Reaching your Resolutions: The Top 5 Ways I Build Success into Someone’s Lifestyle

Have you ever wondered why relapse is so prevalent amongst people who’ve seemingly conquered their substance (food, alcohol, drugs, porn, bingewatcing TV, etc.)?

It’s not that they’ve lost motivation or will power or discipline, it’s most likely that they never changed their environment. They’re constantly being pulled back into their “old ways” by the nature of their daily lifestyle.

For instance, when someone comes to me to lose weight, while they want to focus on weight loss, I want to focus on balancing the environment/lifestyle that led to the weight gain. Keep in mind, balancing your life requires a much fuller commitment than addressing the byproduct of your imbalances.

If I were to focus on the weight, and I did for the first 10 years of my career, I would be overly focused on the symptoms instead of actively addressing the cause. When you’re doing that by the way, you’re also enabling the person even though that would not be your intent.

The only way (that I am aware of) to create success, which means that success is maintained beyond the intervention, is to create an environment supportive of the goal.

Here are top five things I address when helping someone create balance in their lives…


If you’re your own worst critic or biggest enemy, you’re in your own way. The key is to replace self-criticism, which is an investment in your unworthiness with self-compassion, which is an investment in your worthiness.


Before you can get what you want, you must give yourself what you need. Satisfying your fundamental needs for reflection/downtime, movement, nourishment, rest and connection will give you the resources you need to get where you want to go.


If you’re overcommitted and under delivering, you’ve got to question the driver behind your need for this chaos. See that the driver is fear-based, creates an opportunity to let go of commitments that don’t align with your goals. Which creates space for ones that do.


Michael J. Fox said family is not an important thing, it’s the only thing. I’m sure friends could fit into that statement as well. If you’re not in relation to those around you, you’re like a wave all alone in the ocean and we can never thrive in isolation.


To a higher power, something grander than you, something with infinite resources, something that reminds you of your worthiness, something that you don’t fully understand but are willing to believe in anyways.

As these aspects of my client’s lives come into balance, so does their waistline and their protective behaviors start to fade away. Minus building success into the environment, I don’t see how one can enjoyably sustain her efforts. Hopefully, this helps you understand why 98% fail their resolutions.


“We cannot make choices for the rest of our lives without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural and enjoyable.” Deepak Chopra

Reaching your Resolutions: Get Happy and Healthy will Follow

One of common misconceptions is if we become healthy, then happiness will follow and after serving the health, fitness and wellness industry for 18 years, I can confidently say it doesn’t work that way. That comes from personal experience and from the countless number of clients I’ve trained during my career.

The reason it doesn’t work is because there’s nothing outside of us that can fulfill us: not our appearance, not six-pack abs, not a clean bill of health, not your fastest 5K, not a perfect diet, none of it. If you’re looking for these things to make you happy, you’ve looked too far because happiness is an inside job.

When we approach our goals with the outcome as our focus, it’s inherently fear-based and a sure fire way to minimize our self-worth. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself these questions to explore the driver…

If I reached all my goals within the next year, how would that make me feel? Most people say joyous, content, worthy, significant and confident.

If I never reached any of these goals, how would that make me feel? Most people say sad, frustrated, ineffective, insignificant and insecure.

You can clearly see that your “happiness” is dependent upon reaching your goals and any time we strive for happiness outside of ourselves it’s an investment in our unworthiness…because once you reach those goal you discover you aren’t as happy as you thought you would be.

The takeaway is that a “healthy to happy” strategy says that if I look good on the outside and everyone sees it, I will feel good on the inside. Try finding an unhappy person who is also healthy.

The key here is to reverse the strategy: “happy to healthy.” You do this in a variety of ways…

Practice gratitude: If you can’t find a reason to be happy today, you will never be healthy, even when your blood work says so

Manage your state: People who experience peaceful and joyous emotional states naturally display constructive behaviors and meditation works really well here

Adjust your focus: Instead of focusing on the outcome, stay focused on the efforts it will take to get there, full effort = full victory = full happiness

Connect why to what: Tie your personal values (courage, resilience, integrity, balance, commitment, etc.) to your actions to improve your intrinsic sense of self worth

Reflect: Once you decide to push through the emotional resistance and show up for yourself, tell yourself a story about it in a journal

True transformation occurs from the inside-out and you know it. Feeling good (happy) always has been and always will be the prerequisite for looking good (healthy).



