NOW WHAT?

Avoiding the stumbling blocks!

what now

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

The road to success is paved with hard work. There are no short cuts, and every journey is an individual one. Two of the most destructive stumbling blocks you will encounter are:

  1. self-doubt
  2. unsolicited advice

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. – 1 John 3:20

Self doubt is often created by the internal worry that we somehow do not measure up to the task, whatever it may be. In his famous book The Power of Positive Thinking Norman Vincent Peale gives us the secret to happiness: “The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”  Self doubt tells us that we can’t succeed, we’ll never win, and that happiness in the form of success will be forever denied us because we are not good enough. The key to remember is that if we were born with a healthy ‘normal’ body, we have the same opportunities in life as any other individual with a similar origin. Sometimes we’ll have people along the road of life to encourage and help us , and sometimes the journey will be a hard and lonely one. The strongest people in life have managed to cast away self doubt and pave their own paths. There is great power in succeeding at a challenge we have set for ourselves. The reward is knowing that we accomplished what the naysayers  told us we could not do. God never gives us anything that we cannot overcome.

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The Narrow Gate

In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.… –Matthew 7:12-14

“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Burt Lance

Always consider the source when receiving unsolicited advice. Someone telling you not to fix something that works will hold you back from finding a better way to do it. Likewise, if you are doing something that  is working for you, but which is not the way that someone else is doing it, remember that everyone is different. What works for you MIGHT not work for them, and vice versa. As long as you are not doing something illegal or immoral, if it works, keep doing it.  Just because ‘everyone else is doing it’ doesn’t mean you should do it too just to appease them. The only person you are competing with is yourself.   You just need to check yourself to see if you are improving. This is easily accomplished by keeping careful records of your progress. For example, I myself have been struggling with my weight for years, and it took a lot of trial and error before I chanced upon a diet and exercise program that worked for me.  I have carefully monitored and recorded my weight for years. It wasn’t until about three years ago that I discovered a few dietary supplements, meal plans and exercise programs that broke the chains that had been holding me back.  Nine months ago I began competitive running, and now I monitor my progress with that, so I see the results. More importantly,  OTHER people have taken notice of the external changes to my physique, and they have been inspired by it. Actions speak louder than words, and results are hard to argue with. The proof is in the pudding.  If it works, KEEP doing it, never quit, never surrender!

The most important thing you can do in life is to lead by example. You are being watched all the time by everyone in your life, whether or not you are aware of it. It is better to be held up in high esteem as an example of what is possible, as opposed to being a cautionary tale of what NOT to do in life. There are too many fools who took the short-cut down ‘Easy Street’ which lead to destruction. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, live your life the right way, and remember that life is YOUR life, and you are the one who need to live it. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

THE CHALLENGE OF WINTERTIME!

You got this!

THE CHALLENGE OF WINTERTIME

Money invested in your health is money well-spent.

Peloton is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of exercise equipment. If you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single exercise bike or treadmill for your home gym, you want the best quality possible. Peloton’s gimmick is that once you buy their machine, you also must pay a monthly membership fee of $39.99 to access their EXCLUSIVE, on-demand live streaming exercise classes.   

In a widely mocked 2019 Peloton Christmas commercial, a husband surprises his thin attractive wife (played by actor Monica Ruiz) with a Peloton Bike for Christmas. The wife then spends an entire year documenting her use of the bike for her social media accounts, ultimately watching a compilation highlight video with her husband where she thanks him for the gift that ‘changed her’. The ad has been labeled as sexist, alarming and cringe-worthy.     

Actor Ryan Reynolds who is also the owner of Aviation American Gin immediately hired  Monica Ruiz to ‘reprise’ the Peloton wife role for his gin commercial.  In the follow-up Aviation Gin ad  (which spoofs the original ad),  she is now divorced, staring blank-faced and sitting in a bar with concerned girlfriends. They give her multiple martinis to guzzle as they tell her she’s ‘safe now’ and she ‘really looks great’.  I don’t know which of the two ads is worse, but I am leaning towards the second.

