Category Archives: Emotional Well-Being

emotional demons

How to Fight Inner Demons

We all have emotional demons. Whether it’s that little red devil on your shoulder saying: “It’s okay, skip your workout, eat the cake, what’s the big deal?” Or bigger demons like fear, uncertainty, or doubt preventing you from achieving your dreams. Don’t let those demons get the best of you.  Your dreams are there for the taking and meant to be achieved if you fight back.

I was a stressful kid who worried about a lot of things. My parents feared I would have an ulcer before turning 18. I can’t thank my mom enough for helping me deal with my demons. Oh, they still show their face now and then but, she and some other great mentors I’ve had along the way have taught me a few things that have helped me deal with them.

  1. Lower your expectations. I know this might sound counterintuitive to achieving goals, but it sure helped me to relax. I strived to get all “As” in middle and high school and be the best at everything I tried to the point where I’d work myself into a tizzy. We can’t excel at everything and we’re often stifled to try something new because we think we won’t excel at it. Of course we can’t excel at something we’ve never done before. When I became okay with getting a “B” and took myself a little less seriously, it opened the door to me enjoying life more fully.
  2. Put things in perspective. More often than not, I would exaggerate my circumstances in my mind. I began to realize that whatever challenge I was facing, it was typically not as bad or as important as I made it out to be. Is that work deadline really worth missing your son’s soccer game? Is the reason to lose 30 pounds to impress the people at your 30th college reunion or should you rethink your purpose?
  3. Start with the positive. I know very few people who truly look at the positive side of any challenge first. In all the years I’ve coached others I would say that 80% have a tendency to think about their weaknesses first rather than their strengths. Every day you have a choice to be grateful or regretful. You can set out to seize the day or become victim to it. Making a conscience effort to filter out the negative thoughts and be more mindful toward positive, uplifting ones does wonders toward building unshakeable confidence.
  4. Choose your emotional enemies. Some fears are meant to overcome and others are not simply because you may not be better off for it. If you haven’t started a fitness program because of fear of getting hurt, then you are making a choice to limit or shorten your life.  On other hand, if you have a fear of heights that doesn’t mean you have to go skydiving. Face the emotional demons that are truly preventing you from personal growth and development.
Sure fire tips for blog

Sure-Fire Tips to GET and KEEP Going

This morning, as I lay in Savasana after hot yoga, a cool compress is placed on my forehead by the instructor. I take a deep breath and relax, and think to myself: “I’m so glad I got out of bed to come to this class today.”

Whizzing down the line, I reach for the brake, grab it, and my feet land safely on the platform. What a rush and I think to myself: “That wasn’t bad at all, it was exhilarating! I’m so glad my family talked me into going zip lining.”

I’m listening to Tony Horton as he guides me through the cool down and stretch after a tough workout. Sweat is dripping, I’m completely spent but, my head is clear, my lungs feel cleansed, and my heart is energized. I think to myself: “Why do I make so many excuses for not “pushing play” when I know I’ll feel this good once the workout is done?”

I believe that if we all stopped to think just a bit more about “the after moment” while we debate, make excuses, and hem and haw over doing something that we’d all be so much better off. Do you ever stop to think about how you would feel AFTER taking a calculated risk? Do you pause to remind yourself of the benefits of saying “yes” to something when you toyed with saying “no?”

Why are we so scared of trying new things? Why, as we get older, does our “joie de vivre” and “carpe diem” approach to life start to fail?

As I think about the answers to these questions I am reminded of my own upbringing. I was raised in a very practical household. We were taught to work hard in school, go to college, and get a job at a company that would provide benefits and a retirement plan. I can recall conversations about “taking the safe route” and “don’t take a chance you might regret.” I think a lot of people of my generation had a similar upbringing. Even now, I find the same advice flowing from my mouth when I speak to my adult children.

Typically it’s in our 30s that we start to raise a family and we’re now responsible for much more than ourselves. Every action has a greater consequence. By the time we reach our 40s we’re working our tails off to provide for that family. Sacrifices multiply. Then, in our 50s we think back on our lives with regret. Why didn’t we try more? Do more? Say “yes” to more?

