Got Motivation?

How do you get motivated? How do you keep motivated? Here are some ideas I use.

  • Set deadlines. Get out your calendar and write in a completion date 10 or 12 weeks from now. Then flip back and make yourself some check-in dates along the way. I use my Llewellyn Daily Planetary Guide for this, but Outlook, Google Calendar or a wall calendar with inspiring pictures may be better for you.
  •  Create opportunities. If I want to write more, I need to have a laptop or notebook accessible. If I want to exercise more, I need to get to the gym, walk some errands or plan a weekend hike.

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Declare war on procrastination!

I was really anxious about getting my research proposal written and I found myself starting projects, making up errands, anything to stay away from it. One of the projects I started was a really wild scarf knitted with 4 yarns held together. Another was the notes I made for myself. These helped me and I hope they help others. If you need help with the handwriting I can translate it for you :) Read the rest of this entry »


Who wants to go back to school?

How many times have you thought that the structure of a class workshop would be better for you that just reading a book on your own? Have you missed the camaraderie,  the ability to study as a group or the deadlines? (just kidding!) Read the rest of this entry »


Labels, Calories, Marketing and You!

I learned an important lesson recently. That I have to read labels every single time even on products I “trust.” Product formulations and labels change. Protein bars I trusted in the past have substituted maltitol for sucralose and my BBQ sauce added high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The other thing is that according to independent lab testing, diet products, including products made for diabetics, have been shown to have sugar, corn starch and HFCS that are not on the label. It appears that when manufacturers run short of an ingredient, they just substitute something else, even if that something else is sugar in a sugar-free labeled product. This makes it impossible to trust anything.
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Sketch Theatre

Have you seen Sketch Theatre? It is a website devoted to video clips of artists sketching, not bio-pics about artists or documentaries of artists talking about their works or anything like that. Just artists engaging in the process of sketching.  It would be great to watch and learn about drawing in various styles, but what I enjoy is just watching the process of creation happening. I’ll admit I am jealous, The process of writing just doesn’t look nearly as cool.


The Car Metaphor

Car Clipart

Imagine that your body is a car. Now, we both know it isn’t a car, but a car is the perfect vehicle, no pun intended, to learn about fuel and how we fuel our bodies. So you have a car that you love, or at least care about, and you want to provide it with fuel so that you can drive it around and go places.

Now most of us don’t top off the fuel tank continually while we are driving around, we drive until we are well into the reserve and the little “E” indicator is lit up. But what do we do to our bodies?

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Improve your workout!

Are you cranking out 20 minutes or even an hour on the treadmill but not seeing the results you’d like?  Are you taking the same class week after week, or running the same run? Are you wondering what is the single best way to improve your workout? Here it is… add intensity!

The human body is remarkably efficient and it will not expend energy that it doesn’t need to expend. We are animals, after all, which means we are built for high levels of energy expenditure interspersed with periods of rest. This is in contrast to our modern lifestyles which consist of moderate to high levels of stress interspersed with periods of moderate activity and too little sleep.  Kick up your gym session or you will not even come close to tapping into the calorie burn your body is capable of, and then give yourself some real rest as a reward.

Ways to generate some workout enthusiasm:

Fantasize about your upcoming workout while you are at work.

Add hypnosis to your arsenal of techniques. Try one of the generic mp3 downloads in my new link on the right or better yet, call or email me to learn more about individual hypnosis with the perfect suggestions for you and your unique goals.

Think like a hobbyist, get excited by reading about new methods and research in your chosen field of activity, try some new techniques. They won’t all work but they will give you a learning curve to surmount.

Keep up with new equipment or gadget reviews. It has been proven that a pedometer will encourage you to go farther, and a stopwatch to go faster.

Plan new routes for running, walking, or hiking. Whether you exercise outdoors or on the treadmill, a different program or scenery will add some spring to your step.

Cross-train, try something new.

Proselytize! Tell me what you do to stay motivated.


Home for the Holidays?

Years ago I began to notice that friends and clients were edgier, more whiny and generally more demanding during the holiday season. At first, I thought this just coincided with all the cliches of the holidays being stressful and reawakening ghosts of long-ago family holidays, but I have come to believe that the problem is often not so much the memories of family holidays as it is the reality of family holidays. Most of these people were still at the age where they were “going home” to celebrate with their families. The question is, how do you spend time with your family without regressing to thirteen years old?

One useful technique is to pretend that you are a guest and that they are someone else’s family.  Just watch the interactions around you and try to see what the games really are. Yes, there are always games going on, and they aren’t all bad, the trick is to not take them personally. You could also play “consultant” and analyze (just in your head, not out loud) how the family would look to an outsider. Every family has its own level on the continuum of function to dysfunction, so try to see what is working, as well as what isn’t.   The third technique is to approach the gathering as a game. How would you act if you had no other agenda than to be happy? Don’t try to create the perfect holiday, don’t try to train your family or to be accepted by them, listen, rather than arguing, teach by your peaceful example, rather than preaching, laugh and ignore teasing, rather than frowning or pointing out faults, never say “always” or “never” and have fun to the best of your ability.

