Intentional Living

People who are successful at managing their health, building wealth, breaking records, or other accomplishments have similar habits. As we strive to reach our personal goals in life, it makes sense to acknowledge these habits and perhaps try to incorporate some of them into our own routine.

Go after your dreams

Bring your dreams into focus, turn them into plans and then passionately pursue them. Successful people usually don’t become successful accidentally. They have dreams, make plans, set goals, and work on their goals daily. What dreams do you have? What one thing can you do today that will bring those dreams one step closer to reality?

Be intentional

Each morning starts fresh with an opportunity to get the most out of your day and move you closer to your dreams. Rather than just react to the environment around you, set a schedule and follow it as closely as you can. Intentional living could be compared to a GPS system. You are at a starting point and have a destination. Living intentionally gives you the path to get from point A to point B. It does not mean having a rigid, inflexible plan, but instead having a clear vision of where you are going and being open to different routes, as necessary, to get you there.

One way to do this is to schedule an hour once a week to write down everything that’s on your mind—work, personal, health, family—get it all down. Then make a list, prioritize and schedule tasks for the next day, week or month. Star the tasks that are a top priority—you’ll want to work on those first. Once you have it laid out, it’s easy to adjust if needed. Having this type of schedule typically reduces anxiety, because you can see what needs to be done and the plan to accomplish it.

When you get right down to it, intentional living is about living your best story.

― John C. Maxwell

Start positive

Most successful people get up early and follow a set routine before the distractions of the day begin. These routines vary, but often include time set aside for gratitude, prayer, meditation and /or intentions for the day. A journal can help you structure this time. You may choose to listen to online sermons, read the bible or daily devotionals, watch motivational videos or TED talks, make or recite a gratitude list, and/or mediate on your own or use an app for guided meditation. Consult your goals and determine one important thing to accomplish this day for each goal.

Process information effectively

So much information comes at us from all angles; it is easy to become overwhelmed. You may find that when you think about something that needs to be communicated, it works best to take care of it right away freeing your mind for other tasks.

A second option is to batch communication–opening email, text messages and voice mail only at set times of the day. When you think of something that needs to be communicated outside of this time, jot it down and address it during the allotted time.

Start physical

Morning exercise helps to fuel your brain and body so you get more out of your day. Most highly successful people make time for 30 minutes or more of exercise daily.

Feed your brain

Your brain thrives when you provide it with information that helps it grow and feel inspired. Successful people read regularly. If you don’t have time to read, get audio books and listen to them while you commute or exercise. Read to increase your knowledge, but also consider other sources of positive input that can help you be more creative and inspired—motivational quotes, uplifting music, a thoughtful conversation, meditation, or laughing through a comedy.

Take care of yourself

No matter what your day brings, make self-care a priority. Eat healthy food, exercise, stay hydrated with water, and take short deep-breathing breaks.

You’ve always had the power my dear–you just had to learn it for yourself.

— The Wizard of Oz

Don’t be afraid of no

It’s amazing how freeing a simple two-letter word can be. “No” frees you from obligations that take up your time and energy. Be sure to use that time wisely on people and activities that are important to you.

Build relationships

Hang out with highly motivated individuals. You’ve heard the saying; “You’re only as successful as those you associate with.” And it’s true. Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more successful than you are. If you need to get connected with like-minded people, join a group for people who share your personal or work interests. For example, the Barix Clinics private Facebook page is a great place to get connected to others who are pumped up about changing their lives through weight loss surgery.

In contrast, limit your time with negative, low energy people. They tend to zap the motivation right out of you.

Get your zzzz’s

Albert Einstein knew how important sleep was; he found time to get 10 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is critical to your weight loss efforts—a lack of sleep is associated with food cravings and a higher weight. It will also keep your memory and creative thinking in top working order.

Financial discipline

Money can be a wonderful blessing or a major stressor. People who create wealth learn financial principles and discipline that aren’t usually taught in school. Many parents don’t understand these principles so they are not able to pass that knowledge to their children. It is up to you to make time for reading books, taking classes and learning about financial independence.

Start today

Intentional living can help you reach your goals and find your dreams. It can help you think about your choices, learn to make better decisions, and live a happier life with fewer regrets. Use these ideas as an inspiration to get started designing a live you love today!

Slow Cooker Black Bean and Chicken Soup

2 (15 oz) cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red bell pepper, minced
4 oz can diced green chiles
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 medium green onion, chopped

Blend one can of beans and chicken broth until smooth and add to slow cooker. Add the second can of beans along with tomatoes, bell pepper, diced green chiles, cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, chicken breast, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Remove cooked chicken, shred and return to slow cooker. Serve warm and top with a sprinkle of chopped green onion and cilantro. Makes 10 1-cup servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 151 calories, 16 grams protein, 1 gram fat, 17 grams carbohydrate, 526 mg sodium.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat dry the chickpeas. In a small mixing bowl, combine seasonings and oil. Add the chickpeas and mix until evenly coated. Place chickpeas in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes stir and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and slightly brown.  Turn the oven off, open the door a crack and let the chickpeas continue to cook another 20 minutes. Cool and eat. Makes 4-1/4 cup servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 118 calories, 11 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, 317 mg sodium.

Kale Chips

1 large bundle curly green or purple kale
1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
Seasonings of choice
pinch sea salt, or
1 tsp cumin powder, or
1 tsp chili powder, or
1 tsp curry powder, or
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Rinse and thoroughly dry kale, then tear into small pieces, discarding large stems. Place dry kale in a large mixing bowl, toss with oil and seasoning(s) and mix with hands to evenly coat.

Spread the kale in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Keep the pieces from touching each other as much as possible. Bake for 15 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn. Lightly toss the kale and continue baking for 5-10 minutes until kale is crispy and slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Enjoy immediately. Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving without seasoning: 69 calories, 2 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 32 mg sodium.


About Deb Hart

Deb Hart is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. For the last 28 years, she has been helping bariatric surgery patients reach their health and weight goals. She teaches people how to set up a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. Deb set up her own lifestyle to include lots of long walks with her furry family members, workout classes at her local wellness center, meal prepping, and finding new ways to enjoy foods without added sugar.
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