March Reflection

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

~Gail Devers, Three-Time Olympic Champion in Track and Field

 

On January 1, 2017, I resolved to make this year a Healthy Abundant Life. This would be the annual theme to carry me forth for the next 12 months. Every month I track my progress to see how I am doing, how far I have come. And, I invite you to come along with me!

It has been nearly three months since that inspiration day. I have had some good days and some not so good days, but on the whole I am still on track.

Take another look at your New Year’s declaration of “I am going to________________ .” How are you doing? Are you still on track? Fill in the form below to let me know your progress, obstacles, difficulties…

Here is my synopsis for this past month:

Clean eating while traveling in Alaska – Apple, grapes and carrots served in the upside down mini tripod. A little bit of art fun with our snacks.

Clean eating: What does it mean to me? Actually it is simply being aware of the nutritional value of the foods I eat. It is a lifestyle that allows me to be conscious of food options and the realization of the power I possess to choose wisely.

Throughout the month of March, I purchased more whole foods and less processed items. (Processed food are categorized as having more than 5 ingredients on the package label).

I have opted for high-nutrient foods that fuel my body yet keep caloric count down. Here are a few changes you might want to try:

  • No fad diets. Just a simple weekly meal plan that includes meat, fish and meatless dishes with plenty of fruit and veggies. Lean protein, complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats are the building blocks of healthy and nutritious meals.
  • Food in its original packaging is better than processed foods. Instead of orange juice, I eat an orange for breakfast along with over-night oatmeal packed with dates, dried cherries, coconut, almonds and yogurt. High fiber, low calories.
  • Apples, pears, carrots, celery and nuts are my go-to choice for mid-morning and afternoon snacks as they are portable and require minimal prep work.
  • Bananas, my preferred bedtime snack, are loaded with fiber and relaxing tryptophan for only about 100 calories.
  • Every weekend I hard boil eggs for a quick snack or lunch time salad throughout the week.
  • Olive oil is my choice for cooking and as a salad dressing with a bit of apple cider vinegar.
  • More meals with less food is better for digestion and metabolism. Small loads are easier to burn.

 

Exercise: Simply put, conscious movement is an important role in a healthy lifestyle. Walking is easy; hiking is a bit harder, but the rewards are greater. My goal is to get outside and experience the budding of spring. Oops… Mother Nature threw a curve ball mid March with a whopping Nor’easter of 20+ inches. I still have hopes that spring will come real soon. Snow boots are the current fashion while sneakers and hiking boots are waiting in the wings for their turn to perform.

This month I have extended my exercise program by adding a deliberate, slow-movement weight lifting regiment for muscles strength. Recently, I read that 30-40% of muscle cells are lost by age 70. (Ugh… !) As a result, metabolism slows down causing fewer calories burned leaving us with increased body fat, sluggishness, brain fog. It is my goal to reverse this process with a diligent exercise program. Benefits: Increased strength, stamina and sculpturing of a healthier body.

 

Cats fully understand the benefits of napping, a reserve of energy for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking. On average they snooze 12-16 hrs/day.

Sleep: Lately I have noticed more articles on the benefits of sleep. According to Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, “Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body for health.”

Here is a good reason to catch more ZZZ’s: from a recent study, sleep deprivation is linked to disease and premature death. “Because we are asleep, we don’t see the benefits of it,” says Robert Stickgold, a well-known sleep researcher and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

To achieve my goal of Healthy Abundant Living for 12 months, I need to be more conscious of relaxation, meditation and sleep. I need to make sure that sleep time is non-negotiable. How about you? Is adequate sleep on your radar?

 

Purge and organize:

Income Tax Day is quickly approaching and preparations continued for the first two weeks of this month. My first task was to organize the necessary paperwork for my accountant. While meticulously perusing the files, both paper and digital, I selected the information needed and purged those that are no longer relevant. The shredder got plenty of work as I systematically went through both file drawers. By the time I finished gathering documents to support tax filing, my files were slimmer and ready to accumulate the 2017 information. The large envelop was delivered to the accountant on March 17, plenty of time.

Click here to read more on Tips to Stay Secure During Tax Season.

 

Building and Maintaining Relationships:

  • 6 days traveling to Iceland with my sister, her husband and my Scotland travel companion/roommate, Chrisy. Weather was perfect with lots of sunshine, abundant snow-covered lava fields, rapidly moving rivers, ice cascades cloaking the waterfalls and several evenings of spectacular Northern Lights that filled the sky. Who could ask for anything more?
  • Monthly NAPO-CT meeting of educational sharing and camaraderie of colleagues is my office water cooler. Lunch followed with a special friend.
  • Book Club – reading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. Learned a lesson or two on the mechanics of flight as well as the human nature of fierce competition.
  • Very busy month at Bushnell Theater as I volunteered for several different types of performances from Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, to Adam Savage Brain Candy, to Theresa Caputo (Long Island Medium), to Jersey Boys…  Lots of fun and a great community of fellow volunteers.
  • And of course, time with grandchildren is always the best! No school days due to snow storms and professional development half days allowed lots of time to play legos, movies, bowling/indoor mini golf, hiking and reading. The sleep over was the best. Plan to do it again next month!