Click for more suggestions from Livestrong.

Make some holiday rituals of your own.

What have you found that works or doesn’t work for you?


Challenge Yourself!

It is tough to keep up with goals once Winter starts.  It is raining, school has started, it is dark in the morning and evening…  you already know all the excuses so I won’t enumerate them. However, I have found that one way to stay motivated is to make a challenge or dare for yourself. I usually think of challenges in terms of 12 week periods because that is a school quarter or season and I figure if I can complete a statistics class then I can do pretty much anything for 12 weeks.

There is a real art to making goals that are challenging enough, but not so impossible that they leave you feeling depressed. The old thinking was that goals should be easily attainable and coaches would urge someone trying to lose 20 pounds into having a 5 pound loss as their goal, but new research has shown that most people make more progress with a more difficult goal. We all know the feeling of setting a small goal of losing 5 pounds and then blowing the diet when that is attained even though we “want” to keep going. What the study showed was that setting their sights higher kept dieters on track better.

So, using this principle, think of a goal that is somewhere between ambitious and ridiculous. Really, stop, and think of a goal that puts a smile on your face when you imagine it completed. If you want to be a size six, don’t shoot for a size eight. If you want to write a novel, don’t make writing one page per day your goal. It will just not feel satisfying enough to fight for. Instead, set your goal for size six, or a novel or a published article while giving yourself permission to celebrate every positive step you make along the way.

Another part of setting goals is to realize the difference between process and outcome. Write every day or get more exercise are examples of  process goals, while “lose 20 pounds by January 1″ is an example of an outcome goal. Process goals are about changing your habits while outcome goals provide you with a deadline and a challenge.

The goal-setting acronym is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and trackable. For example, I will exercise one half hour, six days a week, or, I will finish my outline and first draft by Friday.

 

Another part of setting goals is to realize the difference between process and outcome. “watch my diet and exercise more” is an example of a process goal, while “Lose 20 pounds by January 1″ is an example of an outcome goal. Process goals are about changing your habits while outcome goals provide you with a deadline and a challenge
The goal-setting acronym is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and trackable. For example, I will exercise one half hour, six days a week.

Here are some challenge ideas with a fitness-focus:

my pedometer snaps open so you can read it without taking it off your pantsYou could challenge yourself to walk 10,000 steps per day.  Wear a simple $10 pedometer all day and see how many steps you can walk. 10,000 steps is easily done by parking a bit farther away from work or from a store than you normally would, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking around while you are on a phone call, etc. We did this for a long time and I thought it was funny how the length of our evening walk was determined by how many steps we each had left. Another thing I like about this challenge is that you don’t need to be accurate with mileage, only steps.

You could join the walk around the world challenge, where your mileage is added into a pool of other members to add up to  the circumference of the Earth. That is 24,901 miles.

You could chart your walks from coast -to-coast with Webwalking USA.

You could challenge yourself to raise a certain amount of money for “your cause” with the Plus 3 Network.

If you’re feeling more competitive, you could sign up for a marathon, half-marathon or even a 5k. Marathons aren’t just for runners. The Portland Marathon is known for being walk-friendly and has separate categories for racewalking and Nordic walking. Walk About Magazine and RunnersWorld both have race finders that lists walks or runs for your area that you could sign up for. Or, sign upfor a walk or run in another state and plan a vacation around it. Runner’s World also has gorgeous motivational wallpapers that you can download.

A completely different idea would be to challenge yourself to fit into a smaller size of jeans by a certain date.  Personally, I have a lot of resistance to this one but many of my clients have had success with it when trying to lose scale-weight hasn’t worked. Get out an old, too small pair of jeans that you actually like and would like to wear again. If you don’t have any, buy a pair, but be sure to buy a size that you have been before. Then squeeze into them and take your picture. Now carry that picture around with you and look at it before you eat anything.   Then every week, squeeze into them again, take a new picture and repeat.

You could are yourself to track my calories daily using an online calorie counter called the Daily Plate. It is part of the LiveStrong website. There are other calorie databases available but I really like this one. You input the calories you consume and then enter your  exercise and it calculates both your total and “net” calories for the day. Most of the foods you could eat are already in the database, everything from a Fuji apple and baby carrots to meals like Outback: fillet and stuffed shrimp. One weekend we figured out the approximate calories in fish and chips from Spud at Alki and then “walked them off” before we ate them. “Friend me” if you join LiveStrong.

What challenges or dares have you come up with for yourself? What challenges have worked for you in the past? Why or why not? Post your comments so we can all learn together.

I double-dog dare you!

 


Fun, And Not So Fun, Food Facts

I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s Thanksgiving with this, but now it is time to get back on track to save up those calories for Christmas treats.

Click at your own risk…

The “How many meals are you carrying around?” calculator. OK, I don’t need to eat for 23 days.

Sugar stacks shows How much sugar is really in your food? Are you ready to find out?

The mayo clinic presents a portion control slideshow. Yes, a portion of mac & cheese really is a half-cup.


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