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  • Writer's pictureAli Blair

One Foot in Front of the Other

The beginning of each new year is the time we take stock of our lives and decide what we want to accomplish for ourselves during the next trip around the sun. Most of us focus on self-improvement like getting fit, eating healthier, or managing our stress more skillfully. All are smart goals to set in a culture that seems determined to make us mentally and physically debilitated.

Adding therapeutic massage to your regimen can help you create a better life for yourself:

· If getting fit is your resolution muscle soreness is sure to follow and it’s easy to get off track and give up when you’re sore or injured. Massage will reduce the general aches and pains that come with starting or changing up an exercise program and help prevent and resolve injuries due to overuse or misuse.

· Stress, anxiety, and depression all benefit from regular massage as well by providing a safe, non-judgemental space to relax as well as lowering levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and raising those that elevate mood like serotonin.

· If you’ve got your pain and stress under control you can also use massage as a healthy reward for reaching goals you’ve set for yourself.

Being successful at reaching your goals goes beyond just making them. In order to truly motivate toward creating new and better habits or getting rid of old bad ones decide how it will truly benefit you, it’s much easier to stay on track for something you genuinely want. To keep moving forward break down what you want to accomplish into easily doable bits and set daily goals, these small steps are what make big changes and get you to the objective. Recruiting a friend or relative you can tell your intentions to can help as well. Have them check on your progress every now and again, you’re less likely to make excuses when you’ve made a promise to someone else. Most importantly be gentle with yourself if you have failures along the way and don’t forget to reflect and be grateful for the progress you make.

In the photo my friend and I are witnessing the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen on top of a Tennessee summit we call The Hangover. I’d heard how magnificent it was and really wanted to see it for myself. I spent a few grouchy hours slogging up a very steep, wet, and sometimes uncomfortably narrow trail with my 25 pound pack. There were beautiful things to enjoy along the way but it was a genuinely hard trek for me. The mist was thick all day and we were sure that when we reached the top it would be socked in with gray fog. About 15 minutes from the summit the clouds broke and the sun came out and burned off much of the haze. We found ourselves on a peak above a valley filled with a roiling clouds that made for the most spectacular scenery and dynamic sunset I’d ever witnessed. It was worth every sloppy step and filthy scramble it took to get there. I use my memories of the challenges and rewards of that trip to remind myself what I can do when I put my mind to it and keep putting one muddy foot in front of the other.

Have a great New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you in 2019!

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