A Morning Routine to Stay Focused and Excel

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Every time you wake up in the morning, your frontal cortex is fully charged with willpower. The quality of the results you may get from it will depend on the way you use your first 30 minutes of the day.

The average person usually starts their day by doing the following: they’d wake up, reach out for the phone while still in bed, and start reading emails. Then, they’d check Instagram and Facebook posts, and scroll through some news sites.

Finally, they’d get out of bed, make some coffee, turn on the TV, and eat a high-sugar breakfast while watching some morning talk show.

In the meantime, they’re reproaching themselves for not making any exercise, and then they’d probably try to make decisions about their tasks for the day, take a quick shower, dress, and hit the morning traffic to work…

All this rush, conflict, and forced decision-making process would drain up your willpower supply before lunchtime.

 

There’s a better option for your morning routine.
No matter how stressful your environment, there is a way to start your day energized, focused, and feeling great, with your whole willpower reserve available for the necessary decision making and action taking required to accomplish your daily goals.

 

These are the basic six steps required to develop and follow a powerful morning ritual:

  1. Get your quite space

Each morning, as soon as you wake up, go to a place where you can be alone and undisturbed to be in silence –it should be a place other than your bed, where you can have privacy.

 

  1. Hydrate

Fuel your body starting your day with a big glass of fresh, filtered water.

 

  1. Take a moment to reflect

Think about your core beliefs, and get into a positive grateful state. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What am I grateful for in my life right now?
  • What am I happy and excited about?
  • What is my life purpose, and do my goals for the day get me closer to it?
  • Who do I love and loves me?
  • Who can I serve and thank today?

 

  1. Breathe

Practice conscious breathing and add movement –like walking- if possible. There is a great technique called Breathwalking, which I personally recommend, combines specific patterns of breathing synchronized with your walking steps, enhanced with the art of directed, meditative attention.

 

  1. Move your Body

Emotion is driven by motion. The more you move, the better you’ll feel; so add some brisk walks and exercise to your daily morning routine in order to feel great.

 

  1. Visualize and Celebrate

Finally, review what you expect from the day ahead, and visualize yourself going through it; see and feel the best results you could ever expect. Remember, everything you see in the physical world started once as a thought, as a vision.

 

This simple morning ritual is designed to take only 30 to 45 minutes of your day. If you have more time –or decide to make more time- you can add more gratitude, exercise, and visualization; you can never have enough of those.

Do it consistently each and every day, and the results will be life-changing.

Stay strong!

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Leadership: the Great Challenge of Life

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It was Jim Rohn who called leadership the great challenge of life, and he was right.

We can think of leadership as the ability to attract people to the gifts, skills, and opportunities you present as a CEO, manager, parent, etc.
If you want to attract quality people, you have to become a valuable person yourself. As with anything else in life, leadership requires constant improvement and refinement; you need to work endlessly on yourself to become more and more effective.
These are some of the traits you may want to cultivate to enhance your leadership skills:

 

. Be strong, but also kind

If you want to be a powerful and capable leader, you must never confuse strength with rudeness. Kindness and politeness are key ingredients.

 

. Be kind, but not weak

Also a frequent mistake. Kindness is a rare type of strength… You have to be kind to tell someone a hard truth, to tell it constructively like it is without hurting anybody.

 

. Be bold, but not a bully

To be able to lead and build your influence, you got to be able to walk in front of your team and tackle the problem. If you want to harvest success, you have to be bold and face the risks, take chances and seize the moment.

 

. Be humble, but not shy

 You’ll never accomplish anything by being shy. Don’t confuse being humble with being shy; shyness is an illness, but humility is a virtue that comes with a sense of awe, of wonder; an awareness of the human soul and spirit.

 

. Be proud, but not arrogant

It takes pride to build your ambitions, pride in your community, and pride in a cause or accomplishments. The key to becoming a good leader is to be proud without being arrogant.

 

. Be funny, but not stupid

In leadership, it’s ok to be witty, but not silly. Find your style and your pace, but don’t fall into vulgarity and silliness; you’d risk losing your team’s respect.

 

. Be truthful, and follow your heart

Spare yourself the agony of delusion; take things as they are.

Life is unique, and so is leadership. The skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another; however, the core of leadership work for everyone all the time, whether at work, in the community, and at home.

Strategy 8: Take Out the Trash!

 

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Processed Fats

Generally –and sometimes, unbeknownst to us, the food we eat is overflowing with saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fatty acids.

