7-Day “Can’t” Detox

Yesterday at the end of my classes at Egan’s Fit Body Bootcamp, I talked with our Bootcampers about the importance of shifting from an “I can’t” mindset to “solution-based questioning” to help us create the life we desire. Instead of giving our “limiting factors” the starring roll in our story, we can put the focus on what we CAN do to get us to our desires. We sometimes get so hooked into our story about why we can’t do something that we get stuck on “I can’t” instead of asking the simple question “How CAN I make this happen?” 

Check out this amazing story about a woman who never let her limiting factors (being born with no legs) take the center stage and never let the words “can’t” get in the way of her dreams to become a gymnast. Big thanks to our Bootcamper Bev who shared this inspiring story with me after class. I will watch this everytime I hear myself whining about my perceived limiting factors. 

This weekend, start your own 7-day “CAN’T” Detox. When you hear yourself talking about what you CAN’T do and why you CAN’T reach your goals, stop yourself and say “DELETE!” Then ask yourself: “What can I do?” 

Write down your observations and keep track of how much time you spend talking about your limiting factors instead of taking action. For every “can’t” story that you tell yourself, come up with three solutions or actions you CAN take. For added behavior modification, you can wear a rubberband on your wrist and snap it every time you catch yourself saying “can’t” or get your friends and family involved and tell them they can pinch you or charge you a $1 every time they hear you say it!

Imagine what you could achieve if “can’t'” never even crossed your mind. Reprogram yourself to believe in your limitless capabilities. 

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The Insanity Loop: 3 Steps to Getting Unstuck

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Photo credit: Pup Fan, Creative Commons
Have you ever been stuck in a cycle of wanting to change something, trying to change, not being able to change, thinking there is something wrong with you, trying harder to change, getting mad that you can’t, trying again, getting frustrated, beating yourself up for your lack of willpower, and then trying again only to continue to “fail”? Maybe you talk about how you haven’t been able to do something no matter how hard you try, but this time you’ll just try harder in the hopes that something will be different this time around. I’ve been talking to a lot of people about this phenomenon lately and have been wrestling with this myself, frankly. This is what I call, “The Insanity Loop”, based on Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The fact is that we often needlessly drive ourselves insane by using all of our energy to work HARDER instead of SMARTER.At Egan’s Training Center, we are always being reminded in jiu jitsu training, that the focus is on using your individual strengths, correct positioning, and leverage. This is especially important if your opponent is bigger or stronger than you. Instead of trying desperately, again and again, to outpower someone, a simple shift in position and mindset can save you tons of energy and create the opportunity to use their force to your advantage.

If you find yourself stuck in The Insanity Loop, expending lots of energy trying to outpower (or out-willpower) something you are up against, here are 3 steps you can use to help break the cycle and get unstuck:

1 – Know Yourself. The first step is coming to terms with you who are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Take some time to really examine the chronic issues, habits, or behaviors that are getting in the way of your success. The key here is do this without judgement. Do you hit your snooze button 50 times every morning? Righteous! Do you find it impossible to say no to red wine/hot bread/chocolate chip cookies? Yum! That’s just who you are, baby. Do you love writing blog posts, but don’t schedule time for it and then scramble to get them done? Yup, that’s me! It’s all good. The first step is awareness and acceptance. Write down on a piece of paper what you want and then what you do to sabotage yourself. Then have a good laugh about it. We all have our shit and that’s what makes us special and awesome. And keep in mind, who we are and what we want is always changing and evolving, so finding the time to do this type of self-reflection on a regular basis is part of living a life by design.

2 – Hack Your Environment and Shift Your Position. The bottom line is that it is a heck of a lot easier to change our environment or our positioning than it is to change our personality or behaviors. Take a look at that piece of paper again and think of ways that you can “hack your environment” to support your goals. If you snooze your alarm clock so many times you constantly miss your morning workouts, instead of beating yourself for being unable to get up, move your alarm clock across the room so you have to get up and turn it off. Or get a dog that wakes you up because he has to pee or a cat that slaps your face every morning with a furry paw because she’s hungry. Or perhaps you can “shift your position” to work with who you are, and not against it, by switching to afternoon workouts. Remember, when nothing goes right, go left.

