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So, you've made your goals for the new year. What is it that you want? What are the celebrations you've planned along the way?  Why not make this a memorable journey.  In the book, The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, milestones are accentuated as the most powerful ways to help you to keep your goals.

We just celebrated the milestones of our students at Graduation this past weekend.  I am so proud of the progress that they are making toward their goal of Black Belt Excellence!  

This week I am challenging you to step out of your comfort zone and to do something that scares you -- just a little bit. Maybe it is calling someone you haven't spoken with for a while. Maybe it's speaking or singing in front of a group. Maybe it's cutting sugar completely out of your diet for this week. Maybe it's getting to the gym and picking up the weights - that one always scares me a little and I celebrate every week that I make it through all of my workouts for the week! Maybe it's writing a blog! Or maybe it's just taking some time and going out in public. Everyone has different challenges, but I would love to see you tackle those challenges.

Once you accomplish that goal, celebrate it. One example from the book that I am reading is that if I keep jogging all the way through 3 songs on my iPod, then I give myself permission to buy three more songs.  How about this one:  If I read three informational books, then I can read a novel just for fun. Or:  If I write for 15 minutes every day this week then, I level up in my plans to write a book and I get to reach out to an author that I admire. If I practice guitar for 15 minutes every day this week, then I can record a song and put it on YouTube. These are just suggestions to motivate and give your goals some life and energy! 

Make some milestones for your goals and celebrate the journey!  Life is supposed to be fun!!!

 
 
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Here are some basic steps to finding success in this new year!!
1. Know What You Want!
My friend John wrote some good advice on his Facebook post just before the new year.  He said, " New Years advice. Pick hard goals, with measurable outcomes, and write them down today. The details will fall into place."  I'm thinking that is a great start! You have to know what you want before you can get what you want. This applies not only to fitness goals, but any personal goals you might have.  


I'll share a couple of my goals, I want to be able to do 100 snatches with a 16 kg  (or lose 10 lbs and snatch 12kg) kettlebell by the end of the summer and I want to write a book. That's one of my fitness goals and one of my career goals. Since I took some time off during November and December, I feel like I'm starting from scratch. But I have my goals, they are measurable, they have a time line and are written down. I am now well on my way!  What do you want? WRITE IT DOWN!

2. Have A Plan!
Have a plan of action. Make sure that you know how to get what you want. In martial arts, we have rank goals to help students to master techniques and become proficient in the art. These belt ranks are the built in plan that we provide for our students and help them and us to judge progress and build skill.  

For my personal goal, I have a plan from Strong First. I would like to eventually get instructor certification from them and so I am following their training plan. I also have a plan to write consistently every day. 

When I trained for half-marathons, I would follow a training plan. When I was in university, I followed a degree plan and made it work.  So, what is your plan to your goal?
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3.  Have a Success Coach!
All successful people have a mentor or a coach.  This can be the very thing that has kept you from fullfilling your goals in the past and it can be the very thing that will help you to achieve greatness. There is a great deal of power in developing a personal team of mentors.  Think about the synergy that can happen when two people work together toward the same goal. Imagine that being multiplied when one employs several mentors.

I'll admit, it is difficult for me to submit myself to the coaching of another person.  However, I have submitted myself to business coaches, fitness coaches, martial arts instructors, university instructors and pastors to achieve my goals.  Since I am in the process of writing a book, I have submitted myself to some amazing writers and individuals to help me in my journey there.

4. Take consistent action!
Taking a little action daily can make huge changes over the course of a year. One of my friends recently told me that she kept track what she ate every day for the past year. She made small changes in her diet on a consistent basis.  She lost 50 pounds, but what she gained was so much more!

My personal trek has already begun. I started the year off strongly on January 1. I have challenged myself to writing daily and to stick to my workout plan. What consistent action will you take?
5. Review Your Progress!
 Throughout the course of the success cycle, it is important to review your work and check to see what changes need to be made.  In our self defense school, we have stripe tests. These are monthly check-ups to see if we are progressing at the rate that will help us to achieve our goal at the end of the testing cycle. Then, of course, there are our rank tests. These tests help us to break down our goal of black belt into smaller chunks.  This helps us to track our progress and ultimately achieve our goal!

So, tracking progress. I'll be looking at page numbers and word counts a lot over the course of the next year to make the goal of writing a book a reality. I'll also be marking increases in weights to my workouts to achieve my goal of lifting 35# kettlebells!  How will you keep track of your progress?
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6.  Renew Your Goal!
Last year, I had to reconfigure my goals.  It was a difficult year. I dealt with physical limitations and medical issues that caused me to veer off course, but I was able to rank up twice in Krav Maga and acquired my black belt in Han Mu Do.  So, this year, I have reset some goals.  Actually, I have reset a LOT of goals.  I am looking forward to a successful 2018.


