my health heroes

Earlier this month I received an email from the American Recall Center, “a brand new website devoted to providing health and wellness news in simple, straightforward terms.” They say their ultimate goal is to help their readers take complete charge of their health by being fully informed!

They asked me if I would be interested in participating in their “Who Keeps you Healthy?” campaign by answering the question, “Who is your Health Hero?”

I immediately wrote back, “Of course!” I’ve spent the past couple weeks thinking about the question, and I’ve decided it’s too hard for me to pick just one person. I’m extremely fortunate to have multiple Health Heroes: my family!

Running-Santa-Clarita-Marathon-720x1024My dad inspires me every day with his determination and perseverance. In addition to running many marathons including Boston, he is a “running streaker” and has run at least three miles every single day since July 7, 2003 — that’s nearly 4,000 days! He keeps track of his streak and writes about running on his website.

My mom inspires me with her commitment to cooking nutritious meals, eating a healthful whole-foods diet, and making time for exercise even when she is busy. She has run many marathons and goes running in the morning before work, and walks twice a day with Mr. Mur-dog. She is truly a strong woman inside and out, and is my favorite gym buddy — she always encourages me to do one more rep on the weight machines! And, longtime blog readers may remember, my mom and I climbed Mt. Whitney together back in 2003.

me and mom at top

Trojan_Invite_2011My brother inspires me with his dedication to exercise and being healthy, even in the midst of a super-busy academic and work schedule; he is a student in USC’s MBA program, works part-time in the USC Athletic Office, and serves as a leader of multiple student and volunteer groups. Yet he still makes time to run multiple times a week and is even taking part in a meditation course this semester. He inspires me to be healthy and happy in mind and spirit in addition to my physical body.

The more I thought about Health Heroes, the more my list grew:

  • My grandparents, all in their eighties, go on walks nearly every day. My Gramps rides the stationary bike every morning while watching the news. My Grandpap still plays golf occasionally and my Grandma plays bridge every week to keep her mind sharp.
  • My Aunt Annie does Pilates multiple times a week and my Aunt Mary goes to super-early-morning cycling class at the gym before work.
  • My friends {both in real life and the blogosphere} have inspired many healthy adoptions that are now a part of my daily routine: my yoga practice, my morning breakfast smoothies, my lunchtime salads, my nighttime meditation ritual, even trying new things like zumba!
  • My cousins inspire me to remember to have FUN exercising and moving my body, because isn’t that what it’s all about?

family

I feel so fortunate to have so many Health Heroes in my life who motivate me to stay true to my own goals for a healthy, happy, fulfilled life!

Question of the day:

  • Who are your Health Heroes?

“make mornings matter” in march!

“If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.” – Mark Twain.

Source: Frog by David Wagner

Source: Frog by David Wagner

Happy Thursday, friends! How is your week going so far?

The always-amazing Crystal over at Money-Saving Mom is hosting a really neat Early to Rise Challenge during the month of March. I have been inspired by her posts, and floored by her {and other participants} wake-up times: 5:33. 6:01. 5:45. A.M.!!

Now to some of you, that is a piece of cake. That is simply routine for you. 5 a.m. and sunrises are a normal part of your day. {My mom is one of those people. Hi, Mom!}

But I have always been a night owl. Maybe it’s related to writing — I often feel more creative late at night, when the world is quiet and I am close to dreamland. {In fact, I titled my short story collection 3 a.m. because that’s when I was up writing many of the stories in the book!} I’ve read that we all have natural body rhythms as either night owls or early birds, and I am definitely in the night owl category. I often joke with my Gramps, who lives out in California, that he and I are on the same time schedule — we go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time; I’m just three hours ahead of him on the clock! 🙂

Still, I like to feel productive, and I’ve found my mornings often set the tone for the rest of my day. If I have a sluggish morning where I wake up, head straight to my computer, check my email first thing, and browse around on Facebook, it will soon be an hour later and I will feel totally crummy. Then I’ll be rushing to “get a start” on my day and very likely the whole entire day will seem like a giant game of catch-up.

