occasional strong urge, but the rest of the urges were light, and I felt confident I could make it through anything.

10. If You Fall, Get Up. And Learn From Your Mistakes. Yes, we all fail. That does not mean we are failures, or that we can never succeed. If you fall, it’s not the end of the world. Get up, brush yourself off, and try again. I failed numerous times before succeeding. But you know what? Each of those failures taught me something. Well, sometimes I repeated the same mistakes several times, but eventually I learned. Figure out what your obstacles to success are, and plan to overcome them in your next quit. And don’t wait a few months until your next quit. Give yourself a few days to plan and prepare, commit fully to it, and go for it!

BONUS TIP #11: THINK POSITIVE. This is the most important tip of all. I saved it for last. If you have a positive, can-do attitude, as corny as it may sound, you will succeed. Trust me. It works. Tell yourself that you can do it, and you will. Tell yourself that you can’t do it, and you definitely won’t. When things get rough, think positive! You CAN make it through the urge. You CAN make it through Hell Week. And you can. I did. So have millions of others. We are no better than you. (In my case, worse.)

 Editor’s note:  Lots of people have asked for this, so I pulled a guest post.  If you are interested in replacing some thoughts with positive ones and being more mindful of getting healthy, see the Work With Me tab as I would suggest the Gratitude Journal to keep you going on the right path.

Can you be alone without being lonely?

I am always fascinated by research…particularly genetic research after discovering all the things I inherited that I choose to overcome.  One of the things that I read while researching the feeling of being alone was this.

A 2007 study published in the journal Genome Biology found loneliness could be in our genes. The team of researchers discovered a distinct pattern of gene expression in immune cells in participants who suffered from chronic loneliness. These feelings of solitude were associated with changes in gene expression that drive inflammation — known as one of the first responses of the immune system.

Hold up.  This can drive inflammation?  Well what if you prefer solitude and don’t necessarily feel lonely?  What then?  Because I do have autoimmune and inflammation is the last thing I need.  So let me ponder this out with you guys.

I have long thought that social media today makes some young people feel alone and like an outcast.  Why?  Because I have seen it happen in my own household.  My youngest daughter was not invited to an outing where every single person she knew appeared to be there.  All the photos.  Inside I was livid.  All the people she sat with were there…what game were these girls playing because believe me, I didn’t raise anyone to play these games.  So how do I go about teaching the difference between being alone and being lonely?  Enjoying solitude, yet feeling at peace and not excluded?

Now let’s look at the elderly.  They don’t have social media and can feel alone as well; however, they pick up the phone and call people.  They have found strong mental habits like thinking of their loved ones who might have passed on with fond memories knowing they lived a great life together.  They make church dates, and meetings, and try to get out and keep up their old habits.

Between the generations it is sad to say that we are losing some of the things that make us mentally strong and foster these slight difference in being alone and being okay with it, and feeling isolated and cut off, which is not the same.

So how can we go about creating new patterns that make us feel less alone?

  1. List the top 3 people who you have not talked to in a while, but would like to.  Do you have their actual phone number OR could you Skype with them?  No texting.  Make it a face-to-face meeting or a phone call.
  2. List 3 hobbies you could do OUTSIDE of your house where you might meet people of like minds.  No computer stuff unless you are going to look for a Meet Up near you.  In this day and age it is important to get out.
  3. Write a letter to a pen pal.  Yup.  I am way old school, but this was fun back in the day.  You never knew when you might get a letter.  I remember giving my friend in Australia my address and getting a card.  I later sent her a package of some sort.  It was pretty cool to me.  Now, I don’t know much about this site, but here you go.  And no this is not a hook-up as far as I can tell…but always be careful.

What would you do if you were lonely?

  1. You might decide it’s too much trouble talking to anyone in the “real world” and play video games or watch T.V. without actually making new real life friends.  <<< Instead, grab your journal and write about the qualities a supportive friend might have.
  2. You might decide to drink alcohol…alone.  <<< Instead make a green smoothie, a cup of tea, or a fruit water and look online at your local gym memberships.  You can always just walk the treadmill, but you are getting out.
  3. Get invited to things, but never actually leave the house.  <<< Be careful here.  There is a difference in resting and deciding that you are always too tired to go out.  I have been there so I feel like I can say that to you.  I make it a point to tell my group of friends that I want to get together monthly.

In the end, what I have found while working with my group coaching members is that action actually makes us feel better!  Write this down.  If you would like to meet some new friends online in a safe environment, I invite you to join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club.  We work our way through our thoughts and how to control them, through our hearts and how to foster worthiness and love, and through our overall health and wellness thus creating a more meaningful and fulfilling life no matter where we are in the world.  This is right for you if you are ready to move forward from stuck to unstuck and from indecision to clarity.  Speak to you soon!  ~Aimee

 

3 habits to start…

3 habits

Over the weekend, I completed my 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training.  There was much to take away, but the top three things that I would like to pass on, I listed above.

3 Habits to Start

1. Filter your thoughts.  What does this mean exactly?  I want you to wrap your head around this…we think approximately 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day.  This means between 35-48 thoughts per minute…hmm.  Bad news first: what we know about the brain is that repetition in the firing of neural circuits tends to strengthen those circuits.  So that the more you ruminate, obsess, or recycle,  the stronger the ruminating circuit gets.  Which brings me to my next point.

