Rocking Middle Age

Live boldly, with passion and purpose, fully engaged and awake

Author: Heather Giambalvo (page 1 of 2)

Winter Blues? Get Out Your Calendar!!!

Got the winter blues?  Then it’s time to get out your calendar and make some dates with yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I try to make time for those I love.

Do you love yourself?  If you don’t, it’s time to start.

It’s time to make yourself a priority – make time to do the things you love.

One of my passions is scrapbooking – but I rarely block out time for doing it at home.  I usually have to go to all-day scrapbooking crops in order to get any scrapbooking done.

But late last month, I pulled out my calendar and made some dates with myself over the next couple of months to scrapbook at home.

I am making my passion a priority… making myself a priority!

I juggle a lot of balls in the air – homeschooling my children, taking care of an elderly friend, meeting the emotional needs of my husband and children, to name a few.

But I can’t meet their needs if I am burnt out.

Next on my to-do list is to plan some local hiking trips.  Walking in nature makes my heart sing.

So I will be breaking out my calendar this weekend and penciling in some hiking dates with my husband and children for the next couple of months.

Now it’s your turn – Make yourself a priority.  Open your calendar and make some dates with yourself.  You are worth it!

Come on Rockstar, let’s get busy ROCKING MIDDLE AGE!

 

Babysteps, anyone?

As part of the fitness/food program I follow (Affiliate link), I have been taught to focus on babysteps that I want to accomplish weekly that will help me reach my bigger goals. I find these babysteps to be extremely helpful for getting me and keeping me on track.

For example yesterday I woke up in a REALLY BAD MOOD! I had had a very fun but busy weekend. There hadn’t been enough down time for me to feel prepared for facing a new week. And then I woke up my children (in particular, one child who shall remain nameless) who were feeling the exact same way. It was a bad morning for having to be the responsible adult around here!!!

I managed to get my strength training done throughout the morning but with very little delight. And I didn’t eat away my feelings which is always a positive. I never really got into a good mood yesterday, but my habits helped to keep me from crashing and burning into a pile of sloth and bingeing.

But toward the end of my day, as I evaluated the goals I had made for myself for this week, I saw my goal for doing 35 full pushups throughout the day. And despite my less than stellar mood, I decided to end my day on a positive note by doing my pushups. First I did 5… Took a break… then I did the next 10… break… 10 more… break… the last 10… And I was done!

The simple act of keeping a promise to myself… of completing one of my babysteps… turned the rest of my night around and had me telling myself what a good day tomorrow was going to be.

And yes, I woke up in a better mood this morning… determined to make today a good day… DETERMINED!!!

So I encourage you to set some goals for yourself… Think babysteps… Keep a promise to yourself and make this a great day… And let’s ROCK MIDDLE AGE TOGETHER!

Channeling My Inner Badass

I don’t know about you, but January is always a tough month for me.  The lack of light and the post-holiday dull-drums have a tendency to get the best of me.

My supportive accountability partners (APs) helped to keep me this year from hitting rock bottom and from throwing myself into bad habits.  As one of my APs messaged me, “Be kind, gentle yet firm with yourself.”  It was perfect advice.  However in addition, I needed to channel my inner badass to really kick myself into gear.

So how did I do that, you ask?

It really was a combination of things.

I took a hard look at my habits – some I had let slip during the holidays – and I started slowly but surely adding them back into my routine.

These included my morning routine – my prayers, positive affirmations, reading, and writing.

I am grateful that exercise never got dropped over the holidays, although I have turned it up a notch since then.

Then I tried something new – I took a master’s swim class (Thanks Groupon!) at a local gym.  It consisted of an hour of lap swimming.  It was difficult… I was exhausted afterward… But I also felt a great sense of accomplishment.

ACCOMPLISHMENT = EMPOWERMENT = BADASS in my world

I have also started running intervals again.  Nothing makes me feel more badass than running… Not because I run fast… I am slow and steady… But I run!  I am a badass runner!

What makes you feel badass? DO IT!

Not sure what makes you feel badass?  Try something new.  Groupon is full of opportunities to try something new at a low cost.

And it doesn’t have to be something exercise related.  Take a class at your local library, try a paint night, go dancing… you get the idea!

Don’t let the winter blues get you down.  Channel your inner badass and start ROCKING MIDDLE AGE!

Building the Bricks of a Great 2017

Figuring out my goals for 2017 has proven more difficult than I anticipated… Having had a lot of success with my 2016 goals seems to have created more pressure in my mind to come up with the “perfect” goals for the year.

But sometimes done is the best you can hope for, so eventually I just vomited all my ideas on a piece of paper. And then I let them sit there for a few days marinating.

