10 Ways To Cut Down On Sugar

Microsoft PowerPoint - Sugar

I have recently been pointing out the negative effects sugar has on our physical and emotional health. If you have missed those articles take a look at http://bit.ly/1RlGVCR and http://bit.ly/1RyC1iR  and also http://bit.ly/1WJFlMs to get a better understanding of how important it is to avoid sugar as much as is practical. And I do want to stress being practical. I have cut down on my sugar intake drastically over the past five months and I feel much better. I have more energy and my mind is more alert. But during this time I have learned how difficult it is. There are the obvious ones like deserts that we all love; cakes, pies, donuts, CHOCOLATE, and candy. Reducing these is simple but hard. It just takes a mindset shift and discipline. The really tricky ones are the added sugars in so many of our foods today, both from the grocery and from restaurants. Food companies and chefs know what we Americans like and they know we love sugar. When they add sugar we enjoy it and buy more. And, as I pointed out in my other articles, it is addicting so the more we eat the more we crave. The more we crave the more the market responds by supplying it. It is a vicious cycle that we need to derail. So here are the ten ways I have used to cut down on my sugar intake. Hopefully they will work for you.

  1. Don’t go cold turkey – the whole premise of this blog is that we can make small healthier decisions each day and, over time, succeed at living healthier and happier lives. I recommend incremental changes even though you are actually breaking an addiction. Determine that you will eliminate one type of food or drink at a time such as sodas, candy or added sugar in your morning coffee. After a week or so of conquering that you can target something else. Start small and as you build momentum you will feel more in control.
  2. Change what you drink – this is the one area that, for most people, will make the most drastic difference in cutting down on sugar. According to the experts, sugary drinks are one of the top sources of sugar in our diet. For example, a mere 12 ounces of Mountain Dew delivers 52 grams of sugar and the same amount of grape juice has 58 grams. Orange juice has 33 grams of sugar and about 20 grams in Gatorade. And who stops at 12 ounces anymore? Learn to enjoy filtered water and you will be glad you did.
  3. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time – success comes easier when you are organized and intentional about your food. Deciding in advance what you will eat will help you make good decisions, especially when you find those hunger pangs and junk food cravings sneak up on you. Have healthy snacks handy to avoid cramming handfuls of Thin Mints in your mouth. Also, eating regularly will keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  4. Choose fresh whole foods – the closer a food is to its original form, the less added sugar it will contain. Food in its natural state provides more and better nutrition and variety will feed your body and mind exactly what they need. Eating more vegetables and meats with a moderate amount of fruits will give you more energy and better focus. Your digestive system works much better and your body fights diseases more efficiently. Grabbing convenience foods from the freezer or snack isles will only increase your cravings for more of the same.
  5. Read labels – as I mentioned earlier, sugar is hiding everywhere! And, unfortunately, it changes its’ name often. Sugar can be in the form of honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucralose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose and most any other “ose”. The list of ingredients begin with the substance that is the highest concentration to the lowest concentration so if one of these sugar variants is high on the list it spells danger.
  6. Incorporate healthy fat and protein in each meal – they control blood sugar levels and make you feel full, satisfying your cravings. Eating too many carbs is like putting yourself on a roller coaster ride; your blood sugar zooms up shortly after you eat, then goes crashing down after a short time. you then find yourself hungry again and you start all over. Breakfast is the biggest challenge to avoid the bagel/cereal/toast/pastry ride. Check out my earlier blog on healthy breakfast choices at http://bit.ly/1pIVU0S
  7. Get the rest you need – trying to survive the day feeling tired and run down will not give you the resources your mind and body need to resist the temptation to go back to old habits. This can be hard and you need to be rested to make it past the first few days and weeks.
  8. Remove the temptation – get all your favorite sweets and junk food out of the house and out of those secret stashes at work. Cutting down on sugar is easier if you have to go in search of it.
  9. Get plenty of physical activity – you will be in a much better state of mind if you are more active. This can also take your mind off the sweet cravings if you are able to get up and walk or move around a bit when the urge hits you.
  10. Begin with a detox – this will help to reset your appetite and decrease your sugar cravings from the very beginning. I did this later in the process and wished I had done it earlier. Our bodies, especially our digestive systems, are so bombarded with toxins from our food, the air, the chemicals we slather onto our skin and just our environment that we must detox periodically to stay healthy and strong. I offer one with Advocare that does an excellent job but is mild enough not to disrupt your normal day to day life. It is the first phase of our 24 Day Challenge. Order it here; http://bit.ly/1UlHlNp

I hope this helps in your quest to be healthier and happier. It really is important to avoid sugar as much as possible and practical. Living healthy is all about understanding how our daily lifestyle decisions affect us and knowing how to prioritize the positive changes we strive to make. We can succeed!

