Goal Setting Part 2: Are you S.M.A.R.T.E.R than your Problems?

 In order to make effective plans, you must take the time to think, pray, meditate and consider what you want to accomplish. Fitzhugh Dodson said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” Today we will focus on setting your own goals and we are going to do so using the acronym SMARTER.  The idea of SMARTER goals was developed by Paul J. Meyer for use in business but has been adopted for use in many areas.  Let us begin setting our goals!
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S-Specific
Being specific means you have to be brave enough to tell yourself the truth.  Many live in denial about the state of their health and it is not until confronted with an illness that they accept the truth of their condition.  Being specific calls for us to admit that we have a problem and actually name the problem.  Unless you are specific and admit to the problem you cannot defeat the problem.  Example:  I want to lose 30 pounds means accepting and admitting that I am 30 pounds overweight and as such is at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and death to name a few.  It means coming clean not just to myself but to others who love me and want the best for me.  If you name it, it becomes real, not nebulous.
M-Measurable

Measurable goals are great because you can track them and, for those who love math, they can be quantified. It is easy to track progress when you have a measure to compare it against. For each pound I lose, I can subtract it from the number that I want to attain and see how far I have come but also how far I have to go.  As one friend pointed out to me the other day, slow progress is still progress.

 A- Attainable 
Attainable goals are goals that can be achieved. It may seem that my goal of losing 30 pounds is impossible but I believe all things are possible. I also know that we must divide our goals in to bite size pieces. They say you eat the elephant one bite at a time and in achieving your goals you must also choose to take it in bite-size pieces. It will be necessary to set long-term goals and short-term goals. My long-term goal is to lose 30 pounds but my short-term goal is to lost 10 pounds. The ten-pound weight loss is very achievable and in a short enough time to keep me motivated. Choosing to have a short-term goal is recommended as this is useful in developing “sticktoitness”.  When only long-term goals are made people turn back or stop the journey because it seems they are not making progress.  Do you remember taking road trips? Designating points along the way to serve as markers to let you know that you were close to your destination.  Short-term goals are points on the journey that lets you know the end is drawing near.
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R-Relevant

Just as we strive to be relevant in our professional lives, our goals should be relevant to who we are and who we would like to become. Losing weight is relevant to me because I want to be healthier and I want more energy. I know from past experience that when I work out and lose weight I feel so much better. I remember discussing the benefits of exercise with a friend of mine and remarking that even the days seem to have more hours in them when I exercise because I accomplish more in shorter amounts of time.

T-Time-Bound 
 All goals require time limits. Without specifying realistic time limits we would set goals that are unattainable and as a result, would become discouraged.  There is a saying that says “to everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven”.  To choose realistic time limits we must carefully study to see how long tasks are supposed to take.  If you assign too little time to complete a task you will set your self up for failure.  The converse is true.  If you give too much time to accomplish a task you could waste time that could be spent working on other goals.  It is safe to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  Losing 30 pounds should take about
ut 30 weeks.  I need to assign myself a short-term goal of 10 pounds in 3 months and renew that goal after each 3 month period.
E-Evaluate

We should take time to evaluate our goals to ensure that we are achieving the desired results. Take time to review the goal, time limits, and plan to see if it meets the needs of what you are trying to accomplish. If your plan does not fully meet your needs, you will need to adjust your plans.  If the time allotted is sufficient, you should be making progress

R-Re-evaluate

Re-evaluate as often as is necessary to stay on course.

  • Example: I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months so that I can walk with less knee pain. After 1 month evaluate your plan. You should be halfway to your goal. If you are not making the progress that you desire, re-evaluate your plan and adjust your work out or your diet to ensure its effectiveness.

Congratulations on taking the next step in becoming a healthier you so that you can live revived!

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Goal Setting Part 1: Planning Makes Perfect

I  heard a story once about a guy who sketched the plans for his house on a paper towel.  He ordered the necessary materials and began to build.  After digging the basement, work began on the foundation.  As the foundation progressed, he realized that his plans were way off.  If he were to continue, the house would not be able to support the weight of the walls and roof.  He consulted professional plans, a contractor, adjusted his plans, and was able to build a very beautiful and safe home.

As we make our plans today, let’s remember that plans are subject to change and require flexibility.  It is not uncommon to make plans for the future and find out that the time needed to accomplish the task was more than anticipated.  It is also not uncommon to learn that you could accomplish a task in less time than was previously planned.  Planning is not just about the destination it is also about the journey.  How you handle the bumps in the road (setbacks) will determine how successful your plan will be.

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

The first step in any planning process is to determine what you are trying to accomplish and how best to arrive there.  Let’s take for example weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight you would need to determine the necessary steps to lose the weight.

