10 Ways to Get out of a Slump

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It happens to the best of us. You feel gross, you haven’t slept much, you’re behind on your work, you keep putting people off, and you don’t know what to do. You put a negative spin on everything, your once considerable ambition is out the window, and you can see the self-sabotaging efforts bolster right in front of your eyes.

Sometimes we find ourselves in this position. Whether it be a result of spending one too many nights out on the town, or a bad breakup, slumps are no fun. But there’s no time to complain or feel sorry for ourselves, it’s time to break the rut, take action, and start living again.

These are the baby steps I take, when I find myself face first in the dirt:

1) Clean – A dirty room and dirty kitchen usually goes hand in hand with a dirty slump. The first thing I do is pick up the clothes on the ground, clear my desk, and wash the dishes. You will instantly feel better, I promise.

2) Write – The act of writing something down literally relinquishes the stress of remembering that thing from your body. Write down everything you need to get done, people you need to contact, and things that are bothering you. This will give you the freedom to conquer some of these things, without out the anxiety of forgetting them.

2a) Once you’ve created the master list, take each point and decide the next actionable step. So if the main point is: meet with academic advisor regarding class registration, your next actionable step would be: email advisor to set up an appointment. This gives you a concrete next step, rather than a looming large task. (One of my secrets that have helped me incredibly) Which brings me to my next point…

3) Do the first thing on the list – Don’t try and do it all right away and don’t stress over all of the things you have to complete, just get started. Remember, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

4) Get a good night sleep – You’ve probably deprived yourself from your zzz’s, which is taking a toll on your body, mind, and overall health. Sleep is a period where your body repairs itself, so give it the time it needs to recover.

5) Start a routine – Get your pen and calendar out (or should I say finger and phone), and go crazy. For the first week out of your slump, write everything down from wake up time, to gym time, to important meetings. This, like the action list, helps ameliorate the body from stress and pressure.

6) Lay off the booze – Alcohol is a depressant, which means is slows the function of the nervous system. Take a couple weeks off. Soon you will find yourself raging with energy and ambition.

7) Find inspiration – This small exercise will help bring you back to what makes you happy, and give you a little inspiration. Some of the things I do are: look at old pictures of myself and my family, read quotes from some of my role models, read up on the success of others, check out entrepreneurship blogs, travel pages, and outdoor magazines. You’re the only one who knows what lights the fire under your @ss.

As a side note: find your goal, google it, and look at the success stories of people who have achieved that goal.

8) Communicate – Convey your goal, excitement, and anticipation to your spouse, friends, or colleagues. When I make a goal public, it makes me more determined to achieve it because I now have fans watching.

9) Post it – Come up with a one sentence goal and print it out in big font. Post it somewhere in your room so you can wake up and see it every morning. I have one overarching goal posted, with myriads of quotes and mini goals I like to read every day.

10) Get Excited! – You’re well on your way to success! Visualize your goal, visualize the person you want to be 1, 5, 10 years from now. Read, read, read, everything you can on how to be successful and happy. Most importantly, enjoy it. This is the fun part of life.

The 11 Most Important Life Lessons Learned From Forrest Gump

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Now although Hollywood is known for being a narcissistic, indoctrinating media source that promotes unattainable standards, they do produce some worth while stuff, with some worth while messages. In fact, if you pass all of the ‘in your face material’ some of life’s most important lessons can be learned through the movies. One of the more heartfelt movies that exemplifies the prior, is Forrest Gump, a narrated look at the life of a young man with a pervasive development disorder (wasn’t really mentioned what he had).

Now I saw this movie for the first time last night. I know, I know, I can’t believe it took me this long to watch this movie, especially because Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors, but I did, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Watching Gump, fortified important life lessons I had acquired though out my 21 years, as well as provide me with some new insight on some lessons I had not. Here is what Mr. Gump taught me:

1. Stand up for what you believe in – Forrest is a man of integrity. When his Jenny got hit, he didn’t bat an eye before pummeling the instigator to the ground. Now I’m not condoning throwing a punch every time someone penetrates your values, however what I am saying is to stick to your morals. Don’t let the pressure of others or society dampen what you believe in. Integrity is a crucial component of living a good life. Find what you believe in and stick to it.

