Sunday, November 23, 2014

Here are the 7 qualities of chronically unhappy people. | The #LiveALittle Project

Here are the 7 qualities of chronically unhappy people.

1. Your default belief is that life is hard.

Happy people know life can be hard and tend to bounce through hard times with an attitude of curiosity versus victimhood. They take responsibility for how they got themselves into a mess, and focus on getting themselves out of it as soon as possible.

Perseverance towards problems versus complaining over circumstances is a symptom of a happy person. Unhappy people see themselves as victims of life and stay stuck in the “look what happened to me” attitude versus finding a way through and out the other side.

2. You believe most people can’t be trusted.

I won’t argue that healthy discernment is important, but most happy people are trusting of their fellow man. They believe in the good in people, versus assuming everyone is out to get them. Generally open and friendly towards people they meet, happy people foster a sense of community around themselves and meet new people with an open heart.

Unhappy people are distrustful of most people they meet and assume that strangers can’t be trusted. Unfortunately this behavior slowly starts to close the door on any connection outside of an inner-circle and thwarts all chances of meeting new friends.

3. You concentrate on what’s wrong in this world versus what’s right.

There’s plenty wrong with this world, no arguments here, yet unhappy people turn a blind eye to what’s actually right in this world and instead focus on what’s wrong. You can spot them a mile away, they’ll be the ones complaining and responding to any positive attributes of our world with “yeah but.”

Happy people are aware of global issues, but balance their concern with also seeing what’s right. I like to call this keeping both eyes open. Unhappy people tend to close one eye towards anything good in this world in fear they might be distracted from what’s wrong. Happy people keep it in perspective. They know our world has problems and they also keep an eye on what’s right.

4. You compare yourself to others and harbor jealousy.

Unhappy people believe someone else’s good fortune steals from their own. They believe there’s not enough goodness to go around and constantly compare yours against theirs. This leads to jealousy and resentment.

Happy people know that your good luck and circumstance are merely signs of what they too can aspire to achieve. Happy people believe they carry a unique blueprint that can’t be duplicated or stolen from – by anyone on the planet. They believe in unlimited possibilities and don’t get bogged down by thinking one person’s good fortune limits their possible outcome in life.

5. You strive to control your life.

There’s a difference between control and striving to achieve our goals. Happy people take steps daily to achieve their goals, but realize in the end, there’s very little control over what life throws their way.

Unhappy people tend to micromanage in effort to control all outcomes and fall apart in dramatic display when life throws a wrench in their plan. Happy people can be just as focused, yet still have the ability to go with the flow and not melt down when life delivers a curve-ball.

The key here is to be goal-oriented and focused, but allow room for letting sh*t happen without falling apart when the best laid plans go awry because they will. Going with the flow is what happy people have as plan B.

6 You consider your future with worry and fear.

There’s only so much rent space between your ears. Unhappy people fill their thoughts with what could go wrong versus what might go right. Happy people take on a healthy dose of delusion and allow themselves to daydream about what they’d like to have life unfold for them.

Unhappy people fill that head space with constant worry and fear. Happy people experience fear and worry, but make an important distinction between feeling it and living it.

When fear or worry crosses a happy person’s mind, they’ll ask themselves if there’s an action that can be taken to prevent their fear or worry from happening (there’s responsibility again) and they take it. If not, they realize they’re spinning in fear and they lay it down.

7. You fill your conversations with gossip and complaints.

Unhappy people like to live in the past. What’s happened to them and life’s hardships are their conversation of choice. When they run out of things to say, they’ll turn to other people’s lives and gossip.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

15 Things to Ask Yourself Before the End of the Year | #LiveALittle

15 Things to Ask Yourself Before the End of the Year: 
1. What have been the most exciting wins of your life so far in 2014?
2. What have been the most disappointing moments in your life in 2014?
3. What are you most grateful for so far in 2014?
4. Do you feel you’ve taken a step forward in maximizing your potential thus far in 2014? If so, how?
5. If not, what has prevented you from maximizing your potential and performance in life this year?
6. Is this something that is in your control?
7. What is one powerful change you can make right now that would impact your life almost immediately?
8. Can you make this change now and try operating differently for the rest of 2014, to help you continue the progress into 2015?
9. Is there someone you can call/text/message to help you be accountable for this change?
10. How would making this change set you up differently for 2015?
11. What has been a theme for you in 2014?
12. What would you like your theme to be in 2015? Come up with one or two words at the most.
13. What is the predominant feeling you would like to be having in life for the rest of the year?
14. With that in mind, what is the predominant feeling you would like to have in life in 2015?
15. What are three actions you can take to ensure that you feel that way at work for the next month or so?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle? | Blog Series | Featured Member: Christy in Oklahoma

