Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: A Love-Hate Relationship





According to most dictionaries, a "love–hate relationship" is a kind of relationship that involves simultaneous or alternating emotions of love and hate—something particularly common when emotions are intense.

This definition applies to my relationship with "New Year's Resolutions" - I love them in January, but I hate them during the rest of the year!

I feel that we, humans, are always looking for ways or things that can motivate or inspire us. Most of us feel that we need to change or improve something. So, many of us go through the process of preparing a list of resolutions during late December or early January of each year. We see it as an opportunity for change. 

Unfortunately, while about 75% of people stick to their resolutions or goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later, a 2002 study found. Clearly, it is very hard to maintain the enthusiasm that motivated us to prepare our list of New Year's resolutions throughout the whole year.

It is there a way that we can stick to our New Year's resolutions? 


The reality is that many of the resolutions that are in our list are nothing else that changes that we would like to make to our lives. In many cases, these changes are habits that we have, but that we don't like. Many of these habits are affecting our work, health or happiness. 

But, if these changes are our own "habits", why are they so hard to change?

According to some expertsit's difficult to change habits because if we aren't sure why we are changing, don't fully believe we are making the right choice, or question whether what we are doing will work, we are likely to settle back on our regular or traditional behaviours. 
So, we don't change anything or state status quo.

I believe that the main problem with New Year's resolutions is that for most of us, it's not easy to find the endurance, motivation or mental force to change what we have been doing for years. 

Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford University, suggests something that I could work:

"next time you're trying to make a change, figure out what your current default is, and remind yourself exactly why it isn't working

Then look for ways to change your default so you don't have to fight the old default as often.

 And feel free to be your own cheerleader when the going gets rough.

 Look for the first evidence (a pound lost here, a dwindling credit card statement there) that what you're doing is paying off".


It's not easy to stick to our New Year's resolutions because humans are creatures of habits. It's not easy for us to change our habits. But, if some people can do it, it means that it's possible.

Bernadette Farrell from Huffington Post provided two tips that I am planning to consider when preparing my own New Year's resolution:

(1) Choose an activity that meets one or more of your basic human needs. The more your activity meets your needs, the more likely you will be to stick with it.

(2) if one of your resolutions is to lose weight or be healthier, then choose an activity that is enjoyable and appealing to youWe all have a memory bank of positive experiences that we have accumulated over the course of our lives. One way to access those memories is to ask ourselves, "What kinds of things did I love doing back in the day?"  The answer to this question will help to identify those activities that appeal to us and that we can benefit from getting involved in again.

Are you planning to make a New Year's Resolutions list?  Are you including the same resolutions that you had last year? Are you trying something new?



Monday, December 21, 2015

The Pounds Are Finding Me, I Don't Move Enough!

Photo source: http://www.dangerouslyfit.com.au/exercise/exercise-during-menopause/


Although I consider myself as an active woman, I have to admit that I have not been consistent with my workout routines over the last 3-4 years. Consequently, I have gained at least 15 pounds, with most of this extra weight going to the abdominal area. I used to fit in size 4 (or less) clothes, now I wear size 8 ... and it is frustrating!

Of course, I can say that I am a busy mother who works full-time, thus I don't really have time to workout for 1 hour daily. But, if I want to be honest with myself, I have to admit that the reality is that I don't always prioritize my workout time.  We don't always need 1 hour for workouts ... a very intense 30-min workout such as those offered by Shaun T Fitness, or Jillian Michaels can make you sweat profusely. 

But, there is also another factor that I should mention here which I have found particularly challenging this year: my age. I am 50 years old and my body is experiencing all the changes typical of the perimenopausal transition. One of these changes is to gain extra pounds, particularly in the abdominal area.

Of course, not all women going through perimenopause gain weight; but many do, why?


