Grief, Healing and Meta-Medicine


Spring may be all about new beginnings, but as the trees began budding, and the first brave wildflowers of an early spring bloomed, on that last hot March day, I was faced with an ending.

grief and healing

Louis 2011

My beloved French bulldog, Louis, suddenly succumbed to a large ruptured tumor we didn’t even know he had. One minute he was his normal demanding self, and the next… And even though the loss of an aging loved one is never totally unexpected, it is painful all the same, regardless of the physical form they take in life.

To say this sudden turn of events threw me for a loop would be an understatement.

I felt like I was in shock. My mind didn’t have any time to process the vet’s words before having to make the painful decision to end his suffering. It was the one final act of unselfish love I could do for him. Actually, it was more like the entire experience was happening to me and through me, as if I were caught in some cosmic play, rather than something I had any control over. My husband was literally in the air flying home from Arizona as this was unfolding. Lou and I waited until he got home, and then together my husband and I said goodbye to our companion of 12 years.

For the first few days after losing Lou my brain felt numb. When I tried to make any decision at all it felt like I was putting my foot on the gas of a car in neutral. Nothing would happen except the resistant pressure of an unresponding brain.

One big mistake I made was to fall into a familiar pattern of asking for inner guidance and then not following it. I knew I had to give myself space to process my feelings and wrap my brain around the unfolding of events. It was clear that I needed to take the next two days off from work to come out of shock and give myself time to grieve and heal.

Unfortunately, in my lack of ability to truly think clearly I let myself listen to my husband’s suggestion to go to work instead of staying home moping. That was the worst decision I could have made. I added to my dis-stress by not honoring my needs or listening to my clear inner guidance.

The Disease Process and Meta-medicine

One thought and concern I had during this time was that this stressful event was for me a UDIN moment.

According to the theory of meta-medicine (which has its roots in German New Medicine), a UDIN moment is a stress event that is unexpected, dramatic and isolating. You have no strategy or control over it.

I confess to having limited understanding of meta-medicine, but to the best of my understanding, here are the basics.

At first, these shocks (or UDIN moments) are picked up by the heart. This can change how we interact with other people and things in our world.

Shock also affects the body and brain. When a UDIN moment happens, it literally gets trapped inside an energy ball. This ball gets trapped in a specific location within the brain and the accompanying emotion lodges in a corresponding organ.

Practically every disease is caused by this type of emotional stressful event. Chronic disease is a process caused by repeated stress followed by rest. The slightest reminder triggers it again and again unless and until you do something to heal it.

During the stress phase, your body is trying to solve the problem. In this ‘cold’ phase, you may experience high blood pressure, constipation, insomnia, feeling cold and weight loss.

The rest phase is accompanied by a healing crisis. Don’t rush to circumvent this phase or suppress your symptoms (of course, if you need medical attention, do get it) During the rest phase you may feel very tired or experience headaches, cramps, diarrhea or fever. Your body warms up and repairs.

This happened to me after the long illness and death of my dog Duke. During those months I was stressed out and exhausted. A week after he died I got ‘the flu’.

As odd as it sounds, a heart attack can also occur in the rest phase.

Grieving and Healing

Somehow through the blur of brain fog and grief, I had the presence of mind to consider the impact of what I was experiencing on my long-term health and well-being.

On Friday I did stay home and by Monday was in a much better space. During this time, and the week that followed, I had to give myself permission to let go of ‘shoulds’. I limited my responsibilities to the essentials and what I felt up to. It was an exercise in listening to my mind and body and honoring them.

Another choice I made was not to fall into another old pattern of isolating myself emotionally. I chose to share my emotional vulnerability and get support from others. I found a way to cope by choosing to accept that although Lou was gone in physical form, he was still with me in spirit and energetic essence. I allowed the waves of emotion to move through me instead of judging them and trying to stop them. I breathed deeply, checked in with my heart often, and did a little tapping.

The bottom line was that I could not control what happened to Lou, but I could influence my response and my experience of it. While continuing to honor those moments of missing him and the tears that still flow, I chose to forego another old pattern of letting my life revolve around my loss. I would not want that for my loved ones and I know they would not want that for me. I choose to face loss as all the more reason to make something of the time I have left here and to make my life matter.

