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Posts tagged ‘motivation’

Goal Setting

Setting a goal in itself can be a challenge, but achieving our goals is the part that really takes courage and perseverance.

~Goals don’t just appear.  They really are are dreams with a date on.  Dare to dream big.  What do you really, really want? Put it down on paper and put a date on it—a dealine.  Deadlines turn wishes (dreams) into goals.  Writing things down keep us committed and focused.  You could even try to find a visual that represents your goal and how your life will be different and display it where you can see it daily; seeing it makes it more possible in your mind after a while.

~Make a plan for the goal to come about.  It is not enough to have a dream with a date on; you need to know how you are going to get from where you are to where you want to be. What are you resources? What will you need to learn? Who do you know who can help? How will you go about it?

~Start small!  Divide your plan in small, achievable sub-goals, and give each one of these a deadline as well.  Each one of these sub-goals will alos need to be broken down in tasks; give each task a date to be finished by.  Then go to it!


~Be specific! If you give yourself too much wiggle room, you probably won’t go very far.  So for example, instead of “I will get some exercise this week,” decide how much and how often.

~Don’t try to do it all at once!  If you focus on too much at the same time, you will waste energy and become frustrated.  Try focusing on one goal at a time, and give yourself daily tasks toward it. By building healthy habits one at a time, your confidence will grow and the fulfillment of your goals will take on momentum.

~Don’t deal in absolutes…  If you say “never,” or “always,” you might get frustrated and quit long before you reach your long-term goal.  Deal in measurable things that you have control over. And be kind to yourself without giving yourself lame excuses…

~This leads to this important point: don’t expect perfection.  Don’t beat yourself up over perceive failure—it is probably just a set-back.  Persistence is the key.  If you don’t quit, you can’t possibly lose.

~Continually track your progress.  We are all prone to selective memory at times I think, and we can  conveniently forget the extra potato chips while remembering the extra long walk…

~Reward yourself.  Every where around you there is negative reinforcement, telling you all the time what you are doing wrong.  Focus on what you are doing right and celebrate it.  And when you are doing “wrong,” learn from it and take two steps forward!

~Have a plan B is life throws a monkey wrench into plan A.  So you had to go out, or you couldn’t exercise—what will you do with your circumstance?  How will you use it to your advantage?

goal~Take advantage of a support system, be it family, friends, collegues or strangers online.  It will keep your motivation and your commitment up, and make the reaching of your goal so much more fun.

~And remember that while attaining your goal is thrilling and surely exhilarating, the process involved in reaching the goal fuels you all the way through your journey, and you character is being built in you, as well as a growing sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  The daily work and planning involved in pursuing your goal is actually rewarding in itself!

  Go for it, and take on the world.  What is there to stop you?


Resolution Success

So… the new year has arrived and we are living in it fully now. How are you doing on these resolutions, or goals?


Here’s a bit of motivation for you:

1. Focus on the Process: Almost every goal focuses on an outcome, such as losing 40 pounds or running a marathon. Instead, focus on the process that will get you there. This means that your goal should focus on what you will do, translating your wish list into specific actions. For example, try “I will eat clean 90 % of every meal”  instead of “losing 40 pounds.”

2. Make It DailyYour best bet for success is turning your goals/resolution into a daily actions, so that they become a habit. “Exercise 10 minutes a day”  is way better than “Go to the gym every week at some point.”

3. Visualize: It may sound like weird new age stuff, but visualizing yourself doing your resolution/goal does help. When you visualize, your brain “practices” your action. Musicians and athletes use this to improve their performance, and you can use it to increase your success. Just spend a few moments picturing yourself eating less, exercising more or relaxing, or whatever it is you are wanting for yourself this year. Make it vivid — picture sites, smells, and sounds.

4. Feel It: You need to feel the benefits of your resolution in your body. That means pay attention to how your body feels. Is your goal/resolution improving your sleep, mood or energy level? Does it remove stress from your life? Are you seeing benefits? As you feel your progress, you will be encouraged to go on. 

5. Commit: Nothing works if you don’t commit to it. Write down a sentence that says what you are going to do in the new year. Once you write it down, tell everyone about your plans. The more people you tell, the better your chance for success –they can hold you accountable to your pledge, and you can feel an increased sense of needing to stand by your word.

Now go do it!