6 Disturbing Reasons Sugar Is Unhealthy

Beautiful Sugar

Following along with my last two articles about the effects sugar has on our health and well-being I would like to wrap that message up today. I could go on and on about this but, in reality, I think most people know sugar is not very healthy but we feel it is too hard or not worth the effort to avoid it. Today I would like to present more evidence it is definitely worth the effort and next week I will share some ideas about how to reduce your sugar intake.

Most importantly we need to be aware of the “added sugar” that is in our food and drinks. These added sugars are mostly glucose and sucrose as well as high fructose corn syrup. Naturally occurring sugar we get from fruits are much healthier due to the fiber as well as other vitamins and minerals. Fiber tells your brain you have taken in enough food. Added sucrose and fructose (and High Fructose Corn Syrup) don’t do that alone. That’s why you can drink lots of sugary drinks and eat candy but still feel hungry.

There are many reasons to avoid all these added sugars but here are the top 6 in my opinion.

  1. Added sugar contains no essential nutrients
    1. These are empty calories; no essential fats, no vitamins, no minerals
    2. If we eat as much as 15% or more of calories as sugar (very common amounts these days) we will likely have nutrient deficiencies
  2. Added sugar is high in fructose which can damage your liver
    1. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver
    2. Results in higher production of VLDL (the bad cholesterol)
    3. Excess fructose gets lodged in the liver and gets turned into fat which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  3. Added sugar can cause insulin resistance leading to diabetes
    1. Insulin is a very important hormone that tells our body to burn the glucose we have ingested instead of burning fat
    2. If our cells become resistant to the glucose due to ingesting excessive amounts our body burns the fat leaving too much glucose (which becomes toxic) in the bloodstream
    3. This insulin resistance leads to Type II Diabetes
  4. Added sugar can increase risk of heart disease
    1. Large amounts of fructose increases triglycerides in the bloodstream
    2. Also raises levels of LDL cholesterol increasing risk of clogged arteries
    3. Causes increased abdominal obesity
    4. These 3 (triglycerides, LDL, and abdominal obesity) are the major contributors to heart disease
  5. Added sugar can increase risk of cancer
    1. Risk of having cancer are much higher in people who are obese and who have diabetes, both of which are results of too much sugar
    2. Increased insulin production, resulting from insulin resistance, promotes growth of tumors (especially cancerous tumors)
    3. Increased sugar consumption can increase instances of inflammation which contribute to the growth of cancer cells
  6. Sugar is addictive
    1. Sugar causes a massive release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain
    2. A substance’s addictive potential is increased both by its potency and by its rapid absorption into the bloodstream
      1. Sugar is absorbed much faster than other foods and we feel the effect quickly
      2. Manufacturers are processing and altering foods to become more addictive
    3. Sugar combined with salt and fat trigger cravings similar to conventional addictive drugs
    4. People who are predisposed to addictions also have a tendency to become physically and emotionally addicted to sugar and junk food

Insulin injection white a pile of sugar

Several people have asked about artificial sweeteners which I have not even discussed. Admittedly, I have not done nearly as much research on these unnatural chemicals as I have sugar because I decided long ago to avoid them as much as possible. Of course some are worse than others but they scare me and they are somewhat easier to avoid so I do so.

My battle cry from the beginning of this blog has been to be conscious of the many decisions we make each day that affect our physical and mental health. Then simply try to make better decisions today than yesterday. Taking one step at a time and one day at a time will result in us being much healthier each year and being able to enjoy life with our friends and families longer. God gave us amazing bodies and minds. We just need to respect, honor and take care of them.

Is Sugar Really All That Bad?

The amount of sugar Americans consume now is monumental compared to the amount we consumed 100 years, or even 50 years ago. Back then sugar was a treat for a special occasion. Now it is in most everything we eat from beverages to breads as well as food that is marketed as being healthy. We all know we shouldn’t sit down at the dinner table and eat a chocolate cake instead of a meal of meat and vegetables but sometimes the so-called “good food” we eat has more sugar than we realize. This is especially true when we eat processed foods like frozen dinners, many of which try to sound healthy (Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine). One reason they are tasty because the “cooks” add sugar. But even frozen vegetables have added sugars. Especially during the winter months frozen vegetables would seem like a good option but added sugar can be a problem.

