My 10 Commandments To Achieving Wellness: Part 2

Mature African American woman smiling sitting outside.

Sometimes, it is just easier to stay in your lane lines. I have a certain set of guidelines by which I live. While others around you can seem like they are “flexible” and shift with the wind, you have the choice to have a set of “rules” that govern how you approach your days and wellness.

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These guidelines need to be super important to you so that it is impossible for others in your life to not notice. You need to be able to keep your boundaries when you find the right mix for you. Take your time developing them. It took me about 10 years to develop mine (first five are here). Do I frustrate friends? Probably! Do I stay in the “lane lines” 100 percent of the time? Absolutely not. Yet, I do probably 90 percent. Even if I did 80 percent, I’d be pleased. Because 80 percent of my decisions, habits, and thoughts would be governed by what is most important to me. High on that list is my wellness and well-being.



#6 I do not snack, nor do I stress about it when I do!  

I practice intermittent fasting (IF). IF isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t have the ability to tame your stress. Fasting is stressful on the body and can be harmful to “deprive” yourself. It is also not a means for weight management. It is efficient for those who can keep stress in check and a way for me to have “metabolic flexibility” (more on that in another post!). Metabolic flexibility means my body is able to burn carbs and or fat when we need them for energy. It is a way for the body to be efficient with how it taps into itself for the massive amount of energy I demand from it.

** I fast every day from about 7pm until about 1pm the following day. Yet, if I am super hungry or have a long day ahead and had an intense workout, I will eat breakfast. I pay close attention to how my body feels throughout the day.

I don’t stress about my food. I exercise daily, I get my sleep, I give the world all I can, and I aim for self-care once an hour (30 seconds of breathing counts!). I know stress will not only turn off my metabolism, it will hurt my sleep, and I’ll probably “eat around” whatever I really wanted until I feel satisfied. If I want a cookie – I eat a cookie. If I want a donut on vacation in California, I eat a donut in California. Yet, I do not stress about it. It’s just not worth what the worry does to my brain. If you find yourself habitually snacking, try going for a walk, taking 10 deep breaths, or calling a loved one instead.



#7 I drink two cups of Bulletproof coffee before 9am and consume no more caffeine after 10am.

I am insane about my sleep. I know that caffeine, even as early as 11 or 12 in the day, can impact my sleep. It is why I think I’m thriving in the Pandemic, with virtual school, raising two teenagers, and am able to help clients focus on the beauty of life. It comes 100 percent down to my sleep. The coffee may have previously given me a little “sweet,” yet it is not worth it to me. If I am craving sweets, the last thing I will now grab is coffee. Instead, I enjoy a cup of calming, caffeine-free tea.


#8 I take personal responsibility for my actions.

One of my top five core values in life is integrity. If I mess up, I admit it. I get curious about how I could have prevented the goof, reflect on it, and then I move on. The more we fret or regret, the more stress on the brain. Stress killed my sister. Therefore, I am deeply devoted to telling the world it is time to take charge of your stress. What happens under the skin is real even though you can’t see it. We live in a world with a load of blame being thrown all around us. I believe I am not only accountable for all of my actions; I have the ability to do anything I want in this world. All it takes is a mindset shift toward growth, and BAM, you can do whatever you want. The world, my friends, is our oyster. Now go get it.

It may seem strange, yet any one of us can do what we want. We make choices about our relationships, our jobs, calendar, our financial status, our everything. Choose wisely and know you have the ability to do anything you choose.


#9 I do not check email before 9am.

No matter what your business is, if you work for others or yourself, email sucks hours out a normally productive day. It doesn’t have to be that way.  When you choose what time you will start the email game, what you will answer, and how you will boundary your time on it, your life becomes so much clearer. I encourage you to set a strict personal rule around how you handle emails and other forms of communication. In a way, we create a habit by responding to others’ multiple emails on the same topic. We are the problem. By using email as a main form of communication, we make the choice. Our actions on email sends volumes of messages to those on the other end. I didn’t get here overnight. It took time to train those around me not to expect an answer. You know why: email is stressful! Many people hold their breath while emailing!

I’ve studied the damage technology is doing to our brains. Our attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2020 in large part due to our reliance on technology without breaks. Shifting from email to messages, to social media, to other energy inputs puts you at risk of your brain fighting you. As much as I can, I aim to limit it.



#10 I accept that I am 54 years old in menopause and couldn’t be prouder.

It took time and patience, yet I found my tools. I also sometimes find new ones (like full spectrum light therapy!!) Aging for me is exciting and rewarding. The wisdom I have now is explosive compared to any previous decade, and I am certain that will apply when I am on the Camino de Campostella for my 60!


What are you waiting for!? Determine what is most important to you, think about the life you want to live, and from there, you can start to develop your own set of wellness guidelines that align with your values. It will change your life! Subscribe here to my newsletter and go to my events page to learn about our array of events happing right now!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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