“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” George Sand

Reaching your Resolutions: It’s a Process, not an Event

Today’s topic would seem as if it should have been shared on January 1st but they can’t all be first! I’ll just come right out and say it: “Change is a process, not an event.” What does that even mean? An event happens all at once, while a process is happens over time. You can probably guess which scenario our culture has conditioned to pursue.

Clients would often come in to see me for helping reaching their health, fitness and wellness goals, completely disengaged from any kind of structured routine and commit themselves (without my help) within our first session to working out everyday, eating five small meals per day, getting 8 hours sleep, drinking lots of water and keeping a positive attitude. This is an event mentality, which…

  • Believes change happens in an instant.
  • Aims to set and forget every aspect of life, fully automated, passive living.
  • Displays an extreme, all-or-none approach; driven by perfectionism, allowing no room for error.
  • Focuses exclusively on behavior modification and is absolutely obsessed with reaching the outcome and arriving at the destination.

The person who approaches change in this way is typically extrinsically motivated, has a deep sense of unworthiness and believes they are only as good as the results they can produce.

Then, there’s the other client. The one who is also fully disconnected from any sort of structured routine but rather than making statements about what they’re going to achieve, they ask lots of questions instead. They fundamentally understand that over-committing themselves to a die-hard plan is going to effectively get them nowhere fast. This is a process mentality, which…

  • Believes sustainable change happens over time.
  • Aspires to be present in important decisions, fully engaged, conscious living.
  • Operates with a conservative, realistic 80/20 approach, driven by practicality, creating space for life to happen.
  • Focuses primarily on trying to see/understand things differently and is absolutely focused on effort and the journey.

The person who approaches change in this way is typically intrinsically motivated, has a deep sense of worthiness and believes they’re value is inherent in their humanity, unaffected by the achievement (or not) of their goals.

You can easily see that diet and exercise does not and cannot equip the individual with the event mentality with the skill sets they need to achieve long-term satisfaction. Does this insight help you appreciate why 98% of people fail to reach their resolutions? Unfortunately, most people will continue doing what’s familiar but I’d bargain only because they don’t realize there’s a better way.

The best way to transition from an event to process mentality is to appreciate it is a process, ha-ha! Isn’t the solution always in the situation? I would strongly recommend connecting with someone you know who consistently follows through, is pragmatic and even-keeled and seems to have a good balance in her life. The goal isn’t to live and die by their advice but to ask insightful questions that help you understand how they think. Then, you may ask them how they’d approach reaching your goal and see if they’d help you put a plan together. Don’t take the plan and run (event) but build in time to meet each week to check in and see how things are going (process).

Last, but certainly not least is meditate, meditate, meditate. Meditation teaches you how to surrender the need to be instantly gratified. It teaches you how to observe the protective nature of your patterns. It teaches you how to simply “be,” rather than having to “do” things all the time. I can promise you that if you committed to meditating for 20 minutes a day at the same time everyday, by the end of one week, you’ll start noticing a change in how you approach things. Then, keep going…one day at a time. Be well.


“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle

Reaching your Resolutions: Address the Whole Person: MindBodySpirit

I recently received the ACE Fitness Journal about a week ago and on the cover is a beautiful, overweight woman running and plastered over her image: 50 Simple Ways to Cut Calories, Small Steps Add Up.


The health and fitness industry has been failing to help the public sustainably reach their resolution goals (or any goal) since the 1970’s, and to boil weight loss down to mere calories serves as a massive disconnect.

  1. Apparently, we’re still subscribed to the eat less/move more model even though it’s NEVER worked (path of least resistance: it’s easier to do what’s familiar, even though it isn’t effective)
  2. There’s a massive assumption being made that overweight people’s needs are primarily physical
  3. As an industry, we’re still hesitating to address the whole person: MindBodySpirit

My sense is if you had a conversation with this woman, you’d discover self-limiting beliefs that keep her from living her best life. And I’m sorry but we can’t rely on the physical tactics of diet and exercise to resolve the emotional pain related to feelings of unworthiness.

Rather than assuming she needs to simply cut calories, how about having an actual conversation?

  • What’s a day in your life like?
  • How did you get to where you are now?
  • Which fear-based emotions do you encounter most?
  • Which protective behaviors surface when you’re in a fear-based state?
  • Are you aware of any constructive alternatives to managing stress while keeping in alignment with what’s important to you?
  • What do you believe about yourself?
  • Which behaviors reinforce that belief?
  • Which behaviors redefine that belief?
  • How do you see your situation improving?
  • What will be the most difficult part of reaching your goal?

