Fitness, get fit, get healthy, Health blog, self care

Four Easy Ways To Make Time For Fitness

The Cheese-Puff is nude more often than he’s clothed.  Shirts, shorts, and shoes are such an unnecessary bother when sensory processing is a daily struggle.  “Clothes on,” I say, at least twenty to thirty times a day.  Pulling a shirt back over his skinny-winny little bare naked body, I take time to kiss his tomato red hair.  Who could resist?

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Hopey dumps waaaaaaay more water from her cup than she drinks from a straw.  She sometimes pours it over her own head … sometimes over mine.  Why?  I wish I knew.  But she thinks it’s hilarious.  After the water is spilled, she runs off on her tippy toes and giggles with abandon.  “No, Hopey,” I yell, as she ditches me for the hidden shadows.  At every moment, though, I choose my battles.  And water just isn’t that big of a deal.

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Bringing up two kiddos who sport an extra chromosome and who are non-verbal is challenging.  Neither speak one word, but they still fuss and fight like typical siblings.  And both vie for my attention constantly.  One goes to bed with the chickens and rises early.  The other is a night owl and is like waking the dead.  One can tag you in the head with a ball from twelve feet away.  The other can climb your body like you’re a tree and have his arms around your neck before you know what’s happened.  They try to get away with jumping on beds, climbing on tables, and rolling the house in toilet paper … every single day.  They’d rather dance to a Luke Bryan song than eat.  They’re master escape artists.  And if I leave the house without them, you’d think the whole world has come to an abrupt end.  You’ve never seen the drama these two can cook up.

I travel, kayak, explore, and dance like a fool with Hope and Charlie.  My life is so much fun, but it can also be chaotic.   And hard.  If I didn’t take time to be on top of my game, I’d be overthrown in a minute.  My secret to being the consistent queen of my brood is fitness. Exercise boosts my mood, gives me energy, and is empowering.  Do I have time to be fit?  Ummmmm, the answer to that question is a hard no.  Do I always feel like working out?  I’m fifty years old and am outnumbered by two kiddos who have more energy than a zoo monkey, so the answer to that question would be a hell no.  But I make fitness a priority so I can remain the queen.  haha.  At least in my own mind.

This begs the question of HOW to make time for fitness.

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If you’ve read this far, you’ve checked off the biggest and most important box by realizing you need to make fitness a part of your routine.  If I can do it, you can too:

First, make a schedule and stick with it.  Carve out thirty-five minutes of time, five days a week, and make that time a priority.  Even if you don’t feel like working out, push through it.  Eventually, it will become a habit.

Second, plan your workout ahead of time.  If you try to workout on the fly, you won’t make near as much progress.  Every other day, use weights to focus on arms, shoulders, and back.  The other days, work legs and glutes.  Take five minutes each day for abs and set aside fifteen minutes each day for cardio.  It’s can actually be that simple.

Third, find someone who will hold you accountable.  Without an advocate who will push and encourage you, the beginning of this journey will be nearly impossible.  Your head will give you every reason under the sun why it’s not normal for a woman to sweat.  You won’t be able to sit down on the toilet seat, climb out of your car,  or bend down to pick up the quarter you dropped when checking out at Publix, because your muscles will be aching.  You’ll wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.  You’ll think you’re too old, too fat, too tired, too busy, or too depressed.  Trust me, you need someone lined up who will remind you that if you want to be a queen, you must continue to tackle those push-ups, squats, and burpees.

Fourth, change your point of view.  Your workout isn’t optional.  It’s sacred.  You wouldn’t skip eating or sleeping.  You wouldn’t miss an episode of The Bachelor or that Starbucks visit with your college roomie.  With statistics overwhelmingly proving how a regular fitness routine boosts your health and increases longevity, why wouldn’t it be sacred?  It’s a no-brainer, and can be achieved with only 35 minutes per day.  Yassssss, Queens (and Kings)!!!!

