Setting goals is fun, the work along the way can be not so fun at times. Setting a goal is like signing up for a race. You are super excited when you sign up and have this vision of what it will look and feel like when you cross that finish line; then you start the race. The first bit isn’t so bad, all the good vibes you had when you singed up are still there and keeping you focused. Then about halfway you start to get tired, people are passing you, and you can’t see that finish line anywhere. Now you are tired and frustrated because the finish line is farther than you anticipated when you signed up and you didn’t think it would be this hard and you start wondering if you should just stop the race because no one will care whether you finish or not. How does this analogy of signing up for a race relate to setting a goal you ask? Think of it like this, most people set a goal when they are happy, have very little daily life stressors on their mind, and they are feeling super motivated. And when they start working toward this goal the initial excitement one had when setting this goal is still present. Then life gets in the way. When you decide on a goal you are excited and motivated but then all the other life duties get in the way and bog you down. A work project gets thrown in your lap, something comes up in your family, or better yet a pandemic happens. You put your goal on pause or just toss it completely. No one will know you say, it won’t matter if I don’t reach it, it was silly of me to make that a goal anyway, unrealistic. NOPE! If that is a goal of yours it isn’t silly and you know who will notice if you don’t reach it? You will, and that is the only person you should be worried about impressing.
So, this is what you are going to do. Write down your goal, and then bullet below it all the things that need to happen in order for that goal to be accomplished. Next you are going to set a date for when you want the goal to be accomplished. Because a goal without a date is just a wish. Once the date is set, you look at the bulleted list and break the time between now and the date you set up into 4ths. Put bullet items together if they are related and put them into one of the quarter time dates between now and your overall goal. These are now your mini goal check points. Each time you reach one it will serve as a reminder that you are one step closer to your overall goal and will be a rewarding feeling to cross it off the list. You can even give yourself a list of things you want to do daily, weekly, and monthly as they help you take steps toward your overall goal. Whatever works for you is what works.
My challenge for you all is to sit down right now and create your goal and the mini goals that are necessary along the way to ensure success. And if any of those goals are fitness or nutrition related Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition is the place to be to help you reach those goals. When you sign-up to work with Smarter Athlete your coach will design a program that is personalized to your goals and be there for you each week to make sure you are supported on your journey. If this is what you are looking for reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
The terms health and wellness tend to be used interchangeably. While these two are very connected, they are not exactly synonymous terms. To be clear:
Health(n)- the state of being free from illness or injury; a person’s mental or physical condition.
Wellness(n)- the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.
So, in order to have one you need to have the other. Someone can be free from a physical illness or injury and thus be healthy, but not in a state of wellness because their emotional or mental health may not be at 100%. In order to be completely healthy ones physical, emotional, and mental health must be free from illness/injury, and once that is achieved one will be in a state of wellness.
If you are looking for ways to improve any aspect of your health in order to be in a state of wellness, Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition can help you. The coaches are dedicated to you and helping you achieve your goals. The active pursuit of your health can sometimes be a hard and lonely road, but with Smarter Athlete you don’t have to go it alone. Email me at email@example.com to get more information and get started with Smarter Athlete Fitness and Nutrition to take the first steps toward a healthier you.
This post is similar to my post from last week about comparison. The focus of this one will be on physical health. Last week was a broad discussion on comparing yourself to others, but this post is going to talk more about social media, eating, and overall health.
Today, anyone that has an Instagram and has some muscle tone thinks they are a health guru. They will caption their overly edited, overly thought out, incredibly posed photos with things like “eat this and workout like this to get abs like me” or “Follow this plan for guaranteed 6-pack abs, and rapid weight-loss”. These ‘influencers’ and captions are detrimental. People with zero qualifications (outside of them having a “picture perfect body”) to be giving out nutritional and fitness advice in the matter-of-fact terms in which they do. The constant pushing of the message at the core of it all of ‘do all of these things so you are like me and not like you’ is a major issue when it comes to self-love and self-esteem. Everyone has a smart phone, which makes access to these kinds of messages incredibly easy, especially for teens. The main demographic that uses various forms of social media are teens, whom are already constantly thinking about fitting in and being liked, and now are followed (pardon the pun) by the never ending need to appear a certain way. In terms of body image, this is where unhealthy relationships with food and even exercise begin to develop. When your health becomes something you are concerned with so that you can look a certain way, in order to fit in, it no longer becomes your health.
