Archive | September, 2013

Hi Stranger! Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

28 Sep

IMG_0036Do you speak to strangers? Yes, most of our parents warned us about speaking to them, but I truly believe if more of us spoke to strangers, the world, or just our own neighborhoods would be much more pleasant environments. I know it might sound corny and like something from “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” but I enjoy saying, “Hello,” “Hi” or “Good morning” to people with a smile on my face and in the tone of my voice.  Have you ever noticed how most children, even before they can walk or talk, are so eager to say hi and wave their hands vigorously until the person(s) they are saying hi to responds?  Though that might be kind of creepy if adults did that, the simple gesture of saying hello and being happy to see and greet a person you do not know is cool to me.

Something I have been doing for the past few of years is making a conscious effort to greet people and hopefully brighten up their day for even a millisecond with a cheerful “Good morning!” Interestingly, many people are in such a rush and don’t even look up from texting while walking to say hello, not that friendly and grumble back a response or just prefer not to even be bothered and avoid eye contact so that they do not have to even acknowledge the person attempting to greet them.  Regardless, I am going to keep on saying hello because as Will Rogers said, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.”

All the best,

Tanya

6(000) Degrees of Separation and counting…

22 Sep

Tanya Harris FranklinYesterday, I noticed that I was close to 6000 views on my blog and was amused this morning to see that I am at 6000 views exactly.  I started this blog a few years ago, so 6000 may not seem like a lot, but it is to me.  It feels good to know that I am connecting with others and hopefully putting out some positive energy and information people want to read about or just merely peruse.

Something that is awesome is how I can view my statistics and see not just how many people have viewed my blog posts but from where in the world they reside.  Most recently, the post receiving views almost everyday from places all around the globe such as Malaysia, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, India, the Netherlands, Italy and a few others is my Profound Hip Hop Quote post on A Tribe Called Quest.  It seems that I am not the only one who is hoping they will go on a tour and longing to see Q-Tip and Phife back on stage together.

Who knows, maybe I will reach 10,000 views by the end of the year, but even if I do not receive one more view from this point forward, I am honored that 6000 people, some who I may know and others I may never physically come in contact with or met personally, stopped by to have a glimpse at my daily musings.

All the best,

Tanya

P.S.  Thanks for stopping by 🙂

The Condition: The Bell Tolls for You Dog! Will You Answer?

21 Sep

Pavlovian Conditioning DogsLast week, I talked about the power of creating positive habits, but months, if not years, before I pondered over how easily we are conditioned and wondered if certain stimuli have the power to not only control us but consume our lives. Pavlov used a bell and food to perform his conditioning research with dogs, but many of us live by the bell, the chime, the whistle, or whatever sound we have set up for our phones or gadgets.

As cell phones started to become more prevalent, I vowed not to live by the bell. Even today I still have a pre-paid phone, yes a prepaid! This way I only use my phone for emergencies since I pay by the day. I am not consumed with constantly checking my phone to see if someone called or sent me a text message; as a result,  I have more time on my hands.   For most, the idea of having a pre-paid cell phone or just using it for emergencies is absurd, and I understand that line of thinking.  But I ask you to consider how many minutes or even hours in a day do you devote to responding to that bell which may chime several times a day?

Though I thought I escaped living by the bell, I must admit that I have not.  My iPad has been my vice.  I use a wonderful app called Baby Connect which allows me to set up alarms and timers for when it is time to feed my baby, when her diaper was last changed and even when she last slept.  I have found that I rely heavily on this tool and sometimes allow the bell to dictate when the baby can have her next feeding. Sometimes it is necessary to just use common sense if the baby is crying and showing signs that she is hungry rather than waiting for the bell to chime.  What’s interesting is that I believe the baby is starting to associate the bell chiming on my iPad with feeding time.

Amazingly, many of us, including me, are guilty of stopping in our tracks when the bell chimes to see a Facebook status update or comment, a reminder to complete a task or go to an appointment, a text message or a email message.  Even if there is an intense conversation, a heart to heart moment or just something requiring all of our attention, some of us are controlled by the bell and must stop to see what it is about this time.

I’ve been purposefully reconditioning myself to not necessarily ignore the bell but to not feel the need to immediately jump up and respond to it as soon as it chimes.  Is the ding controlling your life? Will you be able to resist the urge to drop everything and respond the next time the bell tolls for you?

All the best,

Tanya

Habits to Factor

14 Sep

HabitWhen a person says, “I got a habit,” most automatically associate it with something negative?  “Habit Factor” by Martin Grunburg did an excellent job touching on how habits can be negative or positive in relation to achieving goals.  Ever since I can remember, I’ve always set forth goals to achieve.  A major reason I started this blog is actually to have a place to discuss my journey and share some of my musings and goals.  In an effort to live my best life while hopefully impacting the lives of others in a positive way, I decided to become more cognizant of my actions and daily routines. This allows me to make sure my actions (or habits) are in alignment with my goals and the person I claim to be.