And lo and behold, I am pretty happy with my list.

There are no big audacious goals on this year’s list but rather lots of smaller, building brick goals that will make for a great year.

So here they are:

Marriage:

Complete most/all of the activities from my hubby’s Christmas gift to me
Take dance lessons
Re-institute regular date nights

Motherhood:

Continue to give my all to homeschooling (one of last year’s goals)
Help my children develop regular fitness routines
Take the kids to Boston & Philadelphia for homeschool field trips
Monthly dates with Peter & Lily – alone time with Mom

Food:

Give my all this year to get down to my best weight – whatever that is – I’ll know it when I get there – the scale does not define me!!!

Fitness:

Continue to focus on healthy and strong rather than thin
Plan long hikes to prep for Venture Crew trip to Floodwood this summer
5Ks – at least 4 this year

Blog:

Develop a regular blogging schedule
Develop ROCKING MIDDLE AGE to its potential

Personal:

Develop a more concrete and consistent morning routine… tweak what works and expand from there
Read one book a month

I would love to hear a goal or two that you have for 2017. Let’s inspire each other. So please leave a comment and let me know what you hope to accomplish this year. Let’s ROCK MIDDLE AGE in 2017!

P.S. Many goals are accomplished through developing new habits. My 30 Day Quickstart Guide to Habit Change can help you get started.

Don’t Rush It!

Last year around this time, I took the time to develop and write down my goals for 2016.  I am a big believer in writing down your goals.  For me, they seem to transform from wishes to goals through the act of writing.  And I am pleased to announce that I completed the vast majority of my goals in 2016.

What was the difference this time (as opposed to other years)?  I took the time to really hash out what was most important to me for the year and chose goals that were actionable.

Also I referred to my list weekly to remind myself of what I was aiming to achieve in 2016.  Then I could plan baby steps to put me on the path towards completing my goals.

For example, reading my goal to be below a certain number on the scale was an impetus for me to sign up for my first 12 week challenge with my1fitlife back in April. You can read more about that here.

Reading my goal  that I was going to “give my all to homeschooling” in 2016, helped me to get back to devoting myself to my children’s education when I started to slip back into burnt out mode.

Life is short… it might not feel that way some days, but it is… I don’t want to sleepwalk though my life… Do you?

So I am taking the time to focus on my goal-setting for 2017 over the next week or so.  These goals are too important to just rush the process and slap some words on a paper and call it done.

My theme word for 2016 was HABIT.  You know how much I believe in the power of habits.

This year’s word is BOLD.  I will share my goals with you soon in hopes that they will inspire you to develop some goals of your own.

So don’t rush the process!  Take some time and set some goals.  Dig deep and dare to set some big time goals.  Because remember, together we can ROCK MIDDLE AGE!

P.S. I’d love to hear some of your goals… Let’s inspire each other!

How Are You Going to Make 2017 Better than 2016? 15 Minutes that Can Change Everything!

When you think of someone who is fit, what do you imagine? Some waif supermodel? A muscular body builder? Or a twenty-something bikini-clad chickie running down the beach with ease as the warm summer breeze blows her long beautiful hair in just the perfect way?

In reality most of us will never attain these visions of fit perfection that the media has presented as the ideal for us.

And if you are like many who reluctantly call themselves “middle-aged”, you have spent so much time taking care of your family, your home, your career, etc. that you have let a lot of things slide since you were 25. One of the major areas that you may have let go to pot is fitness. As we age, our bodies change in lots of ways, many of which we don’t find so pleasant.

However that does not mean that being fit is beyond you. In fact, it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time each day to put yourself on the path to being Fit and Fabulous. It is not too late to get in shape!

You may be asking yourself whether 15 minutes a day can really make a difference. I am here to tell you that by developing this 15 minute habit of exercise, you will see phenomenal changes in your body and your well-being in general. Increased cardiovascular function, greater stamina, and improved energy levels are just a few of the benefits you will enjoy.

It is time that you discover the power of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)! A HIIT workout alternates between short burst of activity and periods of rest.

Shape Magazine reports that “According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training.”

Peak Fitness’ Dr. Mercola cites studies that show that consistent HIIT workouts are associated with “a tremendous boost in the human growth hormone (HGH), aka the “fitness hormone””, “a significant reduction in total abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat”, and an improvement in insulin and blood sugar regulation in middle-aged adults.

So isn’t it worth 15 minutes a day, 5 to 6 times a week, to see such phenomenal improvements in your health?