We can also use technology to hack our environment and create external reminders and pressure to help us shift. Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve, put reminders on your phone to get to the gym, or log your food, or call your mom. Use a tool like Resnooze to send email reminders to your inbox, hire someone on Fiverr for $5 to call you everyday for a month to ask you if you are staying on track. We have endless tools at our fingertips – use them to make it impossible to forget what you are trying to achieve.

3 – Put Accountability to Work. Accountability is our best friend when breaking out of The Insanity Loop and creating new habits. Accountability can come in many forms, but the main idea is to share with one person, or many, about what you are trying to achieve so that it matters in some way whether you do it or not. You can tell your best friend, your family, share it on Facebook, join a community of like-minded individuals, make a bet with someone, create a mastermind group, etc. The whole point is that more than likely, you have been trying to change in a bubble with no real external consequences. Use accountability to up the ante and the more it scares you the better! If being held accountable for something makes your palms sweat and gives you those little nervous butterflies in your stomach, that means your dreams are big and the stakes are high and that is a recipe for success!

You may want to consider doing these exercises and brainstorming with a friend, or friends, someone who can help you get creative and think of out-of-the-box solutions to your challenges since it is often difficult for us to see clearly when we’re stuck in the muck of insanity. I’d love to hear all about the creative ways that you break out of The Insanity Loop! Please share in the comments and inspire others.

If you’re looking for another way to get unstuck when it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition, please join me this Saturday, August 16th, for my “Healthy Body, Happy Life” class. This is the last one of this series that I will be teaching at Happiness U this year, so if you’ve been thinking about it, I hope you can join us for this final class. I love teaching this class and have so much to share! Please register to reserve your spot. 

 

4 Apps for an Awesome August and the 1 Question to Ask Yourself Today

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Can you believe it is already August?! What a perfect time to reflect on the year so far. How are you doing on those goals and visions you created for yourself at the beginning of 2014? There are 5 whole months left in this year…what are you going to do with them? Instead of resetting those same old boring goals, think about this quote from Tim Ferris, author of the 4-Hour Work Week (my current Audible pick of the month): “The question you should be asking isn’t, ‘What do I want?’ or ‘What are my goals?’, but, ‘What would excite me?'” What is going to fire you up this month and beyond? What would make you want to jump out of bed in the morning? Whatever you’re thinking, think BIGGER, crazier, and more awesome! You’re not on this planet to get by and get along, you’re here to milk every minute for all it’s worth! I love using technology to support my goals/dreams/visions. Here are the apps I’m going to be using to keep me focused, hold me accountable, and help me LEVEL UP my awesomeness in August!

Toggl Available as an internet, desktop, and smartphone app. This easy to use, simple and intuitive time-tracking application is a kickass tool to help you measure, manage, and more efficiently use your time. We learn so much by tracking our time: Are we spending our time wisely? Are we taking more time to do things than we think? Do we have work/life balance? Are we spending enough time doing the things that will bring us the most profit/satisfaction/bang for our buck? What low level things can we delegate? How much time do we spend commuting, running errands, sucked into social media? How much are we sleeping? Working out? Taking time for self-care? Basically, tracking our time tells us quite quickly if we are spending our time in ways that are in alignment with our values and goals.

GymPact This cool reward (and penalty) app pays you if you reach your weekly goals and YOU PAY THEM if you don’t (that money that goes to pay those that are reaching their goals in the GymPact community). What I’m super excited about is that now Gym Pact syncs with Fitness Pal and RunKeeper so you can use it to keep up with your food logging and non-gym workouts too. I set up some goals, entered my credit card, and synced up my other apps to this today. It made me NERVOUS and a little scared that I won’t be able to keep up and guess what – THAT’S AWESOME!!!!!! If your goals and personal challenges don’t make you nervous and a little scared, then they are not big enough! This month, set some goals that make you uncomfortable! Up the stakes and watch the magic happen!