Like I said last week, living to be someone you are not is not how you win at the game called life. You are merely existing when you are striving to be someone other than who you are. You should exercise because you like how you feel after you finish and because you want to, not because “Samantha got 1000 likes on her picture at the beach and has abs and I want to be like her”. Be fit for the life you want to live, eat foods you enjoy and that support a healthy life, and stop worrying about the likes and follows and comments you get on your social media accounts. With that, I will leave you with this quote I saw the other day. If my words don’t register with you and you take only one thing away from this post, let it be the image below. We are all amazingly different people and should strive to be the best version of our self that we can be. Originals are so much better than remakes or sequels, so live life as yourself and not as the attempt to be someone else.
I was listening to a podcast the other day during my nice long journey from CT back down to SC and Kevin Hart was a guest for the particular episode to which I was listening. During the podcast he said something that got me thinking, he said that life is a game. He is right, life is a game, and in order to succeed we need to play the game right. This is where the title of this post starts to make sense. Whether you are playing a sport, a card game, a video game, or a board game you will always have to be aware and mindful of your opponents in order to set yourself up to win. The issue is when you become overly concerned with each and every move your opponent makes that you begin to forget about what you are doing. You can’t control other people’s actions and or how they play the game, but you can control what you do and how you play and potentially get them to react to what you are doing. This is much like life, if you spend all of your time trying to look like someone else, talk like someone else, dress like someone else, you will eventually lose. You can’t make anyone do something, but you can potentially influence them. This desire to compare ourselves to others and try to be someone we are not is detrimental to your physical and mental health. We are all very different and the amazing thing is there will never be someone that looks, walks, talks, and thinks exactly like you ever in this world. Social media is a big issue when it comes to comparison, it is so easy to open a website or an app and in seconds be flooded with images of ‘the ideal person’. There is never going to be another you in this world, so embrace that and live every day to be fully, entirely, unapologetically you. If there is ever someone you should look to be better than it is the you of yesterday. Wake up each day with the goal to be better than the day before, whether that is in your diet, your fitness, your mental health, your relationship with family and friends, or in your education. When you become your main competition, you will be setting yourself up for success each and every day, and you will inspire others to live to their full potential as well. When you strive for your best and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing you will be happy with yourself and give off an energy that draws people to you and radiates positivity out into the world.
Check out my website and get in contact with me to learn how you can work with a personal nutrition and/or fitness coach.
Often when people hear the word failure the immediate thought is to the definition of “lack of success”, and to be honest I fall into this category. What we all forget is that failure also means “the action or state of not functioning”. This second definition is why I am writing this post. Today’s society puts so much emphasis on being “successful” that people feel inadequate and like “failures” for not meeting expectations laid out by societal norms, but what is success? How one person measures success is not going to be identical to how someone else measures success. Is success the size of your house? Or how expensive your car was? Or the number of commas in your bank account? Is it the brand on the tags of your clothing? Or is it the amount of meaningful relationships in your life? Is it that you wake up every day excited to go to your job? Or is it that you wake up with a sense of purpose and belonging?
No matter how you define success, there will be ways in which you do not to meet that standard throughout your day or week or month etc. What I am sharing with you all is that as a human being you are allowed to have off days and not be “perfect” every day. This innate human characteristic of imperfection does not mean you are a failure. Failure comes when you choose to not to do something that you are uncomfortable with or not as skilled at, for the sole reason you are scared to “fail”. Omittance of action or being in a “state of not functioning” is failure. Choosing to not take a risk, is choosing failure; and you only truly fail if you learned nothing from your experience. Malcolm Forbes says “failure is success if we learn from it”; and I would have to agree.
