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Fitness

Why Exercise is Important

What are you doing on a daily basis to exercise your body? If you don’t take care of your physical form with exercise, you will slowly waste away. Watch this video to learn why staying active is so important!

Fitness trackers are excellent tools for logging and evaluating all types of exercise. Read our guide for choosing the right fitness tracker here.

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Featured, Lifestyle, Soundness

Your Guide to Setting Life-Changing Goals

How important are goals in your life? To answer this question, imagine a hypothetical situation.

You are heading out onto the open road, taking a cross-country trip to the vacation spot of your dreams. A lot of time was spent carefully packing the car with your luggage and healthy snacks for the road. You even took the effort of saving a sweet Spotify playlist to your phone for the many hours of driving ahead. Everything is going to be great.

You hop onto the interstate, humming along to one of your favorite songs. The minutes fly by as fast as the miles and soon you are far from home. This is uncharted territory for you, but the change of scenery is refreshing. The sun reaches high noon and you suddenly realize you’re starving for lunch. Time to find a place to eat.

Parking at one of those gas stations in the middle of nowhere, you pull out your phone to check for the nearest restaurants. The map won’t load. With a sinking feeling, you realize you’re out of data for the month. Out of data and alone in a place you’ve never been before. You own paper maps and a handy GPS, but you left those things back at your house.

What would you do in this situation? The chance you’ll be able to find a good restaurant is small, and the chance your journey will successfully end at your dream destination is next to nothing. Odds are: you’ll either call your phone carrier for an extra gig of data, make the trek back home to grab your GPS, or buy a map inside the gas station. Any way you slice it, you need a route and navigation to continue your trip.Goals: Your Roadmap for Life

Failing to set goals in your life is like taking a trip with no means of navigation. You might get lucky and come across a few places worth visiting during your voyage, but most of the time you will simply be trying to figure out where you are. Goals are the primary way we can project and fulfill our own future. And if we construct our goals in the right manner, they also provide the correct path forward.

You’ve probably made goals for yourself at some point. Perhaps during a new-year’s-day burst of motivation. But how committed were you with following through? If you ultimately failed, don’t feel bad. Statistically, most people’s goals are forgotten a few weeks after they make them. New year’s resolutions are particularly susceptible to this neglect. In order to get the most out of your goals and make it easy for you to push to success, you need to know the proper method to setting goals.

Dedicate a couple hours to this process. Your goals are very important, and this procedure is going to change your life. Prepare yourself to give a lot of thought and a bit of work to the following guide. Pull out a notepad or open a word processor, and let’s get started.

Begin with visualization

Visualizing Goals

Close your eyes and think about the future. Not the next few days or months – the far future. Put yourself into your perfect life’s shoes.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where am I?
  • Who am I with?
  • What do I look like?
  • How do I feel?
  • What am I doing?

This perfect future life you are seeing is your ultimate goal. Write down details of this goal as you visualize. Be as specific as possible.

Break it down

Everyone’s life situation really boils down to five main areas:

  • Financial
  • Relationships
  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional

Continuing with the visualization of your perfect life, write down how each of these areas is going for you in the future.

Goal Journaling

It’s very important to write these goals in the present tense.

Let’s use a physical goal as an example. Don’t write “I will be a marathon runner”. Instead write “I am a marathon runner”. You will be looking over these goals many times in the years to come. When you read something that’s present tense, you are encouraging your subconscious mind to see it as a reality. This helps you live like you’ve already achieved your goal, which is super effective for making progress and staying motivated.

Devote an honest effort while completing this step. After all, you are effectively planning out how the rest of your life is going to go. Don’t be afraid to set very ambitious goals for yourself. You have more potential than you could ever realize, and creating goals that are easy to reach is just selling yourself short.

Give it a timeframe

You Goal's Timeframe

Now you should have a list of lifetime goals broken down into the five main areas of life. The next step is to work backwards in time, getting closer and closer to the present.

