Monday Motivation: Follow Your Heart

Imagine this. You have to make a decision, and as much as you try to reason through your decision-making process, your gut is telling you something. How can a decision provoke a so-called gut reaction?

I don’t know the answer to that question. But, I do know, that following your heart will never lead you in the wrong direction.

Recently, I’ve had a few job prospects. But, everytime I feel as of I’m doing the wrong thing — everytime I feel as if I’m signing my life away.

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

Why do I feel this way? Deep down inside my heart I know that it’s not what I dream of doing — what I know will make me happy.

Yes, these offers are a great opportunity to grow and expand my knowledge. But they will keep me within the limits of my comfort zone.

I want to be pushed out of my comfort zone, challenged beyond my imagination, and it’s time to do just that.

So, stop denying yourself happiness, follow your heart amd step outside of your comfort zone. If you fail, at least you can say you tried. But why not stand up, brush yourself off and try again?

Along the way, you’ll learn the depths of your strengths and weaknesses, and at least the journey will be interesting.

Don’t deny your happiness. Follow your heart.


Monday Motivation: Nothing is Permanent

Nothing is permanent.

As I rollerbladed down the street today, some of the leaves had already transformed into a burnt-orange color. Is it already fall? Or, is it the result of a summer draught? Maybe a combination of both. Either way, it’s a reminder of the transition from summer to fall. And, that life continues on.

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” – Charlie Chaplin

You can interpret this statement of motivation in two ways. One, as a breath of fresh air because, one day, you will overcome a hard fought struggle. Two, life will never be the same as it is at this moment.

Sometimes we get caught up in the decisions of life. When it seems like we’re about to make life-altering decisions, remember, it isn’t forever. If it isn’t the right decision or the best decision, then you can change it and it will always lead you to a more informed decision. How will you know if you don’t try? But don’t forget, pause and take a moment to celebrate what you have right now and also to assess what else you want in life. Be thankful for what you have and always strive to raise the bar.

Zumba: Creating the Rhythm of Your Life

After a month-long hiatus, Zumba class is back in session! Grab your bright colored workout gear, a water bottle and let’s get ready to dance like no one’s watching.

Shake it. Enough said.

Zumba, for me, is that one hour during the week where friends, new and old, meet to workout, everything is perfect and the world does not exist outside of the dance studio. We support each other. We have a good time. We are not afraid to challenge ourselves. The world is perfect.

I’m a very active person, and have become addicted to being challenged. When you’re challenged — when you are pushed to your limits — you learn a lot about yourself and your strength. It’s my experience that your mind usually gives out before your body does.

So, the question is, what life lessons have I learned from Zumba?

First, try, try again and then try again. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced Zumba-er, it takes three classes to get into the groove and feel the choreography. You may not get the samba on your first attempt, but it’s that failure and that re-attempt that allows it to finally click.

One day you will get it. Be persistent. Don’t give up despite a failing attempt. Use your attempt as motivation to keep trying. And, when you finally get what you want, don’t be afraid to celebrate your success.

Second, get out of your comfort zone. I love to make people laugh. With that said, I will often bust out dance moves or jokes at inappropriate times, of course, for the sake of laughter. However, that’s comfortable to me. On the other hand, Latin-inspired dances require a certain amount of sex appeal, which is foreign to me. As you challenge yourself to expand and explore this new side, you learn about yourself. You open yourself up to a new part of you, and you become fearless in the face of new challenges, what ever those challenges may be.

That’s Zumba.

Finally, have fun. I have been blessed with over thinking every aspect of my life. Sometimes — well, more like most of the time — I forget to have fun or even that I deserve the opportunity to have fun and get  away from work. Zumba has taught me to let go, have fun and that it is good for your mental and physical well being. Even while you are having fun, your mind continues to process life’s daily struggles and battles. And, most importantly, it clears your mind.

While Zumba may not be for everyone, I encourage you to find an activity that allows you to escape the stress of your life, clears your mind and allows you to have fun in the process. And, possibly, takes you away from your computer, the Internet, Facebook and your phone.

Unplug yourself and have fun. You deserve it!

Monday Motivation: Your Create Beauty

OK, so it isn’t Monday. But, better late than never, right?

Plus, this post is inspired by my birthday, which is today. Don’t worry people — this post isn’t going to celebrate my life because who would that be fun for, besides my mom and dad?

A birthday is a day for friends and family to celebrate the life and being of one person. But, it dawned on me today, why don’t we focus our energy externally and celebrate strangers — the person sitting across from you on the bus, the person walking down the street, the person in front of you in line at Starbucks?

Many Monday Motivations focus on how to be internally resilient. This Monday Motivation is to make the world a more beautiful place. And, you have the ability to make stranger’s world a brighter place.

