Presently at the gyms I work for and, I presume, around the country (even world), things are pretty dead. People are gearing up for the holidays by shopping, wrapping, baking, partying, eating and drinking, and laughing (a lot, I hope). Many of those who fell off the wagon with their New Year’s resolutions are pep-talking themselves in preparation to try again in 2014. Many who succeeded in their resolutions this year are also figuring out what they want to do in the next.

 

I love the fact that people want to change. I always hope it is a habit that will lead to healthier behaviors rather than determination to try another quick fix. There are no quick fixes for healthier bodies, minds and spirits. (Advertisements lie: diets are fads and only work for some, quick weight loss pictures are often of women who just had babies, and exercise regimens might be too intense for a beginner, potentially leading to burnout, injury, and (worst of all) frustration. They want your money.) There is, however, constant diligence and the resolve to see it through to the end goal.

 

I like to look at resolutions in a different way. To resolve is a mental process; it is to think of something that you would like to accomplish and also think good to do it. Sometimes when we resolve, we are strong in that resolution. (Other times, the resolution is a fleeting thing.) There’s feeling backing a strong resolution, and willpower, and that leads to intention.

 

Intention is powerful. Intention promises action, more often sustained action than not. Perhaps you’ve gone to a yoga class where the instructor has left it open for you to establish an intention for that practice. Just like New Year’s resolutions, they can be anything. For example:

 

  • I am cultivating a more patient character
  • I am building strength and finding a grounded stance in an unstable world
  • I am wealthy in more ways than financial success
  • I am blessed because [fill in the blank]
  • I am happier than yesterday
  • I am on a journey to reach, and maintain, a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise
  • Every day is a new day; I am ready to face this one with a smile and open arms
  • I am grateful for [fill in the blank]
  • I am eating mindfully

 

Resolutions are always spoken in future tense: I will [blank]. So often, they can be said in any way, most often in a negative light. Intentions are positive, in the present tense, preferably in the active voice: I am…, I [verb]…They are statements of you doing the thing you want to do right now, this moment. This distinguishes them from resolutions because you are trying to do that thing, whatever it is, at the very moment you think of it; and if you keep that intention in the forefront of your thoughts, or merely come back to it throughout the day, it becomes easier to practice.

 

So I encourage you to set an intention, or series of intentions, for this coming year.

 

Posted on Facebook by WorkoutHealthy, reposted by A New You (closed group)

Posted on Facebook by WorkoutHealthy, reposted by A New You (closed group)

What if you want to develop healthier diet and exercise habits (or insert any outcome of your choice here)? You make a road map to success! Setting goals will help you achieve the outcome you desire. How do you do that? Think S.M.A.R.T.

 

  • Specific: make your goals distinct, easy to write down and remember, but detailed
  • Measurable: so you can see results
  • Attainable: your goals should be easy to reach, one stepping stone at a time
  • Relevant: your goals should help achieve your outcome
  • Time-bound: set them within a given amount of time so that you can see how far you’ve come, reassess if necessary, and establish a new outcome with new goals

 

Goals help back up your intentions, and intentions support you in keeping your goals. It’s a pleasant cycle instead of the vicious ones we so often fall into when we don’t see the results we want on the scale, on the table, or anywhere else in our lives. As a bonus, intentions help rewire our brains because they make us stop and rethink about the negative things we so often say to and about ourselves. They are positive statements said in the present moment.

 

Give it a try! Write one ore more down. Your brain might get a really good workout in coming up with positive statements, and your mood will definitely improve!

 

So what are my intentions and goals for 2014? I’m turning 30 this coming year and feel that it’s time to try a few new things, return to some old habits that are better for me, and continue growing in my relationships, personal and professional endeavors, personal gifts and strengths, and faith. I also want to work on my weaknesses, habits that lead to negative mood and thought, and better utilize and repurpose the things I already have (aka, stewardship).

