Facing Fear With Movement

So, I’ve been listening to uninhibited women leadership online conference with Ashley Burnett this week and the topic today was about fear. I found it interesting to discuss fear and struggle to know what I am truly afraid of. I spend a lot of time working with people who are afraid, I talk about it most days for multiple hours per day, and here I am not sure how to label my own. As I thought about it, I came up with a movement flow to help you get to the essence of your fear … in case you are like me and find it’s a bit of an enigma for you, slippery, and hard to fully see. You know it’s there, but you just can’t make it out clearly.

Many are afraid of living the life they could, afraid of giving up a label like being depressed, anxious, female, male, successful, a failure – you name it people are often afraid to give up an identity, even if it’s one they don’t like. That identity has protected you in groups, helped you define who you are and who you are not, and maybe guided your path for a long time. Well, what if you could step off that path and become something else. Something more in line with who you want to be today. Would you do it? Would you be able to let go? Dive into the practices that can help you become your highest self, your personal best dream – would you do them?

climbing the stairs

It’s often difficult to really know what you are afraid to give up. The bottom line is who would you be if you weren’t afraid. This question offers you the glimpse into what you might be afraid of. Here is an exercise set to help you cut through the mental chatter and just focus on what’s holding you back. Movement always helps me see more clearly and decrease the mental chatter that clouds me.

Step One:

Complete an easy warm up or use this set in the middle of your regular workout.

Step Two:

Get a Tabata Timer – this is very helpful and there are a number of free apps that will help you do this (and other interval workouts). If you don’t want to get one a simple kitchen timer can work, your watch, or phone. You need to do 20sec exercise intervals with 10sec rest intervals – 8x.

Step Three:

Start by picking your mantra. This could be a question – what am I afraid of? What’s holding me back? etc. or a statement – Fear. Let Go. – you get the picture. Find a phrase that works for you and visualize it – maybe it’s a picture, maybe a set of words, etc. You want to truly feel it deep within you.

Step Four:

Begin a jumping squat tabata. With the help of your timer, you begin your jumping squat set for 20 sec, rest 10sec, 8x. Total of 4min. Tabata’s are hard, just know that. If you have to take a break, try to keep the movement going, even if you take out the jump or begin to alternate legs, etc. You want to be completing the full movement at the end of the set.

As you complete the tabata focus on your mantra or visualization. See what arises. There is nothing to do, nothing to fix. We just want to see what remains when it gets really hard to focus. Often this is the essence of the thing we can let go of, we fear, we want to transform. Sometimes we even transform it in the tabata. I’ve seen clients start with “I am not good enough” to yelling “I’m fuckin’ rocking it” with conviction by the end of just one 4 minute round.

Step Five:

Repeat Steps 3 & 4, this time with the thing you want to gain or embrace in your life. Again, take a few moments to breathe, see your goal clearly in your head, and find the right set of word(s) to represent what it is you really want.

Then begin another tabata – any exercise will work.

I often like to superset pushups, lunges, low rows, squats, high rows, jumping lunges/split lunge, plank hold. This order will get you a full body workout in about 40 min with 2-3 min in between each tabata for meditative work and visualization preparation. Finish with whatever core/abdominal work you are focusing on and a full body stretch. If you complete all the steps you’ll have an hour worth of movement with a meditation and self-growth focus. It’s not an easy workout, but one that will help you distill your thoughts into what you want next, see where you want to go, and help you feel confident enough in your own abilities to actually complete and live the practices you’ll need to reach your goals.

Have fun finding your FEAR!

 

*Please remember that exercise is physical and in the event you have a medical condition or other reason to be concerned about completing hard/intense exercise or movement that you check with your doctor.

 

Can You Accept Yourself?

Can you truly accept yourself? Fully accept yourself? Just as you, today, in this moment, whatever it brings? So many of us answer a big fat Loud NO. We have all sorts of reasons we aren’t good enough and plenty of ways we could be acceptable … If we’d just ____________ (Get it together). Today lets focus on what we are doing well. 