I believe these pattern shifts and choices made it possible for me to avoid falling prey to the potential damage of a UDIN moment. Instead of letting this experience close my heart, as my past patterns would have dictated, I allowed it to bring healing on some level and open my heart more. And in that is healing.

Goal Setting: A Positive Start to the New Year


The new year is a time of new beginnings. It is the time to let the past go and look forward to a fresh start. It is also the time when many people make resolutions to change their lives, especially their health, for the better. A resolution is usually a declaration of change, followed by a flurry of activity that soon fizzles. Between start and finish, there is little joy and dogged determination. Even though I like the idea of New Year’s resolutions, there has to be a better way to go about them.

A few weeks ago I received an email that provided one of those stepping stones. I thought, “What a wonderful way to bring closure to last year, and get this year off to a good start!” This email contained questions that encouraged the positive exploration of highlights and challenges of last year, as well as goals questions for this year.

I felt so inspired by those questions that I decided to modify and expand them into a video exercise for you. This exercise focuses on personal well-being, but can be used for any goals you have. I hope the questions and the exercise inspire you to celebrate and learn from your successes and your challenges, and to turn your attention to the future with positive energy and a plan for success.

The video is 10:30 minutes. You will need at least 30 minutes to complete the exercise. Take your time. You’ll be glad you did. Ready? Grab a pen or pencil and some paper and let’s begin…

I would love to hear your answers to some of the questions. What were your highlights from last year? What strengths and habits can you capitalize on this year? What two or three action steps will you commit to this week? How was this experience for you?

Request your complimentary Coaching Consult and to learn more about creating Wellness by Design with Val.

(special thanks to Christian Mickelsen for sending that email)

Wellness Challenge#10 – Alleviate Overwhelm


This wellness challenge is about reducing or alleviating feelings of overwhelm in one or more areas of your life.

You can meet this challenge in one of two ways: either scale back what you are asking of yourself or expand your capacity to handle the situation. Either solution will help you reduce the stress of the situation so you can get unstuck and back in the flow.

If you already know what needs to happen for you to meet this challenge, then go for it.

If not, you may want to give the following energy flow technique a try. This meditative method helps you access your subconscious mind body connection through your intuition and heart intelligence.

Here are the steps:

1.Take a few deep breaths and invite your body and mind to relax. Drop you attention out of your ‘monkey mind’ and into your body. You might find it helpful to put your attention on your heart or abdomen. Focus on your breath.

2. When you feel relaxed, ask yourself which one area is causing you the most stress or overwhelm. Accept the answer in whatever form it comes. What specifically about this is overwhelming?

3. Notice the feelings in your body that manifest with these questions. Honor those feelings by gently and lovingly giving them your focused attention for 30 seconds or so.

4. Ask what one thing you need to do to feel better. You may be surprised at what you get for an answer. It may be something amazingly simple like drinking more water. Do not fear the answer. You always have the choice of following through or not. If your answer is something you can do right away, then do it.

5. Finish the exercise by thanking your mind, body and spirit for sharing this information.

Do this exercise as often as you like. There are many different questions you could ask. Imagine what your days would be like if you took a few minutes each morning to check in with your inner wisdom and asked, “How am I feeling today?” What do I need to feel better?”

Sometimes, there are things we decide we have to deal with, even though we feel overwhelmed and stressed out by them. If that is true for you, it is even more important than usual to make self-care of your mind and body a top priority. Find ways to reduce stress in other areas of your life.

At times like these a high level of self-care may seem ‘frivolous’. This is not the case. Taking care of yourself first will help you expand your capacity to cope with greater ease while preserving your health and well-being. As they say at the airlines, put your oxygen mask on first.

Now it is your turn to share: How are you feeling overwhelmed? What can you do for yourself to alleviate those feelings and get back in the flow? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Credit: I learned this heart intelligence method from a Christian Pankhurst video. This is my interpretation of it which I adapted for overwhelm.

Wellness Challenge #9 – Zap Household Obesogens


This week your goal is to reduce your exposure to environmental obesogens. Again, for those of us living in the modern world, eliminating these endocrine-disrupting chemicals from our lives entirely is pretty much impossible. However, there is much you can do to limit your exposure, especially around your home.

