How To Be Superhuman

How To Maximize the health of your Central Nervous System so you can move towards your fitness goals in a faster and safer way.

If you want to tap into new levels of physical performance, you’ll need to pay attention to your nervous system. The nervous system is often the most overlooked aspect of fitness. We all have various goals but rarely do we pay attention to the health of our nervous system. To maximize your performance in any fitness activity, your nervous system will have to be functioning well. In terms of physical performance, every elite athlete has a highly efficient nervous system. In general, your nervous system is responsible for things like your digestion, quality of sleep, and ability to process information as a few examples.

Spinal Hygiene

If you want a strong and healthy nervous system, your spinal health will have to be a priority. Your body functions based on the information your brain sends to your spinal column. If you’re spine is out of whack, you won’t be able to function or perform at your best in any activity. One of the biggest culprits of spinal deterioration is sitting. When you sit, you’re decompressing the spine.

The solution to this is doing spinal hygeine exercises. I recently learned about them through listening to a podcast by Chiropractor Dr. Tommy John. I’ve been using these exercises for months now and have reaped the benefits. Two things I notice from doing these exercises is that my spine feels a lot better and I can think more clearly as a result. I usually do each of the spinal hygiene movements repeatedly for 3-5 minutes. You can spread them out how you want or do each of them consecutively as part of a spinal hygiene workout. Below are some of the spinal hygiene exercises I do. I also shared a video at the bottom of the page of a spinal hygiene routine.

  • Head Nods- move your head up and down as far as possible.
  • Head Shakes- Turn your head side to side the way you’d do when shaking your head. Turn your head far enough that you’re looking over your shoulder.
  • Cross-Crawl Superman

Cross-Crawl Movement

Cross-Crawl movements can help your nervous system tremendously. This is due to the fact that they cause both of your brain hemispheres to work together simultaneously. My favorite cross-crawl movement is the leopard crawl. However, there’s many other movements to choose from. Below are the top 3 cross-crawl movements for nervous system health.

  • Leopard Crawl
  • Cross-Crawl Superman: Anything that fits in multiple categories is a must do!
  • Baby Crawl

Hands and Feet

If you want to maximize your nervous system health, you’ll have to address hand and foot health. There are so many nerves in your hands and feet that any disfunction in those areas of your body will have an impact on the rest of your body. Why do you think people often lift weights barefoot or use flat shoes? Or why squeezing a bar tightly boosts your lifting performance?

  • Dead Hang Stretch for time
  • Barefoot walking
  • Standing Straight Leg Raise- 5 minutes each leg

High Stress Exercises

The hardest way to optimize the health of your nervous system is through high stress exercises. High stress exercises force your nervous system to upgrade in order to be able to do them again. The key to doing high stress exercises is to give your nervous system time to recover from them. The other keys to a healthy nervous system will help speed up that recovery. Below are the top high stress exercises to boost your nervous system health.

  • Sprints
  • Heavy Farmer Walks
  • Heavy compound lifts
  • Extreme Isometric Lunges- 5 minutes on each leg

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are your nervous system’s best friend. Too much stress can inhibit your nervous system’s capabilities. One way to balance out the stress you face in training and in life is through breathing exercises. Breathing exercises will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the rest and digest function of your body.

  • Meditation
  • Alternative Nostril breathing
  • Wim Hof Breathing

Beliefs

Your beliefs will dictate your actions and your outcome. If your beliefs are not in line with your goals, you’re going to have a difficult time. The key to getting your beliefs to align with your goals is to work with your subconscious mind through repetitive positive thought. This can be done in a number of ways.

Complex Movement

Anytime you perform a complex movement, you’re developing new neuropathways in your brain. This means you’re using your brain in a way it’s never been used before and further develops it. When I talk about complex movements, I’m talking about the circus tricks you see people perform in the gym to get social media likes. I’m talking about movements that require high levels of coordination and brain usage. Below are some examples.

  • Dancing
  • Gymnastics
  • Using opposite limb, something as simple as brushing your teeth with your opposite hand.
  • Cross-Crawl movements as previously mentioned
  • Any movement you’ve never tried before

Building a powerful nervous system will not only help you set new weight lifting records and excel at your sport, it’ll also make you better at every area of your life. It’ll also improve your overall health tremendously, since every function of your body is a result of the nervous system.

