I was looking in my email for something the other day, and I came across an essay I had sent to my mom back in high school to print (keywords, amirite?) I obviously had to look at it, but what I saw surprised the poop out of me.
It was an essay I had written about leadership because I had become co-captain of my cheer squad. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read it. Here is a phrase that stuck out to me the most:
“I always felt I was more meant to blend in rather than stand out. There was really nothing special about me, I did not think, and if there was, I tried to hide it. I just wanted to be a part of the crowd: equal.”
WHAT. That was me?! I honestly couldn’t believe it for a second because now, I feel a certain sense of confidence in who I am. Heck, I’m writing this blog because I truly believe I could help some people out with the knowledge I have. I also think I’m hold at writing, which makes me special in a way. We’re all special and we deserve to recognize that in our lives!
So, here’s the moral of the story.
1.) you were born to stand out.
Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
There is something inherently special inside each and every one of us. Find out what gift God has blessed you with and USE it to help others!
2.) take a second to recognize how far you have come. I used to be a shy, timid girl who would let others walk all over her. I never spoke up for what I wanted. I never spoke out against what I thought was wrong. Reading this essay made me see the person I used to be in such a new light.
It also gave me a new appreciation for who I have become. I’m still a work in progress, we always will be. But I know that I have come so far, and I am choosing to be proud of how hard I have worked.
So I encourage you, take a look at the kind of person you used to be. How have you changed? How have you grown? I know you’ve come so far, too. Never stop chasing those dreams.
Some of you may not know this, but last week I spent five days in a hospital bed, and recovery since then has been…interesting. I don’t say this to gain sympathy or whatever, but rather because I want you to know where I am at in my life and how I am doing. That being said, I haven’t been doing well. I hate the medication they have me on, but before I complain your ears off, let’s get to the point of this post.
One thing that this experience has taught me is how important it is to take care of your body on a basic, fundamental level. I have always been a healthy individual, but my normal routes of exercise aren’t available to me right now. So, today I’m going to share with you how I am resetting my health to get back to where I was at!
I want to start on the right foot without pushing myself too hard, so this post is great for you if you’re just getting started, or you want to go back to the basics, too!
1. Drink LOTS of water
My first goal was to drink, drink and drink! Water is so great for you because your body is 70% water and it uses water for the most basic functions like metabolism and nutrient transportation. Water also helps cleanse your body of toxins and can help regulate your digestion. I could go on and on about the effects, but you get it. YOU NEED MORE WATER.
Just how much? There is varying research for how much water an individual should be drinking a day. Conventional wisdom says 8-8oz glasses of water a day (64oz total). Those in the fitness industry suggest a gallon of water per day is essential for athletes (128oz). Others say you should drink your body weight in ounces of water (I weigh ~123lbs so I should drink 123oz of water a day.) Therefore, I try to stick myself anywhere between those three numbers, with my goal of drinking at least 64oz of water total in a day, and my goal to be towards the higher, 128oz.
Let’s be real, it can be hard to get that much water in a day so I just stick to drinking when I’m thirsty, and having water with every meal. If you go out to eat, ask for a water instead of a soda pop or lemonade! It seriously makes all the difference. My final tip is to carry a water bottle with you. I put a carabiner on mine so that it can come literally anywhere. It holds 21oz of water, so I know I need to drink at least 3-6 a day. This helps me keep track and stay motivated throughout the day!
2. Eat whole foods
I woke up yesterday morning after a few weeks of eating out more often than I should have simply for the convenience of it, craving whole foods. Really all I wanted was a fruit smoothie with my greens powder in it. So, I listened to my body and that’s what I had for breakfast!
My tip to eating more whole foods is to shop on the outside of your grocery store. Usually, the produce, nuts, and meat are all along the perimeter of every store, so the more you stick to those aisles to get your food, the more whole you eat. Basically, if it comes from the ground or a tree (or an animal if you’re not vegan/veg) then you’re safe.
