Keep Pedaling

1351011551ud4zbNothing in life is worth doing if you’re not passionate about it. And if you’re passionate about it, it’s always worth it. The simplest job can be a wonderful experience if you can expand your mind enough to see how it fits into your bigger picture and appreciate the skills and experiences you gain from it. Every step we take, professionally and personally, is part of an overall journey of discovery. Make the most out of your journey by keeping an open mind and fully engaging in every experience.

It’s easy to be distracted by everything that life throws at you, but the people who achieve the most success are the ones who stay focused. Achieving your goals requires more than just effort; it will require consistently putting one foot in front of the other while maintaining confidence in your own agenda (even – and perhaps especially – when it differs from what others might expect from you). Think of the effort it takes to make that first push on the pedal of a bike: the first push is the hardest, but then, as long as you keep pedaling, you keep moving forward. If you stop, you have to give it that big push all over again. So stay focused – and keep pedaling.

Don’t let momentary setbacks keep you from seeing both the progress you’ve made and the view up ahead. Sure, you’re going to have rough times. You’re going to change directions, question yourself, and worry that every step you’ve taken is wrong. If it wasn’t hard to get there, you wouldn’t appreciate it nearly as much as you will. And one of those things you may have to learn with time is that even when the road has a lot more curves than you expect, you’ll eventually look back and love the journey you took to get where you’re going.

The Wizard of Oz Approach to Health, Life, and Money

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

We all want that magic formula: eat what you want and lose weight; magically remove wrinkles; become an overnight millionaire. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill, potion, or scheme that will bring to you easily what must only come with hard work.

But if you are struggling with health, happiness, finances, you’re not at the endpoint – you’re at the beginning.

Dorothy didn’t need the Yellow Brick Road until she found herself on the brink – only then could she begin taking one step at a time toward reaching her goal.

There are no shortcuts to Oz…and even if you found them, you’d likely be attacked by flying monkeys or lit on fire by a Wicked Witch (particularly dangerous if you’re made out of straw) so stop looking for shortcuts and start taking steps.

You may not have registered that –

Stop looking for shortcuts

and start taking steps.

yellow brick roadSo you’re not in Kansas anymore. What was there anyway besides a bunch of tornadoes? Where you are right now may seem unreal. You may have trouble believing you’ve hit that point, whether it’s a number on a scale or a number on a bank account.

You can take steps to change your situation.

Stop looking for shortcuts

and start taking steps.

Take one step at a time and before you know it, the journey won’t seem as difficult. You may even be joined by others on their own journey. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, what is important is putting that ruby red slipper on the very first yellow brick and launching yourself forward,  because the only way you will ever get what you want is to stop waiting for the magic formula and to start steps.

You might be surprised at what happens.

When you do start down your own personal Yellow Brick Road, each step you take energizes you to take the next and the next…and when you see that you can succeed without some magic formula, the more excited you will be to get there on your own. You can change your life.

Stop looking for shortcuts

and start taking steps.

Where is your Yellow Brick Road taking you?

 

10 Steps to Conquering Negative Emotions

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

We try to teach our children (and remind ourselves) that negative emotions and thoughts impact our attitudes and mental health. Happiness begins with a shift in mental perception. Here are 10 tips for conquering negative emotions:

1. BE PRESENT

I don’t know where it came from, but almost 20 years ago I heard a saying that stuck with me: “If you stand with one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you’ll pee all over today.” I’ve tried to live by that.  You can’t change the past, you can’t predict the future. You can only enjoy today, this moment, right now.

2. FORGIVE

Forgiveness is a gift to yourself not to the other person. Holding grudges or hate only hurts you and not the other person, letting negative emotions and feelings poison you. Let it go.

3. REASSURE YOURSELF

It’s ok to have conversations with yourself to tell yourself that everything will be ok. Practice taking deep breaths, calming your mind, refocusing your energies.

4. POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS WORK

conquer negative emotionsThe inner dialogue you have with yourself can be your worst enemy. You would never talk to someone else the way you might talk to yourself. It takes time and practice and effort to change that, but positive affirmations help. Start each day telling yourself something positive: “I am beautiful.” “This will be a wonderful day.” “I am happy.” Repeat throughout the day, especially whenever you hear inner self become negative.

5. CHANGE YOUR OUTLOOK

The point of the half glass full/half glass empty analogy is that there is the same amount of water in the glass. What changes is how you look at it. Start seeing things more positively, even if you have to force it or fake it at first.

