Make a Difference Like No One is Watching

cheysncheer

Over the past year in my newer role as a cheer mom, I have noticed the increasingly growing obsession with cheerlebrities and the cheer spotlight. Looking back, I remember being a kid and having a favorite athlete or taping posters of various pop stars to my wall. I even wrote one of my favorite gymnasts for an autographed photo and I saw her in person at a competition, from far away in the stands. Pretty typical for a child athlete. Now with social media life has become an open book of sorts, and what once use to be admiring someone from a safe distance, has now turned into a scary up close and very personal obsession. Between facebook, instagram, twitter, and other apps you can virtually follow any cheerlebrity’s every move, climb into their bedroom window, walk into their unlocked back door, all metaphorically speaking of course. Cheerleaders everywhere are basing what shoes they buy, how big their bow is, and what they are going to eat for dinner on what their ‘idol’ is tweeting/posting out at the moment. Their chosen cheerlebrities goals, likes, and interests are now their goals, likes, and interests. What happened to individuality? What happen to their own personal goals? What happened to a healthy admiration of role models?

This brings me to my daughter, Cheyenne, and how she is so oddly unaffected by the cheer craze going on around her. She doesn’t care about the latest fad, what brand her cheer shoes are, or who is going to World’s this year. I had very little influence in choosing the cheer team she tried out for. She tried several programs and chose the best fit for her. It’s not a famous gym, nor a flashy one either, with dated uniforms, in-house mixed music, and staff choreographed routines. She feels at home there and likes the other kids and coaches. She has small goals and big goals both, all fueled by self-motivation and desire, not because she wants to be the next so-and-so.

cheycathscheydoghs

Cheyenne spends a lot of hours giving back to the community and has a compassionate heart. When asked to cheer on the Special Needs team (in addition to her regular Youth team) because they were short enough members, she stepped up to the plate without hesitation. Even though we may struggle at times to put food on our own table, we spend every holiday season donating and serving food at Miracle Meal- a community Christmas dinner for the homeless and poverty stricken in our area. She is gracious for the opportunity to give back to others and takes this serving task very seriously.cheyabbyspledge Our city has a widespread bullying problem and to help combat this she took a wonderful program designed by another cheerleader called Abby’s Pledge all over the city educating others on bullying awareness and available resources. Cheyenne’s biggest interest is in animals and she aspires to open her own animal rescue someday. She spends many hours working with animals at our local animal rescue and has even rehabilitated animals who had issues with children into being comfortable around children again and able to be adopted to families with children. Her birthday each year is spent working hard at the annual ride-a-thon fundraiser at the equestrian therapy program, where she attends therapy once per week for her medical conditions.  She does all of these things because she loves to help others and feels compelled to share kindness everywhere she goes. She doesn’t do it to get ‘noticed’, or because there is a PR agent pushing her to do so, or a lavish trip and appearance involved, or a big endorsement check tied to it at the end of the day. Her only ‘payment’ is the smiles of others, some wet sloppy doggie kisses, and maybe a few horsey nibbles at her shoulder.

So who does Cheyenne look up to? I asked her that exact question. Her answer: She looks up to one of her teammates, Makayla, who is always looking out for everyone on her team and works very hard. She looks up to her coaches because not only do they coach her, but they also stay active cheering on their own team. Her instructors at equestrian therapy because they take good care of the horses all day and they are patient and kind to everyone. The volunteers at the humane society because they work hard to help save the animals and get them homes of their own.

cheyept1All of these people are regular, every day people, just like she is. While they may not be famous, a big name in the cheer world, or gracing this month’s issue of a high profile magazine; They are out there doing good in the world and their hearts shine brighter than any spotlight.

Take time to remember the important aspects of cheerleading and life in general. It isn’t about promoting a product, getting glammed up for a cheer magazine photo-shoot, or signing autographs at World’s. It’s about the kids who are out there in their community representing themselves, their teams and gyms, and their peers in a positive light without the camera’s following their every move.
It’s about making a difference when no one else is watching.

