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important nothings blog

"which of all my important nothings should i tell you first?" – jane austen

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unhealthy anonymous

Prioritizing … and some Snow Patrol

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It’s been too long since I’ve been to the gym. A conference. A work trip. A sore foot. Life. Excuse. Excuse. Excuse. Excuse.

What I’ve realized is, when I don’t go to the gym, I have a tendency to be terribly crabby to my husband!  Since we’re together about 90% of the time, he’s the one who gets the joy of experiencing all of my stress, hormones, emotions… sometimes that’s good, but most days it’s not.

I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to podcasts and one thing keeps sticking in my brain – schedule the stuff that’s important.  That means, put going to the gym on the schedule. Don’t fit it in.

If it matters, you have to prioritize it, or the important stuff will get mixed in with those little irritating things that just have to get done. Lock in the time to have coffee with Chris. Don’t fit it in. Write down when I will spend time alone. Don’t fit it in. Schedule a time to write. Don’t fit it in. Drop by and see my parents. Don’t fit it in.

As an ENFP (for your Meyers-Briggs types) and a 7 (for you Enneagram types), this goes against everything I love, believe and stand for.  But it makes sense.  Richard Foster says “Discipline brings freedom” and there is so much truth there.

Join me!  Get the good stuff on your calendar.  Make room for what’s important. And if you need a little motivation at the gym today, how about some Snow Patrol!

Taking Advice from a Kardashian

“You become what you think about” – Earl Nightingale

I’ve been holding to my resolutions this year…and I’m GIVING myself ammunition for work, for productivity, for success….for change.

Eating better – check.  Working out (except this last week) – check.  Reading – check. Turning off the TV – check.  Facebook is disabled from my phone – check.  Box of thank you notes sitting on my desk ready to be addressed – check.

And I started reading a book by…

A Kardashian (GASP!)

I know. I’m not even sure where the book came from. But it was on the shelf, and during a GoodWill pick-up purge a couple of weeks ago, I found it and started reading it.

Dang. Ron Kardashian nails it.

ron kardashian

His book is 30 Second Solution. It’s about taking a beat before making a decision, before speaking, before committing. It’s about making 30 second positive statements.  It’s about changing your focus.

And ultimately it’s about action.

When I started the book, I had to get over a bit of the, well, Kardashianisms: I’m a succcess, I’m great, I’m in great shape, I’m quoting myself…but maybe that’s part of the point. We want change? We want to be healthy (mentally, physically, emotionally, financially)? First we have to believe that we can be. Once our brain believes it, we can become it.

In a nutshell, 30 Second Solution is about 3 things:

  • Think Positively
  • Speak Precisely
  • Act Purposefully

Small changes can lead to big results. The Unhealthy Anonymous program that I’m also doing proves that with our health. The same is with our mind. 30 Seconds of “I can do this” can transform our workout.  30 Seconds of “I’m good enough” can transform a job interview.  30 Seconds of “I am beautiful” can change our relationships.  And positive is addictive…and it spreads to those around us.

I want to have the integrity to speak with precision so I am true to my word. Sometimes I need to take 30 Seconds before I speak to make sure that is a reasonable offer.

I want to make sure I am a person of action, who doesn’t talk about what I am supposed to do – I just start doing what I’m supposed to do.

I want to be a person of happiness, who brings a positive spin into the world. I’m better about this when I’m out in public. At home, it’s not always the case.

I want to honor God, my family, my business, my community with my words, thoughts and actions.  I may need to set a little timer to go off a few times each day to make sure that I’m in check with those statements.

So – what can you do in 30 Seconds to change your life? Here’s a few ideas to get you started:  Say a prayer, say thank you, take a deep breath, read a food label, send a positive text message, write down a goal, plan ahead for a healthy dinner, tell someone you love them…

If you want to check out a copy of 30 Second Solution: Transform your body, business, relationships and life in just seconds at a time,  you can find it at Barnes and Noble (used for a really low price!) here.

 

 

 

 

 

Almond Flour Blondies

IMG_24491So, I am in month 2 of the UHA program – and, ya know? – there is something to it.  I know that I’m breathing better, lessening stress and just getting healthier in general.

Month 2 is gut health, so we are trying to do some tummy- healing. Unfortunately, this has happened during our snowy few weeks in Nashville, so we’ve been distracted by yummy snow-day comfort foods.