2. Keep your promises – Forrest promised his “best good friend” Bubba in the heart of Vietnam, that he would partner up with him, buy a boat, and run a shrimp fishing company. Even though Bubba died, Forrest kept his promise and bought a shrimp fishing boat. Being reliable by sticking to your promises is a trait that goes a long way. Whether it be to a friend, a significant other, or a colleague, keeping your promises shows that you care, and that you are someone they can trust. A good way to do this is to only make promises you can keep. By keeping his promise, Gump became a “gazillionare”, maybe that can happen to you too.

3. Not everything you do needs a reason – Forrest ran for 3 years straight for no reason at all. Again, don’t go running across the country (unless you want to of course), but understand that life shouldn’t be too complicated, and sometimes you need to do something for no reason.

4. How to really love – “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is”. Forrest loves Jenny unconditionally. No matter what happens throughout the movie, he continues to show his love for her. He loves Jenny, his mother, Bubba, and Lieutenant Dan. Take a page from Forrest’s book and really show the important people in your life how much you love and appreciate them.

5. Don’t over consume and give back – Gump made millions through his shrimp, ping pong, and investments, but he lived in the same house, wore the same clothes, and stayed incredibly humble. Oh and he donated to the local church, school, and hospital. True happiness can’t be bought, no matter how much money you have. And if you’ve been blessed with a good life, be grateful, and give back. It doesn’t have to be money orientated, you can volunteer, or even just chat with someone in need. You’ll help another person out and feel great too.

6. Talk to strangers and don’t judge – Gump didn’t care if you were Black, White, short, tall, old or young, he treated everyone the same and wasn’t afraid to start a conversation. In today’s day and age, we have become so occupied by our technology it is foreign to converse with someone we don’t know. Network, talk to a stranger on the bus instead of scrolling down your Facebook home (all posts you’ve probably seen already), because you never know what opportunity might arise. That person could become a friend, wife, boss, investor, or simply a great conversation.

7. Don’t settle doing one thing and do what you love – Forrest dabbled with just about everything. He was in the army and became a world class ping pong player, a shrimper, a runner, and a father. He explored new things and expanded his horizon. Without going out of your comfort zone, you limit yourself from growing and finding out things you might be good at. He also participated in the things he loved. “And ’cause I was a gazillionare, and I liked doin’ so much, I cut the grass for free”. Don’t settle for that desk job you hate, as Confucius once said: “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

8. Don’t let others bring you down – Forrest was bullied, made fun of, and told that he was going nowhere his entire life. However he never let it get the best of him, and he ended up becoming a hero, gazillionaire, and a father. Don’t let the jealousy of others affect you, believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

9. Enjoy the little things – Life shouldn’t be too complicated. Forrest loved reading, watching the sunset, conversing with strangers, indulging in Dr. Pepper and ice cream, and you should too. When we get caught up in work or other stressors, we forget how amazing it is to be alive. Take time every day to rid yourself of distractions and enjoy something small.

10. Never give up – Forrest never gave up looking for Bubba in ‘Nam’ and found him, he never gave up fishing for shrimp and became a “gazillionaire”, he never gave up on Lieutenant Dan and found a close friend, and he never gave up on Jenny and found a beautiful family. Forrest is the archetype for not giving up. Set goals and break them because that’s what living is for.

11. RUN! – Sometimes you just need to clear your head. I personally run if I am super stressed or overwhelmed. I know my sister likes to zone out at the pool, and swim some laps. Find your reliever and use it when you need it because it will keep you sharp, motivated, and happy.

Breakfast of Champions – Oatmeal Edition

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Sometimes you don’t leave yourself enough time in the morning to stir up an extravagant breakfast, well actually most of the time. What happens then, is you play the “I don’t have enough time to eat healthy” card and pour yourself a bowl of sugary cereal (better than skipping breakfast). You have energy for a solid hour, then you crash and your stomach is aching for something else. Well the excuses stop here, because this power bowl only takes a few minutes longer, but will keep you full and satiated all morning, giving you the necessary nutrients and energy to own the day. Remember, these are just the foundational ingredients, experiment and go crazy!

1. Oatmeal (1/2 cup of dry oats – cook as directed)

  • One of the most versatile foods out there, oatmeal provides you with a great source of energy filled with fiber (to keep you full), protein, and antioxidants that keep your heart healthy.

