Today is the last day of school in our town. The kids are going
nuts with excitement, as you might expect.
They’ve had a fun week: assemblies, end of school parties, field
day. I volunteered at field day to help run one of the stations
for the third, fourth and fifth graders. Not surprisingly, every
kid I spoke with was ready for summer.
I still vividly recall that feeling of relief, excitement and
anticipation that always came at the end of the school year,
especially during elementary school.
The promise of a long, hot, wide open summer with the freedom to
read what I wanted, play with my friends all day, spend some
relaxed time with my parents, and even a family trip or two to the
I still get that feeling today, even though it’s been many many
years since I had a summer off.
As we drove to school this morning, I asked my son Miguel if he
was psyched that it’s the last day of school.
He said, “Yea. But I’m also sad.”
“why? I asked, a little surprised.
“Because I will miss Mrs. Olson”, who is his third grade teacher.
When we went into school to give Mrs. Olson her gift, I thanked
her for all of her work and kind attention this year. And I
shared with her what Miguel said.
I could tell she really appreciated it.
Miguel has really enjoyed being in her class this year. He has
struggled at times with math, but overall his love of learning,
reading, doing projects, and helping out in class have continued
And when I look back and compare where Miguel was at the
beginning of the year with where he is now, I can’t help but be
impressed with the amount of progress made, knowledge learned,
and new skills mastered.
Mrs. Olson is known as a teacher who expects a lot from her
students and really pushes them. She employs a solid routine,
good structure, and makes sure the kids are working on the most
important things each day and week.
On the other hand, she is also a lot of fun. She lets the kids
do “read-ins”, when they bring in their blanket and favorite
books and read most of the day. She is kind and encouraging to
each of them, letting them know SHE knows they can do it.
And, as my son likes to remind me, “Mrs. Olson can do The Worm!”
(He is most impressed by that particular talent….)
I think Mrs. Olson’s approach to running her third grade class
provides a good example for each of us, in terms of how to
approach our own fitness and health regimen.
It’s a combination of five key factors:
(1) Have high expectations for yourself. No matter what your
age or present physical condition, you can make astounding
progress and enjoy significant results, if you put in a
consistent effort. So think big.
(2) Set a few key goals for yourself – goals that are personally
meaningful to you. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many. And
while setting a general timeframe is good, don’t box yourself
into the “Must lose 20 pounds by X date” mentality.
(3) Make a plan, make a schedule for how you are going to
weave your health and fitness practices – including exercising;
breathing and energy exercises; meditation or prayer; taking
time to prepare and enjoy healthy meals; getting enough sleep,
etc. – into the fabric of your daily life. In other words, keep
a good routine.
(4) Hold yourself accountable. Keep track of how you’re doing.
BUT – see yourself with kind eyes. Don’t get too down on
yourself if you miss a workout, or eat crappy for a few days.
Picture your own inner “Mrs. Olson” giving you a little pat on
the back and saying, “You can do it!”
(5) Have fun! Enjoy what you’re doing. Enjoy the process. Just
as Miguel has been blessed with a love of reading and a love
for learning, you too should learn to embrace the process and
embrace this healthy lifestyle…And realize that this process
has merit in and of itself.
Here’s the deal: For most of us, the most difficult part is
Because, if you’re doing it right – and not falling victim to
some crash diet or weight loss gimmick – it will take a little
time before you see results.
Don’t get discouraged by slow results, or seeming lack of
progress up front. It’s been my experience that you will start
to FEEL better before you actually LOOK better in the mirror, or
on the scale.
To keep yourself motivated, consider this:
Weight lost quickly will just as quickly reappear. A sudden,
drastic decrease in calories will set off alarm bells in
your body and brain.
On the other hand, slow and steady weight loss ensures you are
losing fat, not lean mass, as well as bypassing your body’s
natural urge to compensate and cause you to pig out.
Also – fitness gains achieved quickly based on some crash course
in exercising can also disappear quickly – usually because you
are unable to sustain the effort or the time investment
On the other hand, slow and steady increase wins the race,
because, over time, you are building a foundation of aerobic
capacity and strength.
Positive expectations…slow and steady….good routine….
continual improvement, bit by bit….having some fun along
Not only a recipe for third grade. A recipe for life!
You Can Do It!
“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
P.S. A good exercise routine can literally rocket launch you to
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Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014