Here is the list:

  • Pesticides and chemicals in your soil and water supply - These are chemicals that are sprayed on crops that have leached into your water supply.  I was a unhappy to learn that the old farm land we live on still has DDT in the soil from over 40 years ago. I was even more unhappy to learn that the main obesogen in US tap water is atrazine. This herbicide is banned in Europe because it can cause birth defects and menstrual problems. It inhibits metabolism of your thyroid hormones.

    The fix: Buy organic or local produce when possible. Use a granular activated carbon filter to remove atrazine and other chemicals from your tap water.

  • Non-stick pots and pans - These utensils may make cooking and cleanup a breeze, but there is a price to pay. Unless you are very careful when using them, you will damage them and cause them to release chemicals. If you notice a nasty smell or the pan smokes you can be sure it is releasing thyroid disrupting perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) into your food and air.

    The fix: If you use non-stick cooking utensils, cook only on medium or low heat. If you smell chemicals, or the pan ever smokes or gets scratched, it is damaged, throw it out. Manufacturers are now making safe non-stick pans. Look for non-stick pans labeled ‘PFOA free’ or ‘Green’.

  • Products that contain phthalates – This plastic softener is found in many products including shrink wrap, vinyl shower curtains, floors, and vinyl dashboards and car seats. It is in fragrance products, air fresheners and dryer sheets. Because phthalates may lower testosterone and metabolism you can lose muscle and gain fat. Many of these products out gas a variety of health-damaging chemicals, especially when new.

    The fix: Find natural alternatives or do without. For example: Use a cloth shower curtain. They wash well and last for years. Scent only with essential oils. If you get something with new vinyl, let it air out for at least a few days so the worst of it will out gas where you aren’t breathing it in.Next time we will look at a few non-chemical endocrine disruptors that can cause you to pile on the pounds while compromising your health.

In the meantime, take control and say no to chemical obesogens. Vote with your wallets and manufacturers will listen.

Share how you are avoiding these chemicals in the comments below.

Wellness Challenge #8 – Zap Obesogens


In past challenges we have talked quite a bit about the link between toxic chemicals and major diseases.  But what do they have to do with fat?

Many of these chemicals can alter your genes and cause you to create more fat cells. Fat cells serve as a storage location for toxic chemicals in the body.

These chemicals have been dubbed ‘obesogens’ because they are believed to reprogram metabolism, disrupt hormones, and promote the development of  fat cells. If you seem to be ‘doing everything right’ and still can’t lose those stubborn pounds, this may be the reason why.

These chemicals number in the hundreds of thousands and they are everywhere.  They are in most plastics, foods, water, cleaning supplies, personal products, even in the  air.  Avoiding them isn’t possible, but there is a lot you can do to reduce your exposure.

Even if you do not want to lose weight, you would be wise to limit these offenders in your food and in your environment.

Your challenge for this week is to reduce or eliminate at least one of the following obesogens from your food supply.

  • Plastic beverage containers – milk jugs, juice bottles, water bottles. Look for containers that say Bisphenol or BPA free. Number 3 and 7 plastics most likely contain BPA. These containers are okay for dry good storage (flour, cereal, etc.), but not liquids.
  • Plastic wrap – if you buy meat at the deli ask for it to be wrapped in paper.
  • Lined food cans – especially when the food is acidic like tomatoes. Choose glass containers instead.
  • Microwave popcorn – the bags are lined and usually contain plastic softeners. To make matters worse, the oil is often rancid.

While eliminating microwave popcorn may be relatively easy, the other items on the list may be more challenging. Just do your best. Every little bit helps.

Watch for the next issue when we will target obesogens lurking around your home.

Do you accept the challenge?  If so, tell us your plan in the comments below.



 



Wellness Challenge #7 – Zap Tolerations


What are you tolerating?

If you are feeling a low level of chronic stress, you may want to look at what the late Coach Thomas Leonard dubbed ‘tolerations’.

The idea is that anything you don’t like, annoys you, or that drains your energy is a toleration worth zapping. It could be something as small as a burned out light bulb nobody has bothered to replace, or as major as an abusive spouse.

If your environment is too full of energy draining tolerations, you will find that you almost feel paralyzed. You may feel unable to move forward with your dreams and goals, and sometimes even just tasks of everyday living. You may find yourself just living, but not feeling alive.