Over the course of a person’s life, they will earn millions of dollars IF they work hard, and invest their money wisely. In that same period, they will only have ONE body, so staying fit and healthy is of the utmost importance. No one wants to spend their life feeling weak and sickly.

Physical fitness is a personal decision. The ONLY one who understands the trans-formative journey towards better health is the person on that path. I began running at the beginning of 2019, and this past year has been a year of personal transformation. I am in my best physical condition in years as a result of my personal commitment to my physical improvement.

Are you in, or are you out?

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Winter’s chill adds a new challenge to a person who has taken stock in their own health and well-being.  Frigid temperatures tend to keep the fail indoors huddled around a heat source. IF and only IF you are truly committed towards improving your physical health, you only have two exercise options. Indoors or outdoors.

I do NOT own personal home gym machines. It is my opinion that unless a person has a very good reason for buying home gym equipment, their money could be better invested elsewhere. Gym equipment depreciates in value faster than automobiles.  In addition to the expense, these exercise machines take up space.  There are many gyms chains nationwide (such as Planet Fitness) that have the latest machines,  local branches open 24 hrs, and some offer memberships as low as $10.00 per month. Plus if the equipment breaks, it’s not your problem!

I train indoors, but I run outdoors for competitive races which are offered almost every weekend including WINTER. As each of these  races have entry fees, I limit myself to not more than three a month. Usually it’s once a month, sometimes twice. Running is a lifestyle choice understood only by fellow runners. The running community is a great source of encouragement and motivation. When you run with the pack, you run with the pack. When you join a local running club, you will make new friends and see familiar faces  at local events.  The key takeaway to remember is that athletes must always be in training for their next event.   

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Baby it’s cold outside.

Winter weather is highly unpredictable. When running outside you MUST dress appropriately for the conditions.  There are days in December in the area of South-Central Pennsylvania with temperatures of 50° F (10° C) or higher, and days with temperatures below freezing  (32° F, or 0° C). Wind gusts can cause temperatures to suddenly plummet.  Exposed skin can become damaged from repeated and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, so it may be necessary to wear protective gear such as a balaclava and gloves if you are spending long periods of time outdoors. After returning indoors, be sure to treat your hands and face with a nourishing skin cream to help skin heal.

Investing in proper exercise garments is always highly recommended. Clothing designed for outdoor exercising should be thin enough to exercise in, while being thick enough to retain enough body heat to keep you warm. You should dress in layers to be able to remove some clothing if you  become too warm. I have personally worked up a sweat running 10K in subfreezing temperatures.  The ‘track suits’ of today are much more advanced than your father’s gray jogging-suit.   Wonders have been wrought due  to the creations of both Thinsulate  and Polar Fleece in 1979. If trapped body heat is still not enough to keep you warm outdoors, it’s even possible to purchase electric heated garments.  I have seen people run outdoors in winter wearing shorts, while others looked like they were dressing for an expedition to the North Pole. During themed winter races like The Santa Run, The Jingle Bell Run, or the Kris Kringle Run, people have dressed like Santa Clause while running.   Only you know what clothing is comfortable for you to wear, so dress accordingly.

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It’s cold and DARK out there.

As the daylight hours tend to be much shorter in winter, outdoor runners need to be visible to passing cars. I am always amazed by the number of people who ware black clothing at night and cross the street in the middle of the block.  Add icy streets and tragedy is all but assured. If running, jogging, or speed-walking outdoors is not possible for you during daylight hours, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Cross at crosswalks, with the light.
  • Always look for cars which might not stop.
  • Carry a runner’s flashlight which can be worn on sneakers, belt, wrist or headband.
  • Wear a reflective safety vest, or harness.
  • Run on well maintained trails or streets.
  • Run with a buddy, or in a group if possible to insure safety.
  • Always pay close attention to your surroundings.
  • DO NOT run in bad sections of town, or in public parks after sunset.
  • Always carry your mobile cell phone so that you can call for help if something  happens.