Photo by Evelyn Chong from Pexels

Video of Dr. Tommy John Spinal Hygeine routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iryqejKOUXU&t=101s

Leopard Crawl Exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY-PDU_LhUI

Straight Leg Raise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJvrDA6f2U0

Nose Breathing Exercises For Better Workouts and Recovery

(Short read) Yogic breathing exercises to help you get better results

What if I told you there’s something you can use to give you energy before a workout and calm you down after? This tool doesn’t cost a dime. It also won’t put a bunch of caffeine and strange chemicals in your body. This may sound crazy but the tool I’m talking about is your nose. I’ve previously talked about the importance of nose breathing for stress management. I’ve recently starting using some Yogic nose breathing exercises to help me prepare for my workouts and recover after. The exercises are so simple, I’ll share them below.

Pre-Workout

Save your money and ditch the pre-workout supplements. You’re your own source of energy. All you need to do is breathe in and out of your right nose. Doing this puts you in a more alert state of mind. In yogic traditions, the right nostril is related to the masculine energy, the type of energy that makes you want to take action. This is the place you need to be when getting ready to crush some weights or do any intense workout. I do 3 rounds of 6 breaths before my lifting sessions and I always feel energized as a result. This is very useful if you didn’t sleep well the night before.

Post-Workout

For post workout recovery you’ll do the breathing exercise through your left nose. In yogic traditions, the left nostril is related to feminine energy. This is the type of energy you should tap into post-workout to help you cool down. I speak from experience when I say this works. Just like with the right nostril, I usually do 3 rounds of 6 breaths but you can do more or less as you see necessary.

Nervous System Health

Everything you do is possible because of the nervous system. If you want to be more efficient in any activity you do, you’ll need to strengthen your nervous system. This next breathing exercise does that by getting the two hemispheres of your brain working together. It’s called alternative nostril breathing.

The way to do this breathing exercise is to breathe in through one nose and out the other and vice versa. Do three rounds of six and you’ll feel your head feel a lot more clear. In terms of timing, I like to do this at night or after a yoga session.

There you have it. You can tap into different levels of energy as you see necessary just by using your nose. These are useful for fitness purposes but can be used in other areas of your life. If you’ve been on your fitness journey long enough, you’ll know that fitness is an analogy to life.

Right and Left Nostril Breathing- http://total-yoga.org/right-vs-left-nostril-breathing/

Alternative Nostril Breathing Benefits- https://chopra.com/articles/nadi-shodhana-how-to-practice-alternate-nostril-breathing

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My Top Sleep Hacks

Sleep hacks I’ve used to get great sleep and get better fitness results

When it comes to achieving your fitness goals, sleep might be the most important factor. Without high quality sleep, you’ll be limiting any progress you can make. Sleep is crucial for muscle building, performance, fat loss, and other areas of fitness.

Grounding

What is grounding? The answer is in the name itself. Grounding is walking around barefooted on a natural surface like grass and mud. Barefoot walking has a very calming effect. If you’ve ever had a foot massage, you’ll experience the same feeling of relaxation when grounding yourself. From my experience, most of the time that I ground myself I’m able to fall asleep faster and I wake up less frequently. Do you ever wonder why you sleep so well when you go to the beach? It’s because you ground yourself when you walk on sand.

Beside getting great sleep, grounding has numerous health benefits like reduced inflammation, better mood, and faster injury recovery. One of the best times to ground yourself is after a workout. It’ll calm your nervous system.

Delta Wave Music

Nowadays I like to experience complete silence during the last hour before going to sleep. At some point I listened to Delta Wave Music and even meditated to it before sleeping. The idea behind it is throughout the day our brains are in different ways, depending on what we’re doing. When we’re fully awake our brains are in the beta wave. When we’re relaxed we’re in the alpha brain wave. When we’re drifting into sleep or waking up , we’re in the theta brain wave. When we’re in deep sleep, we’re in the delta brain wave. By listening to delta wave music, I’d fall asleep easier and drift into deep sleep. I stopped listening to delta wave music because I didn’t want to become reliant on it. I’d reccomend it if you find yourself desperate for quality sleep.