Winter Exercising

No fun getting out there to run when it’s cold and dark and dreary outside. The nice warm bed seems like such a better choice in the early morning. I know, some of you like winter sportsl ike skiing, snow-showing and cross-country skiing, but it’s not for all of us. So either we shiver outdoors or we are stuck inside getting bored with the same old workouts–well, unless you come to EMM class of course!  Well, anyway, here are some keys to stay motivated throughout the winter months:

The biggest one is pretty simple: make it as easy as possible to do your workouts.

Put Your Workout Clothes in the Dryer: If you’re exercising in the morning and find it hard to force yourself out of that nice, warm bed, put your workout clothes in the dryer for a few minutes before you exercise. It’s often harder to get warmed up when it’s cold outside, even if you’re exercising indoors, and putting on clothes fresh from the dryer is just one way to get your body warm.

Give Yourself Extra Time to Warm Up:

When it’s cold, your muscles can get extra tight which makes exercise uncomfortable and leaves you more susceptible to injuries. In the warmer months, you may be able to get away with shorter warm ups but, when it’s cold, you may find you need a little extra time to get the blood flowing.

Try dynamic warm ups:

Don’t waste time with static stretches but, instead, focus on doing activities to get your body ready for the coming workout. If you’re walking or running, start with a brisk walk and stay at that pace until you start to feel warmer. Gradually increase your pace and give your body extra time to get the blood flowing.

Get warm before you head out: If you’re exercising outside, try warming up inside before heading out the door. It’s much easier to face cold temps when your body is already warm. Try walking or jogging around the house, going up and down the stairs or use a cardio machine if you have one. Just don’t get too sweaty before you go or you’ll get cold.

Take a hot shower: If it’s really cold outside or you just need a gentler transition, you might even try a quick shower to wake you up and get you warm before your workout.

Start easyIf you’re really reluctant to get moving, start your workout with something easy. Giving yourself a transition from bed to workout can make exercise much more appealing.

Go out! If you stay inside all winter, you’ll eventually get bored and forget that there really is a world out there, even if it’s cold. Getting out, even if it’s just for a few minutes, can be rejuvenating and refreshing. If you exercise outside, you hopefully know the proper way to dress to stay warm. But, if you’re still experimenting with just how much to wear, you may need some ideas for where to start. How you dress can make the difference between misery and just generally being uncomfortable. Focus on three layers – the base layer with thin fabrics like silk or wool, a mid layer like fleece to keep you insulated and an outer layer like a wind jacket to protect you from the elements.  Layering works well with cold temps because it helps you stay warm and provides an easy way to regulate your temperature – if you get too hot, just unzip or remove a layer. And don’t forget the hat and gloves!

This second one is just as important: recognize when you’re starting to get bored with your workouts and make a change before you really lose interest.

Alternate going in and out: Start your workout inside with a nice long warm up, then head out for a 3-5 minute walk or run. Come back for another 5-10 minutes until you’re warm again and then continue alternating for a dynamic workout.

Go half and halfAnother option is to do half your workout outside and then finish up inside. The great thing about this is that you get inside before you really start sweating – sweating when it’s cold is not only uncomfortable, it could lead to hypothermia if you’re out for long periods of time.

End your workout outside: A great way to burn extra calories and add something new to your winter workouts is to save 5 minutes at the end of your workout for an outdoor sprint. Head out and walk or run as fast as you can for 5 minutes.

Shovel some snow: If you’re staring out at several inches or feet of snow, exercising may not be safe. Shoveling snow is an excellent whole body workout and a great warm up for more structured (and indoor) exercise.

Mix and Match your Cardio: If you tend to do the same machines all the time, try a cardio medley. Choose 5 different machines and spend 5 or more minutes on each. Or choose 3 machines and hit each for 15 minutes. Mixing things up can make your workouts seem shorter and more interesting.

Mix and Match your Strength Training: If you’ve been doing the same old routine for awhile, try mixing things up by using different types of resistance. Try doing one exercise on a machine (e.g., a chest press) and then an exercise for the same muscle group with the cables or a resistance band (e.g., crossover chest flies). Or, start at the end of your workout and work your way backwards. Just changing the order of the exercise can keep things interesting.

Mix and Match Cardio and Strength: Another way to perk up is to combine cardio and strength in a circuit. Try 5 minutes on the treadmill and then do a minute of squats before a few minutes on the elliptical, etc.