 

My intentions:

  • I am building healthier habits as an example to my growing child
  • I encourage love, joy, peace, and health (and a little dancing) in my family, friends and students
  • I am branching out beyond my comfort zone
  • I embrace change, that which I create and which I cannot control
  • I am deepening my faith
  • I am patient
  • I am loving
  • I am kind
  • I am helpful
  • I am respectful
  • I have self-control
  • I am happy

 

My overall goals:

  • To return to a gluten-free diet
  • To cut out most processed foods and sugars (limiting my sugar use to honey, coconut palm sugar, and dark 70%+ chocolate in baked goods)–I understand that I cannot get rid of boxed foods all together
  • To make food at home 95% of the time, and make good eating-out choices
  • To make my own skincare products
  • To train for, and perhaps run, at half marathon
  • To finish my 200-hour yoga certification; perhaps also to start on my 500-hour RYT
  • To establish a sustainable workout regimen that won’t take either the husband or the Wee One
  • To become more debt-free
  • To establish myself in the book publishing industry
  • To reestablish my reading habits, and to read to my daughter daily
  • To reestablish my self-study habits in classics and language
  • To laugh more
  • To worry less

 

It looks like a lot. It is a lot. Will I fail? You betcha, but I’m not going in with a negative mindset, I promise. I embrace the challenge (an intention) but know I’m only human!

 

The wonderful thing about intentions is that you cannot break them. You simply try again, stop and remember more often. One step in the direction of a goal, a goal reached, is a step in the right direction.

Christmas is coming,

The goose is getting fat!

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,

And if you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!

–“Christmas is Coming” (a carol)

Above is one of my all-time favorite traditional Christmas carols. I’m not sure which group first sung it the first time I heard it but I loved the rendition so well, I’ve remembered it. And while I don’t have any recipes for a goose at present, I did want to leave you with the articles and recipes that have been collecting in my inbox since I last worked on my blog, pre-vacation. I hope you find them as informative and useful as I do. Happy Christmas to everyone around the world! I hope you enjoy it with family and friends, and find it filled with love and good memories.

Articles

Daily Bites’ Holiday Favorites

10 Minute Medicine Ball Workout

20 Minute Tabata Inspired Workout

Quickie Bodyweight Workout for the Busiest Time of Year

The Right Way to Train for a Marathon

Age is Just a Number

Innovative Chair Exercises for Seniors

MBSR Program, Especially Yoga, Helps Older Adults

Mind-Body Therapies and Sleep for Women in Midlife

Progressive Core Exercises for Beginners and Beyond

Too Much Protein?

Thrive in 5 This Holiday Season

Overwork/Long Hours May Contribute to Depression

Mind-Body Bridging

Yoga, an Athlete’s Fountain of Youth?

Aloe: “Save it for Sunburns”

Low Gut Bacteria Linked to Obesity, Inflammation

What is Candida and How Do I Know If I Have It? (opinion piece)

Kimchi

6 Anti-Anxiety Foods to Calm Your Mind

Broccoli’s Benefits

The Golden-Orange Goodness of Turmeric (former post on it here)

Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks

Cracking the Code on Food and Nutrition Labels

Food Journals: A Dieter’s Best Friend

Planning Makes Perfect

Recipes

Gourmet Cranberry Buckwheat Granola (gluten-free)

Apple Museli Balls

Martha Stewart’s Nearly Zero Prep-Time Dinners

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Apples and Kale

Roasted Delicata Squash Biscuits

Healthy Holiday Recipes Featuring Butternut Squash

How to Make Homemade Coconut Cream

Apricot Almond Loaf

Lemon Chickpea Muffins

Pumpkin Coconut Tart

Pumpkin Custard Bars (grain- and dairy-free)

How to Create Healthy Holiday Cookies

How to Make Candied Citron (found this in preparation for making a very old fruitcake recipe…the only one I’ve ever liked!)

Chocolate Peppermint Protein Smoothie

Should have, could have, would have–words we so often say when we look into the past and feel regret.

It’s been two-and-a-half years since I was given an opportunity to bring knowledge and awareness on stress and stress relief techniques to the community I live in, and subsequently asked to leave in the middle of my speech during the final talk of three (the other two were hellish experiences too). For personal and professional reasons, I have removed the original posts When Life Kicks You Off the Stage (Parts I and II). I wrote them in the bitterest disappointment and the brokenness of soul, but they weren’t shining representations of who I really am.