Recently, a study published by the North American Menopause Society suggests it’s more important than ever for perimenopause women (ages: 45 to 55 years old) to commit to keeping the pounds off. The new study, done at Yonsei University in Seoul and Hallym University in Chuncheon (Korea) examined 4 years of data from the Korean Genetic Epidemiologic Survey. It looked at 1,200 healthy women not on hormones who were at risk to put on fat around the waist and develop high blood pressure and higher cholesterol. This is also known as metabolic syndrome, a dangerous combination of conditions that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

The key result from this study that I want to point out here is that women going through perimenopause didn’t have a higher chance of getting the entire syndrome, but if they started out overweight, sedentary, undereducated or disadvantaged, they were at higher risk.

So, the take-home message is that if you are in your 40s or early 50s and you tend to live a sedentary life or are a little bit overweight, you need to start moving! 

I don't think that I live a sedentary life, but I do recognize that I can be more active. Perhaps, this may be something that I should put in my list of New Year's resolution - a real act of self-improvement, in my case!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Would You Watch a Movie More than Once in the Cinema? How about Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

 

I admit that I have never been the type of person who watches the same movie twice at the cinema. I don't have problems watching a movie several times at home - I have done it many times. For instance, my husband and I love mafia movies and always try to watch "The Godfather " at least once per year - it's a ritual!

But, the idea of watching the same movie twice at the cinema is different - it feels a little bit like a waste of money. I believe that the only time that I did this was for "Titanic". I watched it the first time with a couple of friends, and then I went a couple of weeks after with another friend who was unable to make it the first time. It didn't feel like a waste money or time then, but more like a nice gesture for a friend who otherwise would have not gone to see the movie alone.

I suppose that there are many reasons why people watch a movie at the cinema more than once. A great movie certainly deserves to be watched more than once at the cinema - if one can afford the price, I guess. Here is another very special and personal reason why a person, a father, would watch a movie at the cinema more than once: LOVE ...  A father's love for his children.



Star Wars: The Force Awakens three times within 48 hours!

All this to say that my husband is watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens three times within 48 hours! Both of our boys wanted to see the movie today. Our 6-year old son, Elijah, wanted to go with a couple of his friends, and of course with dad. Elijah is really in love with all that has to do with Star Wars. He talks about the movies, the characters and all the unique scenes. So, when he asked his dad to take him to see the new Star Wars movie, my husband had to say yes. My stepson, Noah, was also planning to see the movie with friends and wanted his dad to come too. You cannot say no when your teenager son ask you to spend time with him.

The issue would not be a problem if everybody would want to see the movie at the same time. But, of course, this was not the case. Small children (my son + friends) had to see the movie at lunch time while older kids (my stepson + friends) were planning to see the movie late afternoon. 


 My poor husband, a loving father, did not want to let down neither of his two boys. So, he decided to watch the movie with each one of them separetely. My husband watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens three times within a time period of 48 hours! 

Although you may not see this as a sacrifice or an act of love, I am certain that you can see that a person can get tired watching the same movie over and over. After all, my husband saw this movie three times within a short period of time, including twice today between 12:30 - 6:00 pm. I know for certain that there were a couple of other important things that needed his immediate attention today, but that had to wait because of his "Star Wars Marathon". 

In my case, I have not seen the movie yet, and that's fine with me. I will be a "good partner" and will wait at least a couple of weeks before I ask my husband to see the movie with me!

How about you? How many times are you planning to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the cinema?




Friday, December 18, 2015

The Little Engine That Could


The Little Engine That Could is a classic story for children.  " I think I can, I think I can " - A powerful and inspirational sentence that dominates this book - inspiring children. If you want to develop the self-esteem of your child, consider reading to him/her this book.

The story of The Little Engine That Could is cute and engaging. A train filled with toys and food for children needs to get to the other side of the mountain. Unfortunately, the train gets stuck at the bottom of a mountain.


The toys see a shiny giant train coming and ask for help. But that train pompously refuses and says that "he’s done his work for the day". They ask another train for help, but this other one also refuses. They ask a very old engine next, but he literally could not help.