Boost Seratonin

It’s commonly known that melatonin is the brain chemical that helps you sleep better at night. You can do things to directly boost your melatonin or you can boost your nightly melatonin productions by boosting your seratonin during the day. The easiest way to boost seratonin is through natural light exposure, especially from the Sun. If it’s a cloudy day, you can still get more natural light exposure spending time outside than you would indoors.

Photo by Aldo Picaso from Pexels

Explanation of the different brain waves: https://nhahealth.com/brainwaves-the-language/

Scientific journal on Grounding: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/

The role of Seratonin in sleep quality: https://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_11/d_11_m/d_11_m_cyc/d_11_m_cyc.html

Better Gains and Less Stress Lies in The Power of The Tongue

How the position of your tongue can reduce stress and boost your overall fitness

When it comes to getting great results in fitness the things we normally focus on are exercise, food, and sleep. These are all very important in order to achieve any fitness goal. One thing that’s often overlooked is stress management. Nowadays, a lot of people are dealing with daily stress, not aware of how it is holding their bodies back.

Stress can be a good thing and a bad thing depending on how it’s experienced. The good stress comes from doing a tough workout or just doing anything that challenges you. This type of stress can lead to growth whether it’s mental, physical, spiritual, or financial. Even the good stress can be damaging if you get too much of it.

The Effects of Too Much Stress

The bad stress is the one that drains you of energy. It’s the type that has you fearing the future or stuck in the past. You may wonder how this stress stops you from achieving your fitness goals. Where do I start?

Stress leads to increased cortisol in your body. Excess cortisol has a negative effect on sleep. The more cortisol you have the less melatonin you produce at night. Melatonin is crucial to sleep.If you’re someone who’s trying to make progress in their fitness, you’ll know that sleep is the biggest key to recovery.

Cortisol also has an inverse relationship with testosterone. The more cortisol you have the less testosterone you produce at that moment. Testosterone is one of the most important hormones when trying to build muscle and/or burn fat. To add to the fat loss aspect, high levels of cortisol is associated with weight gain in the form of fat.

For anyone that’s trying to gain strength, think about how stressful lifting heavy is on your body. Your body can only handle so much stress. How well do you think you’d be able to handle the stress of your workouts if you’re constantly dealing with stress throughout your day?

On the flip side, breathing deeply reduces stress. It’s also great for workout recovery because deep breathing means better digestion of food. Better digestion of food means more nutrients absorbed from the food you eat. For the people who are trying to lose fat, your body has to burn calories in order to digest your food.

Solution

One of the simplest things you can do to reduce stress is to place your tongue at the roof of your mouth. When doing this, make sure your tongue isn’t touching your upper teeth. It sounds weird but by holding this tongue position, you’ll automatically breathe through your nose and into your diaphragm. This allows you to breathe deeply without any conscious effort. Deep breathing puts you in the rest and digest mode compared to the fight or flight mode when you’re stressed.

It’s been six months since I’ve relearned how to properly breathe.I’ve definitely noticed the benefits. I feel more relaxed in general, my digestion is better, and I sleep more deeply. At first it’ll feel weird breathing like this if it’s new to you. After a month, it’ll feel so normal that breathing any other way feels strange. One of the things that helped me the most is doing this while going for walks.

I could go on about the benefits of nose breathing with proper tongue posture but I recommend you test it out for yourself. See how you feel once you make nose breathing a natural part of your life. See how you perform in your workouts, how you deal with daily stressors, and how your body looks as a result. You’ll be amazed!

How Cortisol affects sleep: https://thrivenfunctionalmedicine.com/melatonin-and-cortisol/

Cortisol and testosterone: https://news.utexas.edu/2010/09/27/stress-hormone-blocks-testosterones-effects-study-shows/

Cortisol and weight management: https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain

Nose Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing: https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/mouth-breathing-physical-mental-emotional-consequences/

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.pexels.com/@snapwire

Fitness Quote of The Week- Consistency

(Short read) the importance of consistency

“ I train to be the best in the world on my worst day “- Ronda Rousey

This quote from a former UFC champion is about consistency. You may not be training to be a world class athlete but you’re probably training to reach a fitness goal. If it’s a worthwhile goal, it’ll be one that challenges you.

