Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

4 Steps to a Winning Mindset

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

MindsetI’ve been reading Mindset, by Carol Dweck, the Stanford psychologist and researcher. And it’s occurred to me how important it is to any goal we have. As a weight loss coach, I encounter clients whose mindset propels them forward, and at the same time, I work with many women where it holds them back.

The thing is, unless you’re aware of what it is, and specifically your own mindset, then you’ll be spinning your wheels. You’ll be working harder than you need to. And you’ll be frustrated. Unnecessarily.

So let’s get clear on what it is, and how you can make it work for you, whether you’re looking to lose the whole weight loss issue, get a promotion, or get closer to your family.

Mindset refers to your beliefs about yourself, your intelligence, your talents and your personality.

It’s like a piece of glass through which you view the world.

In fact, your mindset creates your worldview.

Your mindset and your worldview work together to determine what you do, who you are, how you act and how you feel in the world.

That makes it pretty important.

Yet most of us go through life on autopilot. Without wondering or questioning why we do what we do, or why we make certain choices.

Carol Dweck says that we are divided into two groupspeople with a fixed or growth mindset.

If yours is fixed, you tend to believe that whatever traits you have are permanent, for better or worse. And there’s nothing you can do about them.

As you can imagine, this might lead you to think things like: why bother! I can’t do this and never will! I’m just not good at this.

Not only are these thoughts negative, but they also literally keep you stuck. You’ll have tremendous trouble motivating yourself to do anything that’s a stretch for you.

Also, people with a fixed mindset constantly judge themselves. They think that even if they do well at something, they need to prove themselves over and over again.

As these people do something and relentlessly judge themselves, they look at their results and make them mean something. Actually they make them mean everything. I can’t do anything. I’m not lovable. I’m not worthy.

Talk about an uphill battle, right?

Now here’s what Dweck says about the growth mindset: These people believe that wherever they stand right now, they can improve. They know that their basic qualities can be cultivated.

They’d be more likely to think: I can’t do this now but I’m working on it. They believe that accomplishments take effort no matter what talent you were or weren’t born with.

When things don’t go well for a growth mindset person, they naturally think: what can I learn from this? How can I improve?

Just reading that makes me feel more relaxed.

You are not set in stone.

You can always grow. Improve. Expand.

Whichever group we fall into, fixed or growth, our mindsets guide our thoughts. We keep a running account of what’s happened to us, what it means, and what we should do.

So it pays, big time, to cultivate a growth mindset.

Our goal is in change our internal monologue.

This guides everything.

There are four steps to changing your mindset.

  1. Learn to hear the voice of your fixed mindset. Learn what familiar phrases it uses so you can hear them and see what’s happening. This is your area of power!
  2. Now, recognize that you have a choice! Just because that voice and that way of thinking is your default, doesn’t mean that you have to take that road. You don’t.
  3. Talk back to the fixed mindset voice with a new voice… your newly chosen growth mindset voice. Look for the good in what you have done. Look for learning, for forward movement, for compassion toward yourself.
  4. And now, take the action that goes with that growth mindset voice. Your actions come as a result of your thoughts, so if you are working on changing your thoughts and your mindset, your actions will follow.

Want to get somewhere?

First figure out what kind of mindset you have.

Then either cultivate it further, or change it.

You can do this!

Who Do You Want To Be?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Who Do You Want To Be?Who do you want to be in your dream life?

And how does she eat?

Whenever I start working with a new client, we always talk about their ‘end game’. That is, their vision of how they’d love their life to be.

What they’ll look like.

How they’ll feel.

And what they’ll be doing when they travel past their present moment, from being in a body they don’t want, to being in a body they love.

It’s good to dream.

It helps you visualize exactly what you’re working toward.

And that can make it feel real, right now.

So you’ll work harder to keep going toward that vision.

But usually after my clients create that beautiful picture of their future selves, they put it away and go back to the struggle they are in right now.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

I want you to use that image of the future right now.

With every eating decision you make, (and all the other decisions that make up your life,) I want you to step into the role of the future you.

Imagine that you’re an actress in a movie.

A movie starring the best version of you.

I want you to act NOW like you will in your future.

So that means you can suspend disbelief.

You can stop worrying about all the details.

Like, how will it happen?

What are my steps?

Can I really do this?

Forget those questions and allow your imagination to put you in the role of your future you.

How will she act? What choices would she make, day to day?

And imagine her making those choices with ease and grace.

No struggle. Just a gentle flow.

So now… you’re the actress.

