Category Archives: goals

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…

FOMO

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.

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.

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”.

  • Access the call here
  • 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.

Do You Want to be Healthier, or Just Look Better Naked?

Let’s be honest, what are you more concerned with, your health, or your physical appearance? No judgement, just a simple question that is absolutely essential to knowing the answer to before you start a physical activity program.

Here’s the deal, what we do to improve our health is a WHOLE lot different than what we do so we look good naked.

I want to improve my health

If this is you then the answer is pretty straight forward. Almost too straightforward, but trust me, it works. If you want to improve your health you need to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. Now I’m talking steps per day, walking up and down the stairs in your house, walking from your car to your office, taking the dog for a walk, playing with your kids at the park. Simply walking. Just 10,000 steps each day and you will improve your health. This translates to roughly 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.

So what does 150 minutes of moderate physical activity actually look like in a person’s life? Well, it breaks down to 21.5 minutes each day. I like to make things as simple as I possibly can. The average one hour TV show has 15-20 minutes of commercials. If you were to just stand up and be active during the commercials of one show that you are watching you would get 15-20 minutes of physical activity. It doesn’t get any easier or simpler than that! Need some ideas on what kind of activity to do during commercials? Click here to download a FREE copy of my best selling book, Enough Gimmicks: Get Fit Wherever You Are. It has a whole body program that you can do with one simple piece of equipment that will cost you about $10.

Sound too good to be true? It’s true.

Look Better Naked?

Now what about target heart rate training? What about all this media around high intensity training? If your focus is improving your health, you do not need to worry about those things. If you focus is on looking better, now that’s a different conversation…Which I will cover in my next post…If you want an idea of what I’m going to talk about, when you get my FREE book (click here) you will also get a free report on fat burning programs.

 

Is the Fitness Industry Part of the Obesity Problem?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the reasons why it’s so difficult for so many people to make the changes they need to in order to get in better shape.

In the fitness courses that I teach I ask my students to list marketing messages that the general public is exposed to from the fitness industry. Here’s some examples:

  • Fitness has to be hard to work
  • If you aren’t completely exhausted you aren’t working hard enough
  • Getting in shape takes lots of time and is expensive
  • The whole point of getting in shape is to get skinny

Do you relate to any of these statements? Take a moment to really think about each one. If any of these statements feel true to you, no wonder you struggle to make the changes you need to get in better shape. Hard work, exhaustion, lots of money, you’re not successful until you’re skinny. Yeah, sign me up for some of that.

The more I think about how fitness is marketed, the more I start to wonder if what we’re doing in the fitness industry is actually part of the problem. Would you feel different about getting in shape if you were exposed to more messages about moving your body in the name of health, in the name of feeling better, in the name of it’s just good for you? Hmm, I wonder.

And it’s not entirely the fitness industry’s fault. Part of the problem is human nature. People want results and they want them fast. This is what drives the creation of fitness programs and products that cost money, and require you to work out at an intensity that you can only sustain for 30 or 60 days (if you’re lucky). Now, if the fitness industry promoted the 12 month, get healthy for life type of program, no one would buy it.

So what do we do?

If we keep marketing fitness the way we’ve been doing it people will continue to believe that it has to be hard, that you have to be skinny to be successful and that you’re not good enough the way you are. 

[Tweet “If we market fitness in the long-term reality that it is, no one will buy it.”]

I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can change how we promote fitness in a way that would encourage and inspire more people to get in shape.

Brenda

 

1 Step to a Happier Life

My last post was about losing 30 pounds by clearing up the clutter. Of course I was referring to mental/emotional pounds. So many of us struggle, struggle all the time with everything it seems. We struggle with eating healthy, we struggle with being active, we struggle with being a stressed out, frustrated, overall unhappy person. And what is becoming more and more clear to me is that so much of this struggle is due to things that seem completely unrelated. Key phrase there, they seem unrelated.

What are all the outstanding things you have on your to-do list that you keep putting off? Take a moment, write them down. No, really, write them down, now.

I mean it, write them down.

Now.

So you have your list. It might feel a bit overwhelming. Here’s the thing, it will only get worse if you do nothing about it. I hate to break it to you, but there aren’t magic fairies flying around just waiting to do these things for you. No magic fairy that is going to take my car to get an oil change or mop my kitchen floors. And when you have all these things looming, hanging over your head, everything in life feels harder. It’s harder to cook a healthy meal, it’s harder to go outside and play with your kids in the backyard, it’s harder to take a deep breath and be patient with your partner.

You only have so much mental and emotional energy, just like you only have so much physical energy. When you are tapped out mentally/emotionally your capacity for taking care of things is less. So, the to-do list gets longer and things spiral downwards.

The fix is easy. Choose one thing are your list and get ‘er done. That’s it. Get your ass in gear and take control of your life.