We, as Americans, consume up to 40% of our total calories in fat. This entails the danger of poor circulation –which leads to high blood pressure; poor elimination, and excess congestion and toxicity in the body. Also, our bodies then are unable to perform the functions that good, unprocessed fats provide.

In short, we have to take action on these by:

  • Eliminating or dramatically reduce our consumption of processed fats, trans fats, and hydrogenated fats.
  • Keeping our total daily fat intake below 25% (i.e., fewer than 25% of the calories we ingest should be fat, ideally less).

 

Animal Flesh

These days we have countless studies and a gazillion research made that shows a direct relation between animal-based diets and chronic illnesses as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Even small amounts can cause adverse effects; so we have to focus on:

  • Eliminating or dramatically reducing your consumption of animal flesh
  • Total protein intake should be 5-6% per day and should come from plant-based sources, which are more efficient and have more antioxidants, fiber, and minerals

If you are among those people which find almost impossible to leave out meat of our diet completely –and I can almost hear some of us pleading: “not the bacon… please, oh please, not the bacon– then follow these guidelines: eat it only once a day, combine it with green vegetables or salads; eat it in the middle of a day, never before going to sleep at night, and always purchase your meat making sure it’s free range, antibiotic free and organic.

 

Dairy Products

By now you should already know that there’s a significant correlation between dairy and osteoporosis, kidney problems and certain forms of cancer. In the China Study, researchers found that a certain kind of cancer was promoted by casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein. Also, diets rich in animal foods make women eliminate excessive calcium, providing a negative balance.

This is why we should:

  • Eliminate or dramatically reduce your consumption of dairy products
  • Ensure that your daily calcium intake is about 400 milligrams per day and comes from plant-based sources that are calcium-rich
  • Try other alternatives (in moderation) such as rice milk, soy milk, or almond milk when you desire the texture or taste

 

Acid Addictions

When we’re hooked to any kind of diet or habits that promotes the over-acidification of the blood and tissues, we’re creating the ground that is favorable to the growth of virus, bacteria, yeast, and fungus, which are the greatest decomposers of cells and tissues in our bodies.

In order to reduce and eliminate all that acid, we need a diet consisting of live alkaline foods (we covered it before in our Alkalize and Go Green! article), grains and essential fatty acids. This kind of diet lowers the acid in the blood with its abundance of bases and alkaline salts.

Our advice on this subject would be:

  •  Eliminate or dramatically reduce your consumption of acid addictions
  • Use your common sense! Say no to the following addictions: caffeine, sugar, whites, vinegar, alcohol, nicotine and drugs. Associate yourself to the consequences and break your pattern.
  • Alkalize! When you are consuming at least 70-80% alkaline, life-giving foods, your body will naturally decrease its desire for these addictions.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of healthy advice and that you’d be able to apply at least some of it into your daily lives; that alone would make the difference you’re looking for.

See you next week. Stay strong!

Strategy 7: Build your Body, Mind, and Heart

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Our bodies are designed for motion, that’s when they are at their best… still, most of us stay at least half of our day in a stationary position… we have a “box” life; we live in a box home, sleep in a box, eat out of a box, drive in our box to work where we sat again in a box cubicle, typing on our box watching a box; only to go back to our box home, sit again and watch yet another box… and for variety sake, we grab a cold cylinder to make a change!

To make our bodies work, we need the power of structural alignment and strength, a system designed to manage the musculoskeletal system, which is the framework for human health.
If you want to have a functional body, then start focusing on the following:

  • Condition yourself to motion! Stay active and move… walk or jog instead of using your car for short distances, take the stairs, crush everything whenever you have the chance
  • Stretch! Exercise is good, but not that good without stretching after the workout… this way you only get tough -lean and good-looking, of course, but the stiffness of your muscles makes you inefficient and prone to injuries; and I’m not talking about lifting a sofa, I mean by only bending over to pick up a pencil!

 

Another way to raise our body’s resistance, fight decease and create health, is found directly in the mind. If utilized and directed effectively, our thoughts, emotions, and mindset, in general, can be one of our most powerful allies to fight disease and boost our energy and vitality.

These are some ways to promote this:

  • Keep an eye on your mind so it keeps away from stressful emotions; instead, focus on empowering ones, such as gratitude, courage, faith, determination, compassion, and love.
  • Utilize the healing power of the heart, directing your full attention -that means mind, breath, and emotion- to the physical location of your heart.
  • Use at least 10 minutes every day to evoke positive memories and create compelling visions of the future

 

 

Will continue with this series next week talking about the benefits of reducing -or eliminating completely- processed fats, animal flesh, dairy products, and acid addictions.

Until then, stay strong!

