How Strong are Your Mental Muscles?

What if every moment of every day you have the choice to focus on what you don’t want or what you do want? That creating the life of your dreams is just a matter of deciding what you want, knowing that it is absolutely and completely yours, and staying in that confident place regardless of what other people say, or the circumstances that are unfolding?

The process is simple but far from easy, particularly since it seems like outside people, places, situations, and things are definitely impacting you. And everyone around you thinks they are at the mercy of these outside influences, and often remind you that you are, too.

It can be challenging to go against the typical mental-flow. As you read these words, it may feel right that you are more in control of your life than you can possibly imagine, but as soon as you are in your car and hit traffic, or someone complains to you, or you feel overwhelmed, you’re right back in that mode of life having control over you.

When people begin working to shift their focus to what they do want, they often think the shift should happen effortlessly. They are surprised that it feels like work.

But think about it. If you spend the majority of your time sitting passively in front of a computer or TV and are not doing any exercise, how likely is it that you will just be able to get up one day and go out and run 10 miles? In that case, you would expect that you need to train.

First, you would decide that you want to run 10 miles. Then you might plan how you are going to do it by setting up a running and workout schedule. Then you would commit to following the schedule and doing the workout every day. If you missed a workout, you wouldn’t beat yourself up. You would just get up the next day and do the planned workout. As you practice running you would start to see changes—you can run further, your lung capacity expands, and muscles develop in your legs. Do that consistently over a period of time, and you will master running 10 miles.

Why should it be any different to build your mental muscles?

You have to decide that you are willing to do the work to gain the mental strength to focus on what you want—no matter what—because you want to love your life. You want to plan how you are going to achieve that goal. Are you going to meditate every day? Keep an appreciation journal? Work with a coach? Then you will want to commit to following your plan. Slowly but surely, you practice shifting your thoughts and feelings. You gain new insights into how the world works, and let go of limiting beliefs and patterns that have been holding you back. Over time, you notice that you can make the mental shifts faster, your consciousness expands, and you are mentally stronger. Do that consistently and you will master your focus and thoughts, and will fall in love with life.

To get to the place where joy is totally within your control, all you have to do is decide, plan, commit, and practice consistently. If you do that, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

What can you do today to strengthen your mental muscles to create the life of your dreams?

Together we can do it!

Photo by http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Are You Tempted?

I’m packing today to go on my first cruise to celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary. To say I’m excited is an understatement!

But I’m also aware that I will be facing lots of temptations, and it might be easy to let my attention to health and wellness slip a little—or even a lot. I’m already feeling vacation’s siren song of rest, relaxation, and indulgence.

Making wellness a lifestyle means consistently practicing healthy thoughts and actions no matter where you are, even a cruise. To me, it also means finding balance and a little bit of freedom without undoing all the mental and physical momentum I generate on a daily basis.

My intention is to enjoy myself and to feel like I’m having a vacation, but also to come back feeling good, balanced, and with my healthy habits intact. To fulfill that, I’ve created a plan.

I will know my plan was a success if when I come back I have maintained my weight and feel good physically and mentally.

Select and Sample

One thing I know I will be facing is lots and lots of food options. It’s important to remember that there’s no way I am going to be able to eat everything I want, and trying to go there will mean paying for it later.

So I plan to use the plentiful food options to my advantage. What that means is that I will be able to select healthy food and portions most of the time.

My intention is that I will be selective and eat those treats that I truly want, but I am going to choose not to eat as much of them as I might want. A bite or two that I savor and enjoy is truly enough. I find that after that, the taste of what I’m eating becomes less intense and what I’m doing as I continue to eat is trying to regain that first taste-sensation.

Although I’m having visions of drinks with little umbrellas, celebratory champagne, and superb wine pairings, I am also going to be careful with alcohol, which is where empty calories can sneak in so easily.

What I’m going to do here is choose one each day. Once a day I will have either a Pina Colada, a glass of champagne, or a glass of wine with dinner. (And I will choose lower-calorie and better for me wine or champagne most often.) Since I normally don’t drink much, any one of those will be an indulgence. My head and body will thank me in the morning (and after the trip), if I maintain some moderation here. Drinking plenty of water during the day will also be key.

I’m bringing along protein bars and individual portion packs of almonds for quick and healthy snacks while on excursions. By not letting myself get too hungry between meals, I will be much more likely to stick to my plan.

Pack Workout Clothes

The ship we’re sailing on has a gym, outside track, climbing wall, surfing simulator, and even an ice rink! While I’m nursing a mild back injury, there should be plenty of fun ways for me to move my body every day.

A workout doesn’t have to be perfect to leave you feeling better and more energized. You just have to do it.

Catch Some Zs

One of the keys for making sure I stay on track while traveling is to get adequate rest, which can be a challenge in a strange bed hearing noises that I’m not used to, as well as having so many fun things to do that I’m not getting to bed until late.

I know what adequate rest means for me, so I intend have fun, but allow myself to get the sleep that I need.

Accountability

I would also like to ask you fabulous readers to hold me accountable when I get back. Knowing that I’ll have to report to you on how I did at following my plan will absolutely help me think twice before sticking my fork into some delicious dish.

And if I do find that I drank a second glass of wine, heeded the call of dessert, or chose having fun over sleep, I won’t beat myself up. To achieve optimal wellness, we only need to be consistent, not perfect.

What do you do to maintain your wellness while on vacation? Please share the travel and vacation tips that have worked for you. The best way to learn is from each other.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Accountability

In yesterday’s blog, I set out a plan for dealing with the mega-munchfest that I was facing last night that included being accountable to you Fabulous Readers.

The Plan

  • Eat healthy throughout the day.
  • Get in a workout.
  • Have a filling and nutritious meal before we go.
  • Look over all the food and choose one thing that I will indulge in. (This will probably be the crust-less fudge pie that my husband is planning to make. It’s totally calorie-worthy!)
  • Take a tray of vegetables and healthy hummus to give myself some nutritious nibbles throughout the evening.
  • Take some sugar-free gum along to chew if I start fighting cravings.
  • Go in determined to succeed and feel guilt-free.
  • Hold myself accountable by reporting to you all how I did.

The Report

It worked!

I ate clean all day, got in a 30 minute run/walk on the treadmill, and ate a filling soup for dinner before we left. I also included a serving of whole grain crackers and a low-fat cheese stick so that I would feel like I’d some “party” food.

Once there, I had a rye cracker out of one of the bowls of snack mix before I remembered my plan. After that I did great! I stuck to the carrot and celery sticks and home-made hummus, and avoided the cheesy, fatty dips that everyone else brought. (Mine was the only healthy dish there, so bringing something I knew I could eat was a life saver!) I was also pleasantly full, so I was definitely less tempted to stray.

I did promise myself a treat, and since David ran out of time to make the pie, I had three ginger-snap cookies that I spread out over the evening and 1 small chocolate covered strawberry. Another win was that I drank sparkling water with a squirt of lime-juice instead of wine or beer, and I did turn to the gum once when my stomach definitely wasn’t hungry, but my mouth still was.

So I did it! First time in months that I’ve left Bunco feeling good—and feeling good about myself.

Thanks for all your help! Knowing I would be reporting to you definitely helped me stay on track.