  1. Determine how much weight you want to lose
  2. Determine what steps you are going to take to lose the weight
    • change eating habits
      • drink more water
      • less fat
      • more fiber etc.
    • exercise
      • what type?
      • how often
      • when will you exercise?
      • where will you exercise?
      • Will you have a partner? If so who?
    • get enough rest
      • set a bedtime
  3. Determine length of time to accomplish the goal
    • month
    • 6 months
    • one year
  4. Set short term and long term goals (we will be dealing with goal setting in our next post)
    • 5 pounds in 2 months
    • 30 pounds in a year
  5. Determine how you will reward yourself
    • never use food as a reward
    • get your nails done
    • get a massage
    • buy a new book
    • buy a new pair of shoes
    • go to a concert
  6. Develop a contingency plan:  what will you do if you have a bad day?
    • Don’t throw in the towel begin again tomorrow
    • Everyone falls down at times, the key is not to stay down but to rise again and do battle
  7. When will you begin?
    • Begin today. Even if you only change one thing, it will bring you one step closer to accomplishing your goals
To succeed you must take the time to develop a plan.  Luke 14:28-33 says that in order to build a tower (building) you need to first count the cost (make a plan).  Your assignment today is to work on a plan for what habit you are trying to overcome.  If you have questions post a comment and I will respond.  We will be talking about goal setting in our next session.  Until our next session happy planning!
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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Getting What You’ve Always Got

If you always do what you have always done you will get what you always got.  I heard this saying a long time ago and it made me think of a hamster.  Hamsters are always on the wheel running but going nowhere fast.  Many of us feel like the hamster running with no purpose in mind.  In your health journey, you have a purpose, achieving a healthier life, a life lived to the fullest.  This my friends, require change.

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Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

In life, change must come but few are prepared or are willing to make the necessary changes.  The process of change is not a comfortable one; It calls for introspection and honesty with ourselves and with others.  Our discomfort can cause us to become stagnant and not change and as a result, forfeit the victories we would have gained.  At some point along the journey to change some stop trying and become discouraged.  Why you may ask? Because moving past the discomfort to achieve the change is hard.

Ultimately when making any change the person who needs to be convinced is YOU.  The voice in our heads that tells us we cannot do it need to be silenced.  Questions such as  “Haven’t you tried this before and it didn’t work?”  “What makes you think that it is going to work this time?”  The answer to those questions is that this time you are prepared to do the work required, this time you have a true purpose and are not going to do what you have always done.  This time you are going to push past the negative voices.

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Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

One step towards getting a different result is to practice positive affirmations.  Tell yourself I will succeed.  I will make it this time.  I value me and appreciate the person I am becoming.  It may be necessary to do this daily or even several times daily in order to gain control.  Some may say positive affirmation is psychological babble.  I disagree.  It is learning to love yourself and take control of your thoughts.  Many of us have been taught that we are not lovable, not worthy, worthless and as such we treat our bodies that way.  You may not conscientiously say this but our actions show that we do not love ourselves the way we should.  It is time today to choose to love yourself because only then will the changes be made only then will you get off the wheel and do something different.

Some will say you are being selfish but I disagree.  On an airplane, you are encouraged to put on your mask before helping someone else.  It is necessary to establish your own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health before taking care of someone else.  Which is more selfish? Loving myself or harming myself?  Not changing is causing harm to your body and mind.  I would rather love myself because in so doing I learn to truly love others.

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Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Doing something different begins with replacing the voices in your mind that tell you cannot succeed with ones that say all things are possible.  It is possible to get different results if you do something different.  Have a great day and remember the purpose of the journey is to be a healthier version of yourself.

Don’t Pull The Trigger!

I have often wondered why people play the “game” of Russian roulette.   It is a game of chance and risk where one round of ammunition is placed into the chamber of the gun, the cylinder spun, the gun put to the head, and the trigger pulled.  With each spin of the cylinder the risk increases.  Some even die while playing, but even the idea of death is not enough to deter many from playing.   The idea of the so-called game is absolutely absurd to me because of the risk involved and the possibility of death. What if I told you the choices that we make everyday play a type of Russian roulette with our health?  We have pulled our health triggers so many times that today indeed may be the day when the consequences of our actions are seen.

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Photo by Caitlin Greene on Unsplash
The occasional consumption of a hamburger, slice of pizza, an order of fries or serving of chips can be part of a balanced diet, but most Americans indulge on a regular basis. Overindulgence and abuse of these foods high in fat, sodium, sugar, and calories have resulted in an expansion of the waistline and a decline in health. They are also a problem because they have become a type of drug and are used to soothe unease, stress, anxiety or as a reward for accomplishments. Today we will explore how to avoid food triggers.
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Photo by kayleigh harrington on Unsplash

Temptation means to be enticed or led to do something you would not ordinarily do.  This usually happens after a stressful situation.   Triggers for temptation foods include things such as stress, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and boredom. The most important thing is to recognize triggers prior to the temptation and learn ways to combat them. In our health Russian roulette, the temptation is the gun, the trigger is the stressor that causes us to reach for the food and the bullet is the foods that we eat.  Each time we give in to the temptation the cylinder spins and we are one step closer to death.  Each time we give in the risks rises.