Try Something New: If you find yourself staring at the treadmill with something close to dread, that’s a good sign you need to try something different. Now is a great time to try a new group fitness class like spinning, yoga or kickboxing. If you usually do group fitness, try heading out to the floor and try different machines. If you’re a home exerciser, try different workout videos or simply turn on the radio and make up your own workout – jumping jacks, squats, lunges, pushups, etc. Don’t be afraid to break out of the old routine and try something different, even if it’s not the same intensity as your usual workouts. Doing something new can keep you motivated and on track.

This last one is good for all of us at all times: Reward yourself!

If you’re finding it particularly difficult to get up and do your workout, having something to look forward to may just get you moving. It’s tough to look forward to a workout when it’s cold and dark, but having something nice waiting at the end of your workout can make it all better:

Give yourself an extra ten minutes:  At the end of your workout, use that extra time to sit in the hot tub, take an extra long shower, pick up some coffee from your favorite establishment, stretch, nap or whatever makes you feel good.

Reward yourself every week: At the end of each week, plan something fun you’ll do if you’ve completed all your workouts. A movie, a massage, a shopping trip, an afternoon in front of the fire, etc.

Reward yourself every month: Plan bigger rewards for completing all your workouts in one month. A weekend trip, a new pair of running shoes, a day at the spa… Choose something that makes you smile when you think about it and get moving.

Reward yourself at the end of winter: Another way to stay motivated is to plan something for the end of winter, like a vacation. Knowing you have a vacation to look forward to will motivate you to stay in shape so you’re strong and ready for your trip.





Back on Track

So summer is on, you’re hot and you are feeling a bit lethargic…  Maybe you ate an extra piece of cake yesterday and you missed a workout, and now you feel that you blew it… and your momentum is pooping out…


Don’t talk yourself into quitting.  Take a deep breath, and let me help you get back on track.

It’s all about choices, isn’t it?  Now you are at a crossroad: either you keep walking backwards, which will surely take you even further away from your goals and will make you feel horrible, or you simply have to accept what you see as your weaknesses, forgive yourself and take positive steps down the path that brings you closer to the future you want.
Did you hear me?

~You are not perfect—who is?  To lose a point is not the end of the game in tennis, is it?  It is just a lost point.  You refocus and keep going.  Just like in the game of life, or in the goals you have set for yourself.  Today is another day; embrace it with courage.  You can’t lose if you don’t quit.

~You must forgive yourself—what’s your alternative?  Be kind to yourself; remember, you must live with yourself for the rest of your days, so learn to accept your weaknesses without making excuses for them, and work them out of you little by little while giving yourself room to slip up at times.  You are on a journey, and roads have potholes at times; we just don’t choose to live there.

~You must act—small little steps.  There is just something about taking an action in the face of perceived failure; it’s like you are choosing to be in charge again; life doesn’t have you, but you control your destiny by your choices.  No matter how small the action, start today.  Put your pedometer back on, or start up your nutrition software again, eat your spinach or drink your water.  You will feel empowered as you begin to move in the right direction once more.

~You must keep your dream alive.  There is a future for you out there that you have dreamed of.  Maybe it includes running a marathon, or dazzling your husband with a cute little red dress, or playing with your grandkids without being exhausted, or simply enjoying a healthy life.  Whatever it is, keep it in front  of you; it is worth all of your efforts today.   You choose your future by your choices today.

Here are little baby steps that you can start taking today:

1. Try a short workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing.

2. Try a new recipe. Cooking healthy foods can be fun and it never has to be bland.

3. Eat a  healthy breakfast. Your morning meal sets the stage for the rest of your day, so start if off right!

4. Drink your water. Try to aim for 8 cups each day and you’ll feel the difference!

5. Read motivational quotes! Go online and read testimonies of other people who won the battle for health.

6. Track your food today. No matter how it adds up, you’ll learn from it.

8. Share your goals with someone.  Speaking about htem will make them so much more alive to you, and you will also be held accountable.

9. Exercise for 10 minutes. Jump rope, march in place, or do some crunches. Small amounts do add up to something big!

10. Find a buddy. Get support from friends, whether you need someone to listen or a mentor to give you ideas and encouragement.