Here is how you should structure your goals:

  1. Lifetime Goals
    • Financial Goals
    • Relationship Goals
    • Physical Goals
    • Mental Goals
    • Emotional Goals
  2. Three-Year Goals
    • Financial
    • Relationship
    • Physical
    • Mental
    • Emotional
  3. Yearly Goals
    • Continue making goals for the five areas within each timeframe
  4. Quarterly Goals
  5. Monthly Goals
  6. Weekly Goals

Start with your list of “Lifetime Goals”

Determine what you’ll have to do to reach each of those five goals within three years. Add them to the list under “Three-Year Goals” (remember to do it in present tense). Now decide what you’ll have to do within a year to reach your three-year goals. Continue this process down the line until you finish weekly. Again, do not rush this!

Review and manage your list

Goal Set!Congratulations! You have just created a road map to your perfect life. Hang the sheet you’ve constructed somewhere you will see it every day, like by your bed or on the bathroom mirror. It’s vital to review your goals on a daily basis. You need to burn them into your mind.

When the week is up, you will need to create new weekly goals. Take this time to evaluate yourself on your progress. What went really well? What could you have done better? Commit to making improvements whenever possible. You will have to create new goals every month, every year, every quarter, and every three years. Refer back to your lifetime goals when deciding what to write in each of these instances.

Do not underestimate the effort it will require to reach your destination. This journey is a priority in your life. Chase your goals like your life depends on them, because it absolutely does. Congratulate and reward yourself for small wins. Motivate yourself by visualizing the future you will be living some day.

Know beyond any doubt that you have the ability to create your own future by making the correct choices in the present. Now that you have filled out your ultimate goalsheet, you possess instructions for exactly what you have to do. Go and get after it!

Resources

Despite my best efforts to be simple, this guide may be confusing to you. I’ve made a handle little template on Google Docs that you can copy, paste, and fill in to streamline this process. It’s completely free! Click the link below for access (use a desktop browser for best experience).

Google Docs Goalsetting Guide

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Food, Uncategorized

3 Low Carb Ice Creams That Won’t Ruin Your Diet

Ice cream is simply one of the best food inventions ever. It’s so cold, so creamy, so satisfying! Unfortunately, most ice creams are loaded with tons of sugar and fat. Whether you’re going on a calorie cutting or keto diet, you may believe you will never be able to experience the wonders of ice cream ever again.

Don’t lose hope! There’s a few options out there if you want to get your ice cream fix in. Let’s take a look at three low carb ice creams that you can probably buy from your local grocery store.

Halo Top Ice Cream

Halo Top Low Carb Ice Cream

Based out of Los Angles, California, Halo Top has become super popular over the past few years. It’s for good reason too: they offer many different flavors of ice creams that are all far healthier than regular options.

That number you see on the carton? It isn’t calories per serving. It’s calories per pint! Halo Top is also perfect for low carb diets, with less than 10g of carbs per serving.

Nutrition information (varies slightly between flavors)

  • Calories: 75
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Protein: 5g

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Low Cow Lite Ice Cream

Low-Cow-Ice-Cream.jpgLow Cow Ice Cream is a Simple Truth Organic product. Kroger owns the Simple Truth brand, and it can be found in thousands of grocery stores around the united states.

Like Halo Top, Low Cow Lite Ice Cream is available in tons of different flavors – and the whole lineup is a great option for keto dieters. This ice cream manages to maintain amazing flavor while still removing a lot of the junk that will bring your diet to its knees.

 

Nutrition information (varies slightly between flavors)

  • Calories: 65
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Protein: 6g

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Breyers Carb Smart

Breyers CarbSmart

Breyers is one of America’s leading brands of ice cream. They didn’t want to miss out on the fun of low carb options, so they introduced the ‘Carb Smart’ line. This ice cream is specifically made for people on low carb diets (it even says on the packaging!).

While there isn’t as much variety here and it’s not as healthy overall, Breyers Carb Smart Ice cream is far cheaper than Halo Top or Low Cow. You can pick up almost half a gallon of this deliciousness for about the same price as a quart of the previous two options.

