How I Cooked Up a Goal

I want to reiterate this fact of life:

On some days you just don’t have it in you.

As said, setbacks are the cost of doing business in the real world.

We need to expect that things won’t always go as planned.

This is why I have high compassion for anyone who struggles, who is going through a hard time, and for anyone who another person has harmed.

A setback can last a day, week, season, or year–or longer.

Any kind of plateau requires that we have the grace to accept what’s going on. To move forward when we’re supposed to.

Four years ago a loved one died. That’s right about when I stopped cooking my own dinners, relying on frozen boxed meals that Amy’s Organics passed off as healthful.

Hardly. They were hardly benefiting me.

Sometime after this dalliance with frozen dinners I opted to order fish and seafood with  vegetables from a restaurant. More healthful yet too costly.

In the fall things turned around after years of inactive culinary efforts. I got cooking. It had been a goal of mine to cook my own dinners again.

And voila–now I cook dinner more often than not. How did I make this change?

I was fortunate to be able to buy a self-cleaning oven at a reduced cost for a Labor Day sale.

You see I didn’t like to use toxic oven spray cans to clean inside the oven. The interior got blackened. The old model oven had a gap within the rims of the burners. Food fell inside the rims constantly.

You can use any number of “green” cleaning methods if a self-cleaning oven is not an option. Read about them in the books Green Cleaning, The Modern Organic Home, and Lemons and Lavender.

I don’t like to clean, so I was lucky to have an alternative.

I’ll end here with this thought: when you get older you could face any number of setbacks: a drop in energy, the loss of a loved one, the need to make a difficult life change, to name a few.

Anything a person can do to make their life easier in a healthy way should be applauded.

In the next blog entry I’ll go into more detail about how making one tiny change can cause a snowball roll or a cascade of other positive changes.

What happened to me is proof that things can turn around for the better.

I got my energy back, more hope, and more confidence after changing one simple habit.

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.

Bruni’s 3-Month Challenge

I want to write about goal-setting again.

I haven’t ever had a New Year’s resolution. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

Again I refer readers to the book Changeology for realizing goals and resolutions using a scientifically verified 90-day action plan.

My own 3-Month Challenge that I’ll record and document in here is to do two things:

Cook my own dinners 4x/per week. Do a walk-/run on the treadmill 1x/per week.

Owing to a two-week stretch at holiday time I hadn’t exercised. I’ve returned to lifting weights 2x/per week.

One book that is out of print that I ordered in New condition from an Amazon seller is Pretty Intense by race-car driver Danica Patrick.

This book could help any reader as you embark on setting goals in and out of the gym.

It’s a fitness book that is equally for men and women. Parts of the book cater to women. Other parts are for everyone.

After checking four fitness books out of the library I returned the other three.

Pretty Intense has a number of flaws that an ordinary reader wouldn’t pick up on.

For one, Patrick recommends canola oil as a healthy oil. No, no, no it is not–read the book How to Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman for the inside scoop on which oils are healthy and which aren’t

Even with this glaring factual error I bought the book solely to try out a few of the recipes the race-car driver lists in her book.

Her 12-week HIIT or high-intensity interval training exercise plan I have no use for either.

The allure of this book for me was the chapters on getting mentally fit.

Patrick talks about creating a WOman cave–a separate room in your home or a section of a room that’s all yours to be free to decorate any way you want and do hobbies in that give you joy.

I plan on referring to the ideas in Pretty Intense in the next three months as I wind through the winter focusing on the two goals I listed.

In fact, I have already consistently been cooking my own dinners 4x/per on most weeks.

In a coming blog entry I will quote from the Patrick book to convince readers to buy a copy of the book.

I read the Amazon reviews of Pretty Intense. A reviewer with a name that is traditionally a man’s name said that they thought Patrick was a stuck-up entitled princess.

Then this person heard Patrick talk on a radio show. After hearing her speak the reviewer said she was actually nice and feminine, he was surprised.

As if a person who identifies as having a female gender should only be feminine and not be unconventional in how she expresses her personality.

This reviewer or was it another one referred to Patrick’s body and her (in their view) lackluster ability as an athlete.

Yet again, it’s okay for a white male to be average and ordinary. It’s not okay in other people’s eyes for a woman to screw-up.

And it appears it’s not okay for a woman to have a fit body, and show off that body.

Owing to my own distaste of nearly naked woman appearing in fitness photos I decided not to insert a photo of the book cover for Pretty Intense.

On the cover Patrick appears in only a bikini top and body shorts.

I don’t care how fit and trim anyone’s body is. I’m simply dismayed at the focus on a person’s body and gender as signifying traits that identify who they are.

