Saving the best for last

We intuitively save the best for last: giving gifts, dessert, fireworks, etc. The same goes for the last day of the year…it’s also the best day of the year. It offers an incredible opportunity to learn from your experiences, grow from your mistakes and evolve into who it is you want to be. As you reflect back, it’s likely you view this past year through one of two lenses: scarcity or abundance.

Scarcity: I could have done better, I should have done it that way, I would have done that instead, I didn’t meet my expectations, it was her fault, I didn’t have enough money, knowledge, influence, control or foresight. No matter what you do, it’ll never be enough and that’s an exhausting way to live.

Abundance: I did the best I could with what I had, I could have done it other ways but I respected my intuition have learned from those experiences, the space between my expectations and reality is called humility, it wasn’t anyone’s fault but I assume all accountability, I didn’t have everything but I put forth effort, I operated with integrity, I honored my commitments, I lived passionately and am learning to love myself in the process. No matter what you do, it’s never a reflection of your self-worth and that’s a liberating way to live.

Invest some time today to reflect on this last day of the year. Going forward, keep a little journal of monthly highlights so it doesn’t all feel like a blur. Wherever you sense you’re becoming critical of yourself (scarcity), instead, align yourself with a spirit of self-compassion, kindness, generosity, understanding and love (abundance). You can save the best for last for many things except love, love first.

 

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Dr. Wayne Dyer

Keeping your heart space open

unknown-4During my daily meditation today, Richard Rohr said: “Spirituality is whatever it takes to keep your heart space open.”

I found that to be incredibly refreshing as it includes the majority of self-care activities I perform daily.

That means getting a good night’s sleep, consuming nourishing foods, engaging my physicality, finding new ways of loving my wife, modeling what being a wholehearted man looks like for my son, managing stress, meditating, journaling, developing my mindset and choosing love over fear are spiritual practices because they keep my heart space open.

This is a key consideration I’ve actually been sharing with my clients. When we perform activities in alignment with our personal Values, we transform them from a physical act to a spiritual practice—a true win-win! It’s like having your cake and eating it too…c’mon that’s living Heaven on Earth!

As you enter this New Year, my hope and prayer for you is that you dig deep and find the courage to do whatever it takes to keep your heart space open and live a life of joyous meaning. Be well.

 

“You have to work to live in love, to develop a generosity of spirit, a readiness to smile, a willingness to serve instead of to take.” Richard Rohr

P.S. You may wonder what all of this has to do with “health and fitness” but remember, people come to me to enhance their Body but their Mind holds them back and their Spirit suffers. Body-Mind-Spirit, it’s all connected…we can no longer just train our Body, we must condition our Mind and Spirit too.

Patterns of those who are stuck in a rut

unknown-3Last week, I discussed that we fail to make our desired changes because we spend too much energy trying to behave differently and fail to invest enough energy in observing the patterns at play.

Now, I’d like to share the patterns I’ve observed of people who can’t seem to break out of their pattern vs. those that do.

Patterns of those who are stuck in a rut…

Instant Gratification: They need to be pleased NOW

All-or-none: They’re either on or off the program

Perfectionism: They allow no room for error

Outcome-focused: They focus too much energy on the goal

Impatient: They think of change as an event, instead of a process

Fixed mindset: They don’t believe they can develop skill sets outside of their natural gifts and talents

Past/future: Their thought life is consumed by yesterday and tomorrow

People-pleasing: They put everyone ahead of themselves and have a hard time saying no

Scattered: Their schedule is out of control

Disbelief: They don’t believe they can live the life they want to

 

Patterns of those who break out of their rut…

Long-term satisfaction: They can delay gratification, making decisions for the future

Balanced: They find their groove in the middle as opposed to the extremes

Healthy striving: They try their best but don’t get hung up if something goes wrong

Effort-oriented: They realize so long as they continue exerting effort, they will reach their desired goal

Realistic: They appreciate change is a process, not an event

Growth mindset: They realize with effort, they can develop new skill sets

Present: Their thought life is focused in the moment, the here and now

Self-assured: They don’t need permission to do what needs to get done

Focused: Their schedule is under control and organized according to what’s important

Believe: They believe they are worthy of the efforts it takes to get where they want to be

Wherever you are is not good or bad, it just is. The best news is that awareness of where you are precedes the transformation of getting where you want to be. The last trait is the most important…if you believe you can, you will.

 

“All fixed patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.” Bruce Lee

A day centered on love

images-1Christmas is wonderful because it’s centered on Love.

The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus over 2000 years ago, was an outpouring of God’s Love for us all.

Whether or not you believe in Jesus does not impact God’s Love for you, for me, for us.

I hope today you realize you have all you need and can express the Love that was so freely given to you.

 

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” Alexander Smith

If not now, when

unknown-2I’m not quite ready to make that change today.

OK, if not now, then when?

How’s tomorrow, next week, next month, next year?

Uh, maybe next month.

OK, why then?

I’m not ready today.

What’ll make you more ready in a month than today?

The fact of the matter is, the future does not exist.

It’s naïve to take what’s out of your control for granted.

Only today offers the certainty to do what you’re capable of doing–seize the day!

 

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live. Dalai Lama

Mind wants, body needs

When clients come to me to improve their health and well-being, their desires tend to be centered more on what they want than what they need.

They want to lose weight, tone up, get in shape, improve flexibility and core strength but they need physical activity, nourishing foods and quality sleep.

I share this strategy with my clients: Mind wants—body needs! Until we give our body what it needs, our mind will always struggle to get what it wants. This is why the activities associated with improving our health can feel like a chore…because we’re prioritizing wants ahead of needs.