We don’t really know what all that sugar does to our bodies and how it affects our health. We know we have an epidemic of things like obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease but is too much sugar in our diet really the cause of these and other serious diseases? Like heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure?

Many people feel very certain it is the main cause of these and other serious and deadly diseases. Dr. Robert Lustig is one who has been preaching about the harmful effects of sugar for years. He gave a lecture on YouTube called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” in May of 2009 calling sugar a toxin and a poison. Even though it is 1 ½ hours long it has been viewed well over 6 million times. Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Mark Hyman, and others agree with Dr. Lustig but many others don’t feel it is so serious.

Let’s try to make sense of it all. There are many different types of sugars but the main ones we are exposed to are; fructose, sucrose, glucose, and high fructose corn syrup. Each of these have different chemical makeups and our bodies react to each in a slightly different way. And of course, different people react in different ways so it is not cut and dry. But suffice to say they all are very powerful and there is certainly more bad than good.

Since sugar is so prevalent in everything we eat I would like to dig a little deeper into the importance of paying attention and, I believe, changing our habits to minimize the harmful effects of sugar on our minds and bodies.

Stay tuned for more fun and games in the next couple of weeks.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Sugar (And What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You)

Spoonful of Sugar

It has been well over two weeks since I have posted a new blog. I have been researching the effects of sugar on the body and have compiled tons of information which I will be sharing in the next few weeks. I considered starting this subject during the holidays but didn’t want to lay a guilt trip on everyone who really enjoys holiday baking (and eating). I understand it is what makes the holidays special to many people.

So to start this off I am simply reposting a Huffington Post article from 2013 written by Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D. that sets the framework for what I will be sharing soon.

Excessive sugar in the diet is not the best idea when it comes to healthy living. Nonetheless, few of us are consuming sugar in recommended moderate amounts and most of us are eating tons of it. In fact, worldwide we are consuming about 500 extra calories a day from sugar. That’s just about what you would need to consume if you wanted to gain a pound a week. Most people know that sugar is not good for them, but for some reason, they think the risk of excess sugar consumption is less than that of having too much saturated and trans fat, sodium or calories. Perhaps it’s sugar’s lack of sodium or fat that make it the “lesser of several evils,” or perhaps people are simply of the mind frame that what they don’t know won’t hurt them. If you really knew what it was doing to your body, though, you might just put it at the top of your “foods to avoid” list. Here are ten things that may surprise you about sugar.

