Lift This

I suppose by now you can say the theme of this month has been “habits” specifically, how to change negative habits and develop positive ones. So far I talked about how changing one keystone habit has had a greater positive experience than I expected. I spoke about a great book on habits that should make your reading list if human psychology interests you. Now I’m talking about how I’m working on creating new positive habits.

I was introduced to a website (and app) called Lift. The premise behind Lift is that you can post habits you want to build and each day you do that habit you check it off. There’s a social interaction part as well, you can find friends and give them props on completing habits, urging them to continue. A few of the habits I have on there are: writing for 20 minutes each day, reading for 30 minutes, and even flossing. Yes I am a terrible flosser but knowing I have to do it to check it off helps me make it part of my nighttime routine. It’s fun to check them off and if you are the type that loves the feeling of checking things of a to-do list then you will love lift.

So far this month I am on my 8 day streak for reading 30 minutes daily. Knowing that it’s something I have to check off each day helps me focus and create time to write rather than just getting to the end of the day and wishing I had time to write. Most of my day is not spent being overly productive so having to create a span of twenty minutes just to write really helps me bring more focus into my day-to-day activities instead of binge watching a show on Netflix and wondering where my day went.

So, if you want to join me in creating new habits, and reinforcing each other’s commitments to new habits, sign up and follow me! Maybe you’ve already got an idea of new habits you want to start, but if you’re stuck with where to start, maybe it can be with a simple gratitude practice. When Vahid and I listened to the interview with the founder of Lift, he talked about how when he and his wife were going through a hectic stretch of their life, they made a promise that at the end of each day, before they climbed into bed, they were going to tell each other two good things that happened for them that day. We liked this so much that we started doing it even before we signing up for lift. It’s an easy way to find the positive in each day, no matter how rough things get. So start with that, tell your partner, or tell the world! Tweet at the end of your day with the hashtag #2goodthings. If I get a few people joining in I’ll do a follow up post with some of your collected tweets about your gratitude.

What are some good habits you want to build? Does Lift seem like something you’d enjoy using? Do you like the idea of a community formed around creating good habits and building each other up?

In Which I Eat All the Food

My friend Gaby flew up for a long weekend a week ago. It was pretty hot for Portland with temps in the high 90s. I felt bad for not having an air conditioner but we made do with the fans.

I was planning out our visit a little more meticulously than I usually do when my friends come by because I was trying to stick with my way of eating without inconveniencing my friend. That’s when I realized that most of the things I want to do with my friends involve food.

We spent the first day hiking and ended it with amazing BBQ at one of our all time favorite spots. Then Gaby and I went for brunch the next morning. Brunch is one of my favorite things in life.

Adventuring among the waterfalls.

We went to movies and I showed her the Lan Su Chinese Garden and we had tea and caught up on all the things. It’s been two years since the last time I saw her. Side note, if you have a chance to watch Coherence you should definitely do it. It was an amazing story and I found very little in the way of glaring pot holes.

Little boat

I fell off my food wagon because there was so much I wanted to show Gaby and it’s not fun to take someone to a place you love and go, “I’ll just watch you eat like a creeper.” It was terrible. I opted for child sizes of foods like ice-cream and looked for the best options I could get at the restaurants we went to.

Halfway through the visit I was telling Vahid that I felt bad because I made a commitment to change my eating habits and now I’m just going out all the time. He gave me some advice that was pretty good. My friend was in town, when was the next time I’d get to see her? Maybe my wedding, maybe sooner. He said it’s not the worst thing in the world to enjoy good food with good company.

Live music in one of my favorite cafés. It was the best thing to eat to.

We also had some awesome meals at home as well. Vahid made his famous steaks and we had some burgers and those sweet potato fries I love so much.

I also got to bust out my old Super Nintendo and remember just how bad I was at Super Mario.

It was a great weekend and getting to see one of my good friends was just what I needed. It was fun times filled with great food, awesome conversation, and videos of her cat. What else could I have hoped for?

Don’t Worry, All is Well

As part of my desire this year to get serious about my health, and just to live a happier life in general, I have been reading a lot of wellness books. I have a few books that I deem as “Holy Grail” books that have just been a wealth of knowledge and I am so glad that I found them. I do plan on discussing those at some point, I’m just working on reading through some research and finishing one of the books before I write about them. (I guess the urge to do research never really goes away if it was something you loved. It’s one of things I enjoyed most about college.)