The concept is really rather simple. You will perform an exercise at a moderate to high intensity (depending on your fitness level) for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. You will then repeat this pattern for a prescribed period of time. You can choose to repeat the same exercise for the entire time or rotate between 2 – 3 exercises.

Confused? Don’t worry. It will all make sense soon.

To illustrate, here is a possible HIIT workout:
0:00 – 0:20  Running in place
0:21 – 0:30  Rest
0:31 – 0:50  High knees
0:51 – 1:00  Rest
1:01 – 1:20  Wall Squat
1:21 – 1:30  Rest

You would continue this cycle through the three exercises (a round) until you have reached your desired time. I recommend you work up to 15 minutes. Don’t be afraid to start small with an initial goal of 6 minutes, which would be 4 rounds of the exercise routine described above.

Need some exercise ideas for your HIITs?  I am here to help.  Get my free guide,7 Exercises to Help You Become “Fit & Fabulous in 15 Minutes a Day” (Without Having to Buy Any Equipment)

You may be shocked to feel how much your heart will be pumping and your breathing rate will increase in just a few short minutes, particularly if you have been sedentary for a while. However even seasoned athletes benefit from HIITs.

There are many phone apps that you can download for free that will help you with the timing of your HIIT.  I use Impetus. It is free and works very well.  But any timer app is likely to serve the purpose.  Using a timer app on your phone will take the thought out of when you need to start and stop and allow you to focus on the exercises. These exercises can all be performed from the comfort of your home and the use of weights is optional.

The key is to develop the habit of daily exercise (5 – 6 days a week). If you are not sure how to effectively form a habit or have struggled in the past, I recommend getting my free guide, “30 Day Quickstart Guide to Habit Change“which outlines the process of habit formation and gives you a way of tracking your progress.

It is only by being consistent with your HIIT habit that you will begin to enjoy all the fabulous benefits of being fit.

If I can help you in any way, please feel free to contact me at Heather@RockingMiddleAge.com

*As with any exercise program, please consult with your doctor to be sure that you are healthy enough for exercise.

 

DOWNLOAD the FREE “7 Exercises to Help You Become “Fit & Fabulous in 15 Minutes a Day” (Without Having to Buy Any Equipment)” Guide >>>

So You Want to Change the World? SMILE!

When I was in my grumpy, I’m old, life stinks phase some time back, my most dominate feature was my frown. And as the heart of my family, that frown was contagious.

What’s that old saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”… or words to that effect.

My sadness was contagious… Which is sad!

But then I discovered my superpower… my smile!

I realized that my smile had the power to:
– Brighten someone else’s day
– Make me feel better on the inside
– Make me feel beautiful
– Instill my love into the heart of the person receiving it
– Be sunshine on a cloudy day – corny but true!
– Make someone feel valued and appreciated

And the best thing about my superpower is that it is contagious as well. So you can catch it!!!

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So during this crazy holiday season, smile at the overwhelmed clerk at the department store, or the harried mother on the grocery store checkout line.

Smile at your fellow pedestrians on the street or your fellow drivers at the red traffic light.

Smile at your husband even when he is late getting home from the office and missed dinner time again.

Smile at your children when they spill something or forget to take out the garbage.

Smile at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how awesome you are, my fellow Rockstar.

Smile, smile, smile… because you have the power to change the world… one smile at a time… Don’t believe me? Try it!

Why Would You Want to be Normal?

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Throughout most of my adult life, I have rarely followed the norms.  I married young in a generation that started pushing back the “normal” age for marriage.  I chose to educate my children in a non-conformist way…  how many homeschoolers did you know 20 years ago?  My children knew never to ask me for the latest “in” thing… I was totally counter culture.

And now I am choosing to go against the norm again… I am choosing to embrace middle age.

(I know that many don’t even like to use the phrase “middle age.”  Our culture is so youth driven that admitting that you are no longer in your twenties or thirties seems to be a taboo.  But why?  My twenties were fine, but I think my forties have been much more fulfilling.)

So what does the “normal” middle-ager look like?

Many are desperately searching for the fountain of youth, the quick fix, the magic potion… but really, these are all just an illusion.

I choose to

~ make these years the best yet

~ face life with a smile, brightly shining into the lives of others

~ workout daily so that the adventures I dream of are physically within my reach

~ eat cleanly, so that I reduce the likelihood of illness and increase my energy level

~ be a vibrant wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and human being

~ go on adventures!!!

~ recognize myself as the special person that God made me to be

As I look around, I know that this definitely doesn’t make me normal.  But heck, why would I want to be normal?  And why would you want to be?  It’s time to join me in ROCKING MIDDLE AGE!

