How to Stay Motivated to be Healthy

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I have to admit, after the New Year’s spirit has come and gone, it can be hard to stay motivated to eat healthy and work out. It is important for long term health to stay active and to fuel your body with proper nutrition. Even if you don’t care about the number on the scale (which you shouldn’t) or being the next Victoria’s Secret angel, you should still have a concern for your overall health. Staying healthy will give you more energy and boost your mood.

1. Refocus

Sometimes after a long week of back to back pizza nights and football games on the couch, you just need to refocus. I love to search for motivational quotes that help me to stay strong when I become discouraged.

“Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.”- Unknown

This quote is one of my favorites to reflect on and use to get myself back into the right mindset for the next day. When you slip up on your diet or exercise routine, it is easy to feel like giving up. Instead, try to become re-motivated. Look up fitness Instagram accounts that you admire or look up yummy healthy food on Instagram (that always helps me!).

2. Remind yourself why you started

I encourage you to keep a journal and write in it every other day how you are feeling throughout the process of getting healthier. Don’t record your weight or keep a food diary, keep a journal about how being healthier is improving your well-being. As you become discouraged in your journey, you can always look back on this journal to remind yourself how far you have come. Also, I encourage you to record your reasons for beginning your journey to a healthy lifestyle. These very reasons will give you the drive to continue. Whether it is wanting to see your grandchildren grow up or decrease medications, any reason that you feel passionate about will be a good motivator.

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 3. Take Before and After Pictures

We have all seen them. The dramatic pictures that show off an individual’s weight loss displayed side by side. Although it took months and months to get from picture A to picture B, we view them in the same instant. Taking a picture every three weeks can help inspire you to keep going. On the back on the pictures, write the new milestones you have reached. Can you fit a towel around yourself now or see your feet? Record these important moments. When you are done with your journey to health, you will not only have a before and after picture, but also pictures along your journey. Maybe you can use these photos to help inspire friends and family who struggle with their health. Keep in mind however, not only does your body change, but also your skin will clear up and your hair will become healthier. Make sure to include these improved features in your photos and notes as well!

4. Love your body at each stage

If you decide today that you hate your body, your journey will be long and miserable. You will wake up every morning waiting for change that simply takes time. Don’t design a food or workout plan that is not realistic and that will be a quick crash diet. Buy clothes that are flattering to your figure, eat enough to be satisfied, and enjoy treats periodically with friends. Because this process should promote a lifestyle change, you don’t want to feel deprived or depressed. The most important step is to always love yourself. Although this is also the hardest rule, it is by far the most important to your success and happiness.

How to Benefit from Essential Oils

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For Christmas, I received an essential oils diffuser. I knew essential oils made your house smell amazing (which is great for a girl with three dogs!) and the diffuser can change colors so I was psyched. However, I discovered that which scent you choose actually matters. According to Huffington Post and Live in the Now, different scents can improve different areas in your life that could use a boost.

1. Peppermint

Besides reminding everyone of minty gum and candy canes, peppermint can actually aid in concentration. As a student and a blogger, this is the perfect scent to keep around the house. If you ever have one of those “I want to be productive but it is so not happening” days, put peppermint essential oil in your diffuser and sit down while the peppermint scent does its magic!

2. Lavender

After a stressful day at work or extra hype before bed, it can be difficult to calm down and just relax. Enter lavender! Lavender is perfect for making your body relax and it will make you very sleepy. So if you are surrounded by lavender throughout the day, cut it out and save it for nights only!

3. Orange

Similar to orange juice, orange scent is also a good pick me up in the mornings. Studies have shown that citrus scents like orange can improve your alertness. Instead of going straight for the coffee, try a whiff of orange to naturally wake yourself up. Or just use it occasionally for those extra groggy mornings.

4. Jasmine

To be honest, if you don’t know exactly what jasmine smells like, don’t feel bad because I don’t either. But maybe we should! Jasmine has been shown to serve as a natural antidepressant and relieve stress. Doesn’t everyone need that in their lives! During especially stressful days or times of the week, make sure to have jasmine essential oil on hand so that you can make sure to treat your body and mind right.

5. Thyme

Last, but definitely not least. Thyme acts similar to peppermint, by helping you concentrate. However, it does so by relaxing your nervous system. It also has an added bonus of improving your memory. Although thyme has always been thought of as a rarely used spice whose name everyone mispronounced as a child, it is time to give thyme some more credit!