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Life in the Fat Suit: Healthcare Discrimination

I graduated high school a small fry weighing in at a mere 103 lbs. It wasn’t good genes, but a life of gymnastics and lack of eating that gave me my trim muscular figure. Then of course I did what many women do- got married and had children. My body suffered a very traumatic pregnancy with extreme complications the first time around with twins and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and then again the second time around with toxemia, placenta previa, and intense hemorrhaging. I was then plagued with multiple chronic health conditions and sentenced to a life of lethal prescription steroids. I lost my hair (which grew back), but more importantly I lost myself and the life that I knew. I could no longer do the things I enjoyed and I found myself living in an unfamiliar body shape that I call ‘the fat suit’. Once I donned the fat suit, life as I once knew it was over.

Previously being a thin woman, I never realized the amount of discrimination that overweight people deal with on a day to day basis. I never realized the eyes that are constantly upon you; judging you. It may surprise you, but many of us didn’t get fat by sitting on our butts all day sucking the creme filling out of Twinkies while watching Oprah Winfrey. Many of us eat well balanced meals and painfully walk with our families in the evening for ‘dessert’. Many of us are victims of disease. In the main stream of things, it doesn’t matter how we got to be in this predicament of stretch marks, muffin tops, and thunder thighs though; we are all people that should be treated the same as our waif-like peers.

It’s no secret that fat people get a pretty raw deal. Aside from things like diabetes and heart attacks, they have to put up with the rest of us covertly filming them in Walmart and uploading the “hilarious” results to YouTube. However, anti-fat discrimination goes way beyond gentle mocking and into some dark, frightening territory.

I’m going to be a bit cathartic here and share my frustrations with overweight people trying to get appropriate healthcare.

Most doctors want to help people. That’s why they become doctors instead of, say, dictators—to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Unless, that is, their patient happens to be fat.

drfat2Earlier this year, two separate studies revealed that medical students show a strong subconscious bias against fat people. According to the researchers, fat patients are less likely to be treated with respect, more likely to be the butt of jokes and, perhaps understandably, more likely to switch their primary care provider than skinny people.  When questioned about this flagrant violation of the Hippocratic oath, 54% of doctors said they were totally cool with denying fat people treatment—meaning they haven’t even got the excuse of their hatred being “subconscious.”

Authors, Rebecca Puhl and Chelsea Heuer, cite numerous surveys of anti-fat attitudes among health care workers, who tend to see obese patients as ugly, lazy, weak-willed, and lacking in motivation to improve their health. Doctors describe treating fatties as a waste of time, and the staff at teaching hospitals appear to single them out for derogatory jokes. Unsurprisingly, many obese people avoid seeing their primary care providers altogether, and those who do are less likely to be screened for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. (That’s true even among those with health insurance and college degrees.) ~From slate.com

I HATE going to the doctor. I have to be laying on my death bed to even consider dragging myself there, and even that is a gamble. It’s always the same. Walk in, get weighed, then the nurse takes your vitals while huffing and puffing about the fat person bp cuff she has to use because your arm is too fat for the normal one. Then the doctor comes in and listens to your symptoms, all the while rolling his/her eyes in their head, and seemingly blames everything on your fatness and sends you out the door. Not for one moment are you taken the least bit seriously or treated with a smidgen of decency. That is just the family doctor; even worse is the OB/GYN. The last thing I want is some man or woman being all rough up in my vagina because they lack any interest in my health or well-being simply because I’m on the hefty side.

From the NY times blog article ‘Overweight Patients Face Bias’
David L. Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin University Prevention Research Center, says that overweight patients often complain to him that doctors appear judgmental about their weight, at the expense of other health concerns.

“You come in with a headache, and the doctors say, ‘You really need to lose weight.’ You have a sore throat, and the doctor says, ‘You really need to lose weight,’ ” he said. “These patients feel like the doctor doesn’t help them and they insult them, and so they stop going.”

In dealing with patients who are overweight, Dr. Katz added, doctors often show the same biases and prejudices as the culture at large. The problem may be compounded by the fact that doctors are trained to deal with immediate medical problems that have specific solutions, like a pill to lower blood pressure or emergency treatment for a heart attack. But obesity is a far more complex problem that isn’t easy to solve, and that can be frustrating to doctors.

“When we can’t fix what is broken we tend to behave badly,” he said.

Dr. Katz said his grandmother, who was obese, was so tired of physicians’ negative comments about her weight that she stopped going to the doctor altogether, even when she developed a breast tumor. When she finally sought treatment, she had advanced-stage breast cancer and died in her 50s.

