At the end of 2015 I set out to make some intentional changes in my life. I wanted to be more giving of my time, calmer, happier, healthier, more considerate, and do more to make a difference in the lives of others.

Instead of starting January 1, 2016 I set out to get a running start on my goals in December.

When January 1st rolled around, I wanted to wake up and feel good about life, knowing I was well on my way toward the life I wanted.

I’ve partnered with KIND Snacks to reflect on the changes I’ve made for the New Year. I know in my heart 2016 is my year, our year. I believe if we “Live KIND Every Day” by doing the KIND thing for our bodies, our minds, and our world – that we can create a better space for all of us.

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When you decide to train for a race you must be intentional with your decision to make time for the training. I realized this was the same way I needed to approach the changes I wanted to occur within me, I needed to be very intentional in how I went about them.

It’s easy for me to get drawn in to only thinking about myself. Not so much in a selfish me, me, me state, but in a negative oh I am terrible at this, I have slowed down, why can’t you do this, why do you have mental blocks, why are you not like everyone else, why does this seem so hard for me, and on and on. What I realized was that by having so many negative thoughts about myself I was being just as self-centered as if those thoughts were overly positive. I needed to get out of my head.

Here are the intentional changes I have been working on and how they have become a part of me:

Making the extra effort to see a friend – Whether that was driving two hours to see them, or delaying a run till another day and meeting at a time that worked for their schedule – I made my friends a priority. The result – I’ve seen more of my life long friends this year than I have in previous years and it’s only February. Seeing these people has brought immeasurable joy.

Helping people in need that I don’t know – I find it easy to help a friend in need, saying yes to babysitting or doing a favor is easy. I needed to do something that would take time, effort, something I wasn’t saying YES to because I knew the person I was helping. I was in Starbucks one morning and saw a sign for a Polar Dip and thought – that’s it. This is something you would never want to do. This is an intentional way you can step outside of your comfort zone and create a habit of helping others. Myself, my sister, and two friends raised over $570 for Camp Sunshine by asking for donations for our polar dip jump. What began as something that was done with the purpose of helping others, ended up helping me more.

Spending time doing things for others, invites joy in to your life.

Stopped visiting negative places – This was hard for me at first, but every day that passed it became easier. No longer did I waste time on websites that spoke badly of myself and others. I cancelled my subscription to a celebrity gossip magazine and decided that I had no more room in my life for negative people. I didn’t need to tell these friends or people my intentions but rather let the friendships fizzle down slowly. Lastly I have made an effort to stop visiting the “room” in my head that’s filled with negative thoughts. Every time I find myself falling in to the glass half empty trap, focusing on what is wrong with me/my life/etc. I tell myself – nope we don’t want to be in this room, let’s go find another KINDER place to visit.

This last change has had one of the largest impacts on my happiness. I didn’t realize how much time I was spending in negative online places, reading gossip in magazines, hating myself or stressing about a friendship/relationship that just wasn’t working. I now have more free time and have used that time to increase the quality of my life.

One way these changes have helped me is by giving me more time to slow down and be intentional with my choices at the grocery store. I’m not rushing and throwing anything in my cart that I see on the end caps. I’m checking labels and making sure the food I’m putting in my cart is nutritious.

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KIND snacks are a favorite because of the choices of flavors – hello Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt – and because the ingredients are ones I can say and read. It doesn’t matter if I’m choosing one that has more carbohydrates, like the KIND Healthy Grains Clusters, for a pre-workout snack or one that is higher in protein, like the KIND STRONG bars, post workout – I can count on them to taste delicious.

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Little people approved: I bring KIND Healthy Grains Clusters bars to my son’s preschool for their snack and the kids love them! I feel good knowing I am helping fuel them for the day rather than filling them up with empty calories.

Feeling and being healthy affects every part of your life – from how your body feels, to how you react when someone cuts you off on the highway. I am calmer in my reactions to others and go out of my way to say hi or compliment strangers. I eat healthy because I deserve to feel good, not because I am punishing myself or because I want to look a certain way.

Life is a circle. Food is a circle. You are a circle.

It starts with one KIND act towards yourself, the decision to change.  You then take a step in that circle towards that goal, whether that is committing to working out three times a week or to commit to providing your family with nutritious snacks like KIND bars rather than a candy bar.

Once you have taken that step and it feels good, you will want to make another change, and another and another. Keep your circle rolling forward. When you eat food that is nutritious and you start to feel good, you will want to eat that food more often because it makes you feel good and when you feel good, you act nicer, when you act nicer you feel happier, when you feel happier, you are kinder to others, when you are kinder to others you feel joy, when you are joyful that oozes out of you and jumps in to the circle of someone else – it helps their circle move forward.

We are all connected in life let’s be KIND to each other, our taste buds and ourselves.

Tell me – how do you Live KIND. every day™??

xoxo Dorothy

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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of KIND.

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