Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Unwanted Abundance: Changing Your Focus Changes Your Reality

Five months ago I stepped on the scales and found out that I had managed to accumulate 25 additional pounds that were not previously stored on my body. Yes, this 2009 I will be like MILLIONS of people as I vow to lay off the ole feed bag in an attempt to lose the unwanted abundance I’ve managed to shove into my mouth!

  • However, there will be a difference between me and the others. I will be successful and this is why. It is because I want to lose the weight for me, not anyone else. It is because I am truly sick of my jeans feeling tight and feeling those extra pounds jiggle as I jog up my stairs. Because I am SICK of it, I know I will lose it. I’ve had people ask me before how I have managed to lose weight successfully. The key is this. I know my emotional triggers for putting it on. When I know my triggers, I know how to stop myself from eating, if I eat anyway (as I have done over the past five months of stress) then I don’t worry about my “failure.” I don’t stress over the fact that I didn’t have enough “will” power to avoid all the lovely, delectable goodies that were put in my way over the holidays, I basically, don’t worry at all. I focus instead upon what I want.

  • The key for me is attitude. I don’t spend time and energy beating myself up for the past. The past no longer belongs to me. It isn’t mine to worry with. What I do is focus on each day. Oh, and by focus on each day, that DOES NOT mean I focus on each day and what I am eating. I find I can never lose weight if “losing weight” becomes my focus. In years past (yes, I’ve lost weight many times and enjoyed putting it back on too, let me tell ya!) I have found that the more I focus on weight the more I seam to add to my burden.

  • So, I change my focus. I focus on fitness! Stupid, right? I mean, it is such a little thing, but it totally changed the way I have been able to moderate and maintain my weight. Here is the essence of the technique I use. I decide what type of body I want to be. Now, come on, be realistic here. I will NEVER be a size 9 because the last time I was a size 9 I was 12 years old. A lot has happened to my body since those prepubescent days so I’m realistic. For me, I’m healthiest when I work out like I did when I was a dancer. I usually decide to have a dancer’s body, because I’ve done that sort of thing in the past and I know what I need to do to get that level of fitness back. For you, it may be different, do you want a runner’s body, a walker’s body, a swimmer’s body. You get the picture right? After you have a clear idea of what body YOU want and, again, this is key...it must be a body YOU want that is REALISTIC! Okay? After you’ve decided on the body you want, then it is time to start working on a program to get into the fitness level of that body.

  • This DOES NOT mean to JUMP into it and start punishing yourself for all those extra Christmas Cookies you ate, etc. This means that like any fit body, you must work up to a level of fitness. So, here is what I do. Because I haven’t exercised in five months, I might as well consider myself a kindergartner as far as fitness is concerned. It doesn’t matter that I used to be a power lifter and bench press over 150 pounds. (No problem for most guys, but for wimpy me that was saying something!) If I tried to do that today, I’d seriously injure myself. I focus on the fact that I don’t have a body that’s very fit and then set up a program for myself to move-slowly-toward a fit body.

  • I started walking for 30 minutes a day because that gets me moving, outside and enjoying the winter air. Well, the day after I started this resolution, Longmont, Colorado, received 6 inches in snow (we were supposed to have "flurries") and I was “stuck” walking on my treadmill for 30 minutes (I hate the treadmill!) However, I found some videos to watch and moved the treadmill around so I could watch tv while doing my exercise. I did that for a solid week (taking Sunday off) and then this week will see me walking 30 minutes one day and doing exercises (I have a favorite exercise video)the next. I will alternate these two activities until my fitness level is up to me “working out” and “lifting weights” on alternative days. The point is gradual progress.

Just like with finances, people want their debt to decrease immediately or their savings account to grow instantaneously. Come on, dear one, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself some time here! The other thing I do is I track my food intake. Yes, I keep a food diary. That is NOT the same as counting calories. I just track what I eat. I find that by just writing down what I eat curbs my eating because I have this image in my head of the type of body I want and as I eat I have to write it down and then, wa la! I realize I frequently am eating when I’m not truly hungry. I self regulate and I don’t have to count one calorie or give up on thing. I find I portion out smaller amounts of food and if I really want a piece of that sumptuous Mississippi Mud Pie complete with home-made whipped cream. I make it a VERY small piece. Just enough to taste. See? I don’t deny myself a thing. I just adjust the quantity!

