What is on your bucket list? What are the experiences that you really want to have before the end of your life - from seeing a Broadway play, to swimming in the ocean, to visiting in the Grand Canyon, to taking a hunting trip out West. First and foremost, I hope you have such a dream list. The act of setting goals and thinking big about your life sets the tone for how you want to live each day.
Walt Disney famously said, "If you can dream it, you can do it." We would be a happier, more forward-thinking community if we embraced that call to action. Instead of falling back on all of the reasons you can't do something, start listing all the reasons why you can (and should) make it happen. Your actions start to follow your beliefs.
Let me share a word of warning. There are three things in life that can crush your bucket list your own self-doubt, your own inaction and your own poor health. Fortunately, you have control over all three.
Let's meet a community member who tackled a big-ticket item on her bucket list. The Alpena News recently featured Alpena resident Yohalice Rodriguez Fantasia who ran the Berlin Marathon with an incredible personal best time, which qualified her for the elite Boston Marathon.
"I like the big races. It's a big challenge, but I like the challenges," Fantasia said.
Fantasia trained vigorously for months to compete in Berlin, only her second marathon, with 40,000 other runners. She overcame fear of injury, self doubt and powered through, enjoying every mile on the journey.
I know Yohalice personally and have seen her fire and drive. It truly comes from within. She's focused and incredibly friendly. Her good nature and positive outlook will fuel her to plow through her bucket list. She believes in herself, she takes action and she has the good health to support her dreams.
You do not have to want to run in a marathon (it's not on my list!) to dream big. I want to speak on national television or keynote a large event on the topic of living a high performance life. I want to share my experience helping lead a crusade to improve the health and happiness of Alpena. Our community is amazing and I want people to be inspired to take action. I feel like I prepare every day for this by living the message and taking care of my health.
You have your own dream - something you want to see, to visit, to experience. Write it down. Share it with others. Then do the hardest thing of all - get your mind and body ready for the challenge.
Dave VanderLinde, 58, of Alcona has a bucket list, too. Dave and his wife Lynn are outdoor adventurists. Their list includes traveling, biking, kayaking, canoeing and skiing all over the world.
But Dave got a wakeup call at his doctor's appointment earlier this year when he discovered his blood sugars were dangerously high. He had gained more than 20 pounds on his narrow frame after a foot injury sidelined him and he did not adjust his diet accordingly. The extra weight and inactivity took a toll on his good health. His doctor, very bluntly, pointed at Dave's belly hanging over his belt and said: "lose that."
At that moment, Dave realized he needed a jumpstart. He always considered himself an active guy, but he realized that an active lifestyle was not enough to stay physically healthy. He had too many things left on his bucket list to cross off and knew being healthy was crucial. His mind was right and he was ready to take action.
For the last eight months, Dave has started each day with a walk or jog. Then three nights per week after work at the Walmart Vision Center, he hits the health club for a strength or yoga class. He also enrolled in a half-dozen boot camp programs to achieve greater results, try new things and learn correct form and technique. The consistent and challenging workouts have made all a difference.
Dave also changed his nutrition. He is eating more fruits and vegetables, fewer simple carbs and processed foods and is drinking more water. The results are in. Dave has shed 25 pounds, lost the belly and lowered his blood sugar to a normal range. He walked into to his checkup appointment at the doctor's office last week with pride and loved the report he heard. He's now back to the healthy, fit man he wants to be.
Dave is now in prime condition to tackle his bucket list. Are you? It's never to late to start preparing.
Trina Gray is the owner of Bay Athletic Club, a mother of two, a national presenter on fitness and wellness and a change agent in the community. Her wellness column appears monthly.