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The Benefits of Walking- For the Non-Workout Buffs! October 21 2015

              

As you may have noticed, we talk a lot about living the “sweat life” and, being major sweat junkies ourselves, generally cater more to the fitness buffs in our blog topics. However, we do recognize that there are many people out there who don’t share the same affinity for the adrenaline rush of a good workout, or get the same therapeutic experience from strenuous exercise. Whichever category you fall into, it is important to understand the importance of basic exercise, and the body’s need for movement. You don’t have to kill yourself on the treadmill, but at a minimum you should be walking regularly to keep your joints and bones strong, your heart healthy, your muscles moving, and your energy level elevated.

 

Walking has many known benefits, both physical and mental. For instance, it’s gentle and easy on the joints, and therefore appropriate for people of all ages and fitness levels. (It’s especially useful for those with arthritis and the elderly.) Whether you’re a gymaholic or a gymophobe, here are four major benefits of regular walking that you just can’t ignore!

It’s great thinking time.

               

Another major benefit of walking is that it’s less strenuous than other forms of exercise, and therefore requires less attention, allowing us to focus on internal issues. Walking gives you a chance to think; it’s a time to solve problems, hatch brilliant ideas, think about your loved ones and relationships, and generally pay more attention to life. Unlike driving, walking really allows you to be in the moment and be more engaged with the outdoors and the world around you.

It Improves brain function and reduces stress.

                

Walking, particularly outdoors, is a great way to clear the head. It rejuvenates and refreshes you, and provides an opportunity to sort through your thoughts and deal with any anxieties you may be having. Walking lowers cortisol levels, reducing stress, and also improves circulation which allows more oxygen into the blood stream. This improves your focus, energy level, mood and overall productivity. If you’re starting to feel burnt out after sitting at your desk for a while, taking a quick walk is a great way to get your creative juices flowing!

It boosts the immune system and strengthens the heart and bones. 

                            

Regular walking has been proven to increase overall health on a long term basis. Particularly when done outside, walking allows us to soak up lots of vitamin D that can be difficult to get through food. Vitamin D is essential for good bone health and boosts the immune system. Frequent walking also maintains healthy joints and keeps the bones and heart strong, preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.

It keeps you toned.

                                            

Though walking won’t have the same impact on your physical appearance as more intensive exercises like running or lifting weights, walking briskly on a regular basis will keep your metabolism working help you burn more calories, which is helpful in maintaining your weight. Power walking will also keep your legs and bum toned, and if you walk fast enough that you are using your arms for momentum, you may even notice more definition there, too!

The best part about walking is that it really doesn’t take more than 15-30 minutes a day, but the more you walk the better! It’s all about finding opportunities. Opt for the stairs instead of the escalator, every time. Take a brisk stroll on your lunch break, or skip the subway and take the scenic route to work in the morning on foot. Your body (and mind) will thank you! What is your favourite time of day to get your walk on?

 

 

 


5 Important Attributes of a Successful Entrepreneur- Do You Have What it Takes? October 13 2015

           

In a world where full time jobs are less and less common and contract work is becoming the norm, Entrepreneurialism is becoming a much more common and desirable venture. While we’d all like to think we have the next billion dollar idea, there is a lot more that goes in to becoming a successful entrepreneur than just a dream. There are a few essential characteristics one must possess in order to be a truly successful entrepreneur.

Confidence

                       

In order to attempt any business venture, let alone one that involves a significant amount of risk, financial investment and commitment, you must be a confident person. You must be confident in yourself and your ability to succeed before even thinking of taking on such an endeavor. Once you have mastered your own self-confidence, parlay this into confidence in the product or service you are offering. Make sure you have complete faith in your company and its potential for success. If you take your time and do the proper research to that point that you feel 100% confident backing up all of your claims, you will be ready to take your first leap toward success. If you are truly confident, you will project this to your customers, which will naturally increase their confidence in your credibility. While risk taking is inevitable, it is also important to remain somewhat conservative and level headed in your investments. Basically- don’t bite off more than you can chew, no matter how sure you are of your product. If this is not your strong suit, be sure to have an expert on your team advising you in this department.