Well, my friend, that is how I become fit. As you move into 2009 with the decision to abandon some unwanted abundance, just remember two things:

  1. Know what type of fitness you want and

  2. track your food!

Simple? Yes, I have to keep things in my life extremely simple otherwise nothing would get done! Right?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Setting Your Internal Clock for Success

Here we are on a new year ALREADY? Will someone please tell me what happened to 2008? I mean, I still remember writing checks for October! As I get older it seems to me that life really kicks into high gear and I become awash in activity and things-to-do without really even trying. So, what’s a person to do? Simple.

  • Learn to set your internal clock! This is an easy exercise that I’ve been using for years to guide me on what needs to be done and when. During this time of year as our calendar scrolls over once more, I take time out of each week to have a mini-conference with myself to determine what it is I want from 2009. I never expect Life to hand me anything. I know that if I want something out of Life, I’m going to have to pursue it and pursue it with intense passion.
  • My list of targets for 2009 will be a short one. Why? Because if I pursue each target with intense passion, it is required to be a short list! I need energy left over to handle all the day-to-day life experiences too. For me, setting my sights on targets for 2009 is very easy. Why? Because I usually know exactly what I want out of life and I just readjust my viewpoint each year to move me closer to them. By setting and resetting my internal clock (targets) on an annual basis I am assured of hitting them more often than missing them. But for some folks they don’t have this sense of “knowing” and need a bit of help. This is where your eulogy comes into play. If you’ve been to my seminar or read any of my books, you know how important it is to know exactly what you want out of life. So, now is the time for you to spend some effort working out your eulogy. This means that you focus on the end of your life rather than on where you are right now. Why focus on the end? Because when you die, you’re done! Right? So, if you start establishing a pattern of goal setting with the end in mind, it will alter the way you go about establishing your annual targets to reach the end. Even if you’ve done this exercise before, now is the time that you pull out that old eulogy and make sure that it still says what you want it to say.

For me, mine changes almost semi-annually! I constantly have to readjust it because I usually accomplish more than I wrote down! First, write up the speech you want your best friend to make at your funeral. It will list all the things you have accomplished in the past tense. This is important. If everything is listed in past tense this allows your brain to relax. The emotional and physical barriers that have been erected against your success will be inconsequential to your mind because...you’re DEAD! This removes a tremendous burden from your mental creativity. The normal tapes that run through your head keeping you from doing things are dissolved and you can now spend your energy coming up with ideas of what you really want to do rather than fighting yourself and justifying all the reasons why you could never become a black-belt Aikido master at age 38.

  • Second, you’ve finished up with your eulogy and you’re ready to move onto this year’s targets. Okay, slow down before you start working on the to-do list. Put your pen aside and think. Yes, think. (Take a deep breath, too, that helps the process) We don’t spend enough time doing this in our lives, but this is the critical time when you MUST do it. Think about the question: What do I really want? Seriously, what is it that YOU want? Not your husband, wife, children, family, friends, society...you get the idea. What do you want? Once you have that firmly in your mind, then you grab your pencil and start listing the things YOU want to do this year, not because you SHOULD do them, not because it would make you a better person if you did them, list the things, honestly, that YOU want to do.
  • Third, after you’ve made your list (mine rarely has more than 5 things to do a year, actually for 2009 I wrote down only three things.) Prioritize the passion you have for each one. This will determine if you’ve really listed things YOU want to do rather than things that you have been guilted into doing. If you find you don’t have an intense desire to do an item on your list, remove it at once! That item is not owned by YOU. Lastly, post this list where you can see it every day. Research has been done on goal setting and the people who practice it. Successful people review their goals daily. This is not an extensive review. This is not spending hours a week working on a life plan. This is spending 15 seconds a day READING your list. By reading them daily you will determine very quickly if they really are your goals or someone else’s. If your passion for these accomplishments ever loses energy, then you know that it wasn’t really yours to begin with. If that is the case, then sit down and start again. Write a new list. Sure, go ahead, throw away the old list, but then make sure you create a NEW one.

Successful people have one very characteristic trait. They never give up. They may wander a bit, get distracted, or go off on a weird path and have to retrace their steps, but they never stop walking! Make sure you do the same. Keep walking your way to your success and remember to constantly set that internal clock to what YOU want!