2. Greek Yogurt (175g)

  • Greek yogurt is one of my favorite foods. It is loaded with protein (18g in 3/4 cup) and provides you with probiotics to keep your immune system healthy, and calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong. Greek yogurt is also a very versatile food, which is why paired with oatmeal, this dish is a versatile machine!

3. Strawberries, Blueberries (or some kind of fruit)

This bowl is just a base. It is such a versatile dish that I try and change it up each time I make it (this is my go-to evening snack as well). These are some great additions to experiment with:

Banana, Peanut butter, Nuts, Cinnamon, Almond butter, Flax seed, hemp, honey, raspberries (all berries), pumpkin seeds (all types of seeds), dark chocolate, and anything else you can think of!

Tip: To cut down on preparation time even more, prepare a boat load of oatmeal on a Sunday afternoon in between football games and throw it in the freezer. When it comes time to prepare, you only have to throw some in the microwave, or heat it up on the stove. Now you really have no excuses.

10 Reasons to Get Up Early

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Nothing is worse than hearing your alarm go off after not getting enough sleep; the last thing you want to do is open your eyes (if they even open up in the first place) and take on the day. Now how about if you get enough sleep? Do you remember those few times you actually got to bed at a decent time? Waking up wasn’t so bad was it? It might have actually felt good?

Well your body isn’t crazy, waking up early is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. Some of the world’s most happiest, productive, and successful people are early risers, and it’s no coincidence. Here are the top 10 reasons for getting up early:

1. It gives you YOU time – There are only a few opportunities for you to have alone time, where all of your attention is directed towards you. You most likely spend the majority of your day at school or work, talking with people, going to meetings, socializing at meals, you probably come home, have dinner with friends and family, maybe go out, or see a movie; your day is pretty much filled with people. Early in the morning and right before bed are the two periods you have for yourself, don’t cut that time in half.

2. Get Sh*t Done – Waking up earlier gives you more time in your day to cross the little things off your to-do list. Whether that be checking emails, walking the dog, or reading up on the news, having an extra hour or two can go a long way. Plus it is a lot harder to get the nettlesome tasks done after a long day at work or school. Help yourself out.

3. FOOOOD – It is always said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether thats true or not, it’s still pretty damn important. Breakfast gives you the energy source to take on the morning and kick starts your metabolism for the rest of the day. Nothing is worse than rushing out the door having had nothing to eat, which promotes distraction and crankiness, two qualities that don’t help with productivity and success.

4. Get Moving – Some times it is difficult to fit in a solid workout throughout the day, and no one wants to pound out an hour in the gym after an 8 hour day. If this is you, getting up early gives you a window to go for a morning run or depending on how early your local gym opens, hitting the gym. Do some physical activity in the morning, we all know it’s not happening when you get home.

5. Stay Organized – When I get up, one of the first things I do is look at my to-do list from the day before. I transfer all of the things I couldn’t get done (very few ;)) onto the present day list and add any of the new tasks that need to completed for that day. This gives me a visual of what I need done, and by doing this first thing in the morning it stifles the opportunity for forgetting them later in the day. Don’t rely on your memory, write everything down.

6. Quiet – When you get up early before the majority of the crowd, you provide yourself with an opportunity to notice some of the things you might not notice otherwise. This coincides with the YOU time idea, where you really have no distractions. You can watch the sun rise, or hear the birds start to wake. Waking up early gives you time where there are no stressors like traffic or pesky bosses and to enjoy some of the little things we tend to take for granted.

7. You’ll never be late again – Slamming the snooze button 10 times might feel good at the time, but when you finally realize you have 25 minutes to get to work, all of that ‘good feeling’ gets sucked out of you like a vacuum. Waking up early gives you ample time to get the things you need done like shower, and eat, and still make it to work or class with plenty of time to spare. Being punctual is a habit that gets noticed.

8. Beat the traffic – Depending on how you get to school or work, the commute in the morning will be cut by at least half when you get up before the majority of the population. Buses will be running smoothly and traffic won’t be an issue. My mother gets to work first out of the entire trading floor, brews the coffee, and is out of their by 4pm at the latest. She knows.

