Archive for December, 2008

Resolutions for Rebels

I resist New Year’s resolutions. I feel like making a list of “I will do’s” on January 1 seems so conformist. My inner rebel says, “No one’s going to tell me when to change!” Yet I usually make major life changes in the winter months—so it seems there is something to this time of year being a time of change, commitment and renewal.

If you’re a resolution rebel but still find yourself thinking about what you really want in ’09, here are some tips to take you beyond the same ol’ tired resolutions:

1. Think about the feeling, not the thing.
Don’t worry, I haven’t taken a left turn into woo-woo land. Why do we want anything? To lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, get a new job, find love? Because we think those things will cause us to feel a certain way. Instead of focusing on the thing, skip the middleman and focus on how you want to feel.

Say you want to feel happy, healthy, excited or inspired. You don’t have to wait until you lose 20 lbs to feel inspired and excited—you can find ways to feel inspired and excited RIGHT NOW.

When you feel inspired and excited (or however you want to feel), it’s much easier to stay motivated to reach your goal. And, you’ll have more fun in the process. Because the secret is that trite saying, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.” is true.

2. Be real.
I will run 3 miles every day! I will wake up at 5 a.m. every day and meditate! I will never eat nachos again!

These might be great goals for someone who’s a dedicated runner, a Zen Buddhist priest or is lactose intolerant. But if the longest distance you’ve run is from the couch to the fridge, you can’t sit still for 5 minutes, or nachos are your favorite joy food, then you need to get real.

Unrealistic resolutions don’t serve you and are a set-up for failure. Then, when you fail, you have more evidence for your crappy belief systems about how you can’t stick to anything, lack commitment, are lazy, etc…

Start with ridiculously easy goals. The more scared/resistant you are to the change, the more ridiculously easy your goal should be.

For instance, if your first impulse is to resolve to run 3 miles every day, cut that in half. That would be 1.5 miles every day. Ask yourself if that would be ridiculously easy. No? Then cut in half again. Say to 1.5 miles 4 days a week. Keep cutting it in half until you say to yourself, “That’s ridiculous, there’s no reason I couldn’t do that.” In this case, you might get down to walking .25 miles 3 days a week. Start there. You can always build up from your ridiculously easy starting point. Now you have a completely do-able goal rather than a demotivating overly ambitious goal.

Now some of you type-A’s are saying, “That’s for weenies, you should just go for it!” If you get out there and you feel like running for 3 miles—GO FOR IT! But if you only go .25 miles, you’ll still have accomplished your goal and will feel motivated to continue. See?

3. Don’t should on yourself.
[Ed. note: I love bringing back these 90’s self-help sayings!]

Many people make resolutions based on what they “should” do. I should make more money, I should join the PTA, I should go to the gym more, whatever.

If you find yourself making a resolution with the word “should” in it, I suggest you seriously re-examine it. Do you really want to do this? Is this resolution based on what other people/society think you should do? Understand your motivation—go back to Tip 1 and find the feeling this resolution creates. If it’s a negative feeling (dread, guilt, anger) dump it.

4. Try a one-word resolution.
Singer-songwriter and coach Christine Kane has a brilliant twist on resolutions. I love it! You simply choose one word (it’s fun to hold yourself to just one) to act as a theme/guiding principle for the coming year.

Mine is GO. (Ooooh, makes me all excited and motivated. Perfect.)

Why GO?
GO is for movement, momentum, forward, fast, energy, diving in, saying yes, hair-blowing-back-wind-in-my-face fun ride.

What’s yours? Comment below and say your word loud and proud.


December 31, 2008 at 11:00 pm 6 comments

You’ll Never Have It All Together

Many of my clients say things like this to me:

“I’m going to wait until my hectic life calms down to start weight loss coaching.”

“Once I’m at my natural weight, I’ll be happy.”

“I’ll just dive in, do all this personal work, and then my life will be perfect.”
(A personal favorite lie of mine).

“If I can just get all the laundry done, I’ll be less anxious.”

Sorry to be the one to break the news to you (actually I’m excited to be the one to break the news):

You will never have it all together. It will never all be done. It will never be perfect.

How do you feel when you ponder the above statements?

I feel excited, relieved, and peaceful.

For me, it’s a HUGE RELIEF to know that life will never be perfect. I can stop waiting for some future “then” where all the stars will align and I’ll be happy.

It’s really about being calm in the chaos. Choosing not to overeat when you feel sad, lonely or anxious. Doing the personal work because it helps you stay here in the present moment, not for some future promise of a perfect life. Starting to move toward your natural weight right now because there’s never a better time.

It’s about choosing happiness when you’re a hot mess—undone laundry, love handles, chaotic life and all.

December 19, 2008 at 11:41 am 3 comments

How Horses Taught Me About Who I Am

I had a profound experience a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you. I attended Brooke Castillo and Koelle Simpson’s How to be Heard workshop. Basking in the warm Phoenix sun and spending time with close friends would’ve been enough of a treat, but I got so much more than that.

The horses were our teachers…

They are herd animals that need a strong leadership structure to survive in the wild. Horses couldn’t care less about what you say; they pick up on your energy and what you do with it. There’s no BS’ing your way into leading the horses. Our job was to get a horse to “join up” with us—to earn the right to be its leader.

Have you ever heard the expression, “How you do anything is how you do everything?” My biggest personal bugaboo* is that I can become wracked with self doubt. I worry about being good enough and doing it right. I got to see that play out right in front of me. I may look calm in this picture,

but I am having a self-doubt moment and my nervous energy was fluttering up around my shoulders. This horse was not interested in following me with that fluttery energy.  

What I learned is that when I’m busy doubting myself, I can’t connect with others, pick up on their cues or truly be there for them. This horse was giving me all kinds of signs that he was ready to be lead, but I was too busy in my own mind to see them.

Then I remembered who I am. I am not insecure. I am not disconnected. My energy becomes calm and strong, I feel like I’m in my body. I see this horse. It’s time to lead. She’s up for it. Because I’m up for it.

I don’t need to make her follow me with a rope or force. As long as I act (be) like a leader, she’ll follow.

The horses showed me that my true nature is strong, calm, joyful, supportive and assertive. Self doubt does not serve me and blocks me from making my full contribution to the world.

What are you doing that doesn’t serve you? Who would you be if you allowed yourself to be un-limited by your own beliefs?

These kinds of questions are easy to skip over and dismiss as foo-foo–I invite you to take a minute and really think about it. Something cool could happen.


* I didn’t even realize how apt a word “bugaboo” was, check out the definition–“an imaginary object of fear.”

December 3, 2008 at 3:31 pm 8 comments

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