How to Muster COURAGE TO CHANGE

It’s that time of year again. January 1st is almost upon us. We want to make changes, we need to make changes in our lives but we’ll use the next few weeks as our excuse: too many parties, deadlines to meet, too much temptation around and too busy to exercise.courage-cat-lion152680601-edited

How many of us have come to January 1st, changed our ways for the better for a few weeks or a few months only to go back to our old ways again? (My hand is raised high in the air right now.)

In another category are those of us who have given up. Perhaps we feel destined to be the person we are. Too many years of unhealthy habits and bad ways have got the best of us. We don’t even know how much better we can feel because clean eating and exercise have always felt like work. Life should be enjoyable, after all. Who wants to have to work that hard every day?

I don’t claim to be a psychotherapist, but having spoken with so many folks who want to change their health, here are my thoughts: We tend to cling to self-destructive and negative behaviors because these actions are familiar and safe to us. It’s hard for any us to understand how much our lives will be improved when we find something, some alternative way of behaving that we feel passionate about to take the place of unhealthy rituals.

This time of year is filled with traditions, some great and some destructive. Ever ask your parents and grandparents why they do what they do? I find it so crazy when the answer is:  simply because this is the way they’ve always been done. We dispel new approaches to doing even the most simple of tasks and refuse to try new things to hide and cling on to our past.

Let’s face it; change is hard because it’s scary, especially when it comes to our own health. We state publicly that we are going to lose weight, get in better shape and eat better. Oh no, now it’s out there, what if we fail? What will people think? “Oh, there she goes again on another fad diet.” “Why is she exercising? She doesn’t need to exercise, she looks great.” “He hasn’t exercised in years, how does he think he can do it now?”

Why do humans care so much about what other people think? Get all that noise out of your head. Most people don’t care about anyone but themselves.

The key word is “process.” Nothing worthwhile happens overnight.  Varying your routine is going to be difficult and there will be days when you don’t stick to your plan. But with patience, perseverance, and support change happens.

Then, more amazing thing starts to happen along with it. A small pattern kicks in. You politely say no to the bad food around the office because you begin to realize how crappy you’ll feel afterward and feeling good feels…well…really good lately. You make room in your schedule tomorrow because the workout felt pretty good today. You become one of those “weirdo health nuts” that you used to scoff at. And, people start to take notice. But, that is not what keeps you coming back. What makes you show up is your child smiling at you when you come home from a run, or the patience that you’ve gained when in a stressful situation or the unhealthy cells passed down genetically that you know you’re killing off one small cell at a time.

You can feel so much better no matter what your age, genetic make-up, medical history or lack of exercise over the years. You can feel really great and still eat tasty food. You can exercise and have fun at the same time. All you have to do are four simple things:

  1. Tell yourself that you can change. Everyone has that inside of them, everyone.
  2. You may have heard my brother Tony Horton say this and think its silly, but it works: Take the word “failure” out of your vocabulary.  Replace it with something else like: “I’m presently working on…,” Or “I am currently struggling with…”
  3. Have a plan. This is critical. You won’t succeed by winging it every day. In 2004 I found the plan that worked for me. I have stuck with variations of it to this day and I feel pretty darn terrific at the age of 51, 90% of the time. I am a big believer in having a workout plan, especially if exercise is not part of your daily routine. It has to be doable and something that won’t have you quitting on day three. I’m happy to help you select the plan that will work for both your fitness level and personality type.
  4. Get accountability partners. If change is so hard, how can you expect to go at it alone? An accountability partner is the person that is there for you when you slip up, they are the people that encourage you, support you and motivate you. They make you successful because you are in it with them and you both have the same common goal. This is another absolute necessary part of the equation. When I mess up, which I often do, my accountability partners are the people that keep me on that patient, steady climb toward success. My successful days now outnumber my not-so-successful ones because of my accountability partners. I gathered people in a private group well over 6 years ago. We call ourselves “Team Thrive.” If you’d like to join the group, message me back.

If you’d like help figuring out a plan, even it’s not with a Beachbody product, or want to be part of one of my groups, please write me back and let’s set up some time to talk.

What are YOUR ideas for changing behaviors that last?  Selfishly, I’d love to hear them. Comment below.

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.

A Happy AND Healthy Halloween Treat

Candy Corn Smoothie

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I am crazy for candy corn this time of year. Yep, I know. There is absolutely NO nutritional value in those tiny little sugar triangles that I can pop in my mouth by the handful.

