PLAN, EXECUTE, AND FOLLOW THROUGH HOW I WORK ON SELF-IMPROVEMENT I don’t think I’ll surprise anyone by saying that we all have struggles. Everyone has their own personal issues that either are put on the backburner or are a constant battle. Wishful thinking and positivity are great resources, but they aren’t always enough to help you achieve your goals. Along with a can-do attitude, you need a plan of action to ensure you make progress. Otherwise, you’ll end up frustrated and disheartened. In my case, the peskiest issue is staying on top of my fitness and nutrition. I have a busy life, so work and kids take up the bulk of my time. While I wish I had a handful of hours throughout the day to devote exclusively to meal prep and exercise, that’s just not a realistic aspiration. Instead, I have to make sure that I’m living the healthiest life that my schedule allows. It might not be easy, but wellness matters to me.
Until the deadline passes, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure I’ll be able to cross the finish line.
Of course, the best plans in the world are useless if you’re not willing to follow through with them. When it comes to my nutrition, I track everything I consume to hold myself accountable. Every bite of food or sip of water gets put into the MyFitnessPal app (read more about that tool inside this issue). When I don’t have the time to input it right away, I write it down to make sure I don’t forget about it. I’ve found this process extremely helpful. At the end of each day, I am able to easily monitor whether I’ve stayed on track or not. Not every day is perfect, but I’m improving all the time.
When I speak with clients, one of the first things I always say is, “Your only job is to get better.” An auto accident is
destabilizing, and improving your health after can seem like an inconvenience. But it’s the most important thing you can focus on. Make a plan to get yourself feeling better, and stick to it. If you make an appointment with a physical therapist, attend it. I understand that you’re juggling a lot, but making time to focus on yourself will improve your quality of life.
I’ve found that planning goes a long way in making my fitness goals actionable. Sometimes, that planning is something small. For example, I don’t always have the time to cook a meal from scratch. I inevitably end up eating a few meals per week at fast food and fast-casual restaurants. I know that’s not the optimal option for healthy foods, but I stay
“... I have to make sure that I’m living the healthiest life that my
prepared by understanding what’s on their menus. If I walk into a restaurant, I already know which items align with my nutritional goals and which I need to avoid entirely.
Easter and spring always bring thoughts of renewal to my mind, so maybe that’s why I’m focusing on self-improvement this month.
schedule allows. ”
Whatever the issue you struggle with, it’s up to you to work on it. It won’t always be easy, but I can tell you from experience that the hard work is worth it. -Melissa Emery
In addition to these small preparations, I set larger, long-term goals. This year, I want to up my exercise game and complete a triathlon in the fall. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t made as many strides as I’d like to in making this goal a reality. But that won’t deter me.
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FAMILY TIME IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Family adventures are a great way to grow closer and develop meaningful connections. But with lodging prices rising and the logistical nightmare that traveling with the entire family can be, many Americans are looking at a new option: ditching the beaches and resorts and heading to the great outdoors. Actually, we know this option isn’t new at all. Spending time outdoors with family may very well be one of the most time-honored traditions ever. Camping Lodgings and flights are expensive, so going on a family vacation can cost thousands of dollars — and that’s just for the basics! But camping only requires a tent, a fire, picnic food, and water. Rather than scarfing down fast food between flights and dealing with airport security, departure delays, and long flights, take a deep breath and roast marshmallows over the fire with the people you love. Hiking A hike with family is an easy way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. All a hike requires is a trail and a sense of adventure. The best part of
hiking is that you can tailor the distance to fit your family’s needs. If you have children or grandkids who aren’t up for the challenge of an arduous daylong trek, there’s sure to be a shorter scenic trail. If nothing else, you can always turn around and backtrack the way you came. Fishing Fishing is a great way to get out and do something relaxing yet challenging. It doesn’t require a lot of skill or investment. All it takes is the willingness to learn and the desire to connect with nature. This is why fishing is the perfect activity for youngsters of all ages. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your rod and reel and head to the nearest lake or river. While these are all great stand-alone options, together they form an amazing three-headed monster for your next family outing. By combining camping with a hike to a river or lake where you can go fishing, you are sure to create lasting memories with your family that will draw you closer together. Ditch the lines at the airport and the stress of travel. Unleash the possibilities of adventure in the great outdoors.
THE BEST TRACKING APPS FOR HEALTH, FINANCES, AND READING
As mentioned in the cover article this month, tracking your progress with an app can help you stay on top of your goals. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it old school and using a notebook to record your spending or caloric intake. But if you prefer a more high-tech approach, you’ll find that your phone has a number of excellent tools you can access for free. Here are a few of our favorites. FOR HEALTH: MYFITNESSPAL Keeping track of your calories requires knowing how many you’re consuming through food and how many you’re losing through exercise. Unless you’re a nutritionist or personal trainer, that requires a fair bit of guesswork. MyFitnessPal makes this process a whole lot easier. With a database of hundreds of foods and exercises, the app can give you a much clearer picture of your calorie and nutrient balance. It also uses your height, weight, and sex to make sure the projections are as accurate as possible. FOR FINANCES: MINT When all of your spending information is located across a million different platforms, it becomes a hassle just figuring out the state of your finances. Mint
allows all of that data to live in one convenient location. You can connect all of your credit cards, bank accounts, and even your bills to Mint. You’ll receive alerts when bills arrive and payment reminders before you incur a late fee. It also offers personalized budgeting advice based on your spending habits. If you suspect that you’re spending way too much on coffee, Mint will give you the evidence to back up that claim. FOR BOOKS: GOODREADS We could all stand to read more, and Goodreads turns a solitary joy into a communal experience. You can create lists of books you have read and those you want to read. Goodreads makes personalized recommendations based on your list and groups you with like-minded readers. If you’re dying to talk to somebody about what you’re reading, you can find them on the social portion of the app. Biblionasium offers similar services for children’s books. If you’re trying to improve any one of these aspects of your life, give these apps a shot. They’ll provide you with the information, feedback, and motivation to keep at it.
