Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Power of Thoughts

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
You  decide every day. What will you think about? What will you say? What will you do? Who will you be? Make a conscious decision everyday, to live up to your potential and determine your own destiny!

Reflecting on Fitness

What is fitness? FITNESS: The condition of being physically fit and healthy.

Does this mean it is it a way of life? A means to an end? A definition of how you should look, a weight you should be, certain sized clothes you should fit in? Is fitness the same for everyone? Should it be?

I have been struggling with this question for a while now, as I am sure a lot of people have. I have always felt certain pressures and judgments from my family, society, and myself to look, feel and perform a certain way.

Let me explain. My family is thin. Not super skinny, but naturally pretty thin. And we work hard to keep it that way. Growing up my dad witnessed a family member struggle with weight problems and depression as a result so he would constantly focus on instilling "healthy" habits in us with little reminders like: "Are you sure you want to eat that?" or "You're looking a little flabby Shan, did you work out today?".

Though he was full of good intentions, I have felt pressure my whole life to look a certain way, be a certain weight, and wear a certain size. And I have had tough competition from my petite and always fit mother. I was not truly aware of the extent of this pressure until the other day I was talking with my boyfriend. We were sharing what we had done that day and I admitted that I had not worked out and looked at him with guilt all over my face, waiting for him to chastise me. He just looked at me, with utter disbelief, and said, "Why are you ashamed of that? I don't care if you work out every day! One day won't kill you". And it was at that moment that I realized I was unhealthily focused on being healthy.

When had fitness become a way for other people to judge me? When did I start holding myself to other people's standards? Fitness is an individual definition, an individual goal and a unique journey for everyone. Only I can know when I am happy with the way my body performs, how it feels, or the way it looks. I want to be healthy for me, for the energy it gives me, for the way I want to look, and the activities I want to participate in.

Today is day one. The day I want to stop comparing myself to everyone. The day I start having a healthy outlook about being healthy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Only a life lived for others is a life worth living.

If you are given a chance
to be a role model, I think you should always take it
because you can influence a person's life in a positive light,
and that's what I want to do.  That's what it's all about.

 This is my friend Laura, in a nutshell. She is the most amazing person I have ever met. She has the biggest heart, one that does not judge, one that does not complain, one that never tires; She is always ready to carry out whatever task she was called to do, and she serves with an amazing spirit that can't be explained with words.

I have had many moments throughout my life where something amazing has happened or someone amazing has come into my life and I think to myself: This can't possibly be a coincidence, this isn't just luck, this can't be left to chance, this was meant to happen to me. Meeting Laura was one of those moments. 

I first met Laura when we both worked for the SouthWestern Company in Michigan in the summer of 2008. Laura was a student manager and lived at the same HQ with me. She not only showed me the ropes of the job but also helped me grow personally and spiritually. Ever since that summer she has remained a constant positive influence in my life. Whenever I start to doubt myself or my purpose, she is right there assuring me that it will all work out. 

All in all Laura has been a great friend, an amazing role model, and someone I hope to have in my life forever. So this post is for you, Laura. For facing uncertainties, for living the life you were made for, and for being such a great mentor. I love you!

'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Graduate

That's me! I was not referencing the 1967 film... but that I have just [officially] completed my undergraduate career at the University of Minnesota! How does it feel to be a college grad? Not much different, actually. Besides that fact that I am making a budget, putting the insurance in my name, going over benefits options with my dad, and getting ready to be completely [fiscally] independent...

But really, not much has changed [yet]. I am still the same me, with the same quirks and silly personality... Which according to our speaker at the graduation ceremony (Chris Sacca), it is important to keep a sense of authenticity, keep on being your authentic, weird self. I thought his message was SO important, especially as a Carlson School of Management graduate. We are often lulled into believing that corporate, clone, money worshiping is the only way to go. And Chris did a great job dispelling those ideals. Happiness. This is the goal. And Happiness does not equal money. Money comes and goes, but its the relationships, the people, the love for what you are doing, the unique weirdness, your personality, that makes everything you do worth it.

So what do I want? I want to not lose sight of my personal goals in the midst and shuffle of transitioning to my adult life. So,it's time to get down to business. Goals and dreams are never achieved unless they are written down, and unless you are held accountable. SO, here goes the rest of my week's health/ fitness goals:

Tuesday: Ran 3 miles (it was 10pm and I was scared about running alone!)
Wednesday: Ran 4 miles and did abs
Thursday: Ran Quick 2.5 mile run before driving home to NB
Friday: Hills work-out (7 laps at Valley View) & 25 mile bike ride downtown Milwaukee (by lake)
Saturday: Ran 2.5 miles (had to get the house ready for family to come over!)
Sunday: Ran 3 miles before church.
Monday: Ran 3 miles and did Zumba
Tuesday: Day of Rest
Wednesday: Pilates and Core

I'll check back in periodically to update the actual results with the prescribed goals.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I spy...