Here’s a quick 35 minute routine to get you started:

Download Tabata Stopwatch Pro

Settings:

  • Initial Countdown = 5 seconds
  • Exercise Interval – 25 seconds
  • Rest Interval = 10 seconds
  • Number of sets:  30

 

Week 1:  

(Use your Tabata stopwatch with the settings above.  It will prompt on when to begin each exercise and when to rest … Just do as many reps as you can within the exercise interval, making sure to implement correct form.  Don’t rush.)

Arm Day:

  1. Bicep Curl and Overhead Press
  2. Tricep Dips
  3. Bent Over Flies
  4. Chest Press (lie on mat or on bench)
  5. Chest Flies (lie on mat or on bench)
  6. Skull Crushers (lie on mat or on bench)

Leg Day:

  1. Prisoner Squats
  2. Front Kicks
  3. Side Lunges
  4. Squat Jumps
  5. Donkey Kicks
  6. Walking Front Lunge

Fifteen minutes of cardio:

Walk three minutes, jog three minutes, walk three minutes, jog three minutes … alternating until you’ve completed fifteen minutes.  Go as hard as you can.

Five Minute Abs:

  1. 20 crunches
  2. 20 crunches with legs bent into stomach
  3. 20 crunches with right leg up in the air / left leg still crunched to stomach
  4. 20 crunches with left leg up in the air / right leg still crunched to stomach
  5. 20 crunch toe-taps (crunch legs into stomach, then extend legs down to tap floor)
  6. 20 crunches (cross right leg over left knee — bring left elbow to right knee)
  7. 20 crunches (cross left leg over right knee — bring right elbow to left knee)
  8. 20 bicycle crunches
  9. Two 30 second elbow planks 

PLEASE send me a private message if you have any questions … or feel free to comment.  I’ll be your advocate, your cheerleader, and your go-to!!!

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Just my thoughts!

Melanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fitness, get fit, get healthy, self care, skin care, Summer Fashion, Summer Style

Hats, Baths, & Masks

HATS:

Hats are a must have for the summer months.  Not only do they protect our faces from the sun, they protect our hair too.  UVA rays dry out and damage the outer layer of our hair, making it appear brittle.  Add in the daily humidity, and summer hair can be the worst.  If you’re not having that great of a hair day, put your hair in loose braids or pull it back into a low pony and sock a cute hat on for instant style.  If you have short hair, you’re already ready to just wear a hat and go.  Most females overthink hats, but it’s actually a simple addition.  Solid colors are easier to coordinate and straw hats go with everything.  Just have fun with it.

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My black hat sort of reminds me of Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies, but I really like it.  haha.  It’s a bit stretchy, not too tight, and is lightweight.  I’ve paired it with a shirt I pulled off the sale rack at American Eagle for $10.00 and some cut-off jean shorts (also from American Eagle).  With black sandals, I’m ready for any outdoor event.  Here’s a link to the tops currently on Clearance at American Eagle.

BATHS:

Do you sweat?  I’m a fitness freak.  Every day I do high intensity interval training and also run a couple of miles.  In the summer, especially, I sweat a lot.  Exercising to the point of producing lots of sweat is so good for us.  It manufactures happy feelings, gives us an energy rush, reduces aches and pains, and releases toxins from our bodies.  But getting that sweat off of our bodies is equally important.  The bathtub is a perfect solution.  Not only will it cleanse your body, but it will also restore and relax your body.

After a long day outside, it’s important to pamper our skin.  Again, the sun will do some damage.  Find a good moisturizing bubble bath, light a candle, turn on some soft music, and relax.  I experiment with different kinds of bubble baths, bath bombs, and body washes.  This one from Caress really does have a buttery burnt brown sugar smell as advertised.  It. Is. Yummy.  Here’s the link … I picked it up at Target.

 

 

Masks:   

If caring for our entire body is important, our faces should be at the top of the list as the most important part of our bodies.  Caring for our faces every day needs to be a priority.  I’ve said it before, and will say it again, don’t ever go to bed with makeup on.  It will age your skin.  Cleanse your face everyday.  Exfoliate often.  Pamper it with moisturizer two times a day, morning and night.  And try to make time for a mask once a week.