I was very excited to find this recipe. It is a yummy, healthier substitute and a great twist on your morning meal replacement shake.

Ingredients:

  • First Layer (White)
  • 1 serving Vanilla Shakeology or vanilla protein powder of your choice.
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Second Layer (Yellow)
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ Tbsp turmeric
  • Third Layer (Orange)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric

Preparation

  1. Add all ingredients in first (white) layer to blender and blend. Pour 1/3 of the smoothie mixture into the bottom of your glass.
  2. Next add in the frozen mango, water, and the half tablespoon turmeric to create a yellow layer. Pour half of the mix into a separate glass and set aside while you blend the orange layer.
  3. Add the carrot and remaining turmeric to create an orange layer. Pour the orange layer on top of the white layer. Top with the yellow layer of smoothie. Enjoy!

 

 

Progress Comes with a Push and Positive Influences

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Best Motivation Technique: The Buddy System

In a fitness slump? Lost your mo-jo? Can’t seem to string a few days together?

FIND A BUDDY! It’s likely that you have a friend or co-worker feeling the same way you are right now. Get together, set some goals, work out a plan for meeting and exercising together. You will have more fun and you will be more likely to show up because you won’t want to let the other person down :) I had the benefit of having this guy hold me accountable when he came for a visit last summer. 120 reps? NO WAY would I have tried that on the last round of this workout, but he threw down the gauntlet and I surprised myself :)

 

How Successful Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated

As an entrepreneur and business owner, I’ve certainly had my share of ups and downs, good years and bad years. I chose this life to have indepedendence, be my own boss, make my own hours and be in control of my success. Whether you are a business owner, executive, entrepreneur or front line manager, these words of wisdom will help you. I can’t say it any better than Drew Hendricks who wrote this article recently for Success Magazine.

So you’ve swerved onto the rumble strips along the road to your entrepreneurial dreams.

Welcome to the club.

The club includes just about every other member of the human race who has ever started something brave and new. In every entrepreneurial success story, there is a time, if not multiple times, when setbacks occurred, chances were taken and motivation was lost.motivate

Think about Steve Jobs getting fired from his own company. Or Mark Zuckerberg dropping out of Harvard and moving to Silicon Valley on a whim. At least you’re in good company. At moments like these, it is important to take the right steps to get yourself back on track.

Here are seven suggestions to keep yourself motivated:

  1. Be mindful and restore yourself physically.

We tend to neglect our bodies when our minds are overwhelmed by stress. But keeping and maintaining a regular health routine is critical for entrepreneurs, especially when faced with challenges. Take a yoga class. Sit in a quiet room and meditate. Go for a jog near a body of water. The point is to do something to get your endorphins flowing, to clear your mind a bit and to re-energize yourself. As the saying goes, “Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.” Take a moment for your health and it will pay dividends in the long run.

  1. Read fiction.

Step out of your world for an hour and read a good fiction book. As our society moves toward more bite-sized, digital content, the benefits of fiction for entrepreneurs are increasingly being recognized. After reading fiction, individuals tend to empathize better, demonstrate superior focus and learn to approach obstacles in new ways. Reading, similar to exercise, helps to replenish us in a seemingly counterintuitive manner. It helps us to step away for a moment, then approach our challenges more effectively. And you never know, the right reference to a client’s favorite character or novel just might close the deal one day.

  1. Hear from leaders who have been through it.

There’s nothing quite like an inspirational I-did-it-and-you-can-too story. The entrepreneurial world is full of stories of tragedy and triumph that inspired great new businesses. Latch onto those stories and learn from them. Try out a few tips that successful entrepreneurs who have overcome adversity have tried when they were struggling. This could mean checking out the biography of one of these leaders or just browsing YouTube for their inspirational speeches and interviews. Learn from others’ experiences as much as you can in this moment to better your chance of success in the future.

  1. Level up your approach with strategic reading.

If you read any two books during this time, check out What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Lincoln on Leadership. The first is a great read on retooling one’s thinking as an entrepreneur and manager who must constantly evolve in a leadership role. The author, Marshall Goldsmith, writes on personal development as the key to better management. Again, focusing internally on changing behavior patterns is crucial to finding the means to overcome trying times and ultimately improve as an entrepreneur. The book on Abraham Lincoln emphasizes the powerful lessons of leadership to be gleaned from one of the most remarkable leaders in modern history. Talk about a leader who went through tough times!