6.  DO NOT FEAR CHANGE

Negative emotions can be signals that we are ignoring messages from our bodies and minds. Rather than wallow in it, recognize the sign, embrace the need for change, and become excited about the adventure that life can be.

7. LET GO OF RESENTMENT and ANGER

Holding on to resentment and anger is like carrying poison in your body all the time.  You must make a conscious effort to let go of negative feelings, to practice banishing them from your thoughts whenever they arise. Sometimes, you may have to physically confront a person or reason for your anger or resentment.

8. NO DRAMA ALLOWED

Why are reality shows so popular? Because people are addicted to drama. Some people learn to wallow in the drama of their lives so that when it’s not there, they must create it. STOP. It’s ok for life to just be. Don’t exaggerate the situation, don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Start appreciating the small moments and details of your life.

9. GIVE OF YOURSELF

It is hard to be negative when you are doing nice things for others. Volunteer, spend time with a friend, do something nice for a neighbor. The more you do that brings positivity into your life, the happier you will feel.

10. LOVE YOURSELF.

Be happy with who you are, not in spite of whatever imperfections you still see but because you are you and you are amazing and you deserve your love.

Life is a journey. Enjoy the adventure!

 

Choose to Live NOW

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Too many people are waiting for their lives to start. I’m not just talking my teen and tween who simply cannot wait for the next day to arrive; I’m talking people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s who are waiting for the stars to properly align and deliver them the life they’ve been waiting for.

It’s not going to happen.

If you want to have a life filled with the people you love being around and the activities you desire to be doing, you have to make it happen. You have to stop waiting for life to be in perfect order and grab each day and make it yours.

You have to stop letting the little things (not enough money, haven’t lost the weight yet, kids are too young, etc) get in the way.

live life nowAnd if you have been waiting around half your life for something amazing? The most wonderful thing is that you’re never too old and it’s never too late for you to start taking control of your life – to start living your life exactly the way you want to.

I watched my mom lose her battle with cancer and die when she was only 55 years old. She’d spent much of her life waiting until things were just right – enough money in the bank, kids far enough along in their lives she could stop worrying (that day never comes, by the way), always waiting to live her life. She didn’t really begin to LIVE until after her diagnosis, when she knew her time left was limited.  She died not having done everything she’d wanted to do, but the gift she left my sisters and me was the knowledge that life is to be lived NOW.

What are you waiting for?

 

Meditation Is Good for Your Mental and Physical Health

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce

Some of the research I’ve done on meditation has convinced me that it holds one of the keys to achieving better health and better pain management without turning to pharmaceuticals. The power of the mind is often discusses, but I don’t think people take it as seriously as they should. Meditation, a form of biofeedback that allows you to use your own mind in order to consciously relax your body and let go of mental stress, can be a tool used to improve your health and manage pain.

But meditation does more than just lower stress; multiple studies have demonstrated the ability meditation has to improve your sense of well being, to help manage pain during and after medical procedures, and to impact the overall condition of your health.

health benefits of meditationMeditation does not have to be intimidating or difficult; it doesn’t require the pretzel twisting of yoga. To truly benefit from meditation, though, you need to be willing to isolate five to ten minutes of your time each day just for you that you can spend in a quiet space. The difficulty of meditation comes in being able to still your mind from all of its stresses. It takes practice and a willingness to keep trying to still your mind even when you’re not successful at first.

There is no right way to meditate; do what works best for you.  Your goal should be to achieve moments of stillness.

Do you have meditation tips?

What do you do to quiet your mind? How often do you meditate? Let us know in a comment below or chat about meditation on Facebook with us.

 

Let Change Happen

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

changeHow often have you dreamed of change but decided it was too hard – or that you could only start working for the change on Mondays or the first of the month?

Change doesn’t happen because we think about it; it happens because we choose to take action.

It’s simply a matter of getting up.

Whether you want to lose weight, write a book, get a new job, or pay off debt, it all begins with you choosing to do more than simply think about taking action and actually taking the action.

Most people, when they think about change, get overwhelmed at the distance between where they are and where they want to end up. It’s not about arriving, though…it’s about the steps you take each day to get where you want to be.

You may want to pay off your credit cards, but the overwhelming debt may seem to be too much to face. But you can pay $5 or $10 more per month on a card and shave years and thousands of dollars off what you owe. A $10,000 credit card bill might seem like too much, but $5 a month is not overwhelming. (At 18% interest, an extra $5 per month can save you more than $20,000 in interest and cut more than 10 years off the repayment time).