Get stuff that isn’t prepackaged, like bulk beans instead of canned ones. That way, you can cook them yourself and be sure there aren’t any added preservatives.
3. Re-examine your goals
After I came back from my vacation-hospital-vacation saga, I took a good, long look at my goals. I realized the healthy things I was chasing after before weren’t really for me anymore. They weren’t going to work for this reset.
So, I sat down and really thought. I envisioned my life and dared ask what my best self would look like. What activities would I be doing? What skills would I have accomplished? Where would I be most successful? What do I hope people say about me when I’m not around?
I asked these questions in reference to fitness, career, relationships, and life in general. I decided I wanted to get outside more. Hiking is something that I enjoy, and I want to incorporate it more into my life.
4. Get moving
For the first week after my hospitalization, I wasn’t allowed to do any intensive exercise. My boyfriend and I decided that we would go on walks every day during the time of the sunset so that I could still keep my body moving. Honestly, it has been a game changer for me!
10,000 steps a day turned out to be somewhat of an arbitrary number, but it’s on everyone’s fitness watches. I set a goal to hit those 10,000 steps because I have a sedentary job, but I wanted to stay healthy.
The results have been incredible for me so whether you decide to go on a walk, run or lift, get your body moving!
P.S. I am in a group coaching program called the #chasingfreedom movement led by a fantastic trainer, Tanner Hobbs. Every morning, she encourages us to get out #morningmovement in, and I find that to be a great time to get a walk in! Find what works for you.
I hope this post has helped you find some ways to reset your health! Do you have any tips you use? Comment them below!
Okay, was that a little strong? I’m sorry, but I am really excited about this post! I have been wanting to reinstate a morning routine in my life, and I’ve been wanting to get up early every day for probably the last year. There was only one problem: no matter how many days I told myself I’d get up earlier, and I set my alarm, I couldn’t do it.
Now listen, I’m not a fan of the word “can’t”. I don’t think anyone should have it in their vocabulary because it limits us. However, I really couldn’t do it. I read every blog post on this topic, and nothing worked. That is until I read the Miracle Morning. This book was seriously life changing for me. There wasn’t much in it that I hadn’t already heard, but I think my desperation combined with the timing and motivation of this book really changed things for me.
There are so many tips in there to avoid the snooze button, but the one that FINALLY worked for me was this: set your intentions the night before. Whaaaaa? Was that what you were expecting? I promise you, I read this book one night, and before I went to bed, I thought about how great my morning would be the next day if I got up. I went through each activity and the time frame. Guess what guys? I GOT UP! I got up exactly when I wanted to, and I had my first miracle morning.
Why does that small, simple trick work? The book says that it works because the last thoughts you have before you go to be are often the first ones that pop into your head when you wake up. So, if you go to bed thinking “I’m so not going to get enough sleep, I am going to be so exhausted!” Guess what you feel? That’s right: like you didn’t get enough sleep and you are exhausted. If you go to bed excited for the next morning, you will be excited when you wake up.
Honestly, I’m not sure what it was that made this work. I do know, though, that I got my butt outta bed, and I accomplished the things I wanted to. Now, every day I wake up excited to do my morning routine! I can do a blog later on how to set up a morning routine if you are interested, but the point is this: find a way to make yourself excited to get up in the morning and focus on that, not on how much you’re dreading it!
What tips do you have for getting up earlier?
The last year has seen a lot of ups and downs for me in the fitness arena. I got bored with spending hours in the gym lifting weights. With my new lifestyle, I have found something that works for me! My new go-to is a quick HIIT, full body circuit that leans, tones and gets your heart up all in around 30 minutes!
Here are some tips for creating your own HIIT circuit!
1. Determine the exercises
The first thing you want to do is to determine which body parts you want to hit! I usually go full body, which means hitting back, chest, bicep, tricep, shoulders, and legs. A good measurement is to do 2-3 exercises per body part. I combine back/bicep and chest/tricep, so I usually do around 6-9 exercises.
