Theme for This Blog Going Forward

My goal in this blog has become to act as a motivational speaker in print.

I envision my blog as being a safe space on the internet to promote what I value:

Living in health harmony and happiness with yourself and others.

Most likely I have written in here before that I value fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

As I remain mostly indoors while living in the epicenter [New York City] of the pandemic I’ve decided to continue to write motivational blog entries.

I choose to cater to a target market of people coming together to honor, accept, and embrace each other’s individuality.

I choose to serve a target market of individuals who want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise in the ways that count.

I choose to use my life experiences and accumulated wisdom to educate, empower, and entertain a target market of people who seek to heal what’s not right in society:

Namely, the corrosive hate and judgment that reinforces stigma and makes it impossible to heal from any kind of ill-ness.

My focus will be on ideas I have for achieving mental and physical health.

In the next blog entry I will talk some more about the six categories of fitness talked about above.

Living in the Epicenter of the Pandemic

I wanted to write about what it’s like to live in New York City–the epicenter of the pandemic.

1 in 5 New York City residents have been infected.

15,500 people here have died from the coronavirus.

58,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus.

1 million Americans in the U.S. have been infected.

The novel coronavirus appeared in the U.S. as early as late December 2019.

As a person who works with 100s of members of the public everyday I was at a greater risk for far longer than I should’ve been.

New York libraries shut down on March 16. It was revealed that the coronavirus appeared in New York State as early as mid-February.

I was put at risk far longer than I should’ve been. I don’t take this lightly.

Going outdoors I wear a black bandanna. I have a host of 10 red bandannas that I will alternate with the black bandannas.

You have to wash the bandannas frequently after using them.

I find myself gasping for air under the bandanna when I’m walking outside.

Screwed-up are the people who go outside and don’t wear a bandanna.

They’re putting other people at risk of getting infected.

Living through this tragedy in the form of disease I’ve come to a turning point in how I want to move forward writing blog entries here.

The pandemic has changed how I see things.

I’ve become more committed to championing mental and physical health for everyone living on earth.

Adapting and Being Flexible

I think now of the beauty and benefit of adapting to a challenge rather than expecting that things can go “Your Way” like they used to.

While the COVID-19 outbreak rages I make do–and sometimes that is all you can do–persevere in whatever fashion it comes to you to persist.

I’ve adapted in one specific way: I have a heightened sensitivity to the role of nutritious food and physical activity in promoting optimal health.

The crisis has turned out to be for me the catalyst in wanting to up my fitness game post-pandemic.

The unpredictability of getting food delivered has forced me to reconsider the food I’m able to eat right here right now.

For one I have had to buy regular produce not organic at times.

Being flexible in this regard will make all the difference. It reminds me to be grateful that after the crisis ends it will be easier to eat more healthfully.

In adapting and remaining flexible you hold the key to winning against a setback.

Which I will talk about more next.

It’s imperative to not lose sight of your life goals while experiencing a hardship.

Using the Creative Process to Heal

Having sheltered in place for over 2 weeks has gotten me to think and reflect on planning for the future.

I’ve formulated the goal to publish fiction with a traditional publisher.

While in my apartment I have been writing a new novel.

As an Artist who is an Author I have long touted using the creative process to heal from an illness.

I was lucky that 5 days before New York City shut down I was able to go in person to Best-Buy to order a new computer.

Since then I’ve been writing the new novel.

My experience while indoors living through this pandemic has reinforced my vision that recovery is possible.

Engaging in the creative process–sketching and painting, listening to the radio or playing an instrument, writing poetry or short stories or a book–can enable a person to live through a crisis like the one we’re experiencing.

Engaging in the creative process enabled me to heal from a serious illness.

The CO-VID19 pandemic has tragically ended a lot of people’s lives. I”m not discounting that death is possible because of the coronavirus.

What I’m getting at is that living through this pandemic by sheltering in place has changed my view of living life on an ordinary day.

Once the CO-VID19 outbreak has resolved I plan to act bolder. To not take anyone else’s bull crap. To walk to the edge of my comfort zone and keep on going.

I have more to say about using the creative process to recover. I’ll talk about this in the next blog entry.

Sheltering in Place

My job has shut down indefinitely.

As others might be sheltering in place as well I would like to take about mental health in a time of crisis.

The number-one goal as I see it in this time of staying indoors is to eat as healthfully as possible.

The second critical goal is to keep up your mental health.

You can click on my home gym category to see how you can exercise at home.

I’ve been buying a CSA box of organic produce plus a mound of cheese and carton of eggs via FreshDirect online grocer in New York City.

Type in CSA box in the search bar.

PeaPod is available elsewhere.

As long as you can keep up buying food this is what is imperative.

What matters most as I see it is protecting your mental and physical health.

Today more than every nutritious food can elevate your mood.