If, instead, I wake up, drink two glasses of water, brew some tea and cook a healthy, hearty breakfast, and start the day with one chore I do not want to do or have been putting off — just do it and get it DONE so I don’t have to worry about it anymore — then the entire day seems sunnier, easier, lovelier. I feel on top of things. I feel productive. Even if the task I’ve been putting off takes me a total of three minutes, like yesterday morning, when I called the mechanic who I had been been playing phone tag with the entire day before. I called him first thing when I got up, was done with the task in three minutes, and felt a sense of motivation and accomplishment that carried me through the entire day!

To paraphrase Mark Twain’s quote from the beginning of this post, what “frogs” are you putting off? Think how great you will feel if you get them done first thing and then have the whole day to not worry about it!

Another thing that really gets my day off on a great, energetic note is to do a little bit of exercise first thing in the morning. One of my goals for 2013 is to stretch every day, and I feel so much better the rest of the day if I take a few minutes to stretch my legs and hips when I first get out of bed. I am also trying to motivate myself to get into the routine of doing my sit ups and push ups first thing in morning, before I hop in the shower and eat breakfast. I often feel too tired or busy to do them at night, but I really want to work on building up the strength of my core, and so doing my sit-ups and push-ups are important to me. For the rest of March — and beyond — that is a small goal I am focusing on!

How about you? How do you make your mornings matter? If you’re looking for inspiration, I love this post by Crystal: “15 Things You Can Do Each Morning to Make Your Day More Successful.” I think she gives great advice! And whether your morning starts at 5 a.m. or noon, this is a no-judgment zone! It’s all about what works best for you and your lifestyle. 🙂

goals for 2013

Happy New Year! Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2013 already. I vividly remember driving around town with my parents and brother on New Year’s Eve 1999, when it seemed like all the radio stations were constantly playing Prince’s “I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1999” and everyone was worried about Y2K… Crazy that was 13 years ago!!

Before I get into my goals for the year, here’s how I did on my goals for the week:

  • revise and update calendar and syllabus for the upcoming semester
  • read & respond to all the workshop stories for the Key West conference {almost done with this!}
  • finish getting email inbox and computer desktop cleaned out and organized
  • write goals for the upcoming year
  • work on short play to submit to festival
  • finish reading The Zero by Jess Walter
  • prepare for my new “Act of Kindness” blog initiative for the upcoming year!

Pretty good way to end the year and gear up for the new year!

Here are my goals for 2013. I organize them into multiple subtopics because it helps me feel like I have more of a handle on the different facets of my life.

Writing Goals
1. Write! 400 words. Every day. No excuses.
2. Revise thesis manuscript and send to agent.
3. Complete YA manuscript.
4. Resubmit story collection to prizes & small presses.
5. Write a new one-act play.
6. Write a full-length play.
7. Finish Verna novella & put out as an ebook.
8. Write three blog posts a week.
9. Read three short stories a week.
10. Read 40 books by end of year.

Write On! For Literacy Goals
1. Send out a newsletter every other month.
2. Teach a summer writing camp.
3. Teach a winter writing camp.
4. Teach a college essay writing camp.
5. Speak to 10 classes/orgs/radio shows.
6. Make Pimple an ebook.
7. Hold a Holiday Book Drive.
8. Compile writing camp ebook/online program.

Professional Goals
1. Apply to fellowships & Ph.D. programs.
2. Submit to a literary magazine every other week.
3. Submit a query for a freelance article every month.
4. Apply to at least 3 conferences/workshops.
5. Submit to Literary Awards.
6. Update & expand teaching website.
7. Put 10% of every paycheck into savings.
8. Put $1,000 into Roth IRA at end of year.

Healthy Life Goals
1. Exercise at least 3 days a week.
2. Do core work 6 days a week.
3. Stretch every day.
4. Continue with meal planning & healthy cooking schedule.
5. Clean apartment every weekend.
6. Chronicle weekly acts of kindness on blog.
7. Send a card/letter to Gramps every other week.
8. Call Grandma & Grandpap every other weekend.
9. Count my blessings every night.

What are your goals for 2013?