Be Active. Be Healthy. Be Happy.
Three keys to having a successful life. The first, Be Active. Move. It is essential to move your body anyway you can. From your brain to your joints, moving every day has the power to improve every part of your body. The movement does not have to be just about high-impact, sweat-inducing exercise, either. Even small movements help. Or maybe you choose to try a new activity like cycling or yoga. Increasing your daily mobility can help upgrade your overall health. The second, Be Healthy. Make good choices. No more bad habits. Instead, choose to put in your body things that give your body energy and nutrients that allow your body to perform at its best. A healthy lifestyle also includes maintaining a healthy weight. This is important for your overall body health. Wear sunscreen to protect from the rays, keep up with vaccines and brush and floss your teeth. Make time to get enough sleep! The last is Be Happy. This is your journey in life. Decide your path. Strive to be in charge of your life and where you are now and where you want to be.
SMALL TASK: SURVEY YOUR HOUSE Take a walk around the inside and outside of your house. Bring a note pad and pen. Look for leaks around faucets or toilets, cracks in paint and windows, a door that is hard to latch, a drawer that sticks, a cooktop burner that doesn’t heat, squeaky doors, windows, floors and stairs, whistling windows could indicate an air leak, rattling fan that might need tightening, check for water damage around doors, windows and ceilings. Don’t get overwhelmed. So many of these jobs will be easy fixes and may just need the turn of a screwdriver. If you don’t know how to do it, try YouTube for a how to video. Write down everything you see and tackle it one at a time or hire a handy person to complete the jobs.
SMILE MAKER: FIND JOY What brings you joy? Start by taking inventory each day. Write down when you sense happiness, joy or even just the subtle smile inside that you can physically feel. Take note of where you are and the circumstances that surround you. Try to recreate this sensation every day. There are other tangible things you can do to alter your emotions in a positive way. Add plants to your surroundings and introduce color to every room. Find those colors that make you smile and enhance your living and workspace with that palette. You want to surround yourself with textures and colors that elevate you. Pillows, vases, and throws are easy adds. Take these colors into your wardrobe too. Break out of any ruts you are in with your wardrobe. Turn it up and increase your mood by wearing color and sparkles.
Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits
If you shy away from the difficult opportunities that test your ability you are inhibiting your growth. When an occasion presents itself to give of yourself in a way that stretches your boundaries, take it! When you challenge yourself and you push yourself through the barriers you had previously set for yourself or the limits you thought you had, you will find that you can do so much more than you thought you could. Bet on yourself. Believe that you can. Give yourself the chance to succeed in ways that you never have before.
SMALL TASK: CLEAN YOUR REFRIGERATOR Not a fun job, but a rewarding one. Typically, the best approach is to take everything out of the refrigerator at once. You must be ready to finish the job when you begin it since these items need to be cold and time is of the essence. After all the items are out, wash everything thoroughly. Maybe even take the caps off the bottles and wipe around the rims. There will be spills and smells in your fridge that you couldn’t see underneath the food, so be sure and scrub everything down. Look over each item and assess freshness and future usage before putting it back. You can approach this one just like the pantry. Be sure and throw out anything that has expired or those products that you might have bought for a recipe that you will no longer be making. It is also helpful to get organizational containers to not only keep things fresh, but also it will keep your fridge looking good. Turn all the labels so they are facing out. It looks good and makes it easier to see items.
SMILE MAKER: WARM COAT The cold weather is coming and most of us will have a roof over our head and food to eat. So many are far less fortunate. There are warm coat drives that typically start this time of year. Go through your closet and donate. Here are two websites to learn more: https://www.onewarmcoat.org/ and https://greatnonprofits.org/org/one-warm-coat (they donated 599,487 warm coats last year ) One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that works to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need and raises awareness of the vital need for warm coats. One Warm Coat supports individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country by providing the tools and resources needed to hold a successful coat drive. Coats are distributed in the communities where they were collected, to any person in need, without charge, discrimination or obligation. Since their inception in 1992, One Warm Coat has worked with our volunteers to give away nearly 5 million coats. Go to www.onewarmcoat.org/holdacoatdrive to learn how to have your own drive! Help make a difference!