  1. Talk to your mentors.

People love giving advice, so take full advantage. Think of your network of mentors as a personal board of directors who you can consistently reach out to in search of support and guidance. Some of them might even be able to offer material support in the form of investment, referrals and key introductions to influencers. Your mentors are an opportunity to expand your reach and broaden your thinking.

  1. Write it out.

Whether it’s a blog or a personal journal, some of the most thoughtful leaders and entrepreneurs in the field keep a record of their experiences on the road to success. Many of them turn these snippets into best-selling novels when they make it big—Bill Gates and Richard Branson, to name a few. At the very least, use writing as a way to process what you are going through, to strategize, and maybe even to build a following of peers who share ideas and support each other. Although it can be hard to find time for writing, schedule it into your workday (at least 15 minutes) because, in the end, it will add value.

  1. Keep calm and do what you do.

Take this moment to recalibrate your goals and stick to them. The path to entrepreneurial success is never a straight one. It is a winding road full of thorns, thickets and all types of obstacles. That is part of the fun! But in the frenetic pace of an entrepreneur’s life, sometimes you will need to pause and reassess how you are approaching those micro-challenges.

Remember that you are where you are for a lot of good reasons. The success you seek ultimately lies within you. You’re just doing the work right now to let that even better version of yourself shine through. You’ve got this. Enjoy the ride.

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.

 

How Energy Optimizes SUCCESS :)

 “Energy and persistence conquer all things” –Benjamin FranklinIMG_1169

I’ve been travelling on business for the past six, straight weeks. I’ve come to appreciate the challenges that business travelers have staying healthy and focused on the road. I love my work leading interactive workshops on communication and leadership skills. To keep my audience fully engaged and maximize their learning and enjoyment, I need to optimize my energy; physically, mentally and emotionally. I believe that our level of energy and focus impacts anyone’s success, not matter what line of work they’re in. Our level of energy is the common denominator that empowers our efficiency, motivation and opportunity.

I teach the leaders and managers in my workshops about the concept of “Flow.” (For more on this topic, read: Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). Flow is a state of being when we are highly motivated and highly productive doing a task. For many adults my age this state is rare given that we are challenged by our ability to be good parents, good caregivers to our own parents and excel at our careers. It’s no wonder we are not in a constant state of exhaustion. According to experts, one out of five Americans say they have fatigue that interferes with their daily lives, and more than 1 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. With an abundance of modern reasons cited for it, many health researchers are calling our excessive energy poverty an epidemic.

So, how do we tip the energy scales in our favor? Here are a few best practices I’ve been trying to incorporate while on the road that might help you:

  1. Design and stick to a routine that works with your natural Circadian rhythms. Our Circadian clock is the internal mechanism that governs our biology according to 24-hour rhythms. This clock marks our daily schedule and tells us when to sleep, eat and, more important, when to think. If you are a business traveler like me, it’s tough to stick to a daily routine, but I do my best to ensure my energy is highest when I need it to be. I know that I need 7-8 hours of sleep every night and I am most productive and focused before noon. On the road, I spend just short time each night catching up on emails and returning messages and turn off all technology by 9 pm. I get up early to exercise and even a 15-30 minute routine can suffice to get me going and sets a positive tone for making healthy food choices for the remainder of the day. Don’t fight your biology. Learn your natural energetic rhythms and work with them to optimize your productivity.
  2. Be optimistic. Flight delays, less than ideal sleeping conditions in hotels and thinking about responsibilities I’m neglecting at home can all contribute to a negative attitude. A recent study at the Stanford Research Institute discovered that: “Success is based on 88% mental attitude and 12% knowledge and skills.” So, do what you can to bring more “happy” in your life. I like to end my day by watching a sitcom on TV that gives me a big belly laugh, start my day with a positive, inspirational quote or even stand before the mirror right before I walk out the door and remind myself of my strengths to pump myself up. Taking five minutes to make sure our thoughts are positive starts the day off with the right mindset and fuels positive energy for the day.
  3. Learn to say no. Everyone loses focus and energy when they become overwhelmed. Some of my biggest challenges are overpromising, wanting to please people, and taking on too much. Practice saying no to things you know you will have difficulty completing. If you simply tell people the “why” and offer up an alternative, more often than not, they are agreeable to the alternative. Set boundaries and learn to forgive yourself too. Sometimes, the workout has to take a pass to important follow-up I need to do before heading out the door. At the same respect, some emails can wait 45 minutes while I make time for my workout. It’s all about finding balance. We have to deal with any areas that are taking too much energy and put them in perspective, align them, so that we have energy available for all areas.
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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 :)