Category: Goals

How My Faith Has Helped With Stress and Anxiety

While I grew up in the Church of Christ, I never had a strong faith. I knew all the stories, I listened and absorbed what was said in services most of the time, but unfortunately I did not believe much of it. However, just under two years ago I got an unspoken prayer answered by God. From that moment, things fell into place. I traveled to my hometown and went to a women’s Bible class with a family friend, and I learned something there that hadn’t clicked into place before: God does not expect us to be perfect. We need to do our best, and always strive to serve Him and follow His Word. That class was the final piece to the puzzle that I really needed. After I returned home, I set up a Bible study with the preacher of my parents’ church, one I had attended for a few years as a kid. I was baptized at that Bible study and the congregation there gave me such a warm and inviting welcome.

One of the biggest focuses that I have had since I was baptized was to put my trust in God. I felt driven and motivated to keep working on it, even in the times that it seemed bleak or hopeless. God always has a plan and learning to trust in Him has spilled over into more areas in my life than I could have ever imagined. It has really helped my mental wellbeing, especially with dealing with everyday stress and anxiety.

Some of the things that I have learned to give to God, to be a more centered person:

  • Cares and worries: All of those things that I used to let fester in my mind, I can leave to Him. Imagining them visually floating away from me and sending them up to Him has really helped me to find that peace that I so desperately need. Whenever something pops into my mind that causes me to worry, I remind myself: pray about it! God will take care of it. This especially helps for those times where I find myself worrying about friends and family, or simply people I pass by on the road, in the store, or wherever else. There are a lot of things in this world that can cause me to worry because I care so much about people. So, each time that kind of thing passes through my mind, I pray for those people and that helps me let go of it instead of letting it fester in my mind. What good does that do? Praying and helping in ways that I can are ways that I can take a more active role.
  • Nervousness and anxiety: I have always been a nervous, anxious ball of energy. Life has been overwhelming for me on various levels. Now that I know that God is there for me, I have learned to let things go and know that He will take care of me. That doesn’t make the nerves and anxiety disappear, but it helps immensely, and I continuously remind myself of this fact. I breathe and remember that He is right by my side, there to guide me and to be there for me no matter what happens in my life.
  • Life’s stresses: Life can be stressful in general, so like I mentioned about nerves and anxiety, knowing that God is right by my side and always there for me is a very important part of my mental wellbeing. Each time I start to get stressed, I remind myself or see evidence that God is working on something for my life. He has a plan to help me help others, reach more people, and make a difference.

How has your faith made a difference with your health, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional? I would love to hear from you!

 

~Bonnie~

How to Finally Stick with Your Weight Loss Goals (and Feel Great Doing it!)

I’m pleased to share with you a guest piece by Winston Henderson at 5 Years 2 Mastery, where he shares with us some tips on how to stick with our weight loss goals! These are really actionable tips that anyone can take to stick with their goals!

Raise your hand if you know this to be true.

You set a weight loss goal at the beginning of the year, promising than this time you’re definitely going to stick with it. You’re excited for the first few days, until you remember the taste of that delectable dessert that you’re probably craving now as we speak.

It’s difficult to stick with your goals isn’t it? Especially when there are so many things around to distract you from really going after it and being consistent with your activity to make it happen.

I know the feelings it creates. Feelings of disappointment, of discouragement. Beating yourself up because you just couldn’t get it done yet another time you tried. Feelings that you aren’t good enough, not worthy enough. It lowers your self-esteem and destroys your self-confidence. I know because I’ve been there.

Though I’ve never struggled with being overweight, I do know how it feels to feel like a failure because you couldn’t stick with another goal you set for yourself. My greatest hope is that I can help you to finally stick with your weight loss goal this year (even if you’ve already given up on them).

Now let me be clear, this isn’t a puff piece, nor is it an article on motivation. This isn’t me telling you that you need to quit whining and get up, put the plate down, and get your butt in the gym. Nor am I going to self-pity you in the hopes that it will get you going. My goal with this article is to give you actionable techniques that I have personally used to remain consistent with my own workout routine. Techniques that you can take, implement into your life right away, and start to see small progress in your life. The beauty with this technique is it will work for you whether you are just starting your weight loss journey, or whether you’ve fallen off track and want to get back into it, this technique will work just the same.