Most of us know what our temptation foods are based on how we feel after we have eaten them.  These foods have become our enemies because they are destructive in the way we consume them.  They cause us to feel shame, guilt, hopelessness. Temptation foods seem to be in control of us rather than us being in control of them.  There is usually a feeling of failure;  a feeling of “I can’t believe I have done this again”.  They cause you to feel temporary relief from the stress, but after you have eaten them you feel even worse than when you were stressed.

 

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Photo by Jannis Brandt on Unsplash

 

The first step in resisting/avoiding temptation is to recognize when and where the temptation comes.  Is it a particular place, person, event or occasion that stirs the desire? If so, the answer may be to avoid them.  Another answer could be to develop different coping mechanisms for the stressor such as exercising, journaling or therapy.  Another step could be learning to reward yourself with things other than food.  Get your hair done, go for a bike ride, take a walk in nature, get a massage, visit or call a friend, or take time to pray.  Most importantly do not give in to temptation. It is not worth the risk to your health.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Today, don’t pull the trigger on temptation.  Resist the urges and consider your journey. Don’t go backward, continue forward.  Continue your journey to a healthier you so that you can be Revived Through Nutrition!

Going To Battle Unprotected

Having an immune system without sufficient defenses to fight disease is like going to war without enough soldiers to fight the enemy. In the battle against disease, the estimated trillion bacteria in our gut represent some of the soldiers who fight disease.  Many individuals have damaged their gut defense system with poor dietary choices, overuse of antibiotics, stress and inadequate rest.

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Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage and an excellent source of probiotics

 

Low amounts and inadequate varieties of bacteria in the gut has been linked to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, depression, eczema, asthma, fibromyalgia, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and allergies. A diet high in processed foods, unhealthy fats, and limited fiber are the biggest contributors to poor gut health.  The misuse of antibiotics also accounts for a large decrease in the amount of the gut’s healthy bacteria.  A great example of this is the C-difficile infection, which is common in patients who receive high-dose antibiotics. This is a bacteria normally present in the gut, but, after antibiotics kill off the healthy bacteria along with the harmful ones, it grows to dangerous levels and causes unpleasant symptoms in the patient. In addition to antibiotics and poor diet, research indicates that inadequate rest may cause the body to send signals to the gut which damage the healthy microflora.

There are over five hundred species of bacteria in the gut that create a microbiome unique to you.  This microbiome requires both prebiotics and probiotics to live.  Prebiotics are food ingredients that pass through the digestive system mostly undigested, like oats and bananas.  They act as a food source for bacteria and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.  Probiotics are active cultures or good bacteria found in certain foods, mostly aged or fermented, that help to replace and increase the number of bacteria (microflora) present in the gut.

 

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Kefir, a fermented, yogurt-like drink high in probiotics

 

Some ways to improve gut health include: eating whole grains, limiting processed food, and choosing plant-based, high-fiber meals. In addition, choosing foods high in Omega-3’s such as walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines and healthy fat sources such as avocado, almonds, and olive oil have been shown to have a positive impact on the gut.  Since the gut is also influenced by sleep, getting the recommended 7-8 hours daily could positively impact gut health.

The chart below lists the best sources of both prebiotics and probiotics.  Consuming a variety of foods from this list can help restore gut health and decrease the risk of illnesses, therefore, increasing your bacterial army’s chances of being victorious in fighting the war on unhealthy germs and bacteria.

 

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Blackberries, high in prebiotics 

 

Best Sources of Prebiotics and Probiotics

Type of Bacteria Food Sources
PREBIOTICS ·        Garlic

·        Bananas

·        Whole wheat foods

·        Soybeans

·        Jicama

·        Asparagus

·        Dandelion Greens

·        Barley

·        Oats

·        Flax seeds

·        Apples

PROBIOTICS ·        Yogurt

·        Kefir

·        Tempeh

·        Kimchi

·        Kambucha

·        Garlic

·        Sauerkraut

·        Miso/miso soup

One way to increase the intake of prebiotics and probiotics is a breakfast smoothie.  This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and can act as a meal on the run.

Healthy Gut Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup skim milk kefir

1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 -2 cups spinach or kale

1 cup mixed fruit

1/2 Tbs flax seed

1 Tbs chia seeds

1/2 Tbs hemp seeds

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

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Provides: 341 calories, 31 grams protein, 10 grams of fiber.