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.
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
What does building a bonfire have to do with living an amazing life? It serves as a very good metaphor. What does it take to build a good fire? Let’s assume you were never in boys or girls scouts and we will break it down for you. You will need a safe place to do so. Making sure your fire burns only where you want it to. You will need kindling, or small pieces of wood or other flammable material that lights easy but burns quickly. You will also need successfully larger and larger pieces of wood to burn more intense and for longer periods of time. You will need to arrange these in such a way that they burn in the proper order. If you try to light the big log first, chances are your match will burn out far before the log catches fire. This brings us to our last needed element, an ignition source of some nature to start the whole thing burning.
Ok, so we have established what it takes to build a good fire, but what does this have to do with living an amazing life? Here is the answer, your motivation is much like building a fire. You will need to properly keep the fires of passion burning hot and big if you want to be able to push through obstacles toward the amazing life you reaching for. This is true of any goal or project you are working on. You will need kindling, which represents small goals that are easier to obtain as you are on your way to achieving the ultimate goal. The feeling of triumph you feel is like the burning of the kindling that will slowly start the larger logs, also known as bigger goals ablaze. You will need the right amount of this kindling. To little and your passion will fizzle long before you are able to reach your bigger goals. Just as you will need successfully larger more daring and scary goals as you get closer to your prize. You will also need an ignition source. Now many people in life, myself included, have waited for a situation to get so bad that it forces you to take action. Desperation can be a great motivator. So should we sit around waiting for our lives to fall apart so we can give ourselves a big kick in the ass to take the actions needed? Not necessarily. Another great way to motivate your self and ignite your own personal bonfire of passion is to look at what you are missing by not taking action. Grab a pen and paper and start to make a list. What will you lose or are you currently losing by not taking action? How worse off is your life being made by your procrastination? Here is a good time to be brutally honest. Trying to lose weight? How does it make you feel when you go clothes shopping and nothing fits? How does it feel when you look in the mirror? This may seem harsh but emotion is the strongest human motivator. So in addition to this ‘push’ of emotion you can double your chances of success by adding a pull. What I mean here is on another piece of paper, or the other side list how much better your life would be if you did take action. Using the above example, how good would it feel to look in the mirror and like what you see? Write it down, but even better take time to close your eyes and picture this. Really add the element of emotion. How could would it feel to get attention from a person you find attractive? If your goal was financial freedom how good would it feel to not worry about paying the bills or if your job is safe? Write it all down and picture it in your mind. Really add as much emotion as you can.
Now if you have done this all correctly you will have created an unstoppable force that will literally burn through and fear or doubt that stands in your way. Still even after you have created your bonfire of passion for success there is more work to do. Let me ask you if you have a fire going and leave it unattended what happens? Eventually you burn through all the logs you have. So the secret to keeping motivation going is to keep adding logs. Now this doesn’t mean only to keep adding new goals, although that is not a bad idea. Other logs you can add include gathering friends who both motivate you and hold you accountable. Purchasing new books or motivational CDs, taking pictures or your fitness progress or bank statements. As you continue to go towards a goal, you must continue to add logs or your fire will burn out.
English: Everything starts from needs or desires that become goals. In order to achieve their goals people frame intentions that lead to actions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As 2014 begins a lot of us begin to lay out a few ‘new years resolutions’ a set of goals which we hope to accomplish in the coming year. Goals are important to be sure. They give us a point to aim for and direction to head. Still most of our resolutions fall flat and gyms that were full in January and February are empty by March and April. Why does this happen? Why do we give up on our goals so quickly? I think the answer is two-fold. First, a lot of our goals both at New Years and throughout the year are more about what we wish to accomplish. I can imagine you scratching your head asking “Isn’t that what goals are supposed to be about?” Well, yes and no. If your only focus is on accomplishing something say losing 20 pounds, it is outside of us. We are not very attached to it. Those 20 pounds are something separate from us. True, we only are wishing they were separate from us, but there is not emotional investment in something to accomplish. So how can we become someone who sticks to their resolutions and improves on who they were last year? The first step is to change accomplishing something to becoming more. Take the weight loss example. What seems like a more powerful goal, to lose 20 pounds or to become a healthier and more physically fit person? You could lose weight by starving yourself or taking some unhealthy weight loss pill, but is that really improving? So how do we stick to our goals of wanting to become more? Add a why. Most people have a goal, but there is no passion behind it. The easiest way to establish that is to decide why we want that goal. If your goal is to become a more physically fit person list why. Perhaps it is to be able to keep up with your children or even be around for them longer. Perhaps there was a painful situation that being out of shape caused, write that down! Pain can be a very powerful motivator if we use it properly. So write a list of what you wish to become in your life, then below each goal write several whys. The more powerful the better. Then as you start to stray from your commitment review that list. Remembering why you want to do something can be for more powerful than just remembering you want to do it. Try to remain positive about your goals and picture how life will be better when they are accomplished. That will make the goals your friends not your enemy. Any other ideas for sticking to your goals? Please feel free to share with the rest of us!