This is a day one conversation. Now you tell me how you can put this woman on the exercise floor with a clear conscience. She just told you she has low self-esteem, her life is out of balance, she struggles with fear-based emotions that she numbs with food, she doesn’t know of any constructive alternatives to manage stress and her biggest challenge is she’s her own worst enemy.

It’s much easier to take all this information and push her towards a diet and exercise protocol (seemingly a cure all), telling her more will power, discipline, and commitment will get her there.

The industry does this not because we’re not qualified enough to have this conversation or capable enough of empowering her with mental and emotional skill sets or experienced enough to help identify resistance in her life, it’s that we’re scared. We’re scared to say we don’t know how to do these things yet. We’re scared that we’ll overstep our boundaries. We’re scared that they may not work.

The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of resources available to us as health and fitness professionals that we could easily leverage to help condition the whole person: MindBodySpirit. Think contemplative practices such as journaling, meditating and living out our values. These 3 activities are powerful enough to create a revolution in someone’s life.

The thing that is not so readily available is courage. We don’t have the vulnerability of trying some new or the faith to believe that we can serve a larger role in our client’s lives. The time is now and the choice has always been ours.


“People come to us to enhance their Body but their Mind holds them back and their Spirit suffers.” Michael Rizk

Reaching your Resolutions: Understanding your Two Minds

Most people have never been told they have two minds: one rational and one emotional. The rational mind says: get up at 6am to go to the gym, while the emotional mind says: it’s really warm under the blankets.

Apparently, more often than not, 98% of people choose to stay under the warm blankets (the 98% who fail to reach their goals every year).

It can be easy to just move on after hearing a statement like that but if we fail to pause and reflect on this reality, we will NEVER see a positive change in health and happiness at any level.

The rational mind is analytical, practical, pragmatic, logical and intellectual. It enjoys planning, preparing and consistency, subscribes to commonsense and prefers to make decisions promoting long-term satisfaction. This is the “thinking mind” that sets New Year’s resolutions.

On the other hand, the emotional mind is instinctive, impractical, insensible, unreasonable and ignorant. It enjoys spontaneity, impulsivity and surprise, subscribes to impracticality and prefers to make decisions that cause instant gratification. This is the “feeling mind” that seemingly breaks our resolutions.

“Our emotions have a mind of their own, one which can hold views quite independently of our rational mind.” Daniel Goleman

The typical resolution goal doesn’t give either mind what it needs to be successful. I’ve never had a client in the last 18 years that failed and also had a well organized plan. Rodney Rich said: “If you find yourself reacting, you aren’t investing enough time in planning.” If you’re to be successful, you’ve got to create a simple plan.

Go one month out and set an effort-oriented goal. Don’t plan to lose 20 pounds because you’re not in control of your body’s response to your behavior. Instead, focus on the behavior itself, for example: “I’m going to workout 3 days per week.” Break your one-month goal down into four, smaller weekly goals and then into daily goals. Minus this level of insight, you simply can’t expect to make steady or significant progress.

In an effort to give the emotional mind what it needs, genuinely ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why do you want to achieve this particular goal? What do you value? For instance, someone may want to be more active because they value self-care, balance, appearance, courage and commitment to self. Once your value(s) are identified, then as you go to perform that behavior, tie what you’re doing to why you’re doing it. Acting upon your values will cause you to FEEL good, in turn, satiating the needs of the emotional mind. Simon Sinek does a really nice job of tying these concepts together.

  1. Create a plan (effort-focused)
  2. Identify your values (what’s important to you)
  3. Take values-inspired action (integrate both minds)


“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein

Reaching your Resolutions: Addressing the Issue, not the Manifestation

Whatever goal you’re trying to reach is most likely the manifestation of a deeper issue. As a result, you’ll look spend lots of energy getting nowhere fast. This is why 98 percent of people fail to reach resolutions.

In an effort to be resourceful, it’s helpful to think in terms of: Manifestation—>Driver—>Issue.

Example 1

  • Manifestation: weight gain
  • Driver: emotional eating
  • Issue: low self-esteem

Addressing the manifestation would warrant a diet and exercise program. However, eating less and moving more is in adequate to resolve  low self-esteem.

Example 2

Manifestation: workaholic
Driver: the need to feel valued
Issue:  value is derived extrinsically

Addressing the manifestation would suggest finding a work/life balance.  However, leaving work early cannot help develop an intrinsic sense of self worth.

Example 3

Manifestation: stressed out
Driver: people-pleasing
Issue: control

And addressing the manifestation may lead to a yoga class. However, becoming more limber is incapable of resolving the need to be liked by others.