Christy from Yukon, OK

I grew up as a heavy person. I was shopping at Lane Bryant in junior high school - before they had fashionable clothes, by the way. Dressing like an old lady in high school was not very cool! My parents were amazing, supportive, generous people who never belittled me or made me feel bad for being overweight, so it just wasn't a priority to change. I was a brainy kid, so sports didn't interest me - and my sedentary lifestyle led to being well over 200 pounds before I ever graduated high school. A stressful job and 2 kids later - I hit my heaviest at 280.

About 2 years ago, I started trying to eat better because I realized how much my kids were eating like me. After about a year of just being a bit more careful, and a tiny bit more active, I had dropped about 30 pounds. No one noticed - which I found discouraging. I had no real plan, and exercise was still an afterthought.

Then I decided to start taking Tae Kwon Do classes with my daughter. What I expected was shame and a complete inability to do any of it. But I wanted to show my girl that doing hard things was good for you. And it was hard, really hard for me. I couldn't get my overweight body to do the things the instructor was teaching me to do. But there was no shame, only encouragement. So I decided to try running to see if I could get the weight off faster so I could keep up.

And that's when the magic happened. I signed up for a 5k in April of this year to motivate me. I knew if I had paid good money to do something I was going to do it! Even if I finished last! 

It took four months of prep for that first 5k before I started liking it. But all along the way, I posted my progress to my friends on Facebook. The little words of encouragement kept me going. The accountability of knowing that my friends might noticed if I stopped posting my workouts made me keep trying. 

Once I did one 5k, I got so much positive feedback I signed up for another one that day. I've run 8 of them since. I'm still not very fast, but I'm now hopelessly addicted to running, races, and t-shirts.

The weight started to come off more easily as my food habits fell in line with my new more active self.  I started to look at myself differently. I am now the kind of person who runs 15-20 miles a week. So dropping sweets was now a much smaller hurdle. Now, I'm celebrating having lost 100 pounds with a half marathon at the end of the month!

Just like everyone I know, I've tried losing weight a million times before. Motivation is probably the key factor that made this time work.

Being outside is a major motivator for me. The fresh air, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, new parks and places - these are things I look forward to all day and miss when I don't get my dose. When it's just too cold or hot, I'll hit the gym, but I'll be dreaming about the outdoors.

I'm an extrovert - I love people and get my energy from being around others. Even though most of my runs are solitary, I've found that being a runner gives me a whole new way to relate to people. I get to talk about the next race with my friends and coworkers, meet new people at races, and share with #livealittle members about common experiences. I'll talk about running with anyone who shows half an interest.

I've also learned to embrace confidence. Now I celebrate my achievements unabashedly. Am I bragging when I post a selfie of myself at yet another run? Heck yes! I'm proud of every step. When someone tells me I'm looking great, I've learned to say "Thanks, it's a lot of work, but it's worth it." 

I still have some weight to lose and goals (like a marathon, then maybe a tri!) to achieve. But being active is now who I am, not just something I do. It sinks in to every part of my life. I keep trying to surround myself with people who support this lifestyle, and those who want to join it. Having someone who wants to follow in your footsteps is a great way to keep going!

I have to give a big shoutout to Robert McCanliss - whom I knew from high school (ages ago!) Seeing his posts about his running and weight loss achievements really motivated me, and he was the one who invited me to the #LiveALittle group. I've found the group and his personal journey to be a daily help and motivator!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle? | Blog Series | Featured Member: Katie in Baltimore

Name: Katie 
Location:  Baltimore

  • When did you start to #LiveALittle (make the changes)? 