Don’t count the days, make the days count
There are two ways to look at life. You can either take in life as a total body of work or you can concentrate on each individual piece. Both views are important, however, on a day to day basis, it is so valuable to focus on every moment, hour, and day. If you are always just waiting until Friday, you lose track of the joys that each day can provide. It is also easy to do a countdown until your next vacation four months from now. There are 120 days until that time and be sure and give your all to every one of them. Make every day count. Grow. Find Joy. Give Back. Always live in the moment!
SMALL TASK: CLEAN YOUR PANTRY This will be a longer task. I would suggest that you tackle this project one shelf at a time if you are happy with how you have it organized. If your pantry has gotten to the point where it is difficult to find an item because it is chaos, then take everything out at once. Clean the shelves thoroughly before you put anything back. Now, survey the items on the counter. Group like items on the counter before putting them back on the shelf so you can assess the room you need. Then, decide if you really want the product or item, check the expiration date, and wipe it down before it goes back in its place. Think about how you use the pantry and what would be ideal. It may help to get some risers or containers. You may be surprised by what you find, and you will feel so good about completing this project.
SMILE MAKER: DONATE BLOOD There is a great need and this donation will immediately and directly help someone. Blood transfusions are needed for women with complications of pregnancy; children with severe anemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition; people with severe trauma following man-made and natural disasters; and many complex medical and surgical procedures as well as cancer patients. It is also needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease and it is also used to make products such as clotting factors for people with hemophilia. There is a constant need for a regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by enough healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed. Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person. It is the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life! For information about where to donate, here are two helpful sites: https://www.redcrossblood.org/ or http://www.aabb.org/tm/donation/Pages/Blood-Bank-Locator.aspx
The Body achieves what the Mind believes
Greatness starts with the right mind set. If you genuinely believe that you can achieve something and you want it enough, then you will find a way to do it. Once you let self-doubt creep into your thoughts, then your motivation and determination will surely diminish. When it comes to your body you need to choose to be your best you and work to attain it. Set goals. If you are feeling lethargic, assess your eating and exercise habits. What needs to change? You need to believe in yourself and what you can accomplish first and then create a visual. In that picture are you 5lbs lighter? Do you have a more defined bicep? Are you getting through the day with more energy? What does your body need to get it to the level that your mind believes it can? Start today. First, believe you can do it and next, take that first step to make it happen.
SMALL TASK: IN CASE OF EVACUATION This is a task that you won’t have time to think about in the moment you need to, so be prepared. Make a list of the items you want to take and put it by the phone or somewhere you will see it easily. Take the things you will need, want and those that you can’t replace. Let’s start with the obvious which is all the members of your family, including your pets. Make sure they are all safely exiting. Cash, credit card and checkbook are all necessary since ATMs could be down and stores might be unable to accept credit cards. Documents like birth or marriage certificates, social security cards, wills, property deeds, or rental leases, and any other legal, financial, or insurance-related paperwork. You may not need them all right away but obtaining a replacement document may be difficult. Keys to your home, vehicles, office, storage units, or safe deposit boxes. Medication and medical supplies. Eyeglasses or contact lens supplies. Wet wipes or hand sanitizer, a toothbrush, extra underwear, and diapers. Food and water, comfortable shoes, at least one change of clothing, a jacket for each family member, flashlights, batteries, a hand-crank radio, and sleeping bags or blankets. Electronics and chargers. Lastly, photos, family heirlooms, a child's favorite toy, or valuable collectibles. Take pictures of these items now. I will be helpful in case you forget something in the moment.
