Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

 Did I really try my hardest today?

Maybe it’s the cold weather causing me to hibernate more than I’d like.  Maybe it’s seeing too many people on social media doing more than myself, who knows.  But I thought, in order to hold myself accountable, why not finish the day with a question?  I try to start my day with a statement such as,  I WILL do __________.  I AM going to ____________.  I CAN ____________.   It seems appropriate to end the day with a question – almost like a Review of Your Day.

Sidenote:  Although I’m speaking from a fitness perspective, this can still be applied to career or relationship or pretty much any goal you have.  Especially those New Year Resolutions.

Looking back at the past week, asking myself this questions, I was ON point with my meal plan from my coach.  I didn’t miss any workouts either.  So how can I repeat this?  How can anyone keep this train moving in the right direction?  I suppose it’s a combination of motivation and willpower and accountability from others.  But above all, it started with a plan.

I hear from many of my clients that although they have every intention of doing A, B and C in a given day, there are diversions and things that just get in the way and before you know it, they didn’t accomplish A B or C.  They haven’t even gotten the train out of the station and it’s already derailed.  And now they feel like crap and feel guilty and feel like giving up.

Here are some examples:

A meeting at work that went long, there goes your workout for the day!

Your car needs to be fixed so there goes your money that you wanted to spend on the new gym membership!

You oversleep so now you have to stop by the drive-thru or the cafeteria at work, there goes having a good home cooked meal!

Noticing a common theme in the above examples?  They all could have been prevented with a PLAN.  If you have a plan, you’re so much more likely to succeed.

Here’s some ideas on how to implement one:

  • How do we solve the meeting problem? How can we know when our boss wants us to stay late and work? We don’t.  So we have a plan to workout at a time when your boss has no control of your schedule – usually first thing in the morning.  Or a weekend.  There’s got to be some ME time in your life.  Several of my clients insert “Meeting with Jim” into their work calendar so they don’t miss a workout.  (Jim, like gym…get it?)  Even if you have to work late 5 days a week, if you have a plan to workout at a different time, it’s already done and you won’t feel rushed to squeeze it in.  Even if you only workout one day in a week, that’s something.  That’s an accomplishment.
  • How can you prevent a car that breaks down?  Or your child falls down and gets injured? (Think BIG expenses). Usually not preventable.  But your plan for this is your budget.   I’m a firm believer everyone/family needs a health budget.  This would be different or in addition to a savings account.  Coming from someone who knows what it’s like to scrape by, I know this is easier said than done.  The number one declaration I hear from ALL of my clients is “I wish I would have started this sooner.”  It starts with a health budget.  Save those dollars!  Saving up for a treadmill or a trainer or a good pair of running shoes or gym membership is a good first step.
  • What’s the plan for accidentally oversleeping?  This is probably the easiest one to do but also the one I hear the MOST excuses for:  Prep your food.  Prep your food.  Prep your food.  Prep your DAMN FOOD!!!!

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Can you tell I’m slightly irritated passionate about this one?  It’s seriously the easiest thing to do EVER.  What’s the most common objection to it?

I know what to eat, I just don’t have time to make it.

Nope, not good enough.  You do have the time, you just don’t make it a priority in your life.  Goes back to the health budget.  If it’s a priority, you make the effort to get it done.

Stick “Food prep” in your calendar.  Literally write it down for a block of time for about 2 hours.

Go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier and get it done in that time frame if you want.

Get off Facebook.  Take a social media BREAK.  Like a legit day or two break.

Make it a family affair and have the kids help out in the kitchen.  They’re going to eat the food anyways, right? Might as well start them young and get them learning some basic cooking skills like just chopping up veggies. If they are too young for that, how about mixing or just throwing stuff in a crock pot?  Or if you have OCD kids that love to be organized, how about getting them to weigh and measure out the food into zip lock baggies?  Seems like a mundane task but most kids I know are entertained by the smallest things.  Turn it into a lesson.  Teach them math or something, I don’t know.   Tell them:  “I need 6 ounces of chicken, in each of these bags.  If I need 6 ounces for everyday this week, how many ounces is that?”

Okay so I’m clearly not a parent nor a teacher but, I think you get my point.

If you have family that doesn’t eat the same foods you then yes, this will require some extra effort.   In my opinion, the easier option is just making stuff that everyone can enjoy, just decreasing/increasing the portions for them.

Picky eaters?  Try the “just try a bite” method.  Worked for me for about 15 some years since I was the pickiest child ever.  PB and J was the only thing I really ate but I would always have “at least a bite” of greens and meats that Mom made for me.  I got wise around age 25 by cooking food, the same time that I invested in a Personal Trainer I might add.