I would tell others to stay inside. Only go out to the bank or food shopping or the laundry center should you have to. You might think nothing could happen because you’ve been inside a long time so far. I wouldn’t risk going out.

Stay 6 feet away from others as recommended to practice social distancing.

In a coming blog entry I’ll post a message I posted to my other blog.

It bears repeating that having compassion is the way to go.

Be kind to yourself when you’re holed up in your apartment or house.

The CO-VID19 outbreak will settle down. We will return to normal.

Bruni’s Atomic Habits

About seven months ago I read the book Atomic Habits. I recommend that readers buy a copy. The author lists simple small effective ways to create new positive habits in your life.

Come to think of it this might have been round about when I changed one thing:

In April 2019 I ditched having Purely Elizabeth’s ancient grains mush for breakfast.

Pour granola in bowl; add milk; eat in three minutes. Repeat. Every morning.

That had been my strategy for breakfast for too long.

In April I paid $395 for the services of a Health Coach. She zoomed in on this breakfast choice as one possible root for my lack of energy.

It’s January 2020. And 9 months later I’m happy to report that things turned around.

That April I changed one tiny thing: buying organic ingredients for my morning meal.

Scrambling two Handsome Brook Farms organic eggs with organic diced yellow red and orange peppers, tiny organic broccoli florets, and sliced organic mushrooms.

One month after this eggs-cellent food makeover I changed something else out of the blue.

One morning in May I decided to exercise at 7:00 a.m. Since then I exercise at home in the morning and early afternoon 2x/per week.

On Labor Day I bought the self-cleaning oven. Since this splurge I’ve been cooking my own dinners on most nights.

In November I started using the treadmill 1x/per week–another goal.

This is proof that slow-and-steady wins the race. Because our lives aren’t a race to the finish line–you know where that leads.

I’m not a fan of trying to execute numerous goals all at once.

This is contrary to the fact that a magazine recently touted that new research claims making four or five changes all at once is possible and effective.

I’ll stick to the Atomic Habits guidelines and to the Changeology action plan.

You simply don’t know what’s possible until you try.

My metal Michael Jordan quote paperweight is inscribed thus:

Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.

Changing one or two things at a time has worked for me.

The funny thing is, after executing these new habits, I can say that I have more energy and confidence, and my body is fitter and stronger too. Plus I lost 12 pounds without trying to : )

Not too shabby for a person who will turn 55 in the spring.

I’ll end here by telling readers not to write the ending of your story before you’ve started the first page.

Expecting the worst–that you “can’t” do something or “won’t” be able to do something is a mistake.

I had no idea the direction my life would turn when out of nowhere out of the blue on a Friday morning in May I decided I had to exercise at 7:00 a.m.

This is the reason that planning things down to every minute detail can backfire. This is why telling yourself you need to see results quickly will derail your success.

In coming blog entries I’ll give recipes for healthful snacks. I’ll talk a little about my own “food plan” which has also become a habit recently.

 

Giving Yourself a Lifeline

Years ago when I was the Health Guide at a website I wrote an article there about goal-setting. Over five years ago I first advanced the idea of giving yourself a lifeline. Instead of a strict impossible-to-achieve-by deadline.

The goal of exercising 5 days a week I would say is unrealistic for most people except athletes and fitness buffs.

The goal of losing 20 or 30 or more pounds also can’t be executed quickly.

How quick is too quick? Expecting change within three weeks is not realistic. 90 days is the Changeology action plan length of time for achieving a goal. And some goals will take years and years to achieve.

The fact is that the cumulative effect of the sub-goals you’re executing week-by-week adds up over time.

You might not notice a difference until 5 months later. Five months later the change might seem to have come out of the blue. And it seems sudden and astounding.

I also know from my own experience that having a fallow period is to be expected.

This fallow period can last a year or two and not just a week or two weeks or a season.

That’s why getting hung up on achieving goals quickly is a mistake.

A fallow period or a plateau is to be expected and planned for.

A setback is the cost of doing business in the real world. It’s why I don’t like to use the word failure. Thinking you’re a failure sets you up to not want to try again when the first option didn’t work out.

When a goal doesn’t go as you planned that’s a sign that you need to adapt your strategy.

Life will tell you what to do if only you stop to listen.

Taking time to slow down is imperative. It’s called practicing mindfulness and I wrote about this in here a year ago. You can use the search bar of this blog to type in the word mindfulness to find this blog entry to read.

The fact is that rush, rush, rushing through your goals, your activities, and your life only serves to backfire.

Italians have the ethic of “piano-piano” which is doing things slowly slowly.

See if what I’ve written makes sense. Giving yourself a lifeline might just be the secret solution to achieving your goals.

Quick is often the antithesis of lasting when it comes to making changes.

Going at your goals rat-a-tat-tat and firing away at them every single minute of the day might also impede success.