What are your new goals for the year?  Leave them in a comment below!

 
 
I just heard an interview with Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why. These are some of my thoughts as a result of listening to that interview. -- Dana
 
 
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1. Walk away from worries

"The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep," says nutrition-and-wellness expert Ann Kulze, MD. Aim for a brisk, half-hour walk every day.

2. Do less, enjoy more

"We go overboard to please others during the holidays: shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every event," says George Pratt, PhD, a psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California. "Instead, take care of yourself by saying no at least once—and maybe more."

3. Stick with your daily routine

Prioritize your workouts, book club, etc., and don't try to squeeze in more holiday than you can handle, says Katherine Muller, PsyD, an assistant professor of psychology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City

4. Go tech-free

Constant cell phone buzzes and email alerts keep us in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode due to bursts of adrenaline. Not only is this exhausting, but it contributes to mounting stress levels, especially in women. What better time to turn your gadgets off than during a holiday get-together? Enjoy spending time with your family and friends without worry

5. Turn up the tunes

Anxious? Listen to your favorite music, whether it's Jingle Bell Rock or the latest from Jay-Z. Research from the University of Maryland shows that hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. That not only calms you down but is good for your heart, too.

6. Fit in exercise

It may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're stressed out, but going for a run or hitting the gym can actually make you feel better. Research has found that workouts can boost your mood for up to 12 hours.

7. Stay Positive

Positive thoughts and thinking transfer to positive actions.   Look of the best and make  active appreciation part of your daily routine.

8. You may want to consider starting a martial arts class this time of year.  

I know you may be thinking "What - something new this time of year?"  A true martial arts class is all about mind, body and spirit, according to Greg Silva, president of Black Belt Schools International.    "You get healthy exercise and flexibility training, a positive atmosphere and stress release."   Getting started now will be beneficial for your health, stress level as well as jump start  your healthy goals for 2017.

We are having a Krav Maga workshop scheduled for December 1 at 6pm. This seminar is specifically about what to do in a Hostage Situation, but it relates to what to do in any stressful situation!!  Click HERE for more information


 
 
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I have been pretty open about being diagnosed with diabetes, changing my diet, and maintaining an exercise regime. However, I haven't been very forthcoming about the emotional struggle and the self-dialogue that makes this such a daily hassle. I haven't shared that part because --well, we all wrestle with something. Many of my friends have much more of a struggle than me! I have several friends who deal with chronic pain. Sometimes that pain is debilitating. I have friends who suffer from depression. Sometimes that pain is debilitating. I have friends who are fighting cancer. Sometimes that pain is debilitating. I have friends who are in abusive relationships. Sometimes that pain is debilitating. There are all kinds of suffering -- I don't own a corner on that and I don't want to wallow in the negative. 

As I was working out this morning, I didn't feel strong. I have been trying to increase my weights in my kettle bell workouts, but my blood glucose levels sometime limit how much I can do. Today was one of those days. In fact, I was losing form and started to just quit. But then, I thought, "I could reduce the weight and finish the exercise." The other side of me said, "But you will not meet your goals - you should just quite until you feel stronger!" Then I told myself, "Well, at least I will finish the workout. There will be some gains!" (Yup, I talk to myself -- you know that you do it, too!) So, I took the weight down by 10 pounds and finished my Turkish Get Ups. (That was the first exercise! I was ready to quit before I had even started good!) I kept the weights manageable and finished the entire circuit.

What does this have to do with the struggle? Sometimes we lose form when we are carrying all the weight of our burdens. And we don't HAVE to carry ALL of the weight of our pain. We are created to be social. We are created to be a team! God created Adam AND Eve. He even said, "It is not good for man(kind) to be alone." If we help to shoulder each other's burdens, then we can lighten our load - and then finish our day. I'm equating the day to my workout because we can only take one day at a time. Look, all we really have is the decision that we make at this moment. What decision will you make? Are you gonna quit? You may not get the benefit of this workout. Will you lighten the load? You will be making progress toward your goal!

So, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone if you are feeling overwhelmed. Take the self-talk out of your head and directly interact with another person. If you are feeling like you can't handle the weight, then unload some of that onto someone else. You CAN finish this race. You CAN conquer this task. You CAN overcome this obstacle. It may just take a team to do that. And that may just be the ultimate reason for this trial.