So, the next time you think to yourself that you aren’t going to do something because you don’t want to “fail”, just remember you have failed through your refusal to give it a shot. You will never be successful with something if you do not give it a go. In the wise words of the great Michael Scott [ 😉 ] “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Believe in yourself and remember that every time you “fail”, you are merely learning what doesn’t work and getting closer to discovering what needs to be done to reach your goals.
I will leave you with this thought from Vernon Howard:
“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need”
I am a super nerd, so I love learning. Whether it is through formal education, conversations with friends, picking up a new hobby, or enrolling in an online course. I have found that I have learned the most from talking to my friends about different topics, because it has allowed me to approach these topics with a new perspective. It is one thing to have knowledge, it is another to admit when you are wrong or less versed in an area than another person. Some of the smartest people I know are the most willing to admit when they are unsure about something and offer their best answer while leaving their minds open to further explanation and a differing perspective. The best way to continue learning is to surround yourself with people who see all of the amazing things you have to offer, and then push you to maximize your potential. It is always great to surround yourself with like-minded people, in that you all have some shared interest and the same desire to maximize your potentials. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people doesn’t mean to only interact with people who have the exact same opinions and thoughts as you do. Doing that is how you get stuck and never truly reach your full potential because you don’t have people who challenge you. Some of my best conversations have happened with friends and family who share the same fundamental view on life but approach this view in different ways because they challenge me to think a little differently on various topics and I love that from them. I am beyond grateful to have the people I do in my life because they support me whole-heartedly while still challenging me to grow each day and to never settle. They are also the people that inspire me to put my whole self into learning new things because I want to show them that I appreciate their support and by being my best I hope to show them they can also be their best.
With that said it is never too late to learn something new. You can in fact teach an old dog new tricks. It may not be picked up as quickly, but you will nonetheless learn something new. There have been studies that also show learning something new throughout your lifetime will help slow cognitive aging and help exercise your brain. Just like it is important to exercise your skeletal muscles and your heart muscle (which comes with skeletal muscle exercise), you need to exercise your muscle in your skull.
So, what I would like you to take away from this post:
- It is never too late to learn something new.
- Exercising your brain through continued learning is just as important as exercising the body.
- Knowledge is the greatest tool you can have.
- It is good to admit when you are wrong and be willing to listen to/ see something from a different perspective.
Get out there and pick up a new hobby, learn that language you’ve said you’ve been wanting to learn, join that group class that you have been interested in, and have deeper, more challenging conversations with your friends and family. You will be surprised what you learn about the people around you and about yourself.
So, this post started out as advice on how to make better food choices during your time at college, since it is often a difficult transition to go from being under the watch of your parents to making decisions on basically everything on your own. Now with the presence of COVID-19 and the new ‘normal’ (is anyone else as tired of hearing that phrase as I am?), I decided I would make this a two-for-one kind of thing. The concept is pretty similar between the two. Going off to college and living in quarantine/isolation/social distancing introduce a whole slew of stresses and anxiety triggers. Whether it is the stresses of new people, new experiences, and not having your parents there to help guide you in your decision making process that comes with freshmen year; or it is the stresses that come with the uncertainty of COVID-19, not having a job, worrying about the health and well-being of your loved ones, or having your everyday schedule completely thrown, your body will respond to stress the same way.
When things get stressful your body craves those ‘junk food’ options, and it becomes a viscous cycle; you get triggered by a stress I said above(or another one because the list is endless) and so you reach for the bag of chips or the pint of ice cream, and then you get down on yourself for making that choice, then life steps back in so you need another bag of chips or chocolate bar, and on and on. So, I am going to share with you a list of things you can do to help you make better choices and hopefully help you combat those stressful moments, while still living the college life or the quarantine life, or just plain old life. You can keep these in mind when walking into the dining hall, walking into your kitchen, or heading into the grocery store.
- Fill one plate up with veggies. This can be a salad or some raw veggies. You can choose cooked veggies but try to limit the amount of the cooked veggies if prepared in a lot of oils and butters.
