We all can agree, there’s something simply uncanny about hearing the right words precisely at the right moment… Or discovering that your area of struggle is not only solvable, but completely doable. Is it getting in shape, bringing order to financial chaos or striking the right balance between work and family life? Whatever the quandary, we’ve gathered great advice from five faith-centered experts, in 5 key areas to get you back on track.
An expert on vibrant and healthy living, Molly Shattuck leads by example. After having three children, and becoming the oldest NFL cheerleader in history (at age 38!), Shattuck climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and finished several marathons, including the 26.2 mile Marine Corps Marathon. Amongst her many responsibilities, she serves as a Healthy Living Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association, is a board member at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and a Healthy Food Ambassador for the United Way. As an advocate for healthy living, Shattuck created the Vibrant Living program based on personal experiences and extensive conversations with some of today’s leaders in the areas of health, fitness, and nutrition. Here she shares her transformative blueprint, straight out of the pages of her new book, Vibrant Living: 21 Days to Transform Your Body, Burst with Energy, and Live Your Life with Purpose.
“The program and the book are based on The Four Pillars of Vibrant Living”, Molly says. The Four Pillars work together in tandem to create good health. “This is a real back-to-basics approach,” she explains. “We have to move our bodies, eat well, stay well- hydrated, and be kind to others.”
For 21 days, the focus is on setting daily goals based on The Four Pillars, and recording the positive progress. “When you focus on something and write it down, you hold yourself accountable,” Molly says. The book contains ample space to record each day of the program. After 21 days, The Four Pillars become a more naturally integrated part of life.
• Drink 90-120 ounces of water a day. The human body is comprised of 60-70% water. Cardiologists now say it’s imperative to drink two cups of water as soon as you wake up, increase your consumption throughout the day, and in the evening before bed. “The majority of heart attacks happen between 6 a.m. and noon,” Molly explains.
• Focus on eating real food. Eat less processed and packaged food and focus on eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lean protein. Also eat smaller portions.
• Read labels. “People who read labels weigh an average of 8.2 pounds less,” Molly says.
• Exercise daily for 30 minutes. If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes, then break your exercise up into 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes in the evening. Plan ahead and schedule your exercise.
• Volunteer. A Carnegie Mellon University study found that people who volunteer on a regular basis have lower blood pressure, decreasing mortality rates, and are less likely to battle anxiety and depression. If you have kids, make it a family activity. “I believe one of the biggest gifts we can give our children is to teach them the importance of helping other people,” Molly says. If you’re not sure how to begin, check out the How To section… on
• Do it with a friend. “I always suggest to people to do it with a buddy,” Molly says. “Get with someone who has the same interests, who will cheer you on and support you, and do it together. What is life unless you’re sharing it with someone?”
Molly Shattuck believes she was put on this planet to live vibrantly and healthfully – and to help you live that way too. She’s the expert to whom thousands have turned to lose weight, increase their energy and live life with higher
purpose. Want to learn how? Molly’s first book, Vibrant Living – 21 Days to Transform Your Body, Burst with Energy, and Live Your Life with Purpose, hits the shelves February 4, 2014.
Do you struggle to meet the demands of work and family life? Do you often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, giving way to a constant state of exhaustion? Suzy Welch, business journalist, commentator and author of the New York Times bestselling book 10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea, details in the pages of her book a clear, straight-forward, and transparent decision making process you can use when you’re stuck or paralyzed by a choice, such as to work or stay at home with the kids, switch jobs, or move to another country – by considering the consequences of your options in of 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years. The process can be used in love, work, parenting, friendship, and faith matters. “When you use 10/10/10, you end up having a lot more consistency in your life and a lot more transparency because you and the people around you know why you’re making decisions,” Suzy says. “Even if they don’t agree, they’ll feel like they had a seat at the table.” Read on to discover Suzy’s tips for making decisions differently this year.
• Live by your choices. Choices, while still personal, come with consequences and you have to live with and own them, good or bad. You won’t be able to make everyone happy.
• Identify your values. Look at your life and how you spend your time. “If you’re miserably unhappy, you can be absolutely sure you’ve not been living your values, because it causes a lot of disharmony,” Suzy says.
• Own your values and say them out loud. Problems occur when people have certain values and then try to live a life that isn’t consistent with them, or they don’t share their values with others.
• Take it day by day. “Understand that every day is a day you’re going to live out the choices you’ve made and the consequences,” Suzy says. “You cannot have it all at the same time.”
• Talk to your kids about your values. In general, Suzy says work-life choices become easier as your kids get older, around or after age 12 and they are better able to understand.
