Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Challenge For Accountability

I was deeply moved by all of the positive feedback to last week’s blog on "Spring Training." It seems as though everyone is catching some form of Spring fever…and last week must have hit a nerve. Most expressed a connection to the spirit of the blog’s content, and almost all were drawn towards action in some form or fashion. While inspiration is where it all starts, action is essential to making "IT" happen. Kudos to you and the action you took this week!

One of the most inspirational responses came from a very dear friend, whom I thought, was already living his professional dream. Yet, he was drawn to take his aspirations even further…

“That was exactly what I needed, [He writes.] I’ve been thinking about going
to law school…but was discouraged about the LSAT requirements. I went out
and bought a few LSAT books, and it’s not as bad as I thought. I must confess
I had negative thoughts about my chances of getting accepted into law school. Your blog and Gandhi’s quote have given me inspiration. Now I’m going to put
it all on the line and pursue my dream…”

Now that’s success in action! This was a huge breakthrough and I am so proud of him! Although an incredible pursuit, he’s got a long road ahead of him. He’s taken the first step…inspiration. Now he’s working on his action plan…necessity.

Weight loss and law school…I couldn’t help but to parallel our two challenges. Although the end results are different, I realized that the course that we must take to achieve our goals, is in fact, the same. I couldn’t help but ask myself…what could I do to encourage him to stay the course? How does one maintain focus and stay motivated through one's entire jouney? My answer…ACCOUNTABILITY!!!

It is unusual for most to make commitments to others and not keep them. We extend ourselves to our family members, our children, even our bosses...and we usually follow through with the best of intentions. Yet, we usually find it's okay to break a promise to ourselves and deem it acceptible. Well...It's not! Hold yourself accountable to your goal, maintain your focus, and allow others to help you get to where you want to be!

1. Publish Your Goal
Whether your have a weight loss challenge, a professional quest, or a personal achievement to accomplish…make it known! Make a pledge to yourself, and put it in writing. Place it some place where you can review it every morning, and ask yourself…”What action will I take today towards accomplishing my goal?” Then do it!

2. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
Birds of a feather…flock together. Research shows that fostering healthy relationships can help you to not only achieve…but also maintain your goals, regardless of what they are. Don’t be afraid to share your goals, or even to ask family and friends to support you in your efforts…while you do the same for them in return. Remember that you reap what you sow. Sowing good seeds can only help you to achieve great harvest.

3. Find A Mentor
Seek out someone who has already achieved what it is that your trying to accomplish. Not only will they be flattered that you sought them out, but chances are they will be willing to share their trials and tribulations in an effort to help you avoid the same pitfalls. They will be equally as eager to share their successes.

4. Form Your Own Support Group
Find a partner who shares your struggle, and agree to support one another. Since we are talking about weight loss, maybe its a workout partner you need to stay accountable to. If your struggle is with cooking, find someone to do healthy recipe swaps with, and agree to exchange once a week. If you are reading this blog, then it was probably sent to you by someone who really cares about you and has a vested interest in your success. Pay it forward and pass it along to someone who you know may possibly get something out of it. Share the tips and inspirations that you use to achieve your goals.

We all struggle with something. How we react to that struggle can mean the difference between success and failure. Our freedom of choice is our power to succeed. It is my hope that there is something written here every week that will both challenge and inspire you to be the person you were truly meant to be.

That is my prayer for you!

Much Love~

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Training

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. March 20th was it's first day…and in only three more months, summer will be upon us.

When I think about spring, my mind instantly goes to that place where tree and flowers are beginning to bloom and rebirth begins. The cold and dreary days of winter are almost behind us and life becomes warm, fresh, and vibrant. And for all that this season represents, before our eyes is the perfect example of what this period can really mean for us as individuals. This season only happens once a year, and it is the perfect opportunity for renewal, rejuvenation, and transformation to occur for anyone looking to make changes within themselves.

So, how do we get there?

First, Know Your Motivation- I have a friend who has a picture of himself in his old college football uniform, beside his bed. He looks at that picture every morning before he gets up. For him, it‘s his stimulus. It’s the first thing he sees, and that vision stays with him all day long. Another friend just became a Grandmother for the first time, and she wants to be able to play with her grandchild without sweating like a pig or getting winded when she runs down the driveway. (Those are her words…NOT MINE!) Keeping these powerful motivations front and center makes it easier to be strong when faced with temptation. Sheer determination will help to face challenges head on.

Secondly, Set Realistic Goals- When you’ve got a lot of weight to lose that large number can be overwhelming. Instead of concentrating on a number, set a goal unrelated to the number. Maybe the goal is to move more this week. Pick an activity, and do it every day. Perhaps, you cut down or eliminate sodas and drink more water. Want to eat healthier foods…cut out that trip to the drive thru, or aspire to eat more fruits and vegetables. (And no, French fries don’t count!) Whatever it is, start small and perfect that habit before moving on to something else. Taking on too much change at one time can set us up for failure and cause us to lose our motivation.

