51 Ways to Live a Better Life

51 Ways to Live a Better Life

Paid Partnership with Jax Historic Realty

Lately, I have felt a bit off kilter. After eating so well and losing weight and working out regularly, I feel the difference more acutely when I don’t do the best things for my body. I feel it in my bones and I don’t like the feeling.

The strangest things can take a toll on us. Things we don’t attribute to health issues. But the mind and the body are so closely linked! And if we don’t take care of our minds, our bodies can often feel the result acutely. It swear! It’s a real thing and sometimes it’s not easy to track how something like that will affect you.

Sometimes things come along that DO effect us overtly. The big and little hurricanes of life hit us and all thoughts of routine go right out the window. No eating healthy, no going for a run. Because there is work to be done! And people to help and my little routine seems incredibly luxurious in light of larger than life situations like the fires in Australia.

All that to say, I finding it difficult get my groove back. (Not for lack or trying!!) So I’m trying a new challenge that I found on Pinterest (I’ll give full credit when I can find the source!) Who knows if it will end in a better life or a new improved Lizzie, but I know that when I have something to focus on, something fun or challenging or inspiring, I find myself to be a better person just from the trying. The simple act of showing up for myself usually does the trick.

If you want to try this yourself, here’s the list:

  1. Start fresh every single day.
  2. Check credit card, statements, bank accounts and pay stubs regularly.
  3. Adopt a “meatless Monday” mentality or the like.
  4. Put down your phone when you’re with people.
  5. Try the 2/30 rule: 2 hours of TV = 30 minutes of exercise.
  6. Understand that exercise doesn’t have to be a big time commitment.
  7. Cut back on EVIL sugars.
  8. Drink plenty of water.
  9. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses, you’ll lose.
  10. Wear sunscreen.
  11. Ask HR about benefits you probably aren’t using.
  12. Safe sex, always!
  13. Never grocery shop on an empty stomach.
  14. Start biking.
  15. Keep healthy snacks at home, at work, in purse, etc.
  16. Stop beating yourself up.
  17. NEVER DO DRUGS, it’s that simple.
  18. Also never smoke.
  19. Take care of your clothes.
  20. Eat whole foods as much as possible.
  21. Consolidate and pay off debts ASAP!
  22. Don’t skip doctors appointments.
  23. Don’t overdo the booze.
  24. Don’t snack if you’re not hungry.
  25. Use SPF and wear a hat.
  26. Don’t rely on pills to help you sleep.
  27. Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you awake.
  28. Drink at least 8oz of fluids a day.
  29. Make your home a place you want to be.
  30. Don’t buy things you’ll only wear once.
  31. Use YouTube for free exercise videos.
  32. Google/Pinterest how to make your own cleaning supplies.
  33. Drop loose change into the same had daily.
  34. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF.
  35. Avoid tanning beds like the plague.
  36. Take medication seriously.
  37. Listen to your body.
  38. Don’t skimp on sleep.
  39. Do mental health checks.
  40. Read labels on everything from food to makeup.
  41. Prioritize stress management.
  42. Optimize your fertility – if you plan to have kids.
  43. Consider drinking liquid chlorophyll.
  44. Always wear a seatbelt, even in Taxis and Uber.
  45. Wash hands often.
  46. Floss after every brushing.
  47. Sneeze into your arm, not your palm.
  48. For every 20 minutes on the computer, look away for 20 seconds.
  49. Count to 10 when you’re angry.
  50. Learn to take constructive criticism.
  51. Never Google your health condition.

Some of these may be easy to accomplish. Others more challenging. But all are good things to consider. At the end of the day, it’s about learning how to love yourself and love where you are in life. When you don’t love something, figure out how to make the change.

For example, if you do not love where you live, change it.

Although buying and/or selling your home may seem like an impossibly stressful task, there are people who will help you along during the process, such as Erin E. King with Jax Historic Realty.