Nutrition information (varies slightly between flavors)

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Protein: 2g

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Find Your Own

There’s bound to be local or specialty brands of low carb ice creams that aren’t listed here. Read the nutrition labels of some ice cream cartons next time you are craving a cold, sweet treat. You might come across an option that works perfect for you! Remember to subtract the Dietary Fiber and Sugar Alcohol from the Total Carbohydrate count, as these do not affect your diet (fiber and alcohol don’t change blood sugar levels).

It’s important to restrain yourself from going overboard with ice cream.

Even these diet-conscious options are bad if you eat too much at a time. Reserve ice cream as a treat to be enjoyed in small quantities at a time.

If you are on a keto diet, that doesn’t mean you have to rob yourself the joys of ice cream! Pick from one of the three above, or find your own, and enjoy with no guilt!

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Soundness

7 Mindfulness Practices for Better Well- Being

We all live crazily busy lives. The action is nonstop from the moment our heads pop off our pillows. Too often we suddenly realize we are in a state of mental limbo, cruise-controlling our way through the days.

Being mindful is more important than ever in today’s fast-paced environment. With mindfulness, we can claim back the full potential of our incredible intellect. Here are 7 mindfulness practices you should be doing to enhance your own life and every life you touch.

Be fully present when interacting with other people

anna-vander-stel-60342-unsplash

Whenever you find yourself interacting with someone, make sure you give them your full attention. Being present is almost a lost art in the twenty-first century, yet there is no better way to show respect when dealing with people. Everyone loves being appreciated, but it’s hard to feel that way when you can sense someone’s mind is somewhere else.

Stow your phone at social gatherings

Mobile devices are easily the worst culprits when it comes to sucking our attention away. Constant notifications, alerts, and vibrations are designed to keep us checking our phones constantly.

Next time you are eating dinner, going to a game night, or otherwise meeting up with some friends – turn off your phone. Whoever you are spending time with will appreciate the extra focus and attention you’ll be able to give them. Don’t just silence it. Turn it off! That way, you won’t have to worry about your Instagram feed or the latest stock prices. You will be surprised how much easier it is to get fully involved in the socializing.

Consider how your words will affect a conversation

clem-onojeghuo-381204-unsplashEvery word you speak will have either a positive or negative effect on the person you are talking to. You should focus your efforts on being uplifting and constructive in your conversations, no matter the situation. Never put other people or their opinions below you. Try showing genuine interest in the things they are saying to you, and respond with positivity and enthusiasm.

Before saying anything, pause and predict how it will be taken

Ask yourself:

  • Is what I’m about to say negative in any way?
  • How would I want to be talked to in this situation?
  • What can I say to show appreciation to this person?
  • Is there any reason to not speak the words I’m about to say?

Being mindful when speaking to other people will help you form healthier and longer-lasting relationships. Keep it up long enough and you’ll cement your place as one of the world’s few great conversationalists!

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Mindfulness Shoes

The golden rule of the ages is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Taking the concept a step further is the act of putting yourself into someone else’s shoes: trying to feel another person’s emotions and view situations from the same perspective.

Empathy is a trait that is unique to humans

Through empathy, we have the power to connect with each other on a level that no other animal can achieve. It is a tool you can use to inspire trust, appreciation, and happiness in those around you. The more you practice putting yourself in the place of others, the more you will appreciate the significance of each human life here on Earth.

Be mindful about other people’s existences. Imagine what the whole world would be like if everyone considered each other on a level this deep. You can do your part on a daily basis to help make that dream a reality.

Notice your feelings without reacting to them

Mindfulness Smiling

An awesome mindfulness is practice observing your own emotions from a separated state. Emotions are really powerful, and they can completely take us over if we are not careful. When you feel strong sentiments beginning to grab hold, immediately take a mental step back.

Why are you feeling the way you are?

If the emotion you are experiencing is good, notice what makes that emotion appear. Cultivate the emotion and train yourself to summon it at will.

