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Hi!  Thanks for coming back to my blog.  Tomorrow will be a major milestone in my life.  It will mark day 2,200 of walking two miles a day!  It all started in the fall of 2015.  My children were in college and my husband and I had reached out to them to make family plans for the holidays.  Then, after a couple of months of "radio silence" from our adult children--we realized we were on our own and decided to plan a trip to Mexico.  During that trip, we had some heartfelt discussions about life, our health, and planning for the future.  We decided that we wanted to live an active, healthy lifestyle and in order to accomplish that goal, we needed to make some changes.  Moreover, we wanted to set realistic, reasonable goals--ones that we could easily achieve and be accountable for. 

So, we decided our start date would be January 1, 2016.  And we decided to begin those changes by walking two miles per day.  We made a plan and mapped out a route around our neighborhood.  And, on that cold, wintry, overcast day-we started walking two miles per day.  To be totally transparent, those first couple of months were really difficult.  I couldn't believe how hard it was to change my habits and how mentally and physically challenging it would be to walk two miles a day. It's ironic that many of the obstacles that we encountered were self-imposed limitations.  I had to learn to accept and love myself, exactly where I was, while maintaining the determination to grow and make consistent changes.  And, since then, I have added additional health and wellness habits, rituals and routines to my daily life.  In 2018, I got my yoga certification and became a yoga instructor.  Together, we decided it was necessary to make different dietary choices, and to that end-we became vegetarians in March of 2020.  And most recently--we started rock climbing, at the end of 2021.  It's been a fun journey and we continue to build on our new habits and encourage one another towards health and wellness.  Based on my journey, I want to offer encouragement and six practical tips and tricks to help you get started.  Here they are:

1)  Think positive. Avoid thinking that leads to worry or anxiety.  Athletes that perform inconsistently, especially those who perform poorly in the face of risk and pressure, have self-talk that is centered on fear-fear or losing, fear of letting others down or doubt.  Self-talk that centers on doubt or fear erodes confidence and generates stress.  Embrace and honor the starting point in your journey.  Accept yourself in the moment and celebrate any victory.

2)  Focus on the present.  Be in the moment.  Visualize yourself performing at your best level. Dwelling on losses creates a negative thought process, one that is likely to create high stress.  

3) Practice acceptance and commitment.  Avoid thinking that ties self-worth to performance.  When a person has the attitude that winning is critical for maintaining self-esteem, the stakes are too high.  This attitude generates unnecessary stress and pressure.  

4)  Monitor your internal dialogue.  Many people would never allow someone to talk to them the way they talk to themselves.  The first step to change involves paying attention to your internal thoughts.  Notice what you notice, without judgment.  Then, you know what to change.

5)  Realize you have complete control over your reality.  Assert your ability to change your self-talk.  Make statements to yourself such as, "I'm in control of how I feel", and "I regulate these feelings of being overwhelmed".  These are thoughts of mental agility and flexibility.

6)  Regard stress in a positive way.  Stress reactions are open to interpretation.  You view stress positively when you regard stress as activation.  Rather than saying to yourself, "I am afraid", re-interpret the symptoms.  Say to yourself, "I feel excited" or "I feel ready".  Such statements can help you shift the interpretation of stress to a feeling of being empowered.   You can't avoid stress.  However, you can use that stress to your advantage by reorienting your internal dialogue.  By using winning thoughts and positive self-talk, you may find yourself performing better than you ever thought possible.  

Perhaps the last couple of years have inspired you to consider making changes to your life, health and planning for the future.  If so, it's best to establish a start date.  Set a simple, realistic goal. Recognize how mentally and physically hard it can be to change habits and routines. And, if you want to make practical changes, such as moving, or buying a new home.  We can help you map out new opportunities--including where you live, work and experience life.  If you are interested in learning more about local properties, you can sign up here on our website to get more information.  Remember, we are always here to help.  See you soon!  Warmly, Susan