This being the season of Lent and Spring renewal, it’s a wonderful time for all of us to take inventory of our lives and think about what’s holding us back.

  1. Make time to pursue your interests. The most successful people I know understand that chasing success shouldn’t mean they have to forget pursuinng their favorite hobbies and interests. Take the opportunity to be creative, whatever it is you like to do most in your spare time and make some time to do it.
  2. Stop being so tough on yourself. Confidence has a lot to do with that internal voice in your head vocalizing all of the crummy thoughts. Author and speaker Brian Tracy says; “the mark of self-confidence is self-efficacy, or believing in your ability to perform well in your chosen activity.” Those with self-confidence know that no matter the challenge they’ll pull it off and succeed. You will try more and do more if you have more confidence in your ability and remove the constant self-doubt.
  3. Take fear out of the equation by having no expectations. It’s amazing to me how many women I coach sabotage their own success. They go a week or month of eating clean and exercising regularly and then quit because they fear they won’t be able to sustain it. Eating poorly and laying around is easy and comfortable, we get really good at that so why not just stay in that lane? Any goal we achieve in life is not easy. There are always ups and downs along the way and trial and error. We understand this to be true when it comes to our careers, raising children, and falling in love. For goodness sake, why don’t we accept there will be setbacks when improving our health…and more important: that those setbacks are OKAY? It doesn’t mean you don’t try and it surely doesn’t mean you quit when the going gets rough. You pause, evaluate, learn and make changes to keep moving forward, especially when…

…the alarm goes off for second time, you want to hit the “doze” button and skip yoga. Instead you think about that cool compress on your head and the feeling accomplishment you’ll have.

….you’re shaking in your sneakers as you get clipped into your harness before going zip lining and you’re about to turn back. Instead you visualize the person before you screaming for joy and think about what you’ll miss out on if you don’t step off that platform.

….you start to make every excuse in the book for not exercising (I’m tired, long day, no time, I’m sore, the garage is cold). Instead you think about how great you felt after the last workout and you decide to show up and just do your best.


3rd Annual Ode to the Super Bowl

Here we are. The day of the “big game.” Even if you’re not from New England or Atlanta, it’s likely you’ll be gathered on the couch in front of the flat screen. Even if you’re not a football fan they’ll be funny commercials and a half-time show to entertain you.

You’re probably thinking I’m about to tell you not to overdo it on unhealthy game food. You probably think this week’s blog is about sticking to your New Year’s resolutions. You might be anticipating a recipe for a lean turkey chili or the ingredients for a low-calorie cocktail.

This week’s blog is not about any of that.

Nor is it about which team to root for. Even I’m a bit perplexed this year. Matt Ryan attended my alma mater, Boston College and I’ve been living in Massachusetts ever since graduation rooting for the Patriots.

Today, I root for both teams. Today I root for humanity.

Today I encourage us to gather for one of the biggest events in the U.S. where we take sides and not take sides. Be like the parent of a young child watching the championship match giving kudos to the opponent. Be the person that opens their mind to consider an opposing perspective. Be the person who recognizes the goodness and the strengths of both teams.

Laugh, cajole and give others who want the other guys to win a friendly jab but not a knockout punch.

Today I am hopeful that differences are set aside, people come together, and see the good in each team and each other.

Enjoy the game.

The Power of Potential

Potential, noun; “The latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.”

You have this. Everyone has this.

Potential is the easiest, most powerful starting point. It’s your opportunity to achieve any goal and obtain any dream. But, do you believe in your potential?running up stairs

Oprah Winfrey says: “You become what you believe.”

More often than not, our lack of belief in ourselves and our abilities is what holds us back. For goodness sake, give yourself more credit! I see so many women reluctant to go outside their comfort zone and try new things or hold back on fighting for what they believe because they focus too much on their weaknesses instead of working from their strengths.

Once you have a strong belief in yourself, the next step is to take ownership. Potential can only turn into success if we choose to take action. Don’t be concerned about being great or being better than someone else, just focus on being your best. Tony Horton taught me long ago that showing up is better than skipping out. I’m 51 years old, and believe me, there are many days that I want to skip my workout, but when I heed Tony’s advice and choose to strap on my sneakers and have no expectations about the outcome, I always feel better than before I started. Every good choice, even if it’s a small one, happening moment after moment and day after day adds up to building an amazing human being.

