change

“Motivation is For Amateurs”

The above quote by Chuck Close comes from page 43 in Seth Godin’s most recent book What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn)

It is such a great book filled with so much inspiration and mind clearing, smarten-yourself-up reminders and encouragement to engage in life.

I love people and love hearing the individual stories that make people tick. In the same breath I’m often saddened by the lack of drive and excuses I hear which prevent personal growth. There is a lot of talk as to making plans but those plans never materialize. Talk about being satisfied with the status quo but in the same breath complaints about everything. It makes my head spin.

Change. Everyday is a great time to improve oneself.

In this book Seth Godin points out a lot of our socially accepted excuses for not fulfilling our responsibilities.

“And what about getting in the mood? What about the motivation you’ll need to engage in this life? Our need for motivation is due to our need for reassurance. We are paralyzed by our fear that it might not work, and we let the fear demotivate us, giving us the perfect excuse not to create.”

And this is why I’m giving away a copy of this book. Just in time for the new year. I’ll ship a free copy to one person in Canada or U.S.
A winner will be announced and contacted on January 1, 2015.

Write as many comments as you like on this blog post, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or Google+. Tell me why you deserve this book, why you need this book!! How this book will help you to make a difference? Use these hashtags #youasamachine #motivationisforamateurs

UPDATE Jan. 1, 2015 

Thanks to everyone for participating in this book giveaway. Congratulations go out to Maya as the winner. Because there were so many wonderful comments and many who just retweeted I had my daughter draw the winning name from a hat. If the book does not get claimed then we will draw another name. To all the others, I hope that you will go out and get yourselves a copy 🙂 and perhaps be inspired to share it with others!

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Everyday Resolutions

The end of each December is a popular time

to turn over a new leaf.

Rather than making New Year’s Resolutions, I resolve to improve my weak links on a daily basis, as the need arises, and believe me the need arises. But New Year’s Day is as good a day as any to get started, however, it is getting started and never stopping that is what’s worth keeping in mind.

Over the years, I have adopted the motto: “If what you are doing isn’t working, doing more of it won’t work any better.” And I practice implementing these words into my everyday actions.

Be it how I communicate with my kids, how I make lifestyle changes to eliminating plastic from my life or how I am constantly making adjustments with my body alignment, which causes me to re-evaluate and reconfigure my daily body maintenance routine. (My week 3 Day 7 progression has evolved greatly in the last three years.)

We must practice accepting that what we are doing may not be right and that through exploration we can continue to make improvements. Unless of course, you desire to live your life like a store display mannequin, frozen in time, not having to think or to adapt or to change; believing that what you are doing is right and that the problems you face must be faults outside your control. Most of us don’t know how to eat properly for optimal health, most of us don’t know how our body works, most of us don’t really know that much about the world we live in and how to take care of it.

When we take pause and consider that in order to survive, all of us must thrive on being right, on having the correct beliefs. In other words, if we don’t believe that what we do is correct would we not be crazy for repeating them over and over again? For even the addict, though often knows what he does isn’t right can find an excuse to justify and comfort his addiction. And so he believes that he is right, even if only for a moment in time. (There are many levels of addiction, from coffee, chocolate, exercise, drugs, pharmaceuticals, supplements, social media etc.)

What makes us do what we do?

Try as you might, to control your life, change is inevitable. As our lives change it is wise to become familiar with change in order to adapt without resistance, which enables a symbiotic synergy with family, community and the environment on a larger scale.

I like change. Similar to a cat, I like to see how I will land, and I have learned that there is no one way to land, (although the ideal is to land on ones feet!) which makes it all that more intriguing. As a result, I find myself constantly fine tuning my behaviours and habits, which puts me in a prime position to say a thing or two about how to initiate change.

Here are some basic suggestions:

Q: I want to change ______, but how do I even get started?

A: Getting started can be as simple as having an idea and making the decision to follow through on that idea. However, within this simple step there are a few sub-steps to climb:

You need discipline to develop skill. But, you need to spend some time developing skill to become disciplined.  You must have the willingness and desire, also known as passion or wanting it badly enough to spend the time developing the skill to become disciplined in the first place. Achieving goals and changing habits is not linear but rather cyclical and overlapping.

