Category Archives: behaviour change

Should You Be Playing a Bigger Game?

Last fall I attended my first Desire Map workshop. Our facilitator was Sandi Amorim ( There were so many things that changed my life in that workshop and one of the most profound was when Sandi shared a bit of a rant with us. A lot of coaches talk about playing a bigger game, the idea being that, to live an inspired life, fulfilling life we need to take bold actions and be outside of our comfort zone. This idea was really made into a concrete framework by Rick Tamlyn ( Sandi’s comment was that if we are unhappy, disconnected, unhealthy etc. we are not in the emotional, mental, and physical place we need to be in order to take those bold actions. We need to be in a place of confidence and strength first.

I think this struck a chord with me because of the philosophy I have always taken when working with clients. That we need to master the basics first, we need the baby steps, the quick wins. We need to create small success and build momentum that will keep us inspired, motivated and energized.

How could you possibly do something that scares you a bit, something that stretches you, when you can’t even have the motivation or energy to eat a proper breakfast? How could you do things that challenge you when you can’t even stay committed to being physically active three times per week? You can’t. You need to have the have the mental, emotional and physical foundation first, before you make any other changes in your life. You need to be feeling good in your life.

I would love to hear from you in the comments below.  In your life right now, what’s the easiest thing that you could do to support your emotional, mental or physical health? Something that you could do in the next 24 hours….Something that would make you feel good.

Here’s mine: spending time outside with my family, taking pictures, exploring. It costs nothing, we can do it anywhere. It makes me feel connected and revived.



Who Are You To Share Your Expertise?

With a background as a Fitness Expert and a Life Coach I get to meet some pretty awesome people. I recently met a fellow Fitness Professional for coffee so that we could do some brainstorming, get to know each other better and see where our work could align. I’m all about collaborations and partnerships, I truly believe we are all more successful when we help each other (that’s a post for another time).

And what came up in our conversation has come up in a few different conversations recently and so I feel that it’s an important topic to write about. So, what did we talk about? We were talking about different ways that this Fitness Professional could generate income in her business. As a Personal Trainer it gets really exhausting training people one at a time (a similar experience that many Life Coaches face). You have to train a lot of people in a week to make a decent living. As I learned more about her background and her passion it seemed so clear to me, why don’t you offer workshops for other Fitness Professionals around these areas of expertise that you have? Her response, “can I do that”? Which was then followed up by questions around is she qualified, who would want to hear her speak, what does she have to offer? All those self-doubting questions.

That got me on my soap box in a real hurry….

  1. You have your own unique blend of education, training and experience. Nobody has the exact same combination. That makes you unique. That makes how you see things and interpret things unique;
  2. Any time you teach a person something inevitably some of it will be new information and a lot of it will be things they’ve heard before. But as I’m sure all of you can appreciate, when you go to a learning event you don’t retain everything you hear and you certainly don’t apply everything. We remember and implement whatever information seems most relevant to our current circumstance. You take a similar workshop years later, your current circumstance is different and therefore what you remember and implement will also be different. Relearning information is actually really important;
  3. You may describe something or say something with the exact words that someone in the audience needs to hear for that concept to make sense. Think about your own learning experiences. You likely learned about a topic from a few different people and there will be that one person who says it in such a way that your brain instantly gets it. You could be that light bulb moment for someone else.

And a few days later I was listening to a presentation by Suzanne Evans and she touched on a similar topic. One of the things she reminded us of is that to a second grader a third grader is a God. There will always be people who know more than you and there will always be people who know less than you. To the people who know more, there will likely be some reminders in what you say that they needed to hear. To the people who know less than you, they will be in awe with how much you have to offer and contribute.

So, regardless of your industry, there is always an opportunity to share your unique education and experience, to remind people of information that perhaps they have forgotten and to inspire the people who are following in your footsteps.

Who are you to share your wisdom, insight and expertise with others? Who are you not to?

P.S. If public speaking scares you to death, get help. Join a Toastmasters group, find a speaking coach, whatever you need to do so you can feel confident.

Do or Do Not, There is No Try 

In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Master Yoda instructs Luke Skywalk to ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’ This is one of my favourite quotes and one of the philosophies of living that I find the hardest to uphold. Do or do not. For me, this means that you need to make a choice. Make a choice to do something, or not to do that something, don’t waffle in the middle. 

