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Plan Today, Succeed Tomorrow

Athletes do it. Chess players do it. Novelists, successful scientists and even salespeople do it. These days, everyone who wants to make big things happen is planning ahead in order to succeed. What about you? When it comes to planning ahead to reach your goals, are you falling in line or falling behind? Thinking ahead can help you achieve your goals and, even more importantly, bounce back faster when you’re met with unexpected failures or setbacks.   What can you do today to make sure your health and fitness goals are met tomorrow? Maybe you need to pack a lunch to avoid that daily fast food fix, stock your pantry with healthy snacks so you have something to munch on, make a new bedtime routine so you get all the shut-eye you need, or sleep in your workout clothes so you’ll have no excuse to miss a morning workout.   Thinking "two steps ahead" means utilizing the present to make it easier to achieve your goals in the future. What are you waiting for? Here’s how to do it now, before you waste a few more minutes or lose your motivation altogether.   Think about Your Actions Take some time to envision yourself reaching your long-term goal, whether it's losing 40 pounds, running a 5K, or reducing your cholesterol. All of these big goals can (and should!) be broken down into specific behaviors that will increase your health and wellness. Losing 40 pounds may involve reducing and tracking your calories while also starting a consistent fitness program. Running a 5K starts with your first step, then requires a plan to slowly build endurance over several weeks. And reducing your cholesterol can happen when you make heart-smart food choices and increase your daily activity.   Taking it a step further, each of these action steps requires a plan or "mini goal" if you're going to achieve it.  Maybe you'll aim for a specific number of exercise minutes per week, servings of fruits and vegetables per day, or miles per month. Achieving these goals is easier when you start thinking ahead and formulating a process that fits into your schedule. When you spell out exactly what you’re working on, it will be so much easier to track progress toward your mini-goals and stay on course toward your bigger goals.   Head Off Potential Hurdles: Prepare Your Plan B You’ve planned to exercise three times a week and you're sticking with your program really well. Your workout wardrobe is freshly laundered. You’ve commandeered a babysitter during your evening runs. Best of all, you've scheduled your exercise sessions like appointments in your calendar. You're doing great.   But all of a sudden, a giant work project is dropped in your lap and you realize you’ll need to work from home every night this week to meet the deadline. Sound familiar?   Whether it's a nasty flu virus, a change in your partner’s work schedule, or a car in the shop, there will always be obnoxious and unexpected hurdles that can spring up and ruin your best laid plans. You can either wait for them to derail you or you can think ahead about all the possible scenarios that might get in the way of your goals—and plan how to tackle them in advance.   As soon as you’ve set mini goals for the week and put your commitments on the calendar, the next thing you should focus on is finding room for flexibility. Maybe you can pencil in a morning workout on the weekend as a backup plan, or make a list of healthy take-out options in case you find yourself in a dinnertime crunch. And if you have trouble resisting those donuts in the office break room, you’d better be sure to pack nutritious and delicious mid-morning snacks in your bag. Having a plan B in place before you need it means you're thinking strategically and will be more likely to stay on track.   Commit...and Don’t Quit Committing to any lifestyle change takes time and continued effort. If you’re having trouble implementing your strategic plan (and plan B's), here are some strategies that will help you sidestep obstacles that may arise.