SMILE MAKER: NAP Put a cool cloth over your eyes and nap for 15 minutes. Breathe in and out slowly using the box method. Exhale to a count of four, hold your lungs empty for a four-count, inhale to a count of four, and hold air in your lungs for a count of four before exhaling and beginning the pattern anew. It should lower your blood pressure and give you an immediate sense of calm.
Hustle for that Muscle
You have got to work for it! Building muscle takes time, patience, and a strong will to succeed. Establish your goals. If you are just beginning a workout routine, make sure you map out a realistic and sustainable program. If you are happy with your body and want to maintain your physique, make sure your workout includes exercises for every muscle group. Lastly, if you are looking to increase your muscle mass, create a routine that includes the necessary reps and weights that will build the size of the muscles. No matter what your workout objectives are for your muscles, your regime needs to include eating right and possible vitamin supplements to be able to accomplish your goals. Eating healthy and getting enough sleep both go an exceptionally long way to looking good and feeling good. Do both well! You have got to make the time, have the desire and Hustle for that Muscle!
SMALL TASK: CLEAN THE GARAGE Do it a little or do it a lot. Just do it! You enter this garage multiple times a day. You see the mess. You’ve thought of doing it. Today’s the day. You can just sweep it out and be done. Just that alone will look better. You can also dig a bit deeper. Throw away. Reorganize. You will be amazed at how much room you can create when you purge the stuff you don’t need. If you want to make this a project, open all the drawers and the cabinets. Get rid of the duplicates or the “what is this” stuff. The garage can be a catch all for things that you find or things that you may need. There are many items that you have used in the past that you have no need for now. Out! Old paint, worn out and outdated toys and extra parts of items you have long since thrown away. Free up some space and only keep what you like, what you need and what you want to have in your life. Next time you enter that garage you will smile and feel great about what you have accomplished.
SMILE MAKER: ACKNOWLEDGE RECOGNITION There are times when you see someone you know in the paper, a magazine or a circular. You read it, you smile, and you say to yourself that you are happy for them. Take it one step farther. Cut out or print out the article. Buy or make a frame and memorialize it for them. You can decorate the frame or not. Your call. Be sure to include a note about how happy you are that they have been justly recognized and either put it on their doorstep or mail it to them. Most people wouldn’t do that for themselves and they will appreciate it that you thought enough of their accomplishment to take the time to do this for them. It is a wonderful gesture to let someone know you are proud of what they have done.
Good things come to those who sweat
A good sweat after a hard workout. There is nothing like it. If you have done it, you get it. If exercise is not your thing, then it is time to get on the fitness train. The benefits of exercise are unlimited. It helps you control your weight. Reduces your risk of heart disease. Helps your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels. Helps you quit smoking. Improves your mental health and mood. Helps keep your thinking, learning and judgement skills sharp. Strengthens your bones and muscles. Reduces your risk of some cancers. Reduces your risk of falls. Improves your sleep. Improves your sexual health. It increases your chances of living longer! Why wouldn’t you? All upside! Your body needs it. Your body wants it. Imagine how good you will feel when you work up a sweat. When you push your body to fatigue it is the kind of tired that is so satisfying. Remember this list of benefits and remind yourself of why you are doing it when you are thinking of taking the day off. Do it for your mind, body, and your Spirit! The power for you to feel better and be better is within your reach. You will be happy you did!
SMALL TASK: USE A ROLLER This is a necessary and frequently overlooked step. It does, however, take a bit of time and it can be painful. The discomfort only means that you really need to do it more often. Rolling eases muscle pain, increases range of motion, relieves back pain, helps manage fibromyalgia symptoms, and helps you relax. Start with light pressure and build as you get used to it. If you are finding it too painful, adjust the pressure by reducing the amount of body weight you are putting on the roller. Slowly roll on the tender areas for 10 seconds at a time and work your way up to 30 and then 60 seconds. Do this on a consistent basis and you will notice the results. You will find that your body feels significantly better afterwards.