“Every time she went to the doctor for any reason, they wagged a finger at her and talked about her weight,” Dr. Katz said. “We need to understand that the stakes are very high.”

The solution, he said, is better training so that medical students and doctors understand the complex nature of obesity as well as their own (perhaps subconscious) biases. Yale, for one, offers a continuing education program for doctors on compassionate and effective lifestyle counseling for patients.

“I think a lot of them are compassionate and don’t realize this is going on,” Dr. Katz said. “The antipathy for obesity is really rooted in our culture. We should expect better from doctors and train them better.”

^Stories like this, a grandmother dying from advanced stage breast cancer in her 50’s due to overweight discrimination, are a dime a dozen.drfat

So the lesson here is; don’t put off your own health and well-being because of your weight. Get the preventative care you need and deserve. Check with your friends and get referrals for doctors who will be compassionate in treating you for all of your medical conditions. There are doctors out there who uphold their code of conduct and treat their patients with dignity and respect. YOU are worth it. Get your health in line before it’s too late.

2014: Goals to Cheer About

Ok, so it’s here, it’s January 1st. We are magically filled with motivation and longing a new beginning. The fireworks are going off,happyny5 we exchange sloppy smooches with our nearest and dearest over a near empty bottle of wine, and suddenly all this amazing stuff happens right?

Not really. January 1st is just any other day, but it’s how you choose to utilize it that matters. It holds all of this symbolism of profound change but really it’s not any different than the day before or the day after. As a matter of fact, much of the ‘magic’ of the New Year fades away within a few weeks with feelings of failure from cheesy resolutions not being followed or met.

How do you prevent this New Year’s slump? Take a different perspective by replacing your resolutions with GOALS instead.

In my previous post, 3 Cheers for the New Year, I talked about the importance of goal setting and proven successful methods to reach goals. The link to that post is here:

https://thecheermomdiaries.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/3-cheers-for-the-new-year/

The most important part of being successful in reaching your goals is planning and breaking down your goals into smaller short term goals. One of my favorite articles on this is ‘Turning Goals into Actions’ by Dr Charles R. Hall. This article is pretty lengthy, but well worth the time invested to get you off to a start to making little achievements each day to lead to fulfilling your ultimate goals.

“People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.” In a survey of 1,100 executives, more than 80 percent said they were dissatisfied with their career progress and level of effectiveness. Why? They lacked the planning skills to aim for and achieve reasonable, attainable goals.

Planning is central to the attainment of all goals. It’s true for short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, as well as those of either a personal or professional development nature. And, needless to say, an individual’s effectiveness at planning often has great impact on that individual’s effectiveness at achieving goals.

But despite the importance of planning, many managers shy away from it, believing it requires too much time. (And yet, somewhat ironically, these same managers are often the ones called upon to help create five-year plans for their companies!) Planning does take some time, but it needn’t be excessive if approached correctly. In fact, when done effectively, planning represents time well spent in that the “benefits” well exceed the “costs”.

happyny6What Planning Is and Isn’t

Perhaps some common misconceptions of what a plan is and what it does have caused many people to shy away from the planning process. First, planning is not deciding each step in detail in advance and then blindly following through. Nor is it taking a leisurely stroll through the mind in hopes of coming up with a loosely connected stream of thoughts.

Good planning lies somewhere in between these extremes. What’s more, a good plan should be looked on as a means for achieving goals, not as an end in itself. As Eisenhower once put it, “Plans are nothing, but planning is everything”. While it’s impossible to completely avoid crises and unexpected events either in business or in your personal life, you should still try to plan as much as you can. Good planning pays off by creating direction, excitement, and motivation. It also increases your ability to manage those around you.

Turning Goals Into Action

A key consideration in effective planning is learning how to transform goals into attainable steps (actions). Many businesspeople have trouble with this; consequently, many of their goals (especially long-term goals) may never get addressed adequately (or at all).

However, there is hope. By developing effective monthly, weekly and daily plans, businesspeople can more clearly see the attainable steps needed to fulfill their goals. And there are several approaches that can be used for this. One simple four-step method for converting goals into actions includes:

 

  1. Pinpoint intermediate “target” to hit.
  2. Decide on tangible measures to identify when each “target” has been reached.
  3. Create a plan to reach those tangible measures.
  4. Break the plan down into daily actions.

