Here we are again, the first month of a new year. Are you once again making resolutions or commitments to get into better shape? If so, what can you do to make the goals stick this time? Perhaps the first step is to change the goal.
Most of us who set a goal and fail to achieve it in an allotted period of time usually start a new year with the same goal in mind. However, if we do not change our approach to the goal, we will likely see the same results (or lack thereof). But often even you change your approach you still don’t achieve full success and that may be because the goal just doesn’t fit who you are or how you live. Don’t give up on your end goal, but perhaps you need to make a new plan that has a more immediate goal that will lead you ultimately to your end goal.
To make 2017 be the year that you finally achieve your fitness goals you must first assess if you have goals that are achievable. If you are under a lot of stress, have limited free time, and/or limited funds – unless it’s life threatening, 95% of you will not lose fat, tone your muscles, or improve your strength and endurance – period. The reason is that you simply can’t successfully fit consistent and effective workouts into your hectic life as well as meal and snack planning, smart shopping and time intensive food prep and cooking. So rather than lament that your life is too stuck in a hectic hamster wheel and give up on your fitness goals by March, how about if you change the goal to be to get off the hamster wheel?
Did you know that stress and lack of sleep is the number one inhibitor to fat loss? I have a client who eats clean and healthy 4-6 times a day, and works out effectively 3-4 times a week and still cannot reduce her body fat (in fact she’s seen some increase). The clear and only reason behind this is that she has a very demanding and stressful job and home life, feels emotionally “stressed out” daily and averages about 5 hours of sleep per night. I see a lot of you nodding your heads in empathy right now.
When I talk with a new life coaching client and tell them that their first and primary goal is to find a way to reduce their stress by changing or altering their job, reorganizing household chores, rules, and assignments, and carving out (and maintaining) time for themselves, they usually start hyperventilating. But the longer we talk and outline step by step plans to get them from point A to Z the calmer they become and ultimately they get energized by the plan. Then it’s just a matter of holding them accountable, while maintaining fluidity to change the plans as the needs arise, and soon not only do they see a positive change to their bodies, they feel a radical and beneficial change to their entire lives.
With all this said, I assign all of you who have a goal yet achieved (and often failed at on an annual basis) to look at the bigger picture and perhaps pick a new goal – one that will ultimately get you to your old goal – but one that is more important and more achievable at this time and place in your life. As always, I’m here to advise as a personal trainer and life strategies coach if you wish to work with me.
Now go make 2017 different!
As a life coach I find that my most used strategy in helping a client create a better and happier situation for themselves (whether relationships, career, or their emotional health) is to guide them to see a problem from a different perspective. We tend to approach all problems from the same angle with the same emotional perspective that is our “go to view” based upon our baggage and inherent personality traits. Quite often, that approach results in a failure to change the situation for the better.
Although it’s difficult to see a situation through foreign eyes, it is essential to breaking patterns that are detrimental to your life. I call the strategy “neutral perspective.” In a sense it’s about seeing the FACTS (factual evidence is generally indisputable) from an unemotional viewpoint. Once you look at the issues that are tangible and real and remove your own issues from the equation, a clear solution always presents itself.
A long time ago I heard a psychologist on the radio share a wonderful modern-day fable that perfectly demonstrates neutral perspective. It is the story of Three Men and a Naked Lady (bet you didn’t see that coming)! It goes like this:
Three men are sitting in a car at a stop light. Suddenly a completely naked woman walks in front of their car through the cross walk.
The driver views her with contempt for so brazenly taunting him and deems her a sinner and whore.
The front passenger views her with lust and admiration, knowing with certainty that she would welcome his advances and that perhaps he should follow her.
The back passenger though at first quite shocked, realizes that something is amiss and this poor woman needs help. He jumps out of the car, drapes his coat around her, and offers her a ride. She is beyond grateful. Turns out she was a kind and very wealthy woman who after being kidnaped and robbed, managed a daring escape albeit without her clothes. After accompanying her to the police and seeing to her safe return home, a week later the woman repays the man’s kindness with a lovely dinner and within a year they are married and live happily ever after.
This is a perfect example of emotional vs. neutral perspective. The first man felt inadequate in his relationships and had a negative view on women in general. The second man had learned to cover up his insecurities with arrogance and false bravado. The last man was emotionally balanced enough to look at the tangible facts in a situation and act accordingly. He saw a naked woman with bruises on her arms, crying and looking quite scared. He knew this had nothing to do with him.