One of my clients recommended a couple books for those picky eaters so I’m passing on the information to my Mommy readers:  Bringing up Bebe:  One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

I just love this review of the book: “Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”

Another one is called: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five

Check them out and let me know what you think – and if you’ve read them let us know so my readers/followers can hear what you think too!

Speaking of babies, this all comes back to baby steps – small steps to accomplish a large goal.  One day at a time was made for goals such as these.  They can seem overwhelming, they can seem like you’re starting at square one but with just some effort, you can get there.  It might even take months or even years before your PLAN is in full effect.

But before you know it, you’ll get into that rhythm.  You’ll be THAT person that’s always prepared.  THAT person that always seems to have his/her stuff together.  THAT person that you look at or read about and think “Oh I’m sure that would never work for ME.”  Guess what?  It can.

You will be that person that ends your day with “Did I try my hardest today?  HELL YES!” 

And it will show!  You’ll be happier because you’ll be closer to your goals; you’ll be calmer because your stress will be lowered due to all the workouts you’re doing and all the good food you’ve been eating;  you’ll be happier because you’ve been spending your money from your health budget; you’ll be more confident because you put your health first.

As always, if you have any other ideas or suggestions for my readers who struggle with this same problem, feel free to comment and share this post with others who could use the boost!

The Anti-New Years Resolution

I’m officially sick and tired of the “New Year New You!” mantra plastered over Fitness and Health Magazines every January.   Gyms and health clubs are guilty of these slogans and promotions too.  You walk into any gym for that matter in the month of December and January and there are specials and deals going on usually meant to entice that vulnerable gym newbie who wants to accomplish the usual for the new  year:  lose weight.

This time I’m going to do it.  This time I won’t give up and I won’t give in and I’ll diet and I’ll workout everyday and I won’t stop.

But every year, usually in mid February, they do stop.  They slack off .  They don’t have support at home.  They get caught up at work.  They stop coming to the gym. They fall off the wagon.  They give up and they feel like they failed.

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This vicious cycle creates a sort of animosity I have noticed among the frequent gym freaks patrons.  Comments are made, looks are exchanged and gestures are made.  Granted of course, not everyone does this.  I am generalizing here.  But speaking from the standpoint of a trainer, I can assure you there are people out there who really look down on those people coming to the gym for the first time and treat them like the plague.  I have witnessed this juvenile behavior from adults more times than I care to remember.

This time around, how about we make a resolution to leave the NYE’ers (New Years Resolutioners, yeah I just made up that word) alone and let them be.  No approach.  No pouncing.  Just letting people do their own thing with no judgement.

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For those looking to lose weight, you can start January 1st but why set yourself up for failure?  I had repeatedly told my consultations “I highly recommend you start out really slow with this long term goal” in the beginning of January.  They wanted no part of that.  They wanted results and they wanted them quickly.  I’ve heard from many people “Oh no, I’m going to come here everyday for this entire month.  Otherwise I won’t come at all!” 

Pretty sure you can guess what happened.  They came in for about a week straight and then POOF! they were gone.  What a waste of time, money and effort.

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If you have tried to lose weight every January unsuccessfully, then perhaps a new approach is needed.  My best advice is baby steps.  Break it out into phases.  And don’t call it a resolution.  That word itself carries with it such a stigma of “Ugh, not THIS time of year again!”   Just call it what it is:  a goal.

Ask yourself:  Have you ever MET anyone who actually stuck to their Resolution? I mean really stuck with it?  Maybe I’m in the minority but I have found people stick with their goals when they start them when the TIME is right, and usually, it’s not January 1st.  Start when the time is right for you.  Don’t let any of these magazines, tv shows, (ahem Biggest Loser), co-workers, family, friends, social media..tell you that “The Time to start is January 1st!! ”

No, the time to do it is when YOU decide.  When YOU are in a good place mentally and financially (yes its going to be an investment) to do it YOUR way.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the best month to make your new years resolution? August.  According BusinessWeek.com here http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-25/how-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-make-them-in-august

Mini Update on Me, because, lets just admit this is all about me:  Currently awaiting my new meal plan since it’s been almost a month since hiring my Coach.

The “Lose 5bls between Thanksgiving and January 3rd” bet I have going with my friend Craig is in the bag.  That’s $20 is as good as mine since I’ve actually lost 7lbs.

Aiming to lose 1 more by the 3rd since I hate odd numbers.

Probably one more post coming before the end of 2012.

-Michelle