 

Strategy 6: Optimize your Nourishment

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In our constant strive to improve our health and well-being; we should aim to consume foods that will serve our body as a main goal.

If you want to reach a maximum level of nourishment, these guidelines would be helpful:

  • Follow all the previously posted advices concerning healthy eating: water-based foods, alkaline foods and essential oils, just to name a few.
  • Drink water, lots and lots of water; but only after or before your meals, not during.
  • Always combine your foods properly:
    • fruits only on an empty stomach
    • never mix carbs and protein in the same meal
    • don’t combine fats with proteins
    • eat green vegetables with proteins or carbs
  • Whenever you eat, see that you already are in a relaxed state, never eat under stress.
  • It’s always better to eat small amounts of food several times a day
  • Avoid processed food and always look for all that is free of pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones.
  • Keep an eye on your glycemic index, it should always be under 55
  • Create your ideal Food Pyramid:
    • 70% live foods
    • 10% plant-based proteins or quality fish
    • 10% carbohydrates
    • 10% quality oils
  • Create the Base: Follow a daily regimen with the 7 Vital Nutrients for a foundation of health
  • Fast regularly. Complete a periodic cleanse of your internal organs and body
  • Supplement for specific conditions and maximize your results!

 

For our next delivery, we’ll talk about how to align and strengthen our bodies for its best performance.

Until then, stay strong!

Strategy 5: Optimize your Aerobic Energy

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As you surely know, the word “aerobic” means “life with oxygen”, and is used to describe a low-intensity exercise sustained over a period of time. Your aerobic system comprises the heart, lungs, blood vessels and aerobic muscles, and it gives you your endurance.

When you work your body hard during short periods of time, you burn mainly glycogen and protein; but if you condition your metabolism to operate aerobically giving it the proper diet and exercise, it will burn fat as a primary fuel.

 

The following are some guidelines for aerobic exercise:

  • Start with your Base; spent 3 to 5 times per week doing 30 minutes of quality exercise (walk, run, swim, bike, etc.)
  • You need to find out your ideal aerobic training heart rate. Here is a simple formula: 180 minus your age; so, if you are 30, the heart rate you need to keep during your exercise session would be 150 heartbeats per minute.
  • Create your training plan. Once you established your Base, get yourself a plan that would take you to the next level.
  • Have fun! Add music, friends, different environments, competition) to motivate you to follow through.
  • Apply the NET philosophy. NET stands for No Extra Time; add value to your exercise session adding something you could do at the same time; it could be affirmations, an audio-book, or personal development course you could actually do while exercising.

 

Coming next week, we’ll continue with Strategy 6: Maximize your Nourishment
In the meantime, keep up with this challenge; keep healthy, stay strong!

Strategy 4: Alkalize and Go Green!

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Balanced body chemistry and maintaining a proper ratio between acid and alkaline foods in your diet are of vital importance to maintaining your health. In fact, too much acidity in the body’s tissues is the cause of many types of health challenges ranging from lethargy and fatigue to obesity, and ultimately too much bigger health issues and disease.
One of the highest priorities for your body is to make sure that the alkalinity remains at a level supporting cellular life. To help promote an alkaline state to support cellular life that results in a healthy mind and body, follow these rules:

  • Consume 70-80% foods that are alkaline-forming and life-giving (green vegetables, almonds, avocados, lemons, limes, etc.)
  • Avoid acid-forming foods that are not “live,” such as animal meats, dairy products, refined white foods, sugars, caffeine, etc.
  • Supplement your diet with quality greens which are very popular today at the food market
  • Test your pH
  • Keep it simple: add fresh lemon to your water daily!

 

Coming next week; Strategy 5: Aerobic Energy!
In the meantime, keep up with this challenge; keep healthy, stay strong!

Strategy 3: Essential Fatty Acids

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Our next strategy in line is the ingestion of essential fatty acids.

For more than 30 years now, fat had built a bad reputation among diets; reduced-fat products hit the shelves and low-fat diets got the highlights; however, fat as a dietary component and essential fatty acids are two very important components of good health.

Our body can synthesize most of the fat it needs from our daily ingestion, but two essential fatty acids –linoleic and alpha-linoleic, cannot be synthesized in the body and got to be acquired from food.

 

These basic fatty acids, which are found in plant foods, are used to build specialized fats called omega3 and omega6 fatty acids. They are very important in the correct functioning of all the body tissues.

The lack of these acids can produce several disorders like liver and kidneys malfunction, reduced growth rates, low immune function, depression and skin dryness.