On your mission to achieve the goal, you’ll have some days that you don’t feel like training. You’ll feel tired, stressed, or something else. Unless you’re sick or severely exhausted, you should do something. Something as little as mobility work or extra stretching will help in the long run. One of my personal workout principles is to always show up.

When you show up, you may not be going 100 miles per hour but you’ll be doing something. Even if you lower the intensity of an exercise significantly, you’ll still be working on those same movement patterns. This can make you more efficient the next time you do the exercise.

If you’re trying to lose fat and you normally run 2 miles a day, running half a mile will help you more than sitting on the couch and doing nothing. Personally, I prefer sprints over jogging.

Just show up. That small amount of progress gets you closer to your goal than the day before. The added benefit of always showing up is it always gives you an opportunity to learn.

Deprivation Increases Capacity

How having less available can help us grow.

We’ve been given a challenge and opportunity.  It’s time to see what we’re all made of. The great Strength Coach, Dan John recently posted a YouTube video that helped put things into perspective. The title of his video is Deprivation Increases Capacity. He talked about how having less resources forces us to adapt and step up. It forces us to work harder. In today’s current climate, a lot of us can feel limited. This is the perfect time for us to step up and see what we’re capable of. It’s what the fitness mindset is all about.

There’s a lot of uncertainty and things that we can’t control right now. One thing we can control is how we approach our fitness and our personal lives. It’s time to embrace this challenge we’re facing and use it as an opportunity to grow in all aspects of our lives. This is what the fitness mindset is all about.

One change I’ve made in my fitness routine is increased workout frequency. I’m training five or six times a week with the off days being for active recovery. One thing that has helped me deal with everything going on is meditating.Meditating has helped me stay grounded during this time. I recommend it for any. Your mental health has a direct impact on your physical health. What changes are you ready to make?

It’s time to approach life with courage and toughness!

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The Power of Self-Awareness in Fitness

How self-awareness will help you achieve your fitness goals faster

As I take time to reflect on my fitness journey, I realize that one of the keys to the progress I’ve made is self-awareness. Self-awareness is crucial to your success in fitness and all other areas of your life. For the purpose of this page, we’ll focus on fitness.

When you have self-awareness, you can be honest with yourself. Self-awareness will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness will help you see areas in which you can improve. Self-awareness is beneficial for the mental and physical aspect of fitness. 

The Mental

Fitness is as much mental as it is physical. That’s why I’m a big fan of fitness affirmations. To amplify the power of affirmations, you’ll need to find out what thoughts and beliefs are holding you back. This is where self-awareness comes into place. A lot of times we’re not aware of limiting beliefs till we do some reflection.

If you feel stuck at some point in your fitness journey, it might be because you have a certain belief holding you back. Maybe you don’t think you’re worthy of attaining an attractive body. When you have more self-awareness, you see how dumb a belief like this is. If you put in the effort through proper exercise, diet, and sleep then you deserve to have an attractive body.

You might even be afraid of getting hurt in your pursuit of strength or athleticism. This belief could come from injuries you’ve had in the past that have nothing to do with your current position.As someone who’s had previous injuries, I had to do some self reflection to see how those experiences are currently limiting me. My reflection helped me see that those injuries were a result of bad decisions and that I’ve learned from them. As a result, my confidence during workouts increased and so did the progress.

The Physical 

Self-awareness is also important in the physical aspect of fitness. Being self aware in the physical aspect means taming your ego. How can you get stronger if you don’t know your weaknesses? When you’re self aware in the physical aspect, you’ll look see what body parts are holding you back during your lifts.

Being self aware can help prevent injuries as well. When you have self-awareness you can be honest with yourself about your form when performing a lift. You can make the necessary changes to your form so you can lift the weight properly and reduce your risk of injury. When you’re self-aware, you know how your body is feeling on a particular day and you can decide what level of intensity is appropriate for a particular workout. 

How To Increase Self-Awareness in Fitness

Yoga: Improved self-awareness is one of the many benefits of yoga . This is especially through when it comes to your body. Another name for this is body awareness. Doing yoga gives you a strong sense of what’s going on throughout your body, good and bad. 

