Positively Great Words To Live By

Life is amazing, isn’t it? The ability to breathe, move your body, eat delicious food and make choices every single second about what you want to do and how you’ll live-all things directly impacting your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Everyone knows that practicing good health is crucial for your well-being. Every day, we’ve got some kind of routine filled with walking, running, biking, taking the stairs, eating healthy snacks, get a good nights rest and drink the proper amount of water. There’s one thing that I believe we forget to use daily; something I think is necessary to truly living a healthy life physically, mentally and emotionally – positive affirmations and/or positive reinforcement.

Think about it – how often do you sit and blame yourself for little things that go wrong. Little things that eventually turn to big things because you’ve kept that kernel inside of you, festering and building shame towards yourself for what happened. Not cool. Incorporating positive affirmations and little mantras into each day can help keep you centered, strengthen your inner peace, build your self esteem and focus on the good that is all around you (as well as inside of you).

Affirmations and mantras encourage emotional health. Which, in turn, will directly affect your physical and mental health! Positive reminders of who we are and what we’re capable of are just as beneficial to wellness as a bright outlook on external circumstances. In other words, we NEED these! Several times a day! So, here’s a few of my favorites (some old, some new) that I’ll start out my day with and continue reading till my head hits the pillow:

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Finding Your Happy Will Bring You to Healthy

Lose weight while you sleep. Earn money while watching TV at home. Take this to become more attractive. Get great abs with one simple step. Tips for a better sex life.

Blah blah blah.

Do you ever get tired of reading headlines like these? I do. The worst part about them? Majority of society totally buy into them – all of a sudden, people read something telling them that their life isn’t complete without A or B, and they believe it. All of it. We keep looking for something that will make us happy. I’ve had great abs (for me) and I’ve tried many a product to “become more attractive.” And I’m still the same person I was before. I mean, neither one made my life complete or gave me some kind of huge fulfilling life experience.

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So why, as a society, do we keep chasing the idea of “I’ll be happy (or happier) once I…”

Why aren’t we happy now? What keeps us from being happy now?

Some say that happiness has nothing to do with healthy living. Well…they’re flat out wrong. Your attitude has a direct correlation with your health-mentally, emotionally and physically.

I’ve written about this before and I’ll stand by what I’ve said before – happiness, at any point in life, is a complete choice. Yes, things will happen that can flat out suck. You get a flat tire on your way to work; your significant other breaks things off just when you think things are great; you drop your new phone and crack the screen the first day you use it.

If we’re able to look at the tiny things that happen every day and learn to respond instead of react, chances are that you’ll realize life is not all that bad – you’ve got a roof over your head, you’re alive and breathing, and somewhere somebody loves you.

And because you are alive-because you can breathe-anything and everything is possible. I once heard that because there is possibility for success in every day that the first step towards failure is believing (consciously or subconsciously) that we don’t deserve it/success…every time I hear that I love it even more 🙂

So folks, to continue my little plug about personal happiness and believing that anything is possible, here are some steps to getting there –

Forget the meaning of “can’t” – stop listening to the voices in your head that tell you “can’t” do something or go somewhere or try something new. Let’s be honest, it usually comes  when there’s fear involved: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of having fun. Whatever it is, just say no to fear and forget all the reasons the world (and yourself) say you can’t. If you keep following them, it limits the amount of your life that you actually could be living to a fraction of what it should be. Don’t do that. Let it all go.

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Choose to be happy NOW – like I said before, life isn’t a walk in the park. One day you’ll be standing in the sun and the be crashed upon the rocks the next day. Find the good in every situation (because there is always good), no matter how small it is, and focus on that. Start small and accent the positive. Don’t let the things you don’t have spoil the things you do have. You’re breathing. You’ve got a body. You’ve got friends and family who love you. Choose to look at the good. Once you start, it will always be easier each time after that.

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Go outside – I do this every day, especially at work. There’s something cleansing about breathing in fresh air, looking at the mountains and stars, watching the waves roll in and out. Stepping outside helps us remember who we are and that our seemingly big problem really isn’t all that big. It also provides you with a renewed sense of determination, calmness and outlook for tackling any obstacles in our day.

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Be grateful – say, “thank you” and be sincere. If you’re like me, you might be stuck sometimes by habitual apologizing and thanking that’s lifeless and doesn’t mean anything. Think about how each person is serving you – taking time out of their day to pick you up from the airport, bringing you soup when you’re sick or walking your paper to your front door. Think about how it really helped, and then really thank them.

