Here we are again, the first month of a new year. Are you once again making resolutions or commitments to get into better shape? If so, what can you do to make the goals stick this time? Perhaps the first step is to change the goal.
Most of us who set a goal and fail to achieve it in an allotted period of time usually start a new year with the same goal in mind. However, if we do not change our approach to the goal, we will likely see the same results (or lack thereof). But often even you change your approach you still don’t achieve full success and that may be because the goal just doesn’t fit who you are or how you live. Don’t give up on your end goal, but perhaps you need to make a new plan that has a more immediate goal that will lead you ultimately to your end goal.
To make 2017 be the year that you finally achieve your fitness goals you must first assess if you have goals that are achievable. If you are under a lot of stress, have limited free time, and/or limited funds – unless it’s life threatening, 95% of you will not lose fat, tone your muscles, or improve your strength and endurance – period. The reason is that you simply can’t successfully fit consistent and effective workouts into your hectic life as well as meal and snack planning, smart shopping and time intensive food prep and cooking. So rather than lament that your life is too stuck in a hectic hamster wheel and give up on your fitness goals by March, how about if you change the goal to be to get off the hamster wheel?
Did you know that stress and lack of sleep is the number one inhibitor to fat loss? I have a client who eats clean and healthy 4-6 times a day, and works out effectively 3-4 times a week and still cannot reduce her body fat (in fact she’s seen some increase). The clear and only reason behind this is that she has a very demanding and stressful job and home life, feels emotionally “stressed out” daily and averages about 5 hours of sleep per night. I see a lot of you nodding your heads in empathy right now.
When I talk with a new life coaching client and tell them that their first and primary goal is to find a way to reduce their stress by changing or altering their job, reorganizing household chores, rules, and assignments, and carving out (and maintaining) time for themselves, they usually start hyperventilating. But the longer we talk and outline step by step plans to get them from point A to Z the calmer they become and ultimately they get energized by the plan. Then it’s just a matter of holding them accountable, while maintaining fluidity to change the plans as the needs arise, and soon not only do they see a positive change to their bodies, they feel a radical and beneficial change to their entire lives.
With all this said, I assign all of you who have a goal yet achieved (and often failed at on an annual basis) to look at the bigger picture and perhaps pick a new goal – one that will ultimately get you to your old goal – but one that is more important and more achievable at this time and place in your life. As always, I’m here to advise as a personal trainer and life strategies coach if you wish to work with me.
Now go make 2017 different!
A few years back I created this post and it seems like a good time to remind you all to embrace the new year, and renew your motivation to change or meet goals you want to achieve. Set yourself up in a positive way and perhaps this time, you’ll accomplish more than any year prior!
Every year thousands of us make New Year’s resolutions that 99% of us break or don’t complete. Most prevalent are goals to lose weight and get in shape. But just like the chronic cigarette smoker who knows that smoking is bad but can’t stop because they’re addicted, losing weight and getting into shape needs more motivation than just your brain saying (along with everyone around you) that you need to do this to be healthy.
When you’re in the thick of it, the last thing you want to do is stop doing something that seemingly makes you feel better (i.e., smoking, eating that pint of ice cream, drinking that bottle of beer). Even though you know that these choices are not in your body’s best interest, your brain is used to these comforts to deal with life’s stresses.
This is why we fail at new years resolutions. They’re made because it’s traditional to make them not because we have complete conviction behind the need to change. So, while the concept of a resolution is good – setting goals and starting them on a pivotal date – there is clearly not enough motivation placed on these goals to sustain our focus, and motivation is key!
So how then do you get and sustain true motivation? That, my friends, comes from within, when you are truly ready to acknowledge how unhappy you feel in the physical condition you’re in. It’s not about needing to get healthier for someone else; it’s not about wanting to feel sexier or more attractive; it’s not about wearing a different clothing size. It’s about YOU wanting to be different. YOU wanting to end the depression that follows you around because you feel unattractive or don’t have the energy to keep up with your kids or friends.
If personal changes are important enough to you, nothing will stop you.
Once you want the change for reasons so strong that nothing can deter you, then it instantly becomes a goal you can achieve. You don’t need a date on the calendar to get your started. You don’t need an extreme diet. You don’t even need a personal trainer (did I just say that?!). All you need to keep your desire for change always in the forefront of your brain. What do you stand to gain by this change. Don’t focus on what you’ll lose (energy, clothes, life) – focus on what you’ll gain. Gaining something is actually a stronger motivator than losing something.
So enjoy the holidays and your New Year’s celebration, but skip the resolutions. Instead contemplate what you want to gain and how badly you want it. Then go get it!
(And of course, if you DO want a trainer, or a tailor-made workout routine created by a professional trainer, give me shout. I’m here to cheer you on and help you stay focused!)