• Get out of your comfort zone. A wise older reporter once toldher, “Be careful of a job that becomes easy; it’s like a velvet coffin.” Suzy emphasizes growing outside of your comfort zone. “Like all living things, God wants us to grow,” she adds.
• Pause before you make a decision. When someone asks you something, say, “That’s a very interesting question. Can I get back to you on that?”
Suzy Welch, author of the New York Times bestseller 10-10-10 is the former editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review, and a work- life columnist for O The Oprah Magazine. She is the coauthor, with her husband Jack Welch, of the New York Times bestseller “Winning” and of “The Welch Way,” published in BusinessWeek magazine and internationally by the New York Times Syndicate. She lives in Boston.
Ever dream of creating beautiful art or taking center stage, but shied away because you didn’t see yourself as particularly gifted? Do you always order the same entrée followed by the same dessert at the same restaurant? When was the last time you caught a play, a live concert, or attended an art show? According to C. McNair Wilson, former Disney Imagineer, sought-after corporate coach and author of several books on creativity, “most folks don’t view themselves as creative people,” he says. But he further explains, “If you have ever gone home and took a look in any room and said: ‘Oh, I think I’ll move the couch here and put the chair there… Or I’ve had these same dumb dishtowels forever! And you go to the Dollar store and get red dish towels to replace the green ones,’ in both cases what you are saying is that ‘it’ could be different or done better -which although on a very small ground level, is proof of your creative spirit at work.”
• Shift your perspective on creativity. “Creativity isn’t a moment, it’s not a particular activity, it’s a continuum,” McNair says. “We’re actively and inactively creative through- out every day of our lives. It’s like the difference between a glass of chocolate milk and a chocolate soufflé- there are degrees of creativity.” Furthermore, creativity is everywhere we let it be, not just in art classes.
• Find mentors. Find the two or three most creative people in your life and ask what they do to be creative and how they keep that creativity alive. Ask them to help you do a creative activity you’ve always wanted to try.
• Commit yourself. “Have the courage to accept you might be creative, and then the confidence to take some steps on a regular basis to go after that,” McNair says. He suggests setting a time and draws on the advice of his friend SARK, who advocates the use of micro-movements, five minute exercises that you complete towards a bigger project.
• Sit down and create a plan. Whether the plan contains words or diagrams, McNair encourages people to make one. Carry a notebook or sketchbook with you at all times to capture ideas. “Try different ways to find the best way to tell the story,” he says.
• Break up the routine. Try a different route between home and work. Walk instead of driving. Go to a play or a concert. Go to a gallery. Use a fountain pen or a felt pen instead of the usual ballpoint. Take a cooking class.
• Do a little bit of something as opposed to nothing. “And let that be something other than your normal stuff.”
A former Disney Imagineer, McNair Wilson is a sought-after corporate coach, playwright, cartoonist, and author of several books including HATCH! Brainstorming Secrets of a Theme Park Designer. His latest read is the first in a series of three books on creativity and workplace communications featuring The 7 Agreements of Brain-storming, which he first created and taught at Disney University. The second in the 3 part series of books is scheduled for release in the summer of 2014.
Get Faith Focused!
We’ve all had those “Aha!” moments. Times when we “come to our senses” amidst a stressful situation or problem… We know that we need to be honest and make some serious changes, but most of us respond with denial and want to put off the pain a change will bring. We often tell ourselves we’re going to change, just not right now. When the consequences of our actions reach the out-of-control point and become hard to ignore, we then think it’s too late to take action. Kyle Idleman, Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, says, “We need to do the opposite of our thinking and turn to God at these times.” His latest book, AHA, based on Kyle’s study of the parable of the prodigal son, examines the pitfalls and consequences of living independently of God’s influence and lays out an action plan to reconnection and restoration. Below Kyle shares his advice on allowing God to transform you and your situation.
• The awakening often comes when we’re at a place in life where things need to turn around. “For the prodigal son in Luke 15, that moment happened when he found himself in a pig pen, broke and starving,” Kyle says. “Suddenly, he realized how difficult things had become and how desperately he needed to change.”
• You don’t have to hit rock bottom before you change. “God wants to get our attention now,” Kyle says. “He wants His truth to set us free now.”
• Take regular time in solitude and silence to listen for God’s voice. Pray and ask God to wake you up to the warning signs posted along your path.
• Watch out for denial and minimization responses. “This journey of change and trans-formation doesn’t come through helping ourselves, but by acknowledging our help- lessness and turning to God for help,” Kyle says. “It’s not by our might or power, but by His Spirit.”
