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RISE UP: Falcons host Packers with trip to Super Bowl LI on the line

The Atlanta Falcons are just one win away from Super Bowl LI.

Standing in their way -- Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Sunday's NFC Championship Game will be the Falcons' farewell to the Georgia Dome, which will be demolished in the offseason.

The Falcons will move into the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium next season.

The high-scoring offenses of the Falcons and Packers appear poised to provide a memorable send-off for the historic Georgia Dome.

Factor in the teams' leaky defenses, and Sunday's NFC Championship Game could surge past the unusually high over/under of around 60 points set sports books in Las Vegas.

FALCONS OFFENSE

The Falcons led the NFL in scoring. Even so, they know it won't be easy to keep up with the scoring pace set by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

"It's obvious they've got a stud at quarterback," Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews said Tuesday. "We've played a lot of great teams with great players at quarterback. ... Whatever it takes, we just have to put up as many points as we need to."

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Matthews said the weekly message from offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is "I don't know if we're going to have to win 6-3 or 40-37."

Of those alternatives, 40-37 appears to be the more likely target, in part because the Atlanta and Green Bay defenses don't dominate the statistics like their offensive counterparts.

Shanahan is a leading candidate in the San Francisco 49ers' coaching search.

The Falcons and Packers finished the regular season ranked 28th and 31st, respectively, in pass defense. The Falcons allowed 25.4 points per game to rank 27th, only a few spots below the Packers (24.2) at 21st.

The Falcons beat the Packers 33-32 in Atlanta on Oct. 30. Atlanta led the NFL with 33.8 points per game.

PHOTOS: The last time the Falcons won the NFC Championship Game

Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry said the goal will be to prevent big plays.

"They are very explosive," Perry said. "When we look at the film, we have to make sure we don't give up those explosive plays. Everything lives off that. They are good at what they do. We are going to look at the film and go over it and make sure we prevent as much as we can of those guys giving up explosive plays."

HOW THEY GOT HERE

The Falcons advanced with a 36-20 divisional playoff win over Seattle last week. Green Bay's offense also rolled in a 34-31 win over Dallas.

Despite the unimpressive season totals, Atlanta allowed fewer than 20 points in four of its last six regular-season games.

But none of those games were against Rodgers.

Follow Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein on Twitter and LIKE him on his official Facebook page for more Falcons coverage.

The Falcons have faced Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Drew Brees in their past three games.

Asked who compares with Rodgers, Falcons linebacker De'Vondre Campbell had a quick answer.

"Nobody. It's just that simple," Campbell said. "The things that he can do, it's just amazing to see. There's no one I can compare him to."

MATT RYAN

The Falcons are led by MVP candidate Matt Ryan, the All-Pro who ranked second in the NFL in yards passing and TD passes.

Ryan -- who was named NFL MVP and Offensive Player of The Year Wednesday by the Professional Football Writers of America -- threw scoring passes to a record 13 players during the season.

Matt Ryan has been named @PFWAwriters NFL MVP and Offensive Player of The Year. Congratulations, #MattyIce❄️!#RiseUp pic.twitter.com/hlNPFdFtUo— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 18, 2017

Atlanta's offense provides nice support for its defense, but cornerback Jalen Collins insisted Tuesday he doesn't want to have to rely on that strength.

"You don't go in the game thinking you're going to give up hundreds of yards and a bunch of points," Collins said. "We're looking forward to trying to limit the points as best we can and give our offense an opportunity to put points on the board."

Falcons cornerback Robert Alford said expectations for a high-scoring game gives the defense reason "to have a chip on our shoulders."

Added Alford: "We're all going to have something to prove. I love it."

JULIO JONES

Falcons All-Pro receiver Julio Jones says a sprained toe won't keep him from playing Sunday.

Jones said he felt a "snag" in last week's win over Seattle and decided not to play the fourth quarter with Atlanta holding a big lead. He was inactive in Weeks 14 and 15 with a similar injury.

Jones didn't practice Wednesday and Thursday. Coach Dan Quinn says the receiver will participate Friday on a limited basis, adding that he expects Jones to start Sunday.

