by Donna Martuge, Ed.D


As a child I would hear adults use cliches such as; “birds of a feather flock together” or “you are the companyyou keep”. We learn about social groups very quickly in school. We know the cliques, we easily recognize certain people who are close friends often have similar behaviors and similar like and dislikes. We are familiar with unstated rules of engagement and form belief systems around the experiences.

The most successful people in the world refer to being with groups that elevate and inspire you. Anthony Robbins has shared his belief that the quality of a persons is most often a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group. Jim Rohn has said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with in your life. What are some things your peer group says about you?

Here are some tips to help you see what your peer group says about you:


Take a few moments to think about and write down all of the qualities you love in a person. What type of person is the ideal friend, partner, lover, boss, employee, person. We tend to notice certain qualities in people that stand out that we may admire, or just desire to see in ourselves. Be honest with yourself in this activity it is quite telling.

After spending at least 5 minutes writing everything that comes to mind, list the 5 people you are closest to and spend time with on your page. Take a few minutes to look at the qualities you admire and desire in people you meet and write down the ones next to each friends name on your list that match who they truly are every day. Are you surrounding yourself with people who embody the characteristics you value in a person? If not ask yourself to list anyone you know who does exhibit those qualities. Start spending time with the people that reflect what you value, and aspire to be, and start exhibiting those qualities in your life on a daily basis as well.

Now look at your same list if friends that you send the most of your time with each day. Circle the ones you look up to for some quality or behavior they exhibit consistently. Circle the ones that inspire you to reach for more in all that you do everyday. In order for us to grow, reach our goals, learn and develop in our lives it is important we do have people in our circles that have some qualities we desire to have and choose to reach for in our own lives. Choosing people who help to elevate and lift you to the next level because watching them has you aspiring for more in one or more areas of your life.

Take the time now to look at the qualities you listed that you desire to improve or increase in yourself and who you choose to be on a daily basis. Make the list of people you know who exhibit those qualities. If no one on your list matches what you desire to be and do in your life, it is time to consider finding someone who does and adding them to your circle.

Now that you are aware of the qualities you do desire to see in others, demand yourself to begin choosing the actions, thoughts and behaviors that are in alignment with those values and goals. List what someone with those qualities would do on basis, how do they think on a daily basis, how do they contribute on a daily basis, and choose some of the thoughts and actions you can add to your own actions behaviors so you can begin to be that person. As you practice this, you will begin to notice people who do have the qualities that are important and inspiring to you will begin to show up in your life. You must be willing to be what you are asking for in others and then stretch to be even more.



by Donna Martuge, Ed.D


Emotions are powerful motivators. They can be a source of strength, confidence, determination and perseverance. Emotions can also be the reason we give up, or worse yet, choose to not even try something we would like to accomplish. I have worked with people who have such intense fear, they literally will not even leave their home. Fear becomes a self-made prison that helps keep us stuck. However, there is a way to use fear as the key to get us unstuck. Here are three tips to help you use your fear to your advantage:



Our choices are generally driven because we desire to move towards something that is pleasurable or move away from something we have decided is painful. If there is something in your life you know you want, yet you are not moving towards it, write down all the thoughts that come up when you think about it. You will notice most of what shows up are our common excuses to not go for our dream. We use them often because they allow us to remain in our comfort zone. Your goal lives right outside of your comfort zone. If you recognize thoughts such as; I don’t have the money, I am too old, I don’t have the time to do it now, or I don’t know how, you are hiding behind excuses. The good news is that is something you can change this, you have more control over this then you realize.


Making a clear decision to choose the goal is a step towards reaching the goal. Once you consciously decide to make the goal a priority for you, an absolute “I am doing this” you are cutting off the ability to allow other options. Use your mind to help you make sure you move forward. Imagine what your life will feel like in twenty years if you did not go for the goal? What is the long term impact on your whole life? Will you regret not doing it? Focus on the fact that not reaching your goal is actually must scarier than not even allowing yourself the chance to be successful.


Failure is inevitable. We all fail at something, Any successful person will tell you they have reached for goals that did not quite work out the way they planned. However, they do not define this as failure. Perception, and the meaning you give an experience truly creates your reality, it molds your future. Your experience is not a failure, it actually is the information you require to be successful. When electricity was discovered, it did not happen on the first try. Each experiment, and there were many, provided information on what needs to change order to possibly get the desired outcome. Practicing this type of mindset will give you an advantage you have not had before and help you continue towards your goal. Each experience is just information that leads you to the way you will be successful.