In looking into certain topics I’ve been interested in I have found several authors and books that I have mentally filed away to read “at some point.” One of those authors is Louise Hay. She was one of the pioneers of the self-help movement and her first book came out in 1976. If you’ve ever ventured into self-help or wellness you’ve probably heard her name or someone that learned something from her. She also heads Hay House which publishes some of the leading authors in self-help, alternative medicine, and other categories.

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I was intrigued by her newest book, written with Mona Lisa Schulz titled, All is Well. It takes the idea of utilizing your body’s intuition, affirmation, medicine, and understanding the emotional centers of the body to heal yourself. The book has each emotional center split up by chapters and along with details about what areas of the body are affected by each emotional center it utilizes case studies of people showing how everything is tied together with your body.

The nice thing about this book is that it isn’t designed to be read cover to cover. It starts with a “Self-Assessment Quiz” to see what areas you should focus on. Using the answers from the quiz you can then turn to the corresponding areas and just read that section.

This book is a good introduction if you are coming from the mindset of modern medicine is the only way to cure what ails me rather than someone who already uses a few alternative medicine practices in their life. For me, I regularly use herbal medicine for colds and such and have use an acupuncturist in the past, and found this book lacking in some areas. But it is truly set up to give a complete newcomer a view into a new way to achieve whole body health.

If you are someone who has never thought of using anything other than the advice of your doctor I’d recommend this book just to get a new perspective on how to heal your mind and body. But if you are, like me, someone who has already spent some time dabbling in alternative health and know a fair bit this book might lack some of the in depth information you would be looking for.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it does do a wonderful job of setting the stage to use affirmations to change some of the negative mindsets you have that contribute to certain health problems.

How do you guys feel about things such as affirmations in general? Do you enjoy reading alternative health books or do they not interest you in the slightest? Let me know if you think you have a book I just have to read!

 

 

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Shot of Joy 4

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- Having one of my friends visit for the weekend. It’s hard having my friends spread out among several different states, but I am very lucky to have such great friends visit me when they can. I’m sure they aren’t just doing it for the VooDoo Doughnuts.

- Sticking to the chore chart I created. I hate cleaning. My style of cleaning is letting the apartment get to the point where Vahid scolds me for living like a teenage boy then spending too many hours getting it clean just to repeat the process. During a talk about who should be responsible for cleaning what I created a chore chart. It divides the work up among five days (Monday-Friday) and each day has a chore. For example on Monday I clean the living room. It’s great because nothing feels overwhelming and the place stays clean, like all the time. Now sometimes we do skip a week here and there and things get a little messier than usual, but overall it’s been wonderful not having to stress about keeping things clean.
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- Getting a paid day off. I came to work and the carpet installation was a much bigger job than everyone anticipated so after about an hour I was told to just head home and enjoy the day. I’ll take it! I got to spend the day catching up on some cleaning and other projects I’d been putting off.

- sweet potato fries, best thing in life – sweet mint tea – the hot July days – Supernatural, I recently started this show from the beginning and I love it just as much as the first time – consistently losing weight for the first time in a long time – becoming friends with one of Vahid’s good friends – weekly lunch dates with Vahid – the fresh fruit at the Farmer’s Markets – being able to go to a Famer’s Market every day if I wanted – that t-shirts, tank tops, and shorts are work appropriate – the beautiful summer weather, always
What are some things you all are enjoying or are thankful for?

It’s Just a Habit

Remember last week, I talked about how changing this one area, my habits around food, had a cascading effect in my life? That’s what researchers call a “keystone habit.” I read about this in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s amazing book if you want to know about habits and how they drive most everything in life.

 photo habits.jpg The book highlights so many things from how habits can create a dysfunctional work environment, to the point of deadly accidents, to how they were integral to the Civil Rights movement started in the 1950s. It was a fascinating read and really sheds a light on how habits essentially create your life.

This book helped me realize how changing a keystone habit, like my eating, effected many other areas of my life. This book also gives you the framework to change your habits. You identify the routine you’ve developed, the cue that causes the routine that elicits the reward that keeps you repeating the habit. For example with my snacking, boredom was the cue that caused me to reach for the snack and a happy and busy feeling was the reward that kept me snacking. Learning that routine helped me break the habit and look for other ways to fulfill myself that doesn’t include a handful of cookies.

If you want to learn more about habits in general or want to work on improving some of the automatic behaviors that you feel are sabotaging your health, your happiness, or your life in general I highly recommend this book to help learn about your behaviors.

Now over to you. Have you worked on changing some negative habits? Do you know if you have habits that need changing or, like me, could they be so automatic you read this thinking you had no habits to change? Or just tell me about something you are making some progress in, in your life, whether it’s a new schedule you’ve started, a weight loss regime, or some new food you’ve been trying out.