You’re starring in the story of your future.

And right now, you’re sitting down to dinner.

Channel that future you.

The one whose choices always reflect the love you have for yourself.

The one who doesn’t run from emotions.

The one who acts calmly around food, knows how to feel everything that comes up, and practices delicious self-care in all aspects of her life.

This is you.

Right now.

And all you need to do is turn that dramatic role into your reality of today.

If you imagine yourself eating lightly when you’re hungry, you can do that now.

If you imagine yourself having less drama in your days, less reactivity, you can do that now.

And if you imagine yourself lusting after yummy foods that also leave you light and full of energy, you can do that too.

So, anything you can imagine in the role of your future self, you can begin to act on right now.

And when you do that repeatedly, over time, two things will happen.

  1. You will feel great now. No matter what you weigh.
  2. Your great feeling will snowball, making it easier to keep choosing what your future self would choose.

Is it magic? Can you close your eyes and just get there?

No.

But it also doesn’t have to be so hard.

Some Super Simple Weight Loss Advice

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

weightYou have a goal: you want to lose some weight.

Permanently.

So you work on it.

You create a plan.

Super simple.

You do things differently.

You stop doing certain things.

And you begin doing some new things.

Add some time. And some consistency.

And voila!

You start heading toward your goal.

It works!

But… then, you stop doing what works.

Why? Why would you do that?

Maybe you’re tired of doing ‘it’.

Maybe you didn’t really think this would be a long-term thing.

And you didn’t look beyond the goal.

So now that you’re moving in the right direction, you want to slow down.

Slack off.

Stop doing what works.

Give yourself a little break.

Reality check:

You need to keep doing what works.

Always.

Make peace with it.

Note to self: Don’t stop doing what works.

Your Absolute First Step Toward Weight Loss

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

First stepMany of the inquiries I get from women who want to lose weight ask this question: “What’s the first step I should take to lose weight? I’ve tried so many times before… I don’t know where to start!”

And this common question has led me to think: What do most people do when they make that big decision to lose weight?

I’m sure you know your own routine.

You begin to search for the latest, best diet.

You start planning your food.

Maybe you join a gym or hire a trainer.

And of course, you grit your teeth, clench your fists, and make a truly determined promise that this time will be different.

This time you won’t mess up.

You won’t fall off the wagon.

And you commit to staying away from your favorite treat.

As most everyone on the planet knows, these tactics don’t work.

At least not for long.

Yet we keep doing the same things over and over in the desperate hope that this time it will go well.

Making a plan to lose weight is good.

I’m a firm believer and supporter of making a plan and having a backup plan or two or even three.

But when we haven’t done anything about the shame and self-hatred we carry about our past failures, we are doomed to slip back into our old habits.

Our new promises won’t mean a thing.

Trying to lose weight without releasing your pain about past efforts is like trying to climb a mountain and thinking constantly about the last time you had to turn around and go home.

No surprise that it won’t be long before you fail again.

So the big question is: what is the absolute first step you can take toward weight loss that truly works?

Wipe the slate clean.

Yes.

Forgive yourself for past failures.

Stop obsessing about why you couldn’t succeed in the past.

Stop focusing on all the problems you ran into and couldn’t solve.

And definitely stop telling yourself that something is wrong with you.

Why do you NEED to do this?

Because going into any endeavor with bad feelings about the outcome will program your brain.

And then as soon as you stumble, (and you will definitely stumble) you will give up.

And giving up is your crash and burn.

It’s the guarantee that you’ll never lose this weight.

How do you do this? How do you get that truly fresh start?

Start catching yourself saying, ‘This will never work.’ ‘I’ll never be able to do this.’ ‘Why should I even bother trying?’

These are your signals that you’re slipping into that old habit of letting your past create your future.

Take the first step and erase your old slate.

Start fresh.

I don’t care how many times you’ve failed when you tried to lose weight.

Starting clean and fresh is the only thing that will work.

Are You A Little Too Cozy With Your Pain?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

painWow! What a crazy thought! How could anyone enjoy their pain? And, as you think about it, how dare I say that!

Of course you would never wish for your struggle.

No!

You’d do anything to get relief. I get it.

That’s what my clients protest to me all the time.

And yet, when they are faced with choices, solutions to their suffering, often they choose the same path that always brings them pain.

What does this mean, and why do we do it?

It’s simple. Sometimes it’s easier to do things that are wrong for us than to do things that are new.

