5 Easy Ways To Become A Runner

Hate running? You are not alone, my friend. I have loathed running for many years and always said it “just isn’t for me.”This year as part of my “30 Before 30” (see original post here) I decided to challenge myself to run a race. Originally I set the bar very low and said I just wanted to complete a 10k. Well, in January I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in Denver with my best friend, Annie. She is doing her own 30 Before 30 challenge and has 1/2 marathon on her list. So in just 3 short months I will head to Denver, CO and attempt to run 13.1 miles. Eeek!

I would not say that I have fallen in love yet with running but over these past 2-3 months I have learned a few things that might help someone who also dislikes running but wants to give it a try.

Here are 5 easy ways to start becoming a runner:

1. Confront Emotional Barriers.
In order to complete any goal you must look at potential emotional barriers in your way. I never felt like I was athletic enough to be a runner. It was a case of lowered self-esteem. I say “lowered” because I don’t have low self-esteem in general but I think we all have those things that make us feel down on ourselves. I also worried that I would fail or embarrass myself. You have to acknowledge your emotional barriers and make a conscious choice to set them to the side where they belong. You may even use self talk to motivate you past these barriers. The most popular form of self talk would be giving yourself daily affirmations.

2. Do Strength Training & Stretching
If you have a strong core, butt, and legs it makes running much easier. I attend a weekly Piyo (pilates/yoga fusion) class which has really strengthened my thighs, glutes, and core. Piyo also helps firm your booty and who doesn’t want that?! I also recommend you stretch very well the night before a run and also right before running. Consider doing a 20 minute yoga routine each day. There are a ton of yoga routines you can find on YouTube.

3. Make A Great Music Playlist
You know those songs that makes you jump out of you seat and dance? Add them. Make a playlist filled with your favorite hits. I like to add songs that I know I’ll never skip. I also like to add some songs that have motivational lyrics so when I hit mile 3 and I want to stop I have someone literally yelling in my ear to “Don’t stop. Get it. Get it…..You can do it put you back into it.” That’s just an example from a  90’s Ice Cube song but you get the idea.

4. Set Markers
Make small goals to complete and then when you complete it just keep going. It sounds a bit insane to say to yourself, “Ok, I’ll just run to that tree and then I can walk.” but when you get to the tree you just keep going. It’s insane but it works. I like to challenge myself to run until the next song comes on. Then when the next song comes on I challenge myself to run for 2 more minutes and so on. This is the thing that has helped me the most. I always feel successful after a run because I have complete so many mini-goals. It’s great!

5. Start Walking
You have to start some place. There is this woman I have seen on the street in front of my house. She walks a 3 mile loop everyday from 3-4pm. She has been doing this for at least a year. A few months ago I noticed that she was jogging in between spurts of walking. That’s the way to do it. Start walking and then build up to walking and jogging a little. Then walk and jog a lot. Then walk, jog, and run!

So those are my top 5 tips to start running based on my own personal experience. I may update or add to this list as I continue on my own journey into running. Let me know in the comments section your tips or advice. You can also contact me with your tips at the social media links below.

Have a great day!

Other places to find me:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Blog: http://www.imperfectpearl.blogspot.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Email: courtneywval@gmail.com

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10 Ways To Improve Your Work Environment and Be More Productive.

Lately I have been thinking about ways I can re-organize my home and work space to improve my productivity and work more efficiently. After much thought I have come up with these 10 ideas. Some of them are my tried and true methods and others ( ahem #3) are ones I need to work on.

1. Don’t work or study in or on your bed.
The brain is an intuitive machine. Have you ever noticed how your stomach grumbles while you’re cooking dinner? If you lay or sit in bed you are telling your brain that you are ready for sleep. So you will feel tired and not at all ready to tackle that 20 pager paper or work report.

2. Drink Up! H20 that is…
I learned this trick in college. While you might think that quad cappuccino will help you stay awake to study you’re better off drinking ice cold water. This will keep you hydrated and alert. Consuming extreme amounts of caffeine will leave you dehydrated and jittery. Try limiting yourself to one cup of coffee for that night time study session.

3. Get dressed.
If you are like me and often work from home you know how easy it can be to just stay in your pajamas all day. I find I am more productive the days I get dressed as if I’m working away from home. Sometimes I get ready just from the waist up. I do my hair and make-up and put on a casual shirt but keep the yoga/pj pants and slippers.

4. Get a little physical
Take a break every hour or so to do some jumping jacks, squats, yoga stretches, or whatever you like.   If you work in an office you can always excuse yourself to the bathroom to do this to avoid weird looks from your co-workers. Either way it’s always good to get your blood pumping after long periods of sitting. If it’s nice outside I like to take a little stroll around the block. The fresh air combined with the walk helps me feel revived and ready to take on the rest of my tasks.

5. Be bright
I think lighting is very important for a person’s productivity. You want your work area to be well lit but not too bright. When my office installed a new set of LED overhead lights they were so obnoxiously bright that many of us felt nauseous and I even donned a pair of sunglasses for several shifts. The key is to find as much natural lighting as possible.

6. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
I am a firm believer in to do lists. The bottom of my purse is well padded with tons of little pieces of paper scribbled with groceries to buy and things to do.  Every morning I make a to-do list with my morning coffee. Then I take that list and prioritize it into another to-do list. I always try to take care of the smallest tasks first so I can dedicate my time and attention to the bigger, more important tasks.

7. Eat away from your desk
Try your best to eat meals at the dining table, in the break room, or outside. If you mix eating with work you may not consume mindfully which can leave you still feeling unsatisfied and reaching for naughty snacks come 3 o’clock. Extra time searching for snacks can prevent you from getting all of your work completed.

8. Set social media limits
It can be so easy to spend hours on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. To stay productive try designating a specific time each day to use social media and stick to it. All of those apps will still be there waiting once you’ve finished those important work tasks.

9.Practice color theory
Color Theory is the idea that certain colors can provoke certain emotions. For example the color purple is supposed to trigger the area of your brain that controls intelligence, leadership, and thought. Green is linked to clear speech. This idea is a bit controversial but I find that I am least productive around the colors red, yellow, and orange. Finding the right color for your work area or work materials might help you feel more satisfied with your work and be more productive in general.

10. Regulate the temperature
This is a fairly simple idea but it’s very important. I can remember several times when I was trying to work on something but all I could think about was how freezing the room was. If you can, regulate the thermostat so you don’t feel too hot or too cold. If you work in an office where you can’t regulate the temperature yourself, adjust your clothing so you feel comfortable without adding or removing layers. A big, puffy coat will definitely slow down your work.

One additional piece of advice is to talk with your boss and co-workers about the environment in which you work. Bring up concerns or suggestions in a staff meeting. Bosses want you to be as productive as possible so they might be open to office modifications. You never know until you ask.

I hope these tips are helpful to you and I would love to hear any other ideas you have. Leave me comments down below, tweet me @imperfectperla, or email me at cwlinguistics@gmail.com

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New Year Resolutions!

Happy New Year!

As a chronic list maker, goal setter, and just planner in general I get excited when the new year comes around because it means I get a fresh start to set new goals. I wanted to share with you today the things I’ve learned over the past few years about making goals or new year resolutions and successfully achieving them.

1.Make easy goals.
When I say easy I mean ridiculously easy. Think of goals that you are 100% sure you can achieve. I believe that by making and completing easy goals, you give yourself momentum to tackle larger goals. For example, one of my goals is to simply hang up my coat and purse everyday instead of draping them over the couch.

2.Use the buddy system.
Accountability is a proven method used to reach and maintain goals. Ask a friend to join you at the gym a couple times a week or volunteer at a soup kitchen. You can also come up with goals together and encourage each other throughout the process. Send each other motivational text messages or emails once a week as a reminder that you are still there for them and working towards the goal.

3.Reward yourself.
Just like  #1 make the reward very simple at first. Don’t make your first reward of the year a brand new pair of Jimmy Choo heels. Start off with something small like a new lipstick or magazine. It is also best to space out rewards. Once you have completed a goal go ahead and reward yourself but then increase the difficulty of the goal and the length between rewards.

4. Do a little every day.
Over the past 4 months I have been trying very hard to break my habit of procrastinating. I have done a really good job too and the way I have been accomplishing this is by taking a goal and breaking it up into daily tasks. It is not a new concept that doing small parts of a larger task each day will help you complete the task with less stress. It is, however a hard concept to put into place. One goal I made a few months ago was to keep the house more organized and tidy.

I used to let my laundry and house cleaning pile up until it was complete chaos. Then I would have to dedicate an entire day or two just to cleaning up those messes. Now I try to clean a little every single day so I don’t have to waste my weekend with a dust rag in my hand.  I also like to use the 60 second rule.  If something will take 60 seconds or less to clean up I do it right then instead of leaving it for later.

This same idea can be applied to a new year resolution. Think of some 60 second tasks you can do each day to work towards your goal.

5.Write it down.
We are all so busy it is possible to simply forget about a goal. So, writing down your goals and keeping them in sight will help remind you. Try writing them on a post-it note and sticking it to your mirror or on a colorful piece of paper you hang on your fridge. I like to sometimes set an alarm on my phone with a single word or phrase that reminds me of a goal I’ve made. (ex. Take Vitamin) This year I am going to try journaling again. It is a great way to check in with yourself for a few minutes every night and process your feelings from the day. Through this process you can track the progress of your current goals and you may even discover some new goals.

I hope these tips help you achieve whatever goals you are making this new year.

Here are some of the goals I am making this new year:

~Hang up coat and purse in the proper place everyday. (Remember Tip #1)

~Journal everyday or at least every week

~Volunteer in some capacity

~Strengthen yoga practice

~Run a race

~Experiment with new recipes

~Pass Medical Interpreter Certification Exams

~Work on new content for this blog. (Maybe more videos!?)

~Find joy every day in the small things

~Be happy and healthy!

What are your resolutions or goals for this new year? Comment below, tweet me @imperfectperla, or follow me on instagram (@liveloveandtiu) and comment on my new years post.

I wish you all a very successful year.

Peace,

C

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