Do you remember the last time someone complimented you? How did you feel after you received that compliment? That feeling is unforgettable.

As a birthday present to me, I challenge you to make someone’s day. Do something you normally wouldn’t do. Get out of your comfort zone. I’m sure you’ll find it’s exhilarating.

I’d call this a self-less good deed, but I’m always reminded of the Friends episode where Phoebe tries to prove to Joey there’s such a thing as a self-less good deed.

But, in the end, beauty is created by you — your attitude, your behavior, your actions — it’s all up to you.

Make the world a more beautiful place!

Monday Motivation: You Create Beauty

No matter what, some days you don’t want to get out of bed. Today was one of those days for me.

Far too much work this weekend and not enough sleep. What’s more, my sister dragged me to a sky aerobics class (an aerobic workout infused with trampolines) first thing this morning. I had very little coffee and a bad attitude but, once I decided to get over it my mental negativity, I immediately started to enjoy this new experience. I welcomed new challenges.

Our physical abilities are, typically, not what hold us back in life. But rather, it’s out mental abilities and that includes your attitude.

Instead of acknowledging what you cannot do, address what you can do and how far you’ve come. And, like last’s monday’s motivation, be better than the person you were yesterday.

Strive for positivity, seek a challenge and see the beauty in every one of your attempts.

You hold the power to define what beauty is.

Happy Monday!

Diet & Lifestyle: A Continuing Practice

Wedding season is upon us. And with wedding season comes diet and exercise regimens galore. But your mind frame can either hinder or help you succeed.

Many people willing enter into a diet regimen where they scale back on calorie intake, eating highly processed foods with little or no exercise. This leads me to my first point.

There is a difference between diet and lifestyle.

Diet, as defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, is “the special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.”

And, a lifestyle is “the way in which a person or group lives,” according to the dictionary.

Why, you may ask, is this distinction necessary? Well, I’d like to argue that a diet is a short-term solution to a problem that will not produce long-term results. Yes, you might be thinking to yourself, “But aren’t short-term solutions the foundation of long-term results?” If you have no intention of carrying out this goal in the far-off future, then it does not contribute to your success.

A diet aims to restrict one from indulging. Whereas, a lifestyle allows one to indulge from time-to-time because who, after all, doesn’t need a little chocolate every once in awhile? But you’re working toward an overall healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise. A healthy lifestyle consists of exercise, eating and sleep habits that are at equilibrium. The salient point being that equilibrium varies one person to the next.

Everyone isn’t the same. What works for one person may not work for another. So I encourage you to practice a healthy lifestyle. Practice, after all, is defined as “repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.”  As Jillian Michaels says on her yoga DVD, “Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown,” “It isn’t about being perfect. Perfect is boring. It’s about practice and trying something new.”

Here are some of the healthy mottos I live by:

  • Continuously try to improve, whether it be what you had to eat for lunch or your exercise regimen, strive to learn and evolve and you’ll be successful. But you also need to identify what success looks like for you. Try to improve how many fruits and vegetables you eat on daily basis. Try to improve the amount of time you spend moving. Try to improve your mind set. Obstacles don’t get in your way — your mind is your only obstacle. Rise above it.
  • Get moving. This one is easier said than done, well, at first it is. Growing up, I played softball. Weeknights were dedicated to games and practice, weekdays were dedicated to working out, and weekends were dedicated to back-to-back games while quickly eating McDonald’s or a ball park hot dog. To be honest, I hated working out then. I felt forced to do it. Today, I love working out. It’s something I do for myself. Nobody else can do it for me, and it allows me to relieve stress.
  • Don’t reward yourself with food. As noted in the previous point, I often ate unhealthy food in between softball games. I thought, “Well, I’m burning a lot of calories playing, so I can handle it.” Wrong. You’ll sabotage the “get moving” portion of my healthy mottos. If you let yourself indulge only on the weekends, then you’ll sabotage all of your hard work throughout the week.
  • Drink lots of water. Enough said. I suggest investing in a CamelBak water bottle. The bottle allows you to drink up to 24 percent more water.
  • Get more sleep. I know you know this, but make it happen. You’ll feel more energized. Studies have shown that people who get less sleep tend to consume more calories throughout the day than those people who felt well rested. For more reading, check out the article “6 Reasons You Need More Sleep” from Shape Magazine.
  • Seize every opportunity to get moving. Elevator or stairs — Take the stairs. Bus or walk the few extra blocks — Walk it out. It’s so important I had to put it twice.
  • Try something new. Challenge yourself.

You can do this. Let’s conquer the world one healthy lifestyle at a time. You’ll never regret exercising, but you’ll always regret not having exercised.

Looking for inspiration? Look no further. Here are some images I’ve collected on my Pinterest board (By the way, if you’re on Pinterest, let’s connect!) to get you moving and offer motivation.

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