Thursday, December 27, 2012

5 Ways to Welcome the New Age & New Year

Have you heard?!
An incredible time in history is upon us.

As of December 21, 2012, we have experienced a shift from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. Whether you're a yogi or not, the widespread thoughts and proposed significance pertaining to a shift like this, which occurs only once every 2,150 years, are pretty interesting. The more I've been learning about the shift, the more thrilled and motivated I've become. Finally, we have moved from an age marked by money, power and control to one full of love, unity, brotherhood and integrity. While we should be thankful for the influential events that happened in the Age of Pisces, such as the rise of religion and the Industrial Revolution, we should also look forward to the possibilities and focuses of the Age of Aquarius. This new age is anticipated to bring growth and healing to our increasingly abused and damaged environment, unity and comradery amongst those who have previously found no common ground, and a universal shift of mentality to more open and positive thinking. If you ask me, that's pretty freaking sweet... and it's about damn time!

 Since the start of a new year is fast approaching as well, this is an extra special opportunity to reflect, re-balance, and reach for a more prosperous path to move forward. Here are 5 things I'm doing to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity...

1. Journal
Spending time writing down your thoughts and reflections can be very powerful. Whether you write 2 sentences or 200 pages, what matters is getting out what's on your mind and making room for positive new experiences. Think of writing in a journal as an opportunity to say all the things you've needed to say, but just couldn't for whatever reason. Although most of us have friends and family we can vent to, there's always something we haven't been able to say out loud to anyone. Your journal is your most trusted friend and wants nothing more than to be your venting buddy!

2. Meditate & Breathe
Yes, you breathe all day to stay alive, but few of us actually just sit and BREATHE! If you're familiar with meditating, set some time aside to do just that! If you're not familiar with meditating... no, it's not this scary stupid thing that you shouldn't try. It's actually the exact opposite! You'll be shocked by what (even just) 5 minutes of sitting down with your eyes closed and focusing only on your breathing can do. Find a quiet spot (or put in headphones to drown out the kids in the background), close your eyes and breathe...
inhale, 2, 3, 4.... exhale, 2, 3, 4...
inhale, 2, 3, 4.... exhale, 2, 3, 4...
If thoughts or to-do list items enter your mind, acknowledge that you're having that thought and allow it to pass - refocus on your breathing...
inhale, 2, 3, 4.... exhale, 2, 3, 4...
inhale, 2, 3, 4.... exhale, 2, 3, 4...

3. Set Clear Goals
Make a list of the goals you want to accomplish and make them very clear. This process can be done any way you choose that is most effective for yourself. For me, I start with the general/big picture goals because those are what I instantly think of. Then, I spend time to make them more specific. Sometimes, making my goals clear is easy and I know how to go about doing so. Other times, I have to sit on it a few days.
General Goal: "Take better care of my teeth"
 Make It Clear: "Floss once a day (everyday) in addition to brushing morning & night"

4. Discard Excess Baggage
Excess baggage can and probably is an assortment of things, ranging from unhealthy relationships (romantic and otherwise) to disputes and drama. This is the time to clear the air and move forward. If you've had that one friend forever, but they always let you down and don't add anything positive to your life, do yourself a favor and discard it. Be honest too. There's nothing more respectful than saying, "Every time we make plans, you bail, and it makes me upset and hurt. I don't want to feel that way anymore. I love and appreciate the friendship we've had, but it's time for me to move forward." Or, maybe it's the boyfriend or girlfriend you've been putting up with for way too long. Stop settling for anything less than you deserve. Right now.

Yes, cutting ties and discarding excess baggage can be very challenging and painful at times, but it's a necessary step for making yourself a priority and moving in the right direction. During one of my recent encounters with this, I was not surprisingly met with hostility and angry words. I kindly held my position and expressed that my well being, happiness and feelings are my priority. A few weeks later I received an apology that explained the hostility and angry words were simply a product of sadness and disagreement. The feelings I had expressed were not reciprocated, but my needs were understood and my honesty was respected. In the end, the situation was no more dramatic or earth shattering than I originally expressed... my well being, happiness and feelings are my priority... and now, I must move forward.

5. Address Unresolved Issues
More often than not, we have unresolved issues.... mommy issues, daddy issues, sibling issues, general family issues, past relationship/ex issues, weight issues, work issues, substance abuse issues, traumatic experience issues and the list goes on and on. Ever since I acknowledged that I am a product of my past and I must respond accordingly, I've been able to address my unresolved issues in a way like never before. No one is telling you to "be a man" and forget about it - Not at all. What I AM telling you though, is to reflect and address it as best as possible... process what happened, how it made you feel then and now, how you act or behave as a result, how you can work towards overcoming it and growing stronger, why it's important to you and why it has had the impact is has. One of my biggest personal accomplishments has been reflecting about my relationship with my dad and how it's translated into the way I approach men and romance. With these realizations and acceptances at the forefront of my mind, I'm more prepared for future encounters and controlling my personal behaviors that I don't particularly favor. As a result, I feel stronger, more at peace and excited about what my unknown future may bring.

Your time is here.
Your moment is now.
Take it and thrive! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gifting Health & Happiness

The holidays are upon us and if you're anything like me, you've just barely begun shopping for gifts. Not to fear, Love Fit Life is here!