But of course, there is another side to this coin; when you have an adequate intake of these essential acids, it results in numerous health benefits; they include atherosclerosis prevention, reduced incidence of heart disease and stroke, and relief from the symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis, menstrual pain, joint pain, and it has also been associated with decreased breast cancer.
They also protect your brain, which includes memory formation, sensory perception, and decision making.

 

So, where can you find these essential fatty acids, and how can you include them in your daily diet?

Some common sources of linoleic acid include:

  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Hempseed and hempseed oil
  • Pumpkin seeds

A few good sources of alpha-linolenic acid include:

  • Perilla oil
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Brussels sprouts

 

 

Next week we will continue with our 4th Strategy, which will be: The Alkalinity of Green

Until then, keep up with the challenge, and stay strong!

Strategy 2: Water and Live Foods

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Continuing with our series of strategies, we’ll talk today about water and water-rich foods.

As you know, water is the basic and major component of all living matter; and it is the largest single component of your body. For instance, your brain is 76% water (and I’m not saying it as an insult! J); the lungs are 90% water, blood is 84%, and plasma 98%.

There is no successful diet or exercise plan without the right amount of water in it. Main body functions such as digestion, circulation, and excretion cannot happen without it. It is used to carry and distribute nutrients to all vital body substances, plays a crucial role in keeping the necessary body temperature, and serves as a building material for growth and repair.

If you want to be and stay healthy, you need to drink above half your body weight in ounces a day… for example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should be drinking 80 ounces of water daily.

Also, see that at least 70% of your diet consists of water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables (and know that 1/5 of your daily intake of water comes from what you eat).

 

Here’s a list of ten fruits and vegetables for you to consider including in your diet:

Cucumber, 96% water

Tomatoes, 95% water

Spinach, 93% water

Mushrooms, 92% water

Melon, 91% water

Broccoli, 90% water

Brussel sprouts, 88% water

Oranges, 86% water

Apples, 85% water

Blueberries, 84% water

 

Next week we’ll cover the topic of essential oils and their importance to your diet and overall health.

Until then, stay strong!

Strategy 1: Breathing and Cleansing

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As we promised last week, here’s the first of the 12 Strategies we’ve set as a challenge in order to improve our health and general well-being (that means your body, mind, and emotion). Let’s raise yourself to a higher standard and get started now.

The first Strategy deals with your body need to constantly oxygenize and cleanse itself.

 

Breathing

As you already know, our body needs oxygen to fuel the cells and generate energy.

The optimal level of oxygenation of our cells in order to maintain our health and create a vital lifestyle comes through a good nutrition, drinking enough water, exercise properly and avoid stress.

One of the best ways to oxygenate, as dumb as it might sound, is actually to breathe.
And yes, that implies that we –as representatives of the western culture- don’t know how to breathe properly.

Amusingly, there is even a term the Hawaiian culture uses to refer to western people: Haole, which means “without breath”, because of our inefficient way to inhale…

A good, effective breathe would entail breathing through our stomach first and lastly through our chest; taking deep, rhythmical breathes instead of our usual shallow, irregular ones.

 

Cleansing

Our lymphatic system is a set of tissues and organs that deal with the cleansing and nutrition of our body.
Unlike our cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pumping method of its own; it relies on body movement –meaning physical exercise- to propel its fluids through our body.

The necessary body cleansing requires stimulation to do and improve its circulation.

There are two basic ways to achieve this:

The Power Breath Exercise

Every day, four times a day, take what it’s called Power Breaths; which are cycles of inhaling and exhaling in a 1-4-2 ratio; for instance, if it takes you 4 seconds (1 time count) to inhale, then you hold your breath 4 times count; that is, 16 seconds; then you exhale 2 times your first count; that is, you take 8 seconds to release all the air in your lungs. Then you repeat this cycle 10 times in a row.
Later in the day, you repeat this operation; and again until you complete the 4 times.

Try this now one or two times before you continue reading, and see the feeling of ease and relief you get instantly.

Opposing Gravity Exercising

Exercise that involves working against gravity does the most for our lymphatic system, resulting in a healthy body, mind, and emotion.
20 or 30 minutes of rebounding, jump rope workouts, and all kinds of plyometric exercise can provide the ideal conditions for cleansing your cells.

This kind of workout has countless benefits, like providing the stimulus for a free-flowing lymphatic drainage system, which helps rid our body of toxins, cancer cells, wastes, trapped protein, bacteria, viruses and other waste the cells need to cast off.

 

Hopefully, this first Strategy will help you start off this process of improving your energy and well-being.

Talk again next week.

Stay strong!