The 11 strategies for changing your behavior to reach fitness goals

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Fitness: Steps to Success

The 11 strategies for changing your behavior to reach fitness goals:
Whether it’s taking on the challenge of eating healthier, stopping smoking, or beginning an exercise program, relying on willpower alone will lead to nothing but failure. Setting out on a fitness journey requires strategies for achieving a change in behavior. As American Council on Exercise (ACE) master trainer Nancy L. Naternicola points out in her forthcoming book, Fitness: Steps to Success (Human Kinetics, December 2014), you need to be able to answer questions such as how you will exercise regularly instead of sporadically or how you will choose healthy options at a holiday event.

Not to be confused with action, the who, what, and when strategies for changing behavior take into account current barriers and resources available. In the book, Naternicola, who has 35 years of experience in personal training and group fitness, looks at 11 ways to achieve behavior change and reach fitness goals:

  1. Change one behavior at a time. “Your unhealthy behavior didn’t happen overnight, and a new behavior will take time,” Naternicola stresses. She advises that trying to accomplish too much too fast may set you up for failure and cause you to lapse, which can lead to relapse, so it’s essential to focus on one thing at a time—replacing one unhealthy behavior with a healthy behavior.
  2. Get support. Tell a friend or family member about your desire to change a behavior, or seek the services of a personal trainer, support group, or registered dietitian. You may need to meet periodically throughout your journey to keep on track and make progress.
  3. Make a realistic and specific plan. Be realistic and write down the days and times that work best for you to exercise. Be practical rather than say you are going to exercise seven days a week for an hour each day. You can always increase the time or add another day as your schedule allows. “This will allow you to pat yourself on the back for accomplishing more than planned instead of beating yourself up because you missed an exercise session,” Naternicola explains.
  4. Start with small short-term goals. While your long-term goal may be to lose 25 pounds, breaking it down into a shorter goal will help you feel successful and motivated to continue. For example, losing one pound a week is a small, achievable step that will help you reach your goal in 25 weeks.
  5. Use the buddy system. Having someone to hold you accountable when you want to skip going to the gym—such as someone with similar fitness goals—will help keep you on track, and vice versa. Naternicola explains, “Your buddy will be someone you can share similar experiences with, which can help you stay motivated and focused on changing your behavior.”
  6. Set up prompts. Setting up daily reminders, or prompts, will help you stay focused on changing your behavior. Examples include packing your gym bag the night before or keeping your running shoes in the car. Naternicola recommends putting your exercise schedule on the refrigerator and scheduling exercise time in your planner as you would a doctor’s appointment.
  7. Use rewards. It’s important to recognize your accomplishments. Upon reaching a goal, reward yourself with a movie or spa treatment instead of an unhealthy food item. You can also use your social network to post, tweet, or blog about what you have done.
  8. Don’t get bored. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to exercise, so think about changing your regular walking route, or vary your activity with walking, biking, and swimming. Naternicola points out that this is the time to try something new—like a yoga class or martial arts lessons. Or if you have been doing the same strength routine, switch it up with one or two weeks of body-weight-only exercises.
  9. Use stimulus control. If you are aware of certain triggers, or stimuli, that set off an unhealthy behavior, make a note of the time, place, and your feelings when it happens and choose an alternative. For example, if you drive by a fast-food restaurant on the way home and can’t resist some fries or a milkshake, take a different route.
  10. Monitor your behavior. Keep a record of your workouts—that is, what type of exercise you performed. Studies have shown that those who monitor their exercise lose more weight and make better improvements in fitness levels than those who don’t. Naternicola observes that today’s technology with smartphone apps and interactive websites makes monitoring this information easier than it ever has been.
  11. Learn how to be positive. It may sound simple, but research has shown that being positive makes your brain more productive while also reducing stress. “Many times unhealthy behavior is a mechanism we turn to when we are tired, hungry, or emotionally used up,” Naternicola warns. “We use it to manage stress and anxiety, which results in creating additional negativity and guilt.”

Featuring flexibility, balance, strength, and cardio, Fitness: Steps to Success is a comprehensive resource filled with step-by-step instruction, full-color photo sequences, and expert advice on the most popular and effective fitness approaches. For more information on Fitness: Steps to Success or other fitness books and resources, visit
Fitness: Steps to Success is available NOW for Pre-Order, it will be released on November 19, 2014.

Top ten tips on staying healthy when traveling internationally

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Top 10 Tips on Staying Healthy when Traveling InternationallyWhether for business or pleasure, more of us will be traveling internationally this summer. But with so many things to see and do when you get to your destination, the basics of health and safety can often be neglected.

Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, Chair of St. George’s University Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, shares his top ten tips on staying healthy when traveling internationally:

  1. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on vaccines and health alerts at your destination and visit your doctor ideally, 4-6 weeks before your trip to get vaccines or medicine you may need.
  2. Strengthen your immune system before you travel by exercising and taking your vitamins.
  3. Get 7-9 hours of sleep the night before you fly.
  4. Pack healthy snacks for the plane (nuts, veggies, and fruits), but make sure to consume them in flight so as not to bring them into another country.
  5. Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water, water, water.
  6. Skip the alcohol and caffeine.
  7. Keep your hands and your personal items out of the seat back pocket to avoid germs.  (Imagine how many people have read that magazine!)
  8. Wash your hands and carry a travel size antibacterial sanitizer.
  9. Use sunscreen and insect repellant.
  10. Once you return home, see a doctor immediately if you are not feeling well or if you notice any abnormal changes in your body. Be sure to let the office know you have recently been out of the country. Many times an illness will take a few days to appear.