A very little engine came next. This little engine believed in itself and with great effort helped the train to reach the other side of the mountain. Everyone gave up on the toys but not that little blue engine that could because it persisted, and believed in itself.

So, The Little Engine That Could aims to deliver a message to help teach children and adults to overcome adversaries and believe in themselves - An important message that needs to be heard by all children, and adults too! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Favourite Audiobooks of 2015

In 2015, I discovered the joy of reading books via Audiobooks. Here is the list of the audiobooks that I read this year using Audible  and other sources.

These are the audiobooks that I enjoyed listening during the year 2015:





Since I usually don't have too much time for books or audiobooks, I exploited all the chances offered by my busy life to listen to books. 

So, I listened to my audiobooks in many places including my car, in the gym, in the grocery store or when running or walking my dog. All my electronic devices were sync with my Audible account to make my audiobook experience more efficient.


There Is No Try - Yoda Quote

My favourite quote from Star Wars movies - No fiction, real life!

Photo credit: https://anshuchristajacobson.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Concerts: For The Pleasure of Children and Parents too!


Today, we attended Elijah's Christmas concert - what a wonderful and special moment! 

The concert was scheduled to start at 1:00 pm, so I thought that by showing up at 12:30 pm, I would be able to get good places for us. Naive me! When I got there at 12:30 pm, the place was half filled with parents, grandparents and other relatives who were as excited as the children to be part of this special moment. Although I was a little disappointed with my location, I was not only happy to be there, but particularly  amazed to see how most parents always make the time to be present at their Christmas concerts. 



As the children were arriving at the scene, the excitement really filled the room. Parents started to take pictures and/or to wave to their children -- It is always so important to make certain that your child knows that you are there for him or her! So, you need to be visible...your son or daughter needs to know that you are there for him or her.

All the children in Elijah's class were dressed as penguins - very cute little penguins ready to save Christmas. One of the most important parts of the concert was the play, "How the penguins saved Christmas". Elijah was one of the talking penguins, so he had to say some words - he was very excited and proud to be chosen for that. Even though  he only said a few words, he really felt special. I guess, it doesn't take much to please a 6 year old boy!

All the children in Elijah's class also had to perform two songs, including one in French, "Vive le Vent" -- I love this song (see video of the performance below). They also participated in a couple of other songs with all the grade 1 students from the school. All the children were so happy and eager to sing and perform in front of their parents and relatives. 





I love school Christmas concerts. Children and teachers always work so hard to create such an unforgettable moment for parents and children. It's always a delight to see your child singing or dancing on stage - A wonderful moment for all parents.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Harder I Push, The More I Find Within Myself

We all have days where we feel a little bit depressed and sad - well, today is one of those days for me. 

But, I just remembered something that helped me in the past, so I hope it will help me today. This statement comes from a man who died in 1994, but many people still remember because of his dedication, ethics, generosity and passion -- Ayrton Senna Da SilvaIf you don't follow sports, you may not know who he was; Senna was an amazing Formula 1 driver. He was possibly one of the best in this sport.

Senna used to say when describing himself something that I have always found extremely powerful - one of those statements that are truly motivating and very inspirational -- a statement that I am using today to push myself to find my own motivation.

If you are like me and also need some inspiration, then you may like this Senna's quote. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

If You Have Health, then You Have Everything


If you have health, you have everything that you need. 

Without help, we cannot really be there for ourselves or others. Without help it is very difficult to live our dreams or achieve our goals. So, if you have health, value it.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Own Your Breath and Find Peace

I am Enjoying the First Snowstorm of the Season!

Yes, the white stuff is back!

Last night, we had our first snowstorm. This morning everything looks a little white. It was not a big storm, we only received 19 cm of snow. Most of the snow is already melting because the temperature is above zero. But, here are some pictures that reflect our real first snowy day of the season!

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I love when the trees are covered by wet, and heavy snow. It looks so peaceful.