  • Make your commitments public so that everyone around you knows the goals you’re working toward. If your boss, partner and friends have all heard you profess your plan, they’ll be more likely to support you (or at least they’ll know what you’re up to)--and you'll be more likely to stick with it to save face.  
  • Engage your friends and family in some friendly fitness activities. Get your colleagues involved in an exercise challenge, start a walking club after work, or put together a neighborhood gardening group. If you can encourage others to join your wellness quest, you’ll be more likely to remember your commitments. Plus, you may even plant the seeds for others’ health and fitness success.  
  • Keep track of your achievements. Sometimes, when you’re working hard to fit healthy habits into your schedule, it can feel like the rest of the world is against you. Seeing the progress you make toward your own goals will help you notice change and stay true to your healthy self—even in the event that you mess up. Log your workouts online, track your calories and H2O intake, and draw smiley faces on your calendar when you finish each yoga class. Keeping track will remind you how far you've come, which can help you keep the faith when life gets in the way of your best intentions.
Make Friends with Failure Even after you’ve set benchmarks for success, put a halt on potential hurdles, and prepared a plan B, you can still be sure that the road to health and fitness won’t always be smooth and straight. A storm will sweep in overnight and ruin your morning run. That family road trip will be wrought with tempting treats at truck stops. Though these problems may seem counterproductive, getting familiar with failure can be helpful in its own way. When you experience a succession of small setbacks or changes in course, it helps you hone your skills at dealing with issues that are outside of your control. Even the greatest athletes and strategic planners in the world fail—sometimes badly and sometimes publicly. But those who are great don't let failure define them or stop them. They set goals, plan ahead to avoid or minimize mishaps, and get back up and keep going when things don't go according to plan. They roll with the punches—and you can, too!Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1735

Finding Inspiration In Your Biggest Temptations

Getting motivated--and staying motivated--can be difficult, and when temptations abound, it seems like the world is conspiring to keep you indoors, on the couch and stuck in your unhealthy life. Instead of viewing temptations as roadblocks, think of them as motivators--the devil on your shoulder, if you will. Their presence in your life should be just what you need to keep you from losing momentum, standing still or taking a break from your healthy journey. If you stop, they'll get you; if you stay one step ahead, you'll always come out on top. Temptations are like misunderstood Muses. They give you the chance to be creative while reaching your goals. Temptation No. 1: Sleeping in or hitting the snooze alarm. Inspiration: Taking care of your body. Get your eight hours a night. If you're consistently sleeping through your alarm or hitting the snooze bar more than twice, consider changing your sleep schedule. Try to head to bed earlier--even just 15 or 30 minutes can make a difference. To help you stay healthy and manage your weight, you need adequate sleep. Sleep loss affects the levels of certain hormones, which can in turn affect your metabolic processes and adversely affect your health. Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to "pay back" if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road. Sleep loss also can cause a lack of desire to achieve goals because you feel fatigued and "run down." Sleep is also important in developing lean muscle tissue. When you work out, you are actually tearing your muscles – sleep and proper nutrients help rebuild the muscle so that you get stronger. Temptation No. 2: Grabbing takeout or stopping at a drive-thru. Inspiration: Making smart choices. Ideally, you should drive by the drive-thru and cook healthful meals at home every night. However, not all takeout is created equal, and you can find some healthful options at chain restaurants and even your neighborhood deli. See this temptation as a challenge to be creative and bring home a healthful meal when you're in a hurry. Plan ahead if you can, build a meal around vegetables and choose small portions to keep your takeout from taking away your self-control. (Find hundreds of tips and strategies to help you make smart, healthy choices