Headspace One of my current goals is to work on managing my stress and improve my quality of life through daily meditation. Let me tell you, this does NOT come naturally to me. Even just the smallest commitment to meditate for 5 minutes a day is so freakin’ hard for me. I have tried and tried to create a daily meditation routine but have never been able to keep it up. Headspace was recommended to me by the super awesome Christopher Kelly from NourishBalanceThrive who I have been working with to improve my health and athletic performance. This guided meditation app is simple, easy to use, and just kind of fun, so I actually look forward to it. It tracks my progress which helps me stay focused and motivated to keep going. I am working my way through the foundation package so that I can unlock the other packages. I’m determined to get to the next level this month. I also love the “singles” – little meditations for use during runs, chores, freak-outs…and the sleeping meditation knocks me out without fail.

Duolingo I just discovered this app and I am obsessed! It is just so FUN! As I mentioned, I have been working on reducing stress and part of that is a focus on having more fun and doing things that bring me pleasure. I know it’s kinda silly/sad that I have to set a goal to have more fun, but I can often get so sucked into my to-do-lists, responsibilities, and battling the soul-sucking “shoulds” in my life that I forget to do things just because they are fun and enjoyable. This app, available online and as a smartphone app is a free language learning tool. I started fooling around with it to see how much French I could remember from college and surprisingly it all started coming back to me. The app works like a video game, with levels and a “lingot” reward system complete with a virtual store you can spend your lingots in. I forgot how much I love the French language, learning language in general, and how much I love video games! I find myself getting completely lost in the moment (a great thing for the brain and spirit) and feel such a sense of accomplishment when I soar through a level (also great for the brain and spirit).

Commit to spending at least 30 minutes today or this weekend to write down your answer to the question, “what would excite me this month.” Take some time to also think about what you can do to make the rest of the year flow smoothly and joyously. Make this the year that you plan ahead for the holidays (and REALLY enjoy them), learn a new language, take a fall or winter vacation, and design your dream life BEFORE everyone else’s New Year’s Resolution scramble to get their s#!% back on track.

If you’re looking for the perfect moment to start something, finish something, become something, make something happen, shift something, do something, change something, build something, dump something, grow something, create something…THIS IS IT! Get excited and get on it! Woohoo! 

8 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Food (or People)

photo by mmmmqc, creativecommons.org
photo by mmmmqc, creativecommons.org
This past weekend, I had the honor of speaking at a Moms In Hawaii health event called, “Mom-O-Rama”. The topic was, “How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food”, something that I hear people talking about a lot. Food is so central to our lives, our culture, our family, and social circles. We spend hours a day thinking about food, shopping for food, preparing food, and eating food, it’s no wonder we want to be sure that this key “relationship” in our lives is healthy. When our relationship with food is healthy, thinking/preparing/eating food is joyous, fulfilling, satisfying, comforting, nourishing, balanced, fun, and easy. When our relationship with food is challenged in anyway, we can struggle with guilt, shame, anxiety, overindulgence, anger, boredom, abuse, stress, overwhelm, and other painful emotions.

You can see that our relationship with food is not unlike our relationships with people. Healthy relationships = feeling happy, unhealthy relationships = feeling junk. Instead of getting overwhelmed by thinking there is something “wrong” with a complicated relationship with food, that we need to fix once and for all, we can gently work towards improving our food relationship in the same way that we would go about improving our people relationships.