A similar way to transform goals into a workable plan of action is with “planning inventory.” First, list five major goals you’d like to achieve in your lifetime either regarding your business or personal life. Select the goal you’d like to achieve first. Next, identify the steps you must take to reach that goal, moving in chronological order. Finally, break down the first step into one-day tasks you can accomplish. Subsequent steps can be used to develop subsequent daily plans.

What you can realistically hope to attain each day is a matter for your own judgment. But you can make it easier by regularly referring to your planning inventory, and carefully assessing the tasks that go into the steps needed for achieving each goal. In a sense, these steps are interim targets, and they provide a good measure of your progress.

The Planning Process

The more often you plan, the better and more comprehensive those plans will become. As much as possible, try to integrate your short-term,, medium-term, and long-term goals. The following process, which details planning at all levels, can help bring all those goals together.

Step 1: Yearly planning. The best way to find time for important but easy-to-delay tasks is to include those chores in your annual “time budget”. Start by making a yearly plan that includes the long-range projects enough time so that you can make steady progress toward completing them. Then assign specific dates so you know when to work on these projects, what you will accomplish each time you work on them and how much time you’ll need. Mark those target dates in your calendar, and don’t break them! Keep the plan close at hand so you can easily check your rate of progress.

Step 2: Monthly planning. At the end of each month, take an hour to decide what you want to accomplish over the next month. Decide on plans for reaching those goals on a week-to-week basis. Include items from your list of long-range goals.

Step 3: Weekly planning. Every week, decide and list what tasks you want to accomplish; the priorities for each task; ant the time, effort and materials required to complete each task. Once a week (Friday is best), select the goals for the following week, and work up a plan for reaching those goals. Break the upcoming week’s goals down into lists of daily objectives, and detail these objectives on daily “to do” lists.

Step 4: Daily planning. Use the same procedure you used for weekly planning to sketch out each day. Start on the highest-priority task, working at it until you have finished it or can’t go any further. Then move on to the task with the next-highest priority. Be sure to leave 25-50 percent of you day unscheduled. Unexpected tasks or emergencies may arise that require you immediate attention. These types of top-priority tasks generally can’t be put off.

Planning Aids

Many types of planning aids are available to help keep you on course. In addition, they can often help you manage an abundance of other information. Examples include pocket planning books, electronic planners, computer programs, simple “to do” lists and wall charts.

 

Rather than going overboard and buying the whole nine yards, you should examine each of these options carefully. Then choose the one that best fits your needs. Some people are happy with traditional pocket diaries, while others swear by the new electronic time management gadgets. Businesspeople who spend much time in their offices often opt for time management programs they can use on their computers. In any event, pick a planner based on your needs, and if it doesn’t work, try something else.

Whatever method you choose to log tasks, make sure you maintain your list! Little is gained if you buy a fancy notebook, mark down all of the next month’s projects and then forget about everything three weeks later! As the days and weeks pass, add or subtract items according to your needs and available time.

Starting a “To Do” List

A “to do” list, whether kept in a notebook or an electronic planner, is the key component of any time management planning method. Get in the habit of writing down what you want to accomplish. The 5 or 10 minutes you spend making out this list will help you reap enormous time management and productivity benefits.

First, make up a list of all the tasks you need to complete in the next week. Then develop priorities for the tasks on this list. As needed, include notations of calls to make, people to see, letter and reports to write, deadlines, assignments and priorities.

Of course, the most important items on this list are the tasks that need to be done that day. Make sure these tasks receive that highest priority! Include the deadlines for those tasks, as well as the estimated time it will take to complete the work and notations of any special requirements (“write a summary memo,” “send by overnight courier,” etc.).

Write out the list first thing in the morning or at the end of the previous workday. The latter generally works better, because you can arrive at work knowing what needs to be done. It’s a great way to help reduce stress.

The list can be as detailed or simple, as creative or straightforward as you like, although a certain amount of detail helps avoid confusion later. If a list merely says “Make follow-up call,” with no further elaboration, you may wonder hours later who it is you’re suppose to call! Some list keepers even go so far as to write the phone numbers of the people they’re supposed to call, to save time on having to look up the numbers later.