Julio Jones: Left game early vs Seattle to get ahead of injury curve. Iced left foot. No effect on my status vs Packers. I'll be ready pic.twitter.com/f17QggCw6o— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) January 19, 2017

In his first All-Pro season last year, Jones had the second-best season in NFL history with 136 catches and 1,871 yards receiving. He's second this year with 1,409 yards and fourth in yards per catch.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump, White House slam celebs, media in response to Women's March

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Sunday to respond to Saturday's women's marches, which drew more than 1 million protesters around the world.

>> 10 sassy signs from women's marches around the world

"Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election!" Trump tweeted. "Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly." 

Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Trump's tweet came after the White House slammed the media and pop star Madonna in a statement about the protests.

"It's a shame that the March for Life, which estimates the same number of marchers in DC (650,000 in 2013) and will be happening next Friday, will not get anywhere near the same amount of coverage that this march got – and those pro-life members were NOT welcome at the Women's March," the White House statement said, according to NBC News. The organizers noted that their platform is pro-choice and they revoked partnership status' (sic) from pro-life groups."

>> PHOTOS: Women march around the world

The statement went on to criticize Madonna for saying she has thought about "blowing up the White House" but did not address what she said immediately afterward: "But I know that this won't change anything. We cannot fall into despair."

>> Celebrities show solidarity with Women's March

"Comments like these are absolutely unacceptable and had they been said about President Obama, the mainstream media would be in an uproar," the White House statement said.

>> Read more trending stories

The statement also said the "administration welcomes a robust discussion regarding the critical issues facing America's women and families."

Read more here.

JUST IN: The White House releases statement on #WomensMarch #WomensMarchOnWashington pic.twitter.com/DYO5EzC9Pt— Angie (@OhMyGOFF) January 22, 2017

Baker of Trump's inauguration cake says she was commissioned to copy Obama's

Celebrity pastry chef and Food Network star Duff Goldman took to Twitter early Saturday to point out that President Donald Trump’s inauguration cake appeared to be an exact replica of the cake he designed and created for Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

>> 'Saturday Night Live' takes swipe at Trump inauguration attendance – minus Alec Baldwin

In a message posted to his Twitter account, Goldman included a side-by-side image of his cake creation next to Trump’s inaugural cake and wrote, “The cake on the left is the one I made for President Obama’s inauguration 4 years ago. The one on the right is Trump's. I didn’t make it."

The cake on the left is the one I made for President Obama's inauguration 4 years ago. The one on the right is Trumps. I didn't make it. pic.twitter.com/qJXpCfPhii— Duff Goldman (@Duff_Goldman) January 21, 2017

According to The Washington Post, neither Trump’s team nor Goldman responded to comment requests, but the woman who made the cake came forward to talk about her creation.

Tiffany MacIsaac, the owner of Buttercream Bakeshop in Washington, D.C., said she had been commissioned to create the cake.

>> PHOTOS: The inauguration of Donald Trump

She said a person, who is as of yet unnamed, came in with a photo of Obama’s cake and asked her to recreate it.

“They came to us a couple of weeks ago – which is pretty last minute – and said, ‘We have a photo that we would like to replicate,’” MacIsaac told The Washington Post.

>> PHOTOS: Donald Trump attends inaugural balls

The bakery tried to find out if the client wanted to use the cake as inspiration or an exact replica, but the person who brought in the picture said the cake should be exactly the same, MacIsaac said.

“They said, ‘Nope, they want this exact cake. It’s perfect.’ And we said, 'Great,'” MacIsaac said.

Excited to share the cake we got to make for one of last night's inaugural balls. While we most love creating original designs, when we are asked to replicate someone else's work we are thrilled when it is a masterpiece like this one. @duff_goldman originally created this for Obama's inauguration 4 years ago and this years committee commissioned us to re-create it.  Best part is all the profits are being donated to @humanrightscampaign, one of our favorite charities who we have loved working with over the years.  Because basic human rights are something every man, woman and child~ straight, gay or the rainbow in between~ deserve! A photo posted by Buttercream Bakeshop (@bttrcrmbakeshop) on Jan 21, 2017 at 7:35am PST

MacIsaac said she is surprised by all the attention because, per her understanding, the cake was only supposed to be used as a prop.