Losing 50 pounds might seem like an enormous battle, but making one small change to having a salad instead of potato chips every day is manageable – and effective. Exercising 30 minutes every day might seem like more than you can do, but taking the stairs rather than the elevator, or parking as far away from the entrance as possible is not.

Change happens when we stop putting mental barriers in the path of our journey through change.

Get up.

Is the Vitamin Supplement Industry a Scam?

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

Can you get everything you need simply from the foods you eat, or are our diets so poor that supplements are necessary? The vitamin industry – which is predicted to reach $3.3 billion in the next two years – absolutely wants you to believe you can’t survive without popping their pills.

Personally, I vacillate back and forth between lamenting over the thought of pouring money down the drain and thinking of it as a just-in-case insurance, and the research isn’t very clear on the matter.

 

Vitamins and minerals give your body more than just energy; they work at the cellular level to keep you healthy, and many vitamins and minerals play key roles in maintaining your health.

Whether or not you use supplements, you should understand the role vitamins and minerals play:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A promotes healthy eyes.  You can obtain it by eating foods like liver and dark green leafy vegetables.  Most people know the main source of Vitamin D is milk, but fish and egg yolks are also great sources.  Vitamin E, important for your skin and your lungs, can be found in whole grains.  Vitamin K, found in dark green leafy vegetables and broccoli, is critical for blood clotting.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is a group of vitamins designed to provide the body with energy by functioning as a processor that turns food to fuel. There are a variety of forms of Vitamin B required for good health, and deficiencies in any of the B vitamins can be harmful. Whole grains, fish, and dark green leafy vegetables all contain Vitamin B.

  •  Vitamin B1 (thiamine) transforms carbs into energy
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) aids with fatty acids and generates energy
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinamide) help your body process glucose, alcohol and fat; adequate B3 is required for maintaining good cholesterol health (and niacin can be more effective than many high-cost cholesterol drugs – check with your doctor for more information)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), in addition to processing fat and glucose, plays a large role in helping your body generate red blood cells. Many small studies point to the benefit of B5 for regulating cholesterol and promoting healing in wounds.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, or pyridoxamine, or pyridoxine hydrochloride) functions in the body as a catalyst for more than 100 enzyme reactions. Vitamin B6 is also critical during pregnancy to aid fetal cognitive development.
  • Vitamin B7(biotin) helps the body to metabolize carbs, fats, and proteins as well as process glucose. It also promotes healthy skin, nails, and hair. While it’s often promoted as an ingredient in beauty products, it cannot be absorbed through the skin.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) Of all the B vitamins, this is the one I often consider to be the most important. While the vitamin, like all Bs, contributes to converting food to fuel, it plays a critical role in fetal development. Where studies are sketchy on the role of some vitamins, there is no doubt that adequate folic acid in the diet during pregnancy is necessary to prevent birth defects.
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamins or cyanocobalamin) is also important during fetal development, red blood cell health, and food to fuel conversion.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, often considered the anti-cold vitamin, does aid with immunity, but it also plays a major role in metabolic function and skin health, and aids in the healing of wounds. It is also an antioxidant. While the term is bandied about, antioxidants in their most basic roles function as cell scrubbers – cleaning away the toxins that would otherwise contribute to the risk of cancer and disease. Vitamin C can be found in most citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and cabbage.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D (activated by a good dose of sunlight) prevents diseases like Rickets, but also aids in the absorption of calcium. Adequate Vitamin D may play a role in many areas beyond protecting bone health.

Vitamins supplements are not an adequate replacement for good nutrition, exercise, and healthy living.  They may, however, provide insurance against those days when you can’t eat as well as you should.  Vitamin supplements also make sure that you meet your body’s needs.

Be sure you consult your physician before taking any vitamin or supplement; some can interfere with or interact with prescription medications or existing conditions.

Understanding Weight Loss – and 3 Steps You Can Take Now to Lose More

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

The basic rule of losing weight is to burn more calories each day than you consume. It’s really that simple.

Sort of.

There are a few other factors that come into play when you’re trying to lose weight.

You’re Not a Man

You’re automatically at a disadvantage if you’re a woman. Sorry, but men naturally have higher metabolisms than women. Men have more lean muscle than women, and muscle burns calories faster. Women, being designed primarily to support life, have extra fat genetically encoded into their bodies to make them a cushy environment for babies. Worse yet, when men do need to lose weight, they’ll lose it faster than women will.