About six months after my son was born. I had gained 100 pounds when I was pregnant and needed to loose the weight. I was so upset over the weight and how drastically my life had changed, I knew I needed to change my whole life around. 

  • What do consider your main accomplishments?

My return to college was huge for me. Getting a college degree was my dream. One day- I just applied. I was so scared... And I was accepted. And they offered me a HUGE scholarship. It was a dream come true. Balancing that and two jobs and my son is a struggle, but I am honestly living my dream. 

  • What does everyone around you notice as 'different'? 

I trust that my intelligence is valuable. I am a smart woman, but I have never been confident enough to show that. I never felt like I could be the "smart girl" and still be "valuable". Now I know that's not true. I speak my mind. I now hold my head up. It's been liberating. 

  • If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do?

Encourage intelligence. Encourage artistic freedom. Encourage love and understanding. I would give people the ability to feel like they can be 100% true to themselves no matter what. 

  • How do you show that you believe in yourself? 

By working my ass off every single day. Nothing speaks louder than your own work. 

  • How and where do you find inspiration? 

My husband and my son. Both are incredible and strong. They pick up where I just can't. They are infinitely understanding and patient. They remain my biggest cheerleaders and make me laugh when I am beyond exhausted. 

  • How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making? 

I focus on what is real and what I conjure up in my head. My husband is my "check and balance" system. I spout things to him and he acts as a trampoline- bouncing the good to me and the negative away. 

  • What’s the best way to keep your eye on future results or maintaining?

With weight- it's all about how hard the journey was. Once I reached a certain point, I donated every stitch of big clothing I had. No "fat pants" are even in my house. No excuses. No options. 
With education it's all about making a better life for my family. A better life for me. I don't have an exit plan. If you give yourself the option to fail- you will. 

  • What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed? 

I want my son to see my receive my degree. I want people to finally recognize me as something more than a pretty face. I want to prove to myself that my brain is valuable. That I am valuable. I may get a law degree. I may get a PhD. Not sure. But when I do know- I'm ready. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle Series? Featured Member: Arch

Your name?   Arch
Location?  Topeka, KS
When did you start to #LiveALittle (make the changes)?  Aug 2013

What do consider your main accomplishments?  The weight loss is clearly the most visible, but lowering my blood pressure, getting taken off diabetes medication, and learning to stop abusing myself with words and actions are the greatest accomplishments. 

What does everyone around you notice as 'different'? They obviously notice the outward physical change, but my overall demeanor has improved as well, and those who know me best see it very clearly. 

What qualities do you look for in the people you hang out with and allow into your inner circle?
I’m still very guarded about my “inner circle”, and it’s very sparsely populated. I don’t hang labels on people, and don’t have a checklist of what qualities people should have. Everyone I interact with will either become a part of my “inner circle” or they won’t. There’s no real criteria for me.

If you wanted to encourage innovative ideas on changing one's life, how would you go about it? I don’t think there’s much need for innovation. The methods are tried and true, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. As cliché as it sounds, things like, “If you want to see a change, BE the change” and “You need to love yourself first” are the real truths. That’s why they become cliché… because they are accurate. Step 1 is to incorporate positive self-talk and absolutely ELIMINATE negative self-talk. It’s powerful. Stuart Smalley was onto something. #SNL

How would you describe your personal #LiveALittle lifestyle change? One thing that has helped me was to make an agreement with myself that I will not break promises I make to myself. So if I say I’m going to walk a mile today, then no matter what gets in the way, I walk that mile. Even if it comes at the end of a long day and I’m tired. I refuse to let myself down. Maybe it has to do with my meal choices for a particular day. I approach every day with an attitude of setting out to “Win The Day”. Over time, I’ve gone from loathing physical exertion to craving it. Walking used to be a miserable necessity, now it’s a valued activity that I enjoy. 