 

Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall): There was nothing golden about Gullfoss on the day we visited. Thick layers of ice cascaded from the top edges giving this spectacular, untouched beauty an opportunity to display the force of nature as it roars into a rugged canyon with walls reaching up to 230 feet in height. Gullfoss is just one stop on the Golden Circle road, located in South Iceland. It is on the Hvítá (White) river which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull. On a sunny day when the light is just right, a shimmering rainbow can be seen.

_______________________________

How are you doing with your resolutions? Sticking to good habits? Fill in the form below to let me know your challenges and accomplishments.

New Year's Resolutions can be difficult to sustain. Help is available just for the asking. Let me know what you are seeking and the barriers you have encountered. I will contact you as soon as possible.

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Clutter Challenge

It is not about the daily increases, but the daily decreases.

Hack away at the unessentials.  ~ Bruce Lee

The 4th week in March (some experts claim it is the 3rd week, so take your pick) is National Clutter Awareness Week.  Heck… if you’ve got clutter, you are aware of it every day, not just one week a year. But, let’s be honest. Do you really want clutter hanging around day after day, month after month, year after year. I bet the answer is a resounding, “NO!”

Then, what are you going to do about it? Let’s get real. Clutter is not going to disappear just because you tidy up a bit. Nope. Clutter is here to stay if you fail to purge the excess, the unnecessary, the broken, then unloved…  There is no way you can simplify and get organized if clutter controls your space.

C  is for Clutter Control

>>  Clutter (verb): To fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner;
                       (noun): A disorderly heap or assemblage; a state or condition of confusion

>>  Control (verb): To exercise restraint; dominate; command; to hold in check or curb;
(noun): A restraint; prevention of spreading of something undesirable

 

Housecleaning expert, Don Aslett, declared his idea about clutter control in his book Clutter’s Last Stand. He wrote, “One day I had the sudden realization: If I stopped buying things right this moment, there is no way I could ever use all I have now.”

What an interesting clutter control concept  — stop buying!

Henry David Thoreau defined clutter when he said he would rather toss an object that was in his way than continually move it around just to dust. He knew what he wanted to do with his time—wander the woods, write books and deliberate life.

You can control clutter only when you have less. No doubt, you have heard the saying, “More is not better!” so take a look around and if you have way too much. Unfortunately, many people find it easier to be buried in clutter than figure out a way to eliminate it. Panic sets in when they look at all that has accumulated and wonder where to begin to clear the space. The immediate reaction is to run away, and that is what people do. They run off to work, to the mall or to volunteer positions. They head out the door for dinner and other “feel-good” entertainment. They use the excuse of busyness to run away from household clutter and the chaos in their life. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of fun, wholesome activities, but when they become an outlet to get away from your cluttered environment, then it is simply an act of avoidance. Do you want to continue to live this way? Or, are you searching for a peaceful haven?

The first and most difficult step of clutter control is to acknowledge that it is a problem. Recognizing the fact that you are held in bondage to your possessions, will precipitate action to do something about it.

Look around:

  • Is the floor space open, safe and easily navigable?
  • What about flat surfaces? Are they available for use or totally useless?
  • Open a closet door and see what comes tumbling out. Are you in the habit of ducking for fear of getting bonked on the head?
  • Pull out a drawer and visualize finding what you want when you want it.
  • Take a peak in the attic, basement and garage. Are you amazed that clutter accumulates faster than a litter of rabbits?

 

You can take control when you start to hack away at the unessential stuff that has accumulated over the years. Designate a week or a month to work in one room. Block off sufficient time on your day-planner to declutter that area. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it! Each day set aside 15 minutes to focus on one spot (one corner, one drawer, one shelf or one closet) to eliminate those things that are broken, unloved, no longer useful, and do not add joy to your life. You can regain control and eliminate the clutter when you set aside the time to work on this task.

 

Remember the Hare and Tortoise story? Slow and steady wins the race. One step in front of the other over and over again.

Clearing clutter is not a marathon or a sprint. It is a steady, even jog down life’s path. Slow and steady. Remember the clutter didn’t appear overnight and will not disappear overnight. Take this journey one small step at a time!

Let me know how you are doing with this challenge to control your clutter.

New Year's Resolutions can be difficult to sustain. Help is available just for the asking. Let me know what you are seeking and the barriers you have encountered. I will contact you as soon as possible.

* indicates required field