Your selection of friends be they supportive or weighing. Smart, funny, depressing, spiritual, or just plain insane. Choose wisely as this will go a great way in defining your life experience
As I mentioned on Monday, this weekend was my high school reunion. It was a rare chance to be in a large group of people having conversations that you may not have planned on. On a daily basis we are generally surrounded by a select few people. The key word here is ‘select’. Who does the selecting? That is the key point here. I found myself a few times in conversations that were rather uninspiring to say the least. I had not really noticed how much my circle have friends has changed, or to be more correct evolved as my pursuit of a more successful and rewarding life has. If your goal is to lose weight, you would not make it a habit to hang around people who have issues of over-eating. Consequently, if your goal is to live a life with more optimism, more direction, and more determination, you should make a point to befriend and spend time with people who if not have those very qualities, but at the very least will hold you accountable. So take a good look at your current circle of friends, is there someone who is always a ‘Negative Nancy’? Someone who always says “woe is me”. Limit your exposure to people who limit themselves, because inevitably they will end up limiting you. Now I can hear you saying “I would love to Neil, but they are my friends!” I can respond to that by offering you two very important pieces of information. First, if you do not value your own well-being over that of someone else’s hurt feelings you are not going to continue to evolve in life. Now, you don’t have to be mean, ditch your friends all together. In fact, I always recommend trying to get them involved. There are people I have the pleasure of speaking with on almost a daily basis and I have enlisted their help in accomplishing my goals. All you have to do is make yourself accountable. I have said to a friend of mine, “Kim, every time we chat, ask me how the book is coming or ask me how the writing went” Not only does it hold you accountable, but your friends play a key part in your success, which fosters a feeling of gratitude within you for the friendship. Thus, the friendship becomes stronger. Now, back to our negative nancy example. If you say, “Sandra, I am trying to build a more optimistic outlook, so if you hear me sounding negative can you give me a reminder?” that may work in one of two ways. One, your friend may develop a more optimistic outlook themselves by assisting you. If so, great. They may also go with the Debbie downer aspect and say things like “OK, but it won’t work” In this case you don’t have to comment on their negative attitude or even try to fix it. Just run like hell! maybe not literally, but let this be a red flag. Now if you are still concerned with limiting or even eliminating negative people from your life, you can start by adding positive people. Think of the area of your life you wish to work on. Weight loss? Find a friend who is a healthy eater, sticks to their workout routine, or even just has a very encouraging attitude. Finances? Find a friend who is good with their own. Start spending more time around them. With adding more positive influences, the negative ones with naturally fall away. So, take a look at your current circle of friends. are there some you could benefit by spending more time with? Some you could do with spending less time with? Then make up your mind and begin to pick your own posse!
One of the biggest obstacles to people living a happy life is they are never really in it. They either spend too much time regretting and reliving the past, or even worse, worrying and dreading what might happen in the future. I am a big fan of setting the past free, and not worrying about things that ‘might’ happen. I did find one interesting caveat to this theory. When we focus on ‘what is’ it becomes really hard to get to where we want to be. How many times have we said to ourselves “I really feel fat, I need to lose some weight” Only to find our efforts end in vain? Have you ever looked at a stack of bills thinking “I really have to get this budget under control” only to end up more in debt at the end of the next month? The reason for this and the solution is rather quite simple. I must confess it escaped me until earlier this evening. While spending time debating if my current job is for me and if I will be able to handle the upcoming challenges considering how overwhelmed I am already feeling, the answer came to me. I was focusing too much on what is! How could we ever expect to achieve weight loss when starting with feeling fat? You can not achieve financial well-being out of thoughts of poverty. Instead we should spend a good 5 to 10 minutes a day doing something most of us haven’t done since childhood. Daydream! That’s right put the power of our imagination to work for us instead of against us! When we were young we dreamed of all the great things we would do when we grew up. We pictured what our life would be like. Here is the important part, when we pictured that we were filled with all the excitement and emotion that we would feel when that situation came to pass. Then as we grew up our imagination changed. We wonder what will happen if I lose my job? How will I pay the bills? What will life be like looking for a job in this economy? We also fill it with all the feelings of worry and dread that go along with that situation. Either way we are drawing what we are picturing with such intense emotion into our life. So do yourself a favor, become a kid again! Imagine how it would feel to win the lottery. How it would feel if your job was thrilling and enjoyable. Picture it, but more important, feel it! Take yourself on a mini mental vacation. I would type more on this idea, but my flight to my mental vacation is boarding as we speak!