Living Lite

Aligning Your Behavior and Habits with Your Values

February 18, 2020

Are you happy with your achievements in 2019? Are there still some things you have left to do? What are your hopes, dreams and aspirations for 2020? The new year is a valuable opportunity to improve the quality of your life and happiness. Seize this moment!

On that enthusiastic note, knowing motivation is the hardest, yet most important part, of successfully changing your habits, I have a new suggestion I'd like for you to try: If you want to motivate yourself to make lasting positive change in your life, first, try thinking about your values. 

Ask yourself, "How do my goals align with my values?" When you connect your goals to your personal values, it's easier to stick with behavior changes that will help you achieve your goals, according to psychological research. So, when the message to self says, "Make some of Katherine's Creamy Broccoli Soup today!" You'll actually be happier knowing that eating healthfully is connected to your values. Besides, you'll remind yourself, "It's a delicious - and easy - soup everyone loves!" 

As a first step, try answering the following four questions to find some of your values:

  1. What is a value you have that you would like to bring to every role and relationship in your life? Try asking... "What is the strength or quality I appreciate most about myself?" Some examples might be empathy, enthusiasm, determination. What is that quality in yourself?
  2. What about values you have that aren't always easy? Ask yourself... "What is a value that, when I choose it, I feel stronger, and aligned with a higher purpose?" Some examples might be courage, optimism, generosity, strength.
  3. What are the activities, roles, and relationships that bring your life meaning, feel good and are sustainable? Ask... "What are qualities in myself that give me a sense of purpose and joy? Things that bring value to my life and that I wouldn't want to lose?"  Could - being a parent, an athlete, your work, being healthy, physically fit  - be examples?
  4. Sometimes you feel a value because you are suffering, and missing it. Try asking... "Do I feel excellent health? Vitality?  Joy? Am I suffering because of poor health, low confidence or flagging energy levels? What is the antidote? What do I want to experience?"  Where in your life do you suffer? What feelings or activities do you miss? Feeling free and independent? Feeling healthy and in good shape? Optimistic about the future? Walking in your neighborhood, along the beach or in the mountains? The joy of traveling to visit friends and family? Feeling attractive, confident, and vibrant out in the world? Among your peers?

Sunflower Seedlings Three Days After Germination (Photo by: Sunflower Seedlings Three Days After Germination
You've just planted the seed in your mind! "This is what I care about and this is the path I need to take to support what I care about!"

Field of Sunflowers (Photo by: Field of Sunflowers

What are some behaviors that align with your values and aspirations? Behaviors that reflect those intentions? Answer the following questions to complete this exercise...

  • What behaviors reflect my intention to feel more energy and joy? Am I taking the time to be active with friends and family?
  • What do I need to spend more time on so that I can feel more optimistic about my health and about the future? Should I be exercising? Should I make sure I eat a healthy, balanced breakfast in the mornings? More fruits and vegetables?
  • How can I feel more attractive, confident and vibrant in the world? Should I be taking a good look at how I am spending my time? Should I spend more time taking care of myself? My health? Checking in with the doctor?
  • What do I need to spend time on every day so that I can get into better shape? Should I be planning my days better so that I have time to exercise, sleep enough and eat healthier?
  • Am I showing my family, friends, doctors and co-workers that I value my health? My life? That I care about my life and my future with them? Should I be setting a better example by living a healthier life?

When you find your motivation flagging a bit, remind yourself of your values, not the new behavior, which may be eating healthier or exercising. This creates a link between your values and your new behavior that allows you to support your positive change. When you are connected to your values, it's easier to see what behaviors support achieving them! Your values will push you toward the new habits you need in your life so that your life's values and aspirations can be achieved forever.

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Faith Hope Love Gala January 25, 2020

January 20, 2020

William Pennington has miraculously lived with pancreatic cancer for four years, when the usual survival time is only a few months. That is why William's family aptly called their charity's gala, "Faith Hope Love" because the family has that in spades!

On January 25th, they host their annual gala benefitting Johns Hopkins University. Last year, the gala netted $200,000, all of which was donated to Johns Hopkins University's Pancreatic Research Center, one of the world's foremost and successful facilities for pancreatic cancer research.

Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer Researchers Dr. Javed, Dr. Wolfgang, Dr. Yumet, Dr. Aziz (Photo by: Tony Powell) Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer Researchers Dr. Javed, Dr. Wolfgang, Dr. Yumet, Dr. Aziz

Ongoing pancreatic cancer research lead by Dr. Chris Wolfgang at Johns Hopkins includes:

  1. Blood biomarkers in Patients with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma,
  2. Assessing the feasibility of genetic signature from patients with resectable pancreatic cancer,
  3. Research into the precursor lesions that give rise to invasive pancreatic cancer, and
  4. Identifying pancreatic cancer tumor subtypes so that like with breast cancer the subtype determines the best drug regimen. Currently, all patients with pancreatic cancer often receive the same regimen.

Faith Hope Love Gala Ballroom at the Columbia Country Club 2019 (Photo by: Tony Powell) Faith Hope Love Gala Ballroom at the Columbia Country Club 2019

Joining the Faith Hope Love Gala 2020 will help advance these studies and achieve the goals of improved diagnosis, treatment and, ultimately, cure of this dreaded disease.    

Register: Faith Hope Love Gala
Saturday, January 25
6:30 pm
Columbia Country Club
7900 Connecticut Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815   

FaithHopeLove Dancing Fitz Morrison and Karrie Recknor (Photo by: Tony Powell) FaithHopeLove Dancing Fitz Morrison and Karrie Recknor

FaithHopeLove Guests Chung Do, Ruth Bergman (Photo by: Tony Powell) FaithHopeLove Guests Chung Do, Ruth Bergman


FaithHopeLove 2019 Gala Guests Charlotte and Thomas Hopson (Photo by: Tony Powell) FaithHopeLove 2019 Gala Guests Charlotte and Thomas Hopson



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Pointers from the Washington Nationals: Losing Weight and Keeping it Off

November 6, 2019

Washington Nationals Third Baseman, Anthony Rendon (Photo by: Washington Nationals Third Baseman, Anthony Rendon

If there's anything we've learned after underdog team, the Washington Nationals, beat the heavily favored Houston Astros to win the 2019 World Series last week, it's this: To win, you've got to have heart! If you don't believe in yourself, if you don't get up after you fall, you don't have a chance of achieving your goals. And this goes for successfully changing any personal habit or anything about the world. Listen to what the Washington Nationals have to say about picking yourself back up after failing - repeatedly!

Third baseman Anthony Rendon: "Just try to keep on going!" 

First baseman, Ryan Zimmerman: "What choice did we have?" 

Washington Nationals Manager, Dave Martinez (Photo by: Washington Nationals Manager, Dave Martinez

Manager, Dave Martinez: "They counted us out, they knocked us down, we had injuries early, we didn't perform like we wanted to... I believed since day 1 that this thing would turn around." 

General Manager, Mike Rizzo: "Even when things were bad, even when it seemed like there was no way out back in the spring, they were total pros. They never wavered... But these guys, they're confident, they really are. And they don't lose that confidence or that focus regardless of the situation."

Owner, Ted Lerner: "They say good things come to those who wait. 95 years is a pretty long wait. But I'll tell you, this is worth the wait."

Washington Nationals first baseman, Ryan Zimmerman (Photo by: Washington Nationals first baseman, Ryan Zimmerman

Studies Show Long Term Weight Loss Maintainers Do The Same:

Successful weight loss maintainers do things differently than people who lose weight and gain it back: They recover from slips. Instead of allowing themselves to make excuses, fall back into old, unhealthy habits and relapse, successful lifetime weight loss maintainers see "mistakes" as normal. They learn lessons, try not to be emotional or overreact. They are objective, analytical, kind to themselves. They get over slips, get right back up, and move on. After all, do you really expect to be perfect?

One of my mantras through the years, that I borrowed from WWII UK Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, is, "If you're going through Hell, keep going ... Never give in, never give in, never, never, never!"

It is not always easy, including for me. That's because we're human and naturally flawed. But I firmly believe that we must live by this philosophy when it comes to doing good in the world or for ourselves.

(Photo by: "Damn Yankees" The musical about how the hapless Washington Senators of old beat the New York Yankees through a deal with the devil

Like the uplifting "Damn Yankees" song,  sung by the hapless Washington Senators of old - before they finally beat the New York Yankees through (unknowingly) a deal with the devil: "You've Gotta Have Heart! All you really need is heart! When the odds are sayin' you'll never win; That's when the grin should start! You've gotta have hope! Mustn't sit around and mope! Nothin's half as bad as it may appear; Wait'll next year and hope! 

(Washington Nationals quotes from The Washington Post)

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