After writing this article, I feel the need to express to you that I am not a hippie. I am not a treehugger or even close to being an environmentalist. I simply am trying new ways to treat my body how it deserves to be treated. When you are stressed, anxious, have difficulty concentrating, or have multiple sleepless nights, listen to your body. Our bodies send warning signals for a reason. The main message of this blog is to treat yourself better. Although it may seem that you are being pulled in hundreds of different directions, don’t forget to treat yourself with respect and take the time to spoil yourself.

Reasons Why I Throw Little Away

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Alright, I must admit. I have a problem throwing things away. However, I am far from being a hoarder. I don’t keep plastic forks or candy wrappers, but I do keep a lot of items in storage. Although there is a giant trend to be simplistic and become a minimalist, I have not been able to join the craze. Below are my personal reasons why (and you may agree):

1. What if I need it later?…

Often, when I come across a random charger without a home or an adorable little bag with no contents, I wonder when I am going to truly need it. Will there be a time when I am frantically searching my house for this random charger? Probably not. However, what if I DO? Won’t I be glad that I took up a little space in my drawer to keep it for a few extra months?

2. I plan to have kids (and grandkids)

As a child, I always wanted to know what my mom and dad’s lives were like when they were young. What did they play with and what did they cherish? My parents did not keep very many belongings from when they were children, so I never got to see their fourth grade report card or hold their favorite stuffed animal. Maybe someday my favorite belongings will be important to my children or grandchildren.

3. I want to remember those I love

I keep a giant drawer of cards written by my loved ones (from birthdays, Christmas, etc) that I started when I was very young (a few from my 5th birthday). I am aware that my grandparents will not be with me forever and neither will my parents. Although this is a somber thought and not one I enjoy pondering over, it is honestly why I keep their cards and items that remind me of them. Someday I will thank myself for keeping these things.

4. Material items can bring back memories

I have many items that are a reminder of a certain time in my life. Whether it was a happy time or a sad time, there are memories that I never want to forget. I have lots of belongings from my childhood that I hope to keep forever. Notes from classmates or little souvenirs from family vacations always make me smile if I am having a bad day. It is best to not live in the past or hold onto it too closely, but when the present is crummy, I always have good memories to make me smile.

Next time you decide to go through your house “spring cleaning” or angrily throwing things away because you can’t handle a messy room any longer (we all do it), remember these reasons not to throw everything away. Life is precious and so are memories. As time passes, it can be harder for these memories to come back with clarity. Sometimes we need a little reminder of all those who love us and how blessed we are by God.

How To Keep This Year’s Resolutions

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Now that the New Year is here, it’s time for a New You! Many people have goals and dreams for this year, myself included. However, everyone remembers that one goal last year that they never quite completed….but this year is going to be different! According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of people actually complete their New Year’s resolutions. How can you beat those statistics? Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1. Have someone to hold you accountable

Often people are too nervous to share their New Year’s resolutions because they fear judgement or their own failure. One sure way to succeed is to tell close friends and family your new goals so they can check your progress each month and keep you on track. Try to find someone that also has a New Year’s resolution so you can keep each other motivated!

2. Be specific

If your goal this year is to “Be healthy” or “Be more productive”, what does that look like? Are you wanting to eat 3 servings of vegetables each day or drop 5 pounds by March? Would you like to limit your social media and TV time to one hour per day? Make sure your goals are measurable so that your goal isn’t infinite.

3. Make it attainable

Making realistic goals can save you from heartache and frustration. It is easy to come out with a huge goal because in the moment you feel fired up about the New Year. However, if your goals are too big, others will assume you won’t reach them and they will probably be right. If you are known as “that person who always makes New Year’s resolutions they don’t keep”, that is a reputation crusher! You can always expand on your goals once you achieve them.

4. Break up your big resolution into mini ones

Deciding in January that you want to have a side business running by December or found a new organization can be very daunting. Try to break it up into tiny goals each month or even each week. Sometimes looking at the finish line from the beginning can be too overwhelming and cause you to become discouraged. I prefer to handle my New Year’s resolutions just like a huge chocolate cake…just break it up in tiny bites!

5. Don’t make a change unless you are ready

Don’t ever try to change for anyone but yourself. I’ve heard so many people that are chasing a goal for their husband, their kids, or their community. Those are great motivators, but your ultimate motivator must be for yourself. At the end of the day, you must be proud of your choices and how you’ve spent your time when you lay your head down on a pillow at night. Don’t let others tell you what to change about yourself. Be confident in your strengths and don’t let others tear you down!

Now that you are equipped with all of the tricks you need to know to make the right New Year’s resolutions and how to keep them, get out there and complete them. Dream big and believe in your capabilities! And just remember the sweet prize at the end of the year…proving all of your doubters wrong.