I also switch them up so I do back/bi, legs, chest/tri etc. I usually do 15-20 reps per set, for around 4 sets. This means you would do roughly 100 moves per body part. I do all of this with no weight, but you can add resistance bands if you choose!
If you don’t know which moves to choose, google it! There are a ton of helpful resources, and I will also have a sample workout at the end of this post.
2. Determine your rest time
The point of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is to get your heart rate up. I, therefore, don’t usually rest between each exercise, but I do between sets. I will take anywhere from 1-3 minutes, so drink some water and take what you need!
The harder you go, the more rest you need, so don’t neglect this part! Don’t neglect your body. Listen to it, and it will tell you what it needs and when it is ready.
3. Do it!
Now it’s time for you to perform what you have planned! An example circuit (that I’ve used before!) would look something like this:
- Good mornings (20 reps)
- Jump Squats (20 reps)
- Tricep Dips (20 reps)
- Supermans (20 reps)
- Jump Lunges (20 reps)
- Push-ups (20 reps)
At this point, you would take a rest period, and drink some water. Then, you would repeat 4 times!
As I said, this is something you can do with no equipment in the beautiful summer weather! I hope this has helped you be able to design your own plan! Do you have any fitness questions? Leave them below!
I have been listening to a podcast by Brendon Burchard lately, and one of his recurring themes is “4 Breakthroughs”. In it, he talks about things he has learned in each season of his life, and what he is learning right now. I thought I would attempt that here, as I feel myself learning, growing and stretching every day.
I hope you learn something from this and don’t be afraid to drop your 4 Breakthroughs in the comments below!
1. Feed Yourself
Most women are incredibly selfless, which is a beautiful thing. Heck, the Bible even tells us to take the shirt off our backs and give it to those who have stolen from us (Luke 6:30). I think we can often turn these beautiful things into ugly ones if we aren’t careful, though. There is such a thing as being too selfless, and you forget yourself.
This week, I challenge you to feed yourself. Whatever that means for you. It can be taking yourself on a coffee date or to your favorite restaurant, scheduling some “me time”, doing something you’ve always wanted to do or learning something you’ve always wanted to learn. Do something for yourself this week, because you can’t pour from an empty cup.
2. It all matters.
I’ve been on a social media fast for a little over a year, on and off. One thing that I have learned from that experience is that it all matters. I used to only care about the moments I could photograph, edit and post to get a certain number of likes. Now I know the not-so-picture-perfect ones matter too. The moments where you are lounging with your significant other, no make-up or sexy leggings in sight.The jokes that never make it on a caption. The moments where you are dancing along to the music no one else can hear.
Savor the little moments. Even if they’re not good enough for the world, they are good enough for me.
3. Speak Up
Recently, a lot of things have been happening in America. A lot of them break my heart. 2,000 children have been separated from their families in the last 6 weeks at our border. It is a feeble attempt at superiority masked in the “rule of law”.
If you are enraged by something, you must speak up! Add your voice to the dissenters, you are more powerful than you think you are.
Furthermore, put your money where your morals are. I talked about this a little last week, but I am willing to give to causes that are fighting for justice. One of the best ones I mentioned was Together Rising. Their maximum donation is $25, and through love warriors that weren’t afraid to speak up, they have raised millions of dollars. You can make a change. Go after it.
4. We belong to each other.
Community is something that I always took for granted. For some reason, I think we convince ourselves that we can do it all on our own. We don’t need other people, but as it turns out, we do.
Find a small group at your church, call up your girlfriend or your mom, or go to a workout class and meet some new pals. Invest in your relationships because you will need them.
We don’t function well being left by ourselves. Studies show being around others is better for your health, physical and mental. I know I need my people. Go find yours.
So, that is what I feel God moving in me. He is always teaching and growing us. I hope this has blessed you, and again, don’t forget to let me know your 4 down below!