Sometimes, the pain we know is more tolerable than the unknown. And often, because that new trail is so unfamiliar to us, we make all kinds of excuses to keep our pain.

You know: I’m working on it! Really! Just as soon as I have more time, I will change this darn habit.

Or when I finish the project. Or when the kids are out of the house. Or when my mother gets better.

But in the meantime, you’re miserable.

You begin to stop seeing the big picture. Your story about your discomfort keeps you complaining, struggling and feeling bad.

Does this sound a little like a lose/lose situation?

It certainly can be.

It seems that the more whatever it is we are doing gets to be an ingrained habit, the very thought of doing something different sends us into a tailspin.

We don’t ‘have time’ to even think about a solution. Or every solution sounds like too much work to us.

Here’s the thing:

We all have the ability to get used to our pain. Even at the same time that we wish it to be gone.

We get used to the same old struggle, and the same old promises that we will never do ‘that’ again.

But maybe the truth is that it takes discomfort to get out of discomfort. It takes thinking in a new way, and doing things in a different way to get new results.

And doing and thinking differently will be uncomfortable. Simply because it’s new.

The discomfort of the new thing doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It doesn’t mean back away! It just means you have some learning to do.

Give the new way a try. And keep doing the new thing. Keep thinking the new thoughts.

And eventually, they will become old and worn like that comfy blankie you’ve been carrying around. But with one big difference.

They will be good for you. And once the discomfort is gone, you’ll feel good.

You need to go through that uncomfortable period. It’s unavoidable.

To avoid it leaves you with permanent pain. To go through it leaves you with temporary pain.

Which do you choose?

Are You Thinking About Taking Action? Or Taking Action?

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Taking actionWhen it comes to losing weight, creating positive, helpful habits and finding a way to feel great most of the time, there are two major areas that you need to take a look at.

These two areas are your mindset and your actions.

Your mindset is the part of you that controls how you look at the world.

How you talk to yourself. And how you filter information coming at you.

So if you have a challenging day, and you live with the mindset of ‘life is hard’, then you’ll most likely deal with the challenge by either running from it (emotional eating) or just walking around feeling miserable.

If you have the same challenging day, and you live with the mindset of ‘life has its ups and downs and I love it all!’, then you’ll most likely deal with the challenge by viewing it through this positive lens and taking extra good care of yourself.

That is how your mindset affects your life. And basically everything in your life.

And then the second part of this big picture is how and when you are taking action.

Do you tend to get excited about things and then they somehow fizzle away?

Do you think about things a lot, read new ideas, make lists and lists and then… do nothing?

Without this action piece of the puzzle, nothing happens.

So many people are on the hunt for the perfect eating plan.

They want to exercise their way to a perfect body.

And they search and search for answers.

But, sadly, many don’t take any actions.

They fool themselves, unintentionally, into believing that because they spend so much time looking for answers, that they are actually doing something.

And they are not.

To make changes in your life, and in your physical world, your body… you need to create a mindset that will allow you to do what you need to do for yourself without a struggle.

And the other part of the equation is that you then need to take action.

If your mindset is good, taking action won’t be difficult.

But without the action, all the plans and lists, and ideas in the world will float away and nothing will change.

So how do you start taking action?

Get excited about something. Clean up your negative, habitual thoughts about failure. And start now.

Challenge yourself. Make a strong commitment. Think of something small. Even tiny. And do it.

It will all add up. Just do something.

The Power of Community

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

communityGirlfriends are the best. They are your tribe. You can go to them with problems and get support. You can go to them with questions and get answers. And you can go to them with joy or pain, and get love.

It’s a beautiful thing.

But what happens when your girlfriends aren’t able to be there for you? When your problem is something maybe they can’t relate to? Or it’s hard for them to be objective?

Enter ‘The community’.

These days you can create your own community even if it doesn’t exist in your everyday life. Through the magic of the internet, you can find friendship, support and camaraderie. Women who are going through the same challenges as you and know exactly what to say.

This is available to all of us. We can find support groups of every type by doing a Google search.

But here’s the thing.

Sometimes when we are confused about what to do, or looking for an answer, we retreat. Have you ever shut out everyone around you while you try to figure something out?

I know I have.

And when I do this it’s become my signal to do what feels counterintuitive. It’s my signal to reach out to my friends, my fellow coaches, my sister, and my family. Although I feel like curling up in a ball with a bag of chips, I know better.

I know that connection and community will give me what I need. And sometimes it’s not about getting my problem solved. Sometimes it’s enough to have people to just talk to. Who will listen and not judge.