Thankful for Thankfulness

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Around Thanksgiving time, everyone puts emphasis on being thankful for all of their blessings. How many times have you given thought to being thankful for being thankful? Sounds odd, but have you ever stopped to wonder what the world would be like if no one was thankful for anything? Everyone would take and take, but never give back. They would expect more and never work for anything. The main reason that we are thankful as Christians is because it is natural and obvious for us to be thankful. Romans 1:20 says For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” God’s blessings around us are so apparent that we don’t have any excuse but to attribute our gifts to God. There is no other explanation for the beauty around us. 

Unfortunately, sin flows from an ungrateful heart. When people are not appreciate of the things they have been given, they steal from others. When husbands are not appreciative of their wives, they lust. When people are jealous of others’ lives, they covet. At the root of each of these sins is an ungrateful heart.

Prideful and entitled individuals have the hardest time saying thank you. If someone feels they deserved what they have been given, thank you doesn’t come naturally because they feel in some way they earned their gift. If an individual is prideful, it can be difficult to humble themselves to say thank you. However, the reason why it’s hard to say thank you should be the reason we do it. Being thankful keeps us humble, kind, and giving. I’ll be the first to admit, it can be hard to give thanks for the grades I receive, the money I make, and leadership positions I hold. I become boastful and believe that I worked hard and I should be rewarded for my hard work. However, God provides us with each and every opportunity and the people in our lives who give us opportunities. Without Him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Phillipians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Key Points:

1) God is the only explanation for all of the beauty around us

2) Sin flows from an ungrateful heart

3) Prideful and entitled individuals have the hardest time saying “thank you”

4) The reason why it’s hard to say thank you should be the reason we do it

6 Tips on Being More Thankful

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As the holidays come around, it can be easy to be thankful for everything we have in our lives. However, when the holiday spirit is long gone, how do we maintain thankful hearts? Below are 6 tips to remind yourself how amazing your life truly is! Remember, a thankful heart is a happy heart

1. Share what you’re thankful for with others

It isn’t difficult to rant about the bad days and situations that got your blood boiling, but how often do you hear someone rant about their good day? Being positive leads others to want to be around you more. In turn, having a more positive outlook on life makes you a happier person. Sounds like a win-win! Try making a “thank-dislike-thank sandwich”. Start out with something that brightened your day or made you smile that you are thankful for, followed by something that you didn’t care for (try not be too negative), and end the conversation with another positive uplift. You can even tell this person how thankful you are for them (brownie points)!

2. Keep a journal or a simple list

Of course it is ideal to keep a journal with all of your happiest moments, but sometimes with the busyness of life, it is better to just keep a list. Whichever works for you, try something you can commit to. Try to think of at least 5 things you are thankful for everyday, but be specific. Your kids, your parents, and your dogs can not be recurring on your list everyday!

3. Take pictures

Right now, make an album titled “Thankfulness”. Try to take at least one picture everyday of something you are thankful for. It could be the sunshine, your home, or a slice of pumpkin pie, but be creative! Try to make your album vary and be unique to you and your experiences. When you are feeling down or having a “Negative Nancy” moment, scroll through the pictures to remind yourself of all of the blessings in your life.

4. Pray

Prayer can be a very positive, uplifting experience. It can elevate your mood and increase your hope for the future. Knowing that you have a relationship with the God that provided you with everything you have gives you a sense of security that your life is in His hands. Don’t take for granted his undeserved blessings. Setting aside a time in your day to pray not only allows you to thank God for His gifts, but also gives you time to reflect on all that you are thankful for.

5. Do the little things…

Being thankful doesn’t have to simply be a feeling, but it should also direct your actions. For those you are thankful to, do a little something. If you husband is your concrete support system, make him his favorite treat or leave him a note to express your gratitude. People in your life don’t know you are thankful for them until you express it in some way. This may seem obvious, but I always tell myself “they know I love them”. Which isn’t necessarily true! It can be very uplifting for this person to hear you tell them or let your actions speak for you and do something kind for them.

6. Give Back

In order to not take for granted all of the people and things in your life, spend time with others who are lacking the blessings you have been given. If you are thankful for your parents, mentor an orphan who needs someone to look up to. If you adore your pets, spend time at an animal shelter with animals that don’t have a home. When you find yourself grumbling about your life, it can be very humbling to donate your time to someone who would give anything to have what you have right now. If you are blessed, go be a blessing!