To get you started, here are 8 things you can do you can improve your relationship with food (or people):

  1. Really get to know them. How much do you REALLY know about the food you are consuming? Do you know where your food came from and what it’s really made of? You can’t know unless you take the time to ask. Ask your server what’s in your food. Research online about the companies you purchase from. Read labels. Get curious, investigate, dig, learn, be thorough, and then make your food choices based on the information you find.
  2. Dump the ones that are full of crap. Listen, life is too short to waste your time on the fake Franken-foods that you know are full of stuff that is scientifically proven to do you harm. There is plenty of evidence and your body intuitively knows that partially hydrogenated oils, excessive artificial food dyes, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, toxic chemical sugar substitutes, and those crazy things you can’t pronounce on the labels are killing us and making us fat. You deserve higher quality in your life. Period. Kick these to the curb. And if you avoid these, but still feed them to your children because “they won’t eat anything else”, really ask yourself if this makes sense. Kids’ bodies are even more sensitive to toxins, and they need you to protect them until they can understand the harm that these things do to their bodies. Would you let somebody you kicked out of your life for being abusive to you watch your kids so that you could go spend time with some quality friends? I didn’t think so. Kids and adults both need and deserve high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. Period.
  3. Look for authenticity. Are the foods and food sources in your life authentic and well-intended? In this day and age, the reality is that we have to be watchdogs for marketing hype, sneaky labeling, and straight up bullshit. I hate to break it you, but not all people, food companies, restaurants, or government agencies, have your best interests and health in mind. They want your money. Say no to these creeps and report them (and follow awesome chicks like Food Babe, who are passionate about this), and follow your heart and intuition to those establishments that truly want to change the world and make it a healthier, happier place.
  4. Spend less time with takers and more with the givers. It’s important that we guard our health and energy by not filling our lives with those foods (or drinks) that take more than they give. Excess sugar, caffeine, alcohol, empty carbs, gluten, processed soy, inflammatory foods, to name a few, can drain our bodies and take more than they give, especially over time. Truly healthy foods give us more energy than they take, and leave us feeling nourished, not zapped. Hanging with these foods on occasion is cool, but too much and we start feeling beat down. Choose your time with these foods wisely and balance them out with the things that nourish you.
  5. Know which ones can lead to trouble. Some foods are healthy, delicious, really fun, and good for us in moderation, but can lead to BIG trouble…do you go nuts with nuts? Does one glass of wine turn to three and then lead to more nuts? Can you stop at one homemade raw vegan cupcake or do you end up having to throw them in the trash and cover them with soap to stop from eating them (totally not speaking from personal experience). We all have those trigger foods (a.k.a. party friends) that we love and can continue to rock with once in a while, so long as we set limitations and commit to being aware of their affect on us. Know the difference between your fun-time party foods and your real, not-as-sexy, but super reliable foods that bring out the best in you ALL the time.
  6. Stop labeling. While it is important to get clear about what your food standards are and what effect certain foods have on your body, we have a tendency to want to label food as “good” or “bad”, which can lead to feelings of confusion, frustration, and disappointment in ourselves if we eat something from the self-titled “naughty” list. When we label foods as good or bad, we start to view ourselves as being good or bad, and this black-or-white thinking can lead to extremes in behavior that rarely serve our long-term goals or bring us happiness and fulfillment. Like everything in life, there are benefits and challenges to everything (and everything we eat) and there is always going to be conflicting opinions about what’s true, and what will bring us health and happiness. This is your journey and it’s vital that you get clear about what YOUR body, mind, and spirit want and need to thrive. Avoiding the labels helps us to be open to our expanding awareness about food, keeps us from being preachy and annoying, and helps us to be easy on ourselves as we travel our own personal path.
  7. Say goodbye when it’s time. As we evolve, it’s important, and totally normal, to say goodbye to foods that we have outgrown. There may be foods that you used to spend a lot of time with, but that just don’t align with who you are now. It’s important to check in and ask yourself regularly if your food choices support your current goals and values. Eating cereal everyday in college may have aligned with your goals to save money at the time, but does this align with who you are today, and your current goal to increase your protein intake? Late night trips through the drive through after a night of drinking may have been in alignment with your social goals at some point, but may not support your current goal to become a professional athlete today. Eating Ben & Jerry’s every night after dinner may have been bonding for your family, but no longer aligns with your goals to lose weight and get fit together now. Re-evaluate your values and goals and then eat in alignment with your new truth.
  8. Ask if they make you happy. Most importantly, do the foods you eat bring you joy? Do they make your taste buds sing and your body vibrate at the highest level? Are you eating things because you truly enjoy them or because you feel like you should. Don’t resign yourself to boring, unfulfilling meals! There is a whole world of choices out there, and endless tantalizing options for you to discover! Get out there and explore, taste, enjoy, and savor. At the end of the day, what makes any relationship healthy is that it brings us happiness.
Just like we deserve quality friends in our lives, we deserve quality food in our bodies. Whether it’s the food you put on the table or the people sitting around that table with you, remember that life is too precious to settle for anything less than what makes you feel happy, healthy, and inspired!