Look around you and make sure you’ve got your tribe in place. And remember that by being a part of a community, you are giving someone else a very valuable part of you at the same time you are seeking relief from them.

Are You Too Darn Nice?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Nice GirlsToday, in my Body-Mind Book Club with my friend Max Daniels, we will be interviewing Karen R. Koenig. She’s the author of Nice Girls Finish Fat: Put Yourself First and Change Your Eating Forever (along with four other books!)

Why is it that the nicer you are to others the more likely you are to put yourself at the bottom of the list in your own life?

And when you do that, it’s really common to take care of yourself in a way that is fast, easy and takes only the tiniest bit of energy… and that is by eating.

Eating when you aren’t hungry.

Eating foods that zap your energy and your self-esteem.

And eating way, way past full.

Karen isn’t saying that the mean girl in you should dominate your personality. Not at all.

But what she is saying is that you can’t always be the nice girl at your own expense. And that’s what a lot of us do.

To learn why we do this, how to not do this, and let go of your extra pounds without the drama of a diet that doesn’t work, check out Nice Girls Finish Fat: Put Yourself First and Change Your Eating Forever.

Are You Cheating On Yourself?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

CheatingIt could have been worse.

Is that what you’re telling yourself?

When you are following a plan to lose weight, get healthier, get more fit, or even to be happier… and you aren’t really following your plan… what do you tell yourself?

I cheated.

I fell off the wagon.

I had to start over.

But, it could have been worse.

In fact, you tell yourself, in the past, it definitely would have been much worse.

Ah, here is the dilemma.

Yes, it could have been worse.

But it also could have been better.

So you’re not cheating, but you are cheating yourself.

By not reaching higher.

By not expecting the best of yourself.

And by letting yourself off the hook at the drop of a hat.

Don’t confuse what I’m saying with beating yourself up for not doing well.

There is absolutely no upside to beating yourself.

But, there really isn’t an upside to giving yourself the easy way out.

To going right to this over-used excuse.

When you cheat yourself out of doing your best, that will keep you marching in place. Going nowhere.

So here’s what I suggest:

You fall off your plan.

Get up.

Figure out what happened.

No beating.

But no excuses either.

And get moving.

Because to move ahead and get results, you need to go for better.

Weight Loss is Not About a Quantum Leap

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Quantum leapI’m in the middle of reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson for the fourth time.

This book amazes me every time I read it. You can apply his concepts to every part of your life.

Jeff wrote the book and marketed it to the self-development world… people who wanted a better life.

Better finances.

Better relationships.

More productivity.

But what I love about this book and its perspective is how you can apply it to weight loss.

Because you can use this way of thinking to have anything you want. Including less weight.

What’s the big concept?

Mainly that we get what we want in life by taking small, regular steps in the right direction.

Not the sudden, massive leap that we all dream about.

Think about weight loss.

All the little decisions you make about how you treat your body, day in, day out.

In the moment of each decision, it feels like they aren’t very meaningful.

And in that moment, you really don’t see a big, shocking result, either.

Yet, if you keep doing the small stuff, you will wake up one day and you will have achieved what you want most.

Sounds simple, right?

But there are a few factors that make this principle hard to follow.

First, these little decisions and tiny actions are so easy to do, that they are also just as easy to NOT do.

Just like that.

You can talk yourself out of doing these little steps because they seem like no big deal.

Also, even when you do take all the little decisions seriously, you don’t see the result right away.

You ate right yesterday, you exercised, you slept well and you even took your vitamins.

Yet when you woke up today, you still weighed the same amount you did yesterday.

That lack of immediate result makes it harder to have faith and keep making those ‘right’ little decisions.

And we are wired to look for the big leap, in fact, the quantum leap.

That quantum leap is what we keep hoping for.

To wake up one day and poof! Your problem is solved.

This quantum leap happens in the movies.

Why? Because in the movies writers must squeeze days, weeks, months, and even years into two hours.

So there are lots of big aha moments and lots of improbable solutions, like winning the lottery.

Or finding the love of your life in the first 15 minutes of looking for him.

In weight loss, and in resolving all eating issues, as in life, there is no instant result.

We don’t have magical solutions.

But we do have a somewhat magical alternative.

Long periods of taking the right steps to get exactly where you want to go.

Can you give up your dream of the quantum leap?

And settle for small, consistent steps in the right direction?

If this makes sense to you, and you make the decision to keep doing what seems easy, I know you will reach your goal.

How do I know?

I see it every day.