If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do? I’d say it depends. If you mean one’s own personal environment, then my answer is to do the following things. 1)Be cognizant of that little voice in your head that spews negativity and SQUELCH it. When that voice chastises you or belittles you or tells you that you can’t reach your goals, audibly take control and say, “That’s not true” and follow it with a positive statement about yourself. It’s important to say it out loud. And it’s been proven that using your name in third person is far more effective. 2) Remove things from your vicinity that perpetuate the problems you’re battling. If you don’t have alcohol, soda/pop, or Twinkies, or Skittles, or Hot Pockets around the house, you won’t be able to succumb to moments of weakness. People sometimes slip, hammer some Girl Scout cookies, and then the cycle begins of beating themselves up over it, and the negative self-talk can follow. Remove those things, and you are one step closer to having a personal environment where motivation can thrive.  

How do you show that you believe in yourself? I show it through my actions. I show it by keeping the promises I make to myself. I make good choices. I get my exercise. Literally, I walk the walk. 

Who, Whom, and/or What has influenced you the most? I’ve drawn influence from many people. Some I’ve known personally, others only through their stories I’ve encountered via various forms of media. For me, being introduced to Plexus Slim was what triggered my rise from the abyss. The product gave me hope, and I’ve taken the proverbial ball and run with it. And it was the friend who introduced me to Plexus, Christina Crosby in my old hometown of Butte, Montana who taught me the power of eliminating the negative self-talk. I used to abuse myself verbally in a hateful way that would make most people cringe. I’ve gotten much better at that discipline, though it’s a constant battle. 

What do you do to challenge yourself when you're not motivated?  In those situations, I break things down into manageable components. I think about why I’m not motivated. A lot of times, it’s because the goal seems so far away, and what difference will one day make? Then I realize that I don’t need to lose 10 lbs. today. I just need to do SOMETHING today. I’ve learned that I never regret exercising, but I always regret when I don’t. So I just treat it on those days like a job. A necessary task. Then I (with apologies to Nike) JUST DO IT. 

When is breaking the #LiveALittle rules okay? Really, it’s never OK. But it’s gonna happen. And when it does, it’s imperative to acknowledge, and reset immediately. It’s forgivable, certainly, but not really ever “OK”. 

What does 'working on’ yourself mean to you? There are three areas that require attention and maintenance: physical, emotional, and spiritual. The physical part is obvious. Diet and exercise. Simple. The emotional part is deeper. It’s not just about being happy or sad, or fulfilled, though those things play a part. It’s also about loving yourself, respecting yourself. It’s about being able to hold your head high because you know you are being the best “you” you can be. It’s about a lot of things I talked about in some of the earlier questions, like creating an environment for yourself that encourages motivation, and keeping promises you’ve made to yourself. Spiritual can mean your relationship with God, or whatever greater power you believe in, or nature, or simply finding inner peace. I think, to find true balance, a person needs to be aware of and nurture all of these areas. 

What does empowerment mean to you? To me, I see it as coming to grips with the belief that we each do control our own destiny. For years, I rolled wherever the current led, feeling unwilling and unable to chart my own course. I no longer feel that way. I’m the captain of my ship and I’ll sail where I damn well please. That’s empowerment. 

How and where do you find inspiration? I used to think I would find my inspiration in a romantic partner. That when I found love again, that I would then have the strength and inspiration I needed to take control of my life. It turns out, the only REAL inspiration comes from within. My inspiration comes from my own core. And it’s powerful. I never realized it was there, until I learned how to tap into it. Now that I have, I’m unstoppable. 

How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making? To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I know how to do that yet. I’m an emotional, passionate guy who feels things deeply. Love, pain, joy, sadness. Whatever it is, I feel it strongly. I’ve not really even tried to disassociate my feelings from my decisions.

What’s the best way to keep your eye on future results or maintaining?  Document things. Write down as much as you can, with dates. Goals, milestones, struggles, everything. Our minds play tricks on us, and our recollections get fuzzy. Hard data won’t lie. 

How do you bring courage and conviction to risky situations? I think the answer is in the question. If you have conviction, the courage comes a lot more easily. I’ve been wrong before, and it’s OK to keep an open mind to that possibility. It’s not imperative that we be “right” all the time, regardless of our conviction. But believing in and trusting in yourself will help you find the courage to stand behind your conviction.  

What values are you committed to? Family. Trust. Those are the most important things to me. 

What do you do to live a balanced life?  I’m blessed to be able to do what I love. I work for a hockey team which is the dream job for me, I get to perform music, and I’m active by playing adult league hockey. I have a great balance of work, play, and down time.