Picture of Yoda

There’s a lot wrapped up in that statement, make a choice and own it…


First, there’s FOMO (fear of missing out). In my life I have made choices out of fear of missing out on something. Not from a place of really wanting to do that thing but rather from a place of what if I don’t go and then I regret it? Think about choices you have made in your life. Think about the ones you made because of something you really wanted versus the choices you made because you were afraid that you might regret it if you don’t. Which choices turned out better? When I make choices based in FOMO the experience that I end up having is never as good as the experience of something I choose because I truly wanted it. Think of a really simple example, buying a scarf. Scenario one, the scarf is on sale and it’s a really good deal. You choose to buy it because you’re afraid that if you don’t buy it you’ll regret passing up that really good deal. Scenario two, scarf isn’t on sale (or maybe it is, doesn’t matter) and you buy it because you absolutely love it. I suspect that the scarf you bought because it was on sale you probably don’t love the same as the scarf you bought because you loved the scarf.

Being Accountable

The other thing that happens when we make a choice and own it is that we then have to be accountable to that choice. I used to be (and sometimes fall back into) that person who when asked to do something I would say that I would try to. I would try to call you later, or I would try and attend that function/meeting etc. Instead of committing to yes, or committing to no, I would waffle. For me the waffling often comes from wanting to be everything to everyone. Not wanting to disappoint someone by not showing up or by straight up telling them that I can’t. But the reality is by waffling I actually create way more disappointment. Now the person thinks that I might be coming, maybe they are looking forward to that, maybe they now start planning to have one more person there. And then I don’t show. Or I call the morning of to say I can’t make it. I think that creates way more disappointment then just owning the fact that I won’t be coming right from the start.

Final Thought

So, when faced with decisions to make today, make a choice and own it.

See what happens.

Setting Goals – Enough Already!

Yeah, it’s that time of year, every guru under the sun is talking about goal setting. How to set smart goals, how not to set goals, how to set goals that you’ll actually achieve, blah, blah, blah.

I’ve been in the goal setting business a long time. As a fitness expert and Life Coach goal setting has been a huge part of my work with my clients. And the reality is when we set goals one of two things typically happens:

  1. we don’t reach the goal.

This one is really tricky because it can send us into a downward spiral of self hate, self pity, self loathing, all sorts of stuff. And if you feel like you consistently set goals and don’t reach them then this is likely really relevant for you.

2. we reach the goal and it doesn’t change our life the way we thought it would.

Are you freekin kidding me? All that work, all that sacrifice and I don’t feel much different than I did before? This is more common than you probably think. So, since that goal didn’t give us what we wanted we either go after another goal or quit all together.

So what’s the solution?

A lot of the goals that people set this time of year revolve around making some pretty significant behaviour changes that aren’t that enjoyable (at first). Most goal setting that we do is done looking at external goals. I want to lose 20 pounds, I want to run a 5k race, I want to get that promotion. All external things that require big changes in how we live our life.

What if instead, we chose to spend more time doing things that make us feel great?

This solution comes from influence of Markus Buckingham and Danielle LaPorte, two life changing people whom I have learned so much from.

Markus talks about changing how we spend our time so we spend more of it in things that fill us up, recharge us, strengthen us. Because when we are in that space, we have more energy, more motivation, more drive. All things that we need when we are embarking on changing how we live our life.

He redefines strengths as not necessarily things that you are good at. It’s more about what’s happening to your energy levels when you’re doing a particular task. The example I use is that I love to paint. I lose all sense of time, I love mixing the colors on the canvas, the feel of the brush, all of it. In Markus’s definition painting is one of my strengths. But if you actually saw my painting……wow, you would likely said it’s a weakness. But what’s important when we look at what we fill our life with, is how we feel when we are doing things.

Now enter the work of Danielle LaPorte and her Desire Map process. In this process you figure out what she calls your “core desired feelings”. These represent how you want to feel in your life, not just a singular event like getting a promotion. If you haven’t done her work you can even just sit and think about how do you want to feel?

Ok, so how do you put this together and actually use it?

Let’s use the most popular goal this time of year, lose weight. Here’s how it could look:

You want to lose 20 pounds by the end of March

What are the kind of physical activities you could do that you really enjoy, that fill you up, energize you? Go do those things!

How do you want to feel in your life? My core desired feelings are connected, inspired, calm and cherished. So I would ask myself, how can I use those CDF in my quest for weight loss:

  • connected – be active with important people in my life. Use that time to connect with them
  • inspired – pick an activity I have always wanted to do but never tried
  • calm – choose an activity that brings me a sense of calm
  • cherished – if I cherished my body, what kind of food would I eat?

So this year, instead of setting goals the crappy old way that we usually do them, consider setting your goals around things that fill you up, that energize you. Things that allow you to feel the way you want to feel in your life. From there you can still reach all those external goals that you have, but you can do so in a way where you enjoy your daily life experience, not just that singular event that you are working towards.

4 Tips to Curb Overeating

Recently there was an article in the Province newspaper, Dieters offered hope of a pill to turn off hunger. The pill contains acetate, a molecule which is released when we eat fiber. Acetate works in the brain to suppress our feelings of hunger. So far they have only tested this on mice, and the results have been that the mice ate less.