One thing I have always been sure of is that our purpose on this planet is in part to make other people’s lives better. One of the best ways to do that is by donating your money. Now, there is a lot to be said for creating dependence on funds and so forth, but for an initial or emergency response, donations are necessary. Many of the businesses that are doing incredible good are funded soley by donations. This has become one of my favorite ways to give back, and I encourage you to think about it too!
Honestly, this used to be so hard for me. I often operated out of a “mindset of lack” when it came to money (if you don’t know what that is, google it!) I always thought I never had enough, though I always wanted to give. I discovered a few things: you never regret giving your money to a good cause and it helps you loosen the grip money has over your life.
Because of all I have learned though donations, I am going to list of some of the best ways I have found to give. If you have more, feel free to add them on in the comments!
- Together Rising is one of my favorite opportunities to donate. It was founded by one of my favorite authors and activists, Glennon Doyle Melton. Basically, you donate no more than $25 (a few coffees each month!) to a specific cause, or “love flash mob” and you see the work on the ground they do. They’ve done work with refugees in Syria, and children at the border to name a few! They don’t mess around with administrative costs or anything, they get right to the action!
- Disaster Relief organizations like the Red Cross are often the first response to natural disasters. They provide medial assistance and much more. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, and when unexpected tragedies happen, I know you would wish someone were there for you. Recently, a great cause is the volcano that erupted in Guatemala. Here is a list of verified GoFundMe campaigns to help.
- Animal Shelters are another type of organization I like to give to. I adopted my adorable kitty there, and our furry friends deserve a life of help. I personally donate to the Denver Dumb Friends League. Look for others in your area!
- Kiva is a unique organization in the fact that your donation is acutally loan money. You choose a person with a project in a developing nation, and you help them out! It is a sustainable way to do donations for everyone involved. The best part is, again, your investment could be as low as $20!
- Pencils of Promise is an organization that is close to my heart because I believe one of the best paths out of poverty and destructive enviornments is education. They build schools all around the world with the mission of improving countries from the youth up. I can get with that mission! You can also help them start a school if you have the money or can raise it!
- The International Rescue Committeresponds to the world’s humanitarian crises. Again, they go where the need is, and they help in whatever way they can. They provide lawyers and legal services as well as medical and refugee assistance. They do it all, and they run on donations as well.
- Tithe at Chuch. I know this one is what most Christians were taught, but when I was in high school making less than minimum wage, it was hard to convince myself to make this committment. In the end, I decided that my church was doing so much good in the community and the world. We partner with local and international organizations, and we are providing a safe religious space every week. What could be more deserving?
- Public Radio. I believe in funding journalism and news that is unbiased and factual, especially in the political times we are in now. I personally rely on NPR News, and I love all things related to journalism. I am a member at my local radio show, and I encourage you to look into it as well!
These are just a few of the organizations I like to partner with in order to do some good in the world. We all belong to each other. Remember that, and I hope this has encouraged you to give more.
First of all, if you struggle with anxiety at all, you need to read the book of Philippians. Read it over and over and over again. Honestly, it’s all I’ve been reading for a while. In another post, I will talk about getting back into reading my Bible every day, but this was a huge part of it for me.
Okay, but that isn’t the point of the post. I wanted to highlight this verse in Philippians 4:11-13 where Paul says,
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul just gave us the secret to life, and I honestly have passed it by so many times! I find myself discontented with my life a lot. I find myself discontented with myself a lot. I know that I want more, but what more do I want? I think the issue for me is to be content with what I have. Do you find yourself in the same position?
Here’s what Paul says allows him to be content in any and every situation: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This was confusing for me at first because what does that have to do with satisfaction in life? Maybe you would say nothing. That’s what I thought at first. However, when digging deeper into it, I think Paul is saying that he needs nothing, and he wants for nothing. It reminds me of this other scripture in Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.