Before getting into the technique let’s shed some light on your situation.

 

Why You Struggle to stick with your weight loss goal

Awareness is the most important of any goal. I have found that often times it’s not that we don’t know what to do to achieve our goals, but we aren’t aware of the things that stops us or hinders us.

In working with others to help them stick with their goals (not just weight loss), I’ve realized there are 3 main reasons why you may not have stuck with your goals:

  1. You haven’t set the standard and expectation for yourself. What I mean by this is you haven’t set a standard of what you are unwilling to compromise when it comes to your weight loss goals. Also, what you’re unwilling to settle for, and what you expect from yourself when it comes to achieving your goal. In other words you haven’t made a conscious and verbal commitment that you intend to stick with this goal no matter what happens. Not just saying it in words, but actually committing to it through action. For the moment it may just be something that you think is nice to achieve, but not something that is of the highest priority for you.
  2. You haven’t identified why it’s a MUST for you. In other words what’s the main reason why this goal is so important to you? Why are you going to put yourself through the daily pain and process of losing this weight? Whatever your reason is, it has to be something that is so emotionally compelling to you, it will drive you to take action even on the days you don’t feel like doing it. Noticed I used the word ‘MUST’ which means something that is non-negotiable, something that you won’t give up on no matter what. Make this reason your motivation, instead of the goal of achieving a set weight loss number
  3. The consequence for not following through isn’t severe enough. Many people think that fear is a bad thing, and it can be if you allow it. However, if you know how to use fear to your advantage, as a driving force to get you into action and remain consistent, then you will find it easier to stick with your weight loss goals. Think about what you stand to lose, and what pain you will experience as a result of not sticking with your weight loss goal. Is it a feeling of unworthiness? Is it a health condition that you may be affected by and so will your family? Will it take away from living a life of fulfilment in some way? Whatever the reason is ensure it is something that is painful enough (the more the better). This pain or the fear of what will happen if you don’t stick with your weight loss goals will trigger you to get into action, and stay in action.

There are other subsets of these 3 why most people don’t stick with their goals, but this should be enough to get you moving.

 

The Technique to Finally Help You Stick With Your Goals

The technique I am referring to is one I’ve personally developed through my own experience of struggling with inconsistency and lacking commitment for over 31 years. I call it The S.T.A.R.S. TechniqueTM.

Let’s break it down.

Standard & Expectation

The first thing you want to do is set the Standard and Expectation of what you are unwilling to compromise and what you expect from yourself. As mentioned above you want to verbally express this to yourself.

The phrase I used when I was working on sticking with my workout routine was “I am someone who never misses a day working out”. I would repeat that in the morning hours before I was even ready to exercise. It helped to condition my mind to make it happen when the time came, and set the tone as to what I am to expect from myself.

 

Trigger

The Trigger is what is used to let your brain know it’s time to perform the action. The action in this case doesn’t have to be exercising. It could be something as simple as drinking a glass of water, or eating a salad plate or fruit.

Think of the Trigger as a message notification on your phone. When you receive a new message or email typically your phone will flash a light, vibrate, or make a ping sound to let you know that you received a new message. The action that follows would then be you checking your phone. So in the case of your weight loss goal the Trigger would be whatever you put in place to let you know to take a particular action.

 

Action

The next step is the actual action. Now when starting out or getting back into your routine, it’s very important not to try to do too much too soon. The reason being is it will make you overwhelmed easily, and soon burnout, get discouraged, then you’ll eventually quit on your goal.

What you want to do is start small and simple. Make the action step so easy that it would be ridiculous for you not to stick with your weight loss goal. Consistent, small steps, lead to big results.

Reward

The reward is what you give yourself for taking action. Now the reward I use is not external reward such as being able to watch my favourite television program. My reward is internal, which is celebrating and congratulating myself for taking action. I have found that this approach is more effective in long term habit formation

Self-Affirmation and Reinforcement

Finally you want to reinforce your Standard and Expectation statement. By doing this you are reminding yourself and bringing it into focus that you are developing and becoming someone who will stick with their goals.