You’re Not as Young as You Used to Be

The older you get, the harder it is to lose weight, because your metabolism slows. The older you get, the more important it becomes to maintain and even build lean muscle to combat the one to two percent per year metabolism drop you start experiencing in your 30s.

Thanks, Mom and Dad

Genetics play a huge role in your ability to lose weight and maintain weight loss. Your genes also play a role in your body shape, which can also impact your ability to lose weight easily or quickly. Apple-shaped women are likely to be able to lose weight easier than pear-shaped women, but apples are also at a much higher risk for heart disease and stroke.

You can do 3 things to improve your ability to lose weight.

  1. If you are struggling to lose weight, consider refocusing your energies on building lean muscle mass.You do not have to look like a female body builder to have lean, sinewy muscles that fuel your metabolism.
  2. Change your diet. While muscle helps increase your metabolism, fat cells slow it down. Swap out fatty foods for extra veggies, cut out trans fats and high fructose corn syrup completely, and be sure what fat you do eat is the good-for-you kind.
  3. Exercise regularly. Can’t fit in a 30-minute workout? That’s ok! Three 10-minute bursts throughout the day work equally well, if not better, than a sustained 30-minute workout. Just make sure you are getting your heart rate up and work up a sweat.

(ALWAYS check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or changing your diet!!)

 

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Are Better than Resolutions

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

In 1954, Peter Drucker developed a smarter way to achieve goals. In his book “The Practice of Management,” he explains that SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

Specific Goals are detailed. Instead of having goals like “I will lose weight,” or “I will write a book,” your goals are more concrete. “I will wake up 30 minutes earlier to exercise every day,” or “I will publish my book by writing every day.”

Measurable Goals are quantifiable. Once you have chosen your specific goals, you must find a way to measure your progress. It may be as simple as hopping on a scale once a week or may require you to write a certain number of words each day.

Achievable Goals allow you to babystep your way to progress.  You can set a distant goal of losing 30 pounds or graduating from college, but  absolutes or grandiose goals are very difficult to work toward. Instead, set small goals that lead you toward your overall goals. Set a goal to lose two pounds per week, or to write 5000 words per day.

Realistic Goals are goals that keep you motivated to move forward.  A goal like “I will never eat ice cream again” is doomed to fail. Instead, set attainable goals, like “Instead of drinking two beers at the party, I will sip one glass of red wine.”

Timely Goals hold you accountable. “Someday” is not a goal-oriented word. “I will throw out all of the foods in my cupboard that contain trans fat or high fructose corn syrup by Friday” is a concrete goal you can achieve. By giving yourself a deadline, you put a little pressure on yourself to do what you need to do.

Instead of setting New Years Resolutions or even waiting for January, why not start now and create SMART goals you can start accomplishing now!

 

Finding the Right Gym for You

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

Are you intimidated by the idea of improving your health and fitness by joining a gym?  Finding a gym where you feel comfortable and motivated can be difficult.  There are several factors you should consider when choosing a gym.

Can You Afford It?

The fancy gym near the mall may be no better than the small gym next to your grocery store, so don’t always assume that more money equals a better gym.  Take advantage of trial membership offers. Be wary of contracts. Visit the gym more than once before making a decision to commit. Make sure you read ALL the fine print if you’re signing a long-term contract.

Does It Gross You Out?

The gym you choose should have strict cleanliness standards, smelling less like sweaty feet and more like antiseptic cleaners. Towels and spray bottles full of cleaner should be available near every station, and there should be a strict user-cleaning policy in place. No gym is fun when you’re exercising in someone else’s sweat pool.

The Shyness Factor

Do you have an issue with exercising in public? Are you self-conscious about your body? A women-only gym might be the best solution. Small gyms may also be better for those who are shy about working out.

Resist Pushy Sales People

Don’t succumb to high-pressure sales staff to buy extras with your gym membership, and try to avoid long-term commitments if possible.  When choosing a gym, take into consideration where the gym is located, the time of day you will most likely be using it, and how easy it will be to go regularly.

The Extras

Some gyms offer extra perks, like special classes, a nutritionist on staff, or on-site daycare. They can make an already-good offer even better, but shouldn’t be the sole reason you choose a gym (remember the gross factor; it goes double for on-site daycares!)