For instance, one of my most recent goals was not just to reclaim my pre-pregnancy body (I just had a baby on May 3, 2013) but to have a healthy lifestyle.  So I first determined what habits would put me on the right path and began tracking how consistent I was. Rather than saying, I am not going to eat junk food, I thought about what I was going to do, such as meditating, drinking a minimum of eight cups of water a day, eating a minimum of seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and walking and exercising five to six days a week.

I can be quite competitive, especially with myself, so tracking my habits makes me want to push myself even further.  If I see that I had seven servings of fruits and vegetables all last week, I will try to make it eight for the following week.  Also, the accountability is there. Sometimes we all get so busy and do not realize how much time has passed since we have last worked out after we set forth the goal.  Logging the information gives me the data I need to have tangible evidence on why I have or have not achieved my goal.

Since I started tracking my habits with my healthy lifestyle back in July of this year, I lost 16 1/2 pounds, putting me about three pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight and lost a total of 18 inches from my waist, hips, thighs and arms. I feel more energized and am motivated to keep up these good habits.

Many of us question why our lives have or have not taken certain courses but do not always look at our habits (actions) to determine how significant they are in why we are where we are.  Even though there are instances where circumstances arise that are out of our control, our habits are not.  We typically control those.  The next time you question why you are struggling to reach your goal, consider your habits.  They truly can reveal a lot and certainly did for me.

All the best,

Tanya 

Baby I’m Back!!! Well Sort of…

7 Sep
Tanya H. Franklin & Quinn Franklin

First Day Back to Work

Four months ago I had a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Quinn, but about a year ago when I found out I was pregnant, I already planned to be back at my pre-pregnancy weight by the start of the fall 2013 semester when I returned to work.  The semester just started, and I made my goal!  I had about 35 pounds to lose and about 15 inches, give or take to shed from my waistline, so how did I do it?  Before I got pregnant I was already in good shape and worked out regularly even while pregnant, but I believe these tips that worked for me can apply to anyone:

Tanya H. Franklin

Me at Eight Months Pregnant

1. Dispel the myths and statistics: Though losing that pregnancy weight along with that jelly belly can be difficult,  do not buy into those notions of it being impossible or highly unlikely that you will return to your pre-pregnancy weight.  Be aware of but disregard the statistics about most women struggling to lose the last ten or five pounds.  Refuse to accept the statistics as absolute.  Listening and accepting the myths and statistics will give you an excuse for not shedding the pounds.

2. Believe:  You must believe that you are capable of losing the weight regardless of what anyone else says. Believing starts in the mind, heart and through your actions as well. As you believe, you must stay motivated.

3. Be an idealist and go for what’s not realistic: Of course, you want to be safe about it, but go for the unrealistic goal! People may say give yourself at least a year or two, but why?  Once you give yourself that timeline, you just might use it as an excuse for why your weight hasn’t budged much since you gave birth.

4.  Exercise: It is obvious that exercise is needed, but it is essential to find exercises that include the baby to avoid additional stress of trying to find time or a sitter in order to work out.  My baby and I do the “Happy Baby Work Out,” go for walks, with her in the stroller, everyday, unless it is raining, and she does patiently watch as I do my “Hip Hop Abs” workouts. She seems to really like some of the exercise routines.  I also, find that it is best to workout in the morning if possible.  It gets the heart pumping and metabolism kicked into high gear.

Happy Baby Workout Lunges: Tanya H. Franklin

Happy Baby Workout Lunges

5. Eat Healthy: This is another one that is a no brainer, but the trick is not to simply avoid junk food but to introduce more healthy foods.  For instance, I eat a minimum of seven servings a day of fruits and vegetables.  After meeting or exceeding that goal, there is not much room left for the junk. Also, I am always thinking of healthy alternatives.  Did you know that maple syrup has about 220 calories per serving, but the sugar free version only has about 20 calories? My husband even admitted that he cannot taste the difference.

6. Make it fun and your actual lifestyle: It’s not about going on a crash diet, completely denying yourself all guilty pleasures and dreading having to exercise, especially if you are breastfeeding, but it is about a lifestyle improvement. Getting back in shape has multiple benefits.  It of course makes you look and feel good, but it gives you that extra energy to be there for your baby who you will soon be chasing after when she or he learns to crawl and walk.

I hope these tips prove to be helpful, and that you will be back..well sort of back to your pre-pregnancy weight before you know it.  I say “sort of back” because I’ve decided not to stop there and plan to be in even better shape!  Maybe you will do the same once you meet your goal ; -)

All the best,

Tanya