So repeat what you said but in second person this time. Say “[insert your name] you truly are someone who never misses a day to work out!” There’s a psychology behind this when it comes to developing your Identity that is powerful!

To learn more about the S.T.A.R.S. TechniqueTM I created a training video on it where I go into greater depth on this technique.

To close let me just briefly share some quick tips that will help you on your weight loss journey.

 

Quick Tips to Help You Stick With It

  1. Choose an environment that will increase the chances you will stick with your weight loss goals, and remove anything from your environment such as foods that will hurt that goal
  2. Associate with other people who are ahead of you in the weight loss journey, it will give you something to inspire towards
  3. If you are working out choose a time based on your temperament. So if you are more a morning person do it then, night person choose that time. It will increase the likelihood of you taking action and sticking with your goal
  4. ALWAYS celebrate and congratulate yourself after taking action, no matter how small the action is

 

To your success my friends!

Author: Winston Henderson is a Break Through and Consistency Mentor at 5 Years 2 Mastery, who helps others to break through and overcome the mental barriers and limiting beliefs holding them back from taking action towards their goals, and helps them remain consistent towards achieving those goals.

11 Inspirations to Improve Your Health

We all need inspiration to lose weight, or in this case improve our health, because it can be hard to stay motivated and inspired to do so. There are many reasons to lose weight and get healthier. Sometimes we need to be reminded on a daily basis of all those things that should help us stay inspired. Here are eleven of the biggest inspirations for you to keep in mind:

1. Physical Health

We can improve our physical health by eating more healthy foods, getting physical activity, and drinking more water. It helps increase our strength, endurance, and to fuel our bodies in the way they need to be fueled. What is important to remember is to do what you can with what you have and not take on too much at once. Every little healthy decision that you make adds up to big results over time. It doesn’t need to all be instantaneous. Have patience and do your best!

2. Emotional Health

Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. As you learn to live healthier in your everyday life, some patterns may become apparent with your emotional health. For example, you may start to figure out what triggers you to feel depressed, anxious, or simply irritated or upset. When you figure those things out, you have a better chance of cutting things off before they get worse. That is one of the biggest benefits that I have found with improving my overall health, is to get to know myself well enough to improve how I function each day.

3. Mental Health

This is another one that depends on how well you are getting to know yourself. As you become more aware of your patterns, history, and other factors, the more you can gain control over your life. That doesn’t mean it will be easy by any means, but you can start to control what circumstances and situations you put yourself into a bit more and prepare for the ones you can’t escape from. It will help you gain more stability and contentment within your own life.

4. Play more and keep up with your kids and pets

Let’s face it, our kids and pets often have more energy than us. They are younger and just like to have fun! The healthier you are, the easier it is to keep up with the kids and pets in your life. It is so much fun to actually get involved with their play, actively engaging with them, much more fun than just watching them have all of the fun on their own!

5. Have more adventures

As your health improves, you will be able to go on more adventures. Sometimes it is difficult to get out of the house and that means that we are limited on our chance of adventures. However, there is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Some of the activities that you’ll be able to do more, or better, are to going shopping at the mall, hiking, taking walks around the neighborhood, going to theme parks, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Life is meant to be lived so improve your health and go out there to live it!

6. Gain more energy

Energy is something that a lot of us experience in short supply in our daily lives. The thing about living a healthier life, is that your energy will increase. Mine didn’t increase very fast but at some points, I felt much more energized than I had ever experienced, simply because I was eating healthier, getting more exercise, and drinking plenty of water. I’m confident that you will see some kind of increase in yours as well, as long as you consistently work on improving your health.

7. Live a fuller life with a better future

The better you feel and the healthier you are, the more you will be able to accomplish in your life. I also found that the longer I worked on improving my health and actually started accomplishing what I set out to do, the more I felt I was capable of accomplishing in other areas of my life. It gave me the confidence and the determination to go after many more of my dreams. To say the least, it was invigorating! Not only will you feel like going after more things to create a better life and future for yourself, but you will also have more energy and improved health to do so.