Just because it’s wintertime doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your active healthy lifestyle. Obsessed is a word lazy people use to describe dedicated individuals. Your health is in your hands! You got this! As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

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IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING!

Unleash your full potential!

ITS ALL IN THE TIMING

(This is part two of a two part series on nutrition and exercise. for part one read FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!)

The human body is a complex biological machine.  Your brain is the most incredible computer in existence, but many of our biological functions operate automatically with an innate intelligence. We do not need to tell our heart to beat, our lungs to breath air, etc.  Like any machine, there is a natural rhythm and flow of operation, and an energy source must be maintained to provide power.  When we disrupt our normal rhythm of operation, or our source of energy by altering our diet, we throw our body into chaos. The innate intelligence of the body will take counter measures to assure survival.

Whenever we do not drink or eat at regular intervals the body will automatically enter starvation mode. A person can be starving and dehydrated while being overweight because the body has slowed down, or even shut down key metabolic functions because the flow of nutrition was disrupted.

In order to reach your full health potential, a conscious effort must be made to maintain a regular schedule of nutrition and exercise.  When you enact a strictly regimented diet and exercise plan you unlock your bodies full potential. It can recover quicker for illness or injury,  fight infection better, and last longer. You have the potential of adding years to your life, and that worth more than any amount of money. Your HEALTH is your WEALTH!

Let’s call it a day!

A day is 24hrs, and most active people break these up into three equal sections more or less. Although the can vary slightly from person to person, for argument’s sake let’s assume we sleep 8hrs, work 8hrs, and play 8hrs. (Play meaning anything that is not work) The body’s innate intelligence uses these established sections as a basis for setting our biological timing. Our body is most ‘happy’ when everything is ‘normal’ and regularly occurring. We maintain  an normal sleep cycle, eat proper nutritional meals and snacks at regular intervals, and exercise at about the same point.  When these conditions are met, we USUALLY have a healthy, functional metabolism. (Sometime years of neglect, prescribed medications, or advancing age will mess with our metabolism, in which case it might be wise to seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.)

BREAKFAST TIME!

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The English word we use for the first meal of the day is a combination of two words BREAK and FAST.  During our 8 hour sleep cycle, our intake of nutrition was cut off. We expended energy maintaining our life functions, and we expelled water vapor in a breath. Some of us may have awakened during the night for a bathroom break. As such, our body has been experiencing a period of fasting, and we BREAK that FAST with our first meal. All of your meals should be a balanced combination of the seven major nutrient classes : Carbohydrates (carbs ,or glucose), Lipids (fats), Proteins, Dietary Fiber, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water.  ESPECIALLY water! You should have water with EVERY meal, and at regular intervals throughout the day, such as right after waking, after exercising, while being exposed to extremes of heat, and before bed.    

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Avoid fad diets that restrict or totally eliminate any of the vital nutrients for life, and instead focus on BALANCED meals. Totally eliminating fats is not good for you, nor is cutting out carbs. Not getting enough protein is also very bad. If you aren’t getting enough vitamins or minerals in your diet, you may have to take some supplements, but healthy nutritious foods SHOULD supply many if not all of your recommended daily allotments.  Vitamins and their connection to our health  were discovered over a hundred years ago. Originally ‘vitamine’, the term was coined in 1912 by Casimir Funk. Multivitamins have been around for decades,  but every vitamin company out in existence will claim their ‘wonder pill’ will meet all your needs and is better than their competitor’s product.  Some vitamins can even build up in our bodies if you take them too often, reaching toxic levels. Some our body can’t store at all, so we need a regular supply.  There are OVER forty major vitamins and minerals, and the amounts needed vary by individual.

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KEEP IN MIND: The nutritional needs of the professional athlete in training for competition are VERY different   than the average ‘couch potato’. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is about 2000 to 2500 calories per day, 30% each from fats and protein,  with the remaining 40% from carbs.  Athletes require a higher amount of protein in their diet, and a higher caloric intake. For example, a runner racing in a half-marathon will burn approximately 2000 calories during the race. This is why food is provided after sports.