This does not mean the activities associated with addressing the manifestations are not beneficial, they simply lack the substance necessary to resolve the underlying issues.

None of this should come as a surprise when you reside in a culture that prides itself on quick fixes and instant gratification.

The solution is in the situation: address the cause and the manifestation will take care of itself.

While I can’t tell you how to resolve your specific issue, I’m happy to expose you to a thought process for resolving it yourself.

  • Become aware of the difference between a manifestation and an issue
  • Become accountable to the realization your efforts have been superficial (manifestation-focused)
  • Take meaningful action towards resolving the issue
  • Continue performing the manifestation focused actions That make you feel like you are playing an active role in improving your quality-of-life
  • Reflect on your efforts along the way

If you’d like to work with one of our private coaches to develop a structured, customized plan specific to your needs, email us at


“If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem; I’d spend 55 minutes defining it and 5 minutes solving it.” Albert Einstein

How to Reach your Resolutions: Properly Manage your Expectations

Just in case you missed yesterday’s post, millions of people around the globe will set and fail to reach their New Year’s Resolutions goals despite their good intentions. Failure to reach any goal at any time of the year is inevitably related to approach problems: fear-motivated, unrealistic expectations, lacking clarity, premature reassessment, deficient in deeper meaning, etc. To that end, this month I’m dedicating my daily blog to helping people resolve their approach problems.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” William Shakespeare

The big kahuna of all approach problems are poorly managed expectations. Think about it, recall any time within the last week you were disappointed with someone or something and you’ll notice it was because they/it fell short of your expectations.

Whenever there’s a GAP between what you expect vs. what actually happens, in it you’ll always find a surplus of frustration, disappointment and eventually, resentment.

Pause here…ask yourself: What is the likelihood of me reaching my goals while I’m in this state? You’ll quickly realize your potential was just cut in half, at least.

So, how do you bounce back? I could give you a very rational to-do list, telling you to expect less and appreciate more, which is part of the answer, just not the whole answer. In all likelihood, this advice will only serve to add guilt to your already frustrated state and effectively does nothing to address your emotional mind, which is filled with disappointment.

Follow these 3 steps…

  1. Appreciate you are off-center (in a fear-based emotional state)
  2. Re-center yourself (transition from a fear to love-based state)
  3. Pair your enhanced state with a constructive action consistent with reaching your goal (reexamining your approach, replacing fear with a habit, building in a breathing practice to heal over reactivity)

Once you’re emotionally centered, then I would tell you to expect less and appreciate more but in a more generous way through a few thought-provoking questions.

  1. What did your mismanaged expectations teach you?
  2. How could you have been more appreciative in this situation?
  3. How can you improve your approach to avoid this setback again?

Game changed!!!

Seriously, these are the skill sets I equip people with each and every day to help them get where they want to be. Reaching your goals has less to do with tactics and fare more to do with strategy; which includes being resilient to failure, recontextualizing your emotions and improving self-awareness. We can no longer think so linearly about reaching our goals, it’s not a straight line but there are patterns to be observed.


“Success is built into nature and nature has no expectations; it simply accepts what is.” Michael Rizk


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Here we go again

Soren Kierkegaard said that life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forward. From that truth, we have an opportunity to insightfully reflect upon previous New Year’s resolutions and why they haven’t worked out for 98% of people who set them.

Having served the health, fitness and wellness (life) industries for 18 years now, I can confidently tell you why so many get it wrong year after year. Before you jump to any conclusions, let me assure you it has nothing to do with a lack of motivation, will-power or discipline…those are just attributes that are blamed to cover up the truth and because they can’t defend themselves.

Failure to achieve any goal at any time of the year is an approach problem, not a people problem. Meaning, there’s nothing wrong with the person, it’s all in their approach. That’s it–people are simply going about it the wrong way! You may think that seems obvious but how we approach things is a very layered and complex process. To that end, I’m dedicating January’s blogs to unpacking our how our faulty methods are the reason why we’re not getting where we want to be.

Let me start with some questions to stir the pot and we’ll pick back up tomorrow…

  • How is it that millions of people, year after year fail to reach the same exact goals?
  • Why aren’t we learning from our previous mistakes and failing forward?
  • Given diet and exercise alone is not the answer, what more should we be considering?
  • Are people addressing what happened to them or why it happened to them?
  • Is our lifestyle supportive of our goals or are we fighting against ourselves?

Frankly, most people don’t want to have an intelligent discussion around discussing approach problems because it’s not instantly gratifying but let me assure you, therein lies one of the problems. We have a choice to do it right or do it over and free will is a beautiful thing.


“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

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