“It’s just a Styrofoam cake. It’s not for eating,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be seen on TV.”

>> Trump accuses media of lying about inauguration crowd

She said she did not mean to offend Goldman.

“Obviously, my intention was definitely not to upset him in any way," she said. "I just wish that it had not been presented the way that it was.”

MacIsaac added that the profits from her cake are being donated to the Human Rights Campaign.

>> Read more trending stories

Later Saturday, Goldman responded to the controversy with another tweet, complimenting MacIsaac on the recreation.

"Remembering a fantastic cake I made is awesome, and the chef that re-created it for @POTUS Trump did a fantastic job. Group hug, y’all," Goldman wrote.

Remembering a fantastic cake I made is awesome and the chef that re-created it for @POTUS Trump did a fantastic job. Group hug, y'all. — Duff Goldman (@Duff_Goldman) January 21, 2017

'Saturday Night Live' takes swipe at Trump inauguration attendance – minus Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin's absence didn't stop "Saturday Night Live" from taking yet another swipe at President Donald Trump.

>> 'SNL' writer under fire for Barron Trump tweet

In the comedy show's first episode after the inauguration, Beck Bennett reprised his role as a shirtless Vladimir Putin to offer Trump some words of advice – and derision.

>> Read more trending stories

"Donald, let's talk as friends. You're not off to a great start, man," Bennett's Putin said. "I thought you'd be better at this; however, I'm glad to see so many people showed up to your inauguration."

>> Trump slams 'Saturday Night Live' after press conference sketch

As a photo from Saturday's Women's March filled the screen, he added, "Oh, wait, that's the Women's March. Here is inauguration." A photo from Friday's ceremony appeared, showing smaller crowds.

>> Click here to watch the clip

Putin on this weekend's inauguration. #SNL pic.twitter.com/rL8bFao3H7— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) January 22, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

"Putin" continued to slam Trump, taking aim at the president's Saturday remarks to the CIA.

"And today, you went to the CIA and said 1 million people came to see you in Washington, D.C.?" said Bennett, playing Putin. "If you're going to lie, don't make it so obvious. You know, say you are friends with LeBron James, not that you are LeBron James."

>> Watch the entire "cold open" here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

Although Baldwin, who occasionally plays Trump, did not appear on this week's episode, the actor did take to Twitter to blast Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for making debunked claims about attendance at the inauguration.

>> Click here or scroll down to see what he had to say

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/saturday-night-live-takes-swipe-at-trump-inaugurat/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/saturday-night-live-takes-swipe-at-trump-inaugurat.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "'Saturday Night Live' takes swipe at Trump inauguration attendance – minus Alec Baldwin" on Storify]

10 sassy signs from women's marches around the world

As crowds flooded streets Saturday for women's marches around the world, many protesters carried signs bearing bold statements and witty slogans.

>> Click here or scroll down to see 10 memorable protest signs from the marches

>> PHOTOS: Women march around the world

>> Washington Women's March crowd surpasses inauguration attendance

>> Celebrities show solidarity with Women's March

>> Read more trending stories

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/these-10-signs-show-how-protesters-at-the-women-s-/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/these-10-signs-show-how-protesters-at-the-women-s-.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "10 must-see signs from women's marches around the world" on Storify]

Muslim man receives heartwarming note from neighbors after Trump's inauguration

A heartfelt letter left on the door of a Muslim man's Ohio home after President Donald Trump's inauguration is going viral.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

According to WCPO, Abubaker Amri, who immigrated to the United States from Libya nearly 40 years ago, was concerned about some of Trump's comments on the campaign trail. But on Friday, a surprising letter note from his neighbors in Cincinnati lifted his spirits.