Photo from Jax Historic Realty

He says, “This website has been built with you in mind. From the highest quality property images to the most informative guides and blogs, he is here to make your home buying or selling experience smooth and stress-free.”

Erin is a Best of Zillow agent and has tons of experience with all things related to home buying and selling, so he can walk you through the process and make it easy, especially when it comes to homes for sale in Murray Hills, or other locations throughout the Jacksonville area.

If you want to join in, maybe pick one or two things that you’d like to try this month. As my friend Renita always says #babystepstogreatness

If you want to jump in head first, come along for the ride!!

Photo from LiveLifeHappy.com

Welcome to #TheSweatPack

I love fitness! I really do. I love the feel of straining dormant muscles (most especially dormant after the holidays.) I love taking classes at Soul Cycle and Title Boxing Club (where I am a member.) I love running by the lake in my neighborhood and lifting weights and jumping rope. I love to feel like I’ve pushed myself, truly pushed myself outside of my box and past my limits. The limits I set in my head. The ones that tell me that I can’t go any further or that I’m never gonna be good enough. Some days those limits win out…but most days I kick those limits in the ass!

#TheSweatPack running

My last blog post was about the tone of my New Year. I’m going to be living this year with a freedom that can only come when those limits are abandoned completely. Is there something that’s holding you back from working out or asking for a promotion or jumping out of a plane? Live Free!! What’s the alternative?

Maybe this doesn’t sound particularly nerdy to you. And if The Big Bang Theory is to be believed, then nerds don’t really choose to sweat much (unless they’re running away from bullies.)

But guess what…I’m a nerd! A BIG ONE (this much you already know.) I love fashion and Firefly. I love music and Marvel. I love sports and Star Wars. I don’t fit into the “normal” nerdy categories and stereotypes that are out there. Never have. That includes the stereotype that nerds aren’t sporty. I just have to beg to differ. Or beg for that stereotype to be buried once and for all. Because I believe that when it comes to nerdom…there is no “normal.”

#TheSweatPack

So, I’m partnering with the lovely Grace Kelle of Lean Girl’s Club and we are kicking the New Year off with some serious sweat!

Frankie had Deano…Emilio Estevez had Judd Nelson…and me? I have Gracie. No, we don’t live in the same city anymore. She’s still living that big city life up in the Apple and I’m beachin’ it up down in the F-L. But when it comes to #TheSweatPack, distance is only a number!

Liz Tailor and Grace Kelle are #TheSweatLPack

You’re wondering where you come in? Well, the beauty of #TheSweatPack is that it’s open to all. Come join Gracie: @leangirlsclub and me: @nerdinthesand over on Instagram and jump into our weekly challenges. It could be 1 picture a week, it could be 7 or 17 (if you’re the overachieving kind!) Wherever you are in your Sweat Pack journey, we want to meet you there!

Listen, if I can do it so can you! And probably way better than me anyways. So show us your sweat. Let it shine! Get up, get moving and get out of that little box!

This week #TheSweatPack is… taking The Stairs!!!

#TheSweatPack taking the stairs Instagram challenge

#AvengerinTraining – Thor Week

Hitting a Wall

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

By week 4, I was tired. I just wanted to sleep. Scheduling was getting difficult. The nice promising Spring weather had turned cold and my motivation almost left me completely this week. Morning runs were hard to come by (because I don’t like running in cold weather.) So I had to find other ways to stay energized in the morning. One particularly lazy morning, I forced myself up and out of bed and I started making a list of reasons why I was doing this. Why did I want to train to be an Avenger? Why did I want to get healthy? Why had I given up my beloved mint chocolate chip ice cream? Was it really worth it?