How To Cultivate Self-Discipline

So even when a person is committed to making change and making personal improvement, you can see it is not seamless. It is not easy or foolproof. It still requires a lot of work.  To outsiders having self-discipline looks effortless, but for those who practice being consistent there is no compliment in off-hand remarks such as: “oh, well you have self-discipline”, as if it were built-in. As if those who achieve anything remarkable is born with a natural talent.

Anyone can develop self-discipline, but it doesn’t just manifest, it must be cultivated. Anyone can be fit and healthy, but it takes effort, discipline and education. It takes practice to become consistent with self-discipline. Period.

Q: I’ve made many resolutions in the past but have always fallen short. How do I change this behavior?

A: By being consistent. Self-discipline is borne from being consistent. Don’t give up on yourself. There is a lot of self-coaching that goes along with keeping your word to yourself. It’s also helpful to understand that goals change along the way. Just because you initiate change with a certain idea doesn’t mean you will stick to that forever. As you learn more about yourself you will be required to re-evaluate your strategy and fine-tune your approach as you go along. You are a work in progress. The goal itself isn’t the point. The point is to realize your human potential and perpetually raise your own bar.

The goal isn't the goal

Q: I tend to stick to a program when I have someone to answer to, like a personal trainer or when I go to a group class.

A: Learn to become accountable to yourself. Try not even telling anyone what changes you have planned. Learn the necessary skills from someone more skilled than yourself and employ self-discipline to become your own expert.

When I had a studio, many of my clients had more money than discipline. Instead of practicing what I taught them so that we could develop their skills to the next level they would use me as a crutch to put them through their paces. Be a willing student because money cannot buy improved health, fitness or skill.

Q: How do I create lasting change?

A: Setting a new habit requires repetition. Let’s say for example that you want to lose weight and get in better physical condition. I believe it is best achieved by making very small changes so as to not overwhelm oneself, which is the idea behind my 4-minute morning series.

Hopefully, as you go through the progressions, you will learn more about yourself (how your mind works) and your body and discover areas that need further exploration. Note: ALL areas need further exploration 🙂 My 4 minute morning series of progressions is the foundation for developing a consistent practice of self-discipline. It is simple but can you do it? Oftentimes it is the simple things that are the most challenging.

I believe that exercise is meant to establish a balanced musculoskeletal system. When we are in balance, our body works at an optimal level (which is different for everyone).

Important: If you exercise with poor body alignment you will only reinforce an unbalanced musculoskeletal system. Keep in mind that when you practice Yoga, run, walk, swim, cycle or lift heavy weights among many other activities, the point of what you are doing is to build an ideal structure that is trained to move in an optimal way when you engage in life: sitting at your desk, driving a car, sitting on a bus, walking, grocery shopping etc. It is the mundane repetitive activities associated with living that require this steady stream of awareness. 

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

―Archilochus 

~Happy New Year 2014 ~Happy New Year 2014 ~Happy New Year 2014 ~

 

Motivation

View of Mountains in Zion National Park, Utah,...

What motivates me is very different from what inspires me.

I mentioned in an earlier post how I had been unwell for a few years.  Here’s the breakdown.

After the birth of our kids I was very sleep deprived, going non-stop during the day and what seemed like non-stop in the night; not so uncommon for new mothers.  I seemed to pick up any cold or flu with which the kids came into contact.  It felt like I was sick and tired all the time.  Once the kids were two and four, they woke less frequently throughout the night and I was starting to sleep more and get fewer colds.  I started back to a regular yoga practice and was feeling much better.  Until, one joint at a time started to become inflamed for what seemed like a few months only to get better and move on to another joint.  It was very peculiar, worrisome and exhausting.  I spent a lot of time researching, visiting doctors, physiotherapists and traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners.  Anyone, really, who might be able to figure out what was going on.

Long story short, I visited the Arthritis Society who suggested I had Palindromic Rheumatism, a type of rheumatism, which ‘comes and goes’.  What?!!