In a future blog entry I might insert a photo of myself at the gym wearing my gear that covers my body.

The judging of women, of anyone, that continues to go on in American society is something I don’t like. I abhor stereotyping people.

In fact, I’m an ordinary, average person. Unlike most people, I’ve made fitness the number-one priority in my life.

I’m not keen to preach to others or preen in front of others.

I simply think that the goals I’ve achieved over the years can be guideposts for others who are starting their own reinventions in life.

My 3-Month Challenge I will record here in an upbeat, cheerful voice.

A lot of what I’ve wanted to achieve has already happened. In coming blog entries I’ll talk about the specific methods I used for achieving these new goals.

I’m a fan of making positive changes at any time in your life. You’re not ever too old to reinvent yourself and go after a goal. Or two. Or three.

Won’t you join me in this journey?

 

Getting Support for Your Goals

The one small act of scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast has whirled into action other goals in a snowball roll.

The health coach services end in two weeks. This 2-month health coach service was well worth the money.

This is why I tell readers to get the support you need to plan and prepare for the new goals you want to take on.

One of my ideas is to go back to school for a writing degree.

It can be scary to make changes even though the changes might be positive.

That’s why I say: create a support team of individuals you can talk with.

Lastly: to remember that with health you have everything you need.

What I write I would like to educate, empower, and entertain readers.

To give followers the idea that it’s not as hard as you think to make changes.

I’ve been scrambling culinary sunshine for 6 weeks so far.

I say Go for It: risk change.

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

Making Changes for the Better

Leo Babauta on his Zen Habits website invokes readers to see:

“The uncertainty and discomfort are a necessary component for us to do anything meaningful.”

Making changes–even when they’re for the better–isn’t always easy. It can be downright hard to try doing something new that has the potential to transform your life and elevate your confidence.

I say: Just Do It. The more you take action the easier it will get to keep taking action.

“A body in motion stays in motion” is the old cliche.

There’s a great lyric in a Vampire Weekend song that is so generic I dare repeat it here because it’s not the exact lyric.

The idea is that a person doesn’t want to live the way they’re living yet they don’t want to die either.

It can be scary to change in any kind of way. Yet I urge you to consider that there’s a way out of the pain by going through it and figuring out what the pain has to teach you.

You can use your pain as the catalyst to figure out your life’s purpose.

My contention is that I was able to heal in part because I placed Service Above Self.

After you have a setback and you’re in recovery from whatever happened you have the choice: to roll over and passively accept a life of pain. Or to do what it takes to heal and be well.

For some of us it will take longer to get to where we want to be. Recovery is not a race nor is it a competition.

Yet the point is you can change for the better at any point along the road of recovery.

To change the world you first have to change yourself–as Michael Jackson so beautifully sang in his song “Man in the Mirror.”

In a coming blog entry I’m going to talk about something Leo Babauta wrote in one of his books years ago.

His theory of focusing on your 5 Commitments I want to apply to recovery.

As hard as it can be living in recovery there’s always hope that you can change your life for the better.

I maintain that focusing on your 5 Commitments in life can be a way to heal and be well.

Changeology: Step One: Psych

On the upper right of this blog where there’s text I inserted a new quote. It’s well worth it to read and remember the quote.

Here it is in case you can’t see the quote right away on your cell phone screen:

“Proceed as if Success is Inevitable.” – Unknown

This week I’ve started Step One–Psych–in the Changeology book. There are five steps total: Psych. Prep. Perspire. Persist. Persevere.

Step One is where you get in the mental game to psych yourself up to achieve the goal you’re going to set for the 90-day time frame.

My goal is to eat more healthful food for lunch and to save money on buying lunches. So, I’m going to bring food from home instead of buying food outside.

To do this I ordered a purple Rachael Ray XL 10 Gallon Insulated Tote. It arrived at my door. Wow–the tote is huge. I’m going to use it anyway. It folds, so will be convenient to take back home folded up.

With the holidays here I’ve been exercising only once a week on Sundays. At the start of the New Year I intend to go back to the gym to lift weights 2x per week. Plus hop on the treadmill one day a week in the winter.

I’ll stick with this one goal of eating more healthful food and ordering food online to bring with me to my job.

First up is keeping a food diary which I’ve been doing for three days so far. I’ll keep the food diary for 7 days.

Next week I will start Step Two: Prep.

I’m so impressed with the Changeology book that I’m giving a copy out as a Christmas gift.

Using this 5-Step method I’ve been successful so far with 2 goals I wanted to achieve.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race. It’s a cliche because it’s true: Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

My hope is that by sharing my own goal-setting plan I can empower readers to reach for your dreams too.