Goals, Goals, Goals! 4 Ways to Bring the Sexy Back to Your Goal Setting

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Being in the health/fitness/self-improvement/business world, we talk about goals A LOT. Do you have goals? What are your goals? How are you doing on your goals? How I can help you reach your goals? What are my goals? When will I reach my goals? Why haven’t I reached my goals? Goals goals goals goals goals goals goals. We set them, we break ‘um down, we make ‘um big, we make ‘um small, we revise ‘um, we reset ‘um, we reach ‘um, we don’t, and then we set some more.

Now, I’m not saying that goals are not important or necessary to help us evolve on this planet and help us to realize our dreams. However, sometimes we can get so locked in our idea of what goals and goal setting SHOULD look like, that we are left feeling uninspired, unmotivated, and exhausted…especially, if we are NOT REACHING THEM. Setting clear goals, reaching them, and reveling in our success before we set another goal is enjoyable and fulfilling. Setting goals, forgetting about them or not working towards them, feeling guilty about not reaching them, then resetting the same goals again and again is frustrating and depressing.

Too often, our addiction to well-intended but uninspired and redundant goal setting, traps us in a purgatory of empty living, stuck somewhere between the life we are desperately trying to improve upon and the awesome life we can describe, but can’t seem to access. If your GOALS are dragging you down instead of lifting you up, here are four ways to shake things up:

  1. DUMP YOUR S.M.A.R.T. GOALS: Your goals are boring. Seriously. If you’re falling asleep just thinking about your goals, check out this kickass podcast of motivational powerhouse Brendan Burchard, who challenges our society’s obsession with left-brain “S.M.A.R.T.” goal setting. In this podcast he suggests that we set some “D.U.M.B.” goals instead. This podcast is sure to fire you up to set some goals that are bigger, crazier, and more uplifting than our boring “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based goals” (zzzzzzz). Set some stupid, wild, ginormous, radical, make-you-want-to-jump-out-of-bed, people-think-you’re-nuts kind of goals for a change! Spend some time dreaming and visioning beyond what your rational left-brain, sensible self can conceive of, and consider that anything less than big visioning is settling for mediocrity.
  2. FOCUS ON YOUR FEELINGS: Instead of setting goals tied to what you want to get, try focusing on how you want to FEEL. We tend to set goals like, “I want to lose 10 pounds” or, “I want to make $10,000 a month”, focusing only on what we want not WHY we want it. Instead of the WHAT, try focusing on how you believe those things will make you feel. Perhaps you want to lose 10 pounds so that you can FEEL confident on the beach, and therefore feel more willing to go to the beach with your family instead of missing out, and therefore feel more connected to your family. It’s not really about those 10 pounds as much as it is about confidence, freedom, and connectedness. By expanding your vision to the FEELINGS you desire, you may realize that there are other ways you can begin feeling those things right now, and that there is action you can take immediately, instead of buying into the depressing false reality that you can’t feel those things until you reach your goal. Yes, you can exercise more and eat cleaner, but you can also get a new flattering swimsuit and sexy sarong, plan some family outings in an environment you feel comfortable, and commit to being more present with your family. The magical thing is that when we start focusing on, and embodying the feelings that we think those original goals will bring us, we may suddenly look up and realize that we have reached our goals without even realizing it!
  3. FOCUS ON YOUR PROCESS: Part of what tends to keep us in that uninspired goal setting loop of doom is setting countless goals, but having no process or system to reach them. If you think about it, goals are really just wishes or dreams…they are these things we want, but unless we have a strategic plan for getting them, they are just floating out there like pretty butterflies. If you want to catch a butterfly, you can sit and hope and pray that it lands on you (and by the way if it does, then what – have you really thought this through?) or you can grab a net, a jar with some holes in the top, and maybe a few friends to help you corner that sucker. Get a piece of paper and write down all your goals. Then title that list, “dreams”. Now take each one of those and write down 10 action steps you can take to make each of your dreams come true, and get to work.
  4. SUPERCHARGE WITH ACCOUNTABILITY: There is plenty of evidence that accountability is often what separates high achievers from the rest of the pack. Creating some type of accountability system to help us stay focused on what we are working towards can significantly increase the likelihood of seeing something through, staying motivated along the way, and it can also make the journey way more fun. We are hardwired to want to get things done if we put it out there – sometimes because we want to be a person of our word and because we don’t want to let ourselves or others down, and sometimes because we don’t want to look like a jackass. Either way, give accountability a try – find an accountability buddy, create a mastermind group, find a support group or community in your neighborhood or online, start a blog, post on Facebook, make bets with your friends and family, wear it on a shirt, shout it from the roof tops, put it out there so that it matters in some way if you don’t do it. And if you still don’t seem to be getting what you want, lean on those around you to help give you insight as to why this may be, since accountability is also about taking responsibility for what we are doing or not doing.
One final word on goals and goal setting…as you are thinking about what you want, be sure to constantly check in and make sure your goals/dreams/wishes/process/action plan is what YOU really want, not what you think you SHOULD want or someone else’s idea about what you SHOULD want. It’s impossible to create our dream life when we’re “should-ing” all over ourselves. Be sure the life you’re designing is yours and be sure that the method and plan you have for getting there is fun, inspiring, and joyous…because frankly, if it’s not, every time you hear those damn words “enjoy the journey” you’re going to want to punch someone in the face. Now, go get ‘um, tiger!