Finally, I strongly believe that passion and potential go hand-in-hand. If you care about something deeply, you can achieve it. Why does the underdog win the game? How does a 3rd round pick become the starter? How does the “C” student become the CEO of a successful company?  Answer: deep-rooted, unwavering, passion.

In summary: stop wasting your potential. Decide what you want and GO AFTER IT today.

Off to a Slow Start?

It’s January 15th. Have you made any progress toward this year’s goals? Yes? Great! No? Well, you’re not alone. January is a tough month for me. The fourth quarter of the year feels like a sprint. I’m racing to finish out the year well at work and get ready for the holidays and after a short break I have a tough time starting all over again. The Christmas decorations are stored away, day after day of bitter cold weather sets in, and my older kids head back to college. Let’s just say I’ve had a few false starts already.tortoise slow start

With tomorrow’s Martin Luther King holiday, some of us may have the benefit of a long weekend. Let’s use this weekend to erase the false starts between January 1st and now and start fresh.

Are you with me?

Here are some thoughts I’ve jotted down to help us:

  • Get freaky or conquer your fears to get out of the funk. Whenever I’m “in a funk” I try to shake things up. This could be something simple like getting up from your desk, blaring some music and dancing around the room or coming face-to-face with one of your biggest fears and conquering it head on. For example, if you are afraid of heights, go on a long, steep hike with some friends or take downhill skiing lessons. I often exercise in the privacy of my home, alone. This Christmas I asked for tennis lessons so I could get out of the house, interact with others and get better at a sport. My husband did a ton of research and provided several options in our area to take lessons. This week I’m going to explore those options and register.

What will you do?

  • Figure out how badly you want it. If you’ve set a goal then you have to change your behavior to have a shot at achieving it. For your behavior to change you’ve got to want to achieve that goal more than anything else and rethink your priorities. Yes, that means making sacrifices, but if those sacrifices make you a better person in the end, they’re probably worth it. When you sat down on January 1st and said: “my goal this year is to….,” had you truly thought it through? Did you prepare yourself for those moments of temptation when you knew you’d want to drift away from the goal? Sit down and ask yourself: Why is this so important? What will I gain from achieving it? Why should I make this a priority? If you can’t answer those questions honestly, then maybe you need a different goal. I’ve already started rethinking some of my goals to better align with who I want to be at the end of 2017.

How badly do you want to achieve your goals and why?

  • Just do it! If you’re like me, you may have a tendency to fall into “analysis paralysis.” I spend so much time planning, preparing and waiting for the right moment that I never start. We’ve got to just dive in! Take the first step without fear of failure, without inhibitions, without worrying what other people will think. It probably won’t be pretty, it will feel weird and awkward but good things come from EXPERIENCE, not from sitting on the sidelines. My husband says this to our teenagers all the time. Good, bad or indifferent, every calculated risk gives us a learning lesson.

What actions will take today to move you closer toward your goal?

Confidence in the New Year

A feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances.”- Merriam Webster Dictionary

If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Fordconfidence

Scene #1: Yesterday my daughter and I attended a hot Bikram yoga class together. As I stand at the front of my mat, preparing for the grueling 90-minutes in 95 degree heat and 65% humidity, hands folded, eyes closed, I set my intention: “Give your best effort, have fun and don’t judge yourself.” I’m calm but my sore body and the more experienced yogis on either side of me wane my confidence.

Scene #2: Zip lining in Montana, last summer with my husband and teenage children. During the long hike and once on the high platform, I’m shaking like a leaf. We’ve gone through all the preparation and we’ve been told several times how safe and fun flying on a line hundreds of feet above ground will be. Yet, I’m thinking I can’t go through with it and the fear of what’s about to happen is overcoming me. I have no confidence in my ability to complete this.

