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How to Stay Motivated for Better Health

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How to stay motivated with a healthy lifestyle

Often the problem isn’t wanting to change, or even taking the first step. The hardest part is finding a way to stay motivated once our initial enthusiasm wears off or we encounter setbacks. This is one reason so many of us struggle with keeping New Year’s resolutions!

I’m no motivation guru and I’ve definitely had many times when I wanted to give up, change course, or just crawl back into bed. At the same time I am (a little) older and hopefully wiser and I’ve decided one thing must be true: progress itself — whether in weight loss or fitness or overall health — is the most important motivating factor.

So, how to stop waiting for the perfect time or the perfect plan and get going? Good question!

The One Way to Get & Stay Motivated

In my mind, there’s only one way to get started: Take action, even if it’s small. This is the best and only way to create more energy and motivation. Excitement grows and catches on when we see progress.

It bears repeating:

Action breeds motivation, not the other way around.

If you are looking to make some lifestyle changes to improve your health and want to get (and stay) motivated, you’ve chosen a worthy cause! No matter which habit you’ve chosen to take on, I’ve found these seven steps can help keep motivation strong:

1. Have a Clear Vision of Your Goal and Your “Why”

This seems very common sense but is a step many of us skip. This is no surprise especially in mom world where it’s so tough to get any time to think without interruption!

Do what it takes: hide in the bathroom, the closet, the shower, the car, or better yet schedule some time out and figure out the exact reason you are making changes to your life. Envision what you want to accomplish and let it play out in your mind.

Note I didn’t say, “how you want to look in the end.” Let’s take weight loss for example: aesthetic goals alone rarely are enough to keep someone motivated. Eventually, the cheesecake, or pasta, or soda or whatever your weakness is will look really good and you’ll decide that you hate dieting more than you hate being fat and give in.

Tip: Instead, figure out a health-related goal, which may include aesthetic aspects, and write it down. Focus on long-term health benefits and make a clear plan of how you will get there.

2. Set Action Steps Toward Your Goal

It almost never works to jump in to a new diet, fitness plan, and natural living lifestyle all at once. Figure out some smaller goals and put them on paper. Once you reach one goal, start on another.

Goals must be measurable and specific to be accomplished. Once you figure out the clear goal, you need a specific and measurable action plan to get there.

  • If you want to improve your diet for health reasons… start meal planning.
  • If you are trying to improve health and weight… measure yourself and take before pictures.
  • If you need to improve insulin sensitivity… monitor glucose.

The more specific and measurable your goal, the easier it will be to track your progress and stick to it. If you need to lower carbs or eat more veggies, start a health tracking journal or a habit tracking app. Tracking drastically increases chances of success when it comes to new habits.

Tip: No matter what your goal, consider meal planning. There are many amazing tools to make it easier (this one is my favorite). Meal planning will save time, money, and mental energy in the long run and help stick to the goal.

Free Resource: Use this Mini Wellness Challenge Printable to plan and record your action steps!

3. Create Checkpoints

This is an idea that Martin at LeanGains suggests and I think it is a great one. (He also recommends intermittent fasting, which is another great idea!)

Basically, instead of having weekly weigh-ins or daily tracking, try periodic “checkpoints” every few weeks or even months instead. This encourages a sense of internal competitiveness without getting focused on small details. It is also gives you a long enough time to see measurable results (rather than getting discouraged that you aren’t running triathlons or fitting into size 4 jeans after your first week of training).

  • For instance, if you are trying to lose weight and improve physique or strength, your checkpoint could be weighing yourself and testing your ability in a few basic exercises (pushups, sprints, etc.).
  • If working on improving insulin sensitivity, it could be your fasting blood glucose levels.
  • If working on allergies or eczema, it could be your frequency of symptoms for each one.

Tip: Set multiple checkpoints in increments of 8 weeks on your calendar or phone (otherwise, you’ll forget!). This is long enough for a new habit to actually sink in, not to mention stick. Compare each checkpoint to the last and try to beat it.

4. Keep Learning

To keep your motivation high and focused on a goal, it is often helpful to remember why you formed the goal in the first place. Taking in new information — be it health, nutrition, or fitness related — feeds the desire and keeps the flame burning!