 

This mask is by a company called Yes To.   I’d heard the company was started by two guys who played soccer, and was definitely curious to find out what these dudes know about skincare.  As it turns out, they apparently know a lot.  They use 95% natural ingredients in their products and make sure all are free of toxins.  This was my first time using one of their masks, and I have to say I might be hooked.  It was thick and creamy, had a nice gentle scent, went on easy, and left my skin feeling so soft.  If you aren’t married to a certain type of mask, give it a try.  Target carries this product too!

The takeaway is self care.  As women, we’re so adept at taking care of others, aren’t we?  We check off lists all day every day.  It’s part of our DNA.  I swear, when God made Eve, that woman probably opened her eyes and immediately got to work sprucing up the Garden of Eden.

Adam was like:  “Hey, God made sex, and He says it’s very good … wanna have a go at it?”

Eve:  “Ummmm, yeh, sure thing.  But first I need to figure out how I can turn a pile of palm leaves into cute throw pillows for our bed, clear away all the brush so our outdoor digs will be tidy, prune a couple of trees to give some sharp curb appeal, and gather more fruit and veggies in case the Lord stops by for dinner … plus, don’t we have babies to tend to?”

Adam:  “Well, no … we have to have the sex first.”

Can you relate?  The housekeeping and the lists will wait.  The kids will wait too.  It took me fifty years, but I’ve finally embraced the importance of putting myself first for a couple of hours a day.  Living in the moment.  I’m very type-A … if I can do it, so can you.

Exercise, take baths, experiment with different beauty products, and love yourself.  Age is just a number, but life is short.  You’re worth the extra effort!

Just my thoughts,

Melanie

Fitness, get fit, self care, skin care

Don’t Let Age Define Your Legs

I’m turning fifty in seven days.  A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted my body to be the best it could be by the time I reached half a century.  And I’ve succeeded.  Do you want to do the same?  If so, follow along with my blog and keep reading.

Warm weather is no longer creeping upon us at a snail’s place.  It’s officially arrived.  As a firm believer in being my best self, I want to show you how you can have fantastic looking legs for Summer.   Admittedly, it’s work  … but anything worth having requires effort and consistency.  In the end, when you feel confident in your shorts, your one-piece, or in your bikini, you’ll be happy you stuck with a plan.

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SKIN:  Skin is our largest organ, but sometimes we forget to take particular care of it.  I’m always amazed by the story of Queen Esther who went through twelve months of beauty treatments before she could even meet up with King Ahasuerus.  The words that formed the basis of “beauty treatments” in scripture, by the way, are translated “to scour, polish”.   The King’s servants literally scoured and polished that woman until she was shining with beauty.

As we age, its no secret we begin to lose moisture and elasticity, which can cause our skin to look dull, dry, and old.   When wearing shorts or a bathing suit, we want and need our legs to shine just like Queen Esther’s.  So here’s what I do at least three days per week:

First, I exfoliate (scour) my legs with a sugar and olive oil mixture.

Second, I cover my legs in a dead sea mud mask.

Third, I rinse and then coat my legs in a neck firming cream.  (Yes, I know it sounds crazy to use a neck firming cream on legs … but it really works!)

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I use the olive oil / sugar scrub because it’s natural, and because olive oil is such a good moisturizer for your skin.  Homer called it “liquid gold”, and the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used it in place of soap.  They’d apply it to their skin and then scrape off dirt and dead skin.  (Gross, but true!)  If it worked for the ancients, and if we’re still using it today, it has to be legitimate.

I swear by the Dead Sea Mud Mask.  I use it all over my body often.  According to the package, it detoxifies impurities and restores skin with nourishing minerals – magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron.  It also shrinks pores and tightens fine lines and wrinkles.  Getting rid of toxins makes sense to me.  You can find it here.  

