Forget Should!

Our guest blogger Emily has shared tips to avoid overeating and fun ways to play in the rain. Now she tackles how she motivates herself to make healthy life changes.

EmilyI should exercise. I should save money. I should contribute more to my 401k.

We all do it, put “I should” before whatever activity we think we ought to be doing. I’m here to tell you to remove that word from your vocabulary! Give it the boot! Launch it into outer space!

“Should” is what we say when we measure our lives by standards that are not our own. It’s a surefire path to beating ourselves up for what we’re NOT doing rather than acknowledging all the things we’re doing right.

Instead, think about saying “I want _______ because _______!”

I want to eat yummy foods that will make me feel healthy and not gain weight!

Food is meant to be enjoyed! Cooking is a never ending science experiment. Sometimes you will have a scrumptious meal you’ve never enjoyed before. Sometimes your dog will be chowing down on whatever that mysterious lump is. And sometimes even the dog won’t touch it.

I want to be more active so I have more energy!

Exercise is fun! No, I’m not talking about hitting the gym for 2 hours, unless that’s fun for you (it’s NOT for me). I’m talking about taking your horse for a ride (my personal fav), taking your dog to the park, or playing keep away with the kids. It’s exercise and an enjoyable want, not a chore-y should!

I want to save money for an emergency fund so I will worry less!

Watching the balance grow in an account or a piggy-bank is fascinating. I don’t know why, but as soon as you have tangible money in front of you, opportunities abound. Maybe you start with pennies and that will get you…well not much in the modern world. But then it grows to dollars, then hundreds, then thousands, and suddenly you have enough for a dream trip, that massive washer and dryer you’ve always wanted, or just piece of mind, knowing that you’re financially equipped for whatever life decides to pitch.

Lastly, if you’re putting “I should” in front of something you don’t really want, then why? This is your life, which means you should want to live for yourself, right?!

Will I Get Free Health Insurance in 2014?

Question Visual_5_will i get free insurance

For most of us, no. While the Affordable Care Act (also commonly known as “Obamacare”) will help ensure that everyone has access to health insurance, it’s your responsibility to enroll in, and in most cases, pay for coverage. Depending on your income and other factors, you may—or may not—qualify for help paying for that coverage.

Knowing whether or not you qualify for financial assistance might sound tricky, but we put together a quick video that lays out some of the factors that come into play.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and healthcare reform, check out

Related Posts: When Will I Automatically Get Free Health Insurance Thanks to the Affordable Care Act?Come On, Am I Really Required to Buy Health Insurance?

Up at Dawn, Hiking for Healthcare

Eugene Flag5:00 a.m: The Alarm Sounds

While I’ve never taken a karate chop to the head, I’m pretty sure it feels exactly like waking up at 5:00 a.m. If you’re a morning person, I salute you, but I have to question your sanity. With that in mind, on this day, I had good reason to wake up in the midst of darkness. I was one of the 37 brave (aka insane) PacificSource employees that vowed to “spring” out of bed, go for a hike, and plant rewards for early morning exercisers.

Let me back up a bit. At PacificSource, we want the world to understand that the best way to improve the healthcare system is to simply live a healthier lifestyle. If we eat better, exercise more, stress less, and quit smoking, we can significantly decrease the burden on the entire system. It sounds simple, but it’s a difficult message to broadcast. So to make it happen, we needed to get a little creative.

We decided to reward people for taking part in healthy activities with thank you cards with a little bit of cash (5 big ones). The way we see it, by taking part in a healthy activity, you’re saving all of us healthcare dollars in the long run, so we wanted to give a small piece of those savings back to you. We also offered to donate an additional $5 to a program called Veggie U if our finders sent us a picture of their hike. Here’s a look at the thank you card we created:

Thank You For Helping Healthcare_Project Golden Ticket

But how would we find these healthy people? That was the fun part.

Back to my 5:00 a.m. wake up. We picked 10 popular hiking spots in Oregon, Idaho, and Helena, and our employees teamed up to plant “golden tickets” along those hiking spots. But since we picked a work day to pull it off, we needed to start our hikes at 6:00 a.m. so we could all make it back to work on time. Luckily, I had a hiking squad to keep me accountable for showing up on time, or the old “snooze button” would have gotten a work-out.

Starting before dawn at Hulls Gulch. Boise, ID

Starting before dawn at Hulls Gulch. Boise, ID

6:00 a.m: Let the hiking begin

At the exact same time, all of our hiking teams attacked trails in Eugene,  Bend, Portland, Boise, and Helena. Like little elves, we carried our mysterious flags up hills, along rivers, and through wooded trails in search of the perfect place to plant our “golden tickets.” We looked for places that could only be accessed if you exercised to get there. What that meant for us; we needed to invest some sweat to plant these suckers!

The top of Mt. Pisgha. Eugene, OR

The top of Mt. Pisgah. Eugene, OR

7:00 a.m: Operation “stealth flag plant”commences

Since stumbling across a mysterious note is way more fun than watching somebody leave flag, we wanted to secretly plant them. In my team’s case, I had the honor of planting our flag on the top of Mt. Pisgah in Eugene. I creeped up the hill, darted from tree to tree, and lurched in the grass to avoid being seen. Turns out, nobody else was up there, so all of these antics were strictly for my own amusement (How often do you get to pretend you’re a spy? Can you blame me?). Mission was accomplished. Once again, at all of our hike locations, our teams planted their flags at the same time.

8:00 a.m: Back to Work

What made this such a blast was the fact that so many of us took part, and we all made it back to the office like it was business as usual. When we got back to work, we all felt pretty darn energized by the experience (however, we all felt like slipping into a coma a few hours later). While our goal was to reward a few lucky hikers, our crew probably received the biggest benefit. Whether we were hiking Oregon, Montana, or Idaho, it’s pretty hard to be a morning sunrise after pounding the trails. Not to mention, we felt like a hybrid of a secret and the Easter bunny as we planted the flags. All told, it was a great morning.

Team Riverwalk. Bend, OR.

Team Riverwalk. Bend, OR.

Keep your eyes peeled

We aren’t finished thanking people for helping healthcare. So next time you’re on a hike, jog, walk, or bike ride, keep your eyes peeled. We’ll have thank you cards all over the Northwest.

Huge thanks to all my hiking pals! Had a blast, can’t wait to do it again. To see all of us in action, here are some snapshots from all three states:

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