Be blessed, my friends -- Dana

 
 
Adults in our community - This is National Bully Awareness Month.   This is not only a month to help school kids.   It's a month for everyone to step up against bullying.  Please pass these tips on to other parents and adults.  The mission is to get a large community involvement to make a large impact.

Take Steps to Stop It Checklist

Start early. Parent/child talks are essential. Teach kids to respect others before they start school and continue to talk about this topic on an ongoing basis. Even small acts of teasing should be stopped in their tracks. Don’t fail to correct this kind of behavior due to a child’s young age. This is exactly when to stop it.

Teach your children how to be assertive. Encourage your children to express their feelings clearly, say no when they feel uncomfortable or pressured, stand up for themselves without fighting and walk away in dangerous situations.

Stop bullying when you see it. Adults who remain silent when bullying occurs are encouraging it and making it worse.

Listen and support children who speak up. Telling an adult about bullying is not easy for children.  If a child comes to you seeking assistance with bullying, spend time listening to them and provide affirmation and support before taking actions.  

Recognize the signs of depression.  Youth who experience persistent bullying can develop signs of depression like sadness, isolation, poor concentration and sleeping problems. These symptoms can affect their relationships and school performance.  Many children do not recognize or speak up about their emotional needs. Make sure to reach out and get them help when you see these signs.

Tell your children to take action when they see bullying behavior. Tell them to speak out against the bully and inform a teacher if the behavior doesn’t stop. Bullying continues only when we allow it to.

Communicate clear policies and consequences. Bullying is less likely in schools where adults are involved and firm about stopping bullying behaviors. Send out a clear message at your school that bullying will have negative consequences.

Team up. Work with your PTA or local MHA affiliate to make sure that schools treat bullying as violence. Help them develop programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environments.


Bring your kids and join us on October 7, 2017 at 11:30 am on our training mat inside Legends Gym and Health Club for a free workshop on how we can Stand Up Against Bullying!
 
 
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 from Creative Child
by Rebecca Eanes on May 2nd, 2017

If you’ve ever been the victim of a bully, you know too well how it feels to humiliated and overpowered. While there is no way to 100% bully-proof anyone, there are important skills we can teach our children to minimize the impact a bully has, to turn them away, and to help our children get out of sticky situations.

Help your child build a positive social network.

Connection with caring friends and supportive adults act as a shield of sorts, giving your child strength to overcome the challenge a bully presents. In fact, being socially connected is an important factor in overall happiness. How can you help your child build this network?

Keep the parent/child relationship a top priority. Maintaining a positive relationship with your child is essential. They need to know they can confide in you. Otherwise, you may never know they are being bullied. By practicing positive parenting, you can both guild your child while keeping your relationship strong. Teach and practice respectful, positive communication so that they have the skills and comfort level to talk to you about what’s going on in their lives.

Foster as many positive connections as you can with relatives, friends, people at church or in other groups, etc. The bigger your child’s village is, the bigger his shield.

Teach your child friendship-building social skills, such as how to introduce themselves, how to start a conversation, eye contact, showing interest, and joining a group activity.

Give Your Child the Gift of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence plays an important role in our relationships, social status, success, and happiness. A child who is comfortable with her emotions and knows how to confidently handle them is less likely to be shaken by the words or actions of a bully. She is better able to move through emotions like anger, sadness, fear, and disappointment. Try these tips to increase your child’s EI.

1. Talk about feelings. Start the discussions at an early age by helping your child verbalize what he is feeling. “You’re sad that we have to leave Grandma’s already.” “You’re upset that I won’t buy you this toy.” By naming emotions, we increase our children’s emotional vocabulary and, at the same time, validate what they are feeling.

2. Teach regulation skills. The calm down area is a good tool for children to learn to get a grip on those big feelings. At first, you’ll need to sit in the calm down area with your child and teach her how to self-regulate. Provide sensory and calming items such as a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a calming glitter jar, books, paper and pencil, or balloons filled with playdough. Figuring out how to soothe the mind and body so that logic and reason can come back online is a critical skill that will keep children (and adults) from reacting in a negative way or lashing out and regretting it later.

3. Teach conflict resolution and problem-solving skills. This requires a lot of time and patience while the child is young but has a big pay-off when they are older. Teach this by talking your child through a conflict, assisting with ideas when needed, and help her bring about a peaceful solution. For example, if two siblings are fighting over a toy, you might say, “It looks like there’s a problem with this toy. You both want it. Can we come up with a solution? Jane, you first. Can you think of way to solve this problem?” Coach Jane as needed to come up with ideas like taking turns, finding a new toy to play with, or playing with it together. “Okay, so you have decided you want to take turns. Amy, Jane would like to take turns. Does this work for you? Okay, how about you hand over the toy to Amy as soon as you are finished? Thank you! Good problem-solving!” Then you’ll just watch to make sure she follows through. Here’s a great article on helping your child with turn taking. This will take many repetitions, but eventually they’ll start doing it on their own, and when they do, it’s bliss! How does this help when faced with a bully? It gives them confidence to handle themselves when an adult isn’t immediately present.