When you become more fearful of the life you will have if you do not choose to go for your goals, you will have a new determination to help you reach and exceed your dreams. You have a choice, practice using your fear and your thoughts to your advantage.


You are what you eat

You are what you eat

There are times in our lives that lead us to becoming experts in areas we never intended to explore. In my life that area has been health. Growing up I was always fascinated by the mind and body connection. I read every book I could get my hands on that touched the topic of the connection between the mind and body. However, I did not read anything that included nutrition and your body, at least not until I needed to learn more about that connection.

Approximately ten years ago I had severely injured my knee while practicing martial arts. At that time I required surgery immediately, and then like normal I healed and began living life again. A few years ago my knees were in constant pain. It did not matter if I put my legs up, if I rested, if I iced them. No matter what I did the pain continued to get worse. I also noticed I was much more lethargic. I mentioned this while chatting with a friend who is a chiropractor and a believer in nutrition to the extent that he makes his clients fork with a nutritionist while he is treating them. Thankfully, he had me look at what I was eating and led me on a path to learning a lot about what I choose to eat.

I am not a nutritionist, nor am I a medical doctor. I am someone who applied what I learned in my own life and saw such incredible changes in my body I thought it may help to share.

My pain was being caused by inflammation. Inflammation is our body’s way of responding to an injury or an attack by germs in our body. It is helpful to know that inflammation is truly one way you body is defending and protecting you. However, constant chronic inflammation can lead to some real long term problems such as; arthritis, fibromyalgia, decreased energy, an overall weakened immune system that potentially leaves you open to more health problems.The good news is, there are so many things we can do to help decree inflammation pretty easily.

As you may have guessed, there are some dietary changes you can make that may help you decrease your inflammation. I like to start with a few things we can add to our life that will help us change our bodies first, then I will share some items you may benefit from eliminating.

SPICE IT UP: Spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne all help decrease inflammation. If you do not add these to your food or your drinks, try adding some and see what changes for you.

WATER: We hear this everyday, we should drink half our body weight in ounces a day. So if you weigh 140 pounds you should be drinking at least 70 ounces of water daily. Water helps flush out toxins that can cause inflammation. Many doctors recommend drinking at least 10 ounces of water approximately 30 minutes before you eat to help you with weight loss, and not to drink it with your meal.

MOVEMENT: When the doctor told m to move my body, I will be honest, I wanted to choke him. I was at the doctor because I was in so much pain, I could not move my body. However even short walks throughout the day can help reduce the inflammation. If you move your body every day for at least 30 minutes you can actually help prevent inflammation.

Here is the part I think many of us know and just do not want to change. Let’s face it, life is busy and some of the items I am about to mention definitely make fast, busy days a bit easier, or do they make them harder?

If you read or listen to anything about food today I think you will constantly hear that processed foods lead to inflammation, obesity, diabetes, and a long list of potential health problems. Look at how much sugar is in everything you eat throughout each day. The items that may have the biggest impact on your body are:

REFINED GRAINS: Food that has been in our diet for some time now such as white bread and other carbohydrates that break down into sugar. Our bodies were not built to digest this type of food. The food was created to last longer and be more convenient.

SUGAR: Processed sugars trigger an inflammatory response in your body. Read labels to see all the hidden sugars in your food. Any food you grab for a burst of energy such as piece of candy, or soda, will spike your sugar levels and then leave you needing more sugar after so you do not experience a drastic drop in energy. Eliminate the sugars and you will see a decrease in inflammation and an increase in a more consistent energy level throughout your day.

SALT: It is no surprise salt is included on this list. Too much salt and you can notice inflammation rather quickly. I know for me, my fingers swell and it may be hard to get a ring off of my finger. Salt is hidden in large quantities in processed and packaged foods as well is in foods.

My grandmother used to say, “If I can’t pronounce it, I can’t eat it”. There is a real gift in that statement. Eating fresh foods, especially green leafy vegetables have been proven to help reduce inflammation. Fresh foods allow you more natural flavor, and ensures you do not put all of the preservatives and chemicals that packaged and frozen foods have into your body.

Today there are hundreds of easy to find and easy to make recipes available based on using fresh food. Write down what you are eating each day, change what you put in your body and see if it helps. Always check with your doctor or nutrionist to ask questions, share your thoughts and see if food can help you change the way you feel every day.