9. You feel good – Think about it. While everyone is struggling to get out of bed, brushing their teeth with their eyes half open, and running out the door with a PopTart in hand, you’ve gone to the gym, read the newspaper, walked Winston, formulated a to-do list, knocked a few things off that to-do list, watched the sunrise, and enjoyed a mean breakfast, all before you set foot through the door! This most likely will make you feel pretty darn good.

10. Sets the tone for a great day – Speaking about feeling good. By doing all of these things or even some of them, you set yourself in a great position to take on the day. Having a positive attitude right from the get go, knowing that you are on top of  of everything will keep you productive and positive throughout the day. It might just inspire someone else too, which is what’s important.

These are some of the benefits I have noticed by getting up early, please feel free to share yours by commenting below. As a wise man once said:

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

Here are some of the quotes I found that will hopefully get you inspired to rise early and get that worm!

“One key to success is to have lunch at the time of day most people have breakfast.” – Robert Brault

“The sun has not caught me in bed in fifty years.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The difference between rising at five and seven o’clock in the morning, for forty years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of ten years to a man’s life.” – Philip Doddridge

Monday Green Energizer Smoothie

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If you get a good night sleep and are fairly organized, Monday’s are great. They represent a fresh new start, and they set the pace for the week ahead. However we all know that more often than not, Monday’s don’t get this reputation. Sometimes Monday’s just suck. Perhaps you were hungover all day Sunday and you had to stay up late finishing your paper and are running on only a few hours of sleep, or maybe Monday you’re packed with meetings all day. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need a quick source of energy to get you through the day. Instead of reaching for an energy drink or a 4th cup of coffee which promotes crashes and irritable attitudes, grab the Vitamix and these few whole foods, and you’ll be feeling better instantly:

Ingredients:

Apple – 1/2

Blueberries – 1/2 a cup

Coconut Milk – 1/2 a cup

Ginger – A small piece or half a tsp

Spinach – 1 cup

Throw some ice cubes in if you like it chilly, and that’s it! Enjoy responsibly, you’re going to feel great!

*This fantastic recipe was inspired by a great friend of mine Matthew Connelly

12 Secrets to Living a Good, Healthy Life

Now before you guys read this post, I want to let you know that this secret is not so secret at all. In fact all 7.2 billion people that dwell on this beautiful planet have come into contact with this special bit of information I am about to tell you. Now you’re probably asking “what the h*%l is this guy talking about? How can there be so much pain, sickness, and trouble in our world, if everyone knows the “secret” to a living a good life”? The reason is, people forget. We get so ingrained in the busy happenings of life, that we lose touch of whats important. If you haven’t guessed it by now, the secret is: be more of a kid. More specifically, the time you were born to about the age of 7 (our stage where we are most “blank”).

We as humans were born with an innate ability to live, however as we grow older and develop, we start to get shallow with the things that keep us healthy and human. Lets take a look at why kids are the perfect archetype for living a good life:

1. Kids get to bed early – The amount of sleep you get is directly proportionate to so many components of a healthy life. Happiness, stress, motivation, sociability, life longevity, and so much more. Without sleep, you strip your ability to recharge, stay young, and face the day with a positive attitude. Today, billions of people forget how important sleep is, and decide to disregard it. Stay organized and get to bed early because work can wait until the morning, try and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night (depending on your daily activity). Which brings me to my next point…

2. Kids wake up early – If you’re getting to bed early, getting up early should be breeze, and you don’t have to sacrifice your much needed shut eye. There are so many advantages of getting up early. Nothing is worse than waking up too late, you feel groggy, you might be running late, and it just doesn’t feel good. By waking up early you get your day started, it provides you with “you” time, you can get what you need done, maybe go for a morning run, and it’s really peaceful. Kids can’t wait to experience the day, and you should follow them!

3. Kids eat whole foods – As a baby, you are exposed to easily digestible whole foods. Eating a diet filled with whole foods will benefit your health in a myriad of ways. Load up on vegetables, fruits, and lean meats, and try to stay clear from overly processed or refined foods. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel.

4. Kids are curious – Remember when you were a kid? How you would always ask questions, or find even the little things (even a pebble) interesting? This curiosity should stay without you throughout your life. Now I’m not saying pick up a rock and study it, but what I am saying is: ask questions, meet new people, try different things, maybe learn a new language, ask your elders for advice. If you stay curious, you provide yourself with the opportunity to grow.