“Healthy Body, Happy Life” tomorrow at Happiness U!

Does your body need a jumpstart? Join me tomorrow at Happiness U for my “Healthy Body, Happy Life” class. Get inspired to take your health and fitness to the next level with some fresh ideas and fresh perspective! You deserve to feel AMAZING! 

Have a wonderful weekend. Be sure to take some time to move your body, fuel yourself with nutrient-dense goodness, do what you love, say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no, spend time with people that make you laugh and inspire you to be the best version of you, try something new, reflect on all the amazing things in your life that you have to be grateful for, start something, finish something, or just do NOTHING at all and thoroughly enjoy it!!!!!!! Cheers to the frickin’ weekend! #yeahyeahyeahyeah #designyourlife #happinessu#extraordinaryjuly

My Current Top 5 Go-To Nutrition and Fitness Resources

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I find it absolutely thrilling that there is so much information out there about nutrition and fitness. I am so inspired by the access of information that we have and the amazing wealth of knowledge that is being shared so freely by wellness organizations, fitness professionals, nutrition experts, and bloggers, with a passion for helping others live healthier, happier lives! That being said, contradictory advice, misrepresented or unverified data, sneaky marketing, and general information overload can make navigating the web for nutrition and fitness information overwhelming, confusing, and exhausting.
Some of our Bootcampers asked me recently what my go-to resources are for solid information, so here are my current top 5 favorite nutrition and fitness sites that I visit pretty much everyday. There are so many other bloggers/people/sites that I follow, but many of those leads have come from one of these resources. Of course, my top 5 changes as I discover new things, but I find these 5 sites to be a nice balance of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of wellness and they give me a good foundation of information and inspiration.
  1. Greatist
  2. Mind Body Green
  3. Precision Nutrition
  4. Ben Greenfield Fitness
  5. Food Babe
Sometimes we come across resources by chance, but often the best leads come from friends since they are pre-filtered! What are your top 5 go-to websites for nutrition and health info? Please share in the comments below!