Meditation: Meditation is a great tool to improve self-awareness. Not only does it help reduce stress hormones and improve nervous system health, it also makes you aware of your subconscious thoughts. These are the thoughts that drive your daily behavior without you being aware of them.

Written Thoughts: I’m a big believer in taking some time to write down your thoughts. It helps you see what’s necessary for your personal growth and for the achievement of your goals. When it comes to fitness, it’s only necessary if you find yourself in a rut. I’ve found that when I feel stuck in my fitness journey, writing down my thoughts have given me new life. This can be used for those who don’t want to sit down to meditate. Don’t worry about this if things are going smoothly. 

Self-awareness is important in fitness and in every aspect of your life. When you improve your self-awareness, you improve your chances of getting what you want out of life.

 

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How To Keep Your Fitness Resolutions

The best ways to keep your fitness resolutions

It seems like every year people make a New Years Resolution to exercise more or to live a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, people often fail in keeping those resolutions. Personally, I’m not a big fan of New Years Resolution.

The way I see it is if you have a goal that’s important to you, why wait till January 1st. You can start working on that goal right away. If setting a goal for the New Years is what works for you, I’m here to support you. This post will be geared towards fitness but the principles can apply to any other area of your life.

Fitness Resolution Guide

Start Small: If you haven’t been active, don’t expect to be able to do 1 hour workouts 5 times a week. It’s not sustainable unless someone forces you to. Once you set a big goal for the year, focus on small things you can do to move towards that goal. Once you build the habit of supporting that goal, you can move on to bigger things.

An example is if you want to simply make exercising a habit. Try to set aside 10 minutes each day to do a workout. In your mind, 10 minutes won’t seem like too much of a commitment. You might finding yourself in the zone and decide to work out longer. After you do this everyday, exercising will become part of your identity. You won’t be overwhelmed by the idea of doing long workouts.

Write it Down: I’m a big believer in writing down goals. When you write a goal, you’re bringing it to life. Just keeping a goal in your head is less impactful. You have thousands of thoughts each day. By writing down your goal, you’re giving it precedence over the many thoughts that float around in your head.

Create Reminders: One thing that helps me build new habits is giving myself reminders. You can leave notes in places you’re likely to see them. The notes can be an instruction you give yourself to do something. The more you see that note, the more likely you’ll be to follow it. You’ll be brainwashing yourself in a good way.

Forgive Yourself: Creating new habits is hard. You might stumble at times when trying to create that habit. Maybe you’ll miss a workout or eat eat some junk food. The place where people go wrong is by giving up when they stumble. You should never give up.

When you stumble pick yourself back up. Forgive yourself for the mistake and start fresh with your habit. If you do this every time you stumble, you’ll eventually make the new habit part of who you are . It also helps to have positive reinforcements. Bet on yourself and keep moving forward!

 

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Strong Feet Equals a Strong Body

The importance of strong feet and ankles for your physical performance

A tree without roots can’t stand. If you’re physically active, you need to take care of your feet. Your feet have so many muscles in them and are connected to the rest of your body. If you’ve ever tried reflexology, you’d understand how much your feet affect the rest of your body.

From my experience, when my feet and ankles are healthy I perform my best. There are many benefits to having strong feet and ankles.

Benefits of Strong Feet and Ankles

Better Balance: This one is pretty obvious. When your feet and ankles are strong, your balance will be better. This is important in every fitness activity that involves standing. When your balance is off, your other muscles will have to work even harder. This will make the activity you’re doing more difficult than necessary.

Injury Prevention: Playing any sport with weak feet and ankles is a recipe for disaster. In most sports you’re constantly changing directions and putting your ankles in awkward positions. When your feet and ankles are strong, these awkward positions won’t be an issue to you. I already mentioned how other parts of your body have to work even harder when your feet and ankles are weak. This can lead to overcompensation of those muscles. Overcompensation of muscles often lead to injuries. If you’ve ever tried to squat with a bad ankle you’d understand. It sucks!

Stronger Nervous System: There are several nerves in your feet that connect with the rest of your body, including your brain. When my feet have been strong and healthy, other parts of my body were too.