That’s allowed, right?  The spirit is willing…

I did get the smart idea that we should have some healthy and gluten-free options for our Super Bowl party, and google helped me find this recipe for Almond Flour Blondies on Meaningful Eats.

OMG.

First – warning. You won’t stop eating these. They are gone. Cleaned out. Destroyed. 4 days after the party, we still have bags of regular cookies and brownies. These blondies? Yeah, they didn’t make it to Monday.

Second – warning. You need to let these cool for them to firm up enough for the cookie bars.  Now, if you don’t, I would recommend eating these in a bowl, with a dab of whipping cream (I know – that’s not on the gluten-free list, but if you’re going to eat an entire 8.5 x 11 pan of delicious treats, adding the whipping cream isn’t going to hurt!)

These are amazing.  AMAZING.  Next time I’m going to try to add in some coconut and dark chocolate chips.

Note – the pic above is actually from the Meaningful Eats site. Ours didn’t last long enough for a pic… Will try to get our own photos next time…but no promises.

Get the recipe here:

Learning to deal with stress…

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I did it!  I passed the first section of the Unhealthy Anonymous program titled “Understanding Stress”.

And it wasn’t so bad.

If it wasn’t for a lovely crash of my browser, I would have had proof in the form of a big Congratulations! screen – but alas, I procrastinated taking a screen shot, and the page is apparently floating somewhere in space.

Maybe procrastination is causing me stress? Hum….

In the past month, I’ve become far more mindful of my breathing. I’ve said ‘no’ to a few things and realized that I need to say ‘no’ to a lot more things. I started being more intentional about reading labels on the food I buy, and have been more mindful about things like not putting any plastic in the microwave. The recipes that I made were really tasty too!

I’m going to continue to GIVE myself a break and try to keep my stress in check.  February is looking to be a rather brutal work month, and so keeping on track with breathing, exercise and eating real food should make a big difference.

Onto Gut Health!  Yay Kombucha!

Monday Music Motivation

What music keeps you going at the gym?   Is it some good 70’s funk?  Maybe you need a New Wave blast from the 80’s. Hip hop, dance music or punk rock…what’s your choice?

Today, that elliptical machine was taunting me when I walked in the gym.  I really didn’t want to be there!  It was just standing there, mocking me, knowing that I had zero intention of having a worth-while workout.

But then, through the magic of iTunes this song came on shuffle…and suddenly that machine had no power.  I owned that thing for about 25 minutes…until my phone rang with a work call. Sigh.

25 minutes is better than zero minutes though!

I know nothing about this band, other than that they obviously grew up listening to a lot of The Cure like I did…

I give you Black Kids and I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You.  At the gym today you’ll be motivated, moving and cheering “dance! dance! dance! dance!”

I’m Stressed.

I’m stressed out.

Can you relate?

I’m stressed about a lot of things. Work. Time. Family. Finances. Health.

I’m even stressed about being stressed.

I’m glad I like both teams who are in the Super Bowl. That is one thing that isn’t stressing me out.

I’m tired of my shoulders hurting all the time.

I’ve done fairly well this New Year, with the inevitable “new year, new you” mindset. I’ve been focusing on being intentional, developing new and good habits each morning and being mindful of the whole One Word concept – my word being “Give” (and my favorite use of the word so far has been ‘#give myself a break!’)

So I started doing the Unhealthy Anonymous program (http://uha12.com/#hope ) a few weeks ago – it’s an inexpensive, targeted plan to help our bodies better adapt to stress. It’s about learning to breathe, thinking more about what we eat, being grateful….it’s about giving ourselves a break.

Science proves that stress is at the center of most of our health issues. The thought is, if we teach our bodies to handle stress better, we can save ourselves from future years of health issues.

It’s not expensive – ($14/month with the coupon code below) – it’s full of reasonable, small changes that can actually become a part of your routine. There’s a 21-day reboot….and guess what? The reboot doesn’t say that you can’t eat meat, carbs, or fruit…it doesn’t make you spend hours at the gym, it doesn’t say you can’t enjoy life.

The whole thing is just a lot of common sense. And I like common sense.

I won’t go into too much detail unless you want it. We are doing this with some friends – and you should join us so we can all support our new healthy mindsets together. We have a Facebook page, we’ll be posting on each other’s blogs…we can all start sharing the joys of using coconut oil for EVERYTHING….