In what area of your life are you proud of yourself? Really proud of yourself, not in service of your children, parents, employer, or anyone else. Where are you really proud of you, your actions, behaviors, commitment, follow though, etc.
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Why do you love this part of you? What’s so good about it?
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How does it make you great?
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What is a small change you can make right now, today to be a little better at this? Keep in mind sustainable change in lifestyle habits happens in small (think 10%) increments. Must be realistic within your time frame, make it specific, and measurable. This is the SMART goal principle developed by George Doran (1981). You are better off stating “I’ll eat 2 more servings of vegetables today. One at breakfast and one at dinner” rather than “I will eat more healthy today”.
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Next what are you going to do to make this change happen? Here we are looking for a change in behavior. What will you do differently?
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How was that exercise? Easy? Difficult? Were you able to find something you love about yourself? If not, I wonder why not. I may not know you and yet, I do know if you found nothing to be proud of it’s bullshit and old learning. I have seen the under belly of human experience and still find treasures there. It doesn’t have to a huge thing. We are looking for the big AND the small things. For example I was really proud of the way I used a new skill of asking questions this morning while I was talking to my husband. This mattered to me because it helped me be more effective in my communication and if I can use this skill in one more conversation today (2) and add 10% more tomorrow (2.2 conversations) soon I will be having effective communication in more than half my conversations, and then most of them before you know it. With each interaction I will feel a little more mastery (the key to building self-esteem) and pride. As I build those I begin to approve of myself more and more, leading to more and more positive change in my life. So I’ll ask you again …
What’s one thing about you, you can be proud of?
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Follow the above prompts now that you’ve found your thing. If you are still stuck … Maybe that one thing to be proud of is that you don’t give up on this exercise. ?
Know that getting stuck isn’t the problem. We all get stuck. It’s staying stuck that is. The way out of the muck is to shift your thinking. It isn’t easy if you’ve been caught In a negative rut, to turn toward the positive, drop your judgment of yourself and others, and stop listening to the negative vibes of others. Commit to yourself and work on remaining in a positive frame of thought for 10% more of your day today.
If some of these words are too strong for you right now change them to make sense for you. I challenge you to consider why not use these words?
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Does whatever holds you back from using them need to be released?
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Is it an old belief or message you can drop?
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What would happen if you did embrace words like love, great, good enough for yourself as descriptors?
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Planning for Fitness Success

This week’s idea for healthy living = PLANNING

It’s Fall, back to school, and illness season. So planning will be key. If you haven’t paid things forward it will matter that you determine your strategy to get through the season and how to maintain workouts if you get ill. How will you adjust your schedule for busy days or days/weeks you feel like crap. Falling completely off the wagon doesn’t seem to be the best option because most have trouble getting back on – Damn horse ran fast after I fell off – SO … here are some tips for planning balance in your life.

1)      Determine what you can do – maybe you usually workout an hour but the first week of school or during a big project it might be 30min a day or 2 15min segments. Maybe find activities that you can include for calorie burn like parking and walking or picking events with friends that include activities to participate in.

2)      Pay attention to food – if you aren’t working out as much or hard you may need to cut back on calories – often easier when sick than during a busy time. So just notice and maybe choose the salad and lean chicken, smaller portions, or eating less snacks throughout the day – don’t go too long between meals or you’ll tank your blood surgar.

3)      Know this is how healthy living works – life happens, we get sick, go on vacation, have a whole town party for a week where we dress up. Give yourself a break and keep postive. This is the stuff that makes life worth living and if you can strike the balance between healthy eating, working-out, and living you are doing it. Your horse won’t take off with your wagon – you’ll have no trouble living the fitness lifesytle if you have put some effort into planning for life.

What’s New Year’s have to do with Valentine’s Day?

 What’s New Year’s Resolutions have to do with Valentine’s Day, you ask????

Most have given up on their NYRs by V-Day – DON’T BE ONE OF THEM … Be the BEST you, YOU can be.

If you have kept at it and feel like your new health goal is finally beginning to feel like a new you – CONGRATULATIONSthis was the hardest part. Next stage is about keeping your commitment to yourself and moving into maintenance of your new habit until you forget you didn’t used to do it.

