What’s a New Years Resolution Really Mean?

Hello Readers!

Well, it’s finally 2014 and once again it’s time to start with those “resolutions”. Every year we all get so excited to start fresh, make some new goals and start over. It seems like we bounce ideas off each other, get super pumped and the same resolutions arise: weight loss, quit smoking, hit the gym, eat healthy, no coffee… etc.

It makes me wonder– how can you ensure these resolutions stick, and that after January it doesn’t simply go from the trendy ‘quick fix’ and get checked into the “not right now”.. only to be forgotten about until the following year when you announce that THIS will in fact be– THE YEAR— (you have to add a strong, thunderous voice here for dramatic effect)

I’m going to use my students (yes, my grade 2 students) as guinea pigs this year. We’re going to sit down the first week back and begin to ask the question “What is a resolution?” and “How can we make a resolution that we can be successful at?” Together, we’re going to develop a criteria for creating goals– SUCCESSFUL goals, track them and here’s the best part: we’re going to ATTAIN THEM, and SURPASS THEM.

These are life skills that most adults struggle to work through, so it is not going to be an easy task. I want to break goal setting down for them by using a SMART method:
Time Orientated

I have several goals for myself this year, and I have decided to break them down according to the length of time it will realistically take for me to achieve these goals, so that I have multiple moments of success throughout the year!

I believe that it is so important for you to continually feel success when you decide on a goal. This is so that the goal does not stay abstract, it becomes a reality. For example. This year I’m going to train for my first 1/2 marathon. I didn’t feel like I was ready last year when my friends completed one in the fall. I had a lot of personal things going on, and began to loose touch with this side of me. For the first time in months I feel positive about being about to balance areas of my life to fit in what really makes me happy. I think what I’ve really realized with regards to balance is that it’s perpetual. I will always have to revisit, and organize my schedule because I am always changing and growing within my life. Much the same as creating goals for yourself, — or in this case “resolutions” .

It is not accurate to say that in 2014 you will: __________________. There are so many factors that will change throughout the course of the year, so my personal viewpoint is that your goal(s) need to be attainable in shorter durations so that they are consistent with the growing and changing individual.

Here are my goals for the first 5 months of “2014”

January-> have written 8 blog posts, run 3-5 K twice a week, and start off my math qualifications for teaching with a BANG!
Feb- March–> 8-10 more blog posts, increase frequency of running to three times a week–> solid 5-8 K, finish up math course even stronger
April-May–> Seriously focus on 1/2 training, complete the 1/2 at the end of May, start training Girls on the Run (running/ emotional growth program for young girls at school), continue to post about my training and experiences, conditioning my core & muscle strength

REVISIT Goals, visions and accomplishments– reset and get ready to dominate the second half of the year!!

Here’s to a wonderfully healthy year, full of exciting moments and to relishing in the joys of accomplishing and surpassing even the most extreme goals. Always remember that ANYTHING is possible, but it’s not enough to dream about it. Plan for it, write it down, set a realistic time frame for it and that goal is as good as yours.

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Fighting Cancer with Fitness: A Guest Post by Melanie Bowen

Recently, I was contacted by a reader who came across my blog. She emailed me, and asked if she could do a guest post on my blog to share the benefits of incorporating fitness into lifestyles of those battling serious illness. Here’s the Article, following by a brief description of who Melanie is, and how she’s come to study this area.

Fighting Cancer with Fitness

Exercise is an excellent means for keeping both the mind and body active. Maintaining a safe and comfortable level of physical fitness during cancer treatments can actually help reduce some of the negative side effects by increasing joint mobility, lessening muscular atrophy, staving off bedsores, enhancing blood flow and even assisting with daily bodily functions, such as excretion and respiration. Additionally, as you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which actually boost your mood.

Light Exercise: Light Stretching

It is essential to find the balance between strengthening the heart, lungs and muscles without placing excessive strain on the body. The following exercises are ideal for patients undergoing aggressive treatments for mesothelioma or other more serious forms of cancer.

How You Should Feel?

You should feel comfortable with your breathing and not winded or breathy. You can still carry on a conversation with long sentences or possibly even sing a song. Stretching helps to improve flexibility and increases circulation. Stretching may reduce swelling while delivering feelings of calmness and well-being. It can also help you to sleep better, thus reducing fatigue. Simple movements, such as reaching the arms overhead or bending the body forward, help to keep the muscles supple and elongated while increasing overall range of motion.

Moderate Exercise Recommendations

For patients who are actively recovering and beginning to gain strength, moderate exercise carries many benefits. One great example of a moderate exercise is water aerobics.

How You Should Feel?

You may notice the breath quickening. However, you should not feel out of breath. You can still carry on a conversation, perhaps with shorter sentences, but not be able to sing. After about 10 minutes, you may begin to break a sweat. Taking part in water aerobics is a great way to build muscle and control your weight without placing too much impact on the bones and joints. It strengthens the cardiovascular system while allowing you to increase or decrease the intensity as needed. The water produces 12 to 14 times the amount of resistance as training on land, but you won’t feel overheated, as the water helps to cool the body.

Advanced Exercise Recommendations

For patients in the later stages of recovery who are able to use fitness to regain strength and improve their overall physical condition, weight lifting should be undertaken with caution.

How You Should Feel?

Your breathing is quicker and you are unable to sing. You can speak in short sentences and may begin to sweat after a few minutes. Weight training is excellent for maintaining and developing muscular strength and endurance . Building lean muscle mass helps to support fat loss as well. This is ideal for those who have suffered from cancers such as prostate, stomach, intestinal, head, or neck, as these types all lead to a significant decrease in muscle mass. Start with lighter weights or begin on resistance machines. Gradually increase the weight or the repetitions, as you feel stronger and more comfortable with the technique of lifting. Seek assistance when transitioning to free weights.

Remember that you will most likely feel quite fatigued after beginning a new exercise program. Start slowly and pay attention to your body. Always listen to and follow your doctor’s recommendations to ensure that you are exercising at a level that is appropriate to your current condition.

About the Author
Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.