Here’s my question…Do we overeat because we are constantly hungry? I think not. The clients that I work with (and myself included) have more issues with emotional eating, eating because of boredom, mindless eating, grazing all day etc. We don’t overeat because we are hungry.

Now that’s not to say that for some people this wouldn’t work. There are people who overeat because of the physical sensation of hunger. But I think they are the minority of the people who overeat.

So, once again. No magic pill. No quick fix. No gimmick that will give you the short cut. If you overeat here are some tips on how to reign it in:

  1. be mindful when you eat – sit at a proper table, put away ALL the screens (TV, laptop, phone). We know that when we are not paying attention to the food we eat, we eat more.
  2. rid your house of the snack foods – just get rid of them. If you want a treat, buy a single serving of something when you are at the store, don’t have those things in the house.
  3. eat at set times – don’t let yourself graze all day. Even if you are grazing (aka snacking) on healthy foods, those calories add up. Plan to eat every 3 hours or so.
  4. plan your meals – I know, it sounds boring and time consuming. But trust me, when you decide what meals you are going to cook during the week, buy ALL the groceries you need and then prep whatever you can, the rest of your week is so much easier. I do my planning, shopping and prepping on a Sunday, find what day works best for you.

I would love to hear in the comments below other tips that you use to keep your eating under control…

Decluttering – The ONE Place You Have Likely Not Thought Of

I’ve seen a few different articles and videos the past few weeks about getting rid of clutter, purging all the excess from closets, storage lockers, filing cabinets etc. There’s a few reasons for this purging:

  1. Helps to create space for new things in your life – physical clutter and mental clutter are connected. If your mind is full, if your home is full, there is no room for new things (either emotional or physical) to show up. Danielle LaPorte wrote a fantastic blog on this (read it here).
  2. Helps to get you out of feeling overwhelmed – if you are feeling overwhelmed, that could be a sign that there is just too much stuff in your life. Take a look around, is your physical space cluttered, is your work space cluttered, is your mind cluttered? Where can you get rid of some stuff?

The other day, as I was sorting through my emails, I realized another place to purge. All of the email subscription lists that I belong to. I tend to belong to two types of email lists, information emails and daily deal emails.

For the information emails, I’m not reading them, haven’t for months. So instead of giving me useful information, they become this thing in my inbox that keeps hanging over my head as something that I should read.

Getting emails about local daily deals sounds good. But the reality for me, is that they just temp me to buy stuff that I don’t need (because it’s such a good deal). More stuff to clutter up my life.

So as you think about cleaning up the clutter, I encourage you to also take a look at your inbox and get rid of anything that is not serving you now.

Work and Home – 3 Tips to Make it Easier

I was at a networking event last week and had the amazing pleasure of hearing Tina Overbury speak. She was part of a panel of successful women entrepreneurs who were sharing their wisdom with the audience. One of the questions that she was asked was how she balances her time between work and her family (she has two very successful businesses,  a husband and three boys). Here’s my interpretation of what she shared with us.

1. When you are is where you are, don’t drift.

If you’re at work, then you’re at work. Don’t be thinking about all the things that you need to do when you get home. Stay focussed, it’s not fair to your business to be thinking about home. When you’re at home, be at home. Don’t answer work emails on your phone or be thinking about all the things that you need to do for work. It’s not fair to your family to be thinking about work. If you need to do some work stuff while at home, go to a separate room, take care of it, and then come back to your family.

2. Check Your Guilt

Tina talked about feeling mommy guilt, which is really common with working moms. While at work we feel guilty because we aren’t spending more time being mom with our family. Ask yourself if that guilt is truly deserved. Chances are, it’s not (at least not in the extreme that our mind often goes to). If there is some deserved guilt, then do what you need to do to mend the situation and move on. Don’t dwell, do it differently next time.

3. Find Your Telephone Booth

I find it really hard to when I get home from work to jump right into mommy/family mode. Tina shared that she knows of a lot of women that have some sort of ritual they do when they transition from work to home. Like Clark Kent changing into Superman in the phone booth. For some it’s having a quick shower, for others it might be simply sitting someplace quiet for a few moments. It’s a clear transition that work is done and now it is time for family. I’ve tried this for the past few days and I have to say, it has made a big difference. It’s like getting clear in your head where your focus needs to be. Having the babysitter stay for an extra 30 minutes, or leaving work 30 minutes early has absolutely been worth it.

Final Thought…

Most of us experience overwhelm at some point (or many points) in our life. We can choose not to look at our life and just keep truckin along, hoping things will magically change, or, we can try some little things that could just make a huge difference. It’s always our choice.