Paul says, “I know what it is to be in need”. He knows what it means to lack, heck he was in jail and persecuted for his faith! But in his need, he knows God will provide. He has a confidence that God is guiding his steps. What if you and I could have that kind of confidence? What if simply knowing God was enough for you and I? Becuase it should be, shouldn’t it? Isn’t that the whole premise of life?
I believe it is. And sure, you can have your benz and your big ‘ole house. You can want to provide for your family, and you can want to have a prosperous, meaningful career. But when those things get overwhelming and running the rat race becomes exhausting, where do you turn? To God, in whom all our desires are fulfilled.
I’m trying to find peace in this knowledge, and I’m trying to find everything I need in Him. I’m trying to find my worth, and I am trying to trust that He knows what He’s doing with my life. His timing is perfect, and when I am ready for whatever He needs to bring me next, it will come. Lo que sera, sera.
I logged on to begin writing my post this weekend, and WordPress notified me that it has been ONE YEAR since I registered my blog! Wow, can you believe that? It’s hard for me to believe it.
One of the greatest things you can do in life is reflect. It’s important because it shows you how far you have come, but also, it makes me grateful for who I was at that point in time.
I started this blog one year ago, and I didn’t tell anyone about it until four months ago. How crazy is that? I knew I needed to write. I knew I really liked it and I knew it was a skill I wanted to develop. I was scared of what people would think, though, and I was scared to put myself out there. So I wrote and wrote and wrote for months and months and months, and then God challenged me once again.
I remember the feeling KNOWING He wanted me to share my blog. I tried to pretend I didn’t hear Him, and then I tried to pretend it wasn’t Him…but that didn’t last long. So, I told some people about it, and I kept writing and here we are, one year later.
So, what has changed in one year? Well, I don’t write as often as I’d like to, and I don’t have the best marketing strategy for all of this. Most of you who read this are family, friends or random people who found me on WordPress. First, I want to say that I appreciate your support. I also want to challenge you to consider the things I have learned in my year of blogging:
- Always follow your heart
- Don’t be afraid of what God is calling you to
- Do your research
- You have a purpose – stay secure in it
- Seek first the kingdom of God
- Keep the #1 thing the #1 thing
- Don’t give up. Ever.
- You matter, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes
- It’s supposed to be hard. Accept the challenge
- Celebrate your wins. God knows not many other people will.
I know these can be cliches, but I want to remind you that they are that for a reason. These sayings matter and you must follow them to live your best life. Don’t let anyone dull your shine, sister (or brother). Above all, trust God. Don’t be afraid to ask what you need. He will always provide according to His purposes. Love you all dearly.
P.S. do one thing today your future self will thank you for. Maybe in one year, you’ll be reflecting on how writing/living your dream changed you and taught you things you never thought you’d learn.
So, I am currently reading this book by Brendon Burchard (one of the best books I’ve ever read, and exactly what I needed at this moment in my life!) and he asks the readers to do an exercise. I wanted to share it here in hopes you might get something out of it. He asks you to reflect on the last week of your life, and reflect how you have been in each area of your life.
One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of fitness is stretching. The health benefits have been studied and validated by hundreds of scientists, but it isn’t just beneficial; it’s necessary!
Why You Need to Do It
Stretching is important because it stretches your muscles (duh!). This lowers the risk of injury and pain because it keeps your joints flexible and your blood flowing. When you excercise, you are tightening your muscles, which means they get shorter and tighter. When you stretch, you are lengthening them. This means that they will be elongated and flexible the next time you recruit them to exercise.
The most common form of stretching that people are familiar with is static stretching. This is when you stay in a stretch for 10 seconds or more. Some examples of this are forward folds, stradles, and splits. This can be good for building flexibility, and maintaining it. In my opinion, this is best after working out because your muscles are already warm, and can be stretched properly.