If you are a Personal Trainer working with a client who is struggling, ask them to make a list and as part of their training homework have them start knocking things off. Because here’s the deal,  if your client is bogged down by their looming list of things to-do, there is no way they can give 100% to their training or their healthy lifestyle. They won’t reach the goals they have set with you, which is frustrating for both of you.

 

Whose Goal is this Anyway?

Have you ever set a goal and not achieved it? For most of us the answer is a frustrating YES! Years ago when this would happen to me the next logical step after failing was to pick apart all the things I could have done differently or that I did wrong. Basically beat myself up over not reaching the goal. Then I embarked on a 2 year journey to become a life coach, and boy did I have my fair share of light bulb moments in that process! One of the things I quickly realized is that when I step back and look at my motivation behind some of those failed goals, it wasn’t coming from a place that was true to the core of who I am. They were things that I did because a friend was doing them, or because I felt it was something that I “should” be doing in my life. They weren’t things that I really wanted to do or to achieve. No wonder I didn’t succeed!

Stop setting the wrong goals! Take a look at your current goals and ask yourself, “why is this important to me?” Be honest with yourself, set a timer for 2 minutes and just keep talking about why it is important. Often times when we take a moment to ask this question not only do we become clearer on our motivations but the goal itself becomes more clear. A few years ago I had a personal training client who was struggling to lose 20 pounds. I did this exercise with her, asking her why that goal was important. As she talked about it things like “I want to feel better”, “I want to have more confidence”, “I want to feel sexier” started to come to the surface. So in that two minutes we were able to see that this goal of losing 20 pounds wasn’t just about losing the weight, there was much more going on. And once we were aware of this we started incorporating other things into her life that would help with those deeper motivations. She continued to be physically active and to eat healthy and she started buying clothes that made her feel sexy, she made an effort to stand taller when she walked and she become dedicated to getting enough sleep each night so she was rested the next day. All of things made her feel happier with herself and when she felt happier being physically active and eating healthy were much easier to do.

So, look at your goals and think about what they are really all about. When you do this you open up so many other doors that can move you in the direction of what you really want, instead of what you think you should want. And if at the end of the day if you do not reach a goal you set instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself why it wasn’t the right goal. Then you can re-group, get clearer on what the real goal is and go after it!

This posting was written for KP Athletic Wear (reprinted with permission from www.kpathleticwear.com)


Keep Your Goals to Yourself

Recently I watched a very interesting video of Derek Sivers talking about keeping your goals to yourself (click here to view the video). In this video he talks about decades of research that goes against what most of us have been told about setting goals.

Throughout my whole professional career I have been told that we have a greater chance of achieving our goals when we tell someone about it. This way they can help hold us accountable to that goal. The research that Derek refers to actually says the opposite. That when we tell someone our goal our mind is tricked into feeling we have already achieved the goal and that feeling of satisfaction actually decreases our motivation to do the work needed to reach the goal. Our mind mistakes the talking about our goal for the doing of the goal.

My first reaction was that this is hooey. If we aren’t held accountable how will we ever reach our goals? Then, as I rolled some of these ideas around in my head I got to thinking about how unsuccessful most people are at reaching their goals. So perhaps there is something here, something for us to look at. If we are not having success at achieving our goals then we need to try a different approach. Is keeping your goals to yourself the new approach to try, I am not sure. But it sure gives us some food for thought.

If you would like to read Derek Sivers blog on this topic where he outlines the research in more detail please click here.

Making Time for the Things that Matter

I knew it had been a while since I wrote my last blog….didn’t realize it had been since October 28, almost two months ago! So I thought this would be a perfect time to talk about making time for the things that matter. As most of us have experienced, it is easy to get wrapped up in the day to day stuff and not make time for the important things. And it’s not that we aren’t busy, we are. The problem is that we allow our days to get so full of the busy work that there is little to no time for the important work. One of my favorite illustrations of this comes from Nora Sheffe, a consultant with the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS). Think about the following:

  • take an empty mayonnaise jar and fill it with golf balls, is it full?
  • now pour a box of small pebbles into the jar, is it full?
  • pour a box of sand into the jar, is it full?
  • then pour in a cup of coffee….

Here is the metaphor:

  • the golf balls are the important things (family, health, passions etc.), things that if you lost everything else and only they remained, your life would still be full.
  • the pebbles are the things that matter (job, house, car etc.).
  • the sand is everything else (the small stuff) – if we fill the jar with sand first, with the small stuff first, we will never have room for the more important pebbles and golf balls.
  • the coffee – no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.

So, pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness, take care of your golf balls. Set your priorities, the rest is just sand.

For me this means scheduling time each week to blog so that my jar doesn’t end up full of sand leaving me with no room for my blogging golf ball.

Which golf ball will you take care of this week?