• Turning to God requires us to humble ourselves. “When we finally realize we need God’s help, it can be difficult to turn to Him because we fear rejection,” Kyle says. “My favorite scene in the story of the prodigal son is when the father sees his son in the distance and runs to his son with arms open wide.”
Kyle Idleman is the Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the fourth largest church in America, where he speaks to its more than 30,000 members throughout the year. He is the author of the books Not a Fan, and the recently released, Gods at War. He is also the presenter of the award-winning video curriculum “H2O: A Journey of Faith,” “Gods at War,” “The Easter Experience,” and the “Not a Fan” DVD teaching series. Idleman speaks at regional and national conventions and conferences and regularly teaches at some of America’s largest and most influential churches. Kyle and his wife, DesiRae, have four children.
Get Financially Fettered!
Financial challenges affect all ages. College graduates employed at entry-level jobs are now saddled with 1.2 trillion dollars in outstanding student loans. The typical U.S. house- hold, while earning an average salary of $60K per year, is faced with credit card debt, student loans, and an overall lack of savings. Baby Boomers still reeling from the impact of the Great Recession and wiped-out nest eggs and retirement savings are now finding new ways to re-invent themselves and extend their working years. Whichever your situation, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach, has advice for you. Her latest book, Perfect Credit: 7 Steps to a Great Credit Rating, is a must-read for people who want to establish, fix, improve, or maintain credit. Along with her sound financial advice, Lynnette’s mission is to give people hope and inspiration. In a recent interview, she shared that 99.9% of the time people can recover from things that have gone wrong financially in their lives, whether it be a mistake or an unforeseen event. “It’s not the end of the world, it’s not fate, and it’s not a permanent financial death sentence,” Khalfani-Cox explains. “It will get better if you take some steps.” Here she shares a few of the steps below.
For the Recently Employed College Graduate
• Be realistic about starting salaries and expenses, including student loans. A huge pitfall college grads face is overestimating starting salaries and underestimating expenses once they get into the real world. Take a hard look at your student loans and create a strategic payoff plan that’s done as quickly as possible. Don’t wait to start aggressively paying off student loans. Double the minimum payments if you can afford it, or add to the minimum monthly payment.
• Keep the spending in check. Make some sacrifices to be able to put more money towards student loans. Don’t be ashamed to tell your friends you can’t afford a trip or a dinner out. “You can’t say yes to everything because you don’t have an infinite amount of
money,” Lynnette says.
• Start saving and investing now. Save something rather than nothing, even if it’s just $25 a paycheck. You’ll develop discipline and over time, even small amounts of money can amass and become large sums because of the power of compounded interest. Make sure to take advantage of your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, such as a 401K or a 403B program.
For the Working Joe and/or Jane with Kids
• Avoid the credit card debt trap. If you’re in credit card debt, create a strategic payoff plan.
• Regular savings is critical. Lynnette recommends three types of savings accounts for working moms and dads:
1. Rainy day fund: cash needed for one-time, unforeseen events such as the car or the washing machine breaking down.
2. Emergency fund: enough cash on hand to cover your living expenses for 3-6 months in case of a long-term major life disruption such as a job loss. For example, if your bills are $2500 a month, you should have $7500 or more in this account.
3. College fund: such as a 529 plan, a state-sponsored college savings vehicle where you can save money and invest in mutual funds over time.
• Use financial windfalls properly. Set aside a portion of your income tax refund to build any of the three funds above.
• Max out your retirement plan in 2014. Increase your contributions gradually, add money back to your paycheck by adjusting your tax with-holdings at work, use your raise, and make sacrifices. Scale back eating out and look at savvy ways to cut costs.
For the Baby Boomer
• Rethink the impact of adult children and grandchildren on your finances. Don’t be a victim of a financially abusive relationship, which occurs anytime someone you know, trust, or love takes economic advantage of you.
• Plan for things that can wipe out retirement savings, such as an accident, illness, or an aging parent’s expenses. Health and disability insurance can be helpful here.
• Make sure you have a will. Direct and protect your assets… Name a guardian or custodian if you have minor-age children.
An award-winning financial news journalist, sought after financial expert and radio personality, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox has appeared on such national TV programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Good Morning America and Dr. Oz sharing her success story and teaching millions about proper money management and how to get out of debt and eliminate their debt.
Also known as The Money Coach®, Lynnette has authored numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. Her latest book, Perfect Credit: 7 Steps to a Great Credit Rating, is a must-read for people who want to establish, fix, improve, or maintain credit. She’s currently working on her next book, due out later this year, on how to save for a college education without going broke.
By Alanna Klapp