After writing down 2 pages of reasons why I should continue on with this journey, I found out that I did believe it was worth it and I went out and ran, in the rain no less. It was never going to be easy to do this. And if you take that step towards a healthier life, it won’t be easy for you either. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Chris Hemsworth who has children and a wife and a job and a lot of things that demand his attention. And the world will be against you. I pass by 3 Dunkin Donuts on my commute to work every morning. Giving me not 1, but 3 opportunities to cheat. But this week, despite hitting a wall… I refused to. Something about reaching a limitation really made me want to kick it down and press through. It won’t always be this way. But it was this week!!

Week 4: Thor Week

Watercolor Art by Blule
Watercolor Art by Blule

Thor Odinson, god of thunder, ruler of Asgard, wielder of Mjolnir. Thor was born into a privileged life. He was raised to be a king of Asgard, along with his adopted brother Loki. Stripped of his powers, he was sent to Earth by his father, Odin, to learn the true meaning of kingly responsibility. Upon his return he was welcomed back and was shown to be a worthy prince of Asgard. When Earth was once again threatened by his brother, Loki, Thor joined up with the team known as The Avengers to fight the threat to Earth, home of his beloved Jane.

Chris Hemsworth plays the mighty god of thunder. To prepare for the role, Hemsworth started training with former Navy seal, Duffy Gaver. Gaver applied an “old school bodybuilding approach” to train Hemsworth. Take a look at the full article and  workout over at MuscleandFitness.com

Inspiration

Movies

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Avengers and Age of Ultron, are on the list as usual. Adding in Thor and Thor: The Dark World for all kinds of Asgardian goodness!  Thor is a great figure of mythology so I added Clash of the Titans to the list because it’s all about the gods and demigods of Greek mythology, to keep with that mysthological theme. And for good measure I added in Star Trek, the JJ Abrams reboot, which stars none other than Chris Hemsworth himself, as James T. Kirk’s ill-fated father.

Music

The music used in Thor and Thor: The Dark World have that heavy epic feeling to them, so I also added a lot of Star Wars music and other epic movie themes. Along with Carmina Burana. Anything that makes you feel like you are in a sweeping epic. This music definitely made me run with purpose!

Meals

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I crafted my meal plan based on what Chris Hemsworth ate during training. Take a look at HealthyCeleb.com

Weekly Workout Challenge

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Day 1: 5 Kettlebell Swings/ 5 Pushups

Day 2: 8 Kettlebell Swings/ 8 Pushups

Day 3: 11 Kettlebell Swings/ 11 Pushups

Day 4: 14 Kettlebell Swings/ 14 Pushups

Day 5: Rest Day

Day 6: 17 Kettlebell Swings/ 17 Pushups

Day 7: 20 Kettlebell Swings/ 20 Pushups

By now you should have layered on the final day’s workout from Iron Man Week, Hulk Week and Black Widow Week. Take the last day of Thor week with you into Hawkeye week. It should look like this:

-2 sets of Full Front Planks (60 second hold, rest in between)

-Chest Flys, Dumbbell Chest Presses, Standing Shoulder Presses, Arm Curls (25 reps)

-40 Squats (2 reps)

-20 Kettlebell Swings/ 20 Pushups

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Photo by Cristina Fowler

Extra Credit

Kettlebell Kickboxing

Photo from Kettlebell Kickboxing

I chose kettlebell class because I thought the kettlebell could stand in for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. At Kettlebell Kickboxing they teach you a lot of different ways to utilize the kettlebell. They also incorporate some kickboxing and cardio into the routine as well. It made for a really great full-body workout! I brought a friend with me to this class and we were both smiling and sweating by the end. Intro class to Kettlebell Kickboxing is $20. A great class!!

Diesel Class @ Crunch Gym

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Photo from Crunch Gym

If there is one member of The Avengers who could be described as “diesel” it would be Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. So I decided to take Diesel Class at Crunch Gym for Thor Week. I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. It was an intense 60 minutes of weights, cardio and floor work. Cruch offers a free trial at their gym where you can take advantage of their gym equipment and/ or their classes. I’m a classes person myself and I really loved the group energy in this class as well as the unbridled enthusiasm of the instructor!! If you are a Crunch member or thinking of joining, definitely give this class a try!