If you have fallen off your wagon – go catch the horse and get back on J, it’s not as hard as you think. You have already begun the process of change – your body and mind will remember. Getting back to it isn’t as hard as starting anew. Remember failures are part of the stepping stones to success. What did you learn by falling off?

So back to V-Day –What will you do to love yourself welltoday? For me: I worked out hard this morning and plan to enjoy some of today’s deliciousness (in moderation), my chocolate is well earned today!

Here’s to a healthier you in 2013!

Stacy

*And if this seems way overwhelming come and talk with me. I can help you break it down into bite sized chunks.

A Healthier You in 2013

It is important to set a realistic goal. On average fitness resolutioners hit it hard in January and burn out by Valentine’s Day. Here’s 5 questions to ask yourself and help make sure you’ve got the stamina to make it to at least Spring Break and beyond!

    1) What is your big goal? (Be specific – I want to smoke/drink/watch TV less, I want to eat more healthy or to lose weight are too generic – What do those really mean? Break them down to specific ideas. I want to eat at least 3 balanced meals per day, smoke X amount/day, watch X hours of TV, exercise X times/week, etc)

 

  •       (Healthy weight loss is approx 1-2lbs/week. If you’ve got 50lbs to lose that’s a minimum of 25weeks – you didn’t put that weight on overnight and you won’t take it off that quickly either. Your body is smart and will do it’s best to maintain a sense of safety. Lose too fast and research shows it usually comes back on with vengeance)

 

2) What is one small step you can start doing this week to reach it? (To gain or lose we need to manipulate the caloric intake/output – this fits well within a weekly tracking goal)

 

 

 

3) Break it even smaller – what’s one step for today, tomorrow, the next to reach your weekly goal?

 

 

 

4) How many obstacles will get in your way? How will you overcome them? (Thinking through this helps you create a plan. You won’t figure them all out but you will be better able to handle them if you have given some thought to what will keep you from your goals.)

 

 

 

5) Why do you want this goal at this time? (This is your driving fuel. Important to spend some time figuring out your why – if it’s not your goal it’ll be much harder to maintain.)

 

Weeding Your Garden, Getting Back on Track for Your Fitness and Health Goals

We have all done it. Created a goal, started out strong, only to have our motivation leak out of us and suddenly go missing. Before we know it we’ve quit – we just stopped showing up. In June’s post we discussed “planting our garden”, now it’s time to weed it. In order to keep a garden healthy we must get rid of the plants that aren’t helping it grow.

Here are 5 ways to “weed your garden” and stay on track for your fitness and health goals.

  1. Look at your schedule for the last 3 weeks – determine what is soaking up your time, what you can cut out, and where you can schedule in workouts.
  2. Check out your eating habits – have you increased portions, need to get back to your journal, or eliminate the unhealthy choices from your cupboards. Do this now.
  3. Find a workout buddy – either in person or online – someone you can be accountable to and who can be honest with you about your workout and diet behaviors (in a supportive way). This will help as your motivation wanes next time.
  4. Do the above & recommit to yourself to yourself and your goals.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up – progress is measured not by how far you go without falling down, but how quickly you get back up after you do. Life happens and healthy living happens as a result of healthy choices every day. The important thing is to get back to it as quickly as possible!

3 Ways to Reach Your Fitness Goals

So we are almost a month into your New Year’s Resolutions. How are you doing? Have you been able to make your daily and weekly goals? or Is you motivation waning and you have forgotten what had you so ready to take on this task? Here is 3 steps to getting back on track and keep yourself moving toward your goals.

Review what progress you have made – you did start something. Review what you have done even if it was only a day or a week. Recall how it felt to have accomplished that first day. Reflect on what was so motivating then.

If you didn’t write it down then. Write it down now.

What are you working towards?

What are you willing to do each day to accomplish it?

How long will it take you? (losing a pound / week is recommended for healthy lifestyle change)

What was your big obstacle? What caught you and kept you from reaching your goal so far? Was it your schedule? Was it support (or lack of it) from friends and family? This isn’t a place to find failure but learning. So look at what went wrong and make a decision about what you can do differently and start again. START AGAIN!!!