YOU Are a Walking Experiment

The health/fitness/wellness industry is plagued with programs, powders and pills that promise you amazing results. This industry might as well have a license to print money. People are so desperate for the “thing” that will take away their problem, that will give them the physical body they want, that they will try almost anything and pay almost anything.

I had a student in a fitness course years ago who declared to the whole class that he was 100% certain that there was no quick fix anywhere on the planet. He said that if Oprah hasn’t found the fix for health/wellness/fitness then it doesn’t exist. With the resources at her disposal and her past struggles you bet if there was a quick fix out there she would have found it by now.

So please, let go of the hope that there is the PERFECT program, powder, pill out there for you – it doesn’t exist.

But here’s what does exist, a whole bunch of programs, powders and pills that may or may not work for you. YOU are a walking experiment. The mindset that you want to have is one of curiosity. So try that new program at the gym, see what works for you and what doesn’t. Try that new way of eating and see what works for you and what doesn’t. By trying different things you can keep all the pieces that worked and get rid of all the pieces that didn’t. In essence you create your own program through the bits and pieces of all the other things that you’ve tried.

Each one of us is so incredibly unique that I think it’s offensive for someone to suggest that they have the solution for everyone. What they may have, is one piece that could help you.

So instead of looking for a single thing that is going to give you the health and wellness that you want, think of yourself as a walking experiment. Keep what works and trash the rest.

3 Reasons Why We Eat

I’ve been reading the book “Eating Behaviours and Obesity” by Dr. Shahram Heshmat over the past few weeks and I have to say, he has a great way of putting complex information into an easy to understand format.

One of the things that he writes about are the 2 reasons why we eat. While these weren’t a surprise to me in concept, the way that he titled and described them really made sense to me. I have added  third to the list that I personally experience.

picture of book cover

The Reasons

  1. physiological hunger (you physically feel hungry) – our body needs food to survive
  2. hedonic hunger – we eat because it makes us feel good
  3. boredom – this one is my addition.

How I Respond to those Reasons

Lately I have been playing around with these 3 reasons. Each time I want to eat something I ask myself which of the 3 reasons is the reason why I am reaching for food in that moment and I have a certain action I do for each one.

  1. physiological hunger – great! Continue on!
  2. hedonic hunger – hmmm….will those cookies really make you feel better? Wait at least 10 minutes before giving into this one (usually by the end of the 10 minutes I don’t want the cookies anymore)
  3. boredom – get your ass of the couch and do something!

What are your tips and tricks for eating for the right reasons? I would love to hear them!

I Want to Look Better Naked

If this is what is important to you, own it. Don’t beat yourself up for being vain or selfish. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your physical appearance. The one caution I will give you though is to make sure that the reason why you want to look better is because you actually want it, not because you think you should. We get bombarded by messages all the time about how we “should” look. If you want to change your physical appearance, do it for you, not for someone else.

You Have to do More than your Normal

Here’s the deal with changing your physical appearance, you need to make your body do more than what it’s used to. So if you’re used to walking for 30 minutes three times per week and you want your body to change more, then you need to make it do more.

The ideal is to get your body ready to do higher intensity physical activity. Exercising at higher intensities will burn more calories during the workout as well as boost your metabolism for a few hours once the workout is over.

Be Ready

You can’t start with high intensity, you need to work your way up to it. If you jump in before your body is ready you put yourself at risk for injury, overtraining and burn-out. General guideline is to do a basic fitness program for at least 6-8 weeks before starting something that is of a higher intensity (bootcamp classes, high intensity interval training – HIIT, Crossfit etc.).

Don’t Over Do It

When you are ready for high intensity workouts you only want to do those 2-3 times per week. And then add in 1-2 days of other activity that’s at a lower intensity. If you do too many workouts at a high intensity it can result in injuries, illness, decreased results, trouble sleeping, agitation etc.

What Goes in Your Mouth Also Counts

If you aren’t eating well then what you put in your mouth could be undoing all the hard work that you are accomplishing through your workouts. There are so many differing opinions on what you should eat. I say start with the basics:

  • Eats lots of veggies and some fruit each day
  • Stay away from processed foods as much as you can
  • Stay away from the whites – white bread, white pasta, white rice etc.
  • Drink lots of water – limit juice or any other sweetened drinks

Once you have mastered the basics then you can start to take a look at a more involved way of eating.

FREE Resources to help get you started

For more information about high interval training programs download my free call (33 minutes) and report, “The Secret of Fat Burning Programs”.

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  • Access the report here

For a FREE copy of my best selling e-book, Enough Gimmicks: Get Fit Wherever You Are, click here. This is a straight forward book that will get you started with a home exercise program where all you need is one piece of $10 equipment.