Dynamic stretching is when you move while you stretch. Some examples of this are pulling your knees to your chest while walking, or butt kicks while running. Dynamic stretching is typically cites as better than static because it warms the muscles up as it is stretching them, even further lowering the chance for injury.
So, now you know the importance of stretching, and you kow the two main types, what do you do with this information? One of my favorie ways to incorperate stretching into my routine is yoga. I always do either a quick yoga session after my run, or a longer one when I have more time. This has helped in my athetic performance as well as my peace of mind.
Before your workout, you should spend a few minutes doing some dynamic stretching. I would suggest doing some arm circles, hip circles, walking lunges, leg swings, and arm raises. Again, this stretches your muscles and warms them up to prepare for your workout.
Stretching has really changed the game for me in my fitness journey, and I encourage you to try it as well!
We all have dreams…things we are passionate about, experiences we want to have, things to have accomplished. If I were to look at your schedule and live a week in your life, would I be able to know what those are? Could I tell what your goals are by what your actions show throughout the week? For most people, that’s a no. I’m not going to lie, I feel convicted by that, too. Sometimes, I think you would know, but other times I know you would not.
Why aren’t you doing those things? For me, many of my excuses were “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t know enough”, “I don’t have enough time”, and “I can’t do it alone”. Sound familiar to you? What I have learned, though, is that the first step is to take the next best step. Today, I want to lead you through an exercise in order to move you forward.
1.) What is your goal?
For many, this is the most difficult step. However, if you don’t know what you want in life, how can you move towards it? There really is no easy way to figure this out except to think about it. A lot.
Here are some questions to help you figure out your goal if you don’t know what it is. First, what are you passionate about? What do you like to do? What do you wish you could do all the time? If money weren’t an object, what would you be doing? Second, what do your friends always ask you for? To do their hair, take their pictures? Third, what are you good at? This goes hand in hand with the second question. You may not always be passionate about things you are good at, but definitely, spend some time thinking about it!
Goals change all of the time, and you often won’t do what you set out to do 10 years down the line. However, you need to have a good starting point. Find something you are so passionate about that you will be able to stick with it through the hard times (because there will be plenty of those).
2.) What’s next?
Once you have your goal, write down the top 5 next steps you need to get there. If you want to be a personal trainer, your first step is to get certified. If you want to be chief of staff to the president of the United States, you should probably work on a local campaign first. Write down what logical steps you need to take to reach your goal.
3.) Find a mentor
Research people who have done what you want to do, and get them to mentor you! I promise this will catapult you to success a lot faster than trying to do it on your own. Even if you just take them out to dinner once, their experience and advice will be immeasurably helpful to you.
4.) JUST DO IT!
Once you have thought about things a lot, it’s time to take action! The time for soul-searching, contemplation and research is done. Take the next best step to get to your dream! Then, once that is complete, take the next best step after that. It is a beautiful cycle that will take you on a journey you never could have expected.
This is the most crucial step. Most people will get caught in analysis paralysis. They will research and spend time thinking about the goal that they want, but they won’t actually get to it! START TODAY, START RIGHT NOW. I like to live by the quote:
do something today that your future self will thank you for!
Whatever excuses come to mind, shut them down. You are better than them, and you really can do anything. Make time, do it even if it isn’t perfect, don’t let “can’t” be a part of your vocabulary.
I hope this has helped you in some way. This blog is my “just do it even if it isn’t perfect, even if you’re scared, even if you don’t have time” project, so I’m right there with ya, sister. Keep on keepin’ on. Don’t let fear and doubt stop you from reaching your dreams.
Life can be pretty mundane sometimes, right? We go through the motions. We get up, get ready, go to work, come home from work, maybe workout or read a book, eat dinner and then go to bed. I believe there is so much beauty in those little moments, but I also believe that there is so much more. When I think of my life, I want it to be vibrant. I want people to think “she has such a lightness about her. She is bright and happy, and her enthusiasm for life is infectious.” I don’t want the little things to bother me. I want to be peaceful. I want to let shit go.