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Teach Your Child to Be Assertive

Bullies prey on victims who are isolated or who they can intimidate. Being assertive means your child can voice how she is feeling and stand up for her rights without being aggressive or passive. Assertive people can calmly state their feelings and needs in a respectful way. Here are some tips:

Talk about boundaries. Teach your child about physical and emotional boundaries. Let them know that it is their right to say “no,” to leave a friendship that feels bad, and to tell an adult when someone isn’t respecting their boundaries.

Let your child make decisions. This is an easy way to build the assertive muscles. “I’d rather wear the red shirt today” is good practice for “I’d prefer not to attend that party tonight.”

Role play various situations so that your child becomes comfortable with assertive responses. Teach him to say “Stop it. That’s not okay.” Play out scenarios where your child will need to tell an adult and what to do when no adults are around, and discuss that it is NOT tattling if someone is being hurt!

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of positive-parents.org and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting, and co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early Childhood. She is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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Join us for a free Bully Prevention Workshop on October 7, 2017 at 11:30 am. Click on the picture to register!
 
 
The days have become a little shorter, there is an eclipse coming soon, school is starting next week and it has been raining here in T-town - a lot!  It does seem as if summer is coming to a close earlier this year than it did last year! When does the water park close? Only open on weekends after this week!  Yep, summer is ending way too soon! Maybe you are wondering how you can help you and your child to succeed this school year.  Here is a little acronym that I came up with to help out a bit.
S - Show up!  Don't just sit in class, but SHOW UP!  Make sure that you are focusing on the teacher and on other students. People like folks who genuinely show interest in them. When others see that you like them, they will like you better AND if it is a teacher, he or she will be much more likely to work with you!

T - TAKE NOTES!  Taking notes in class help to fire off several areas of the brain and helps you to put that knowledge in to longer term memory!

U - Seek to UNDERSTAND!  If you are having trouble understanding, then ask questions that lead to your better understanding the problem. If you still do not understand, then ask a better question. Keep asking until you have achieved that goal of understanding the problem.  After that, you will be better equipped to solve the problem!

D- DECIDE TO BE DETERMINED!  Make the mental preparation now to stick to your goals and finish the year strong. It may seem too early to look that far ahead, but you have to be able to see where you are going in order to actually make it there!

E- ENDURE TO THE END!  This is not a sprint, but a marathon race.  Pace yourself and make a plan to break everything down into bite size pieces.  For example, we performed 100 push-ups in every Krav Junior class last week!  How did those guys accomplish this goal? We broke it down into do-able chunks.  They never performed more than 10 at one time, but they got them all done!

N- NEVER GIVE UP! Perseverance is a time honored tradition in martial arts, but it is also necessary for any student to achieve at high levels.  Make up your mind now to keep going no matter what obstacles stand in the way.  When you keep going, you discover that you have much more in you than you ever imagined!!

T- TRAIN!!  Train your body, soul and mind!!  Make sure to maintain your physical fitness.  This will give you the mental stamina to make it through this school year.

Hey, we can help you with that physical training, too!  Join us for our Back to School Bash and we can get you hooked up on a great deal for starting out this year strong with Krav Maga training for your whole family!!!  Check it out!

 
 
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Vacation was wonderful! Now it is back to life. Back to reality. The comedian on our cruise was right about one thing: I got back home, stepped on the scale and it did say "Lido Deck!"

Seriously, Greg and I have been doing tons of research regarding our diet and training plans. We discovered that we are made very differently and required different nutrition. Since testing is coming up, Greg and I made serious plans to change eating habits and training schedule!

DANA-

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I began with a total vegan plan. I cut out all sugar and processed carbs as well as animal proteins and dairy for 3 months. I dropped over 20 pounds and lost a great deal of muscle/strength in the process.  However, I was able to cut my medicine in half and control my sugar with that approach. I had a great deal of trouble training, though. So, I had to adapt and add lean proteins back into my diet.that, I really wanted to enjoy sweets every now and again. For that reason, I took on more of an 80%/20% approach. Most of the time, I ate very sensibly and 20% of the time (not daily) I allowed myself to slip. "Just eat REAL food!" has become my motto.  If it comes in a box, then it

My training consisted of Krav Maga, Han Mu Do, some running and kettle bell training. I was considering a goal of completing a marathon this year, but then thought I'd push that off until the spring of 2018. The Little Rock Marathon has a gigantic medal and we shall see if I can earn that sucker!  Kettlebell training has made me much, much stronger and helped me to build muscle. I am about to head into the next phase of my training so that I can blast through my testing in the fall.