Periodically, consult the week’s master list of things to do, and update it as needed to reflect any relevant changes, such as that pressing new project that’s just been handed to you. But keep in mind a word of caution: Don’t get caught in an “activity trap,” wherein you’re doing tasks just to keep busy. Schedule some time for some of the less-tangible tasks that are hard to define – improving your work, planning for the long-term, developing creative ideas – and may be easy to put off.

Organizing Priorities

 

The key to managing time is setting, starting and then finishing high-priority tasks. But how do you determine which tasks fall under that heading? The trick is to develop a ranking system:

A” tasks have a high level of importance. They must be completed right away or by day’s end.

B” tasks are of moderate importance. They should be done sometime, but not necessarily right away.

C” tasks are of low-level importance. It would be nice to finish them, but getting them done isn’t essential. They can often be skipped or delegated.

According to Pareto’s Principle, 80 percent of the value or benefits will come from 20 percent of the activities you do. That’s why it’s important to set priorities and tackle the vital projects first. When setting priorities, determine which activities have the greatest effect on profits or success, and place them first. Focus on results, not activities. Don’t become so involved in finishing tasks or “busy work” that you lose sight of the real priority – completing high-payoff tasks.

One of the benefits of keeping this type of list is the satisfaction of crossing off each of item. Remember, a simple check mark or line drawn through each item is better than marking it into oblivion; you may want to look back at the list to see what you’ve accomplished (this will help you improve your ability to estimate time requirements for future projects). But, perhaps most important, ending the day with a list that is pretty well crossed off provides a great lift – and a great sense of accomplishment.

Dr Charles R. Hall, Texas A & M University System, http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamental/economic-fact-sheets/turning-goals-into-actions/

3 Cheers for the New Year

happyny1

The end of the year is incredibly busy for any mom- cheer or not! We spend so much time and energy preparing food for Thanksgiving, then surviving shopping amongst the masses (many of which can be scary and rude), and BAM before we know it we are cleaning up wrapping paper and looking for leftover ham recipes.
At this point, we sit down for a moment after loading the dishwasher for the 3rd time that day and think- where did this year go? Then we ponder on a moment of reflection, and for the first time all year sit completely un-distracted and enjoy everything we have experienced in the last 365 days. What a rush!

Once our moment of year-long nostalgia is over, we feel the pressure to improve and thus we begin to brainstorm our New Year’s resolutions while scrubbing the unknown substance on the counter with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser. Should I go with the cliche’ lose some weight? Or Should I finally give up the soda pop that is over taking the blood in my veins? Should I give more to charity? Or Should I kick the Starbucks habit? Put more in the bank, or treat myself something I’ve always wanted? The possibilities are endless.

How exactly does one make a good New Year’s Resolution and make it stick?

In researching just that I found a wonderful article written by Sarah Mohoney of Good Housekeeping Magazine, featured on WEBMD.

My favorite paragraph is by far the very first. I think it describes so many of us so well lol!
“There’s an inevitable rhythm to January 1 at my house. I take down the tree, vacuum up pine needles, and start making my New Year’s resolutions. The list usually looks like this: Lose weight. Swear off TV and saturated fat. Eat salads. Call Dad more. Write that novel. Floss. By midday I’m worn out, intermittently dozing in front of a football game and swiping my husband’s million-calorie nachos.”

There are some great tips in the article and it’s one that I highly recommend.

http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/10-ways-to-make-your-new-years-resolutions-stick

happyny3On a related note, in developing these ideas for what society has labeled ‘New Year’s resolutions’, we are actually setting some very important GOALS of things we wish to improve in our lives. We all know the success rate of keeping a NY resolution isn’t that great…..so what if we take the popular label out of the picture? What if we think of these as GOALS instead? Instead of focusing on the specific date of January 1st being a starting point, what if we start today by setting some attainable GOALS in our lives? We watch our cheerleaders bust it out, day after day in the gym; hours of practice and dedication with amazing end results. Putting on my coach hat for a minute. Much of the success for these athletes is through motivation and dedication toward reaching a goal. As coaches, we help our athletes set individual goals and team goals throughout the year- short term and long term. It’s imperative to have something to be working toward achieving at all times, otherwise the fire burns out without that fuel to keep it alive.