Tolerations are personal. What you find draining may be energizing and positive for someone else.

If you choose not to eliminate a toleration, but instead come to a state of acceptance about it, it is no longer considered a toleration. For example, you may have a long commute to work and decide it isn’t feasible to change jobs or move. So instead, you decide to make your commute a time to enjoy audio books or quiet time instead of crabbing.

What I’ve noticed though, is that even when I finally decide to eliminate tolerations I thought I accepted, I feel a great sense of relief.

Thomas Leonard created a master list of 1001 things to stop tolerating. I copied 10 of those tolerations to share with you here so you get an idea of what a toleration is. Keep in mind though, that a toleration can be anything – whether it’s on the list or not.

  • My desk is full of stacks of papers
  • My wallpaper is peeling in the bathroom
  • I am 15 pounds overweight.
  • I am tolerating my lack of creative outlet.
  • I am tolerating the inanity of television newscasts.
  • Mildew on the plastic shower curtain.
  • Having chin hairs like an old lady when I’m in my late 30′s.
  • Having gotten very good at acting patient and hating every minute of it.
  • Feeling like I don’t really have time to do pointless things that are just fun.
  • I have no reserve of income.
  • And… #11…Incompletions like broken promises and unfinished tasks.
Your challenge:

Your challenge is to zap three of your tolerations in the next two weeks.  Toleration Zapping is one of the most energizing things you can do.   Just imagine your life without those annoyances you have been putting up with for too long.

Make a plan, set aside some time and just do it. Even getting the momentum going on longer term ‘projects’ will get your energy going and feel great.  You’ll be glad you put this stress-busting idea to work for you.

So, what are your three tolerations?  Share them below. What is your plan to zap them?

Wellness Challenge #5 Buy It Local


Summer is a great time to buy local produce from area farmers. You can find luscious berries, corn, beets, squash and tomatoes ripened on the vine at farmer’s markets, private stands and even some grocery stores. You may even find raw honey, farm fresh eggs and grass fed beef.

Sounds good, but why is this a wellness challenge?

When you buy it local the food is often fresher than produce trucked hundreds or thousands of miles. Fresh means more vitamins, better taste and more ‘life force’. Local produce is often organic although it may not be certified. Many farmers are happy to tell you if they used pesticides on their crops.

Since food raised in your area doesn’t have to travel long distances, natural resources are spared and the ‘carbon footprint’ is smaller. So overall local foods contain fewer toxic chemicals, may be healthier, and generate much less pollution on the way to your mouth.

Purchasing food from area farmers also boosts your local economy. In the North Country of New York where I live, there are many small farms. Their little farm stands bring in much needed funds to keep the farm going and meet their financial needs. Buying their foods is a big win for you and the farmer.

And of course, maybe even better, you can raise some of your own food. I very much enjoy stopping at farm stands, but this year I got the urge to ‘garden’ so I got two patio tomato plants and some potted herbs. (Just enough to keep the gardening bug at bay – but seriously, there is something very satisfying about growing your own food)

During the off-season, when local produce isn’t available, focus on purchasing these organic foods. These are the big offenders when it comes to
toxic chemicals: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. If they are not available, wash well and remove the skin if possible.

A local search may also show you where you can purchase eggs and grass-fed ‘clean’ meats. When you buy large quantities, you can get a very good value.

It isn’t crucial to purchase organic onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, frozen sweet peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papaya. They are the least contaminated of all fruits and vegetables (if at all). Most of the pineapple crop is organic anyway.

When you purchase organic and/or local food, you vote with your wallet and send a message to farmers, manufacturers and retails that you are a conscious consumer who wants healthy goods for you and your family. When you vote with your wallet, they listen.

Your Challenge

Visit your local farmer’s market or a farm stand at least once this summer. If one isn’t available, check out your grocery store and look for local or organic foods. Purchase at least two locally grown or organic products. If it’s already cooked (like bread or a pie) that’s okay too, but do get something fresh also. Regularly purchase some of these foods throughout the year, especially ‘the dirty dozen’.

If you accept this challenge, or already do this, please tell us about it in the comments below.