Also after a period of prolonged exercise, or a sporting event your muscles require vital nutrients immediately! You have a 45 minute window to replenish expended energy stores to feed and repair damaged muscle fibers. Proteins and amino acids are vital to restore and build muscles after strenuous workouts.   This is part of the natural timing of a healthy metabolism.

Your muscles operate in three phases

The Energy Phase This is when your muscles are burning stores of glycogen to produce the levels of energy needed for the activity.  Taking in carbs during the activity can extend endurance and delay fatigue by maintaining blood glucose levels.

The Anabolic Phase– This is that vital 45 minute period after your workout when your muscles need  protein, amino acids, carbs, minerals  and vitamins, as well as water to repair damaged muscle fibers.

The Growth Phase–  After the Anabolic Phase, your muscles use the provided nutrients to repair and grow muscles. During this recovery and ‘rest’ period, your muscles become insulin resistant, so eating at this point isn’t helping your muscles recover at all, and any unneeded nutrition you ingest is stored as fat.

This is why eating late at night, or right before bed is a major health mistake.  Your body naturally and automatically stores unneeded calories as FAT. Carbs (SUGAR) are stored as FAT, Fat is stored as FAT,  EVEN excess protein is stored as FAT!            

If you want to be healthy for the rest of your life, maintain a notorious balanced diet with the recommended  amount of vitamins and minerals, exercise regularly, and follow the natural rhythms of your body by maintaining a regular eating, sleeping, working, and playing schedule. Remember, timing is everything! As always, I wish you success and happiness!    

FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!

Your health is up to you!

for your own good

(Part one of a two part series on nutrition and exercise)

Life is what you make of it. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the USA, you get to enjoy enormous personal freedoms and rights to pursue your personal happiness. You can have anything you want in this country IF you’re willing to put in the time and work for it. This applies to both your personal wealth, and your person health. These are two sides of the same coin, and the wealthier you become, the better your ability to eat healthier nutritious foods. Your health IS your wealth, and your wealth is your health! You are the ONLY person in charge of YOU. You are responsible for your own life, and this also applies to diet and exercise. There is no shortage of food in this nation, but not everything you can eat is good for you. High quality foods, organic fruits and vegetables, vitamins and supplements can be pricey. Junk food such as soda and candy have nearly no nutritional value and is bad for your health. You should be asking yourself two questions:

1) If cheap ‘JUNK’ food is ‘BAD’ for me, shouldn’t I be investing my money in buying higher quality foodstuffs and nutritional supplements?

 2) If I only get ONE body, shouldn’t I be investing my money in keeping it as healthy as possible?  

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Helps build strong bodies 12 ways!    

Nutrients are substances that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life. There are seven major nutrient classes : Carbohydrates (carbs ,or glucose), Lipids (fats), Proteins, Dietary Fiber, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water. Some of these classes can be further subdivided into a list of about 40 essential items, and then assigned specified amounts thereof for each item based upon an individual’s size, age, and gender.  You cannot entirely eliminate ANY of these seven classes and survive for long. Going without eating anything, AKA starvation will kill you in about a month. Likewise going just a week without water will do you in. Eliminating various vitamins and minerals will cause all sorts of health complications  which if left unchecked will shorten your lifespan.

Your body uses carbs and fats for energy. Protein is needed for building lean muscle. The entirety of our daily caloric intake comes from a combination of these essential three nutrients. The other four have virtually zero caloric impact but the body needs these substances to function properly. Your body will store fats as a ‘back-up’ fuel source, while burning carbs (glucose) first, and will store any unused carbs as fat. When glucose and fat stores are depleted, your body will turn to muscle to break it into individual amino acids for energy. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store amino acids, which is why muscle breakdown is the only way to release amino acids for fuel. If you’re at the point where your body is breaking down your muscles for fuel, you hit the point where you are in starvation mode. You DO NOT want your muscles breaking down.  Your heart is a muscle.