8. Feel better overall

You will feel better all around as you improve your health. This touches on many of the above inspirations, but this one is generalized for a reason. You will feel better overall which will boost you on so many different levels. It will help you do more and be more in your life.

9. Travel easier and more comfortably

When you lose weight and are healthier overall, traveling becomes a bit easier and more comfortable. You can fit in the bus, train, or plane seats better which means you have more room. Those seats are still small, but it does make it a bit more comfortable. Not only that, but you will have more energy to deal with the exhausting effects of traveling and be able to do more exploring on your vacations.

10. Clothes shopping can be a lot of fun

As you lose weight, you will need new clothes. Whether you go the route of thrift stores, clearance racks, or full sale, you can have a lot of fun shopping for new clothes in your new sizes. Then being able to actually wear those clothes instead of the same old ones all the time, it is such a rush! It can even be an experience in and of itself as you discover colorful and amazing clothes that you can wear that you may not have been able to wear before!

11. Boosted confidence, self-esteem, and much more

Losing weight and improving our health does us wonders in other aspects as well. The biggest way this happens is helping us feel better about ourselves all around. We start to see the good within us as we work on improving our overall health, and what we are capable of. We are all strong and capable, and we can see that even more pronounced as we work on improving our health!

Let me know what inspires you the most to improve your health in the comments, I would love to hear them!

 

~Bonnie~

POWERFUL: My Word of the Year

Choosing a word of the year has become more and more popular lately. Last year was my first year to participate in this idea and I chose the word UNSTOPPABLE for 2016. That is where I wanted the new year to lead me as a focus and a reminder to myself.

What unstoppable meant to me at the beginning of 2016 was that I was going to take the world by storm and not let anything get in my way! I was on a roll, feeling strong and confident, and ready to move forward. Now that the year has ended, I feel like the word wasn’t necessarily lived up to as much as it could have been by me. However, there was a lot that was beyond my control, and that’s okay!

did not give up and that is what unstoppable means to me now that the year is over. I may have taken a break in the middle of the year, for a few months, but after things calmed down to a more normal chaos level again, I was back at it! The most important thing is that I ended the year on a strong note- back on track with my eating for a few months, my blog and business moving forward, and looking forward to upcoming races in the year ahead! Therefore the word worked for me and I’m looking forward to my word for this year guiding me as well!

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I put my word up on the wall to constantly remind me: “I will be POWERFUL in 2017!”

There were quite a few words that I considered for this year: warrior, survivor, persistence, relentless, spirited, resilient, and finally… POWERFUL! It was more difficult to choose a word for 2017. Last year, I spent some time thinking about it and the word pretty much came to me. Then this year, I had to actively search out a word! I googled words, I googled “word of the year,” and scouted out what others were picking in hopes that I would find something that fit what I wanted the year to embody, as well as what I had been through.

Powerful

What does “powerful” mean to me for 2017? I want powerful to represent me and my various journeys this year. I have a lot going on and coming up soon, and I will be powerful as I accomplish each one. Here are some things I’ve got in the year ahead:

  • Half marathon for the second time in May.
  • Full marathon in November.
  • Publishing my first book in March, if all goes according to plan.
  • Writing other books and workbooks.
  • Serving others through my weight loss coaching.

I’m going to use my power for pouring my passions, skills, and enthusiasm into each task and activity. I am ready, I am powerful, and I will have a great 2017!

 

So, do you have a word of the year for 2017? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

 

~Bonnie~

(Shared to the Think Tank Thursday & the Welcome Home Wednesdays link ups, hop on over to those posts and check out some of the other wonderful blogs!)

 

Mulling Over My Morning Coffee

FREE New Year’s Goals Coaching Session

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!

I hope you have a fun and safe celebration as you bring in the New Year, whether you’re going out or staying in this year!