SMILE MAKER: PUT A SIGN UP The sign could say anything. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I LOVE YOU! GOOD LUCK IN YOUR INTERVIEW! HAVE A GREAT DAY! WELCOME HOME! MAKE THIS YOUR BEST DAY EVER! It is the unexpected smile that brings so much joy. The gesture that catches the intended by surprise. Stay up late or get up early to put it up without them knowing. Write it or print it and grab the painter’s tape and hang it where they will see it as they walk out the door. Balloons and streamers are optional. The goal is to start someone’s day with a positive message and a smile. A grand, but simple gesture to let someone know you care and have their back. It will change the course of their day and will also be a lasting memory.
Mental toughness is finding fuel in an empty tank
To create, maintain and build mental toughness you must push yourself. This means giving it a bit more even when you feel you have no more to give. There are many times throughout the day when you can give yourself that extra push. Your workout may provide many opportunities. If you are a runner, you may find some days when you don’t have anything left and you still have a quarter mile to go. Reset. Tell yourself you got this and finish with a sprint at the end and, when you do, you will feel SO good. Give yourself more credit. Believe. You CAN do the last two reps. You are capable of finding another gear on your bike that will help you ride those last 3 miles. When your body feels that is has given all you’ve got, find the words to tell yourself you are tough, you have more to give and the will to do it.
SMALL TASK: CLEAN YOUR DISPOSAL Is there a smell coming from your garbage disposal? Have you tried putting a lemon down the drain or some other home remedy and the smell keeps coming back? It could be that it is just dirty and needs you to physically clean it. It’s easy and a bit slimy. First make sure there is no way the disposal can turn on when you are completing this task. Next, remove the rubber guard that you put your food through that covers the disposal. This needs to be clean. Run the water over it while you scrap the slime off either with your fingers or a small brush. Now, run your fingers or a brush around the rim of the disposal. Lastly, get your fingers or a brush inside and clean underneath the rim. This should make the smell away!
SMILE MAKER: KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP There is so much uncertainty and unrest in the world right now making this an exceedingly difficult time. You may have times what you feel depressed and isolated. Here are a few tips that could help. Create a routine. This will bring structure to your day and give it purpose. Each morning provides a fresh start. Give yourself something to look forward to in each day. Go outside as often as possible if the weather permits. Eat lunch outside. Go for walks. You can easily socially distance and the Vitamin D from the sun can help fight depression. Take on a project that will make you happy. You don’t have to finish it all at once. Find pockets of time to work on it to break up the day. Stay in touch with friends. You can call them, Skype, or Zoom and even go to an outdoor restaurant. Make the effort and reach out. Personal interaction with people you love is such a blessing. Create an environment at home that is peaceful and happy. Carve out a space just for you. Light candles. Meditate. Play music. Dance!
Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.
We all have used the excuse “I’m tired” and in many cases we are! However, try not to use this as an excuse to stop. You could feel tired because you are bored or because you have hit a roadblock, or it could be because of truly not enough sleep. Instead of halting your efforts for the reason of being tired, set a more realistic goal at the start and don’t stop until it is accomplished. Push yourself to finish. There is such power in completing a task and, conversely, a feeling of powerlessness when you stop before you are finished. This saying is especially true when working out. Pace yourself and if you feel like you are getting tired then it’s time to dig deeper. If you are lifting weights, maybe it is wise to break the reps up. Instead of doing 4 sets of 15, do 6 sets of 10. You certainly want to avoid injury, and this could help. You are still completing 60 reps. If you are setting out to run 4 miles, start off a bit slower and build when you are past the 2-mile mark and don’t stop until you are done.