  1. Sugar can damage your heart
    While it’s been widely noted that excess sugar can increase the overall risk for heart disease, a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association displayed strong evidence that sugar can actually affect the pumping mechanism of your heart and could increase the risk for heart failure. The findings specifically pinpointed a molecule from sugar (as well as from starch) called glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) that was responsible for the changes in the muscle protein of the heart. These changes could eventually lead to heart failure. Approximately half of the people that are diagnosed with heart failure die within five years.
  2. Sugar specifically promotes belly fat
    Adolescent obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years and childhood obesity rates have doubled. Many of us are aware of the data that demonstrates just how literally big our future is looking, but beyond the studies and all the initiatives to curb childhood obesity, one needs only to visit an amusement park, school or mall to truly see what is happening. One factor that seems to inflict obese children is fat accumulation in the trunk area of the body. Why? One cause may be the increase in fructose-laden beverages. A 2010 study in children found that excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) actually caused visceral fat cells to mature — setting the stage for a big belly and even bigger future risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  3. Sugar is the true silent killer
    Move over salt and hypertension, you’ve got competition. Sugar, as it turns out, is just as much of a silent killer. A 2008 study found that excess fructose consumption was linked to an increase in a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you’ve had enough food. The problem is, we often ignore the signal our brain sends to us. For some people though, leptin simply does not want to work, leaving the person with no signal whatsoever that the body has enough food to function. This in turn can lead to over consumption of food and consequently, obesity. Why the silent killer? Because it all happens without symptoms or warning bells. If you’ve gained weight in the past year and can’t quite figure out why, perhaps you should look at how much fructose you’re feeding your body.
  4. Sugar may be linked to cancer production and may effect cancer survival 
    In the world of nutrition, it’s hard to talk about sugar without talking about insulin. That’s because insulin is sugar’s little chaperone to the cells, and when too much of it is consumed, or our insulin does not work (probably because we’re eating too much sugar) and the body revolts. One connection that has been well documented in the literature is the link between insulin resistance and cancer. A 2013 study found that sugars in the intestine triggered the formation of a hormone called GIP (controlled by a protein called β-catenin that is completely dependant on sugar levels), that in turn, increases insulin released by the pancreas. Researchers found that β-catenin may in fact affect the cells susceptibility to cancer formation. Further studies have found negative associations between high sugar and starch intake and survival rates in both breast cancer patients and colon cancer patients.
  5. Your sugar “addiction” may be genetic
    If you’ve ever said, “I’m completely addicted to sugar,” you may actually be correct. A recent study of 579 individuals showed that those who had genetic changes in a hormone called ghrelin consumed more sugar (and alcohol) than those that had no gene variation. Ghrelin is a hormone that tells the brain you’re hungry. Researchers think that the genetic components that effect your ghrelin release may have a lot to do with whether or not you seek to enhance a neurological reward system through your sweet tooth. Findings with this study were similar to a study conducted in 2012 as well.
  6. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body
    A 2012 paper in the journal Nature, brought forth the idea that limitations and warnings should be placed on sugar similar to warnings we see on alcohol. The authors showed evidence that fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver as the metabolism of ethanol — the alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages had similarities to the metabolic pathways that fructose took. Further, sugar increased the risk for several of the same chronic conditions that alcohol was responsible for. Finally, if you think that your slim stature keeps you immune from fructose causing liver damage, think again. A 2013 study found that liver damage could occur even without excess calories or weight gain.
  7. Sugar may sap your brain power
    When I think back on my childhood, I remember consuming more sugar than I probably should have. I should have enjoyed my youth back then, because unfortunately, all the sugar may have accelerated the aging process. A 2009 study found a positive relationship between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells. Aging of the cells consequently can be the cause of something as simple as wrinkles to something as dire as chronic disease. But there is other alarming evidence that sugar may affect the aging of your brain as well. A 2012 study found that excess sugar consumption was linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health. A 2009 study in rats showed similar findings.
  8. Sugar hides in many everyday “non-sugar” foods
    While many of my patients strive to avoid the “normal” sugary culprits (candy, cookies, cake, etc.), they often are duped when they discover some of their favorite foods also contain lots of sugar. Examples include tomato sauce, fat free dressing, tonic water, marinates, crackers and even bread.
  9. An overload of sugar (specifically in beverages) may shorten your life
    A 2013 study estimated that 180,000 deaths worldwide may be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption. The United States alone accounted for 25,000 deaths in 2010. The authors summarize that deaths occurred due to the association with sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic disease risk such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  10. Sugar is making us fat
    I figured I’d leave the most obvious fact for last. While you may be aware that too many calories from any source will be stored as fat if not burned, what you may not connect is that the lack of other nutrients in sugar actually makes it much easier to eat gobs of it with no physical effects to warn us of the danger that lurks. Foods rich in fiber, fat, and protein all have been associated with increased fullness. Sugar will give you the calories, but not the feeling that you’ve had enough. That’s why you can have an entire king-size bag of licorice (with it’s sky high glycemic index) at the movies and come out afterwards ready to go for dinner.

On a final note, it’s important to point out that simple sugars from milk (in the form of lactose) don’t display the same negative health effects that we see in the literature when reviewing sugar’s effects on the body. Simple sugars coming from fruit are also less concerning given their high amounts of disease-fighting compounds and fiber.

So now you know, and knowing perhaps can create action. Stay tuned for more even though you may not want to hear it. We must learn as much as possible about living healthier and happier. Then we can take small steps to begin to change our lives for the better.

 

The 12 Health Benefits Of Lemon Water In The Morning

Lemon3

This daily practice can help you detoxify, improve your digestion, and boost your metabolism & energy levels.

You’re bombarded with toxins in today’s modern world… everywhere from the polluted air you breathe, the water you drink, the shampoos and other cosmetics that lather your body with chemicals, and of course, all of the chemical additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other harmful compounds in the food we eat.

