emember Popeye growing up? Turns out he was on to something. Spinach is a nutrition powerhouse. It’s got fiber, and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and is also a good source of iron. Dark leafy greens are an important source of beta-carotene, a disease-fighting antioxidant, that research shows to be important in the fight against cancer and heart disease. Raw spinach is a good source of vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant, so add it to your dinner salad. It adds its own distinct flavor and texture, too.
Here is a super simple way to cook it. It makes a delicious and healthy side dish for those nights when dinner prep time is short, and can easily complement a variety of entrees.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds spinach, trimmed, washed, and dried
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large saute pan, heat the oil until hot. Add the spinach and the garlic, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until spinach wilts. Remove the spinach from the heat and season to taste. Toss and serve.
Spinach will cook down quite a bit. Since cooking concentrates nutrients and fiber, a serving of cooked spinach is a delicious and healthy addition to any dinner.
ave you been thinking about making a change in yourself, or your circumstances, for a while? Do you question (or maybe even secretly doubt) that making this change is possible? Or have you attempted making a change, maybe more than once, only to find yourself slipping back into old patterns, becoming discouraged, and slowly finding yourself back where you started?
I’m fascinated by the possiblity of real change in people. I’m fascinated by the process, too. And I have seen people make signficant, important and lasting changes often enough to know that real change is absolutely possible. One of the most important pieces is, I believe, knowing your why. Why do you have this goal? Why do you want to make this change? What are the benefits you hope to gain? Is there a lifelong dream you wish to realize by this achievement? If you want to lose weight, what do you hope that will get you? Longer life, better quality of life, knowing that you’re in great shape, looking great in your clothes, completing a marathon, keeping up with your kids (or grandkids?) If you are thinking about a new career path, what is your motivation for that? Are you looking for more fulfillment in your day-to-day life? Opportunity to showcase your abilities? More financial opportunity, so that you can afford to send your children to a great college? What is your why? Being able to answer this question can make all the difference in reaching your goal or falling short, so let’s talk about it.
Let’s say you want to begin an exercise program and get in shape? What’s your why? Knowing your why can provide important motivation when the initial excitement of “beginning” wears off, and your alarm clock is going off a half-hour earlier for your 2-mile run. Having a strong “why” can make the difference between getting up and going for it, or turning over and going back to sleep. Your “why” is what empowers you to keep your commitment. Here are some possibilities:
To lose weight, and to maintain that loss, so you can look and feel better;
Your health could be at risk if you don’t make some changes;
You feel (and maybe look) like you have let yourself go;
You know you’ll have more energy, and manage stress better;
You know that exercise is key to aging well, and you want to be healthy and vital in the decades to come;
You want to be a good role model for your children by being active and healthy;
You are going through a major life change – maybe starting a new career, or going back into the workforce – and want to be at your best;
You have a lot on your plate and know that exercise is vital to stress management;
You have a lifelong dream of completing a marathon and now’s the time to do it;
You are ready to be a “new you” and just want to look and feel more beautiful, confident and radiant.
I could easily go on here, but I think you get the idea. Your “why” is what keeps you going when you just don’t feel like it. It’s the motivator, that internal voice that wipes out the excuses that conspire to derail you on your path. Your “why” keeps you moving forward when you are confronted by obstacles or challenges (and you will be…..) It’s part – a big part – of your foundation for change, and if you want your change to be lasting, you have to have a good foundation.
If you’re contemplating making a significant change in your life, before you even get started, spend some time thinking about your why – your reasons for wanting to make this change. Writing them down will make the process even more powerful. Knowing your why can work wonders in setting you up for success in making lasting change. And isn’t this what you want?
‘m not big on New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I stopped making them years ago. The main reason is that I have found over time that if I need to make a positive change in my life, I will do it when I am ready and not a moment before. The date on the calendar doesn’t make a bit of difference, whether it is January 1st or August 17th. I do, however, enjoy the symbolism of January 1, a new year, a clean slate -it’s a great feeling, and I look forward to it. I always feel energized by the prospect of a new year, and the anticipation of what it will bring.
What I like to do as the year draws to a close is take stock of the year just past, and set some intentions, some goals, for the year to come. And I like to put them in writing. Writing down my goals clarifies them, and gives me direction and a personal map for what I want to accomplish. It sets my subconscious mind in motion to help me to achieve my aims. Research shows that people who write down their goals actually have greater success in achieving them. Sharing those goals with another person, and then sending that person weekly progress reports increases the likelihood of success even more. (One study estimated by as much as 33% on average!) The process of putting my goals and intentions on paper also gives me an overview of what I want to accomplish, so that I can plan the best way to get there. It’s the beginning of moving forward.
Another reason I like to write my goals down is that it gives me a way to track my progress. I can look back and realize that I actually achieved certain aims that were important to me, and that is not only a positive feeling – it increases my sense of accomplishment and reinforces my commitment to set new goals. I recently looked back at a previous list of business goals I had set for myself last year, and it was fun to see what I had accomplished – and could actually cross off the list!
Having goals, dreams and aspirations are what life is all about! They give us a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and add meaning to our lives. They don’t have to be huge – the smaller ones that may seem trivial are just as important. Setting and achieving smaller goals builds confidence that the bigger challenges can be met. Just as often, they are the incremental steps we take on the way to the achievement of a larger, overall aim. It all counts.
Action Step: What are your top 3 goals for the next 90 days. Write them down and put them somewhere you can see them – your computer, or the refrigerator. Set an intention to move towards these, and then see what happens. My guess is that you will see at least some forward movement towards one or more of these after the 90 days is up. Let me know. I would love to hear from you!