SMALL TASK: CHECK YOUR SPRINKLERS You may notice some dry spots in your grass or plants that are looking droopy. If you have a gardener, they may be watching out for this too, but if yours is like mine, they are not taking the time to adjust or change out sprinkler heads, so I fix the sprinklers myself. First, I would suggest purchasing markers. The ones I use are actual flags attached to a thin metal rod that is simply inserted in the lawn. If you don’t want to get these then find something else that you can stick in your lawn and is easy to spot. You can turn each zone on either by the timer box or manually if you prefer using the valves. The tools I would suggest using are a small screwdriver, a trowel, and your markers. Now, turn on the first zone and get to work. If the head needs redirecting, either turn it with your hands or use the screwdriver. If the head is covered up, use the trowel to clear the grass away. If the sprinkler doesn’t work at all or if it is clearly broken, use your marker and come back to those at the end. You may need to make a run to the hardware store. This is a get wet, get your hands dirty project. What fun!
SMILE MAKER: SEND YOUR FAVORITE BOOK Think of a book that impacted you in some way. Did it make you laugh out loud, did it change your thinking about a topic, or did it provide an incredible escape every time you picked it up. Now pick someone that you believe would also love the book as much as you did and send it to them. Explain on the card why you are sending it to them and how it affected you. Everyone can use a good book and it is so personal to give the gift of the written word.
Never Give Up
This statement applies to everything you are passionate about in your life. Never give up on yourself. Never give up on your dreams. Never give up on anything that you really want or anyone that you genuinely care about. If the path you are on isn’t working, take another one. You will regret it if you stop trying when you get frustrated or when it gets a bit hard. There could be a fitness goal that you have always wanted to achieve. Start with a more attainable goal and work your way up to that success. Dig deeper. Maybe what this saying means to you is a career aspiration that you have your sights on. Talk to your boss, if they will listen, and let them know what you want your future step to be and ask what they believe it would take to get there. No matter what they say, Never Give Up. You get one life. Make it the absolute best it can be by going after what you want and don’t give up until you get it.
SMALL TASK: REDO YOUR WORKOUT MUSIC I use an iPod for my workout music. You may use your phone or some other device. I find it helps boost the motivation to delete and add to the musical selection every so often. When you find you are drifting off while you are working out, then maybe it is time for a change. Make a different playlist or delete and add those tunes that will get you in the zone. Find the tune that best fits the exercise you are doing and set your rhythm to the beat. You will most likely find the exercise easier and be able to do more reps than you thought you could!
SMILE MAKER: GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE There is a quote that illustrate this so well. “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Do it. Try a new style, go to a restaurant or the movies by yourself, introduce yourself to someone you don’t know or finally give that manuscript to your boss to look at and critique. There are a million things that you normally don’t do or that you have always wanted to do. Take that step. You can just eat a new food or go bigger and start with a different morning beverage and go the whole day making decisions out of your comfort zone. It will be, no doubt, a bit awkward and it will also be liberating. Your comfort zone is a self-imposed restriction. Change it. Take away the boundaries you have put on yourself. Be willing and okay with being uncomfortable. It will eventually feel good as you move from the uneasy to the comfortable as you reach your new level. It may take time, but the results will be worth it. Those moments when you choose to grow are the most rewarding moments of all.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you
It is easier to go through each day making the decisions that you always do which produce the outcome you always get. So, if you want a different result, challenge yourself. Change your response, craft a new reaction, and create a new path that will not only challenge you, it will change you. It may not feel as comfortable, but don’t let that stop you. Strive to Be Your Best You.
Oprah Winfrey’s 10 Rules for Success certainly apply here:
SMILE MAKER: DROP OFF A MEAL Buying, preparing, and cooking meals can be a very monotonous and arduous task for most. Give someone a break and drop off some eats. It can either be homemade or store bought because it is truly the thought that counts. Maybe it is for a friend who would certainly appreciate a dish from their favorite restaurant or you can drop off sandwiches and cookies at lunchtime for a family with kids at home doing online learning or deliver food to a neighbor that would love to taste some of your homemade chili. What a wonderful surprise to get food delivered to you by someone who cares.