In April 2013 I addressed the downfall of having unrealistic or rigid expectations on the people in your life (Great Expectations). What appears to need a little more driving home today is that many of you set unrealistic expectations upon yourself, causing serious detriment to your fitness goals.
While most people seeking to make a change to their body due to health or appearance issues lean towards a half-hearted approach to their goals, a significant demographic errs with an expectation-driven approach that only truly tenacious athletes can “win” with. In simple terms, you set your mind on an expectation (goal) that your body can be changed in a specific amount of time and into a specific shape that is usually unrealistic and therefore unachievably.
Now some of you might be saying without these self-imposed “rigid” expectations, I won’t push myself or hold myself accountable. While that might be true to some extent, more often then not there are more cons than pros to this approach. Having too high expectations on yourself results in problems ranging from weight/fat increase instead of loss, to injuries, and most notably emotional stress, exhaustion, and depression.
As an example, I once had a client who was scheduled to be married one month from when I met her. She was obese and had no muscle tone to speak of. She wanted lean toned arms, and to lose 3-4 inches from her mid-section. She said “I will do whatever it takes, I’ve made a commitment to myself to achieve these goals.” The problem was clear, her goals were impossible to achieve in the time allotted. I told her so. I told her that we could make headway, but that 30-days was not enough time to achieve her specific goals.
While we started out strong as the half-way point loomed large she fell into a funk, started cancelling sessions, and even considered cancelling her wedding, all because her goals could not be achieved. She finally came to talk with me, tearfully sharing that she felt she’d disappointed everyone and let herself down.
I know this is a very extreme example, but I really want you to look at what expectations you place upon yourself, even in a subtle everyday manner, that can cause you to feel self-doubt or disappointment all because of an imposed “need” to make something happen.
But good news, there is a simple solution – I call it The Looking Glass perspective. When you create an expectation upon yourself, imagine placing that expectation upon someone else – someone that matters to you, like a daughter, son, sibling, or parent. Whether the goal is to get a better job, find a mate, or just be in a different shape for summer or an event, it’s always easier to ascertain if your desires are too much by imagining someone else trying to achieve them. See those goals through the eyes of someone else and you’ll very quickly know if the expectations are too high. Then all you have to do is think about what you’d advise them to do. How you would modify those goals to fit into the realistic shape of their (and your) life.
Give it a try, you’ve nothing to lose but stress and disappointment. As for keeping a fire lit under your butt, that’s what I’m here for. Anytime you need a little kick to stay on track, drop me a line.
In July 2013 I posted this article and it has become very relevant again due to many of my clients and friends feeling overwhelmed by time management. I’ve added on to it, and I hope this helps anyone out there who feels time is their enemy.
To most of us, the passage of time is always changing. While time flies when you’re having run, it also ticks by with excruciating slowness when we are impatient for the future to arrive. Which begs the question: do we manipulate time with our perspectives, or does time manipulate our emotional state? There’s no correct answer to that except to say (as all scientifically minded people will tell you) time is a constant – it does not change in speed or value.
There are those who strongly control time. They manage time in precise increments, being never late, always aware of how long they’ve spent at any chore or event, and place high value on how much they can get done within time.
Then there are others who allow time to float in and out of their consciousness. They use it when they need it, begrudgingly follow it when it is imposed upon them, but in general, prefer to be blissfully unaware of time. These are the types that are chronically late, and despite their good intentions, rarely get all their desired goals/chores done.
Which ever time-personality type you are, you might want to consider what is time taking from you? If you have such a tight (and restrictive) grip on your time, you’re likely not open to the joys of spontaneity. A lot of wonderful life moments happen in between planned situations, and those are little jewels you don’t want to miss. Being flexible enough to go with the flow when life says hey, go this way will often reward you with positive “ah-ha” experiences.
Conversely, if you are so resistant to managing your time with a little more structure, you will find a lot of events and moments are missed because you were late, or too far behind in achieving things you truly wanted to achieve/see/experience. Being a touch more organized with your day will allow you more time in the long run – time to enjoy being fully lost in the moment, and enjoying every non-minute of it!
Time is a constant, but it is also tool we can use to get the most out of our time in this life. So here are a few tips you can utilize to either manage your time more effectively or loosen up on your fierce grip of every minutia:
Prioritize no more than three must do’s for each day (i.e., eating at regular intervals, 30-minutes of exercise, and an hour of game play with the children)
Set your clocks five minutes fast, and set your alarm 5 minutes earlier than normal. You’d be surprised at how these little manipulations of time will allow you to possibly be on time, while still padding for the habitual “delaying distractions” that plague the more free spirited types.
Plan for (schedule) at least one period of time per week (an hour or an afternoon, etc.) where you have nothing planned except to play, or be with a loved one, or hit the great outdoors for the purposes of just being.