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So why the neck firming cream?  On my legs?  haha.  It actually happened by accident.  I work religiously on forming muscles in my legs, but no matter how much muscle I gained, I still wasn’t happy with the appearance of my legs.  I wanted them to not only be muscular and lean, but to be vibrant.  I searched Amazon for any type of cream that would help firm my skin, and found this neck firming cream.  It had great reviews, so I gave it a shot.  It has worked wonders!!!!  No kidding, my legs look twenty years younger, and I could tell a difference within days.  You can find this miracle product here.

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MUSCLES:  If you want younger looking legs, not only is it important to care for you skin, but it’s equally important to take care of your leg muscles.  Build them.  Sculpt them.  Envision what you want them to look like, and then go for it.  If time is an issue, here is a simple twenty minute plan to get you started:

10 minutes:  Run one mile per day.  It’s easy and will reduce fat while building muscle fast.

10 minutes:  Weighted squats / Weighted calf raises / Weighted donkey kicks (4 sets of 12) Do this every other day.  On your off days, spend those same 10 minutes on arms as a bonus!!!

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No matter when you were born, remember, age does not have to define your legs.  You get to control what your body looks like at any age.  So go for it!!!

Just my thoughts,

~Melanie

 

self care, skin care

Obsessed With The Bees

For the record, I don’t get obsessed about too many things.  Of the Meyers Briggs sixteen personality types, I’m an ENFP, which means I’m a freeeeeeeee spirit.  Suffice it to say, I’m a person who can pivot and make changes as needed, so getting stuck on a product isn’t really my deal.  However, I am absolutely 100% obsessed with Burt’s Bees BB Cream.  Obsessed to the point that I buy up tubes just in case they decide to discontinue it.

burts bees 5

Some females spend loads of money on makeup.  They contour, highlight, and transform their faces with the most popular cosmetics on the market.  I totally respect those beauty mavens, but I’ve never had the time or inclination for it.  For years, in fact, I’ve only worn powder on my face.  Powder, though, doesn’t provide sunscreen.  And since I’m turning fifty soon, I definitely need sunscreen more than ever before.

I dislike foundation, especially heavy foundation.  But I need the sunscreen foundation provides.  Can anyone else relate to this dilemma?

The solution came to me via one of my favorite brands:  Burt’s Bees.  By the way, what’s not to love about a company that got kicked off by a hitchhiker and the bearded beekeeper who gave her a ride?  Such a cool story, but I digress.

Back to the point.

I came across the Burt’s Bees BB Cream, which is basically a tinted sunscreen and moisturizer combo, and decided to give it a go.  It was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.  The BB Cream is light and creamy, goes on smoothly, covers nicely, and a little goes a long way.  In addition, it stays on all day.  It’s all I wear on my face now, applying it right over my Burt’s Bees Moisturizer, with a just an added dab of bronzer.

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I’ve read the Amazon reviews, and while most of the reviews are positive, some have said the BB Cream color is either too light or too dark.  I use the light/medium and it blends perfectly with my skin.  I’d suggest you test the product in the store before buying it just so you can find the right shade to match your skin tone.  You can find it here!

While on the subject of Burt’s Bees, another product I recently began using is the Micellar Cleansing Water … because cleansing water is the new rage, right?  Up until this point, I’ve used (and have been very happy with) Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner .  But I wanted to see what the big hoorah was with cleansing water and decided to put it to the test.  First, the scent is absolutely incredible.  And second, my skin doesn’t seem as dry since I’ve been using it, which means the cleansing water meets the promise to hydrate.  Burt’s Bees never disappoints.  You can find it here!

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Skin care is vitally important throughout life.  I can’t recall a single time when I went to bed without cleansing my face.  Equally important is what we choose to put on our skin.  I always err on the side of all natural and organic products, using the less is more option whenever possible.  Burt’s Bees, of course, is a company that promotes natural ingredients.  If you haven’t given them a try, maybe you should!

Just my thoughts.