If the emotion is negative, simply shift it out of your mind and move on to something else. You don’t really have time for garbage like that anyway, do you?

Being able to notice your feelings without reacting to them is a core part of living a mindful life. Viewing feelings from a distance – and deciding the cause and effect of those feelings – is how you learn to control what’s going on inside your head. The moment you have mastered your own emotions is a moment your life will never be the same again.

Breathe deeply to reset your mental state

Mindfulness BreathingDid you know deep breathing is the ultimate mental cleanser? The deeper you breathe, the more you saturate your blood with oxygen – which is used for almost every system in your body. Brains particularly require a lot of oxygen to operate. In fact, they can use as much as three times the amount of O₂ as muscles! With all that extra oxygen flowing to your head, you will be much more alert and clear-minded.

Slow it down

Whenever you notice yourself feeling anxious, melancholy, or angry, take a few deep breaths. You’ll immediately start to feel better. It’s almost magical! Mental benefits include toxin flushing, stress release, and reduced pain. If you want to get serious about deep breathing, look into some deep breathing practices you can add to your daily routine.

Keep a short daily journal

aaron-burden-90144-unsplash

Reflecting back on a day before going to sleep is a wonderful habit to have. Being mindful of your life’s details will only leave you better prepared and more motivated to dive into the future. Some of the greatest people in history kept a regular personal journal- including Beethoven, Mark Twain, George Lucas, and Benjamin Franklin. If it helped them, it can certainly help you too.

Make it simple

There’s no need to write a novel before you roll over and let your dreams take you. Nobody has time for that. Consider just a few meaningful things you can jot down for the day. What inspired you? Was there something interesting or surprising that happened today? Who did you spend time with and what did you do?

Mindful journaling is a habit that can give you direction and stability in your life. Try it out! Get a small journal and keep it right by your bed. Who knows? Maybe someday it’ll be famous.

Minimalism Art Classic Notebook Journal

Set a phone reminder

Mindfulness Reminder

In all honesty, it’s not easy being mindful. Our old habits and routines make it difficult to implement mindfulness into our lives. A perfect way to regularly practice mindfulness is creating a phone reminder to assist us. Program it to go off every day at a specific time. Try to pick an hour when you tend to be wrapped up in commitments and activities.

A simple title like “Be Mindful” will work great.

Here’s what to do when the reminder goes off

  1. Pause whatever you are currently involved in.
  2. Bring attention to your senses: What do you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel?
  3. Bring attention to your emotions: What is your current mental state?
  4. Decide on one simple action you can take to make someone else’s day a little better. For example, you could compliment your coworker’s new haircut or send a text checking up on an old friend.

Being habitually mindful will completely change your life. A phone reminder is hard to ignore and can help you immensely.

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Give these sevens tips a shot, and see what happens. Most likely, you will enjoy the results so much that mindfulness will become a part of who you are.

 

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Fitness, Gadgets, Uncategorized

Choosing the Right Fitness Tracker

Wearable technology is a hot trend – and for good reason! It’s crucial to stay connected, informed, and efficient in this modern age. What better way to do that than to strap a mini computer to your wrist? These devices are only getting more popular, and aren’t going away any time soon. Eventually, almost everyone will have some sort of wearable technology on them constantly.

One great byproduct of the explosion in wearable technology is fitness tracking. It’s never been easier to log and document things like daily calories burned, heart rate, and steps taken. Keeping tabs on your fitness is an awesome way to keep yourself motivated and helps set proper goals in your health journey.

If you don’t already own a fitness tracker, you should consider buying one. Most of them pair to a smartphone app so you can see detailed results of your workouts, active time, and even sleep patterns! Without one of these, it would be extremely difficult and time consuming to record all of this information.

There’s a literal truckload of different options in the way of fitness trackers. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones to help you narrow down the search for your perfect match.