So whatever it is in your life that is bringing you strife, stress, and/or heartache, perhaps it’s time you viewed the situation with neutral perspective. Once you can see clearly what the problem truly is (through factual evidence), a solution will clearly present itself. Then you just have to face implementing that solution – which is very often not easy but if the stakes are high enough to you, anything can be made better!
If you are interested in some life coaching help, http://www.danelifefitness.com.
Last week I reposted a blog from two years ago as stress and it’s damaging affects on one’s body appears to be enjoying a renewed rampage on many of my friends and clients. In continuation of my “summer vacation” series, this week I offer (reprint) some suggestions to help you manage your stress.
As I discussed last week, stress – chronic long-term stress, can wreak havoc on your body in a myriad of internally detrimental ways. I reminded you that there’s always a way to change a situation or circumstance, or at least change how you deal with a negative problem, when you want it badly enough. I asked you to think about what’s stopping you from making that much needed change in your life.
Well I guarantee it boils down to fear. Fear is the main culprit behind most people’s inability to change a situation, thus removing detrimental levels of stress from their lives. But fear can be faced and overcome – IF you’re willing. So here are some steps you can take to reduce or remove chronic stress:
1. Diagnose the core problem – the person, place, job, or situation that is the root issue to your stress. You may feel there are multiple issues, but usually there is a core issue, i.e., worries about money, poor communication, being spread too thin.
2. Acknowledge and name the fear that holds you captive. There are only four (4) fears that exist to us humans (all fears can be boiled down to one of these or a hybrid of two of them):
Fear of Failure
Fear of Rejection
Fear of Pain (physical or emotional)
Fear of the unknown
3. Tear apart that fear by looking deeply at what is the worst possible outcome if you face that fear. Death or serious physical harm are about the only outcomes that you clearly cannot recover from. Otherwise, all obstacles, with proper planning, can be overcome (and they won’t kill you).
4. Assess your support systems. Who is truly a supportive force in your life. Not a “yes” person, not an enabler. Someone whom you can trust with your intimate emotions, who will not judge you, and will tell you the truth. Someone reliable and consistent in your life. The more of these the better – then lean on them, not wholly, but just enough to get you through the really tough stuff. The rest you must do on your own to truly succeed.
5. Make a plan. Detail the steps and map them out on a calendar.
6. Commit to the plan. Have someone hold you accountable, and then take each step in constant forward movement until you are where you want to be.
To some these ideas may seem obvious and easy; to others, daunting. However you perceive it, the task is to take positive steps towards a change. Stress does not have to rule your life. The key to getting rid of your stress lies in your very capable hands (and head).
SO GO AND EMBRACE CHANGE! Happy summer.
Two years ago I posted this blog, and recently I’ve had a slew of clients dealing with the physically debilitating results of stress. So I thought since many people tend to take a summer vacation around this time of year, it might be some helpful food for thought to those of you who are “stressing out.”
By now you should all know that negative effects of prolonged stress on the body. I’ve written about it frequently, it’s discussed regularly on Oprah, Dr. Oz, and the like. But for those of you living in a constant state of stress, I thought it time to revisit the issue, remind you of a few important stress-facts.
The kind of stress I’m addressing – that of situational, circumstantial, environmental and relationships – starts in the head (it’s emotional). If not dealt with quickly and thoroughly, it moves into the body where if left unreleased, ricochets around your insides like a pinball! A mind/body under stress releases Cortisol. Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have numerous negative effects, such as:
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
- Decreased bone density
- Decrease in muscle tissue
- Chronic digestive and intestinal issues
- Repeat muscle spasms (lock of the muscles) in the neck and back
- Weight gain
- Higher blood pressure
- Reduced sex drive
- Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
- Increased abdominal fat, which can in turn result in higher cholesterol, heart attacks, and strokes
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s quite a list of ailments that I would actively seek to avoid!
For those of you that reply there’s no way to change my current situation or circumstances to alleviate the stress, I say think again. I know it’s trite, but where there’s a will there’s a way. If you have enough motivation, you can overcome – and change – anything.
So what’s stopping you? Think about this while on vacation this week, or during what little down time you allow yourself to have (like the drive home from work). Next week I’ll address (or reiterate) some tricks for handling your stress.