REVISITING A MAGIC FORMULA 

 

Until you change yourself, nothing else will change. Once you change yourself, everything else will change” – Neil Panosian

Last week we examined the fact that change comes from within. Changing yourself can be quite a struggle though. It is not easy admitting something about us could use a little improvement. Self-improvement always involves a little humility. We have to confess to ourselves we are not perfect. What we are doing, however, is creating a better person for tomorrow. That is not to say that the person we are today is not amazing, but that we want to bring an even better version of ourselves to those we care about.  I like to picture those road construction signs you see on the side of the road. Perhaps one that reads self-improvement work ahead or maybe even A better me under construction. I think if people were able to see those signs and know that although things in our life may look a bit crazy, they are really just under construction, they might be a bit more patient. Remember though that they can’t so letting them know we are working on things can help.

It amazes me how much the accent is on removing things in our life today. “Lose all that extra weight” or “Get rid of all that negativity”. Sure, both would be beneficial, but there is an easier way. Instead of going on a diet, or pushing people away, try adding. In my seminars one of the principles I teach is this, “The easiest way to eliminate the negative is by adding the positive.” In other words, forget the diet, try adding exercise and a few healthy foods. If you eat a salad, for example, you have that much less room to eat a twinkie. Spend some time with someone who really feeds your soul? That is time that cannot be spend listening to someone gossip.

As you add these positive changes you may find you have the momentum to start to reduce or eliminate some of the negative things. Maybe you will even discover how much you enjoy the positive and then will have even less room in your life for the negative. It is easier for people to add things into there life than to remove them. Removing things can cause a feeling of being deprived, or a feeling of lack and that something is missing. When you add something to your life it is relatively painless. Filling up on the positive will definitely leave you to full to consume the negative.

Feel free to share any suggestions you have to add positivity to your life in the comments below!

I DON’T NEED SELF HELP!

I really dislike the term self-help. To me it always sounded as if something was wrong with the person. Then again, the word ‘help’ has a bad reputation. Especially for men help seems to be associated with being weak. Personally I do not see it that way. One thing admitting you could use a little help in a certain area shows you trust the people you are sharing that information with. It also shows a true desire to better one’s self. Both of those I find to be admirable qualities.

Another aspect of working to improve yourself is that you are growing. Without growth we are left with a feeling of discontent. One of the best ways to be happy with yourself is to progress in respect to any goal you are working on. In short – progress equals happiness.

If there is a certain area you are not particularly strong in that does not mean you are weak as a person. On the contrary, recognizing the fact that there is an area you could improve on and working to do just that takes a great amount of courage. Looking for self-help, or as I prefer to say self-improvement does not mean you are bad at something it just means you are trying to get better.

As we are working at these goals it is also important to remember our strengths. Everybody is good at some things and not at others. My lady can create amazing cakes, I cannot. I have a better grasp of history than she. Does that make either one of us less than the other? Not at all. Last post I quoted the great scientist Albert Einstein. I am going to do so here again. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This quote may sound silly, but it is as true with humans as it is in fish.

As we continue in the season of spring which is often associated with rebirth and renewal, allow yourself to be reborn. Grow your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Ask for help when you need and don’t feel ashamed. Here is one more thing to keep in mind as you do ask for help. How do you feel when you are able to help someone? If you are a person who reads a blog like this, I imagine you feel quite good. When you don’t ask for help from someone who cares about you think of the good feeling you are depriving them of.

Feel free to share the ways you are working to improve yourself in the comments below. I wish you the greatest fortune in all your endeavors.

KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO GO

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This goofy character is me at our local museum which is one great museum if I must say so myself. The other day my lady took me there on a date. For those of you who know how much I love learning that is as good as it gets. Even during a day filled with love and learning I still have an eye out for something I can use to help live an amazing life.

One of the first things I have people do in my seminars is determine where they want their life to go. Sounds simple enough, but really it is not. A lot of people know a lot more about what they do not want than what they do. This time of year I hear a lot of people complaining how it is still cold and dreary where I live. Ok, some of those voices come from the other side of the mirror. I hear people say “I don’t want to live in this state anymore”. The fact is a lot of us approach our life challenges this way. Such things as “I don’t want to be overweight anymore” “I’m sick of living paycheck to paycheck”. These statements can be heard by people anywhere and everywhere.

There is nothing wrong with being discontented with where you are in life. In fact, this can be very helpful. What we need to focus on is not where we do not wish to be in life, but instead where we do want to be. When people say I don’t want to live here it is too cold. They could end up in the artic circle. They were not focusing on where they want to go. As you can see in the picture above I have a specific goal in mind, Fiji. I would like to visit there for the sunshine and the friendly nature of the people and culture. Tired of being overweight? Focus on the benefits of living a healthy active lifestyle. It is a lot more productive and fun for that matter to focus on where we want to go instead of where we want to leave.

So how do we do all this? The first step which I do in my seminars in more detail is to create a life mission statement. This contains two parts. The first part is the declaration, or where you want to go. The secret is to make this powerful and positive. Instead of “I don’t want to be overweight” try “I am determined to live a healthy and happy life”. Make the words powerful and positive. If your statement is weak, chances are the actions behind it will be too.

The second part is where we make sure this motivation lasts. The ‘why’ of your statement. Here is a secret about that too. We as humans are really only motivated by two basic principles at our core; the need to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. If you can include both of these in your mission statement it will keep give you  the motivation to keep going when the going gets rough.

