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.

Having Hope for Making Changes

I want to use my own experience as a beacon to guide readers in making positive changes.

My own life could empower you that there’s hope.

Even when it seems like there’s an obstacle: you’re too old, too out of shape, too ill, whatever “too” that you think is holding you back.

Exhibit Chris: I didn’t start lifting weights until I turned 46 in 2011. For about five or six months before my birthday I rarely did any exercise.

From the week before Christmas until this week in January 2020–for about one month I hadn’t done a walk/run on the treadmill. And I lifted weights only sporadically until this week too.

The point of this story is that you need to take the long view.

A temporary setback today has no impact on your success in the end.

Exhibit A Guy I Know: He hadn’t held a job in a number of years. He turned 55 and said: “This is it. No more inactivity. I’m going to get a job.”

Change is possible at any time along the road in your recovery or your life. I went to graduate school with a woman who was 70.

Danica Patrick in her book tells readers to simply do the next healthy thing. After you do this thing, do the next health thing after that. And so on.

This is how sustaining following through on your goal happens: you set sub-goals along the way.

I liken this to compartmentalizing your efforts. When you do this you can be effective for the long-term.

Just to tell readers that you’re not alone. You’re not unusual.

Everyone falls down along the way to getting where we want to be. Getting back up–being resilient–is key.

The Changeology book details strategies to employ when you’ve had a setback.

I’ll end here with my last words of encouragement:

Start where you are. Today is how it is and tomorrow can be different.

I hope that my own life experience can inspire you that change is possible.

Making Fitness My Priority

I’ve come to make fitness a priority.

Health equals wealth. The true definition of wealth is abundance.

With health you have what you need to achieve your life goals.

Being ill makes it that much harder to succeed.

Over the years through a series of events I’ve come to prize having a fit mind and a strong body.

The mind and body work together to give us optimal health.

I’m 54. Two years ago when I was 52 and started menopause my energy tanked. Would I have to accept that my old energy was gone for good?

My body is getting older. My mind is still youthful.

Could bridging this divide help me get back my energy?

At about the time I turned 52 and started going through “the change” of life as a woman other things happened.

I stopped taking any kind of vitamin or supplement. I had wanted to believe I could satisfy my nutritional needs solely through food choices alone.

This is also when I stopped cooking my own meals for dinner. I relied on boxed frozen food packages that were supposed to be healthier choices.

Folks, I ate a lot of this prepared junk for too long. To compensate, I started ordering food to be delivered to my apartment for dinner.

The restaurant food was healthful yet way more expensive every week.

The remedy came on in April of this year 2019 when on a whim I hired the health coach.

After scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast for the last six months my mood improved.

By exercising in the morning in my living room 2x per week my body got fitter too.

Last week I wondered if perhaps I could use other help. I ordered Vitamin D tablets from the FullScript link my health coach had sent me online.

I’ve started to take one Vitamin D pill in the morning with breakfast.

Would I see a return to my old energy level or at least an improved energy level?

I was motivated to resume taking a Vitamin D pill after reading the Eating Well special edition magazine Eating for Energy.

This book is a common-sense guide to doing what it says: eating for energy.

I also changed one other thing for the better. I’ll talk about what I did in the next blog entry.

My intent is to give readers hope that making positive changes is possible at any time in your life and your recovery.

You might not be in such great health. As always I recommend the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

I’ve achieved numerous goals in the last year by using the 90-day action plan detailed in this lifesaver of a book.

In coming blog entries I’ll continue to report on the results I’m achieving by making these small, consistent, incremental changes.

Making positive changes isn’t easy. It’s natural to resist doing what’s in your best interest when it’s easier to adhere to the status quo.

Only I tell you readers: the status quo wasn’t working in my life.

It was time to do things differently. I’ll tell you how things turned out: better than I expected.

Read on for the results.

Chris’s Credentials

I’m 54 years old. I was born in 1965 in the first year of the Generation X cohort.

When I was 52 I started menopause. I haven’t gained weight or had hot flashes. My thinking is still sharp as a tack.

I was 50 years old when my father died. The cancer killed him. He has Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

This was the deciding factor in my desire to continue to exercise and eat healthfully.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I started lifting weights. Before then I hadn’t lifted one 5 pound weight. In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds.

This is how I know it’s possible to make positive changes at any time in your life.

I believe in the beauty of making fitness the number-one priority.

Living in health harmony and happiness is predicated on having fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

Over the years through a series of events happening to me I’ve come to figure out what my life’s purpose is.

I’m here to advance my vision of recovery from whatever it is a person is in recovery from.

My mantra for the blogs is: “No Judgments.”

When I was 22 I was diagnosed with a medical condition. I’ve been in remission for over 27 years so far.

What happened to me I wouldn’t want to strike any other person.

After I recovered fully, my goal was to aid in healing society of stigma.

It’s my belief that healing is possible when each of us honors, accepts, and embraces our individuality and that of others.