Make Money Blogging: Socialize Your Posts

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Make Money Blogging: Socialize Your Posts

Make Money Blogging: Socialize Your Posts

One of the primary ways we make money blogging, is by joining an ad network, and running ads on our pages. Without pageviews, you will not earn much money with any ad network, so it’s important to socialize your posts to get the most return on the time investment you spend writing posts.

*Note: Making Money is not always the primary goal with blogs, but there are expenses to keeping a blog up and running properly, so having methods of earning income to keep a blog self sustaining is a good idea for most all bloggers. Of course we love to write and interact with our readers, but my husband, for example, wouldn’t be happy if he had to support my blogs financially, considering the number of hours and effort I put into them :)

When it comes to social media sharing, it really helps to have a plan in place. I am the type of person that functions better when I have checklists to use. I am an avid user of Google Docs, and I have several spreadsheets that I use to keep track of things. {I’m happy to share the link to a blank copy, just email me!} For example, I have a spreadsheet I use to keep track of every content post that I write. I record the date, title, url, and have boxes for each social media channel that I share the post to. On this blog, I am currently using the Flare Plug In for Social Media sharing, that shows the number of times a post has been shared across the various networks. I record those numbers on my spreadsheet (starting with a 1 for my share) so I know that I’ve shared it the day it publishes, and I can see how well (or not) each post is doing. It’s how I know what content works well and what doesn’t, so I am spending my time researching and writing on relevant topics.

Social Media can be really overwhelming, because there are SO MANY networks to keep up with! You don’t want to be a spammer and just drop your links and run all the time, it’s important to spend at least 15 minutes per day interacting with others and sharing content that others have created as well. If we all just shared our own content, very few people would be interested. I like to have a nice balance of my work and the work of others that I personally enjoy reading too. It’s important to identify which networks your readers prefer to access your content through. I have found that Pinterest and StumbleUpon are the two networks that give me the greatest return on time spent, so I tend to spend quite a bit of time there, and I share the posts of others exponentially more than my own. I highly suggest using their mobile apps, especially if you are short on time, to get the most out of those networks. I try to do more automated posts to Facebook and Twitter using Hootsuite, because it works just as well for me.

Social Sharing ButtonsMain places to socialize your posts:

  • Facebook – Use Hootsuite to schedule older content monthly, or seasonally, as applicable.
  • Twitter – I use the Tweet Old Post plug in to send out older posts a couple of times a day
  • Google+ – this works best when posts manually added. Try to keep a list to share older content monthly or seasonally, as applicable.
  • Pinterest – I keep a spreadsheet of my boards, and record the dates I pin my own content to them. I try to pin old posts at least monthly to new boards.
  • StumbleUpon – About once a month, when posting to G+, I use the SU Chrome extension to share my old post via Twitter to give it a little boost.
  • LinkedIn -same as SU
  • Instagram – I only really use this for blogging with my recipe posts or sponsored post shops. If you look at my page, it’s mostly my kids and pets.
  • Pocket – I am just learning to use this, more later!
  • Klout – same as SU, I use a Chrome Extension and when I tweet it via SU, I click the K button
  • Sulia – this picks up my posts automatically when posted.
  • Tumblr – same as Sulia
  • Digg
  • Reddit – do not submit your own posts, they will likely flag and ban you. Use it organically voting up the posts of others, build a network of people in your niche, and THEN share your URL with them and hope they choose to submit your work.
  • Email and RSS Subscriptions to send out a post each time a new one is published.

***When I say that I try to share content monthly, I am referring to evergreen content. Not coupons, deals, giveaways, anything time sensitive, etc.

What networks or strategies do you find work best for you?


Make Money Blogging: With Linqia

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Make Money Blogging: With Linqia

Make Money Blogging: With Linqia

*This post may contain affiliate links.

I am excited to share with you that Linqia is ready to extend our network of storytellers and seeking to work bloggers who would be excited to tell authentic stories on behalf of quality brands like Levi’s, Ghirardelli, Kotex, Pillsbury and more! SIGN UP USING THIS LINK

You might qualify if you blog about the following subject areas:

  • Men’s Interests

  • Millennial Interests

  • Fashion

  • Lifestyle

  • Home Decor and Design

  • Active Living

  • Travel

  • Food

  • Eco-Friendly Living

  • Wedding and Entertaining

  • Parenting

  • Pets

Make Money Blogging: With LinqiaYou also need to:

  • Based in the U.S.A

  • Have at least 10,000 social followers (total)

  • Have at least 60% non-branded/sponsored content

  • Open to our premium pay-per-click programs

  • Be willing to write a blog post

I LOVE getting emails from Linqia about new campaigns. They are very simple to complete. Most ask for a blog post, and then social media shares, with a goal of getting x number of clicks on a specified link in a fixed period of time, and they pay very well! The number of clicks I’ve been asked to get has been very achievable, and I’ve gone well over my goal each time, which results in a higher goal (and payment) on future campaigns. They also pay within a week of campaign close, via paypal. I encourage you to sign up and give them a try (you always have the option to accept or reject campaigns!).