How can cheer moms/dads apply that same principle to their lives?

I recommend the SMART method.

Goals should be:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.
You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker. – See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm#sthash.qRoJEU75.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm#sthash.qRoJEU75.dpuf

So as we prepare to ring in a New Year, keep in mind to set some new goals for yourself and your family. Make it fun and celebrate when a goal is reached.

3 Cheers to being successful in 2014!

happyny2

et Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm#sthash.qRoJEU75.dpuf

et Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm#sthash.qRoJEU75.dpuf

Cheer Moms Get Fit

September is a month of awareness for many causes, but one in particular scares me as it is entirely preventable and successfully treatable- Childhood Obesity.

“More than 23 million children and teenagers in the U.S. are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic. While obesity rates have soared among all age groups in this country, obesity is a particularly grave concern for children.

Childhood obesity puts nearly one third of America’s children at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke – conditions usually associated with adulthood.” (Healthy Kids Brighter Futures.org, 2012)

23 million. Let that sink in your head. Say it out loud. Accept it. Own it. 23 MILLION.

As a parent, it is our role to educate and guide our children on making proper food choices and encouraging physical activity and exercise. There are many tools and resources out there to help us, but is that enough? Who is our young child’s hero, their role model? For many of us, it is us- their parents. How many times has your child said “I want to be just like you mom/dad”?

According to the American Heart Association, 154.7 MILLION adults over the age of 20 are obese. In order for our children to change, WE as parents, the guiding force, need to change.

For most of my life I was very physically fit; I coached cheerleading and gymnastics for over fifteen years. I even worked as a fitness trainer at a local Y for many years. I was the epitome of a health nut in every sense of the title, from what I ate to my obsessive exercise routines. In 2008 my world was turned upside down as I became very ill, nearly bed-ridden, for several months. I had to go on Prednisone, a type of steroid with unforgiving side effects. I gained a significant amount of weight from this, and the illness itself, and found myself on the other side of the fence. Once I got my condition under control, I went on a strict exercise and nutrition plan of my own and lost 75lbs, only to get violently ill yet again a year later and put it all back on from the harsh medications and effects of the disease. Now I find myself in a heavy spot once again, and even though my weight is a result of a condition not in my control, I still worry of the example this extra weight sets for my young daughter. I will admit, there are plenty of days where I eat unhealthy because I think to myself “well, now that I’m fat again I may as well enjoy it.” Again, another dangerous attitude to have and another awful example to set for my daughter and other children who may be watching (and we all know how closely they watch and take in everything adults do).

So, it is time once again for me to take charge of my health and my life and I want to help others do the same. After much thought, I decided I could create a group on facebook with other Cheer Moms like myself striving to reach similar goals. Whether it is to lose a little weight, a lot of weight, or just maintain a healthy body- we could all work together to support each other and provide helpful tips along the way. I will create mini-challenges, nutrition and fitness based, to help us stay on track and be accountable. By taking action to lead a healthy lifestyle, we will be encouraging our children and families to do the same and instill these important values in them.

The next step is to find other Cheer Moms who are interested in leading a healthy lifestyle 🙂
If you are interested in joining this group, please send a request to the link below:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/511441968936929/

“Just as we all own the problem of childhood obesity, we must all be part of the solution. Healthy lifestyles—being physically active, eating sensibly and avoiding tobacco use—involves the elements of our everyday lives. So does promoting those healthy lifestyles in our communities. Wherever you are—schools, workplaces, stores, homes, anywhere—you can look for ways to tell others about maintaining individual health and making it easier for everyone to prevent and address childhood obesity. That’s the spirit of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. It’s all of us, working together and individually in whatever ways we can.” (Healthy Kids Brighter Futures.org, 2012)

Some of the Best Memories are Made in Flip Flops

Where oh where did the summer go?

It feels like school just let out and now the isles of the stores are bulging with rulers, paper, back packs, and Elmer’s Glue sticks.