- Fruit with every meal. A cup or half a bowl berries or diced melons. An apple, orange, or banana.
- Opt for water. You can also have your coffee, if you are like me and can’t go a day without it. But limit the sugar/sweetener in it if you drink multiple cups day, that way you aren’t taking in calories through sugar in your beverages.
- Lean protein options like chicken and turkey will be the best animal protein go-to.
- Fish and other seafood are good options when you are bored of chicken and turkey.
- If you want a burger or pizza try to double the veggies you get at that mealtime. You will still enjoy the burger and pizza but will fill up more on the ‘better options’ so you don’t overeat and go back another slice or another handful of fries and back again and again.
And just remember to be kind to yourself. Don’t approach mealtime or snacking with a “I can’t” mindset, as this will only make decisions harder. Feeling restricted will box you in and make every choice you make feel robotic, and that isn’t how life should be. If you approach your meals and snacks with the mindset that you are choosing ‘X’ because you know it will make you feel better that will give you a sense of empowerment; knowing you are in control of what you eat and thus your health and your life. Freshmen year and quarantine are hard enough times in themselves and you don’t need to add to the already stressful moments by getting down on yourself for food choices.
Some of you may have seen my short post from about a month ago about COVID-19 and things it taught me. When I posted that social distancing and school closures had just occurred, so it was pretty early on in this crazy “new normal”. Now fast forward from that post to today, almost an entire month has passed, and I still stand by the things I said in that post, but I now have a little more to say. I will repost below what I said in my previous post as a refresher for y’all and for those that didn’t see my post to get a chance to see what I had to say.
- I don’t appreciate the beautiful place I live nearly enough. Charleston is an amazing place to live and has some pretty great options to be outside and I don’t take advantage of that nearly enough.
- Supporting local businesses is so important. I love my coffee shops and local restaurants but didn’t even think how something like this would affect their livelihood.
- While I joke that I live most of my life like I’m in quarantine I’ve realized that a lot of the things I enjoy doing involves me being around other people. (going to the gym, sitting by my pool, sitting at a coffee shop, laying at the beach, etc)
- People can be selfish, and the internet/social media can be a toxic place, but I’ve seen a lot of people offering to help others in various ways which is an awesome thing to see. Overall things are getting pretty crazy, but it is nice to see people are trying to help one another through this, showing that there is still good out there.
- Now that we are quickly approaching a month of living our lives in isolation and quarantine, with an end not in sight I have begun to think about how I intend to live once life goes back to normal. This thought actually stems from a conversation some of my friends and I had after a very thought-provoking question was posed. Individually we all had little things we brought up about how life was going and what we have been doing and are looking forward to when life returns to normal, but there was common theme we all seemed to share. We all said we want to be present in the moment when we are with friends and enjoy the little things more now that we have seen what life looks like without them. Just going out to dinner or sitting at the beach or in a coffee shop are things we missed being able to do and never realized how much we took for granted the ability to do that.
- Personally, I am going to work on making plans with friends more often and not saying no to going out and being with people as often as I did before COVID hit. I am doing my best to stay sane through exercise, getting some fresh air, and being in virtual contact with friends and family and these are things I want to carry over into my life when the quarantine lifts.
- I also found this has been a great time to do some personal reflection and figure out life (as best as I can because do you really ever truly get it all perfectly figured out). I’ve been doing some future planning, lots of reading, and some life hacking (basically trying to implement concepts from books I have been reading to live out my best life/self).
Yes, living life in quarantine has been and is still pretty wild/strange/annoying, but there have been some positive take-aways, and I am sure more to come being the end doesn’t seem to be insight. I would just love to see a continued sense of community and willingness to lend a helping hand once life goes back to normal and people become “too busy” with their own lives to concern themselves with everyone else’s. Stay safe everyone!
Hello, hello, hello!!