Pay it Forward – don’t just do this every now and then. See if you can find a way to do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. There is joy that comes with serving others, even in the tiniest of ways. Be aware of others around you and see if you can find ways to pay it forward – if you’re not in a rush, let someone go ahead of you in line at the coffee shop; if you see someone carrying a heavy load, offer to help. Little things every every day will increase your feeling of worth.

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Open Your Heart – let people in. Allow yourself to feel the spectrum of emotions that come with making connections and letting people in to your heart. It’s scary, for sure. Everyone deals with the fear of being hurt. It is one thing though that will make your life more rich, more adventurous and more beautiful. Allow others to touch your heart. Allow yourself to open up and love someone with zero inhibitions. After all, a life without love is no life at all.

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Laugh, Smile, Breathe and Carry On – Even with all of these tricks to surviving life, there will be times when all you can do is smile, throw you head back and laugh, take a deep breath and keep plugging along. There are a few steps for nailing this here. Believe that you’re strong. Believe you can make it through anything. Believe in random dance parties…and carry on 🙂

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When you’re happy, you’re more motivated to be conscious about what you’re eating and not shovel junk into your stomach. You’re also more willing (and wanting) to do some kind of physical exercise. So, yes. Happiness does equal health – it increases it. The healthier you are, the happier you’ll be. A TOTAL win-win that’s worth trying 🙂

Focus on the good you have in your life right now. Be strong and believe in yourself. Stop giving in to those nasty headlines, lift up your head, and carry on.

How to Survive a Relay Race (And Live to Tell the Tale)

While sitting in the airport on my way to the Ragnar Napa Valley Relay, I was told several times how crazy I was for doing relay races. “You don’t really survive and I don’t know why anyone would put that stress on their bodies.” – random grumpy guy next to me. Well, good news, buddy…you totally can survive. There are definitely tricks of the trade and I’ve got a few up my sleeve 😉

Whether it’s a Ragnar or another relay race, there’s something hilariously fun about constantly driving around in a decorated van with a team of 12 people who are all decked out in costumes, munching on a smorgasboard of food and goodies, keeping the windows down for the smell, cheering on teammates and other runners, pulling to the side of the road to sleep for 2.4 hours and having energy to all cross the finish line at the same time. 2013-06-22 18.20.01

Sounds a bit tricky, eh? Well, it’s somewhat easier than you think. Trust me. It’s totally doable! And there are great things about relay races – meeting new people & making new friends, traveling to new places, seeing new things, discovering new tricks/treats for your next running adventure and, if you’re planning on more races, it can be good for training.

So how to survive the lack of sleep and running on and off for 24 hours and be able to walk the next day? I’ve done a few Ragnar in my day (5 total-my favorites are the trail relays! Try them out). Here’s my 10 all-emcompasing tips I always share about relay races:

  1. Before you go, do your research. Become familiar with which legs you’ll be running. Know the distance. Know the elevation changes. Know if you’re running on pavement or dirt trails. Mentally prepare yourself for however long, short or strenuous your legs will be. story-27-ragnar-2-205914
  2. Do a pre-run shake out & post-run stretching. Regardless of what time it is. It could be hot or cold, windy or rainy. You might be running 9 miles or 2. It doesn’t matter-warm your body up and cool it down (and don’t eat too close to when you run). stretch-me-out-skinnyrunner_thumb
  3. Get out of the car any time you can! Take the chance to stretch your legs and body. Move around when you wait at the runner exchange. Don’t be sedentary and stay crammed in the car until it’s your turn to run. No bueno. Picture-8
  4. Share your goodies. Letting others eat your frozen banana-peanut butter bites is, strangely enough, a great way to bond. They might love them and it could start a running recipe exchange. By trying things everyone brings (a pot-luck of goodies), you’ll find things that you bring that others like and things others bring that you like and you might be surprised if you find yourself sick of the food that you brought. images-2
  5. Sore? Tired? Hungry? SO IS EVERYONE ELSE. So please, don’t whine. Do something about it! There will be food in the car – eat it. There will be jackets/pillows – take a nap on one. There will be moments to stop – get out and stretch. Duh. 1 Ragnar Lupe Sleeping
  6. Cheer on your team (and other runners). You never know when all that one person needs is a little encouragement from a random car passing by. You might hit your own mental wall and need some motivation from others! image25
  7. Take care of your team! Be aware if runners need more hydration, pain killers, gu or other things to munch on. If the weather changes, ask if the want their visor, jacket or more water. One of the BEST things that my team did for me during a 4 mile 2,000ft elevation climb in 99 degree weather – toss a spray bottle filled with ice water out the window. I spent that 45 minutes constantly squirting myself and other runners with cold water. Couldn’t have survived without them! 2013-06-22 12.46.53 2013-06-22 14.21.09
  8. TAKE WIPES. 24 hours of stinky runners crammed into a car-they’re a portable shower. Just trust me on this one. Remember, even liquid awesome can smell bad. 9a87f0f828a4854245d193affb6718eb
  9. Take pictures. Take them of your car decorations, the entire team at the starting and finish lines, runners smiling (or not) during their legs, people sleeping, strange things that happen, the scenery that you drive past, team members making funny shapes…anything and everything. Beautiful scenery (there’s tons on the Ragnar-pretty sure they do that on purpose). It’ll be more fun 🙂 422052_10100879747066799_1810023603_n
  10. If you’re not having fun AT ALL, you’re doing it wrong. Though there is a competitive air that comes with any race-Ragnar included-one of the greatest things about the Ragnar though is that it can be an absolute party. Seriously. Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 9.36.23 AM

