This past weekend I attended the 14th annual YMCA-YWCA Connexion Fitness Conference for fitness professionals. It was a full day of seminars, workshops and networking with personal trainers, volunteers and fitness industry leaders. The keynote address was delivered by professor of Sport Psychology and author Terry Orlick. Terry talked about the keys to excellence, and how there are seven factors to achieving excellence in life: Commitment, Belief, Full Focus, Positive Images, Mental Readiness, Distraction Control and Constructive Evaluation. He combines these together as a wheel, in which each one plays an important role and cannot bring success by itself, but must be working in harmony with each of the other factors.
We all need to be more mindful in our lives. Many of us eat our emotions, when we’re bored, or we are dis-engaged from our food. Eating mindfully is a way to connect more with the practice of eating, re-enforce a healthy relationship with food and it allows you to be fully present while eating. Here are five simple ways to eat more mindfully:
An Ode to a Crib
This past weekend I dis-assembled our crib. The crib that we picked out at the beautiful baby furniture store when we were expecting our daughter. The crib that we used for our son for almost two years after that. And now, our first-born is in school and our youngest is so definitely not a baby, with his parrot-like repetition of everything we say and his mouth-full-of-teeth grin. And so, the crib had been sitting vacant for over a month, like the baby clothes and infant-seats that went before it, no longer needed for it’s intended purpose. Without need of it, and with it taking up so much valuable-real estate in our home, you would think that I, a purge-happy minimalist, would have been thrilled to part with it.
The thing is, I wasn’t.
“I don’t have the time” is an excuse we’ve all used for why we don’t exercise. It is true that it can be difficult to take the recommended 30-60 minutes each day to dedicate to exercise. Fortunately, studies* show that even 10 minutes of exercise a day is enough to reap the benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart attack, diabetes and lower stress levels. So try this quick tip to incorporate exercise seamlessly into your day: Write a variety of exercises on pieces of paper (some sample exercises will be at the end, but hundreds can be found by searching “bodyweight exercises”) and place them in a jar. At various times throughout the day, reach into the jar and pull out an exercise. Aim to perform each exercise for either a set number of repetitions (10-20) or for 60 seconds, time well spent improving your health. Make time to incorporate exercise into your daily life and not only will your body reap the benefits, the endorphins released during activity will improve your mood.
Why do you do the things you do?
Think about it, every decision you’ve made until now was governed by a force in your life, whether you realized it or not. From seemingly insignificant decisions like what you would eat for breakfast or wear to work, to life-altering decisions about who you would marry, or where you would live, every choice can be brought back to the same source.
Yes, who we are dictates what we decide, but what we decide also dictates who we are. It is a continuous, evolving cycle and whether you are aware of it or not, it is at work in your life right now. I call it the “principle-practice” model.
Your principles dictate your practices, and likewise, your practices dictate your principles.
Spring is on its way where we live and with the warmer sunshine-filled days comes the melting of snow. And we have a LOT of snow. What happens when giant banks of snow dissolve into water? Puddles. Around our neighbourhood they tend to resemble miniature lakes, where you’re liable to get wet up to your knees. Is there anything more satisfying to a child than coming across a giant puddle, and running through it with reckless abandon?
I really enjoy reading. I don’t have as much time to do it as I’d like, and I will sometimes opt for the mental ease of watching television before I pick up a book, but I do enjoy reading. I hesitate to call myself a “reader” in the same way that someone who jogs recreationally hesitates to call themselves a “runner”. To them I always say, if you’re running voluntarily, then you’re a runner. The same sentiment could apply to reading as well, I suppose.
Here’s a quick overview of the closet that JF and I share. We try to keep a fairly simple wardrobe, keeping pieces that we enjoy and wear on a regular basis. There’s no “right amount” of clothing, that is a personal choice based on your own preferences, space limitations, and lifestyle. We try to donate/repurpose anything worn out or that doesn’t fit anymore, as well as pieces that no longer fit our stage of life or circumstances (i.e. a maternity top when I am no longer pregnant). I don’t go into detail of all my clothing but what you see includes all of my workout/exercise clothing, and all of my more “regular” clothing, excluding undergarments and pyjamas – the same goes for JF’s side of the closet. Here are my 3 tips for how to keep your wardrobe simple and enjoy a tidier closet in the process!
I don’t know a parent out there who doesn’t want good kids. The problem is, we all have different ideas of what “good” looks like. For some it means kids who behave well in public, while for others it means kids who will be successful in school, or will grow up to have a lucrative career. For us, it means kids who love God and love others; who know who they are and aren’t afraid to live it and who desire to have a positive impact in the world. Sounds pretty lofty, doesn’t it? Perhaps, but we believe it is achievable, especially with consistent practice of these five concepts.
The other morning as I was getting clothes for my daughter to wear to school, I opened her sock drawer and reached for her last pair of clean socks. Internally I told myself “We’ll have to get her more socks.” Immediately my mind started to debate itself: “Do you really need more socks or do you just have to do laundry?”