If more structure is needed in your time management: make a chart of the must-do’s, have-to’s and want-to’s and once they are placed in an outline form that you feel is follow-able – follow it!
If less structure is your desire: make a commitment to yourself that once a day you’ll do something completely spontaneous and even frivolous. It can be five minutes or an hour, but telling your overly-compartmentalized brain that there’s a time period with nothing to do but go with the flow will actually rejuvenate your energy for the rest of your jam-packed day/week.
Play around with these concepts, and please let me know what works for you and what discoveries come from these experiments. Remember, time is not against you, but it can take away a lot from your life if you let it.
I posted the following article last year at this time and I dare say it bears repeating. I made some updates to the original, but the message is still the same. Do not let another year go by where you don’t achieve your goals and be all that you can be! So read on, then take the bull by the horns and make 2016 YOUR year!
The door on 2015 is closing tomorrow night and a brand new shiny hope-filled door called 2016 awaits you. Once again you face another opportunity to set goals, make “resolutions” and attempt to achieve them. Unfortunately every year many people fail at those goals within the first three months (for one reason or another), and then resign themselves to trying once more in the next new year. Well this is the year that cycle can stop for you. It’s easier than you think – here are three tips to help you achieve your goals whether they be getting in better shape (fat loss), career enhancement, or better relationships.
WORK IN INCREMENTS.
Having a big picture goal is important (losing a % of fat or scale weight, finishing courses that will enhance your career, etc.) but success is easier to achieve if you work in increments – 10 lbs. at a time, one class per quarter. Set a realistic time line for achieving each increment, make sure you have someone keeping an eye on your progress (holds you accountable), and use your phone or calendar so schedule daily time increments where you work on said goals.
Seeing and feeling the completion of each increment and it’s furtherance of you toward your goals keeps your motivation fresh. Also, by making sure that each day you attend to those goals (daily workout, time spent on homework) it sets you into a routine that will soon be hard to ditch.
FIND A FRIEND.
All goals in life that are worth pursuing are worth sharing. Support systems are the key to success in everything in life. As long as your goals are realistic and attainable, and cause no harm to those around you – everyone will be in your court and gladly help you. – you just have to ask! Buddy up with a friend to share weekly updates on your nutrition and exercise achievements AND set backs. Put together a group of people who are seeking to enhance their careers and have a weekly “mastermind” meeting where you help each other think outside the box and network. Schedule a weekly “catch up hour” where you and your significant other, child, or friend talk, share and reconnect.
TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK IS OK.
Set backs are NOT failures. Life for most of us is a series of a few steps forward combined with one or two steps back. If you give up every time you have a set back, your life will stay stagnant and unmoving. Embrace the set backs, learn from them, and make sure the next set back is something different. In my experience, failures cut a path to success if you allow yourself to learn from them.
So take a deep breath and open the door to 2015 with the knowledge that you can achieve ANYTHING you want if you simplify and stay focused. I’m here, as always, to offer my support, guidance and expertise. Happy healthy new year to you all!
As the year winds down and the holidays rear their busy, caloric, stressful heads I want to take a moment to remind you to be accepting and compassionate – OF YOURSELF! Clearly all of us should be accepting and compassionate of others, but I find that so many people can give love and compassion to others but NOT to themselves. Therefore, this time of year that type of person is even tougher on themselves which leads to more stress and less enjoyment of what should be a wonderful time of year. Is that you?
The most typical topics that we you might beat yourself up about are:
- I didn’t reach my goals
- I didn’t get in shape
- I’m still at the same dead-end job or relationship
- I have to buy so many gifts and have no money
So listen what I am yelling at you right now: STOP IT!
If you didn’t reach your goals because you didn’t try, okay, so now you must see that inactivity and/or indecisiveness clearly doesn’t work. So find stronger motivation and perhaps an easier goal to reach (i.e., the first step towards the total end goal) and come January, get off your ass and start moving towards that goal!
If you didn’t get in shape because you didn’t stick with healthier nutrition and an exercise regiment, again, nothing will change until you do. But you are human and not alone in this – so stop beating yourself up about it. Just follow this blog, join a gym, find a trainer, or whatever it is that will MOVE you (pun intended) toward your fitness goals in the new year.
If your job still sucks the life out of you, and/or a relationship has run itself into the ground with no hope of revival, then decide if you’d rather be exactly where you are NOW one year from now, or somewhere else. If you can’t bear the thought of still being STUCK this time next year, then again, get off your ass and do something about it. There’s ALWAYS a choice that can be made and implemented.