Wellness Challenge #4 Non-toxic Personal Products


How are you doing with the first three challenges? To recap, our last three goals are:

  1. Add only natural sweeteners to beverages such as stevia, a little raw organic sugar, and lo han. Avoid adding artificial sweeteners containing aspartame and sucralose to your beverages. The challenge was to start at home and eventually eliminate artifical sweeteners from your life entirely.
  2. Use non-toxic household cleaners. As you use up your chemical cleaners (or dispose of them safely), replace them with safe, natural, chemical-free cleaners. These cleaners can be made at home with common ingredients such as vinegar, castile soap, and essential oils. Or purchase green cleaning products.  Products you use often are great starting places: laundry soap, dish soap, countertop and bathroom cleaners.
  3. Use a BHA free refillable water bottle, water filtration pitchers or faucet filters. Avoid using pre-filled plastic disposable water bottles which are very expensive, contain chemicals, deplete natural resources and create a landfill nightmare.

You may notice a pattern here. We have been focusing on reducing the amount of toxins going into your body. Each action by itself may not seem like much, but as they build on each other, the benefit to your health and the environment becomes greater.

This week we will continue to reduce your intake of toxins.

Here’s your challenge:

nullnon toxic personal careCommit to purchasing and using at least two non-toxic body or skin care products.

It’s okay to start small. When you use up your regular soap, purchase unscented soap or soap scented only with essential oils. Synthetic fragrance oils often contain at least five different chemicals. Use chemical free shampoos, conditioners, deodorant, hair spray, moisturizers and bug sprays. Use bleach-free feminine products. As you replace your make-up, buy foundation, blush, lip stain, and eye shadow made from minerals.

If you plan to be in the sun for long periods of time, you may want to invest in a good quality sunscreen that protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Most sunscreens contain chemicals that  actually accelerate skin cancer. They get into your bloodstream and disrupt your hormones. Look for sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (not micronized or nano sized) as the active ingredients. Avoid products with chemicals as well as Vitamin A or its derivatives retinol and retinyl palmitate. (Yes, you read that correctly- it can promote cancer).

Avoid shampoos with sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS/SLES), dioxane, diethanolamine or DEA, propylene glycol, parabens. I’ve yet to find such a product in my local stores. Check the health food store and on-line suppliers.

Here’s why:

Your skin readily absorbs what you put on it. Your scalp alone is home to 20 blood vessels, 650 sweat glands, and 1,000 nerve endings. As a matter of fact, you may actually absorb more toxins through your skin than if you were to eat them!  Substances absorbed through the skin aren’t broken down by digestive enzymes and they bypass your liver where a lot of detoxification takes place. Toxins pass through your skin into your bloodstream and tissues.

If you’re like me, you may be tempted to go for the less expensive commonly available products.  Instead, remind yourself that your health is the most precious asset you have. Spending a few extra dollars on safe products now can save you a fortune in disease costs later. Besides, once you experience using natural products scented with real essential oils, you will never want to go back to those chemical scents.

So there you have it. Swap out at least two of your regularly used toxic personal products for safe, natural products.  Over time, replace most (or all) of your products. If you accept this challenge, leave a comment below. Tell us what swaps you made (or plan to make) and how you’re doing with the first three challenges.

Feeling adventurous? Try making and using this all natural shampoo created by Julie Bailey of Mountain Rose Herbs. This shampoo is effective even though it may not be as thick or sudsy as you are used to. Feel free to tweak it. Only make enough for a week or so (as it won’t keep unless refrigerated).

Ingredients:
2 oz. Castille Soap
1/2 teaspoon Jojoba oil
4 oz. Rose Water or other flower water

Combine Rosewater, Castille soap & Jojoba oil, shake well before using .

Click here for Natural Body and Skin Care products

Non-toxic cleaning products are an important part of keeping the air in your home clean. Air pollution in your home also comes from out-gassing furniture, cabinetry, carpets and vinyl. Open windows regularly or use a good quality air filter to get the pollutants out of your home.

Wellness Challenge#3 – Upgrade Your Water Bottle


The challenge for this week is to ‘boycott the disposable plastic water bottle’ for every day personal use.

Several years ago we happily drank water from our taps and carried it in a thermos. That just shows the power of marketing to change our thinking and our habits. Even though this water may be a godsend during times of crisis, for the most part, it has created its own health and ecological disaster.