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HAVE A LAUGH!
SOME ACHIEVEMENTS TAKE DECADES THE POWER OF STICKING WITH IT
This issue has been all about the importance of perseverance. When you dedicate yourself to something and are willing to deal with adversity, you can achieve more than you ever imagined. Sometimes, the process can feel endless, but that just makes the fruits of your labor all the sweeter. Just ask these folks who toiled away for years in order to turn their dreams into reality. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ After the publication and success of “The Hobbit” in 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien was asked to write a sequel. Even his publishers, who were warned that Tolkien wrote slowly, probably weren’t expecting “The Lord of the Rings” to hit shelves a whopping 17 years after “The Hobbit.” You might think that Tolkien would have been done with hobbits for a while after that much time spent writing about them, but he continued to make edits to the text — some of which weren’t incorporated until long after the author passed away in 1973. The Gates of Hell All you have to do is glance at Auguste Rodin’s The Gates of Hell to know that it is one complicated sculpture. At a towering 19-feet high and inlaid with more than 100 detailed figures, the work required an insane amount of effort. The sculpture was commissioned in 1880 and expected to take five years to complete. Instead, Rodin worked on it for the remainder of his life. Only after his death in 1917 was it put on display. The result of those 37 years, though, is something that will endure for centuries. La Sagrada Familia Antoni Gaudi died in 1926, and his major project remains unfinished nearly a century after his passing. La Sagrada Familia, a monumental church in Barcelona, has been under construction since the 19th century. Despite that incredibly long timespan, work on the project only ceased for a few years during the Spanish Civil War. Maybe Gaudi’s great-grandchildren will be alive to walk through the finished cathedral. It would’ve been all too easy for the minds behind these projects to give up hope. Their persistence and desire to see things through have made the world a much richer place. That’s the power of sticking with it. Who knows what you can accomplish if you persevere?
Recipe inspired by realsimple.com
PASTA WITH TURKEY & BROCCOLI
INGREDIENTS • 3/4 pounds pasta (shells or orecchiette) • 2 cups broccoli florets • 3 tablespoons olive oil • 1 pound ground turkey
• 2 cloves
garlic, chopped • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper • Salt • Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS 1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli when pasta is 1 minute from done. Drain both and return to pot. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook while breaking up meat with a wooden spoon for 3–5 minutes. 3. Combine turkey with pasta and broccoli mixture, adding the remaining olive oil as you stir. Serve in bowls topped with Parmesan cheese. WE WANT YOU TO THINK OF US AS YOUR LAW FIRM. If you have a legal matter that needs attention, let us know. If we can’t handle the matter, we will refer you to a firm that can. Please feel free to refer us to your friends and family for their legal needs. We welcome the opportunity to help.
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YOU HAVE TO WORK TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS 1
3 AWESOME WAYS TO CREATE LASTING MEMORIES
APPS TO HELP YOU TRACK 2
YOU CAN’T MAKE A MASTERPIECE OVERNIGHT
PASTA WITH TURKEY AND BROCCOLI 3 APRIL FOOLS’ PRANKS FROM THE PRE- INTERNET AGE 4
FROM EARLIER, MORE TRUSTING TIMES 3 APRIL FOOLS’ PRANKS
pril Fools’ Day isn’t what it used to be. Sure, it’s still a fun distraction, with Google announcing “scratch and sniff” digital technology and Amazon declaring new features enabling Alexa to understand your pets. But it’s pretty hard for anyone to genuinely pull your leg in the internet age. A
something to be desired. NPR even brought political experts on the show to discuss the ramifications of such a move, and listeners flooded the station with outraged calls — until host John Hockenberry revealed that the on-air Nixon was actually comedian Rich Little. SWISS SPAGHETTI GROWERS ENJOY RECORD HARVEST Ah, to be as naive as we were during the early days of television. In 1957, a BBC news show called “Panorama” conducted a special report on a massive spaghetti harvest in Ticino, Switzerland, following a remarkably mild winter. The black and white images showed farmers pulling huge strands of noodles off tall trees and prompted hundreds of viewers to call into the station and ask how they might procure their own spaghetti tree. THOMAS EDISON’S AMAZING FOOD MACHINE When Edison was in his prime, Americans truly believed he could create anything — even a machine that transformed air, water, and dirt into biscuits, vegetables, meat, and wine, as reported by New York Graphic in 1878. The article was reprinted in newspapers across the country. Thousands of people bought the trick. When Buffalo’s Commercial Advertiser ran an editorial on Edison’s genius in the endeavor, the Graphic reprinted it in full, along with the headline, “They Bite!”
Back when you couldn’t debunk a hoax with a simple Snopes search, things were a little more interesting. Here are a few of the most hilarious — yet somehow convincing — April Fools’ pranks in history. NIXON FOR PRESIDENT, 1992 When NPR’s popular “Talk of the Nation” program announced in 1992 that former President Richard Nixon had announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, listeners were shocked. Never mind that he’d been the center of the largest presidential scam in history, but his campaign slogan, “I never did anything wrong, and I won’t do it again,” left
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