My favorite motivating books are:

Books

Also (if it’s not too obnoxious) I should just mention that my book The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox has all of my best suggestions and recipes for making small but meaningful changes toward a healthier life. If food is your focus, The Wellness Mama Cookbook has my best food recipes too.

But moving on!

Movies & Documentaries

Tip: Multitask and listen to an audiobook or podcast while showering, driving, or cleaning up. (Bonus: The family might hear and pick up some new health knowledge and motivation themselves!) Some of my favorites are:

Podcasts

5. Buddy Up for Accountability

If possible, have your spouse or a friend make these changes with you. Not only will you have the benefit of some company along the way, but this has been shown to improve long-term compliance to a plan.

There are plenty of apps that make accountability even easier. My favorite (because I’m oh so super competitive) is an app called Spar.

Tip: Make sure you and your partner are on the same page on what the goal is and how to get there so you don’t derail each other by debating the small details along the way!

6. Give Yourself Rewards

To help, consider giving yourself non-food related rewards when you accomplish either your overall goal or one of your action steps. Looking forward to a new pair of pants in a smaller size, an evening out with your spouse, or a relaxing day of some kind might help you focus on the long-term benefits of your goal rather than the short-term struggle.

Some other ideas for motivating (but healthy) rewards are:

  • Join a local botanical garden, museum, or park (for all the benefits of nature)
  • Invest in a skin-brushing set for dry brushing
  • Plan a day trip somewhere you wouldn’t normally consider going
  • Upgrade your home gym with some new equipment
  • Treat yourself to some pampering natural beauty products you normally wouldn’t splurge on
  • Go for the health gold – set a big goal and save up for your own sauna or a red light therapy device
  • Or, the real prize… a day off! (recruit your spouse, a family member, or a babysitter… whatever it takes!)

Tip: Make a list of some new ways to reward yourself and try one of them. Whether it’s taking a class to learn a new skill (I recommend scuba!) or finally splurging for that Instant Pot and learning the ropes (life-changer!), chances are once you push past your comfort zone, you’ll be glad.

7. Repeat Until a Habit

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and I’d say it takes less than that if you have a system and a routine in place. As with most aspects of life, healthy living is much easier if it is part of a normal and regular routine. Sometimes all it takes is a challenge to get you started.

This will also help remove the mindset of “dieting” which implies an end point once a goal is reached and encourage a mindset of a permanent and healthy lifestyle change. Sugar will not be healthy now or when you weigh your goal weight… neither will grains, or vegetable oils, or commercial deodorant… you get the idea.

Tip: Make goals visual to keep them in the forefront of your mind. Write up your why, your goals, your baby steps, and post it everywhere to increase your chances of staying motivated and sticking to a new habit.

Take Action Today With a Mini Wellness Challenge!

Before making up a grand master plan, try a mini challenge or experiment! Pick one of these areas, go to the top of this post, and plan out your 7 steps! I highly suggest writing out your plan and posting it some place visible. Download my free Mini-Challenge Plan printable here!

Where to start? Here’s a list of possible health areas to consider:

    1. Eat Real Food – Start consuming a nutrient-dense diet if you aren’t already and avoid processed foods.
    2. Drink and Use Clean Water – Avoid chemicals in drinking water with a quality water filter and neutralize chemicals in bath or shower water.
    3. Breathe Clean Air –  Purify air just by shopping for a few house plants or getting outdoors more.
    4. Get More Exercise – Not exercising? Start with just 10 minutes.
    5. Reduce Stress – Set some goals to reduce stress through meditation/prayer, diet, exercise, or my favorite, journaling.
    6. Avoid Toxins – Decide which home, cleaning, or beauty products you could trade for natural versions.
    7. Sleep Better – If you’re not sure where to start, start here! Good sleep is the foundation and in many ways more important than diet or exercise!

Remember, there’s no wrong place to start… action in one area more often than not will lead to motivation in another!

Bottom Line: Baby Steps Make It Happen!

When the lists are long and the tasks are many it’s easy to lose motivation (especially when the toddler is having a meltdown at your feet), but inertia is the worst part. Take one step in the right direction (today) and put these tips to the test to stay motivated, focused, and hopefully a little healthier!

How do you stay motivated? Have you struggled with this in the past? Any resources I’m forgetting? Please add them in the comments below!

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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