“There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.”
-Zayn Malik

As part of bringing in a new year, I would like to offer a FREE 30-minute New Year’s Goals Coaching Session to you all! Set up your appointment here: Inspire the Best You Calendar.

We can discuss what your goals are for weight loss, healthy living, or self-improvement this coming year or for the month of January, if you prefer. I am only holding this specific free coaching session from Monday, January 2nd until Friday, January 6th, so go snatch up a session now!

I look forward to hearing from you and helping you figure out your goals and how you can go about accomplishing them!

“There are far better things ahead than any we may leave behind.”
-C.S. Lewis

For my views on New Year’s goals, check out these posts:

“So I close my eyes to old ends, and open my heart to new beginnings.”
-Nick Frederickson

Are you ready for new beginnings in 2017? Whether you are or not, take advantage of the coaching session this coming week! We can figure it out more together!

 

~Bonnie~

How to Have a Winter of Healthy Living

Winter can be a hard season to get through when focusing on a healthy living journey. I know, because I spent the first two winters of my journey in a snowy and very cold (to me) area in Indiana. Even when you live in a warmer winter climate, the short days, abundant illnesses sweeping through, and other factors can eat at your motivation and resolve to live a healthy life. Based on my experiences the past few winters, I’ve put together a list of tips on how to focus on healthy living and maintain a more upbeat mindset through the colder months.

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First of all, find alternatives that are appealing for your plan:

  • Exercise- if you’re unable to get outside for exercise, plan some energizing indoor workouts such as videos, yoga, walking in place, and dancing! If it’s snowy but you can get out, go play in the snow. Build a snowman, go sledding, make a snow angel, or build a snow fort. Other ideas might include going to an indoor family gym or a fitness center that allows you to join for a few months at a time.
  • Eating and nutrition- Most of us crave warm comfort foods during this time of the year. There are ways to do this while still practicing healthy habits, like making homemade soups or having low-sodium premade soups. Here are a couple articles about healthier soups: Healthy Soup Recipes from Eating Well and Healthiest Canned Soups from Livestrong for some ideas! Making healthier versions of other dishes like veggie noodles for pasta dishes and grilled cheese sandwiches with whole wheat bread and less butter. As far as hot drinks goes, there are quite a few we can enjoy this time of year as well: hot coco, coffee with minimal flavorings, and tea.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
Edith Sitwell

Second, focus on your goals.

Just because the weather changed, doesn’t mean that your goals have disappeared. It’s still important to pursue your goals throughout the colder months. My suggestion is to make weekly goals that will help you reach your long-term goals in a smaller, more manageable, manner.  Then you should review them and your progress at the end of each week to see how you’re doing and where you need to go from there. It’s a method that keeps you more focused because you’re able to create a smaller vision with smaller steps to get you where you need to go.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.
-John Steinbeck

Thirdly, do your best to stay motivated through these months.

I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago about motivation, called How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight, and a lot of the tips in there can help you in regards to winter as well. Another tactic is to picture spring and summer, and how you want things to be then as far as your accomplishments and progress go. You can also look ahead to upcoming events, holidays, outings, and anything else you are looking forward to that will help you stay on track and looking to the future!

Not only that, but staying positive can help your motivation and mindset immensely. Think about the things in your day that are pleasant or bring you joy. Even in the darker, colder months, there is always something to be positive about! Celebrate those moments to make the days much more enjoyable and the winter seem less dreary.

When things seem dark and gray… Remember that you must keep pushing forward… focus on the small, little things in your day that can bring you joy!
-Heather Stillufsen

Lastly, be creative and make some visual incentives and encouragement for yourself.

  • A motivation board- A collection of graphics, quotes, pictures, and whatever else that represents your goals and your reason for moving forward each day. Some ideas for a winter-specific motivation board are:
    • What you’re looking forward to in the summer.
    • The goals you’re working on in the next 3-4 months.
    • What you would like to have accomplished by summer.
    • Any other ideas that will keep you motivated and inspired throughout the cold months.
  • Weight loss journal- Start or continue a weight loss journal in notebook or binder form. You can use it to track your progress throughout your journey. It’s never too late to put one together either! Some things I have included in mine:
    • Inspirational quotes.
    • Progress pictures.
    • A list of non-scale victories.
    • Accomplishments.
    • Races or other fitness events.
    • Essays and blog posts from my personal blog that I was particularly proud of or showed how far I had come.
    • A list of rewards I wanted or planned to get.
    • Fitness and nutrition pictures that were motivating.
    • A letter to myself about why I started my journey and what I wanted to achieve.