Here in bipolar (weather) Ohio, our summer started off very wet; it rained for nearly a month straight. The healthy green grass and muddy paths were a big change from the dry summer of last year. Mother Nature followed up with a decent roasting in July, and then it appeared fall came early, when in August many of us found ourselves walking by the thermostat contemplating if we should really be thinking about kicking on the furnace in what was suppose to be the hottest month of the year. Fast forward to today, nearing the end of August, and from the predicted forecast it appears as soon as the yellow buses start their routes we will be putting our jackets away for shorts again. As Jeff Foxworthy says “If you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again,……..you may live in Ohio. ” Gotta love Buckeye country!

As the summer sun begins to slip away, I took some time to reflect on our journey these short 12 weeks and cherish the memories we made.

We started off the summer with team cheerleading and unfortunately a hurt back. This led to several weeks of Physical Therapy and a lot of rest.
While her back was healing, we took the opportunity to spend time with friends and family.

We went to Yamato’s and tried Japanese food for the first time with Aunt Ellie.6671_10151625480654326_807861884_n

We went kite flying and four-wheeling with cousins.935717_549742521561_1204685971_n

We shared Abby’s Pledge with our cheer gym and our community. Cheyenne was very excited to meet some of our leaders that make Wapak a great place to live.

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Thanks to her wonderful therapists and doctors, Cheyenne was back on the big bouncy mat in time for Cheer Camp, with some restrictions.

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We celebrated Neil Armstrong’s First Step on the Moon at the annual Summer Moon Festival, and splashed down some slides at our local Wapak Waterpark.

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Last, but not least, Cheyenne participated in her first equestrian competition through the equestrian therapy program, placing 5th in a strong field of competitors. She also enjoyed volunteering her time grooming horses prior to the show.

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That was our summer in a nutshell. The time may have went quickly, but we made every minute count. It’s hard to believe that school starts in two days! We embrace everything this new school year will bring and where the next journey takes us 🙂

Interview with Abby Part 2

“I pledge to speak up when I see bullying and harassment.
I will notice and take action. I can make a difference.”

If you missed part 1, see the link below;

www.cheerparentscentral.com/take-a-pledge-make-a-difference-part-1

On August 3rd, 2013 Abby Belcher, founder of Abby’s Pledge, made the 1300 mile trip to Washington D.C. in pursuit of presenting her pledge to our government and taking an active stance in the fight to stop bullying. As an active supporter of this vital cause, I was anxious to hear everything about this significant step in her remarkable journey.

How was your trip? How is D.C. different from Texas?1003902_624887300879124_958730392_n

“I had a wonderful time in DC. The people were so nice and I saw many different cultures there. It’s pretty diverse there. Texas isn’t as diverse, and is more spread out and more people use cars here. In D.C., there are so many people that walk or bike in the city, and it’s probably a very healthy city. I really liked walking around the big city and there was a really tasty ice cream shop that I went into near the end of the trip.”

Tell us about the March on Washington. Did people stop you and ask what you were doing? Did anyone join you while you were walking?

“No one joined me while I was walking, but people did stop me and asked me what I was doing. Some people wanted to get pictures with me, and some people shared their own story of bullying. On the walk I was thinking about my speech, and also thinking about all the kids that had been bullied or committed suicide because of bullying. I was remembering them all.”

VIDEO: A speech Abby Belcher gave after completing her Walk on Washington where she stood at the same spot MLK Jr did when he gave his famouse I have a dream speech. Here Abby shares her dream about anti-bullying and abuse.

What was your best experience while at D.C.?

“Having the congressmen hear about kids bullying problems and offering solutions and suggestions to them in hopes that they will fulfill their Abby’s Pledge ‘take action’ part. I felt like they actually listened to me and it was nice when they took an interest and said that they would do something. It felt really good to know that congress might finally start to take the lives and safety of kids seriously. Also, talking and hearing from people and their bullying stories. There are so many that have been bullied. Some of these stories were just very sad, but others had stories where they had overcome bullying. Some people were the bullies and they explained why they bullied, so that was very eye opening. The people were so warm and welcoming there. Overall, I had a GREAT time in Washington, I made some good memories and learned a LOT about DC-especially from a very talkative cab driver that was like a tour guide. He was just so funny!”

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VIDEO: Congressmen McGoverns and Congressmen Davis take Abby’s Pledge

What is next for Abby’s Pledge?