Lastly, Think Positively- One of my favorite Mahatma Gandhi quotes is... “If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. When I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it, even if I did not have the ability in the beginning.” Once you’ve made up in your mind that you can achieve something…YOU CAN! Reflect on what you can do…not what you can’t. Make it a daily habit to say something positive about yourself and at the end of every day…recall all of those things you did RIGHT! Remove any negativity and self doubt and surround yourself with positive people who support your efforts and care about your results.

Our mental processes are sometimes more powerful that the physical actions we take on to achieve our weight loss goals. Even before we step foot in the gym, or put that first bite of food in our mouths, the decision must be made to SUCCEED! Our self-image and our habits tend to go hand in hand. Change one and your will most certainly change the other. I truly believe that this journey is a mind, body and soul experience, but without the motivation for achievement, this passage to renewal, rejuvenation and transformation is doomed for failure.

Summer will be here before I know it, but I refuse to let the rebirth of spring just pass me by without taking advantage of all that it has in its midst.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Buffet Affect

If I didn’t know it before, I can now firmly say with confidence, I am an emotional eater.

This week I was faced with an unfathomable truth…My best simply wasn’t good enough.

It’s a crushing blow. To give 100% of yourself and work diligently on a task, only to see the fruits of your labor yielding an immeasurable failure. I gave it my best effort. Never once did I consider that my best wouldn’t be good enough.

Overtaken by a tsunami of emotion, instinctively, I wanted to make myself feel better. I didn’t want to cry, or think, or even talk it out. Instinctively, what I really wanted was to sear up the colossal sea scallops I just bought the day before, and serve it on a bed of creamy, cheesy, slow cooked polenta. And yes instinctively, I wanted to open up a bottle of a chardonnay-viognier blend, whose buttery -sweetness would be perfect to compliment to the richness of the polenta, while drawing out the luscious, sweet tenderness of the scallops. YUM!!! And considering this purchase of glorious nectar was made just days before my vow…I couldn’t wait to partake in its magnificence. Yes, that was EXACTLY what would make feel better…even temporarily.

But, for a split second, I thought about the words of Warren Buffett

“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars; I look around for the 1-foot bars that I can step over.”

And just like that, before I knew it…I was changing into my workout gear and heading for the gym! For 60 minutes, I tuned out the world and sweated to the sounds blaring from my ipod. I didn’t think about what went array, or what I could have done differently. Yet, when I was finished, I’ll admit I was exhausted…but surprisingly, I felt better.

Being successful isn’t always about conquering the biggest challenges…it’s about constantly growing and overcoming the feats that I can manage. And sometimes it means re-thinking my approach. If I always do, what I’ve always done…then I am surely bound to see the same result. I guess that applies to more areas of my life besides weight loss.

The next morning…I came up with a new approach to my 7-foot bar. I don’t know if this will work either…but I am bound and determined to give it my best shot!

Much Love~

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Law of Motion - A "Love Month" Précis

“To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
- Sir Issac Newton

We put our strategy into action and execute to the best of our ability. We are driven. We are determined. We are focused. The self-proclaimed “Month of Love” had begun. But despite our best intentions, things don’t always turn out the way we plan. Life throws us a curve ball or two, and we find ourselves back where we started… discouraged, distracted and unmotivated. Yet, through it all…if we are lucky enough to see it…somewhere in there…is a lesson to be learned.

During the month of February, I had a plan and was willing to take action. I promised that I would put myself first. I was motivated to take charge of my need to exercise, as well as my want to make better food choices. I planned to work fewer hours and achieve more balance in my life.

In the précis of February, it turns out that despite my best intentions, I worked more hours during this month than ever before. I was too tired to wake up early for my workouts, and opted to sleep in, so I could go in early to labor endlessly. In retrospect, I would call that an opposite reaction…wouldn’t you?

But here’s the lesson: When faced with the challenges of stress and long hours, the normal reward would have been a fabulous meal with an equally fabulous bottle of wine. This time I was more mindful of the choices I made, and opted for bubble baths instead of food. Meals for the week were planned and prepared instead of grabbing the first thing that was quick and available. The Observance of Lent brought about my giving up my beloved “noble nectar of the gods!” (Now there’s an opposite reaction I didn’t expect!) As a direct result of just being cognizant and fully present…I lost 11.4 lbs! Not the result I originally set out to achieve…but a glimmer of hope nonetheless.

"To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction???"

For every objective I failed to meet…there was an unexpected consequence that resulted in the positive. Not only was I able to recognize my “Pleasure Principle,” but I was also able to understand that just maybe, it is possible to “Teach This Old Dog a New Trick” or two! March is here…Spring is just around the corner. Taking into consideration that I wasn’t able to tackle the challenges I set for myself in February, I think this is where my focus should remain for March. It is afterall, the month when trees and flowers begin to bloom...and rebirth begins again. I will not be discouraged. I will not be defeated. I will pick myself up, brush myself off and refocus once again. I refuse to lose sight of the fact that “The best times of my life have not yet been lived!”

For the record, I did purchase my Amethyst, whose sole purpose was to ward off negativity and celebrate “Love Month”. Looks like its working! .