Creativity & Resourcefulness

                               

Part of being confident is being willing to break traditional conventions and defy existing “rules” or normality's. Entrepreneurs are innovators, so you have to be willing and able to think outside the box. Having a strong vision is the most important first step in starting your business. It’s about seeing an opportunity where others haven’t, and figuring out how to put together the resources to make it happen. Not everyone has a creative mind, so many feel that by just thinking up a great idea they are ahead of the game. However, it’s what you do with this idea, and how you execute your plan that defines you as an entrepreneur. You need to be the type of person that is willing to put in the work and do the research to figure out the best route to take to achieve your goals, not just take a stab in the dark. No one has all the knowledge from the get go. It is important, though, to know how to find it. Don’t be afraid to seek out resources who will fill those knowledge gaps and better your chance of success.

Passion and Persistence

                

If you aren’t passionate about your product, you might as well forget it now. Sure, money can be a great motivator, but if you don’t see immediate financial reward you’ll be likely to give up early. However, endeavors driven by a deep passion within are often those that persevere. Unfortunately, it’s more often than not a long road to success for entrepreneurs, filled with failure and constant trial and error. As such, resilience is one of the most crucial characteristics for an entrepreneur. You must have a thick skin and a sense of determination, and be willing to dust yourself off and try again… and again if necessary. It is this passion and confidence in your vision that will get your through the lulls and bumps along the road that can get disheartening. If you believe wholeheartedly in your passion and are 100% mentally committed, you will be more likely to dig deeper to find a solution to any problems that arise.

Open-Mindedness and Adaptability

                              

The state of the world and the marketplace today is in flux. Just as you get comfortable with a new software, program or process, it advances. Any successful business recognizes the importance of staying ahead of the curve, and makes it a priority to keep pace with a rapidly changing environment. This also entails being able to identify times when internal changes are necessary. Being open-minded is essential in order for these changes to occur. It is important not to let your business become too personal to you. A business owner must be flexible and progressive for the betterment of the brand. This means being open to constructive criticism, and making necessary adaptations based on market demands or changing tastes. While it’s important to stay true to your vision, the finished product often looks entirely different than the starting idea. Be open to these modifications, and see them not as a personal attack on your beloved concept but a form of evolution. This should transfer to your staff as well. While you are the brains behind the operation, it is important to surround yourself with talented people so that your business is strong in every department. Value your team and their opinions, and be open to new ideas from all angles. This open-mindedness is what makes a true innovator.

Conscientiousness

                                   

Above all, the successful entrepreneur is self-driven and motivated. They are the people that get up early every morning and start their day, no matter what’s on tap. You have to make your passion a priority every day, not just when it’s convenient, and be willing to work overtime to make sure you achieve success. There will always be obstacles and distractions, but it’s the people that don’t let these things throw them off track that have what it takes to be a successful business owner. Entrepreneurs have a natural drive and ambition, a killer work ethic, and a natural sense of urgency that comes from within.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Back to Life, Back to Reality. How to Beat the Stress of September! September 09 2015

                   

September always creeps up so quickly, doesn’t it? Back to school, back to work… back to reality. Just as we finally adjust to the gentle hum-drum of summer, fast-paced September comes around and hits you like a freight train… at least if you’re not prepared. Suddenly, you are required to keep track of an entire family’s increasingly busy schedules, while trying to kick it into high gear yourself whether it’s at work or at home.

                      

Organization is the key to keeping calm, cool and collected during all the back to school / work madness. It may sound obvious, but if you decide to cut it close and start your prep just before school starts, you’ll find yourself in a frenzy. First, you’re going to figure out how many items the kids are missing (back to school supplies, knapsacks, clothes). Secondly, you’re going to realize you had signed them up for a ton of extra-curriculars, most of which overlap, which means you’ll either need to find help or arrange a carpool in the next two days, otherwise one of your kids will have to forfeit their activities. These are just a few examples of how poor organization can become a huge headache if you wait until the last minute to figure things out. Don’t learn the hard way! Here are a few easy ways to make sure you and your family stay on track this fall!

                                              

Anticipation and Planning

Part of good organization is being proactive rather than reactive. Think about what potential issues or curveballs could arise, and have a plan in place to deal with these should they occur. (Ex. look into your carpool situation long before the first week of school, set up emergency contacts, etc.) The same goes for work, don’t wait until the night before you head back from vacation to figure out what you’re behind on. Stay up to speed and constantly organize and prioritize when and how things will get done, even if you push them off until later.