One of my passions in life is health and wellness. Not just any old “here’s a diet and exercise routine” mindset. I truly believe that each and every one of us can practice preventative medicine. One of my aims in this profession is to educate people so that they can help themselves get well, feel well, and stay well. So when my voice was cut off–I had taken a huge risk in the first place putting my neck out there in trying to demonstrate my efforts to walk my talk–I was devastated. Truthfully, when I think about it, I’m still devastated. I know my audience was smart enough to see what had happened, but what upsets me most was that there were some in that room who needed to hear the end of the tale I was spinning so that they could finally help themselves cope with and/or overcome the daily stresses in their lives.

still feel like I failed those people. I still feel ashamed and incredibly vulnerable some days. Some days, it’s hard not to beat myself up and harder to find a genuine smile. Yet, I’m on an incredibly journey of self-discovery and this failure is a part of it.

Found on Facebook; originally posted on Ziglar.com

Found on Facebook; original quote posted on Ziglar.com

Failure is a part of life. It’s a part of life we should embrace, hold close. Failure teaches us how to pick ourselves up off our backs. We should not be afraid to fail, and should never crawl into a hole and refuse to try again after our hopes and hearts are dashed–giving up is true failure.

This is the season of giving. The week after my failed talks, I, an instructor who constantly gives to students, received one of the most precious gifts anyone can receive. My students gave back to me through caring support and even, I believe, love. I wasn’t abandoned by those people, some of whom had sat through one of the three talks. I was boosted up, consoled by their own stories of failure within the rough system in which we all work. I saw new meaning in my job, found new depths within myself.

I saw what humanity can be like instead of what it had been only a day or two before.

Again, this is the season of giving. I find that this is most often the time when people dig deep. They are more generous, more willing to do something for someone else. They find more time in their packed schedules to give another human a hand. Humanity.

Failure is part of humanity too. It’s the part that makes us stronger, more able to act and be of service to another person in their times of need. It develops compassion, determination and perseverance. It enables us to become successful.

Last night I was reminded in a Facebook post that God is preparing me for something great. I have no idea what it is but I needed to go through this particular failure in order to learn a lesson. I’m still learning that lesson. I’m still learning how to be kinder, more selfless, more understanding of the people who (intentionally or unintentionally) hurt me and less quick to reciprocate pain for pain. I’m learning how to fail gracefully, humbly, and yet I’m also learning how to continue to strive toward my goals and passions.

We all fail.

Every day.

Embrace these moments.

They lead us toward something greater.

Success?

Strong character?

A new perspective?

Renewed hope?

Only time will tell.

But the result will be great.

You are at the top when: You clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday ended last night, and today is a brand-new day. -Zig Ziglar

As I’m writing this post, I’m exactly one month out postpartum and enjoying every moment I spend with my darling daughter. Not every day is smooth sailing. This week we struggled with a bought of diarrhea. However, I must say that my cloth diapers (CD’s) performed brilliantly. We had no “blowouts” and very little skin irritation (due to so much diarrhea rather than the diapers themselves).

Sweet Pea One Size Diaper, posted on Kelly's Closet (linked)

Sweet Pea One Size Diaper, posted on Kelly’s Closet (linked)

CDing has not been as difficult as I thought it might be. The greatest work requires my washing them every day or two, and getting out of bed in the middle of the night when my eyelids refuse to unglue themselves. I suppose that if these are trials, I am a very lucky woman.

I’m looking forward to seeing how we fare on our travels back East. I’m not certain what the husband wants to do, or how we will diaper on our journey. I will post on this when I return in an addendum.

For the time being, however, I’m really enjoying being a mother and haven’t found the slightly more labor-intensive approach to diapering a baby unbearable. They are virtually as quick as a disposable. Even the husband says that he really has come to terms with it. (I knew he would.) He even tells his friends who much poop he’s had to touch, namely none. I’m the one that’s gotten pooped on (twice)! Ah, well. Live and learn and keep on loving your babies!

***

ADDENDUM (12-4-2013): We just returned from our trip, with great results. The grandparents got to meet their granddaughter, we got a lot of Christmas shopping accomplished, and the diapers did fabulously on the trip. We did use a few disposables for the daylight hours while driving for convenience purposes (we were on the road 44 hours each way and didn’t have any laundry facilities with which to wash the CDs), but always switched to cloth at night and used them exclusively while staying with the in-laws. I can state without a doubt that our daughter loves cloth over disposables! She was far happier in them, so I sometimes used them while driving anyway! It got us further along.