A Happy New Year's Cliche

  • What is one thing you would do if you knew you could not fail?
  • If you had a magic wand and could change anything...
  • A genie is able to grant you one wish...
  • If you woke in the morning and a miracle had occurred, what would it be?
It's the beginning of a New Year.  One of my least favorite things about this time of year is all the cliche saying floating about, see above for a couple more :-)  I usually try to avoid these types of questions and conversations because those asking the question (most of the time) mainly just want you to hear their answer, not the other way around.  But it is still important for us to examine these questions quietly in our minds or in a conversation with a close friend.  If we take them seriously 2013 could be a real turning point in our lives.

I used to not believe in making resolutions, simply because I hate the feeling I get when I don't live up to them!  What that comes down to is me, putting too much pressure on myself to live up to some unattainable standard.  Or my goals were simply too vague, lacking much needed specifics.

To avoid the New Years resolution let downs follow these simple tips:
  1. Break your goals into small manageable pieces.  Instead of saying "I resolve to loose 50 lbs," try something like, "I resolve to loose 1 lb a week."  This way, we can meet our goals gradually and the weekly "wins" will provide motivation and momentum.  
  2. Start small.  If you want to be working out 5 days a week but currently can't locate your gym pass, it's likely you wont be able to get yourself to the gym everyday (I still struggle getting all my planned runs in every week).  So, start small, 2 days a week to start with.  When you feel like that is no big deal, move it up to 3 days a week.  Or You can even say, "In March I will start going to the gym 3 days a week, then June 4 days a week..."  Going from nothing to that ideal overnight is really hard to do.  You might find yourself putting a lot of pressure on yourself which leads to feeling overwhelmed, to disappointment, and eventually giving up.
  3. Believe in yourself! Be your biggest cheerleader.  If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed and disappointed, simply reassess your goals.  You might be trying to do too much too quick.
  4. Expect the failure.  We are going to slip up, it really is inevitable.  Knowing it will happen at some point will make it easier to live with yourself after it happens.  Just own it, and move on.
  5. Avoid haters! I want to dedicate a post on how to identify and avoid haters in the future but for now just avoid those who do not put positive into your life.  If they doubt you and make subtle remarks about your slow progress, just ignore them and move on.  They really aren't worth the time of day.
So after reassessing your goals or resolutions in comparison to the above five tips, what do you resolve for 2013?


Beginning the journey is often times overwhelming.  When thinking about health, a lot of people immediately think getting into shape is one item on their new year's resolution list, but there are often many other "priorities" that come before that.  You know, things you have to do before getting to the gym even becomes a possibility.  What some call priorities (haves), I see as road blocks.  For example, many people think that they have to stop eating _____ , have to get a gym membership, have to buy a new pair of expensive shoes, have to lose sleep because there is just not enough time in the day, have to lose a few pounds through dieting first.
Basically what we are doing is sabotaging any chance of getting into shape by making it seem like the gap between here and there is uncrossable.  It seems when folks think about getting in shape, they image a version of themselves looking like a Greek god and say to themselves, "Ya right that's impossible." Why such a huge goal?  Let me simplify with this; Start.  Forget about what unhealthy food you have ingested over the course of the past week.  Forget the people who doubt you and always try to find a way of cutting you down subtly or outright (I call 'em haters, but more on them in a future post) Forget about all the excuses you give yourself and start! What you will notice is that once you get into whatever sort of workout you choose, you will shed some bad habits along the way.  Your body will crave water, healthy food and get this, a consistent workout schedule. 

Is this what "in-shape" is to you?

But you know the drill, you wont be fooled by what I have stated so far, because you know that once you start working out, all the bad habits don't just magically disappear.  It might take a year before you start to find somethings you use to crave at least moderately of disgusting 50% of the time. Now I'm curious though.  What sort of purpose do our bad habits play?  Sure cigarettes, coffee and alcohol can be hard to kick because of their addictive qualities, but do we crave Oreos (which are actually vegan) because we are addicted to them?  I say probably not and the reality is that we will crave unhealthy foods because their sugary, fatty or nutritionally void qualities provide us with a psychological comfort.  A child can get pretty peeved when they don't get a cookie because in their mind, their immediate happiness is tied to having that cookie. 

The deeper question for us adults is posed, "What is the particular food or drink fulfilling in us?"  Will another cup of coffee make your day better?  Will starting your day with some doughnut holes really bring comfort to your morning?  I find for myself that when I don't let myself be fooled into thinking that a sugary snack will make my day be brighter, I actually have a better day.  This is because I'm not fighting the sugar crash for the next couple hours.  I have also found that when I really don't want to go for a run, those are the days when I need it the most and afterward, I'm awake and ready for that day's challenges. 

So here's a couple questions.  What is your roadblock? What can you not start your day without? Share below!

Motivation, Perspective and Change

I'm not exactly sure what made me say "yes" to running a 10 mile race the very next morning, without training.  I assume it had to do with one main thing - Motivation.

My good friend Antho was convincing as he spoke about an upcoming ten mile race.  He made mention of the adrenaline buzz coursing through the veins of all the runners, so intense you can't help but notice it upon your arrival to the starting line.  He talked of an overwhelming feeling upon crossing the finish line — realizing you gave it your all. He topped it off by explaining the self-esteem boost you get after finishing such a distance that caries you throughout the next week.  Being a runner in Jr. High and my Freshman year of High School, I knew, to some small degree, what he was talking about.

Antho's pre-race pep-talk was able to motivate me enough to get me through one race but then what? Sadly our motivation to stay in shape doesn't stay at a consistent 100%.  Heck, if it stayed at 75%, I would be much more productive.  But something happened during that race, my perspective changed.  What I mean by this, is that I saw a lot of disadvantages of how my physical well-being was at that time... I saw how out-of-shape I really was.  Instead of finishing with the rest of the 24 year olds, or even mid-pack, I finished in the back with, well... the people who finish in the back.

My new perspective of myself as an out-of-shape wimp isn't what has kept me running, it is a desire to improve, to push myself beyond what I think is actually possible.  My perspective now is that we can do a lot more than we can really imagine, if we just go for it.  You know, Nike, Just Do It.  This perspective fuels my motivation and pushes me to change every day.

 (Antho and I after finishing the Des Plaines Trail Marathon)

These principles apply to running and getting into shape.  But they also apply to just about anything we see as a challenge in our lives.  For me, running has shown me a way to meet those challenges more confidently. 

If you are taking a look at your life and see areas that you would like to change, ask yourself the following questions:
-What are the disadvantages of the way things are?
-What are the advantages of doing things differently?
-What do you see as barriers to getting where you want to go?
-What personal strengths do you have that can help you succeed?

Forget the "how," allow yourself to daydream about advancements in your well-being, the how will follow.

Welcome to the First Post

Hello everyone! I am glad you have found me! Well-being. Just think about that word and it's implications. A being (you, me, and everyone else) that is well (or not so well). A being who is well is not someone who has stumbled upon health and wellness by happenstance most likely. They are probably a person who has sought out their own well-being with diligence. That is to say that people don't come into health on accident. Today we have many different sources telling us what health and wellness really are and a few quick easy steps to obtain them. If you are anything like me, you are hesitant, to say the least. Luckily, we have the ability to take our own health and wellness into our own hands and not let the govenrnment do that for us... My goal for this blog is to pull together two things for the reader. 1. Research - What is the leading research on nutrition, mental health, sports science, and disease saying about our wellbeing. 2. My own experience. How has health and nutrition affected my own physical, mental and emotional well-being?