Motivating Teens: What Does Self-Control Have To Do With It?

Think back to when you were 4 years old.  What would you do if someone put you in a room with a marshmallow and asked you not to eat it?  What if the person said you could have two marshmallows if you could wait 15 minutes to eat it? Would it be easier to hold off then? In the short video below, Dr. David Walsh suggests that the ability to resist the marshmallow is linked to happiness, school success, popularity, and overall adjustment, all the way up to 18 years of age.

The message is clear. Saying no to our children and teaching them to say no to themselves could be a great benefit to them.  Why?  Because the ability to withhold immediate gratification of the small pleasures in life could help them achieve bigger goals. Being able to resist immediate gratification requires self-control and achieving goals requires motivation. So, let’s look at how motivation and self-control work together. Continue reading “Motivating Teens: What Does Self-Control Have To Do With It?”


Heart Rate Training: Some Nuances

Ever sang while you where running? This sounds really funny…but, it appears that I can lower my heart rate by singing! Ok….so that will get some pretty funny looks at the gym, but it isn’t so bad when you are running outside! All kidding aside, in the last few weeks I have consistently monitored my heart rate and learned some interesting things. How much sleep did I get? How much water did I drink the night before or the morning of? What did I eat and when? Where are my arms hanging? How loose am I keeping my body? Am I leaning slightly forward? How can I send more energy to my legs? Is this starting to sound obsessive?!?! The crazy thing is that all of these things seem to effect my heart rate.

Things that appear to effect heart rate:

1. Drink lots of water! I am drinking more water the night before and right when I get up in the morning. This seems to be more effective than drinking water as I am getting ready to run or during a run.
2. Food matters A LOT! I won’t get into too big of a discussion on nutrition; that could be a whole blog post! Simply said, it helps me to eat a balance meal the night before and raw foods before a run. Raw foods seem to give me lots of energy, and they don’t feel heavy on my tummy.
3. Good sleep makes it easier! Admittedly, I am a bit of a night owl. But, I have noticed that a sound sleep the night before is a huge bonus. It improves my energy to run and keeps the heart rate down.
4. Think about your body posture! While I generally think of myself as having good form, I have been paying attention to little nuances…opening up my chest, focusing my energy into my legs (I can thank yoga instructors for that terminology!), and keeping my shoulders and arms loose.
5. Work on steady breathing! I am either breathing in through my nose and out my mouth, or I am keeping my mouth closed and only breathing through my nose. Both of these strategies appear to help regulate my breath.

For now I am simply making observations and keeping track of what seems to be working and what isn’t. I will be digging into the reading on some of these things to learn more about them. I have found that using these strategies, I am sometimes able to drop my heart hate as much as 5-10 beats. It is amazing what focus, concentration, and persistence can do!

Until later, happy running!!!

Raising Teenagers: Interview with Steven Spierer

Teenagers are a breed of their own, and raising teenagers is not an easy task.  Recently, I was invited to speak with Steven Spierer on Talk Radio One about raising teenagers and building healthy parent-child relationships.  Having raised teenagers himself, Mr. Spierer frequently incorporates information about parenting into his show. Check out his website at  He has some great stuff!

Happy Parenting!

Shelly D. Mahon on the Steven Spierer Show


Motivating Teens: The Role of Independence

The need to feel as though our behavior is truly chosen, not imposed upon us, may be its strongest during adolescents.  During this time between childhood and adulthood, teens are striving for independence at the same time that they still need guidance from their parents.  As children move into adolescence, they are motivated by a strong desire to be seen as more mature, capable of making decisions, and worthy of being treated as though they are getting older.  Just the other day a 12 year old girl said to me, “I really don’t like Paul [a 20-something year old in her martial arts class] because he treats me like I am a little kid.  I know that I am not grown up, Continue reading “Motivating Teens: The Role of Independence”