All of these toxins can have harmful effects on your body, harming your metabolism and hormones, impairing your digestive system, and zapping your energy levels.

One thing to do each morning right as you wake up to help your body eliminate some of these toxins, improve your digestion, stimulate your metabolism, and boost your energy, is a little trick that takes less than a minute.

This is what to do: Start with 8 ounces filtered water at room temperature and squeeze the juice of a lemon into it. Organic lemons do your body the most good. I’ve found that slicing the lemon into quarters before squeezing by hand is easier than squeezing halves.

Drink it the first thing in the morning before you put anything else in your body. You’ll notice immediately that your mouth will feel and taste fresh. It will feel so fresh that you’ll want to refrain from brushing your teeth until after you have breakfast.

This brushing delay is important, because whenever you eat or drink anything that has a high acidity content like lemons or oranges (orange juice) etc., you should give your teeth at least a half hour to re-alkaline and firm up your tooth enamel before brushing them.

According to a leading health publication,

“The health promoting benefits of lemons are powerful. For centuries, it has been known that lemons contain powerful antibacterial, antiviral and immune boosting components. We know that lemons are a great digestive aid and liver cleanser.”

  • Major benefits of this morning drink to your health and wellness
  1. Boosts Your Immune System — Helps your system gain a more alkaline state which is optimal to fight infection. Lemons contain citric acid, magnesium, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, pectin, calcium and limonene, which supercharge our immunity so that the body can fight infection.
  2. Clears the Skin — Lemons add Vitamin C and anti-oxidants to your system which are wonderful for your complexion.
  3. Aids Digestion — Relieves indigestion and bloating. Lemon juice helps your body improve digestion and stimulates bile production. Lemon juice can even be an aid for heartburn and indigestion. The American Cancer Society recommends warm lemon water to encourage regular bowel movements.
  4. Aids in Weight Loss — Pectin, found in lemons helps curb hunger. Since lemon juice helps to improve your digestive system, aids in removal of toxins, and increases your energy levels, this all combines together to help you to lose body fat as well through improving your hormonal balance.
  5. Great Source of Potassium — Excellent for heart health, the brain and nervous system.
  6. Help in Respiratory Problems and breathing problems such as asthma.
  7. Balance pH – Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem untrue as they are acidic on their own. However, in the body, lemons are alkaline; the citric acid does not create acidity once it has been metabolized. The minerals in lemons are actually what helps to alkalize the blood. Most people are too acidic (from eating too much sugar and grains), and drinking warm lemon water helps reduce overall acidity, drawing uric acid from the joints. This reduces the pain and inflammation which many people feel.
  8. Energizes and Enhances Your Mood — Lemon juice gives your body an energy boost and provides help with anxiety and depression. Even just the scent of lemon juice has been shown to improve your mood and energy levels, and reduce anxiety. Plus the detoxifying effect and alkalizing effect of fresh organic lemon juice can improve your energy through the removal of toxins from your body.
  9. Anti-Cancer Properties — Studies have supported the anti-cancer activity of citrus liminoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage. Cell damage can lead to the formation of cancer cells.
  10. Freshens Breath — Dry mouth contributes to bad breath. Lemons increase saliva production which promotes fresh breath.
  11. Reduces A Fever — Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up, drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.
  12. Cleanses Your System and Acts as a Diuretic — The enzymes found in lemons act as a stimulant to your liver to help detox your body

*This post was compiled from several sources but mostly from a Facebook page called “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie”

How To Stay Healthy During Cold Weather

cough sprinkler

The temperatures have finally dropped to wintertime levels here in East Tennessee. So far, this has been the mildest fall and early winter I can remember with temperatures much warmer than normal. It was 70 degrees on Christmas day when we should have been in the 30’s or 40’s.

But now that winter is here we all must deal with the typical winter diseases hoping we can fight them off. We each have our own ways to go to war against these evil germs. Some (like myself) say vitamin C does wonders, some add vitamin D to the list. Other supplements like zinc and antioxidants are popular and other folks just stay indoors and away from people as much as possible and many rely on vaccinations to keep them healthy.

So, why do we get sick more when the temperatures drop? Did mom really know what she was talking about all those times she said “Put on a coat before you catch the flu!” or “Don’t go out in the cold with a wet head, you’ll catch pneumonia!”? As adults we all know we don’t catch a cold from being out in the cold. It comes from bacteria and virus and all those scientific terms we learned about in Health class. But that doesn’t really explain why it’s worse in winter.