>> Read more trending stories

"Dear Neighbors," the note read. "Today begins a new stage for our country. No matter what happens, please know there are still a lot of people who will fight for your right to practice your religion, to continue your lives without discrimination. You are welcome in our neighborhood and if you need anything – please knock on our door."

Amri's niece, Hend Amry, shared a photo of the letter on Twitter, where it quickly went viral. Her post was retweeted more than 140,000 times and "liked" more than 415,000 times by Sunday morning.

>> See the post here

After the Trump inauguration, some neighbors left this letter on my uncle's door in Cincinnati, Ohio. pic.twitter.com/jnlXewv7ej— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) January 21, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

"There's no way I could express my feelings when I got that note," Amri told WCPO, calling it "the best, best, best experience."

Read more here.

Positive Self-Talk Leads to Success

Most people are naturally motivated—even excited—when they begin a new exercise routine or adopt a healthier diet. You’ve got your goals set, a plan to reach them, and nothing can get in your way! But as time goes by, the novelty wears off and your optimistic attitude can give way to feelings of doubt and dissatisfaction. Or even worse, you start comparing yourself with everyone else, mentally beating yourself up for not being as “good” or successful as they are. These negative thoughts and feelings are especially common when you’re not seeing results despite your hard work. Sure, it’s much easier to fill your head with negative self-talk than it is to give yourself a mental pep talk. But the latter is exactly what you need to do in order to stay on track. What you think about while you exercise, for example, affects whether or not you’ll finish today’s, tomorrow’s and even next week’s workout. If you can focus on the positives instead of the flaws when you look in the gym mirrors, you’ll be more likely to keep your appointment with the treadmill. But when your thoughts are negative or you’re comparing your thighs with someone else’s, you’re more likely to feel insecure and unmotivated, which means you’ll stop early and maybe not show up tomorrow. Researchers agree. In a recent study from the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater, 92 female college students exercised on a stationary bike for 30 minutes, while reading one of two randomly assigned magazines (Oxygen, a women’s fitness magazine or, O the Oprah magazine, a general interest publication), or nothing at all. Those who read the fitness magazine reported more feelings of anxiety, depression and poor mood after working out than before they started. By comparison, women who read Oprah or nothing at all experienced a boost in mood after exercising. The researchers speculate that both women and men can become depressed by viewing fitness (and fashion) magazines because they feel they’ll never look as good as the models they see. What you tell yourself while you walk the extra mile or turn down a co-worker’s brownie will often determine whether you’ll successfully reach your goals or give up in frustration along the way. When you compare yourself with others (in real life or in print) or think negatively about all the parts of your body that bother you, you’re more likely to skimp on your workout routine. When you tell yourself, “no sugar this week” then you’re more likely to obsess over the one thing you told yourself that you can’t have, and then dig in to a whole plate of brownies instead of enjoying just one. In essence, it’s your own thoughts that may be keeping you from maintaining a consistent nutrition and exercise program. So how do you even begin if positive self-talk doesn’t come naturally to you? Start by appreciating your efforts and giving yourself a pat on the back for the good choices that you make, no matter how small. If that doesn’t work for you, imagine that you are talking to a friend. Would you tell her that she hadn’t lost enough weight? That his arms are too skinny? Or that she should spend more time at the gym if she ever hopes to look better in a bikini? Of course not. You would cheer on your best friend for every small accomplishment, encouraging him when he feels down or telling her all the things you love about her. So why can’t you treat yourself with the same kindness and consideration? Next, try to be more aware of your thoughts at all times. Be mindful of thoughts that come and go, and those that linger. Consciously decide to think more positively. When you notice negative self-talk in action, nip it in the bud—don’t convince yourself that your actions are pointless, that your goals aren’t attainable, or that you don’t deserve to be successful. Whether you think you’ll succeed or fail, your thoughts will become your reality. Be a success. Boost yourself up whenever you can. Be your own best friend. Have faith in yourself and the results will come! The important thing is to feel that you’re worth the effort. You deserve to be healthy and confident and strong. It’s been said that our minds can only hold one thought at a time, which means we have a choice: We can focus on a thought that makes us feel badly or we can focus on something that makes us feel good. Every second that passes is a chance to turn things around. Even if you didn’t eat well at lunch, you can do better at dinner. You’re not a failure if you didn’t go to the gym last week. You can go today. The only thing holding you back is your thinking.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1206

Think Yourself Fit!