GREG -

Greg needed more protein in his diet and could handle a larger caloric intake.  So, has begun to take in far fewer refined carbohydrates and, of course, sugar.  That began by cutting out sodas and sweet tea - in the south! That was an amazing feat!  He also began increasing his vegetable intake (another amazing act!!). He has just begun this new diet transformation, but we both know that good health requires good nutrition. There is no substitute for good food.

He has trained Krav Maga and Han Mu Do, but was inconsistent with cardio and weight training. Greg needed a schedule to help organize his time and training. Since he worked two jobs (and ran a home business and was/is an amazing dad and hubby), he really had to create something that he could live with!  He has begun a training schedule to prepare for testing in the fall and is focused on crushing those goals.

Do you have fitness goals? Self defense goals? We would love to help you demolish your goals.  We can all work together!!  Give me a call 903-224-5728 or drop in and see us inside Legends Gym.  Here is a FREE PASS to training!



 
 
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Summer is here and many of us are thinking VACATION!!! We love to spend time with our families and take on adventures and make great memories. However, it is also important to keep everyone safe on these ventures! Here are a few thoughts to help keep you safe.

1. Plan ahead. It seems to me like planning is second nature to most folks. To people like me, it is a chore! I would much rather jump in the car pick a direction and just drive! I love to find an adventure wherever the road may take me, but that is not always the safest route. Look at the reviews of the attractions at your destination. Check to see if there are any road closures and look at folks opinion of the area. Check out the crime stats and decide if that is the area for your and your family and friends. Have a plan to get to your destination safely. If you are travelling by air, be sure to have a plan to get to your hotel. I feel most vulnerable when transporting my luggage to my hotel when I am travelling. It is best to get to your lodging place and then go exploring.

2. Check in with the State Department. Look up the Department of State's travel alerts and warnings.  The website is HERE.  The most up to date information is given on the website and can help you to make decisions based upon your travel destination. You can get information about vaccinations, local laws, crime and security warnings, and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

3. Have an exit plan. You might be staying in a swanky hotel, but haven't you seen adventure films? They are not always that safest places! Okay, I'm kidding - sort of. Make sure that you review the exits and fire escape plans.  You'll be glad that you did - especially if you need to get out in the middle of the night. I have been in a hotel when the fire alarm was pulled and I was happy to know where the stairs were!

4.  Don't flash your wealth. I will never forget the time that we were travelling in Haiti and had car trouble. One of the fellas with us started to hand out cash to the men who had helped us to get the car started again. We were suddenly swarmed with men who claimed to have been of assistance and had to nearly run them over to get out!  They were shaking the car and pounding on the windows. It was scary!  Keep your cash in your wallet or in a belly band or in your sock! If you must tip someone, have a small amount of small bills prepared for such an occasion. Never start randomly handing out cash - you will NEVER have enough! I have found that this device - FlipBelt - held my passport, hotel key and extra money quite well. I could hide it under my clothes, it stayed in place and it was very comfortable. (No, I don't get money from them)

5.  Stay with a group. There is safety in numbers. I like my alone time, too. However, it is just too tempting for a potential kidnapper or thief to target solitary figures. Although, I would like to point out that who you are with can make a huge difference. I have walked the streets of New York City with three other Krav Maga Instructors (one was a Master Instructor) and felt quite safe and got into zero trouble. I have also walked the streets (dirt paths) in the mountains of Mexico with my girlfriends (who are missionaries) and nearly got into a fight for disturbing goats - you can ask me about that story at the gym.  I'm just saying that we were much safer as a group than we would have been all alone.

6. Train to hone your observation skills.  The best training that I have ever received was my training in Krav Maga. The more you train, the more you realize what can go wrong and the more observant you become to your surroundings.  I'm going to take that a step farther and say that the more proficient I become in this craft, the more I want to avoid potential fights. I walk into a room with a plan to escape and I position myself so that I can see the entrance and exits while I am there because I would rather be able to get my kids out if things go bad.

Would you like to train to learn more? Come on by and see us! We are located in Legends Gym and Health Club on Stateline Ave.  Click HERE or on the button below.to get registered for a free class! Adults train Monday -Thursday at 7 pm and on Saturday at 10 am.  Kids train Monday-Thursday at several times depending on their rank and age.  Check out our schedule and come and see us!