I’d like to offer you some tips we offer our clients but keep in mind; more than telling them what to do, we ‘re more interested in teaching them how to think for themselves…

Movement & Exercise

  • Think physical activity: walking, dancing, playing…
  • Respect your threshold, challenge but don’t defeat yourself
  • Variety builds capacity, do everything in a variety of ways

Fuel & Nourishment

  • Think fuel, not diet
  • Consume high-fat, calorically dense, energy enhancing foods
  • Engage the social aspect: enjoy good food with great people

Rest & Recovery

  • Downtime is just as important as sleep
  • Wind down into the evening instead of crash
  • Breathe deeply for 5 minutes before bed and melt into the covers

Placing needs ahead of wants requires a gentle shift in your mindset, from instant-gratification to long-term satisfaction, from all-or-none to balance and from perfectionism to patience.

 

“By doing what you’ve never done, you become someone you’ve never been.” Michael Rizk

Making change by observing patterns

unknown-7When it comes to negative behavioral patterns, we’ve all been around the mountain a time or two. The challenge we face is we spend too much energy trying to behave differently and fail to invest enough energy observing the patterns at play. Once we become aware of our patterns, we have an ability to heal from them.

I was working with a client who felt no matter how hard she worked; she’d inevitably end up in the same place, perceiving little to no change. I advised her the solution is always in the situation and it would be helpful is she could help me understand her pattern.

Starting out, everything’s going great, then…

  1. Something happens outside of her control
  2. Everything starts falling apart
  3. She checks out and becomes unavailable
  4. She feels physically awful
  5. She gets fed up and decides to get back on track
  6. She becomes more mindful and aware of her surroundings
  7. She starts caring for her basic needs (sleep/downtime, nourishment, physical activity)
  8. Everything improves…until the pattern repeats itself

From the outside looking in, it’s pretty clear her trigger is a lack of control. We were able to identify the experiences that led to her need to be in control but more importantly, that awareness has led to her personal transformation.

 

“To understand is to perceive patterns.” Isaiah Berlin

Mental issues, physical manifestations

unknown-6When people hire me to help them lose weight, improve energy and enhance posture, they expect we will hit the ground running with a physical routine. That makes absolutely no sense. Becoming overweight, exhausted or weak, more often than not, is a mental issue that manifests physically. For instance…

Issue: Emotional eating to cope with painful feelings

Manifestation: Weight gain

Source: Mental issue with a physical manifestation

 

Issue: Living a busy, overcommitted, under-delivering lifestyle

Manifestation: Low energy

Source: Mental issue with a physical manifestation

 

Issue: Workaholic using work to avoid dealing with gaps in life

Manifestation: Poor posture

Source: Mental issue with a physical manifestation

Yes, there is a physical component to reversing weight gain, low energy and poor posture but addressing the body before the mind suggests that treating the manifestation of the issue will resolve the issue. Change happens in the mind-first.

P.S. Get ready to watch this exact scenario play out millions of times all over the world come January with New Year’s resolutions!

 

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Pattern of Happy People           

unknown-5I’ve never met an individual who’s led a Values-Inspired Lifestyle® that was also unhappy. That’s because happy people make decisions consistent with what they find most important in their lives.

Lets say you just got a bad doctors’ report and you’ve got to improve your health, or else. So you start a diet and exercise plan but its being driven by pain, fear and guilt. You’re doing it because the doctor said to;  that’s doing the “right thing” for the wrong reasons and it takes from you every time.

On the other hand, lets say you got the same bad report but you delay diet and exercise to reflect on your current situation before becoming tactical. You embrace the fact your lifestyle has been out of balance for a long time, the demands on your life are greater than the available resources and you strategically come to a decision to create balance.

However, the efforts you put forth to create balance are not driven by doctor’s orders but instead by your values for longevity, vitality and being a role model to your children. Making decisions consistent with your values releases the love-based hormone oxytocin and authentically improves self-esteem, motivation and willingness to change.

When your actions are inspired by and tied to your values, the activities associated with your health no longer feel like a chore, they serve as an opportunity to happily live your best life.

“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

Giving from a Space of Abundance

shero-sunflowersA large number of people that come to me to lose weight, get in shape, tone up, improve their energy and core strength also have a difficult time putting themselves first.

Seemingly, everyone and everything else is more important than their most fundamental needs for healthy movement, quality nourishment, restorative rest, loving relationships, well-managed stress and simply creating space for themselves to be human.

I’ve discovered that many times, my clients would put others first subconsciously as a justified reason for putting themselves last. The path of least resistance can be devious.

I mean, how do you argue with putting family, church and work first? I don’t argue, I just simply convey that you can’t pour water from an empty bucket.

At this point, the conversation shifts from emotional to objective. Then, we can engage an intellectual discussion from neutral ground. So I ask: Do you want to give of yourself from a space of scarcity or abundance.

When you don’t have much to give but give anyway, you end up doing the “right thing” for the wrong reason and it tends to take from you more than it adds to you. This can end up feeling like more of a demand than a joyous experience.

On the other hand, when you prioritize your needs and fill yourself up first, you can give generously of yourself because it comes from abundance and overflow. In this scenario, you’re simply sharing your resources and the reward is mutual.

Our strategy is “selfish to selfless” because the other way around isn’t sustainable, enjoyable or fulfilling.

 

“True abundance isn’t based on our net-worth, it’s based on our self-worth.” Gabrielle Bernstein