I love motivational quotes. One of my favorites is, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right!” I believe that there is a lot of truth to that statement. As a runner, I know that if I focus on the fatigue setting in, it seems as though everything goes downhill (or uphill, for a better euphemism). There are also times when, no matter how badly I feel, I tell myself that I am going to make it. That my legs are strong. That I am going to be OK. It's funny, but the positive thoughts are what carry me to the end. And I'm convinced that focusing on the positive instead of the negative makes all the difference. Mind Over Body To give you another example of the power of the mind, there were some fascinating findings from a recent study from the University of Cape Town. Researchers examined the muscle biopsies of exhausted marathon runners and found that their muscles had plenty of glycogen and ATP (fuel for muscular contraction). Their conclusion? Fatigue sets in not when muscles run out of energy, but first when the brain tells them to conserve energy. Translation? Your brain tells you to shut down before your body does. For the average exerciser, this means that your mind can carry you a lot farther than you think! Positive self talk can literally help you think yourself fit. Develop a Mantra Author and athlete Chris Bergland insists that projecting a positive attitude can reprogram your brain to enter a euphoric state while exercising, allowing you to go longer and harder. Researchers at Wake Forrest University agree, stating that feelings of pain and fatigue are a result of both immediate and expected events. The best way to fight fatigue is with positive self-affirmations such as, “I am strong. I can do this," and "I am becoming more fit and healthy.” You can develop your own mantra, which you repeat to yourself throughout your workouts. Ironman champion Mark Allen's mantra for competition was "Strong and smooth." Over and over, he would repeat his mantra while he swam, biked and ran. And in moments of great fatigue, his brain took over to push his body to greater heights. You can develop a mantra too—something positive that you tell yourself during your workouts, to help yourself stay focused and keep your body working hard. Any word (like strong, fast, finish) or set of words will work, as long as it inspires you and is positive in nature. Visualize the Positive Another tip to think yourself fit is to visualize your exercise session before you even go to work out. This is a technique used by many professional athletes. Before a game or performance, they envision how they will perform in their mind before the competition even starts. And when it's game time, their brains just replay the performance they imagined and their body follows suit. You don't have to be an Olympic athlete to picture yourself living a healthy lifestyle, making positive choices, and reaching your goals. Take some time each day to visualize yourself exercising and enjoying it! When you imagine yourself doing well and having a good time, your thoughts will be positive and you will be more likely to do the very things (like workout regularly) that will help you reach your goals. As in most of life, your attitude will determine how well you do. Believe in yourself and talk positively to yourself, just as you would encourage a friend or loved one. Tell yourself that you CAN do it! Visualize yourself living healthy and exercising and your body (and actions) will follow. Remember that negative talk will bring you down, but staying positive will help you to think yourself fit!Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1012

