Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Healthier Mattos Family in 2011- 01/02/2011

There has been much talk in this branch of the Mattos Family about how we can become healthier as a family and as individuals. So I thought as part of the spirit of the new year celebration I would write about some of our goals and plans to make 2011 a year of improved health.

We want to be healthier for ourselves but also for our children. We want to be able to raise them in ways that are healthy and we can't do that if we are not being healthy ourselves. So we have come up with some goals and some plans to be put into place for this year. I think the goals and plans can be broken down into four areas of health that we are going to be working on.

Physical Health
Spiritual Health
Mental Health
Financial Health

Physical Health is a big one for both Mandy and I and particularly the area of our weight. We have tried many diets and plans together and individual through out our lives. Most but not all have worked in a fashion at causing us to drop weight. But the results where limited and have always ended up being short lived. This year is not about another diet or simple weight loss. We are trying to make it about life changes and being healthier. We don't know all that this entails or all of the steps we are going to take to attain this. We do know we need to deal with the junk food, work on our portion control, and work on increasing our activity levels.

A couple goals we have already come up with for the area of improving our Physical Health are as follows.

Meal Planning -
The goal here is to be more consistent in creating and following through on a meal plan for each week. Reducing the "What should we do for dinner tonight?" crisis situation that so often ends in a trip to a fast food restaurant or even less healthy an all you can eat restaurant.
The other goal for meal planning is to work on establishing and planning for healthier meal options. Working on making meals more balanced and increasing our daily intake of vegetables and lean proteins while reducing the simple carbohydrates and fatty proteins.
Meal planning needs to also include healthy breakfast, lunch and snack options not just dinners. This is another area where the "What should we eat?" crisis situations occur and often result in turning to the fast/quick alternatives such as fast food and junk food.

Planned Activities -
Each of us individually needs to come up with a plan on how to increase our physical activity levels. We already have a membership to the YMCA which sadly over the fall and winter has become less and less used. So this is a good place for us all to start. By planning trips to the YMCA as individuals and as a family we have great opportunity to increase our physical activity.
The YMCA can be especially valuable in helping Jillian develop a more active and less sedentary life style which both of her parents have regretfully developed. One tool which we are going to strive this year to use is the classes which are offered for young children at the YMCA such as martial arts, swimming and other sports.
Another activity which we have often talked about doing is walking. We have been blessed with a quaint community with a elementary school close by. Great for walking, biking or just playing together. What we need to do is plan for it and make it happen on a regular basis.

By finding ways which we more consistently eat better and become more active we each will see the results of being physically healthier. Being physically healthier doesn't only benefit us physically either and this is another thing we have to keep in mind as we work towards our goals and build and work through specific plans. As we fell better physically it can impact the other areas of health in our lives. This of course is whole purpose we are trying to make this year about becoming healthy.

Mandy and I have chosen Christianity as our spiritual walk. We however find ourselves often feeling weak and less than adequate in the current state of our walk. We are well aware that our walk and spiritual life is not healthy. We feel it, we see it, we know it. With God's working in our hearts and minds and some very big changes regarding work, school and physical location in 2009 we have grown and now desire more than ever for more growth. Spiritual healthy people are people who are growing. We just know that there is far more growth we need so spiritual health is another focus for 2011.

Spiritual Routines -
One of the biggest goals for improving our spiritual health is developing routines in our lives that focus on our spiritual growth and relationship with God. We are wanting to be more intentional in devotion, reading, meditation and prayer. This means planning and striving for a regular preferably daily time for these to happen. Not just trying to fit it in when we can. This doesn't work so well as our past attempts show us. We need this individually but have been reminded more and more that we need to plan for time as a family also.

Community -
The other area of spiritual health that we can and will be working on is connection with the body of believers we have chosen to participate with. There are two areas we have been made well aware of and have already began to put some steps and plans into place.
One is a place to serve God and the Church. Mandy has recently gotten involved with the financial peace ministry at church and I have started working with the newly established online church at Living Water.
Lastly we need to find a more localized friendship and support base. In moving to Washington from Oregon we moved ourselves away from our friendship base and our sphere of social influences. Admittedly most of the relationships over the past few years had become less spiritually focused and beneficial but now we have nothing but people who are hours away. This is a hard one to plan for with my current occupational schedule. To face this challenge and be able to find and develop relationships here that will build us up and help us to grow in our walk we need to do two things initiate and be intentional about finding relationships.