You can make these however you choose to make them. They are yours to create to work for you. Use them to keep you motivated. I know whenever I worked on either of these, I felt more motivated than I did in other moments because it was fun, exciting, and got the creative juices flowing!

What are your favorite ways or simply methods of staying motivated and on track through the winter months?

~Bonnie~

(Shared on the Welcome Home Wednesdays and Bloggy Brunch link ups, hop on over their pages and check out some of the other wonderful blogs!)

Let's Be Friends

31 Day Better You 2017 Challenge

I would love for you all to hop over and visit Tiffany from tamberdi.com‘s Better You 2017 Challenge. It will help you get off to a great start during the New Year and is full of ways for you to be able to build new habits and work towards your goals! So be sure to check it out and sign up if being a better you in 2017 is something you’re interested in!

“With many of the winter holidays over and the new year about to begin, what better way to start fresh than with a plan already made for you by me?? I’ve created a 31-day challenge to kick start your year off in the best way, leaving you prepared to create new habits and achieve your goals.”
-Tiffany

Her full post, complete with the link to join the challenge: Better You 2017: A Challenge to Be Your Best Self This January. You know this is one of your goals, so why not join and see how much progress you can make in a month!

 

~Bonnie~

 

3 Steps to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

The New Year is fast approaching, and 2017 will be here in less than a week now. This time of year tends to be full of reflection, planning, and hopes. Whether this past year has been great or horrible for you, I’m sure you’re hoping that the New Year has some wonderful things in store. I know I personally want it to be the year that I finally make a success with my new business and writing ventures. I also know that believing I can do these things will get me halfway there!

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

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Today I want to discuss with you a few steps that will help you make 2017 your best year yet:

Number one: Create a lifestyle around what you want, not just something that is temporary or that you’re simply wishing for. Think about what steps you need to take to get to your goal. Write them down, as well as the actions and things you need to accomplish in order to get there. Simply wanting or wishing for something to happen will not help you get there, you have to be willing to work at it too!

Number two: Make goals for yourself instead of resolutions. Some may argue that there isn’t much of a difference between these two terms, but I feel there is even if it is just all in our mindset. To me, the word “goal” elicits a meaning of planning and doing. You know that you have to do something in order to achieve it. While resolutions aren’t necessarily that different, the thoughts that come to mind when someone mentions the word are quite different. When I hear the word “resolution,” especially with New Year in front of them, I think of something that gets abandoned when things get too tough or the person loses interest. Therefore, I recommend a goals-type framework for whatever amazing things you want to accomplish this coming year. Here’s my process for the past few years: New Year, New You 2017. Making goals instead of resolutions has helped me immensely!

Number three: Make sure to plan and prepare for success. Like I mentioned in the first point, writing down what you want to accomplish and figuring out how you will get there can be very beneficial. You also should make sure you have any supplies or tools that you might need to get there. For example, if healthy eating is your goal, make a meal plan and a grocery list full of healthy foods that you can consume to help you succeed. If exercising three times a week is your goal, find some workout videos you can do, workout clothes and shoes to exercise in, or join a gym if that works for you. Whatever goal you have for the New Year, figure out what you need and either get it or make a plan for how you’re going to get it so that you can take that step when you get to it!

If you would like help with meeting your healthy living goals in the New Year, please check out my Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching PackageIt’s worth $179, but is on sale for $99 during the pre-order phase. It will go back up to it’s original price soon!

 

So tell me, what are your goals for the New Year and how do you plan on accomplishing them?

 

~Bonnie~

 

(This post is linked to the Coffee and Conversation Linkup and Bloggy Brunch Linkup, hop over and check out more posts on those blogs!)