I was thirty-six at the time.  I researched again.  I tried eliminating certain foods from my diet, based on the studies done on arthritis and rheumatism.

There were months where I felt completely fine, to periods where my hands were so sore I couldn’t tie my kids’ shoelaces or put a fitted sheet on the mattress without difficulty and pain.  Other times I would walk around with what felt like a fractured foot or hand.  This was shocking to me.  I was too young for this and could only imagine how much worse it would get with time.  As a physically active person my future looked bleak.  I blamed myself, wondering if all the years I had spent doing sport or working out (sometimes in the extreme) had caught up with me and it was pay back time.

Not long after these episodes started, I went for a long-weekend getaway with my mother-in-law to Hawaii.  I took in a lot of sun, relaxation and fit in some runs.  Sadly, I came home with a cough that lasted nine months.  I had x-rays, pulmonary function tests, you name it, but the doctors couldn’t find anything amiss.  For this entire period not only had I lost any desire to exercise, but I was physically unable to do any except for some light walking.  This was not me.

After about seven months and what felt like a broken rib from all the coughing, I finally took my friends’ advice and went to see her MD who consulted in Homeopathic Medicine.  After two months of homeopathic remedies, my cough was losing momentum and by the four-month mark there was no cough to be heard.  Who knows, maybe the cough had run its course?  Maybe it was the homeopathic remedies?  I don’t know, no one really knows.  But whatever it was that stopped me from coughing, I am grateful.

Now back to the inflamed aching joints.  It seemed like my whole body chemistry was off, which is not uncommon after pregnancy. My ferritin (iron) levels tested low so I started taking a daily Iron Citrate supplement. My thyroid test result at 10.8 was in the low-normal range.  Normal range is from 10 – 20.  But I was feeling far from normal. What if my normal should be closer to 20?  My homeopath recommended a low dose of Iodine.  After two months my free T4 test result had gone up to 12.6 – my eyelashes were growing back and I was running on real energy, not on my adrenals.  About a month before I started the Iodine, I also started to “Eat Right For Your Type”.  I was ready to try anything (natural!) that would help.  I don’t like taking medication and so working with food as medicine appealed to me.

I tried eating for my blood type in 1999, a few years after Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s book was published but since my husband and I rarely cooked at home it was overwhelming to follow the program while going to restaurants.  So we both gave up.  Fast forward to the present.  Five months ago I decided I would give it a real effort.  I had been eating a lot of foods recommended in the media as super-foods but my joints were telling me differently.  I’d reference “Eat for Your Type” and low and behold all those super-foods were on my avoid list.  Yikes!  So I eliminated them and my joint pain went away.

As a stay at home mom I am always grocery shopping and in the kitchen so the timing was perfect.  I focused on eating the foods that are in the Beneficial list, which react to the body like medicine and I avoid the foods from the Avoid list, which are dramatically defined as a poison to one’s system.  The end result?  My joint pain is mostly gone.  I can tell which foods trigger a bout of pain.  It’s all very fascinating.  But this was my experiment.  So far it is working for me.  It may be less convenient to follow a regimented program like this but I’ve got to tell you, it’s way less inconvenient than the debilitating joint pain I was living with.  Being pain free is what motivates me.

“If what you are doing isn’t working, doing more of it won’t work any better.”

-Alan Cohen

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.  But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.  There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

-Alan Cohen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Change

Global Warming & Climate Change

Change does not always happen right away.  For me it took a couple of weeks just contemplating these new Short- Duration High Intensity Interval Workouts, to then implementing a few concepts into my gym workouts.

It had been drilled into me that to be effective a traditional workout could only be done a certain way.  This new approach challenged everything I had studied and what had worked for me in the past.  Or rather, what I believed had worked.

I then started substituting a home workout for a gym workout, until all my workouts were done at home.  The elapsed time for this transition took about eight weeks.  It is amazing to me the amount of time I have saved.  And the results I have gained.

Note: Short-duration High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabatas are completely different from 4 Minute Mornings.