Scene #3. It’s a few minutes before the start of a two-day seminar I will lead for a new client. A senior executive is saying a few words to kick-off the session. I’m sitting next to him. As I listen to him and await his introduction of me I’ve got butterflies, but the good ones. Their fluttering around my stomach but flying in unison. I’m nervous and excited. I’m confident that since I’m prepared and I know the seminar content is valuable, once I begin speaking everything should proceed well from there.

Three different circumstances with three varying degrees of confidence. What gives us confidence? As a health and fitness trainer I see so many women who lack confidence. As a mother of a teenage daughter I observe her and her friends either beaming with it or doubting their capabilities.

We all want to be confident and to appear confident, especially in those situations that might make or break our career or might allow us to experience something outside our comfort zone. Confidence isn’t a skill that we learn, it’s a feeling that we can grow and develop. From my personal experience I’ve realized I’ve been more confident when certain best practices or circumstances are in place- as Merriam Webster defines above.

  1. Celebrate your successes. When leading communication skills workshops we often conduct role-plays. I always find it interesting that at the conclusion of these practices people will immediately start talking about everything they felt went wrong instead of what they did well. To build confidence you must tame the inner critic and start with a positive self-appraisal. For whatever New Year’s Resolution you’ve set, set out smaller goals or milestones and celebrate those minor successes along the way. If you want to lose 50 lbs. this year and you completed 3 workouts this week, congratulate yourself (not with junk food, of course) and feel good about your progress.
  2. Surround yourself with positive influences. I’ve been blessed. My mom instilled confidence in me on a daily basis. My mom was beautiful, intelligent and ambitious but she came into adulthood in the wrong era. Women in the late 50s and early sixties were not encouraged to pursue a career or use their brains. She took every opportunity to recognize my successes and encourage me to take advantage of all the opportunities that were not available to her. I credit my ability to exercise daily and eat right to the people in my support and accountability group that I’ve been leading for over 5 years. Without their positive comments, encouragement and the “no judgement” culture we’ve created together, I would have quit long ago. Find people whom you admire and work to nurture those relationships. For me those are people whom are credible, caring and confident themselves.
  3. Be prepared and don’t dwell on the outcome. We’re typically more confident in any situation we’ve prepared for. If I’m going to lead a workshop for a new client I learn about their challenges, business model and goals. Even If I’ve lead the workshop 10 times before, I still take time to practice my words and get mentally prepared. If you practice and prepare for any big venture whether it be a presentation, asking for a promotion or making the leap to change careers, it makes no sense to dwell on the potential bad outcomes outside your control.

How are you going to build your confidence this year? How can you feel good about who you are and the God given gifts you have? I’d love to hear your ideas.

3 Techniques to Develop a Daily Discipline

As many of you may know, I’ve been bringing people together in an online motivation, support and accountability group for years. We help one another stay on track toward better health and fitness. A new member of the group has encouraged me to give up coffee. He spoke about what a positive impact eliminating caffeine has had on the quality his sleep and ability to stay focused on daily tasks- two aspects of my life that seem to be lacking at the moment. He asked my why I enjoy coffee. My answer: just about everything. I love the aroma, the taste, and the feeling of a warm cup in my hands. (I’m just talking about the average good ol’ cup of Joe. Nothing fancy for me, please.)3 tips to develop a daily discipline

I know there are many arguments for and against having just 1-2 cups of coffee daily. But, I thought I might give this a try and see how my overall health and well being changes.

How difficult can this be? After all I’ve developed a daily discipline in so many other aspects of my life: like exercising daily, writing a weekly blog,  and devoting time daily to my work of helping others get healthy and fit.

Who’s kidding? Of course it will be difficult. I’m attempting to change a daily behavior that I’ve been following for years. Having my morning cup of coffee or two…sometimes three… is habit. It’s a simple, immediate pleasure that requires a k-cup and a push of a button. To increase my chances of success, I’ve decided to put into practice the three simple behaviors I’ve practiced when attempting to develop other daily disciplines:

1. Reflect and set an intention. Bill Walsh, former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers says, “If your why is strong enough, you will figure out how!” I literally wrote out the reasons how removing caffeine intake could benefit me. Everything from using the money spent on k-cups on something else to the numerous health benefits I’m seeking. The purpose of evaluation is twofold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at the pluses and minuses and your pursuit of the vision you have. Secondly, it shows you where you are so you can determine where you need to go. Evaluation and purpose give you a baseline to work from.