5 Tips to Productivity

bedtime-3-1It is hard to be productive. Very hard. There are so many sources of entertainment calling our name. But, when you have a filthy house and are behind at work, you have to shut up the voices from your TV and social media, and get down to business! Here are 5 tips that could help you be more productive:

1. Dress nicely, yet comfortably

If your every day style includes sweatpants and a t shirts, you may want to rethink your wardrobe. According to the Wall Street Journal, a new study came out suggesting that wearing nicer clothes to work can improve your performance. Dressing nicer makes you feel more professional and puts you in the “mood” to work and be productive. This doesn’t mean your clothes have to be uncomfortably tight and painful, but wear clothes that don’t remind you of rainy days in bed.

2. Spend time with productive individuals

Nothing makes me feel worse than hanging around friends who are more productive than I am! Many of you may feel the same way, but don’t use this as an excuse to start your search for a new group of friends. Instead, try to model behaviors of the productive individuals you admire.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

According to TODAY, it takes 21 days to form a new habit. If you want to stop checking social media in the morning and instead go to the gym, do it for 21 days. Want to quit watching two hours of television every night? Try limiting yourself to one hour and pretty soon it may be hard to sit through two hours!

4.  Reward your productive behavior

It is difficult to finish a daunting or tedious task when there is no reward or gratification in the end. Try setting up a personal reward system for yourself. If you hate cleaning the house, promise yourself that you can have a piece of candy once you finish cleaning all of the bathrooms. Difficulty checking and responding to emails everyday? Tell yourself that once you make it though all of your unread emails, you can spend 5 minutes surfing the web. Once your brain knows there is a reward after you are finished with a task, it will be much easier to stay focused and complete it. Just make sure you don’t reward yourself before completing the task!

5. Make a checklist

If you have a lot of tasks to complete, put them all into a checklist. But, instead of having just a general list, make it a to-do list for each day. However, make sure each day’s checklist is actually achievable. When you finish a chore, cross it off the list. You will be surprised by how rewarding it is to scribble off a task that has been on your mind or that you have worked hard to complete. Try to alternate between hard and easy tasks. Don’t get all of the easy ones done and have only difficult tasks to dread, but also don’t do all of the easy ones so that your list seems small (I know what you’re up to!) And now…you can check reading an article about improving your productivity off of your list.

5 Ways to Get Yourself Up in the Morning

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Do you have trouble forcing yourself to get out of bed to start your day? It may not always be easy to roll out of bed after a long night. Try these tricks and tips to fight morning the morning slump.

1. Set Your Alarm Clock Far From Your Bed

It can be hard to avoid hitting the snooze button, but that addiction can be easily averted by simply placing your alarm clock far away from your bed. Why put yourself through this strange form of torture? Well, if you get out of bed, you are more likely to stay awake than if you simply roll over to turn off your alarm will little to no effort. It may be uncomfortable to expose yourself to that cold morning air, but you will thank yourself later when you aren’t late to work.

2. Prepare a Tasty Breakfast

I don’t know about you, but nothing gets me up faster than a yummy breakfast. Are you passionate about eggs and bacon? Do you dream about waffles? If these foods are your cravings, then plan ahead to make them in the mornings. If you have food to look forward to, it is easier to drag yourself out of bed. If your morning is cramped for time, try to buy your favorite breakfast items premade or frozen. You can even make them the night before and have them in the fridge, ready for the morning. Looking for a healthier breakfast? Try an overnight oats recipe or a bowl of fresh fruit.

3. Do a Few Exercises in Bed

When you start to do exercise, you get your blood flowing and some adrenaline pumping. Obviously, it isn’t necessary to be drenching with sweat before you even start your day, but try doing a few situps or leg raises may help you get out of bed. Doing a few stretches in bed can also be a relaxing way to slowly wake yourself up.

4. Keep Slippers or a Robe by Your Bed

Chilly mornings and me don’t mix…ever. If you despise the cold like I do, choose to keep a robe and a pair of slippers by your bed. Getting out of bed is already miserable enough, at least if you have comfortable clothes to wear, it’s less of a shock to your system. Or if you’re really having a bad day, just drag your blanket out of bed with you to keep you cozy while you do your morning routine.

5. Wake Yourself Up 5 Minutes Earlier

This last one works for me personally very well. I simply set my alarm to wake myself up 5 minutes earlier than I need to be awake. This way, you don’t have to jump out of bed and energetically start your day. Instead, you can roll around in bed and slowly build up enough strength to pull yourself out of bed. Take these few minutes to enjoy the silence before the day officially begins. If you absolutely end up loving this technique, then you can even wake up 10 minutes early!