5. Kids laugh and have fun – A kids’ number one purpose is to have fun, and they will think of new and creative ways to find it. It’s important to continue this throughout your adult life, because without having fun, whats the point of living. I’m also not referring to going out and partying (which is also fun), but try and find ways of having sober fun like going for a round of golf with dad, or getting a mani pedi with mom.

6. Kids dream big – “I want to be an astronaut”. Never stop dreaming, if you don’t enjoy what your doing, change it (stop feeding yourself with excuses), take risks, and most importantly do what you love, because if you do this, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

7. Kids Cry – Kids are great at expressing their emotions and crying is a natural way of ridding your body of bad toxins. Make sure you communicate as well. Whether it be with a significant other, family member, or friend, communication is at the root of a healthy relationship. Be honest with yourself and others while maintaining a strong dynamic of communication.

8. Kids don’t judge – A young child will accept you for who you are. They don’t care about age, appearance, race, or sex, they treat everyone the same. If you find yourself judging, stop because you wouldn’t want others to judge you. Instead, get to know people and give them a chance before you make assumptions.

9. Kids don’t stress – At least not over the little things. What’s the point of getting mad at the slow driver in front of you, or the “incompetent” cashier who might be on his first day of work. All stress does is put you in a poor mood, raise cortisol and affect your ability to deal with your day. Stress is also associated with health conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, and heart conditions. I myself used to be guilty of this, now whenever I catch myself stressing over something little, I laugh and get on with my day because it’s not worth it.

10. Kids breathe properly – This one a lot of people forget. You were born with the ability to properly  breathe, deep within your diaphragm. As we get older our breath becomes more and more shallow. Really try and breathe deep, allowing your diaphragm to expand naturally (don’t force it). You’ll feel more relaxed and more energized at the same time.

11. Kids are creative – Dedicate some time once in a while to letting your creativity flow. Whether that’s through writing, painting, brainstorming, singing, or cooking an extravagant meal, just try and do something outside the norm. This not only is a boat load of fun, it changes things up which will help your mind and brain stay sharp and young.

12. Kids get into trouble – Now I mean this figuratively. Take risks, be creative, try not to follow the social norms (excluding the necessary norms). If you don’t like your job, find a new one, if you always wanted to climb Mt. Everest why not give it a try, if you feel like pigging out, do it. Staying on the same routine day in and day out is boring, do something you enjoy, reward yourself, and get into a little bit of trouble (remember, figuratively).

Don’t be limited to your age. Everyone has the ability to be healthy and stay young. Remember age is just a number. Stick to some of these guidelines and watch your life turn “right-side up”, you’ll feel happier, stronger, and more in tuned with your life and the people you experience with it. Don’t get suckered into adult life. I’m not talking about not maturing, but take these lessons that kids model to us everyday and incorporate them into your daily life. Stay curious, stay happy, and enjoy the things you do and the people you spend your time with, that’s whats important.

Mean Lean Protein Pancakes

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This morning I woke up craving pancakes, and not just any pancakes, I was craving my mean lean protein pancakes which I haven’t made since Christmas. Now breakfast is probably my favorite meal; one of the reasons being, the versatility that comes with it. I see so many people eating the same monotonous bowl of oatmeal day and day out, or a few fried eggs with a piece of toast and I just feel sorry for them. I try to change things up every morning with scrambles, omelets, power bowls, and you should too. This is a great start, with 35g of protein these pancakes pack a mean punch which will keep you full and asking for more.

Calories: 470, Protein: 25g, Carbs: 45g, Fat: 8g*

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Ingredients: Makes 3 hardy cakes

Oatmeal – 125ml

1/2 a Banana

Protein Powder (Vanilla) – 25g (If no vanilla, add a dash of vanilla extract)

Dash of Cinnamon

Greek Yogurt – 1 tbs

1 Egg

That’s it! No added sugar, no refined grains, all whole foods.

Directions:

1. Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Pour onto a heated pan (split into 3 pancakes).

3. Cook on low to medium heat until under side is browned, then flip and repeat

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These pancakes are so easy to make, and they are great for you too! The reason mine turned out green is because I used hemp protein which works really well. Give them a try, and don’t be afraid to add a dash of your own creativity too!

 

*Nutritional facts are an estimate