Helping Others Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

If you’ve been working hard to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle, you probably know how difficult that can be, and how important it is to have the support and help of others who are doing the same thing. You’ve probably been inspired by someone else’s success, gotten some important advice, or found a sympathetic listener just at the precise moment when, otherwise, you might have given up. Maybe that happens for you nearly every day. When important people in your life are also struggling with weight problems or making healthy decisions, you probably want to give them the same help and support you’ve received from others. Easy enough—as long as they’re looking for what you have to offer. But what do you do when someone you care about doesn’t seem to want to change her lifestyle or lose weight, even though she's putting herself at risk? What if she really wants the results of eating well and exercising regularly, but isn’t so keen on doing the things that make those results happen? How can you motivate someone to do what you know she needs to do—is that even possible? What You Can't Do Conventional wisdom says that you can’t motivate someone else. Maybe you can, however, inspire her with your own good example, give her the information she needs to solve problems, or support her when the going gets tough. But like the proverbial light bulb, that person is not going to change her behavior unless and until she wants to change it, and is ready and willing to do what has to be done. The desire and readiness have to come from inside. This conventional wisdom is probably true, but all it really tells you is what you can’t do to motivate someone else. You can’t provide her with a good reason to get healthy, you can’t persuade her to do it by the sheer brilliance of your logic and persuasive techniques, and you can't convince her by the persistence of your nagging, suggestions, bribes, threats, predictions of disaster, or other manipulative devices. Until the object of your concern wants to do something about her situation, anything you tell her is going to fall on deaf ears. So, if you’re currently doing any of those things I just mentioned, knock if off before it messes up your relationship and drives both you and the person you’re concerned about crazy with frustration and resentment. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. How many people do you know who really want to be unhealthy and overweight, and wouldn’t prefer to look better, feel better, and be as healthy as possible? When someone “isn’t motivated” to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle, the problem is probably not that she isn't ready or willing to enjoy the obvious benefits of healthy eating and exercise. If things were as simple as that, she’d make those changes in a minute. More likely, the problem is that, to her, she's "benefiting" (in some way) from the way she's doing things now, and she isn’t sure she’ll still get those same benefits if she makes big changes in her life. Your best chance for motivating her to make desirable changes is to find out what she's getting out of her “unhealthy” behaviors now, and what you can do to help her get those same things without paying the price of obesity, inactivity, and higher health risks. Let’s take a look at what this means in practical terms. What You Can Do

  • Do more listening than talking. Remember, your job is not to persuade, correct, or preach. Most people who are “stuck” in unhealthy behaviors already know what’s wrong and what they need to change. What they don’t know, they can easily find out when they’re ready to use the information. Most people even know, more or less, when they’re denying the obvious, inventing rationalizations, coming up with excuses, only seeing the problems, and ignoring the opportunities. But arguing with a friend or loved one about these things just makes it that much harder for her to start talking about the real issues. In fact, people are far more likely to talk themselves out of these unhelpful thoughts than to be talked out of them by someone else. Your job is to listen, nod a lot, and say things like “Yes, that was a problem for me, too,” or, “You mean you do that too? I thought I was the only one.”  
  • Lead by example. The best reason you can give someone for adopting a healthy lifestyle is doing it yourself and letting her see how it has helped you. Another dimension of this leading by example is talking about what you’ve learned about yourself in the process and the benefits that may not be visible on the surface. As I mentioned earlier, the “real” reason people hold back from change is usually fear of losing something important or exposing themselves to danger. That something important can be anything from the simple pleasure of doing something they enjoy (like eating a bag of chips while sitting on the couch and watching TV) to some deep psychological need to stay overweight and avoid the risks of being socially or sexually active. She might be unwilling to give up a certain style of cooking (Southern or fried for example) because it provides an important feeling of emotional connection with her family. Whatever the reasons are, change isn’t likely to happen until she feels like she's got some other realistic options for meeting these needs and desires. And most of us don’t like to think or talk too much about this kind of stuff (even to ourselves, much less someone else). You might be able to help move this part of the change process along by talking (when the opportunity arises) about how you’ve dealt with some of these kinds of things yourself.  
  • Follow the Pleasure Principle. Whatever else he may have been wrong about, Sigmund Freud was right on the money when he said that people are motivated by the desire to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Unfortunately, we also have the ability to do things that bring pleasure now but are certain to cause a lot of pain later on. And we’re not always very good at putting off the small immediate pleasure in favor of a more significant one later on—instant gratification is just more fun than delayed gratification, at least at the moment. The ideal solution to these difficulties is to make doing the right thing as fun and pleasurable as possible. That will always work better than preaching the evils of instant gratification, glorifying the virtues of delayed gratification or heroic self-discipline, and striking fear into the hearts of potential junk food eaters.
So, if you want to get your spouse or your kids to join in your efforts to eat healthy, put away those carrot sticks with the cottage cheese dip, and have a little contest to see who can come up with the tastiest and most nutritious new meal or snack ideas—the winner gets out of doing dishes. If you want to get the kids off the phone or the computer and on their feet moving around, don’t start with rules and limits, start by finding something they like to do, and offer to do it with them. You get the idea. The good news is that a healthy lifestyle is something that most people will actually find pleasant and rewarding, once they give it a chance to grow on them. You can’t make that happen for others, or even convince them to try when they don’t want to. But with a little thought and luck, you might just provide the Spark that gets the fire going.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=931

