Hope is NOT a Strategy!

imagesCAGH4OS8“All we are is a result of our daily thought” – Buddha

So what are you hoping to achieve, change, fix, alter or revise in your life? What makes this “wish” to change have any greater likelihood of follow through now than before?

What prompts change as delineated by the 4-stages that we all enter and exit at different speeds? In pre-contemplation the seed of a possible notion to perhaps shift something occurs. If there is enough interest, we then move to contemplation where the thought takes on added importance. This is followed by preparation for the big step and lastly moving on to the actual change.

Where are the battle lines drawn? Who will win…the old habit or the new behavior? Unless we traverse the process and internalize the stages, the truth is that it’s not happening. Too often it is much easier to skip along, falling back on old behaviors like “wishing, hoping and praying” for divine intervention and the magical solution to reveal itself.

What’s at stake? Improved health and/or appearance, stronger relationships, financial stability or an uncluttered desk may all be goals we set for ourselves. What’s the reward? More time, a new wardrobe, clearer boundaries and a cleaner work area are all tremendous benefits. Most importantly is the personal satisfaction of seeing ourselves as a number one priority; capable of change and deserving of attention, love and care.

• What is one area of your life that needs immediate attention?
• What are you willing to do to about it?
• Choose one action that you can take TODAY?

©MWeisner2016

Achieve Your 2015 Fitness Goals

girls-starting-lineWill this be another year of half-hearted attempts at getting fit, or will this really be the year begun with a new attitude? Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit gives us hope and a way to make changes that can break-up the old routines. The following is a mini-plan to begin.

1. Create a Routine: Teach your brain that it’s time to exercise by devising a cue, like putting your sneakers next to the door, or packing your lunch the night before. “A routine gives your brain something to latch onto,” says Duhigg.

2. Set Small Goals: You want to run 5 miles 3 x weekly? Week one, wear your workout gear. Week two, walk around the block. Increase slowly until you reach your goal. “Habit formation is built on small wins, according to the author.

3. Choose a Reward: When you reach your daily goal, regardless of what it is, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate, 20-minutes of Web browsing or whatever you genuinely like. “This works because you are training yourself to associate a behavior with something you actually enjoy,” states Duhigg.

4. Write it Down: List your cues and rewards: “Monday- put on workout clothes + one square of dark chocolate.” This works because by identifying your routine, you significantly increase the chance that the habit will take hold,” according to the author.

Change require discipline, patience and your personal buy-in. Think back to times when you have been able to consciously shift your thinking, modify or eliminate a behavior. Redirect your focus into replacing old actions with new behaviors for success!

Strengthen Your Core

habitOver 40% of our behaviors are habits. Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously. Some practices are good, like tooth brushing for healthy oral hygiene and some are even fundamental to our ability to function. But there are those things we do that are far from mindful as we react to the initial cue to engage, knowing the end result will make us feel better in some way, if only for the short term. Habits, good or bad, make us who we are. The key is controlling them. If you know how to modify your habits, then even a small effort can create significant changes. Eating what’s convenient vs. what you know is healthier or watching TV because you are too tired to take a walk are the default behaviors that can be changed when you have a plan to short-circuit the familiar cause/effect patterns.

We all learned early on that the “Three Little Pigs” had some construction challenges and that the house built on the strongest foundation was most resilient. If you attempt to drive a golf ball far down the fairway with your feet together, you will get mixed outcomes ranging from losing your balance to not connecting with the ball at all. Taking a wider stance puts you in a far better position to maintain your stability which will likely result in better shots.

So how is this image transferable to behaviors that we have placed on auto-pilot like gym workouts? In my case, I feel better after my 60-minute program is over, but I know it is one that could use some updating by scheduling a session with a trainer to plan and review my current goals. I love doing sit-ups, hundreds of them, and not even break a sweat in the process. However, as soon as I moved from the bench to an exercise ball; not so easy, and in fact, not only was it harder, but my attention was now completely focused on each sit-up. I could not zone out and just go through the motions and when light weights were added, I quickly went from being stable to shaky as new muscles were engaged.

It takes practice to make a change and with the specific goal in mind of getting stronger by building my core, I am looking forward to hitting better golf shots and recording those favorite TV shows for post-gym workouts. An added benefit is that with a sturdier mid-section, my posture is improving and I feel more confident and energetic. Yes, a simple change in process can indeed yield broader results than expected.

How will you strengthen your core?

• Identify 1 activity that focuses on your core
• Plan it
• Do it!

© 2014 Maureen Weisner

Lost your MOJO? Check your GPS first!

route_iconIt’s summer and the living is easy.
It’s fall and you are preparing to ramp up.
It’s winter and the days are short and dreary.
It’s spring and you long for sunshine and the lazy days ahead.

Well, that takes care of another year and the accompanying seasonal blocks. Of course your excuses may be more elaborate yet the result is the same; no action plan and an abundance of self-judgment for dessert. A less than nourishing meal for anyone, in fact, it is a recipe for continued inertia topped with a hint of boredom as a chaser.

“Life is a one-way street. No matter how many detours you take, none of them leads back. Once you know and accept that, life becomes much simpler.” – Isabel Moore

Have you been sleepwalking through your life, waiting for the next thing to happen, only to react when “it” inevitably does? You see, there are only two ways to face the future; with apprehension or with anticipation. Add avoidance to the mix and you are looking right into the yawning face of fear, fear that you may lose control, fail and more. We create multiple ways to manage what is yet to happen and spend so much time living in the future that we may miss the present entirely.

Who do you want to be? Who are you choosing to be?

It has been said that there are 3 kinds of people in the world.
1. Those who wait for things to happen
2. Those who make things happen
3. Those who wonder what happened

Who do you want to be? Who are you choosing to be?

Changing your mindset is not like changing your shirt. Preliminary to making a change is choosing a goal, creating a plan and committing to a course of action. Having good intentions does not get the job done and it is far too easy to lapse back into old actions that supported old behaviors. Once you set the intention, you must schedule the actions and honor the intention to incorporate change into your revised routine. Your calendar, like your road map is the tool you will use for incorporating new activities/destinations that resonate for YOU into your master plan.

According to Marshall Goldsmith, author and speaker, “MOJO is that positive spirit that starts inside you and radiates to the outside. You know your MOJO is peaking when you are experiencing happiness and meaning in what you are doing and communicating to the world around you!”

Check-in with yourself. What is the season of your greatest contentment? What if you could expand the feelings associated with that time beyond the traditional calendar months? What do you need right now to make the present your favorite time of year? For example, summer school might be a burden to some, yet to others, it is an opportunity to get a jump start on preparations for the fall. Or you might know that in the past, you have been most inspired when outdoor activities are limited and as a result, there are fewer distractions. Remember, just as some of us thrive on seasonal changes, others may require a tangible connection to what will serve our long term goals and plan accordingly.

Identify what you need right now. Perhaps this is the season for recharging, reshaping and recognizing that it is a “time out” from traditional work and you are best served by the break. On the other hand, if try as you might, you cannot access your MOJO despite your best efforts, consider these techniques as you create your customized low tech roadmap:

Music – listen to old favorites or try listening to tunes from a friend’sdownloads
Movement – get going – even moderate activity can shift your perspective
Memories – bring out the photo albums for a fresh look and addition of new pictures
Mood– can be influenced by these modest behavioral changes

Share your successes with us. What worked for you?

©MWeisner 2014