If you’re uncertain what a carb, or carbohydrate is, the very simple answer is sugar aka glucose. An apple or a piece of broccoli is a carb. So is a candy bar. Obviously one is better than the other for your body, while the tempting JUNK food is sickeningly sweet. Processed, refined sugar is the worst possible carb to put into your body.     

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

About two thirds of the Earth is covered in water.  Coincidentally the human body is a similar composition, made up of about 60% water. We lose water from our bodies three ways by : urination, sweating, and breathing. Under extreme circumstances, it’s possible for a person to lose more than  a liter of water per hour when exerting themselves in high heat.  Under such conditions it is imperative to replenish that lost liquid and stay hydrated. Failure to do so can result in heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke and possible death.  

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Water has ZERO calories and our body needs it to maintain proper functions of our internal organs.  Water is needed to metabolize fats and flush toxins from our system. When we begin to lose water from our body without replenishing it during long periods of exertion and exposure to high temperatures, our body will use its innate intelligence to retain this vital nutrient because it believes we are in STARVATION mode and will do everything to retain water to prevent dehydration. You’ll show sighs of heat exhaustion. So you’ll urinate less and your urine will darken as toxins begin to build in your liver and kidneys.  At a certain point your body will shut down your ability to sweat, and then the your are in serious risk of heat stroke. Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling.  As you experience heat exhaustion, there will be several signs.

  • Confusion.
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration).
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

When you reach the point when your skin gets clammy and you stop sweating, you need to STOP what you are doing immediately and cool down and get hydrated FAST. Heatstroke KILLS.

Pure, clean, cool water is the best thing you can ever drink. Yes, our body can filter out the water from other things we drink like soda, but nothing is better for us than water. Water was good enough for Jesus and it should be good enough for you as well. Water is your body’s best friend, and you can’t make coffee without it! Check back next week for part two IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING  and as always, I wish you success and happiness!

 

TEMPTED?

You are stronger than you think!

tempted

In the USA, the 4th Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day.  The American holiday of Thanksgiving traces its roots all the way back to 1621, when colonists held a harvest feast with local natives. So the holiday officially originated in what was known as the ‘New World’ at the time. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared an official Thanksgiving day to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Because some years had a fifth Thursday in November, this date was later changed from the last Thursday to the 4th Thursday by Congress who passed a law on December 26, 1941 fixing the date after a public outcry when President Franklin D Roosevelt kept changing the date from year to year.

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The first official, annual Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated on 6 November 1879.  In 1957 Canadians established their Thanksgiving Day as the 2nd Monday of October, (which is Columbus Day in the US). Thanksgiving may pre-date both the US and Canada as countries, but it began here on the North American continent.  Over the decades other traditions such as the Thanksgiving Parade, football games, and certain foods have evolved with the holiday, and in some instances it has spread to other a few other countries. There are nine other nations besides the US that have a version of Thanksgiving which is associated with giving thanks for the bounty of the annual harvest.  Canada, Norfolk Island, Liberia, and Granada have similar versions of the ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving associated with the USA.  Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, and Japan each have their own unique versions of a ‘thanksgiving day’.    

Financially, the average cost of feeding a family of ten, with leftovers, is under $50.00 according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey.  That of course is ASSUMING you have a sane amount of food, and make most of the food from scratch. Some families go way overboard with with holiday meals.  

The beginning of the holiday season marks an abundance of calorie-laden, rich fattening foods, coupled with less physical activity as people spend more time indoors to avoid the chill of winter, and lessening amounts of daylight. For people struggling with their health and finances, Thanksgiving dinner marks the first half of a double-whammy, as next month they get to do it ‘once more’ with a fattening, expensive Christmas dinner.

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Focus on what’s important.

