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Tiny Tips to Help You Reach Big Goals

Tiny Tips to Help You Reach Big Goals

Here’s four “tiny tips” that might make the difference for you when you’re feeling a bit sluggish after family get-togethers and holiday parties with delicious dishes and irresistible desserts. Motivation may be the last thing on your mind but a few reminders in the right places at the right time can make all the difference.

Surround yourself with positive visuals. If that means printing out your favorite quotes and posting them in your bathroom, on the refrigerator, around your desk at work and even in your car, then start printing. If you are planning to reward yourself when you achieve a goal, then post a picture of your reward in strategic places to help you focus on what you’re working towards.

Selfie shots. Are you working towards a fitness goal that means losing weight, toning up and/or adding muscle?  If so, take your own “before” shots and save them on your phone where you can refer to them in private – knowing that you’ll be taking “after” shots soon.

Ignore the urge to compare yourself. Remember everyone is different and we all have our own starting line. If you haven’t worked out or been active in quite some time, you’re starting line may look very simple. It may mean a 15-minute walk around the block with five minutes of stretching.  For someone else, the starting line might be a brisk 30-minute walk or a light jog along a favorite trail.

Eliminate “wasteful” thoughts. Often, we talk negatively to ourselves. Whether it’s thinking how awful you look when you wake up or calling yourself an idiot for taking a wrong exit off the freeway, these thoughts are not only toxic to your mental health but they are a waste of your time.  They serve no purpose other than to slow you down in life. They derail physical progress and mental motivation. Imagine how productive you could be if you focused only on productive healthy thoughts and immediately tossed out unhelpful personal insults or derogatory thoughts? Where would that energy and those thoughts go? More physical exercise? More fun projects around the house?

The choice is yours. It’s your world. Make it the best year ever.

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New Year’s Goals and Your Worst Enemy

New Year’s Goals and Your Worst Enemy

Enemies are almost never thought of kindly. That’s why you need to recognize one enemy that you MUST treat kindly while, at the same time, refusing to listening to negative comments from. Who’s that enemy? Look in your mirror.

You.

Yes, that’s correct. Your biggest threat to your success is yourself.

You are going to have good days. You’ll also have bad days on your nutritional plan and your fitness plan. You may want to give up. Resolve right now that you won’t listen to the following (or similar) thoughts “I don’t feel good today.” Or “I’m just not in the mood.” Or “I’ll start tomorrow.” Or “Today was a really bad day, I’ll start when I feel more positive.” Or “I’m so tired. I just need to rest.”

Your own thoughts can be your biggest obstacle. Sometimes it helps to just visualize slamming a door on those thoughts as soon as you think them. Sure, counter it with a positive thought like “Walking gives me more energy, so I won’t be so tired so often.”  But definitely give yourself the mental picture of slamming a door on the negative thought and padlocking it. When you do that, you are also giving your brain the message that those thoughts are not welcome. In some ways, you will be ‘training the brain’ while you are creating a new habit.

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Happy Holidays from the Pets at Walkingspree!

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Walking off those Thanksgiving calories

Thanksgiving is time for family and friends. It is a time to reflect and be thankful. It can also be a time to consume a ton of calories. The average Thanksgiving meal has 2,500 calories – well over one’s daily calorie requirement. You would need to walk approximately 51,000 steps or 25 miles (assuming you walk 2,000 steps/mile) to burn it off.

But with a little planning, mindful eating and your activity tracker, you can enjoy your favorite foods without sabotaging your healthy eating goals.

  • Use your Activity Tracker to help you keep track of your steps.
  • Use the Food Tracker to check the number of calories in your favorite Thanksgiving foods – it will calculate how many steps you need to walk to burn off a particular food item or meal.
  • Increase your daily step count and build in a step buffer – taking more steps during the week of and after Thanksgiving will help burn off those extra calories. Just an extra 10 minutes once a day will burn off those 2,500 calories by Christmas.
  • For more tips, check out the Thanksgiving eating strategies and healthy cooking tips in the Walkingspree member blog.

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    Can’t Fall Asleep? Try This!

    Can’t Fall Asleep? Try This!

    Some things in life are necessary, like food, water, and shelter. But, to be reasonably content human beings, we need a few more things. Human contact is good, alone time is great, but at the top of the list? Decent sleep. Good sleep is absolutely mandatory.

    But, falling asleep is one of those Chinese finger-trap tasks that we’ve never been able to master. We’d lie awake thinking about how not asleep we were, look at the clock, turn over, and repeat. The longer we stayed awake worrying about it, the harder it became to actually fall asleep. Until we discovered a new method.

    Keep in mind, we’re taking liberties with the word “method.” This trick is even simpler than that. But, it’s still the most effective, foolproof, works-every-time tip that absolutely changed our lives. Drumroll please: It’s breathing.

    Breath regulation, while utterly simple, has an impact on every system in your body. By breathing in subtly different ways, you can effect blood pressure, heart rate, emotional stability, and even hormones. Anyone who’s ever had a panic attack knows that the most effective way to quell that horrible moment of mental and physical distress is with slow, regulated breathing.

    But, if you need to fall asleep, here’s how to do it:

    1. Lie down in your preferred sleep position. You can also start on your back and roll into it when you start to drop off.

    2. Breathe in through your nose on a count of three seconds.

    3. Breathe out through your nose on a count of six seconds.

    4. Repeat until you fall asleep.

    This works for two reasons. First, you will need to consciously pay attention to counting your breath in order for it to work — it’s like a more effective version of counting sheep. Second, and most important, your body and brain will instantly feel the effect that comes with this shorter-inhale, longer-exhale technique. The physiological impact is immediate as your autonomic nervous system shifts gears, telling muscles to relax, heart rate to slow down, and your brain to downshift from high-alert mode.

    If you find that the three-to-six ratio is uncomfortable, feel free to change it. The most important thing is to keep your exhales longer than your inhales. Both the medical community and meditation practitioners can attest to the proven power of this breathing technique (also known as “7-11 breathing”).

    Insomniacs, trust us. If you commit to this breathing method for just a few minutes, you will fall asleep. We can’t calculate the exact duration required for it to kick in, but we have never stayed awake longer than five minutes when we employed it. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, we don’t know what is.

    Sweet dreams!

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