Lastly, as for the dreaded cost and stress of holiday shopping – I know for a fact that most of us would really rather spend quality time with our friends just sitting around being together, drinking wine, playing cards, watching a movie, having a meal, etc. Same goes for fun or funny homemade or gag gifts that break no one’s bank. A token present or little joke gift to remind someone that they’ve got a friend who cares is really the best gift of all. No one wants a gift when the giver has stressed themselves out over it or incurred debt. The only person who truly demands a certain amount of money spent or certain high quality of gift is usually YOU, the giver. Otherwise, they’re not a person you should be hanging with anyway.
So do what you can to be happy and not bah-humbug this holiday season, and get your ducks in a row to hit the ground running come January. Remember, you’ve got me in your corner – I’m always happy to help keep you motivated!
We are officially in the last quarter (Q4) of the year and like many I tend to take stock of what I have achieved throughout the year, or more importantly, what I have not. Not everyone is as goal based as I am (more than one goal for growth and achievement always on my plate) – and that’s neither good nor bad. However, almost everyone has at least one goal nagging at the back of their head be it to get into shape or get out of a dead-end job or relationship. Year after year slips past and still you do not achieve your goal.
Since we are in the final quarter of the year, today I’m sharing with you some easy tips to break out of the stagnation or back-peddling that has kept you from that one desire for the last nine months (or longer).
Re-Define The Goal.
People change, things happen, and we often forget to adapt our goals to the newer circumstances. So be clear on what it is you want and how it is you’ll achieve it. (For some the steps needed are what keeps them stuck as they have no clue how to define those steps. If this is you, read my other blog entries about this subject, or simply email me with your questions.)
Often my clients will tell me their goals in a very long detailed sentence that can convolute the true end goal. I say slice away the fluff and get down to the nitty-gritty. Here’s an example using my career: instead of I want to stop working at a corporate gym and start working for myself with private clients where I train them in their homes, try the simpler and more accurate goal of: I will launch my private practice and secure at least 2 clients by X date.
State in the Positive and the Now.
Using the above example, rather than stating: I want to go into private practice which still sounds like a dream more than a reality, and is future based with no time specified… I say: I WILL launch my private practice and secure at least 2 clients by x date. This way is positive (will vs. want), has a proactive goal built in (2 clients) and has a specified date (x date). I know that placing a specific date is not always achievable, but I prefer to aim with specificity than the throw things at the wall and see what sticks approach. Also, remember when there’s a choice, always choose the path of least resistance. which is often either the most direct or the one with the fewest obstacles.
Choreograph Your Steps.
Much like creating a dance, if you want to succeed at goal planning and achievement, you must “choreograph” (outline) your steps A through Z. Remember to keep the newly defined goal in mind, and keep each step simple and proactive. Be results driven and before you know it you will have a slew of results behind you (the steps) and be that much closer to – or actually AT – your goal.
I welcome any of you to reach out to me should you desire a bit more advice and sage direction. Now go get your life on and enjoy Q4 of 2015. It’ll be over before you know it! (Q4, not your life! Wink.)
I like to find inspiration from odd places. A friend, Micol Davis of the band Blue Mother Tupelo (check them out: http://www.bluemothertupelo.com/) posted this link on Facebook, and it’s courtesy of Business Insider (again another odd place for finding inspiration). I am reprinting it here to inspire all my friends and fitness-peeps to find a way to start 2014 with a strong mindset for achievement and success with all your goals!
“If you’re having trouble nailing down your New Year’s resolutions, here’s a good place to start.
Seventy years ago, American folk legend Woody Guthrie scribbled in his journal a list of 33 tasks he would dedicate himself to in the coming year. According to WoodyGuthrie.org, he called them “Rulin’s.”
At age 31, he was in the prime of his life, with a wife and three kids, as well as a good deal of life experience, having survived the Dust Bowl to make it out to California.
As a result, it’s a pretty unbeatable list. Here’s the transcribed version:
33. Wake Up And Fight
32. Make Up Your Mind
31. Love Everybody
30. Love Pete
29. Love Papa
28. Love Mama
27. Help Win War — Beat Fascism
26. Dance Better
25. Play And Sing Good
24. Send Mary And Kids Money
23. Have Company But Don’t Waste Time
22. Save Dough
21. Bank All Extra Money
20. Dream Good
19. Keep Hoping Machine Running
18. Stay Glad
17. Don’t Get Lonesome
16. Keep Rancho Clean
15. Learn People Better
14. Listen To Radio A Lot
13. Read Lots Good Books
12 Change Bed Clothes Often
11. Change Socks
10. Shine Shoes
9. Wear Clean Clothes
8. Write A Song A Day
7. Drink Very Scant If Any
6. Eat Good — Fruit — Vegetables — Milk
5. Take Bath
3. Wash Teeth If Any
2. Work By A Schedule
1. Work More And Better”