My first permanent health decision as an adult occurred in college when I made up my mind once and for all to become a vegetarian. This was a lifestyle choice that my late mother could not quite wrap her mind around.  My mother DID NOT COOK.  I kid you not, the woman could burn water.  We ate our holiday meals at my aunt Arleen’s home. Thanksgiving dinner was easy, there were many choices that were ‘meat-free’ on the table. Christmas dinner was not. That first Christmas I refused to eat my aunt’s famous lasagna which she slaved for days to make. She made the sauce from scratch, she shredded the mozzarella by hand on a cheese-grater, she browned Italian sausage and ground beef, boiled noodles, mixed cheeses, and assembled pans of lasagna. Enough to feed everyone, except one resilient vegetarian, who ate cheese pizza while everyone feasted.  Fortunately my aunt understood. The following year, she made a small, special, personal cheese lasagna for her favorite nephew.

So, you have to ask yourself, what’s more important? The food on the table? Your personal health? Or, are the people seated around the table the real reason to celebrate? 

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Choose wisely.

Just  because there are NINE different desserts doesn’t mean you MUST eat each and every one of them.  Heavens to Betsy  if you should miss aunt Betsy’s special cracker pudding.  Or Grandma’s famous jasmine rice pudding with golden raisins and chopped pistachios. Or cousin Ethel’s pecan pie. Believe it or not, some of the more common desserts like pumpkin pie are available year round. The special family dishes that your family worked so hard making are the more important dishes.  The dishes that they made as a token of their love for their family and friends gathered.  Yes, there are signature recipes that are associated with the people we know and love, but the people are the important part of the gathering.  So ignore the more common foods when planning the meal, and highlight the dishes that are unique to your gathering.  If there are still too many choices available, your other option is smaller portions.  Maybe a table spoon of the cranberry relish, or a half-scoop of mashed potatoes.     The key is not to over-eat.

Water is your friend.

So you STILL have a plate of high-calorie fatty foods after making the agonizing choice of passing on the coconut custard pie with whip cream topping and nut meg.  Limit your drink choices to water. A glass of water before, during, and after a meal will fill you up while helping to metabolize fats and flush toxins from your system.  The sparkling juices, sodas (and in some cases alcohol) only add empty calories and will ruin your diet.

Eat S-L-O-W-L-Y

The food may all taste delicious, but it still takes about 20-30 minutes for your brain to register that you have eaten enough food.  By eating your meal at a more reasonable speed, you might discover that you weren’t   really starving to death after all, and you might actually get to participate in the lively dinner chatter around the table.  By giving yourself time to actually eat your food instead of shoveling it in your mouth, you may find that that second helping of whatever is not needed, because you are full.

Keep active

Yes, it’s winter and the days are shorter and colder, but there are still ways to stay active. If you are a runner like myself, you can still find winter 5K races, even on Thanksgiving Day in some cases. You just have to dress appropriately for the weather.  If you don’t like being out in the cold, there’s always the gym.  Many fitness chains have extended holiday hours, or  24hr locations to accommodate the heath conscious individual.  The key to success  in maintaining your healthy lifestyle is to MAINTAIN it.  If you fall off the health-wagon for ONE holiday meal, it’s not the end of the world. That ONE SLICE of pumpkin pie didn’t make you fat, giving up did.  So enjoy the healthy choices you made for your meal, ignore the items you passed on, and celebrate the day with your family and friends. As always I wish you success and happiness!  

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THE ‘I’ IN TEAM!

What role do you play?

the i in team

There are many different kinds of teams, and many synonyms to label them. 

  • crew
  • club
  •  company
  •  lineup
  • organization
  •  party
  •  side
  •  squad
  •  unit

Did you forget any? How about FRIENDS? FAMILY? CO-WORKERS??

You may have heard the old saying ‘There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM’. Simply put, the reply to this is yes, and no. Strictly speaking, when you spell the four letter word out TEAM , there is no letter ‘I’. Now there is a popular joke response floating about the internet that IF you type the word TEAM in certain fonts, you get a lowercase ‘i’ hidden in the negative space of the letter ‘A’. Often the caption that follows is something like ‘I found the ‘i’, it’s hidden in the ‘A-hole’.  This can be true in more ways than one.