How does one include both of those in a powerful and positive mission statement? Let me give you an example. Sticking with a person determined to live a more healthy life. Notice I didn’t say ‘wanting’ or ‘trying’ to live a healthier life. Say “I want to live a healthier life”. Now say “I am trying to live a healthier life”. Finally take a deep breath and say “I am determined to live a healthy life”. You can feel the difference choosing the right words can make. So including the pleasure or what we stand to gain is pretty easy. In our above example it could read something like this. “I am determined to live a healthier life so I will have more energy to accomplish my goals”.

Ok, but what about including pain or what we stand to lose? How can you do that and keep your statement positive? That requires a little creativity, but can be done. In our example if you do not live a healthy life, you may lose time with your loved ones. That is not a particularly fun thought, but you can include it in your statement to add even more motivation. Here is how. “I am determined to live a healthy life so I will have more energy to accomplish my goals and spend the maximum time with those I love” Read that in the mirror every morning or when you are tempted to eat an entire medium pizza and it will keep you motivated and on track!

Again I go into this in more depth at my seminar and in my upcoming book. For right now create your own positive life mission statement using the guidelines above. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just get one down. You can always tweak it as you go along. The sooner you get focused on where you want to go and motivated to do so, the sooner your life will transform before your eyes! Feel free to share this idea with friends. Perhaps get together for coffee and work together on your mission statements.

THE LITTLE THINGS

It is the second month of the year and a lot of us have began the year with the goal of being healthier and in better shape. I know I am one of them. Did you know what I discovered? No matter how committed I am, or how passionate I am about this decision I cannot wake up thin and healthy. In fact, if I expect to I can feel overwhelmed and like a failure.

I have discovered a way to start feeling good both physically and emotionally each and every day. That is understanding that I need to change my rituals. Everyday there are little things we do that become so ingrained in us we seldom even notice. Trying to change these can be a tough and uphill battle. Here is what I suggest at my seminars and what I am going to share with you here. Instead of beginning by try to stop doing all of the things you do wrong, begin by adding one thing right a day. Instead of giving up all the bad food you eat, try beginning the day by eating an apple. They give you energy and help you feel full. Then every day you do so make sure you allow yourself to feel good about doing it. Want to improve your relationship or take it to another level? Try giving your significant other one genuine compliment or sign of appreciation a day.

While you are doing these new habits certainly work on reducing and eliminating the destructive things you do as well. You will often find that by adding something positive it will make that a little easier as well. eventually maybe add 2 things a day. Perhaps adding a healthy snack at lunch or going for a nice stroll after dinner. Before you know it you will gain momentum and you will be well on your way to your goals.

Feel free to share this post and share any ideas you may have in the comments below.

DON’T FALL INTO A RUT

Raise your hand if you have every tried to change an unhealthy habit. Ok, now raise your hand if you have found it extremely hard to do and have went back to the more familiar, although perhaps less healthy way? Ok, you can put your hand down now as depending upon where you are reading this it may look a little funny. I think we have all found ourselves in that situation at least once. Sure, you would like to make it to the gym every morning but that warm bed and few more minutes of sleep feel really good.

Did you know the gym is probably the better option? Sure. You may even know as contrary as it sounds exercise provides you more energy. So why not jump out of bed? You may tell yourself things like I am lazy, or I just wanted more sleep. Well, to some degree those may be true scientists tell us there tends to be a little more to it than that.

New habits take about 21 days to develop. Who would really do something 21 days that is difficult and may not be initially enjoyable? Those who rise to the top. I can safely admit I do not follow this as often as I would like and it is a struggle for me as well. Still I think knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel, say in 21 days, can really help. I personally like to try things for a solid month. A good way to stay motivated is to use your calendar. Every day you stick with your goal put an ‘x’ check mark, smiley face or some symbol that works for you. Then as you count them up you can see yourself getting closer to that goal. Perhaps even put a big smiley face on the 21 or 30 day mark, whatever you are shooting for. Then as the days pass by you can see yourself getting closer.

If you have any suggestions that you use to stay motivated to start your new healthy habit feel free to share them in the comments below.

BACK IN THE SADDLE

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The day I am writing this marks my return to the gym after dislocating my shoulder. It will have been 2 months. 

It is amazing the changes that have happened in that time.  My energy had disappeared, my clothes are a lot tighter, and things hurt that didn’t before.

With all of those pain issues in my life and all the pleasure in stand to gain by going you can understand how excited I am. I can’t wait to be more energetic, more flexible and look better.

Still there is one thing I am dreading. Is it the soreness the day after?  No. Is it getting ready, driving there and going through all of that?  No again.  Is it wading through the sea of new year fitness people? Nope.  They are usually gone by now.  So what is it?

The hardest thing for me is having to start over.  Before I injured my shoulder is was lifting certain weights, running for certain time and distance. Now after two months off I will have to start from below that. It is hard not to be a little discouraged. Being a motivational speaker this is both a great challenge and opportunity.

So how am I tackling this?  How am I going to stay motivated and not feel discouraged and quit? Several things.  One I’m enlisting help.  My lovely lady is going with me. She is a great source of both encouragement and accountability. I’m also employing anger and frustration. These are emotions I always caution using. Here however, I am going to keep looking in the mirror and seeing how far I have regressed. Doing this will help me keep that fat crying like in the picture above while also being able to note the improvements.

I’m also interested in any motivational techniques you use for working out.  How do you stay focused? What keeps you coming back? Feel free to share with all of our readers in the Comments below. If this post inspired you or you think it would inspire someone you know please feel free to share it with anyone and everyone