I think Groupon and LivingSocial are spying on me, or at least my blog. Within a week of writing the post about my post-graduation goals (fitness, ballroom dance, photography) I get emails for 3 offers (one for ballroom dance, one for photography, and one for my favorite outdoor outfitters). Is this coincidence? I really hope so! If not, that's one hell of marketing group you've got over there, 'cause I've jumped at the chance for all of them!

For now, I won't complain because I've gotten great deals on a bunch of hobbies I wanted to pick up! But I'm watching you LivingSocial and Groupon. Sleeping with one eye open ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2011


BDC = Ballroom Dance Classes! I'm finally on my way to achieving one of my goals listed in the last post. LivingSocial had this great deal yesterday that offered 4 individual classes for $12 and 4 Couple classes for $22! Now that's a steal! I can't wait to start taking classes and learn some new moves!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count

"Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count"

I came across this quote today and was surprised at how obvious the advice was, but also how difficult it is to live up to. How many times have you said, "Only # more days until _________" or "I can't wait until _______"?

Every day is a gift, so why not treat it that way? It's so easy to get sucked into routine, the monotony and repetition of chores and work. We complain and "vent" to our friends and family instead of praising the gift that we have been given: a new day, a new chance, another mulligan. Do not become blind by seeing each day as a similar one; Each day is different and each day brings a miracle of its own, It's just a matter of paying attention to that miracle. What miracles will you find today?

Today I was given the chance to learn patience, share a moment with an old man lonely for conversation, and help students print, copy and research for final papers and exams... and all this before noon!

What will you do with your gift?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer = New Season = New Goals

April [snow] showers deter May flowers, but what do [belated] May flowers bring? Hopefully the dawn of a new season [summer!] and the start of a new chapter in my life... Adulthood.

Contrary to what the government thinks, and how they define an adult, 18 was not the turning point for me. Going to college right away allowed me to postpone growing-up and hold on to my youthful bliss of minimal responsibilities. But all of that is changing [And I finally believe I'm ready for it].

Step 1: Buy a car. This was a big decision and a lot of work. You want something reliable, but that is not too expensive and something with good gas mileage. I wanted a pre-owned car... but there's always a gamble in going that route. So after much research and a little help from my mom, I decided on an "electric blue" 2007 Chevy Cobalt with 15,000 miles. It's a great little car, but has put up a fight so far. [That's another story, that I will save for next time].

Step 2: Find a kick-butt bachelorette pad. Nothing too swanky, but something liveable and somewhere fun to start off my new life as a young professional. This is still in the works, but at least Nicole and I [my soon to be roomie] have decided on living in Uptown [which is actually South of downtown... go figure].

Step 3: Work. I start my trabajo el 6 de junio! Time to get ready for the ride of my life!

Step 4: Don't lose sight of my dreams, goals and ambitions [make time for fun]!
Running- Compete in anothe half-marathon.
Yoga: Sign up for Yoga classes!
Biking: Get a road bike!

Dancing: Pick up ballroom dancing again!

Photography: Find time to take a class or tutorial.

What are your goals for Spring/Summer 2011?

Do you have a bucket list for this summer?

Do you have any suggestions for starting a career out of college?

Mother['s Day]

Anna. The name, from biblical times, meaning Gracious, the One Who Gives, and in Native American traditions Anna means Mother. And to me, she has been all of these things.

Everyone obviously thinks their mother is the best, but it honestly takes an amazing woman to be a great mother. They must be selfless, putting their hopes and dreams on the side in order that their kids may have a better tomorrow. They must be the world's greatest cheerleader, a multi-tasking master and have an unlimited patience and a listening ear. Being a mother is a full-time job, but my mom managed to have another career on the side. She was nurturing, loving and inspiring and has been a driving force throughout my life.

I have loved how our relationship has grown into a deep respect and a true friendship, and all of the amazing laughs we have had together. Thanks for always being there for me mom, through hard times and success. Today is just an official day to recognize you for all that you have done, but I celebrate it every day. <3 Love you!

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be."

Friday, May 6, 2011

How are you? Good! Yeah? Yeah! Yeah? Yeah!

Interpersonal skills are on the endangered species list. People don't know how to communicate in a meaningful way anymore! Most save the tough conversations for texting or fb chat instead of manning up and confronting someone with the difficult issues. Why is this? Because our generation was raised one of "we're all winners", and with delicate feelings. Grow a pair, people.

This is not a conversation:
Person 1: Oh my God! Hey, how are you?
Person 2: Good...
Person 1: Yeah?
Person 2: Yeah!
Person 1: Yeah?
Person 2: Yeah!

Take the time to talk to people, and actually listen! Everyone has a story to tell...