I’m a Girl on the Left. My favorite color is Green. I have 12 books I want to publish before my time here on earth ends.

And I think the world needs less judging and more compassion.

I’m going to record my journey to get fitter and remain healthy.

First before I detail the changes I’ve started to make I want to relay in the coming blog entry a scary event I witnessed in New York City.

I want to talk about what happened to dramatize the truth that no human being living on earth has anything to be ashamed of.

Wanting to better yourself is not a sin.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

My goal in wanting to help others live full and robust lives springs from the fact that I had no help in my own life. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps at a time when it was thought recovery wasn’t possible.

What I know to be true: choosing to make fitness the number-one priority in my life has made all the difference.

Who are you? Stand up straight and tall and tell the world.

Upcoming Blog Carnival

I want to talk about the Mind-Body Connection in this blog.

Again, I’m in the vanguard in writing about things no one else is covering.

The idea to publish this blog carnival came to me this week.

In a departure, I want to give more detail about my own journey to get fitter and remain active for the rest of my life.

In today’s publishing climate the more sensational your claim is you’ll be called an “expert” and get a book contract.

What I write about is common sense. I give readers this information in the hope of empowering you to live your own version of a full and robust life.

From Beyonce from a fashion magazine interview:

“The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic…Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.”

In the next blog entry I’ll give you my autobiography.

Then I’ll start to take you on my journey to get fitter and remain active for the rest of my life.

I firmly believe that if you want to have a better life this is under your control.

You can “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams” at any age.

My greatest goal is to use the blogs to spread joy, love, peace, and understanding in the world.

You shouldn’t feel ashamed because you want to better yourself.

Forget the jealous people. Forget the critics, naysayers, and haters in society whose sole purpose in life appears to take other people down.

Hold your head high. You are a person of worth equal to others in society.

Perhaps in sharing my journey you’ll be empowered to make positive changes as well.

How Much Exercise You Need

A shrink told me that the current thinking corroborates that engaging in short periods of exercise throughout the week is definitely okay.

I’m 54–I’ve been lifting weights for over 8 years so far. I find that my older body cannot sustain my former madwoman intense 50 to 60 minute lifting sessions 2x per week anymore.

The health coach I employed vetted what I thought myself months ago: it’s time to exercise in more frequent sessions of shorter duration.

The spring issue of the NIH MedlinePlus magazine gives these exercise guidelines:

Adults and older adults: 2 to 5 hours per week.

Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities: 2 to 5 hours per week as able.

Pregnant women: 2 hours and 30 minutes per week as able.

Kids: 1 hour per day.

Young children: 3 hours per day.

I’m 8 years older than when I first started lifting weights.

I’ve learned firsthand that you need to adapt as you go along. To be flexible to changing when your needs change. To honor your limits in any given session and modify your approach for that day.

The benefits of exercise are numerous. To be blunt: You’ll feel better when you exercise.

My father died of Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

He spent 3 hours a day watching FoxNews. Regardless of his choice of state news channel the fact is he was sitting around doing nothing all day when he was older.

Please–I urge you–step away from the TV and break a sweat.

It can be gardening, raking leaves, walking your dog, salsa dancing.

I will report back in 2 weeks the outcome in my life of exercising more frequently in shorter time sessions.

My goal is to give people hope that engaging in any form of moderate sustained physical activity is well worth the effort.

Having 5 Commitments

Easily over five years ago I read a Leo Babauta book where he told readers to list their 5 Commitments in life.

This approach made great sense to me. In the spirit of talking about recovery I want to riff on choosing and committing to 5 areas.

Do this for the sake of your mental health and physical well-being first of all.

As I head into my fifties and go through changes at mid-life the benefit of having 5 Commitments resonates with me more than ever.

It’s called a routine: adopting healthy habits that you engage in every day or every week.

This isn’t to say that the focus of your life won’t ever change. As you get older, you’ll need to improvise as you go along.

I find myself at 53 engaging in a form of woodshedding, which I talked about in one of the first blog entries in this Flourish blog.

While isolating inside because you’re afraid to go out your front door isn’t healthy I say:

Enjoying your own company when you’re alone in your apartment or house is imperative.

As I’ve started journeying through mid-life I can vouch for the positive health benefit of needing more time for yourself to rest and engage in recreation.

You need to rest after going out socially or having a long, hard day at your job.

The key to maximum productivity in your personal life lies in the beauty of honoring your 5 Commitments.

My 5 Commitments are art, music, fashion, books and writing, and exercise.

Making time each week to do something involving these 5 things I love has been the way to feel healthy and be happy at mid-life.

What are your 5 Commitments?

In coming blog entries I will continue with the focus on careers.

Yet I will apply this wisdom to everyday life.

Living in recovery doesn’t have to be so hard. Even if you’re in pain that’s when doing the things you love can help you feel better.

That’s it exactly: focusing on the 5 Commitments that bring you joy.