Want to join? Want to try to de-stress for 2016? Want to take back your life? Remember, this one isn’t a sprint – it’s making long-term lifestyle changes that will make for a better future.

Sign up here! http://uha12.com/#hope – To get $1 off a month – put in promo code HOPE. (in all caps!)

It’s all in your head

pull up machine

It’s all in your head.

That’s what Jeremy said in passing. Jeremy is the trainer at our local Planet Fitness and he’s the best. He’s incredibly encouraging and helpful – all without that irritating super-work-out-guy-attitude. He’s one of those people that remembers names and details, which seems to be a rarity in my world.

A few weeks ago, as I was wasting time on Facebook, I ran across a conversation about the terribleness of high school gym class. Since I moved away from my hometown in the late 80s, I wasn’t aware that our gym teacher, Mrs. Peterson, had passed away a few years ago. The discussion ended up with how much we liked her … how much we remembered the dread of what we had to accomplish athletically.

Those Illinois health tests. Ugh. Run the mile. Do a pull up. Arm hang. Sit ups. Oh the agony.

Mrs. Peterson was great, but I, admittedly, didn’t have an athletic bone in my body. With me, she didn’t have much to work with, and so that “do your best!” mantra was something I heard A LOT.

Now, a few decades later, I think she would be proud of me. I am confident that I could ace that health test now…

Except…

Except for the arm hang. And definitely not the do a pull up. I have no idea how long I could hold an arm hang currently. I don’t really intend to find out.

But I decided it was time to have a solid goal for 2016. Do a pull up. Just one. That’s all.

I enlist the help of Jeremy who immediately introduced me to a very menacing, giant machine in the corner of the gym. This beast’s purpose is to be a counter-weight to help with that pull-up motion.

Whatever that means.

Being a gentleman, he skirted around asking how much I weigh – but he needed that all painful number to help me understand just what I’m working with.

I weigh 130. If he sets the machine at 100, basically it means that I’m doing a pull up with 30 lbs. If he sets the machine at 70, I’m pulling up 60 lbs. of my body weight.

Make sense?

Just from being more in the habit of working out, I can do 3 sets of pull-ups at 70 lbs. But during this test, Jeremy tried to trick me a bit to make me work harder. And I was able to do three at 40 lbs. That’s 90 lbs. of weight.

“It’s all in your head,” he said. “You convinced yourself years ago you couldn’t do this. You really need a tougher goal. You’ll have this in a few months if you keep at it.”

This as bothered me for a week now. What else is in my head? What else have I convinced myself that I couldn’t do?

Maybe I need to #give myself more credit.

So today I was going to get up at 5:30am to write. That didn’t happen. The spirit was willing… But maybe that will be the goal after I do the pull up.

GymSounds – Benjamin Dunn!

When I found this song, my gym mixes were never the same…”My Name is Eustace” by Benjamin Dunn and the Animal Orchestra is an homage to CS Lewis and the Narnia books. What’s not to like? Literary rock and roll merged with pop-filled alt-rock.  What’s not to love?

 

 

2016 Day 4 – #givespace – New Morning Routine

It’s the first Monday of 2016…and it started quite a bit differently than every Monday of the year that just past.  The alarm went off at 5:30 – the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak, so for 20 minutes I read on my phone in bed.  No Facebook. No CNN.  I read my Bible app.  I read another book.  My body was tired from working out yesterday so staying in bed was a welcome relief.

Why is it so cold in our house?

Apparently, we never reset our house timer, so our HVAC system was under the impression that we were still on holiday hours.  I reset the heat and resisted the urge to jump back in bed,  and grabbed Chris’s sweatshirt instead.

Next up, run into the kitchen to make some liquid warmth and energy. While brewing, I had a glass of water with lemon (thank you Unhealthy Anonymous).  I wrote up a quick journal.   Coffee was ready in no time…and was served with cream and coconut oil.

morning lemons

Louis had gotten up so together we did a set of prayers/sun salutations. I tried to write a thank you note but Louis was persistent in his severe need to be scratched..  No TV news until 6:45. No email until 7:15.

I’m GIVING myself space to start the day on my terms.  Giving myself fuel. Giving my brain time to think about things more important than work.

When I woke up today I was dreading the return to reality.  But now the new week feels different. I think there may be something to this morning routine / productivity thing.

 

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