The path to success isn’t about never having set backs. It’s about how many times you have a set back and how you get back up. So if you have fallen off the New Year’s Resolution wagon this year. JUST get back on.

Endings and Beginnings

Here we are at another year end. How was your’s? Did you meet some goals? Re-evaluate others? Did you reach what seemed to be an impossible challenge? Did you fall short of an important task? 

Spend some time reflecting on your year. For many we are very good at coming up with what needs to change, creating the goal, and then moving through it or beyond it without a way to measure our progress. All movement, even the ones that feel backwards, is progress. Here’s a worksheet to help you reflect on your year and get ready for the next year of your growing wisdom.

What do you want more of? 

 

What do you want less of?

 

What needs a small change? 

 

A big one?

 

Who do you want to be in the next year? 

 

How will you know when you’ve reached your goal?

 

What rewards you for your efforts?

 

How will you re-evaluate your progress throughout the process? (daily, weekly, monthly, project based, etc).

 

What does success look like for you?

 

Glancing back at the above – what else needs your attention?

 

And are these goals truly yours?

 

Repeat this process as needed. Remember it’s precision not perfection and the journey is what matters most.

Dressing Up Your Fitness

Here we are in October, the month of costumes and scare tactics. As you reflect upon the challenge you took last month – committing to three months of fitness routines – I wonder how you are doing? This is a great time to look at your own scare tactics and how you’ve dressed up your excuses.

One thing guaranteed about life is it’s going to change and the other thing … that’s it’s not always easy. Most of us have a great thing called our brain which is very good at talking us into and out of ideas, goals, and behaviors. So today look closely at how you are talking yourself out of exercise and other healthy behaviors you’ve committed to.

How do you dress up your excuses? Do you use them as masks to hide behind? Do you allow them to be the monologue of your life, “It will never work, I can’t, or if only _____”. Do you use these same excuses in other challenging situations? I wonder what purpose they are serving? We don’t do anything (even that which seems harmful) we don’t get something out of. So figure out what you are getting out of making that excuse and decide if it’s worth it. For me sometimes time with my family is worth my workout but it’s not something I use to forgo the whole plan.

What kinds of scare tactics to you use? Do you tell yourself, “I won’t be able to, I have to avoid, I don’t deserve ______”? These are what is called avoidance goals and they are not as effective long term as approach goals. Sure you’ll make some change in the beginning but over time telling yourself you can’t have that extra piece of cake or you won’t get to do your favorite activity gets old. You end up throwing the whole goal out because your want is greater in the moment and you feel like you can’t win anyway.

You are better off to create approach goals. Ones with positive outcomes. Not only does reward systems work better they last longer than punishment based systems. So create your optimum reward system so not only are you reaching your goals but enjoying getting there too. Life can be pretty sweet when you focus on the process not the perfection.

Routines and Fitness

For many of us fall is the time we get “back on the wagon” when it comes to our fitness routines. Months of longer days, warmer weather, and high energy activities have left us happy and overwhelmed. Add in extra food and beverage consumption and we may even have a few new pounds to cart around. Routines are important when commiting to a healthier lifestyle. Routines help us keep track of and make new behaviors habits. Just the act of tracking will increase or decrease a behavior. Many people balk at the idea of journaling and it’s still one of the best tools we have to truly change our behaviors. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Something as simple as hash marks can still have a big impact on our behaviors.

Another thing routines help us with is taking the overwhelming work of constantly changing and making it managable. We use the routine as a way to come into new behaviors without complicated thought processes, constant schedule shifts, and working so hard to think about what we are going to do. Instead putting a workout appointment on your calendar with an alert automatically reminds you to workout daily.

It’s the small changes you do daily that result in the large changes of creating a more healthy lifestyle. It matters what you do each day and adds up quickly. So today take some time to outline your goals for the next 3 months. Put them on paper, scheduling them into your life, and commit to making them happen. Track them along the way and watch yourself develop into the person you want to be.