Haven’t posted anything in a while, but I am just sitting at a Starbucks(that I walked to from my lovely apartment) trying to do some school work but I keep finding myself drifting focus from my school work. I keep looking out the window and just thinking about life. I know I talk about finding what sets your soul on fire and determining your purpose in life, and honestly every time I think I have that figured out something changes. This is the one reason I don’t like school, and if you know me you know how much I love school and continuing to learn and gain knowledge. The more I further my education the more people I meet and the more life doors are opened to me. At the heart and center of what I want to do with my future I know I want to help people and make a difference in the lives of others, but each semester there are more avenues presented to me through which I can achieve that goal.
What has remained the same though, is that I know I want to do something with nutrition and do something with a gym, but recently other thoughts have come to my head about what I could do beyond that. Another thing that gets me is the idea of having to start over in a completely new place, if and when I get accepted to a PhD program. This idea scares me a little, unlike going off and starting college and graduate school away from my family, this time I don’t have the safety net of knowing I will have people who are there to support me. Whether that was my teammates during undergrad or my friends that remained in the area when I started grad school. Pursuing my PhD means leaving my comfort zone and potentially starting out somewhere where I would have no one I knew, in a place far away from those I love. That is a really scary thought to me and sometimes makes me question whether this is something I want to do. But those thoughts don’t last long because, in my gut, I know my purpose is to use the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to experience to help others who may or may not have been afforded the bountiful luxuries I have had in my life. The way in which I do use these opportunities may change in my mind from day to day, but the core purpose has remained the same for as long as I can remember.
I guess I’ll never really figure out this life thing, but its nice to think I’m doing what I can do it to the best of my abilities. So I leave you all with this; trust your gut and keep seeking out what sets your soul on fire. Even if you never really figure it out, you can get very close, and hey you may even do something amazing during the process.
It has been a WHILE since I posted something here. Life gets busy and I had nothing interesting to say…until today that is 😉 I decided to open up my little blog site today and there was a notification waiting for me when I logged on. The notification said “happy one year anniversary”. Isn’t that so crazy?? Of all of the days that I could have gotten a whim to login to this blog, and it was the one year anniversary of me creating this blog! The crazy thing is I opened it up because I finally had something to write about and I wanted to get my thoughts formed into words before I lost my inspiration. Life works in magical ways my people. So now on to what I wanted to share with you all.
I started this blog so that I could share what I know about sports, exercise, health/wellness, and things of that nature with whomever was willing to read these posts. Part of what pushed me to do that was my pursuit of “seeking what sets my soul on fire“. At first I didn’t really know how to quantify or qualify what would determine if I have found what “sets my soul on fire”, and to be honest this is something that ‘adults’ still say they are trying to do. But I think I have a good idea of how to make this determination. I didn’t come to this realization until fairly recently. I started my last semester of undergrad (*sniffle*) about a month ago and my classes are super cool. I can honestly say I wake up everyday excited to go to class (even when my alarm goes off for that 8am). I was thinking about that this weekend as I sat and studied away and so far this semester doesn’t feel like a chore or something I need to get through. Maybe that is my sentimental, not-ready-to-let-go-and-graduate-self talking, but I truly believe that feeling is how you can know you are doing something that “sets your soul on fire”. If you can find something that makes you want to get up every morning and crush life then hold on to that thing, hold it dear, because that thing is your passion, the fire that ignites your ultimate self.
And if you read that and thought to yourself that you have not felt that or do not feel that about something you are currently investing a majority of your time into, that is okay. It is never too late to find your passion and go after it. Maybe take up journaling and start answering introspective questions, write down little things that make you smile everyday, watch random documentaries, look up hobbies or classes you can get involved in, join a gym, meet new people, go out to eat or sit at a coffee shop by yourself, just do something that places you outside that comfort zone you are currently living in. When you push out of that comfort zone you will get to learn a lot about yourself and you may even discover a world you never knew existed. Do what you need to do for you and find whatever it is that “sets your soul on fire”
Best of luck to you all in your pursuit of setting your soul on fire and keep chasing that feeling to those of you who have found that “match”. You people are amazing, thank you for reading and have a marvelous week.