Category Archives: self care

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.



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.

I Don’t Need This Crap

I don’t know about you, but there is something about the start of a new year that gets me into cleaning mode. Getting rid of stuff I don’t use anymore, taking care of things that I have been putting off (like taking bottles to the recycling depot, getting rid of an old printer), all the stuff that tends to pile up in the busy-ness of life.

I wrote about this last year in my post, Lose 30 lbs – PURGE.

Clearing our home of the unnecessary things always makes me feel better. And I have also been spending time clearing up the things that are hanging over my head. Those stupid things that we have to do, don’t really want to and don’t really have to by any particular deadline. Those kinds of things, those are my achilles heel. I put them off and put them off until the pile is so big I feel like I’m going to blow a gasket. Getting an oil change on the car, setting up my daughters RESP, pulling together my 2013 taxes. All important things, all things that I say I will do later, and don’t.

What I’ve come to realize is that I don’t need this crap. I don’t need the physical crap of extra stuff in my house, extra emails in my in-box, the emotional crap of letting things pile up. So, this is where I draw the line. No more putting things off that don’t have a hard deadline. If they need to be done, they need to be done and that’s it. By getting rid of the crap that I don’t need, I open up so much more time in my schedule, energy in my body and contentment in my life. Whew.

So, what is it that don’t you need anymore and are ready to get rid of? Let’s create some space for all the amazing things you want to do in 2014!

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.

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.

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.



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.


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.