when you're away from home here.) Follow the same rules at a restaurant that you would at home: Choose whole grains when possible, fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, and opt for lean cuts of meat and low-calorie preparations. Baked potatoes, side salads, fruit cups and milk are ubiquitous at fast food restaurants these days. See this as an opportunity to stare French fries in the face--and win! Temptation No. 3: Grazing on junk food all night long. Inspiration: Getting to the root of a problem. Before you start chastising yourself for blowing your calorie budget after a good day of healthy, mindful eating, think about why you are snacking. Mindless munching is usually anything but. Are you thirsty? Many hunger pangs are actually just thirst in disguise. Drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If your hunger subsides, you weren't really hungry after all. What did you eat for dinner? If you tried to save calories or reduce your carb intake by having a green salad or just a plate of veggies, it's no wonder you're hungry. Your body needs a bit of variety to stay happy. Protein takes longer to digest and helps keep you fuller longer. Toss some grilled chicken chunks, a small can of tuna or a half-cup of beans on your salad tomorrow night to give it some staying power. In the meantime, reach for a small servings of whole-grain crackers with a tablespoon of nut butter. The combo of fat, protein and carbs will tide you over until morning. Are you stressed or upset about something? Instead of reaching for the chocolate bar or the chips, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Eating your feelings leaves you feeling worse than when you started. Go for a walk, get out of the kitchen, remove trigger foods from the house--whatever it takes. To get a handle on emotional eating, you first need to understand it. Learn more about this common food problem, which is the cause of 75% of overeating, according to experts. Once you know your food weaknesses, you'll be prepared to confront those evening cravings instead of surrendering to them. Temptation No. 4: Vegging out on the couch. Inspiration: Taking time for you. You get home from work and gaze longingly at the sofa. You had a long day, and a bit of rest sounds much better than socializing or spending time with others. You just want to be alone with your feet up, mind empty and the TV on. Devote a chunk of time each week or each day to yourself. Maybe it's 15 minutes, or maybe it's two hours. Put yourself first as often as you need to. Instead of punishing yourself for being lazy, use this "me" time in a productive way. Do a crossword puzzle, read a book, watch a movie, call a friend, pick up knitting, or cuddle with your child or partner. Anticipate this respite from the hustle and bustle of your life and plan for it. Watch your favorite TV show, paint your nails, ask your partner to give you a foot rub. Reward yourself for being motivated, sticking with your healthy lifestyle plan and working out regularly. A bit of time spent doing nothing can help carry you through the rest of your hectic and action-packed life. (Read our Rest & Relaxation articles for more tips.) Temptation No. 5: Skipping your workout. Inspiration: Changing up your workout. You know how great you feel when you finish a workout: refreshed, revived and rejuvenated. You feel strong, confident and happy. So why would you want to skip exercise? Quite often, the reason is boredom. Does your workout schedule run on repeat? Do you do the same thing at the same time and in the same place every day? Now that you've made fitness a part of your life, try shaking up your routine from time to time. Instead of walking laps around the park in your neighborhood, try taking a new route. Instead of doing the same-old pushups and crunches, check out SparkPeople's free library of exercise demos. If you belong to a gym, trade the Stairmaster for the elliptical or the treadmill for the stationary bike. Tired of your DVDs? Trade with a friend or head to the library. Take a new class: Zumba, cardio dance, Pilates, yoga or Spinning are fun ones to try. Ask a trainer at your gym or a fit friend for suggestions. Speaking of which, one of the best ways to shake up your workout is to enlist a friend to blast calories with you. You can catch up on each other's lives while you firm up. When temptations step in your path, don't cower. Confront them and enlist them as your allies. Soon you'll be stronger and more determined and will have traveled a little farther in your healthy living journey.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1356