Arm Yourself Against Exercise Excuses

I got into a fight this morning. It was not a “discussion." It was not a “disagreement.” It was a full blown fight. No, it wasn’t with my wife or kids or even the other drivers on the highway. The fight started before work and even before anyone else in the house was awake. The person I had a fight with was myself. You see, if I am going to exercise, it has to go like this: Up at 4:45 a.m., running by 5:00, in the shower by 6:00, and then out the door to work. Now, I never said it this routine was easy (thus the fight). Always on time, I was awakened by the shrill beep, Beep, BEEP of my alarm, signaling the start of the fight. It was on! You must be kidding. I feel like I just went to sleep a few hours ago! FOR GOODNESS SAKE, IT IS DARK OUTSIDE! Another excuse jab here: I’m tired! A plea punch there: It’s dark! A surprise shot in the dark: Don't get out of this comfy bed! I kept moving during the assault as the barrage of excuses filled my mind. I slowly made it to the bathroom to find today's running gear where I left it the night before. Even there, the attack continued: I can't get up and run when it gets cold in a few months. Then I was hit from behind with another jab of justification: It’s too dark. I could get hit by a car! I put on my armor to boost my strength and defend myself better. Socks on. Shorts. Shirt, shoes, and visor. Trusty iPod in hand. That was all it took to bring down the offender. The fight was over and I was out the door. Even then though I could roughly hear his voice from the distance telling me: Just run three miles instead of the usual five. But it was too late—I had won today by a knock-out! That's how my battle went this morning, but in reality, it's a battle I fight every day. I’d like to say that I am an undefeated champion, but that would be a lie. Sometimes I do lose and the voice wins. Many people think that a personal trainer never misses a workout and never struggles with eating the right things (or staying away from the not-so-right things). But I struggle just as much as everyone else. It is not easier for me than it is for others. It all comes down to the moment of the decision—like 4:45 a.m. every morning. That is where the battle is won or lost. We all know how important exercise is to our health. We all know we should be doing it, but we allow ourselves “outs” with what we consider justifiable excuses. You can excuse yourself out of anything if you keep listening to yourself long enough. You can let those rationalizations make sense if you try. But I have come to a personal conclusion, a motto of sorts: I will do what I need to do, in order to do what I want to do. If that means getting up at 4:45 a.m. then so be it. I want to be healthy for a long time. I’ve got a long list of reasons why. I like to feel good and feel good about myself. I like the way exercise and eating well make me feel. I want to be around to spend a long, healthy lifetime with my wife. I want to wrestle with my kids and laugh and play and see them grow up and maybe even give me grandkids and great-grandkids one day! I want to be in the "90 and up" age category in the local 5K! I will do what I need to do (exercise and eat right) in order to do what I want to do (live a full life). I'll tell you something I don’t want though. I don’t want to cheat myself out of precious time because I didn’t do the things I should have to live that long life. I don’t want to rob my wife or kids of years they could have with me. I don’t want to stare at the ceiling in a hospital room one day thinking, “I wish I would have taken better care of myself and not allowed this to happen.” I want to encourage others to do what they need to do to be healthy. I want to encourage you to stay in the fight and not give into the excuses. Nike still has the best excuse-buster I can think of: Just Do It! Does it mean getting up early even though you'd rather sleep longer? Just do it. Does it mean staying up later to hit the gym and cook a healthy meal? Just do it. Is it hot or cold outside? Just do it. You name the reason why you shouldn’t do it, and just do it anyway. The fight will be on again tomorrow morning. Same time, same place. Wish me luck—no, wish me determination—and I’ll do the same for you! After all, we are in this fight together.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1021

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