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Habits are the key to changing your life... one habit at a time... use this guide to get started on the road to change!

Are You Making December Count?

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For December, I have decided to work on the habit of writing. I have always loved to write… at least when it was a topic of my choosing.

I find it relaxing, and it helps me to clarify my thoughts.

I tend to write in spurts – but this month I am working on the HABIT of writing… Spending a little time each day… whether 5 minutes or an hour, it doesn’t matter, as long as I write… I have added it to my morning routine. And I am making it a priority, because while December can be wonderful and magical, it can also be crazy and stressful.

So “relaxing” appeals to me…

Some days will be blog posts… others will be more diary-like… I might even write a few letters… or work on an e-book that has been swirling around in my head trying to take form… Who knows what other creative writing avenues I might tackle???

Have you given any thought to what habits you would like to add to your life? The end of the year and the beginning of the new year tend to be prime-time for reflection. So why not make December count and pick an enjoyable habit to work on this month?

Here are some ideas:
Writing or reading five minutes a day?
Crocheting? Knitting? Sewing?
Walking around the block once daily?
Drinking a glass of water each day?
Stretching for 5 minutes?
Calling a friend?
Playing the piano? Guitar? Tuba?

I am excited because this also gives me the chance to use my new Habit Change Checklist ~ because checking off the box each day gives me great pleasure and a sense of accomplishment AND I know it works ~ that might make me a bit odd, but I am OK with that because I am ROCKING MIDDLE AGE!

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Habits are the key to changing your life... one habit at a time... use this guide to get started on the road to change!

Where Did You Get The Energy To Do That?

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Having recently produced a Habit Change Checklist, I have been thinking a lot about my habits… those that work and are moving me in the right direction and those that are not.

One of the habits that works for me is exercise. In fact this has been the anchor habit upon which I have built my other habits.

And I can truly say that I enjoy exercising … well most days!!!

That doesn’t mean that I jump out of bed every morning excited to get my heart rate in the zone. But once I get started, I can honestly say I enjoy it.

This was not always the case. I viewed exercise as means to an end… if I exercised more, I thought that I could eat more or lose weight more quickly… neither of which are really true for me.  Have you found this to be true in your life?

Exercise makes me feel alive, empowered, healthy, fit… you get the idea… but I generally don’t drop weight without eating properly.  However when I incorporate exercise into my life, it makes me want to eat better.

The first few weeks of any exercise routine are really tough, because it is physically difficult… sore muscles, lack of energy, etc.…. as well as mentally difficult (read here for the stages of developing a new habit: Unbearable to Uncomfortable to Unstoppable).

But once the power of habit kicks in, it gets much easier to enjoy exercise.

I had a fundamental change in the way I viewed exercise. I no longer “had to” exercise. Instead I “had the privilege” of exercising. This was a deliberate change in thinking that drastically changed my attitude toward exercise (Read here about the power of positive affirmations).

When I exercise, I get to spend time that is just for me… not for my husband… not for my children… not for anyone else.

When I exercise, I am telling myself that
• I am important
• I am worthy of my time and attention
• I matter
• My health is worth taking care of

I love my role as wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, friend, etc. But my exercise is just for me!

Ultimately my family and friend benefit from my taking the time to exercise. I am undoubtedly a better wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, friend, etc. because of this habit.

Because of my daily exercise habit, I can
• Keep up with my granddaughter
• Participate fully in my life
• Enjoy adventures rather than just channel surf
• Sleep better
• Bike long distances with my cycling-enthusiast husband
• Run 5Ks with friends
• Walk up stairs without getting winded

How about you?  Are you feeling energized? Does your energy and fitness level make you a better wife, parent, friend, and human being?

If you are looking for a fitness program with excellent support and rocking accountability partners (read about their importance here), I highly recommend the My1fitlife program. I have been doing this low cost program since April, and it has taken my fitness to a new level. I am proud to now be an ambassador for them.

Previous to My1fitlife, I had already made exercise a priority in my life, by working out with a trainer, running a half-marathon, walking a half marathon, etc. But this program has helped me to incorporate exercise into my life on a daily basis without taking over my life, which can be tough balance to strike when you have a family and lots of obligations.

With my increased energy, I have found time to take on lots of new things that I would previously have scoffed at (such as writing this blog!).

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. And if you join and are looking for an accountability partner, I would be happy to support you.

My fitness habit was the beginning of totally transforming my life… As I said, it is the anchor habit for all the other habits that have helped me shift gears from dreading aging to ROCKING MIDDLE AGE!

 

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Habits are the key to changing your life... one habit at a time... use this guide to get started on the road to change!

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