2. Prepare a plan for success. I know the first 5-10 days will be grueling, so I’ve prepared myself for the inevitable moments of temptation I know I will have. I’ve removed our Keurig from the kitchen, put away the last few k-cups I had and purchased some decaffinated green tea and other herb teas. I know these will feel like unsuitable replacements in the beginning but it’s better than going from all to nothing.

3. Surround myself with positive influences. I can’t say enough about the people in our Team Thrive group and what they’ve done to make me show up for my workout on a daily basis and help me make better food choices. I’ll be leaning on them for support and motivation during this for sure. I’m grateful I have that positive support network in place. I know I will need this lifeline in those moments of truth.

Do you have a bad habit you’d like to change or new daily discipline you’d like to incorporate into your lifestyle? Let me know! Everyone in our Team Thrive group is happy to help you succeed. Write me back if you’d like to become a member of our Team Thrive team…free.

Learn To Let Go

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It’s an odd topic to talk about today on September 11th, the 15th anniversary of that horrible day when we all immediately remember where we were and who we were with. Today’s topic is not about letting go of loved ones or important memories that shape us. It’s about letting go of the things that are outside our control and the stresses of life that can contribute to the detrition of our health. Here are five lessons learned from someone who is still a work in progress on this subject.let-go

  1. Stop trying to win the argument. We learn very quickly when we have a difference of perspective with a significant other, friend or family member that the goal is not to be right or win the argument, but to solve the problem. Work on being more highly emotionally intelligent. In that moment of stress and anger, emotionally intelligent people are self-aware of what’s going on with their own emotions, and get them in check and are socially aware of how the other person might be feeling. They resolve to work together on a resolution. When this happens, problems get solved a lot more quickly and with a lot less pain and aggravation.
  2. Stop trying to win another person’s race. Did you watch the Olympics in Rio? Did you notice what happened to the swimmer or runner who glanced over at the competitor in the next lane just before the finish? When they took that quick glance, they lost. The grass is not always greener in your neighbor’s yard. The other gal your age who looks so great on Facebook may be experiencing challenges that you can’t even comprehend. Set your own specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound (S.M.A.R.T) goals, do your best to achieve them, and stay in your own lane toward the finish.
  3. Stop beating yourself up. This lesson comes from a person who has always been driven by achievement. Being second best was never an option for me. My mom noticed early on how driven I was and would constantly remind me that my best effort was always enough. We learn very quickly that being too narrowly focused on our personal goals can quickly turn into feeling overwhelmed and we run the risk of destroying relationships with family and friends. Evaluate the result, make adjustments and give yourself the gift of grace once in a while.
  4. Stop worrying. Eckhart Tolle said: “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” Despite knowing this I still worry…often. My constant worries include: Do we have enough money? Are my kids’ happy? Am I doing enough to strengthen my relationships with my spouse, kids, family, and friends? When worrying becomes excessive, it can lead to feelings of high anxiety and even can cause you to be physically ill. I’ve learned, with the help of my wonderful spouse, in those moments of worry, to put things in perspective. A healthy life is a balanced life. Do what you can to get into a more relaxed state during times of worry whether it be meditation, a good belly laugh, exercise, or calling upon a positive friend.
  5. Stop blaming others and/or circumstances. Taking responsibility for our own actions is the first step toward positive growth. Many times when we’re angry we focus on something someone else did that was wrong, which gives away your power. When you focus on what you could have done better, you often feel empowered and less bitter.

Can you think of other ways of letting go? I’m all ears. Please comment below.


STOP falling into the Comparison Trap and Age with GRACE

Aging is an interesting process, taking on many different aspects as each layer of our lives builds upon the next, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Aging is just a part of life but how we age, how we adapt and adjust to the changes, and what we make of it, is all a personal experience.

I have a desire to age gracefully, but also feel strong both mentally and physically. A desire to look younger should not be the focus. My advice is to focus on feeling as healthy as you can— having vibrant energy, a sharp memory, and a strong, healthy body.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH this week’s VLOG on how to age with grace :)