What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?  I’ve always been an athlete. Even at 451 lbs I still managed to lace up my skates and get on the ice for adult league hockey. My hands and hockey smarts allowed me to remain competitive, and I could skate like the wind once I got moving, but like a locomotive, getting started wasn’t as smooth as I’d like. Being able to compete at a level that I felt good about is something that has helped inspire me along the way. Also, the possibility of advancing in my broadcasting career. Back to the negative self-talk, I would say, “No pro team is gonna want to hire a fat f*** like me who no one wants to sit next to on the plane.” I’ve buried that phrasing from my vocabulary. Life is full of opportunity, and I no longer fear or feel unworthy of any of it. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle Series? Featured Member: Lauralee in Kansas

Name: Lauralee 
Location: Kansas

  • When did you start to #LiveALittle? 

Lauralee's "before" #LiveALittle Picture 2 years ago
When I was 28 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It freaked me out! I was massively overweight and then I started showing symptoms of that at a very young age. I decided then and there I couldn’t hide inside myself or in food anymore. That was 2 years ago.
  • What do you consider your main accomplishments?

Well, this one is hard because through this journey I have accomplished so much. The biggest one for me would be building a bigger and better relationship with God. To be honest, I got to where I am because of him. He was on every run, workout and struggle with me. Don’t get me wrong, I give myself the credit where it is due but I prayed a lot to get through workouts and over cravings. I also believe the amount of weight I lost on my own was a huge accomplishment. 120 lbs gone! It’s crazy to think I was carrying an entire extra person. But my FAVORITE accomplishment is the ability to run. I LOVE RUNNING. I could never do it before! Now I am running 5-7 miles some days. That is rad-tastic!!

Lauralee current picture "LivingALittle
  • What does ‘working on yourself’ mean to you?

This is one of my favorite questions to answer. Obviously being massively overweight, I had a problem with food. That problem didn’t stem out of no where, it was a way to cope. I smoked for years and then I quit. I drank at least 3-4 times a week and now I have a drink or two once or twice a year. I could conquer issues in my life but the one with food I just could not overcome. When I started ‘working on myself’, it started with the intention of being “skinny”. I had no idea the path I was about to take myself down. I spent a lot of time in my own mind facing the things I hated about myself. The things I wanted to change had so much more to do than with weight. I am sensitive inside and hard outside. I wanted to please everyone. I hated my body. I thought I was stupid. The list could go on and on and on. The thing is, when you spend a lot of time with yourself, you have to face your faults head on and then the hardest part comes: changing them or accepting them. Working on yourself has a ton of different sub-categories and they all kind of collide together. The moral of my drawn out explanation: Working on yourself to me means that loving yourself is ok. Disliking things about yourself is ok. Accepting yourself is a process that takes a while and that is also ok. I read a quote once that said “You’re not made for everyone to like you” and once I accepted that was ok, the self love came a lot easier because if you can’t love yourself, who will?

  • How and where do you find inspiration?

As self-absorbed as it sounds, a lot of time I find it in myself in an assortment of ways. I get that awesome “high” competing with myself. Can I run faster? Can I lift more? Can I push my limits? I love it! I am constantly trying to be better than I was the day before, but if I fail in my own eyes, I TRY NOT TO get too down. I also find it in music, the bible and in others. Lots of #LiveALittle members cross my mind daily and inspire me to push myself! It’s not a competition with them but a reminder ALL people can reach their goals! It’s amazing how people I have never met have impacted my life so much!

  • When is breaking the #LiveALittle rules okay?

I want to honestly believe never. We should always be focused on becoming better people. Life gets in the way of living sometimes if that makes any sense but I think once you adopted the lifestyle it should become a habit. Shit happens. I am just going to be straight up honest. I don’t have it all together and if anything at times I have more problems then I can deal with. Luckily, I also have a strong faith and I refuse to give up on myself. We are precious beings. Whatever your personal beliefs are don’t really matter. There is only one if you in this world and that means you must be pretty special and taking care of yourself (not just physically but also mentally) is completely acceptable! Besides, #LivingALittle is fun and life should be a good time, it’s too short as it is!