2. Replace the negative with the positive.  If you learn to recognize when you are creating this pathway to the negative, you can shift your thoughts.  That’s right…you can.  So we begin to notice when the same old thoughts of low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, anger, pain, or even depression start to take hold of our mind.  You start to recognize if you are actually repeating the same story in your head from days, weeks, months or even years.  It is now got its own little path, maybe even a deep ravine from going there so often.  Let’s go somewhere new.  How about let’s build a beach house and visit that place.  Don’t let your thoughts be the driver…you can take control.  How to do this?  Aha!  This brings me to my next point:)

3. Realign with the present moment…repeatedly.  I recently read that we are in the present for about 3 seconds of every thought.  Supposedly, we are either in the past or future for the rest of the time.  The problem is…it’s basically true.  I took a look around me at my daughter’s graduation ceremony…okay, it was from middle school, but still, at least 3 people closest to me were on their phones.  Not engaged in the present moment.  And just yesterday at lunch I was present, present, present…got a message on my phone, and boom.  I was no longer there.  I should not have checked it…I actually knew that.  Yet somehow I did.  I would love to make a new rule that someone keeps it for me the whole time I am with them at a meal…and I keep theirs.HA.  Let’s try not to stab each other with the fork over who gets to look first.  Let’s really think about it and honor the present.  We live in it so very little.

I want you to seriously take a moment and do a reflection on this.
If you are thinking the same thoughts as last year, doing the same things, and continuing the same habits, are you making progress?  It’s doubtful.  Get ready to make some new pathways and start some good habits today!

Foolish comments…

I once used the word asinine in the middle of a meeting with a team of people and you would have thought I said the “f” word.  Maybe I did in a way because I meant foolish or senseless.  I used the word correctly and the idea was absurd.  Sometimes I don’t understand why we tip-toe around the truth.  I don’t remember who brought the idea up now, it was a few years ago, but I was known for speaking my mind which is why they put me on that particular team.  All the other people were nodding their heads so maybe in a way it was my administrator’s idea, but I knew it was not put out there for the good of the many.  It was put out there as a way to give negative criticism and hide behind a fictitious veil of righteousness.  So I came up with an idea that was the opposite and we went with that.

Only a few people knew how truly awful this upper management’s mind worked…and only a few people cared.  I wondered, as any good employee does, how these people get to be in management.  I’ll never forget the meeting we all went to with other members of our community.  I was taking notes, my team was brainstorming, and I looked over and there was our fearless “leader”.  Texting under the table.  Checking her e-mail.  Playing on her phone the whole time.  I ate lunch with two of my like-minded team members that day, and we talked about how embarrassing her actions were.

Remember the old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them.”?  Well, I don’t believe in that.  As a geek, I see this as going over to the side of Lord Vader or Lord Voldemort.  Take your pick.  Perhaps Frodo should have just kept the ring, hmm?  NO.  What if we all just went with foolish ideas because it was easier.  How about instead of the old saying we change it to “If you can’t beat them, come up with a better idea.”  That works for me.  So my friends, your task is to be witty and fearless.  Go out and brandish your ideas as a way to combat foolishness everywhere.  Do not give in to the dark side.

Dark Side Quote

 

Motivational Monday…good thoughts

Remember when your mom used to say things like “A job worth doing is worth doing right the first time.”?  Well, what if you didn’t do it right the first time, then what happens?  Did you learn something new?  I hope so.  I feel like that is the story of my life.  There is no rewind button, so I just keep pressing forward.

I have a confession to make.  I worry.  I am a worrier.  I worry about almost everything.  It gets me absolutely nowhere.  That’s why a little over 5 years ago I began slowly trying to change my thoughts.  I try to focus on the good that can come out of a situation, but sometimes I fail.  The good news is that I am still learning.  I am still evolving.  I am still here.

So, for the next 21 days, I am focusing on the “good thoughts=good actions” project.  I just made this up, so you are welcome to join (starting today).  I have some new friends on my Facebook page and they have been wonderfully positive influences, and I so needed that.  Each day, I want you to keep a journal, or set reminders on your phone, whatever floats your boat, to set aside 15 minutes and do something good, for yourself.  It can be deep breathing and thinking good thoughts.  This one requires you to push the negative thoughts out of your head when they arrive.  You can wake up 15 minutes earlier and do some stretches.  It can be 15 minutes of gardening.  Whatever you want to do, but each day set that time aside and think no harmful thoughts.

Trust me when I say I know how hard it is. Motivate your self to think positive thoughts daily, even if it is just for 15 minutes at a time.  After 21 days, a new habit will be formed.  A positive one.  Try it and see:)

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Be courageous…

Sigh.   Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to.  Sometimes you have to talk to people and have conversations you don’t want to.  There is not a problem with this at all as I was reminded at work a few weeks ago, but the handout on “Courageous Conversations” did caution me about a few things.  First, you never speak in anger.  It will not get the results you want.  If you need to have the conversation, the handout did suggest you have it as soon as the issue arises so that it doesn’t get worse.  I agree.  It is best to get things out in the open.

Try to see things from the other person’s perspective.  There are some people who will not see your side, no matter what you say.  End of story.  Do you need to have a “Courageous Conversation” with them?  No.  It will only lead to frustration.  You might as well be talking to a brick wall as far as that person is concerned.  I tried having a conversation like that two years ago, and it did not go well.

Don’t apologize for how you feel.  You have a right to your feelings, but state the facts.  Some people can’t leave out the emotional drama and exaggerate the facts tremendously.  Usually, you can tell who these folks are.  When speaking with them, it is best to remember that even though they are telling you their side, it might be embellished more than necessary.

Someone recently told me that even though they were right in the middle of a conversation, they didn’t hear what was being said.  I know what it is like to be “mentally checked out”.  If I think this is going to happen to me, I always say this isn’t the best time to speak to me because I have a lot on my mind right now.  I want to be there for you, but can we please come back to this later?  True friends or colleagues should understand.

Lastly, end on a positive.  If you made a mistake or misjudged someone and the error is yours, be honest.  If you failed to do what was expected, be honest.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”  ~Eleanor Roosevelt