Spiritual health has been on the back burner for way to long in our lives and we know more than ever that it is a key to the life we want to live. We know that as we grow and improve our spiritual health that the whole health package will be improved and our lives changed like we could never have expected. As we improve both our physical and spiritual health, with out a doubt, our Mental Health will be greatly improved.

Mental health often is associated with just emotional health this will be the primary focus of our goals for the 2011 focus. There is also the intellectual aspect on mental health and the goal is not to allow this to be forgotten. With a new found love for Sudoko puzzles in 2010 and multiple books in the house from our Christmas presents, I think this is a great place for us to start. Add this to our Spiritual Health goal of reading and meditation I think intellectual health is being handled. So with that said emotional health is a target and I think reducing stress and removing chaos are the keys at this time.

Goals and Planning-
There has been a lack of goal setting and planning through out the life of this branch of the Mattos family. This blog post is a start in this healthier position with setting goals and working on having a plan for our lives and future. There is a saying that goes like this if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail. There is a lot of stress and chaos in our lives because there is not a goal to strive for or a plan for us to follow. Sadly I must say that lack of goals and planning has been more of my issue than anyone else. God has been working hard in my heart and mind using all of his tools including my wife to help me see the importance of goals and plans.

Develop Routines -
The development of routines for all of us is the greatest step we see in both reducing stress and removing in chaos. Routines are also a key in the daily striving and following of plans and goals. Having routines will help create structure and put guidelines in our lives which are both important tools to battling the self imposed chaos and stress we often find ourselves being faced with day to day.
Routines we develop now will be part of forming the healthy habit and lifestyle we want for us and our children. The routines specific to our physical, spiritual and financial health are all combatants to the chaos and stress that can grow and develop in those areas and attack our emotional state.

By setting goals in the different areas of our life and then developing a plan and putting into place the routines we need to follow the plan and reach the goals we move ourselves away from chaos and develop patterns that can reduce stress. Less chaos and less stress equal better emotional health. The lack of stress and chaos coupled with a growing spiritual walk will hopefully help us find more joy, peace and hope in our life. Improved emotional health will improve our mental health as individuals and as a family. Another thing goals, planning and routines can do for us is to allow us to be more directed and confident. Living life as if we have a purpose and are intentioned this is something our growth in our financial health over the last few years has taught us.

Our financial health has been growing rapidly over the last few years. Going through Financial Peace University has been one of the greatest things for us. It has been one of the places where we have seen the greatest impact of intentional living and planning in our lives. At the same time it is the area where we can most easily see where our lack of consistency needs improved. So that being said you can guess the area of focus for our financial health and that is consistency in doing and following the plan.

The less obvious financial goal unless you have spoken with us is finding of employment for myself and working out the details that will allow us to transition ourselves into a place where we can financially accomplish the goal of having Mandy stay at home after Joshua is born. There is a lot of work to do but even more of God's working that needs to be done. But there is a part we must figure out and learn so we can do our part in working towards our goal and desire. This is a hard place for us and a goal for our financial health.

Financial Plan -
The goal here is to continue the growth of our financial health through consistent application of the steps and tools we have learned. Be intentional about budgeting and diligent about living it out so we can see our own financial health grow stronger and be able to help others in theirs.

Income Transition -
Ask, seek and knock. Our Goal here is to be asking, seeking and knocking on the doors of heaven and this world. Part of the asking, seeking and knocking is addressed in growing healthier in our spiritual life. Still another part will be working towards and working out as we walk through developing goals, plans and routines. There are more parts to this goal to be developed.

As the year 2011 begins we are placing before all our desire to become healthier. We desire to be healthier in our physical bodies, in our spiritual walk, our mental states and our financial patterns. In this post we have laid out a broad picture of some of what we know we need to be attentive to by developing defined goals and the plans and routines to accomplish them. As we find it out these things for ourselves we will strive to share them with others if not on this blog then somewhere else and we will let you know.

Here is looking forward to a healthier Mattos Family in 2011.