“Currently I am working on marketing materials and fundraising. I am really, really hoping to have the 1st annual Abby’s Pledge Children’s and Teens Masquerade ball to help benefit children and organizations who focus on child abuse prevention and bullying. I am also rallying for support from major organizations who also have the same goal in mind that I do, so that is pretty special too. There are some AMAZING volunteers who all want to help see Abby’s Pledge succeed in sharing my message of strength and hope and I can’t wait to meet them in person. I am also getting my calendar set for this school year so I can take my message to schools about the pledge and give them the opportunity to take the pledge. It’s going to be a very busy fourth quarter.”

Can you put into words what this trip meant to you?733744_625160380851816_1514535423_n

“It IS hard to put into words but the sense of meeting a goal and accomplishment was really important to me. I had said a long time ago that this was something that I wanted to do to remember those who had been bullied and abused, and those who had committed suicide because of bullying, and this was my personal journey to do that. Whether I walked alone, or with 2 other people, or with hundreds or thousands, my goal was to remember those and to make a statement to Washington that those kids were not going to be forgotten, even though Washington had forgotten them because of their lack of limited laws protecting kids. I also wanted to have the lawmakers take my pledge as a promise that they would actually DO SOMETHING and look into passing new laws to help stop the serious problem of bullying.”

What does it mean to you to be an advocate for child’s rights?

“I didn’t really come into this saying ‘ok I’m going to be a child advocate’. Really it all just started because I wanted to take a stand for my sister and as a way to help protect her. But then, more and more kids started talking about bullying, kids that hadn’t said anything to anyone because they were afraid that grown-ups weren’t going to do anything or listen to them. So then I said ‘well maybe I can help be their voice too’, and that’s what I became, a voice for other kids who really wanted and needed to be heard.”

Closing thoughts

“Being an advocate isn’t easy. There are many long hours that go into it and many different personalities that you have to work with. Not everyone is going to like you or your message, but you have to think about how many people that your message can reach. My mentor, Ms. Kimberly Archie has been an amazing person that I look up to and I learn a lot by watching her fight for other people’s rights. I have several people that support my mission and that I call mentors because they help me learn and grow. I value their friendship and I know that without their help and God’s, I could not succeed and do what I feel I am supposed to do in my life right now, so I am very thankful to them. I have learned that in order to be successful there is lots of travel and meeting with different groups in order to gather support and share your story, but I am soooo grateful to be able to do this. Each person has a place in life and can bring something good to combat bullying, whether that’s through lobbying for new laws or doing something like my pledge. There are so many people out there doing well, and we can ALL work together for a common goal to help the kids of America. I’m learning that in business, you may not always get along with each other, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t work together for the greater good of the cause. I learned that in school but this summer it’s been reinforced.

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My parents both help me with lots of things, as well as my mentors. I can’t do this all myself. I write my own speeches and I have my own thoughts. My parents and I are very close and when I need help with something or their opinion I ask them. Every morning I sit with my mom and we talk about the day ahead, or things that are on my mind, and I share with her what I want to post on FB or I ask her for her opinion. My parents are always encouraging me to do what I think is right and also they say if it’s not right I will just learn from it. I am Abby’s Pledge and all my thoughts are my own and I have a voice and I use my voice, but I am also a child who still needs her mom, dad and mentors for support, so I can keep learning and growing.”

While Abby made her impact in D.C., teams and individuals from across the nation were showing their support from their home gyms. Gyms introduced Abby’s Pledge to their programs as a part of Open Houses, Pledge Parties, and even during practices. Get your gym and community involved; Take the Pledge today!

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For more information on how you can take the pledge and take action to stop bullying and harassment visit;431813_469820306428670_1215799775_n

www.abbyspledge.org

www.facebook.com/AbbysPledge

For scholarship information visit;

www.abbyspledge.org/scholarship.html

The article you have just read I wrote for Cheer Parents Central.
CPC is taking an active role in the anti-bullying cause and supporting Abby’s Pledge. We have a great group of parents and industry leaders helping support this cause.

CPC main site
www.cheerparentscentral.com

CPC fb page
https://www.facebook.com/CPCBLOG

CPC Parents against Bullying
https://www.facebook.com/groups/461116610642227/

Abby’s Pledge
www.abbyspledge.org

Abby’s Pledge fb
https://www.facebook.com/AbbysPledge

Leslie P.
Leslie@cpc-blog.com