 

Feet and Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Tennis ball, wall throws: This is one of my favorite feet and ankle strengthening exercises. To do this exercise, stand on one leg and use your opposite hand to throw a tennis ball off a wall. Once the ball bounces off the wall, you’ll catch it with the same hand. Do this for 50 reps and then switch feet and hands.This will also make your nervous system more efficient because your brain is working hard to keep both sides of your body in sync while doing the exercise. You should do this barefoot.

Barefoot Walking: One of the easiest ways to strengthen your ankles and feet is by walking barefoot. Go to an open grassy field, take your shoes off, and start walking. You may get some funny looks but the benefits are worth it. Barefoot walking has helped me recover from a previous ankle injury. Not only will you feet and ankles get stronger and healthier but you’ll also feel better because all the nerves in your feet will be stimulated. I’ll go more in-depth on barefoot walking benefits in a future post.

Standing Yoga Poses: I’m a big fan of yoga for physical health. It’s something I do several times a week. Standing yoga poses like the Warrior 3 and the Tree Pose will definitely help with ankle and foot strength. If you want to make them even more challenging, try these poses with your eyes close. This actually makes your feet and ankles work harder to stabilize.

If you haven’t been taking care of your feet and ankles then you’re missing out on several performance benefits. Stronger feet and ankles could be the missing link to your training program that moves you significantly closer to your goals. Give some of these exercises a try and reap the benefits.

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Fitness Affirmations

This post is about the importance of self-talk in achieving your fitness goals.

Your level of confidence will have a major impact on how likely you’ll achieve goals. One thing that will boost or hurt your confidence is your self-talk. If you’re trying to lose weight but you keep calling yourself fat, you’re just  sabotaging yourself. The easiest way to achieve a goal is by having your mental thoughts and emotional feelings in sync with your physical actions. Also, you’re more likely to do the physical actions that will lead you to achieving your goals when you have your mind set on your goals.

That’s why I love affirmations. They put you in the mental state of already achieving your goals. An affirmation is something that’s declared to be true. The tricky part with using affirmations is you might feel like you’re lying to yourself. What you’re doing is creating a shift in mindset. As you keep repeating affirmations to yourself with emotion, you’ll start to believe in them. Once you believe in them, you’ll act on them. Your actions will be conscious and subconscious.  The power of the mind is no joke!.

A lot of high achievers in fitness, business, and other areas of life use positive affirmations so they can be locked in on achieving their goals. They have helped me in achieving various goals of mine. For the purpose of this page, I’m sharing some affirmations that could help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Strength Affirmation: I am strong and powerful. I move weights easily. I get stronger each and every workout. I feel like I could wrestle a gorilla. I’m excited about this new strength I’m gaining. I’m hitting new PRs with ease. I’m ( Insert exercise) (Insert weight) with ease.

Muscle Building Affirmation: I am a muscle building machine. The food I eat go right to my muscles. I have so much muscle it’s ridiculous. I’m building new muscle each and every workout. Every action I take is helping me build muscle. I’m King Kong in the flesh!

Fat-Loss Affirmation: I’m a lean mean machine. My diet is on point. My workouts annihilate the fat in my body. My metabolism is buzzing. I love what I see in the mirror. Damn, I look good! I love my body.

Overall Health Affirmation: I feel so healthy! My joints are healthy. Blood is flowing through my body smoothly. I’m full of life. I’m breathing deeply. My movement is so fluid. I have so much energy. I look and feel young. I have a healthy and active lifestyle. I love highly nutritious foods. I’m at peace mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Athletic Affirmation: I’m a beast. I move like a gazelle. My reaction time is crisp. I dominate whenever I step in the field/court. I contribute to my teams success. My shot is deadly accurate. I can see things before they happen. This sport is easy for me.

Positive affirmations have helped many people achieve their goals and they can do the same for you. One thing that will give the affirmations more power is to look at any beliefs that are currently holding you back from your goals. Once you find those beliefs, you can attack them and destroy the power they have over you. It helps when your beliefs and affirmations are in alignment. It’s time to crush your goals!

Affirmation Definition: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/affirmation

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