First off, let’s address the ‘I’ in TEAM.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an ‘I’

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Teams are groups of INDIVIDUALS working TOGETHER for a common goal. So the ‘I’ in TEAM stands for INDIVIDUAL, and that has good points and bad points.  Every INDIVIDUAL is unique and has unique needs which have to be addressed. Sometimes these individuals add skills and qualities to the group dynamic that improves the group’s overall performance. That is where the acronym T.E.A.M. comes into play, because TOGETHER EACH ACHIEVES MORE. It’s a wonderful thing when it works out that way, but  sometimes you get those negative elements that don’t play well with others. They are  the ‘a-holes’ bringing down the team.  In those cases, that negative player must either be corrected, or at worst cut, for the greater good of the squad. We are ALL individuals, and WE are all UNIQUE, and we each have our respective roles to play. We don’t always get to pick our teams, sometimes  teams pick us, and other times we are thrown together  by circumstance. Not everyone in the same organization will get along all the time, or even like each other.  Whether you like it or not, you on still on each other’s team. In those trying situations, the INDIVIDUAL you need to focus on is YOURSELF. Are you the solution, or part of the problem?   

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Who’s in charge around here?

Every effective group has someone leading the organization. Being a leader takes courage, discipline, and determination.  It is a very hard job that can be lonely. You can be open to harsh criticism when things aren’t going well, be accused of playing favorites, insulted by underlings who don’t like your leadership style, or feel you don’t recognize their contributions. Occasionally these gripes are true. We’ve all had bad bosses at one time or another. Leadership, like any new skill takes time to develop. Sometimes, happenstance requires that a void in the chain of command be filled. If no qualified  INDIVIDUAL can be found, willing volunteers may be asked to pick up the mantle, or have it forcibly thrust upon them.  This is what is sometimes referred to as ‘trial by fire’. You’ll either rise to the occasion, or burn out. If you suddenly find that you are now the ‘captain of the ship’, then YOU need to act like it, and run things as best as possible, while consulting with other captains of other ships, reading the appropriate manuals, and making the tough calls. This also includes listening to the questions and concerns of your subordinates, some of whom may have more seniority than you.

IF you find that YOU are NOT in a position of authority, and the duly appointed captain refuses to acknowledge the approaching iceberg, YOU have two choices.

Stay the course and hope for the best, or abandon ship.

The LONE WOLF

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As a  leader, we MAY be able to force someone to do something they don’t want to do, but they won’t do it well, and may even quit or take action against us.

As a team-mate, we MAY be able to convince our squad to run a play, but everyone would need to be on board and, the team leader would still need to agree to it. There may be repercussions if we just did it without authorization, EVEN IF IT WORKED.

As an INDIVIDUAL, you can always convince yourself to do anything you really want to do.

Sometimes it’s just impossible to find a group that fits, or create a new group, or convince an old group to try something different that you really want to do.  The lone wolf has total freedom, but that freedom comes at the cost of camaraderie.  One really is the loneliest number, but regret is also a terrible thing.  If your team or group is holding you back, it may be time to explore new horizons and challenges solo. This requires a special kind of courage and strength, because the path of the lone wolf is the toughest.  If you falter and need help, you’re on your own. There’s no one to recognize your accomplishments, or say ‘good job’ at the end.  Only YOU can decide if it’s worth the risk of going it alone, or facing the regret of never knowing if you could have done it.  As INDIVIDUALS we all have the option of taking our ball and going home,  or finding new groups to play with, or just practicing our skills alone. Self-improvement  begins with SELF. No matter where we go, there we are. We can be part of many different groups simultaneously, but wherever we chose to be we need to bring our ‘A-game’ and give it our best effort.

 We cannot control the actions of other people, we ultimately can only control ourselves.   As always, I wish you success and happiness.

 

PRESSED FOR TIME?