At the DC protests, a naked guy and a raging car fire

Protesters took to the streets soon after President Donald Trump was inaugurated today, and law enforcement officers were quickly there as well. The scene was initially tense, with flash grenades going off and pepper spray streaming, but things cooled after a while.

>> Read more trending stories 

At one point, with a phalanx of police officers blocking a street, things got kind of humorous.

“Is that a night stick in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” one protester quipped to the line of cops.

Another sat down and started dealing a deck of cards, to exude calm.

The calm didn’t last.

Demonstrators set fires in the middle of the street several times, burning stuff like a trash can and newspapers. On the curb sat two limousines, their windows smashed. It’s unclear who the culprits might have been, but several individuals wearing masks could be seen assembling bricks.

“(Bleep) off!” they told anyone who approached.

As the afternoon wore on, a new billow of smoke filled the air, and this one united the crowd immediately. Someone had tossed a tire (maybe the spare from the bashed-in limo?) onto the flames. Is it a great idea to ignite a fully inflated tire? The group seemed to wonder as one.

“GET BACK!” people started screaming, and suddenly hundreds of people were stampeding. And then, a new plume of smoke, and this one was different. Huge, billowing and black.

One of the limos was on fire. Here’s what that looked like:

Protesters have set a car on fire in DCPosted by Jennifer Brett/Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday, January 20, 2017

As you’d imagine, the inferno summoned law enforcement, and encounters with protestors prompted more pepper spraying. One member of the crowd decided enough was enough, time to take off his clothes. For what reason exactly, it wasn’t clear, but he did sort of serve as a human flash grenade, creating a diversion that may have proved useful. I didn’t see any more pepper spraying after that.

The AJC sent a team of journalists to Washington to cover first the inauguration, next, Saturday's Women’s March on Washington.

Report: Florida city among most roach-infested in the U.S.

It’s not only Zika that Floridians have to worry about, after one city made the list as the third most cockroach-infested place in the U.S. 

>> Read more trending stories 

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami ranked as the third-highest city to have these crawling critters out of the 25 most populated U.S. cities. 

The Miami New Times reports that 32 percent of residents in the city “had signs” of cockroaches in their homes in the past 12 months, which means 644 out of 2,005 people saw these bugs. 

But it’s not just the number of cockroaches Miami residents need to worry about it’s also the number of new species coming to the area, according to the New Times. 

Environmentalists have reported new invasive roach species traveling to South Florida, such as a yellow, black and orange roach discovered in Central Florida in 2015. 

So which city has the highest number of roaches? 

New Orleans took the top spot, with 41 percent of residents reporting roaches. Houston came in second with 38 percent. 

The good news, Miami was ranked low for having rat sightings, according to the New Times. 

Read more at miaminewtimes.com 

On day one of his presidency, Donald Trump signs his first executive order

Just before Friday’s Inaugural Ball, President Donald Trump signed his first executive order, directing federal agencies to “ease the burden of Obamacare.”

>> Read more trending stories 

Trump didn’t elaborate on the details of the order but did sign it in the Oval Office as one of his first acts as president, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave reporters a small bit of information, saying that the action was a step to “transition to repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Trump made the repleal of Obamacare a top priority during his campaign, and Congress moved toward such a repeal when it passed a complex budget resolution last week, which will allow lawmakers to repeal parts of the law with a simple majority in the future.

In the meantime, Priebus will soon send out a memo ordering a government-wide “regulatory freeze until further notified.”

Melania Trump's inauguration dress evokes Jackie Kennedy

In a look that crossed party lines, Melania Trump wore her admiration for Jackie Kennedy on her sleeves Friday morning as she swept into view on the day of her husband’s inauguration in a sky blue suit dress that channeled Kennedy’s dove gray inaugural outfit 56 years earlier.

>> Read more trending stories

During the campaign, Trump had said she wanted to be a first lady in the mode of Kennedy, a mid-century fashion icon.

Like Kennedy’s Oleg Cassini ensemble, Trump’s custom-designed Ralph Lauren outfit had bracelet-length sleeves worn with long gloves. Both were made by American designers.

>> Complete coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration Where Kennedy’s high neckline was trimmed with sable, Trump’s cutaway jacket had a high wrapped collar, worn with a matching pair of her famous stilettos. Underneath, Trump, 46, wore a trim dress with a faux turtleneck neckline. There was no pillbox hat, but Trump’s modern updo furthered her channeling of the sleekly feminine Kennedy silhouette, a demure contrast to Trump’s pre-campaign bombshell looks.

Twitter erupted in admiration, with most writers honing in on the Kennedy homage.

Michelle Obama, who wore a sober brick red dress and matching coat for the inauguration, was a fashion industry darling, appearing in bold, colorful styles by both established and up-and-coming designers, but many designers refused to work with Trump, citing dislike of Donald Trump.

Not Lauren, however, who in a bi-partisan move also designed Hillary Clinton’s inaugural day ivory pantsuit and coat.

Both first daughters Ivanka and Tiffany Trump also chose white for their father’s big day. Ivanka donned a long, fitted Oscar de la Renta jacket with asymetrical hemline and matching pants. Tiffany wore a double-breasted white coat and matching gloves.

First lady Melania Trump: 5 things to know about her inauguration look

The inauguration of President Donald Trump drew hundreds of thousands of spectators, but many had their eyes on First Lady Melania Trump. What would she wear? How will she style her hair?