~Melanie

self care, skin care, Summer Fashion

A Timeless Summer

Spring is here, and Summer is fast approaching.  So ladies, if we haven’t been pampering our skin and bodies throughout our winter hibernation, well … it might be time.  I’m in the almost fifty year old category (27 days and counting), so I’m always trying new products that promise to slow down the hands of time.  If the so-called products happen to have rave reviews on Amazon, within seconds you can bet I have clicked those items right into my online shopping cart.  Here are two of my latest favorite finds:

The first, Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum made by Cosmedica Skincare, has had more than six-thousand reviews.  And 65% of those reviews received five stars!  Let me tell you, this product is ahhhhhhh-mazing.   Not only does it give your skin a youthful glow, but it also erases time from your face.  After using it for only a couple of weeks, I swear I could tell a difference!  Hyaluronic Acid effectively binds water to cells and is responsible for the elasticity and resiliency of the skin.  Think hydration on steroids, because this packs a punch.  Find it here!

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The second, Cosmedica Retinol Serum, is perfect for anyone who is looking for a retinol formula that isn’t overly harsh on your skin.  If you’ve used Retinol before, then you know it can sometimes burn.  This serum didn’t burn even on the first application.  If you haven’t used Retinol, and if you have any signs of aging on your face, then hop to it.  Retinol is magical unicorn dust!  Trust me.  You can find it here!

After your skin is in tip-top condition, why not show it off by treating yourself to a summer dress?  This summer is totally feeling like a year for pretty things, isn’t it?  And what’s more feminine and delicate than a sweet dress?  I’m in love with all things Altar’d State , but am especially fond of their dress selection.  This is their Hazleton Fit and Flare dress:

Made of stretchy polyester that will not wrinkle, this dress is lined with soft cotton.  The length hits right at the knee for a flirty appeal, and the scalloped neck/back make it a stunner.  My all-time favorite dress style is fit and flare, because it flatters every single figure and is timeless.  This Hazleton dress is such a throw-back.  It’s current enough, but with a touch of vintage chic.  And the price?  $69.99.  However, Altar’d State is the best at running buy one get one half-off sales … so, if you hit them at the right time, this dress could be a real steal!

Two skincare products that will roll back the hands of time.

One dress style that has stood the test of time.

Sounds like the beginnings of a timeless Summer to me!

Just my thoughts.

~Melanie

 

 

organization, self care

Two Easy Ways To Organize Your Life Today

You’ve seen it in cartoons a million times.  Suddenly a light bulb goes off over the head of your favorite character, and a crisis is avoided or a brilliant plan is hatched.  That is kind of what happened to me when I came upon these two books.  (Feel free to insert that imaginary lightbulb here!)

As the mom of two kiddos who are differently abled and who require constant care, too often I feel like I’m chasing life … and not gaining much ground.  Can you relate?  Always looking for a solution, I found a simple answer that has actually worked for me.  Perhaps it might work for you too.

First is the One Line A Day Memory Book.  I mean.  Hello, brilliant creator of this genius book, you totally had me at one line a day.  I can accomplish that.  And that’s exactly what it feels like.  An accomplishment.  Here’s the gist.  Each day, you write whatever you want to record to commemorate the day.  For me, it’s about writing a take away for the day.  Two days ago, for instance, I awoke to find that my son (Charlie) had awakened during the night, had opened a cabinet, and had torn two rolls of toilet paper into tiny shreds all over my great room and kitchen.  Thousands of little pieces.  Some he had licked and stuck to the wall.  Others were buried deep into the rug.  I even slipped on a few when I stepped out of my bedroom into the kitchen and might’ve let a cuss word slip along with my feet.  haha.  It looked like snow.  No joke.

Of course I wanted to walk out the door and pretend it didn’t happen.  To pull a Scarlett O’Hara:  “Fiddle Dee Dee…I’ll just think about that tomorrow.”  But I’m not Miss Scarlett, so I swept, vacuumed, and crawled around on my hands and knees to pick up the rest.  That’s real life.  My life.  On that day, I wrote that Charlie made it snow.  Four words sealed a memory I’ll carry for a lifetime.  It’s still not a sweet memory to me right now (grrrrr), but one day it will be.  THAT is what this book is to me.  I don’t have the time or energy to keep a journal, but ask for one line a day, and I’ll jot something down.

Buy it here!