Simple tips for avoiding the mad morning dash!

pressed for time

We’ve all been there at one point or another.  Stayed up way too late,  hit the snooze button one time too many, and now you have seconds to dash out the door or risk being late for work. Inevitably something goes wrong at the worst possible time and we forget some vital item. It happens, BUT it can be avoided with a few simple tricks and a bit of determination on your part. The keys involve proper time management and developing a system that works for you.

All successful people have mastered time management and develop a system of doing things in a routine fashion which becomes second nature, occurring automatically. Time IS money, and wasting time is wasting potential. If your daily norm is a disorganized mess, you get far fewer things accomplished, face undue stress, and possibly depression. Stress and depression negatively affect your health. When your health is affected, again, your potential is diminished and you begin a vicious downward spiral. Your HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH!  All three, TIME, MONEY, and HEALTH are interconnected and when mastered form a trifecta of success.

The way you start your day will impact how your day progresses. Why not start the day right? There’s an old adage, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. ”  Truer words were never said. Morning prep should begin in night before.

Keep the same sleep schedule. For some people this may be tricky, esp. if you work a job with irregular hours such as a swing shift position, or one which has you on call for emergencies when off duty. In such situations, keeping a set sleep schedule may prove difficult or impossible. You’ll just have to do the best you can.  For some people  though, watching the BIG GAME, or some movie, is all important. This is nonsense. Television programs are a choice you make, and a time-wasting activity. When your team scores the winning point, it has ZERO impact on your life. Oh, you may cheer and get a momentary rush of excitement, and you may enjoy the leisure activity of sitting on the couch and munching snacks. But how does this add to your success? Anything that does not contribute to your success hinders it in some fashion. This doesn’t mean you can’t  stay up late occasionally, just don’t make a habit of it. Bad habits form easily. All things in moderation.     

Form a system. Set out all the things you need the night before in a set area. My father used to drape his clothes for the next day on a chair in his bedroom. I’ve adopted a similar technique. Also, keep keys, wallet, cell phone and other things you normally carry when leaving the house in a set location. When you get home, immediately put these items in that place until needed the next morning. Cell phones may be the sticking point for some people who can’t bear to be separated from their phone until the battery runs down and they have to place it on the charger. This can be remedied by placing a NOTE TO SELF reminding you to grab your phone before leaving the house with your keys, or taped to the door. After all it would be tragic if you left the house and left your cell phone there.  Also if you have pets or small children, make sure that this place where you keep your needed items is well out of reach. If Fido decides that the leather loop on your keys would make an excellent chew toy, you don’t want to tear-up the house looking everywhere for your car keys. If you have a spouse the likes to put things ‘out of the way’ , make sure they know this is your PERSONAL SPACE and off limits. And if they have their PERSONAL SPACE where they keep their stuff, return the courtesy.

dunkin

Make meals ahead.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. One of the worst things you can do health and wealth-wise is  to grab fast food for breakfast and or lunch because you didn’t have time in the morning.  You can prep your meals ahead of time and save money as well as eating healthier at the same time. In my case, I’ve also simplified my meals because I’ve taking up running and as an athlete in training for competition, I have certain nutritional  requirements that need to be met in order to build lean muscle while decreasing body fat.  Some people LIVE FOR FOOD. The mindset of the athlete is that FOOD IS FUEL.  Again, what we eat is a personal choice. Some people MUST HAVE variety, some people MUST HAVE what works. YOU have to find what works for YOU. Whatever it is that you chose to eat, as long as it is nutritious and doesn’t make you fat, go for it!

Cape Diem! When that morning wake-up call goes off answer it! Don’t hit the snooze button!  Every time you do, you waste valuable time getting ready for work. You know exactly how much time you need for your daily morning routine. You know the average commute-time, a how long it takes you to eat breakfast,  pray, exercise, shower and dress. Every time you hit that button, you lose time.  Do not cut your time in any way, and ideally you should set your alarm as a reminder to leave by a certain time having already been awake and completed your  morning ablutions. Most people use their cell phone as their clock, and you can  set multiple reminder alarms for various activities throughout the day. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but always remember, if you snooze, you lose!   As always, I wish you success and happiness!