Other options for Thor Week:

Weight Lifting

Other Kettlebell Classes

Helpful Tips

Here’s a list of tips that really helped me through this fitness plan. They are nothing new. They are nothing you couldn’t easily find online or in Shape magazine. But they are things that really worked for me and I hope will work for you, if you need that extra bit of motivation!

-Be honest with yourself – Try using a food tracker, I like My Fitness Pal. And make sure to be accurate in honest in your tracking. Lying only hinders your own progress. And unless you allow someone to be your accountability, you will be the only to know if you are creating a faithful accounting of your eating habits. But I truly believe that if you start being honest, even if it means tracking the 2 bowls of mint chocolate chips ice cream you ate one night, that you will start to change your habits because you want to see healthier stats. And because it will start to feel so good to make better choices. It did for me

-Stick to serving sizes – For dry goods and things that can be broken into portions, I tried to split up the portions way before meal time came around. For example, as soon as I got home from the grocery store I divided up the whole wheat pasta into ziploc bags with the correct portion size in each bag. Same with things like grapes or chips. Anything that would be easy to overeat in one sitting. That way when the time comes to eat the food you want, you can judge it based on an accurate portion and log it into your food tracker correctly. It’s ok if you need more that 1 portion of the food. But that’s where the honesty comes in.

-Shop the outer rim – When you go to the grocery store, try to stick to the fresh foods. Dairy, fruit, veggies, meat, eggs, etc. These can be found along the outer circle of more super markets. The aisles generally hold dry, preserved goods. Some of which you might need. But to eat cleaner, greener, healthier meals, the best things are the ones that might not survive a nuclear apocalypse (I’m looking at you Twinkie!)

-Keep what you like, ditch the rest – There’s nothing worse than a fitness plan that feels like it was meant for someone else. That’s why I want you to be able to take what you like from it. Sure, working out everyday, never losing focus and living only off the land is probably the healthiest way to live. But it’s not practical. I’m a firm believer that some effort is better than no effort. So even if you just do a weekly challenge or hit one class a week, it’s better than nothing. I went on Pinterest and just made a whole board of things that inspired me (after all, that’s what Pinterest is for!) This allowed me to visualize and then I went ahead and took the things I liked and ditched all the rest. Enjoyment is really half the battle!!

Stay tuned for the following Avengers: Hawkeye and Captain America. Check out Iron Man week,  Hulk week and Black Widow Week in case you missed them.

And make sure to comment below with any questions, comments, etc! And let me know if you are trying any of these. I would love to hear from you!!

Just One Word

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Welcome to the New Year! A time of reflection. A time to assess the year that’s passed. A time to start looking forward to the year to come. And, inevitably, a time of resolutions.

If you’re like me then you make long lists of things that need changing. Things that are wrong with you. Maybe it looks something like this:

-Lose that weight

-Get rid of my debilitating debt

-Be better at my job

-Take up a new hobby

-Eat better

-Be nicer

-Travel more

-Curse less

-Pray more

-Hurt less

Be this. Do that. Change, change, change!
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Let me tell you. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t inspire. It only hurts.

So this year it’s time to try something different. (Brought to you by Roommate’s mom, Karen)

Pick a word. A word that inspires you. A word that you want to describe you. A word that will help you make some positive changes. A word you’d be proud to have someone say about you.

I’ve chosen BOLD.
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I want to be bold in my relationships with people. I want to be bold in my aspirations. Bold with my big, wild dreams. Bold with my heart. Bold with my health. And perhaps if I attempt to create a bolder life, then maybe I will accomplish some of the goals that inevitably end up on my 5 page list of resolutions every year. And wouldn’t that be a better way to improve myself?

The truth is that I am exactly who I’m supposed to be. And the fundamentals need not be altered. I just need to start thinking the best about myself and the rest will follow.

What’s your word?