Voila–extending to yourself a lifeline.

How to Motivate Yourself

My sincerest hope is that I can do some good in my time here by using this blog as a motivational platform to educate, empower, and entertain readers.

My contention is that taking action sets in motion positive thinking. Which spurs a person to take more action. And so on. Like a peppermint stick thoughts and actions swirl around each other to reinforce goal-setting habits.

This December at long last I followed through on a long-held goal. Meeting a person who had competed in a marathon gave me the kick in the training pants to take action.

Before the holidays at the end of the year I achieved my goal of doing a walk/run on the treadmill 1/x per week. I did this for 4 weeks in a row.

Achieving this simple goal gave me the confidence that I could achieve other goals. Even ones not related to physical fitness.

Executing one goal–hopping on the treadmill–fired up my mental energy and alacrity.

It gave me the chance to think differently about myself and my skills, strengths, and abilities.

Always I’ve seen that by first taking action it leads to positive thinking. The physical act of doing something creates a positive cascade of thoughts flowing in the right direction.

Danica Patrick in her book Pretty Intense calls this your “mind river.”

I realized that I’m an innovative thinker. It’s easier to have self-acceptance.

My ulterior motive in keeping my two blogs is to empower readers to have self pride and to like yourself in a world where there’s still a lot of judging and stereotyping going on.

Living on earth it’s a better world precisely because everyone’s different.

The saddest waste of anyone’s “human capital” is for a person to try to change who they are to get other people’s approval.

I’m done with that. I’m done with caring what other people think.

Set a goal. Use the Changeology 5-step 90-day action plan to aid you in achieving the goal if you want to use this guide. See what happens.

Simply by doing a walk/run on the treadmill I started to internalize the powerful message that what makes me different gives me a specialty.

So too this is for everyone: what makes you different gives you an advantage.

You don’t have to be anyone other than who you are to succeed.

How to Start Making a Change

I want to clear up something in terms of a common mistake people make:

Acting harsh towards yourself–a form of negative reinforcement–only serves to keep you stuck in old thought patterns and behaviors that are holding you back.

Viewing yourself with a compassionate eye is the first order of business when seeking to execute a change for the better.

First, forgive yourself and have empathy. It’s possible that the current behavior manifested as a habit because it originally served a purpose that might have benefited you.

Over time, the need to change could crop up. My strategy is to change as I go along in life rather than waiting until a drastic change becomes necessary.

As regards food and fitness goals and resolutions, this is where each of us needs to be kinder and gentler on ourselves.

Making positive changes is possible when you first psych yourself up mentally to make the change. This is Step One in the Changeology book.

To motivate you to change your thinking, thus improving your ability to change your behavior, I want to quote from the book Pretty Intense. You could benefit from buying the book, which is why I quote Danica Patrick here:

“A study in the World Public Health Nutrition Association Journal found that the increase in ‘ultra-processed’ food–food that includes ingredients that aren’t, in fact, food–may be the main cause of the rise in obesity around the world.”

Isn’t it helpful and reassuring to know that a simple change in our eating habits can have dramatic health benefits?

I’m going to end here with a scenario from my own life to motivate readers to consider making this one positive change.

Exhibit A:  My mother’s eating habits which should hit closer to home for readers.

She snacks, snacks, snacks on cookies, chips, cake, and pastries. She has chocolate Special K for breakfast that contains artificial flavors. The food marketer for this cereal lists on the box that the cereal has “150 nourishing calories.”

I didn’t know that artificial flavors were nourishing. Please step away from this particular cereal box. Or any kind of cereal box.

My mother happens to be overweight and out of shape. I love her with all my heart. I care about her and her health.

The number-one lesson I learned from my mother by watching her is that the food we eat impacts our mental and physical health more than any other factor in our lives.

Making simple, incremental, and lasting changes that are effective is possible.

It doesn’t involve going on any kind of restrictive diet. I never went on a diet, and I lost 20 pounds in my twenties and kept the weight off.

I use my family history as an example to make this point:

It pays dividends to be kinder and gentler on yourself when you first start making changes and follow through on continuing with the new behavior.

Find the things that motivate you to make a change. For me, my family history was the alarm bell ringing in my head.

For you, you might want to change so that you can live to see your kids graduate college.

Or you might want to change so that you have the energy to get out of bed in the morning without feeling tired and cranky.

It can be as simple as this.

Find your specific why you want to change.

Lastly: we need to remove the blame that is the stigma–“a mark of shame or discredit” from the conversation.

Feeling good is the life goal that counts more than anything if you ask me.

And you can control how you feel by changing what you eat. Which is what I did “piano-piano” as we Italians say or slowly slowly.

In coming blog entries I’ll detail the methods I employed that boosted my mood, elevated my energy, and reshaped my body.

My goal is to empower readers to make your own positive changes.