Passing on the gift of health, fitness and general wellness is something I love... obviously. However, one of the reasons I love it so much is because of the happiness these gifts have brought me as a recipient! Don't be afraid to use gifting as a way to encourage and motivate both yourself and the people you love. Making good choices and prioritizing health is a group effort, so jump up and lead the way. Here are some of my favorites - they range from inexpensive to a bit more costly, because we all know that wallet size and wish lists vary!
Massages & Spa Treatments

If there's one thing I've always known, it's that massages and spa treatments are the bees knees. Gifting these things doesn't have to be insanely expensive either. Check out Groupon and Living Social for specials or go straight to a no nonsense massage spot like one of these for a great gift certificate:
Some ideas of places to Yelp or look up in your area are reflexology (which is basically like a massage where you keep your clothes on and have your feet in a nice bath of warm water), blow out salons (where there just wash and blow dry/style your hair - great for women to use for a special event or party), manicures & pedicures, facials, and the list goes on!
The Happiness Project Journals
I received The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal as a gift this year and oh my goodness I want everyone in the world to have it. It's perfect for ANYONE (especially people on the go) and it's literally the only way I've consistently been able to journal ever in my life. Each day of the year has its own page, outfitted with an inspirational quote and a space for one sentence, five years in a row. One sentence a day is a piece of cake, and as each year progresses, you can read what you wrote for that day the year before (or 4 years before by the time you're done). To top it off, it sells for $10-20 depending where you buy it (check out Amazon for great online deals) - Awesome, right?!
Also check out the Q & A a Day journal (versions available for both adults and children) if you can't get enough or want more things like this!

Want to see a bunch of great versions and so much more in person?
Find a Paper Source near you and enjoy!
Exercise Classes & Equipment

Last year, my incredible friend Emily handed me a card and wouldn't let go until explaining that she was really excited about doing this gift together and hoped I didn't take it the wrong way. I was a little uneasy after hearing such a disclaimer, but opened the card to find the perfect gift! She had purchased a Groupon for me as a gift, and another for herself so we could take 10 Cardio Barre classes together. We had such a great time going to classes together and trying out something new. Not only that, but it heightened my interest in barre style classes which has led me to Pure Barre!

At my home studio, Pure Barre Pasadena, there are a plethora of holiday deals, gifts and class packages that are perfect for gifting to anyone and everyone! Even clients who want studio merchandise can create a wish list that will be emailed to their family and friends. Easy, breezy, beautiful! The Pure Barre Pasadena Facebook page is a great place to keep up with all the holiday excitement going on now. 

Juicers, Blenders & Beyond

Don't ever hesitate to give the gift of home appliances that will allow your loved ones to make healthier choices. Since I actively advocate and enjoy smoothies and fresh fruit & vegetable juices, I love buying people the tools to join me and make their own! Even though you don't necessarily blend or juice together, that doesn't mean it's not an exciting group project. I love texting my friends what's in my juice or smoothie for the day and planning out what the rest of the week will entail. Not surprisingly, it keeps all of us more accountable and eager to set positive goals that will be more easily fulfilled.

The other great thing about gifting a blender or juicer is they come in all different price ranges and quality levels. You don't need to give the best of the best of the best (SIR!) - just focus on getting them started and the thought that counts. My first blender was a piece of crap, but it got me hooked and I eventually did my own research and told all my family and friends exactly which one I wanted for an upcoming holiday.

Another great home appliance that comes in all shapes and sizes?! George Foreman grills! These handy dandy cooking machines are great for anyone trying to make healthier eating choices. They cook a LOT of different foods, they cook everything quickly and require little clean up. Not quite sure what a George Foreman grill is?? It's ok... we all have to start somewhere - Wikipedia to the rescue! 

This holiday season, I wish you...
the gift of peace from within, the courage to make the healthier choice, the calming effect of 3 deep breaths, the reward of practicing patience, the priority of self worth and personal commitment, the relief of a wonderful workout, the joy and laughter from enjoying irreplaceable company and loved ones, the power of a positive attitude and the awareness that this moment and the lifetime that follows is meant to be lived and loved, forever!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rearrange for Productive Change - No Cost Required

No matter what time of year it is or what's going on in life, there's one thing I know I can always do that will revitalize my perspective and give me that needed boost to make productive and positive changes...immediately.

It doesn't cost anything.
It's not a gimmick or a shortcut.
It's simple and shockingly effective.
I rearrange my furniture.

Growing up, my mom used to rearrange the living room furniture when she was stressed. We found it hilarious when we woke up in the morning and everything would be different. Looking back now though, it made complete sense - with one swift rearrangement, her mentality made a clear shift from overwhelmed to at ease.

After moving into my cottage for one, I came home one day, irritated, upset and unsure how I should sort out the plethora of challenges filling up my plate. Before I knew it, 2 hours had passed and my cottage was completely cleaned and almost every piece of furniture had a new place. I stood there, in silence, exhausted from moving everything around, and it clicked... holy shit, rearranging is the perfect solution! This process of cleaning and physically shifting my surroundings allowed me to sort all of clutter filling up my mind and literally put me in a new found state of peace.

Since that first rearrangement, I've become addicted to the process. Every few months, I rearrange and find myself instantly revitalized. My cottage is small and my funds are limited, so I'm forced to be creative. When I feel the need to add a new item like a table or cabinet, I ask friends and family if they have anything to donate. The majority of the time though, I just work with what I have.

Above all else though, my process of rearranging taught me something that I hadn't given much attention to in the past. So often, we move into a new space and set everything up based on what furniture and space we have, but then we actually start living in it. For me, I found that the way I had initially set things up wasn't ideal. Instead of acknowledging this reality, I'd adapt... I'd leave clothes laying around because my closet wasn't set up in a way that was effective for me to put things away... I'd acquire stacks of paper and clutter because my filing boxes were tucked away... I'd eat out more often than I wanted because my kitchen counter space was taken up by appliances.

As it's turned out, healthy choices and better living began falling into place when I started arranging my mental and physical space accordingly.