Wear clothes that won’t but (or chafe you). Sleep any chance you get (for real). Make new friends. Have a team splurge meal after the race. Have a team meal before the race. 478876_10100245036698224_601272120_o

Love the new scenery-there are some absolutely beautiful running paths on the Ragnar. Embrace the craziness. Have massive amounts of fun. Run your own race. Own that 24+ hour relay like a total boss.

So, good people of the running world – keep calm and Ragnar on #fistpump

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Monday Motivation – Be Awesome

It’s Monday. Beginning of the week. Another chance to do all the things you fizzled out on last week. Time to wake up and be awesome. Let’s do this. 

Have this attitude EVERY SINGLE MORNING (and after naps). Trust it. Believe it. Live it.

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Don’t let fear dictate what you do. Accentuate the positive. After all, you’ll never know till you try…you could be totally awesome.

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Fall is coming quick! Don’t let the wind, rain and chilly temps keep you inside! Wanna be hard-core awesome? Train in colder months.

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Remember the things you need in life…and the things you need to give your body. And that you need to love what you do. Giving love + receiving love = awesome.

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Try new things! Take chances! If you’re going to mess up trying something different, own it and make it the best failed attempt EVER. There’s power in that, yo (Amy never lies…and she’s pretty awesome).

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When it’s before your run or at mile 1, 7 or 22 – feel this awesome. Because you are. Boom.

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Believe that you’re the best version of yourself. And you’ve caught a sweet case of awesomeness. Just don’t let it go too much to you’re head (remember, humility is also awesome…)

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Now, go. Be awesome. Punch today in the face.

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Monday Motivation – Heart & Soul

Running is SO much more than just continuously moving your legs. I totally love this quote that my friend Tim shared with me.

Running or exercising for the sake of exercise is great – it can help manage/maintain your weight, keeps you feeling healthy and gets you outside.

However, the people who really get the most out of each workout are those who understand that running isn’t just about keeping a steady pace, adding miles or doing intervals. They know that for the absolute best results in any workout come from totally implementing your ENTIRE self – heart, mind and soul – into your running. Once you’re able to do that, the task is no longer mundane; the pain isn’t unbearable; the satisfaction upon finishing is so much sweeter…all because you are molding who you are and using that to directly improve your level of performance. If you want to change only your body, exercise. If you want to change your entire life, become a runner.

Thanks, Tim, for today’s motivational tip!

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Monday’s Motivation – Tickets Are Free

It’s that day again – the beginning of the week. The start of new goals being set, the determination {or lack thereof} will push you through today’s workout and tomorrow’s procrastination. Mondays are huge, people! Time to take them by the horns and show ’em who’s boss. 
 
So, when you’re sitting and debating about running or working out…remember this:
 
Seriously, now is THE BEST TIME to get toing
 
Kick today in the face, flex what you’ve got and say to the world:
 
Tickets are free.
You got this
#fistbump

Monday’s Motivation – The Hoyt’s Race

Found this. Love this. Totally gave me goosebumps.

So many great things to gather from this video; from what’s said, what’s felt and what you learn is truth surrounding their motivation for doing what they do.

This dad is amazing. This son is amazing. They’re both proof that the goodness of the human heart is larger and more powerful than most people give ourselves credit for – and you can see exactly how it’s helped them get through the physical trials of racing as well as the limitations of Rick Hoyt’s son.

They set the standard for determination and perseverance.

Favorite quotes:

I still experience the same wonderful feelings I felt on our very first race. If I had to sum up all I’ve learned by competing in long distance events is that it all boils down to “yes, you can” and “never, never give up.” – Rick Hoyt, born with a severe form of cerebral palsy