These bottles leach hormone-disrupting chemicals into the water. They can be especially problematic in the summer. Heat reacts with chemicals in the plastic and releases them into the water. This is also true of frozen water in plastic bottles, or if the plastic becomes weakened or damaged. That’s why disposable plastic bottles should never be reused.

BHA in the bottles is a hormone disruptor. Dioxin is a toxin increasingly found in breast cancer tissue.

In the US alone we throw away enough of these bottles each month to circle the globe several times. They stay in
landfills for hundreds of years. Since they are made from petroleum, they waste that valuable resource also. Not to mention that
at over a dollar for less than two cups of water, they are an expensive waste of money.

Although some bottled water comes from springs, much of it is nothing more than filtered tap water. Don’t be fooled by the words ‘natural’ or ‘pure’. Regardless of where it comes from, it’s probably contaminated with chemicals from the plastic bottle.

Here’s your challenge: Make a commitment to use safe, reusable BPA-free water bottles whenever possible. These are available in stainless steel, plastic, or glass. You may want to use a pitcher with a filter in it for your every day use at work and at home. I keep one on my desk. There are also filters that attach directly to the faucet.

If you really want spring water, or live somewhere where the water is unpleasant or unsafe, you can buy it in gallon jugs for much less than disposable bottles. Unfortunately, you may still be exposing yourself to some chemicals, but this is still a better choice overall than single serving disposable bottles.

Do you accept the challenge? Make your commitment in the comment section below.

Did you miss the first two challenges? No worries. Read about them here on the blog (look under the wellness challenge category) and watch this video to learn more about the first three challenges. Note: You may want to let the video buffer, or load for a minute to minimize viewing lapses.

Why Write My Goal and How Do I Do It?


Dwight Thomas said, “It’s only a dream until you write it down, and then it becomes a goal.”

Why is that?

Researchers found that when a resolution was only voiced or thought, it usually went by the wayside within a week.
If it was written down, there was a much greater chance it was being followed through on even months later.

Writing your goal engages your subconscious mind. It works to attract what you need to make your goal a reality.
Just the act of writing your goal has an element of commitment to it. It is now more real, or tangible.
You can see it. Others can see it. It is no longer just a wish or dream that soon takes flight.

Although writing down your goal can be as simple as saying ‘I’m going to lose 5 pounds’, you’ll get a lot more oomph from
it if you follow a few basis steps. This process is called:

Writing a SMART Goal

S- Specific – Clearly and specifically write down what you want. What is the end result? Write it in present positive words.
If it’s a really big goal, you may want to write subgoals that you’ll achieve in a few weeks or months in addition to your
big goal.
M- Measurable – Is the goal measurable and how will you measure it? Use at least two measures, at least one should be tangible.
A- Achievable – Is it achievable and realistic in the time frame I’ve set?
R- Relevant – Is this goal something I really want, or is it a ‘should’ goal or coming from someone else? Is it meaningful to me?
T- Timeline – When will I achieve this goal? What is my deadline? (Note: timelines can be modified as you go)

Here’s an example of a SMART goal:

This is my present goal. It’s actually a ‘sub-goal’ of my bigger goal to practice holistic self-care in my everyday life so I feel good and look good and have the health and energy to live my life fully and fulfill my dreams.

I achieve and maintain my ideal weight of 140#. I measure my actual weight using the scale once a week and how well my clothes fit from when I used to be at my ideal weight. This goal is definitely achievable as I only have five more
pounds to lose. I used to weigh much less than that when I was younger, but feel this is a healthier, better looking
weight for me now.

I really want to achieve and maintain my ideal weight because I look good and feel good at this weight. I feel attractive when
looking in the mirror. This is also my way of knowing that I am eating appropriate amounts of food. It tells me that most of my food choices are healthy because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to lose and maintain the weight, and I wouldn’t feel good
either. I will achieve this goal within six weeks from today which is July 20th.

Tweak your goal until you feel happy with it and it passes the SMART test.

What is your goal for the next two-to-three months? Be sure to write it down. Share it with us in the comments section. If you already shared a goal as part of the challenge, great! Now I invite you to make it SMART. Putting your goal ‘out there’ makes it real and spurs you to make it a commitment.

I’m really looking forward to reading your goals. Go for it!