11. Take a walk. Don’t worry about how long or far you go—just get out there!

12. Create a motivational collage. Include pictures of your goal and reasons why you want to get there.

13. Go shopping for some healthy foods.

14. Check the nutrition facts before you go out to eat.. That way, you can make an informed choice.

15. Ride your bike. Even a leisurely ride has benefits for your body and mind.

16. Work in the yard. Gardening and yard work is a great way to add activity to your day.

17. Take the stairs. Even if this is the only thing you do all day, you’ll feel stronger for it.

18. Reward yourself for a job well done after you reach a mini goal. The reward can be a new book, a new CD, a bubble bath… whatever makes you happy!

19. Listen to an inspirational song.

21. Measure your portions. It’s a simple way to learn how much you’re eating.

22. Eat a veggie. Even if 5-9 servings sounds impossible to you right now, one is doable.

23. Slow down during meals. You’ll be less likely to overeat and more likely to enjoy your meal.

24. Play! What kids call “play,” we often call “exercise.” Play a sport, a game, or use the playground equipment to bring the fun back into fitness.

25. Learn something new about fitness, nutrition of health.  It can change your mindset and get you back on track.

As long as you’re consistently out-stepping your steps back, you’re ahead of the game.

8 Tips for Success

I love success.  I’ll do most anything to succeed at my goals.  I find it so sad when I fall short of what I wanted to accomplish, and so rewarding than getting there.  So I thought I’d share some of my tips to help you meet your goals.

1. One of the biggest mistakes I have done in the past is to make my goals too big and unattainable.  No, I won’t lose 10 pounds in one week or train for a marathon in 6 weeks; that’s just not going to happen.  But as I break down my dream with a date on it (my definition of a goal) in small chunks and get going on them, I become successful and I actually get there—a bit like the tortoise and the hare.

2. Goals are more tangible when I write them down.  Somehow, the writing of it makes it more official, and helps me to organize my thoughts and to track my progress.  I love to scratch lines on my “to do” list!

3. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it surely make permanent.  Actions that I take every week, every day, a few times a day become as natural as brushing my teeth—good or bad!  So success is very much linked to every day little actions.  Consistency has more power than we realize; it brings about momentum and you will wind up being pulled forward by your very own consistency!

4. Talk about your goal, dream about your goal, sing about your goal!  You need to make it real in every way you know how.  Surround yourself with as many reminders as possible.

5. Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you; limit your contacts with those who put you down!

6. Be kind to yourself when you mess up.   Be your own fan, being supportive rather than critical with yourself.  Savour your victories, and learn from your mistakes.

7. Trust your plan!  Sometimes, we have bad days, or bad weeks.  But you know that your plan works, so trust it and stick to it.  It is just a matter of time…

 8. Never forget to enjoy the journey.  It is very much about today—seize the day, my friend!  Don’t let yourself think of your fitness/health goal as a chore or a burden to be endured.  This is an adventure of self-discovery and of building a meaningful life.  Enjoy the ride!


It happens to all of us, and we call is lapses or potholes or going backwards… We just don’t do well for a while with our choices in nutrition, exercise and mind fillers and we just wind up feeling lousy.  And we know better, and we know that nothing happens by accident, so we realize that this horrible feeling is self-induced, which doesn’t help in the guilt department…  But that’s our real life and that is where we are at.

Now what?

CRAVINGS are not vague annoyances that might go away. They are specific reactions to specific situations that can be isolated, confronted, and understood.  It’s not enough to resolve to be strong.  Start thinking about when and where the cravings happen, or what triggers the desire to eat junk.  Why is this happening?  Does it have to do with stress? With lack of planning?  With not eating enough fiber/protein to feel full all day?

NO MOTIVATION TO EXERCISE is not a vague annoyance that might go away.  It is most often the result of thought patterns that must be addressed. What is your mind choosing to dwell on?  How are you spending your mind time?  Or your lack of motivation can also be the result of bad choices–how little did you sleep? How poorly did you eat?  How much did you drink, and what?  Maybe you made a poor choice that brought about another one, and then another one, like ripples in the water.

Sounds ridiculously simple, but sometimes, all you’ve got to do is to just accept and understand your shortcomings, take a deep breath, and  GET BACK ON THE HORSE!

Start making new kinds of ripples in your life!

Because what matters is not where you have been but what you are choosing right now.

Right this minute, or second.

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