One explanation I have heard for years is it’s because we spend more time indoors around other (sick) people so we are more susceptible. But I never bought that theory. Another explanation is that, without being outside in the sunshine as much, we get low on vitamin D which lowers resistance. I don’t believe either of these explanations can account for the epidemics we have had in past years. So what is the reason we get sick more when the mercury drops?

Here is the latest research as I understand it. Cold air can carry less water vapor before it reaches the “dew point” and falls as rain. So while the weather outside may seem wetter, the air itself is drier as it losses the moisture. Research using groups of guinea pigs have shown that the flu spreads much faster in dry air conditions compared to moist air. So the rain, rather than making us sick, keeps us well. Taking into consideration the dynamics of our coughs and sneezes, we expel a mist of particles from our nose and mouth each time we cough and/or sneeze. In moist air, these particles may remain relatively large and drop to the floor. But in dry air they break up into smaller pieces, eventually becoming so small that they can stay aloft for hours or days. The result is that in winter, you are breathing a cocktail of dead cells and viruses from anyone and everyone who has visited the room recently. Sounds pretty disgusting actually. Maybe I should join the group the just stays home all winter!

So the conclusion reached is that one method of combating colds and flu in cold climates is to run a humidifier to inject moisture into the air. This will cause the germs to drop to the floor where they belong instead of taking a trip into your nose and mouth.

Dehumidfier 2

Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever

Opportunity

This is the time many people reflect on the year past and look forward to the year to come with excitement and anticipation, hoping and expecting to do better, be better and inspire others.  I am one of those people. I enjoy the process of examining where I am in relation to where I want to go and coming up with a game plan to get there. I am always striving to do better and help others do the same. It is just a great time to hit the reset button and start over.

And I recognize the failure rate for so called “New Year’s Resolutions” is high but I believe if we set goals, work toward them, and can see improvement because of that exercise we haven’t failed. Even if we didn’t achieve our ultimate goal we are better than if we had not tried at all. Like I have said many times before, every good decision we make is a success.

Setting goals encourages us to live our life intentionally. Imagine you are on a one week vacation at a wonderful place without enough time to take in all the sights, sounds and experiences you want. Will you not plan and prioritize each day to get the most of every minute there? Our life journey is the same way. We have so much to experience but only a short amount of time. We read in the book of James “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes”. Setting goals helps us decide what means the most to us and allows us to make the best of it. Here are a few guidelines on how to set goals.

  • Make a detailed plan and write it down. Know where you want to go and make it clear in your mind. Read it often and visualize it like you are living it already. It is important to see your goal as if you have attained it so your mind will believe it is possible. Great athletes visualize succeeding at what they are about to do; hit the basket, hit the ball, hit the hole, or hit the quarterback. It works for them and it works for us. We must visualize living our dream life because if we don’t believe it we won’t achieve it. It is also important to break your goals down into small steps to allow you to have small successes along the way so you don’t lose momentum. So create steps along your path that keep you pushing in the right direction every day and enjoy the journey.
  • Know why you want to achieve your goals. Not in general terms but in very specific, emotional and passionate terms. You will never stop smoking “just because”. But you will stop if you very strongly, very passionately want to become healthier so you can run and jump and make memories with your kids. The same goes for eating healthy, making time for physical activity, and feeding your mind. Know your “Why” and remind yourself every day of your journey. Because change is not easy and we need a strong reason to make it happen day after day.
  • Find a Mentor and stick to him like glue. Someone who has achieved what you are working towards. Someone you can relate to and can trust to hold you accountable to your commitments. This person has to believe in you and be willing to help you achieve your dreams. Learn everything you can from successful people about achieving great things. We all need help along the way to make positive changes in our lives. We can all learn from others and we can all teach others the things we have learned. Very few people do it alone. And why would you want to? Life is much better shared with others.
  • Take massive determined action immediately. This is truly the secret to success. Planning and learning are useless without following through with the activities necessary to achieve those goals. We must make sure each day takes us closer to our goals by doing the things we have determined to be important to us. If we have only one week on that dream vacation and we do nothing but plan our days they will be gone and we will not have enjoyed those things we said were important. But if we take action we will leave that vacation fulfilled and with great memories.

My wish for you is to make 2016 your best and most fulfilling year ever and that you will enjoy each day to the fullest, blessing all those you touch.

Be Moldable