                        

Physical Organization

Personally, I find that my external environment strongly influences my internal environment. As such, in order to feel organized and efficient, it is helpful to organize your belongings and make sure the house is in order. Try organizing your desk or stationery drawers, your room, your home office, whatever feels chaotic to you. Immediately you will feel more focused and in control of your life. Creating a monthly agenda or keeping a calendar in a main room of the house is a great way to keep everyone up to date with activities and ongoing events. Even if it's inevitably going to be a stressful day, at least you'll know it's coming!

                           

Asking for help

Don’t try to do everything yourself. If you’re the planner, create a foolproof agenda for your family, but then make sure everyone contributes to making sure it is followed. If you are working and your kids want to attend an extra-curricular, establish a relationship with someone that you can call in case you’re not able to drive that day, such as another child’s parents. Just make sure that the next time they’re in a pinch you do your best to return the favor.

                            

Keeping up with your routine

Something we’ve touched on a few times; keeping a fairly regular, steady routine is helpful in staying organized. The minute you let go of your routine, it’s easier to skip or forget about your daily tasks, and this is how things begin to slip.

If you missed the boat this year and found yourself facing the headache of last minute organization, stop freaking out. It's never too late to put a plan in place to get you back on track. Don’t let the stresses of September take you down! Staying organized will give you the confidence to face the chaos head on.

 


Routine and Consistency- the Secret behind Health & Wealth August 24 2015

                   

We have all felt the positive effects of a good week of routine- that feeling of accomplishment. Yet, we seem to fall off of it so easily. Somehow when a task or goal is put down on paper or into your calendar it becomes much more of a priority, whether you’re super task oriented or not. No one likes to feel that they’re neglecting their responsibilities, so if they’re written down in front of us we’re more likely to get them done. After a while, this routine starts to feel like second nature to us. Basically, by creating a daily routine for ourselves, we naturally become more motivated and task driven, and we’re more likely not to be swayed by tempting distractions if we’re dedicated to a routine. Creating a daily schedule for yourself can help improve your productivity in every area of your life.

                                           

Fitness

Incorporating fitness into your daily routine is key, even if you’re not a huge workout buff. Maintaining a decent level of physical activity on a daily basis is essential not only for our long term health, but for our mental well-being and stimulation as well. Sitting behind a desk and being inactive all day can start to take its toll. Those who make time in their day for physical exercise tend to be more energetic, positive and productive. Make sure to jot this one down in your schedule. It doesn’t matter when or what you do, just make sure to be active at least once a day!

                                           

Time Management

Routine forces you to manage your time as it takes planning. To create a routine, we are forced to sit down, consider our tasks the following day/week, and how we can fit these in with our other personal daily functions (such as the gym, meals, social and family events, etc.) After a while, you will have expert time management skills, and will benefit from this in other areas such as your work life or planning out your kids millions of sports practices and school events!

       

Eating & Sleeping

This area is so underrated. People totally underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep and a regular meal schedule. Sleep (or lack thereof) is directly linked to our mental function and our general productivity. Without a routine, we tend to let our bedtime creep later and later until we find ourselves trying to function on 4 or 5 hours sleep for an entire day at the office. Not only will you feel like crap, your work will suffer. Just get those 7 to 8 hours! Set a bed time and stick to it. That simple.

In terms of eating, so many people wait until they are starving before eating a meal. This is a huge mistake. You should constantly be grazing on small snacks to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your mind alert. There’s a reason they call it brain food! Setting a meal time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snack times can be helpful in staying regular. If you want to go the extra mile, plan out what you’ll eat for each meal, too! (This will also help you stick to healthier options and resist temptation.)

                                

Routine for Kids

This is probably the most important area to stress. Creating a consistency for children, particularly around meal and bed times, is essential for their mental development and overall well-being. The younger years are the biggest learning years, they are essentially little sponges soaking up all the information they come across! It is crucial that we set them up for success by providing structure, regular meals and sleep schedules so that they can focus on learning and growing into the strong young adults we want them to be. Following a routine from a young age will also help them develop a good work ethic and a healthier, more balanced lifestyle as they grow up.

Take the time to create a daily schedule for yourself. Write it down each night or at the beginning of the week to start out. Before you know it, you’ll be living and breathing your routine without a second thought, and living a much fuller, healthier and more productive life!