Garmin Vívofit 2

Fitness Tracker - Garmin Vivofit 2

Garmin is a well-known brand that used to specialize in GPS technology. Recently, they have been producing some great fitness trackers as well. Their products are all finely crafted, sleek, and durable. The Vívofit 2 is one of Garmin’s most popular options to date, offering many great features for a low price.

What’s good

  • 1 year battery life
  • Interchangeable bands for customization
  • Inexpensive
  • Backlit display
  • Speaker for audio alerts
  • Built-in goalsetting options
  • Automatic syncing
  • Easy to set up

What’s lacking

  • Can’t recharge battery
  • No GPS
  • No heart rate sensor
  • No touch display
  • No smart alerts

Garmin Vívofit 2 Activity Tracker

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Fitbit Charge HR

Fitness Tracker - Fitbit Charge HR

As far as fitness tracking goes, Fitbit was one of the first to get on the scene. Devices made by Fitbit are accurate and minimalistic, designed to be worn at all times of the day. Their companion app is excellent and constantly updated with superb new content. The Fitbit Charge HR is a great choice for people who want a robust suite of features in a small, inconspicuous package.

What’s good

  • Bright OLED display
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 5-day battery life
  • Caller ID
  • Automatic silencing (during sleep)
  • Workout summaries
  • Awesome companion app
  • Clock

What’s lacking

  • No GPS
  • No touch display
  • No interchangeable bands
  • Potential durability issues

Fitbit Charge HR

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Pebble 2 + Heart Rate Smartwatch

Fitness Tracker - Pebble 2 + Heart Rate

Pebble has shut down recently, but you can still find their excellent smartwatches for sale.

Pebble’s first watch was crowdfunded through Kickstarter, and they grew their product line to include many great devices before they closed their doors. The Pebble 2 + HR Smartwatch is one of Pebble’s crowning achievements. It offers great value and an insane battery life for a smartwatch. If you’re a practical person who wants a simple yet effective solution, this might be the one for you.

What’s good

  • 7 day battery life
  • Large customizeable screen
  • Works with iOS and Android
  • App alerts and notifications
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Sleep tracking
  • Music control
  • Full activity tracking
  • Swappable bands

What’s lacking

  • No support from Pebble (shut down)
  • Monochromatic watch screen
  • No GPS
  • Does not share data with fitness apps

Pebble 2 + HR Smartwatch

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Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

Fitness Tracker - Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

If there’s one truly experienced tech company on this list, it’s Samsung. Samsung wearables are loaded with tons of great options, and are snappy and responsive. Their Gear Fit 2 Pro smartwatch was designed with fitness tracking in mind, and it delivers on its promise. It will work with both iOS and Android, but has more features available with an Android phone. This model is worth considering if you don’t want to miss out on any aspect of fitness tracking.

What’s good

  • Large, full-color AMOLED touch display
  • Android integration (read texts, make calls)
  • GPS
  • Swim-ready water resistance
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Swappable bands
  • Music player
  • Four-day battery life
  • Advanced activity and workout tracking
  • Works with iOS and Android

What’s lacking

  • More expensive
  • Requires a Samsung phone for the fullest expereince
  • A bit clunky/conspicuous
  • Can be inaccurate

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

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Ticwatch S

Fitness Tracker - Ticwatch S

Ticwatch is another smartwatch company spawned from crowdfunding. They have managed to produce excellent watches that fall far below competitor’s prices. For how much it costs, the Ticwatch S is practically a steal. It has an ultra-fast processor, an amazing display, and great fitness tracking. It will even detect what types of lifts you are doing during a workout session! Pick this one up if you want the best of everything – it’s available in multiple color options.

What’s good

  • Large circular full-color AMOLED touchscreen
  • Super accurate GPS
  • Works with iOS and Android
  • Full smartphone integration
  • Third party app support
  • Water resistant
  • Microphone/speaker for notifications/voice commands
  • Endless watch face options
  • Locally saved music
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Advanced exercise tracking

What’s lacking

  • No interchangeable bands
  • Requires recharging every night

Ticwatch S

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