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Second is the Panda Planner.  Created by an entrepreneur who was struggling after lyme disease, a traumatic brain injury, and cancer, it’s proving to be everything it’s touted to be.  Yes, it’s a planner in every sense of the word.  There is space to prioritize your to-do list, to write in appointments, and to make necessary notes.  But it is so much more than that.  The Panda Planner also encourages you to begin each day by listing things you are grateful for and excited about while allowing space for you to end the day by noting your wins.  In all ways, it is positive, positive, positive.  Choosing to give thanks is vital to our health and well-being and this planner is all about infusing it into everyday life.  As if that’s not enough, there’s also an end of week review that helps you recall your successes, consider how you can improve for the next week ahead, and prepare for how you can make your week great  (Yes, GREAT!) with work, family/friends, and other relationships.  It’s not just a planner, it’s a life changer.

Buy the Panda Planner here!

So there you have it.  If you’ve tried either of these, please comment below and let me know your thoughts.  If not, maybe you’re ready to try something new like I did.  It has reduced my stress level and helped me to feel a lot more organized with life in general.  Now I can say:  “Let it snow, Charlie.  Let it snow!!!”  Well, not hardly, but you get the general drift (no pun intended).

I always get questions about where I buy my clothes.  This comfy outfit is a true hodgepodge.  The button-down is by Sonoma (Kohl’s), the tank is from Target, and the shorts are from American Eagle.  I’m all about hodgepodge on most days by the way, aren’t you?

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Just my thoughts.

~Melanie

 

self care, skin care

3 Easy Ways To Tackle Health, Aging, and A New Attitude

Drink Green Tea :  The number one healthiest drink on the planet is green tea.  If you were hoping for Diet Coke, Chardonnay, or a Mojito to be in the running … well, no.  For a toast to good health, green tea is the way to go.  Not only does it prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, and the risk of Alzheimers, but people who drink green tea daily actually live longer.  Toss some mint leaves, orange slices and green tea bags into a boiling teapot for an amazing recipe.  Add a little cane sugar, and put it on ice or serve it hot.  Either way, it’s so yummy.  Cheers!!!

 

 

 

Utilize Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion really does erase fine lines and make your skin glow.  It absolutely works.  If you don’t have the money, time, or inclination to treat yourself to a microdermabrasion treatment from a professional Esthetician, I’d recommend the Neutrogena Microdermabrasion system.   At less than $20.00, it’s definitely worth a try.  I use this system two or three times a week, following up with a really good moisturizer, and have virtually no lines on my face at the age of 50!  In addition, it makes your skin super soft.  Microdermabrasion is a must if you’re over 40.  (Oh, and sleep on your back.  Just my extra two cents.)

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Choose A Life Word & Own It:  Even though I’ve been a big believer in the power of positive words for a long time, I never really thought about having a life word until one of my (gorgeous, amazing, fabulous) sitters gifted me with a mug that had the word “Hustle” written on it.  When she gave it to me, she said:  “When I saw this, I immediately thought about how perfectly this word fits you.”  Fits me?  Hmmmm.

Isn’t it nice when we unexpectedly get a glimpse of how others view us?  Since then, I’ve owned that word.  As a busy mom of two kiddos who have special needs and who constantly keep me on my toes, it’s imperative that I stay at least ten steps ahead of them or I will surely meet an early grave.  (Caregivers know exactly what I’m talking about. haha.)  But I want more than merely anticipating life.  I want to master it … to hustle.  And that means being my best self for my children and for me.

Focusing on that one word, and making sure everything I do fits into that theme, has completely changed my attitude.  Instead of going to the gym so I can check good health off my daily list, for instance, I started going to the gym because I’m a person who hustles.  Instead of cleaning house and staying organized because it’s a daily chore, I now do those things because I’m a person who hustles.  haha.  See what I did there?  Hustle has now become my designation.  The mark I want to leave on life.  Life is just as much about our mental game as it is our physical game, and this simple switch in thinking has worked wonders for me.  Maybe choosing a life word will work for you too.

Think about it for a minute.  What’s your life word?

~Mel