>> Read more trending stories

Here's a breakdown of her inauguration look:

Trump wore Ralph Lauren, an American designer

As is customary for many incoming first ladies, Trump wore clothes by an American designer. Harper's Bazaar reported that she donned a powder-blue dress with a cropped jacket by Ralph Lauren and pointed-toe pumps and elbow-length gloves to match.

>> Complete coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration 

The New York Times reported thatRalph Lauren's office said of the decision to design Trump's clothes: "The presidential inauguration is a time for the United States to look our best to the world. It was important to us to uphold and celebrate the tradition of creating iconic American style for this moment."

The same designer also dressed previous first ladies

According to Cosmopolitan, Ralph Lauren also outfitted Michelle Obama, Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford at  their husbands' inauguration ceremonies.

Her hair was a classic updo

Us Weekly spoke to Trump's longtime hairstylist, Mordechai Alvow, who let his client's outfit influence her hair.

"The outfit had beautiful tailoring, including a super high collar that is great for her long neck, and a 1950s feel, modernized with a touch of origami shapes," Alvow said. "It was important to make sure her hair not interfere with the clean lines and monochrome color, so we decided to put her hair up, which also allowed her amazing bone structure to take center stage."

The updo had a modern edge with a sharp, deep-angled part.

Jewelry was minimal

Trump kept her jewelry very minimal, wearing only sparkling diamond stud earrings. Her 25-carat diamond engagement ring was nowhere to be seen, even above her gloves.

Melania Trump's makeup was light and natural

Although her past work as a model has meant that she's worn more dramatic makeup looks, Trump kept things natural and light for Inauguration Day. A slight face contour, nude pink lips, light blush and a slightly smokey eye rounded out her look.

Barack, Michelle Obama discuss post-White House plans

Barack and Michelle Obama officially left the White House on Friday when Donald Trump was inaugurated as the nation's 45th president. 

>> Read more trending stories  

The 44th president and the former first lady waved to crowds and wished the Trumps well as they made their final public appearance as the presidential couple.

The couple has already announced some of their first plans post-White House. 

"First, we're going to take a little break," Michelle Obama said in a video released Friday by the Obama Foundation. "We're finally going to get some sleep and take some time to be with our family and just be still for a little bit." 

Michelle Obama said the pair "might not be online quite as much" as in the past. 

During a December interview with former aide David Axelrod, Barack Obama said he planned to do some self-reflection.

"I'm going to start thinking about the first book ... I want to write. We've got to unpack, and ... I have to be quiet for a while," he said. 

Obama explained that he didn't mean that he plans to be politically quiet, but rather plans to reflect on all areas of his life.

"I don't mean politically. I mean internally. I have to still myself," he said. "You have to get back in tune with your center and process what happened before you make a bunch of good decisions."

>> Obama says he'll write a book and 'be quiet for a while' after White House exit

Obama changed his Twitter handle on Friday after stepping down as commander in chief and issued his first tweet as a former president. 

"Michelle and I are off on a quick vacation, then we'll get back to work," he wrote.

Hi everybody! Back to the original handle. Is this thing still on? Michelle and I are off on a quick vacation, then we'll get back to work.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 20, 2017

Barack Obama also discussed the Obama Foundation's plans to open the Obama Center, a presidential center on the south side of Chicago, where Michelle and Barack Obama met and raised their daughters. The center will be a library, a museum and a "living, working center for citizenship," according to the former president.

According to the official website, the Obama Foundation "will focus on developing the next generation of citizens and what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century ... It will have nonprofit programs across the city, the United States and the world." The foundation aims to "build programs to inspire us all to be better citizens and to help young leaders develop their ideas."

"The work of perfecting our union is never finished, and we look forward to joining you in that effort as fellow citizens," Barack Obama said. 

I won't stop; I'll be right there with you as a citizen, inspired by your voices of truth and justice, good humor, and love.— President Obama (@POTUS44) January 20, 2017

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