Make This The Best Year Ever
As you bring in the New Year the first thing you should do is take a minute to reflect on the past year for yourself. Then give it a bow of gratitude, and say goodbye. Now it’s time to think about the coming year … what do you want to create out of this beautiful blank canvas?
How do you want to grow? What do you want to learn? What skills and capacities would you like to develop? Take some time to write down your 4-6 focuses for 2018. As you look over your list of focuses, ask yourself why they’re important? Knowing the “whys” will help keep you focused and feed your determination.
Now ask yourself; what rituals can I create? The best way to make big things happen, I’ve found, is to create actual daily rituals that you’ll practice every day. A ritual is something like meditating or perhaps reading the Bible, an exercise you do every day.
A ritual is a practice that you hold to be special, not to be taken lightly, that you set apart from the rest of your day. It’s something you surrender yourself to, not allowing yourself to reject the parts of it you don’t like, but just giving in to the experience fully. Creating an actual daily ritual will help keep you accountable and increase your chances for success.
Now comes structure. You have some focuses, you have some rituals you’d like to create … but how will you actually make them happen? How will you stick to them this year, as opposed to what you’ve done in previous years? You create structure that’s how!
If you pick two rituals for this month, you can create some structure for making them actually happen by doing the following:
- Pick a time and place. Be specific.
- Set up two reminders. One on your calendar or phone, and a note near where you’ll be at that time of day (visual reminder).
- Write down your ritual. When it’s time to do your ritual clear away distractions, and set an intention to be fully present.
- Create accountability with others. Share your intention with others. It will help keep you accountable.
- Set a reminder to journal your progress, then review your progress daily, weekly and monthly. This will help you track your progress.
I find each of these five elements to be incredibly helpful and important. I highly recommend that you do this for each of the two rituals you plan to focus on this month, and then again each month for other rituals you want to create.
If you do these actions — pick a few focuses for the year, create rituals to make them happen, and then create this kind of structure to make the rituals stick — I believe you can make this your best year ever.
“We have all the ability to change perspective, create clarity and generate calm over any issue there is at hand – be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. Unfortunately we do not always see these wonderful abilities at our disposal”.
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Pursuing Worldly Success
We must be careful how we define success. We strive to find success in careers, success in raising kids, or success in just looking successful. Planning for success, working for it, worrying about it can at times dominate our everyday lives. You must however remember there is worldly success and personal success.
The Bible tells us in Luke 12:15 “Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” Now, make no mistake, life is about achieving success—we’ve got to spend our lives for something, and we should do that something as well as we can. So, we mustn’t forget success entirely. But worldly success should not be our obsession. As Thomas Merton once wrote, “If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live.”
When we focus all, or even most, of our lives on achieving worldly success, we fall short of the full life promised in John 10:10. We miss those parts of life we’re meant to devote to the success of others.
How many of us sacrifice huge portions of the lives we’re meant to live—loving others; spending time with kids; eating meals with families; hanging out with friends; helping people in need—spending too much time on our own success? When that happens we become unavailable to those who need us most.
The beginning of the New Year brought with it many new resolutions for the upcoming year, resolutions to create change. To leave behind those things we feel are no longer of value, and to strive for things that are. Creating positive change is always good so long as it does not dominate our everyday life.
January reflection – I don’t judge my level of success by what I have, I judge it by what I can give to others.
How To Crank-Up My Cardio Workout?
Resistance training and cardio exercise can indeed co-exist. In fact, blending them together creates the ideal time-saving gym session. All you have to do is make a few intensity-amplifying tweaks to your existing strength workout and it can drive up your heart rate, burn more calories and improve your cardiovascular health.
- Vary your rest. – The first way to spike your heart rate while strength training is to perform each move back to back with as little rest as possible — that is, while still maintaining good form.
- Hold weights in both hands. – Rather than putting all your effort into single-arm movements for exercises like curls, rows or extensions, pick up two dumbbells or kettlebells. Then, go to town. Doing upper-body bilateral movements — like bicep curls with both hands moving at the same time — increases your heart rate more than when focusing on one arm at a time.
- Pepper in plyometric. – Explosive movements like squat jumps and jumping lunges are super effective and efficient for cranking up your cardio, while still building muscle. To maximize the payoff of these powerful moves, perform at least 15 reps of each exercise.
- Lighten your load. – To hit the sweet spot where lifting turns more aerobic, opt for lighter weights that allow you to perform a set for one to two minutes.
- Try a two-fer. – Why do a squat or a bicep curl or an overhead press when you can be super-efficient and do all three at once? Compound movements like this one require you to use more muscle groups, which gives you a greater metabolic boost.
- Go beyond everyday exercises. – When you choose movements that your body is not used to doing — like getting on and off the floor, as you do for a burpee — it enhances the difficulty of your workout.
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Healthy Recipe of the Month: Seafood Pot Pie
A seafood lovers delight!
Yield: – servings
- 1 large leek, white part only, sliced
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
- 1/2 cup dry sherry or nonalcoholic white wine
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unbleached or all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
- 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
- 1/2 pound bay scallops
- 1/4 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 jar (2 ounces) pimiento strips, drained
- 1 package (7 1/2 ounces) reduced-fat refrigerated biscuit dough
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a medium baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Coat a Dutch oven with nonstick spray. Add the leek and mushrooms. Coat with nonstick spray. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add the tarragon and sherry or wine. Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the liquid is almost evaporated. Sprinkle with the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes to coat the vegetables with the flour. Add the milk and clam juice. Stir, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Add the scallops, shrimp, peas, and pimientos.
- Pour into the reserved baking dish. Arrange the biscuits over the top in a single layer
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the biscuits are golden brown.
Nutritional Information: (Per Serving)
Calories 341, Fat 5g, Cholesterol 68mg, Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 26g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Carbohydrates 45g
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