Posts Tagged ‘success’
Saturday, April 27th, 2013
The journey is tough…often messy…sometimes unbelievably cruel. Everyone has experienced variations on that theme. No one escapes the “unfairness factor” of life. When you’re young and struggling, you think you’re the only one. But with age comes the realization that life is a two sided coin…happy/sad, success/failure, easy/hard. Just as you need two sides to even have a coin, you need the ups and downs to have a life.
However, those ups and downs aren’t an excuse to “settle” in life. Have you ever thought to yourself, “Oh, my life’s good enough. It could be a lot worse. At least I’m not_________?”
I know you can fill in that blank. There’s always someone dealing with things worse than what you’re going through, someone who weighs more, someone with a worse marriage, someone with more health issues, etc… You’re supposed to appreciate what you have, right? Okay, but be careful:
Happiness doesn’t come from measuring yourself against a standard of misery. That kind of thinking just lowers the bar and keeps you from reaching your potential.
I think you should love, not like, love your life, in spite of the hardships that cross your path.
Here are three things you can do to get more excited about your amazing life:
1. Build a great support team
Humans are incredibly social creatures. We have built in mimic and acceptance tendencies. In other words, you are who you hang out with so hang out with people you admire, people who are a great influence on you, people who believe in you. Friendship is a privilege not a right.
2. Don’t judge yourself by your past
Mistakes are tests. You can learn as much from things that go wrong as from things that go right. It’s important to treat yesterday as homework. Those lessons can set the stage for a great future. They give you wisdom…UNLESS you judge yourself by them. Babe Ruth had way more strike-outs than home runs. If he focused on the strike-outs, he never would’ve hit the home runs.
3. Have at least one “happy” goal.
What would make you happy, really happy? Build a goal around that with tons of detail so you can take little steps toward it every day. Focus on the things you CAN do. With persistence, tiny steps eventually turn into success. You deserve that.
The challenges we face are like mountains we have to climb. It might seem like your mountain is steeper and higher than anyone else’s, but keep climbing because the higher the mountain, the better the view from the top.
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
When I was in college I took the train into Manhattan to spend some time with my dad. We went to his favorite restaurant for lunch and I felt like I was sitting next to a movie star. People kept coming to our table to talk to him and nearly everyone who walked through the door knew his name . I remember thinking, “Wow, my dad is famous.”
Dad was one of those people who loved the world. He was honest but more than that he was careful with his words. He believed in people and had a way of making them believe in themselves. When you talked to him, he listened. Then he’d ask questions and listen some more. He made you feel like you mattered, regardless of your circumstance. My dad’s attitude was magnetic. He was confident and humble at the same time. He didn’t expect the world to be fair, he just expected to be able to handle the unfairness. People were happier if they were lucky enough to cross his path so when they saw him coming, they crossed his path.
My dad wasn’t world famous; he was famous in his world and it had little to do with his success as a businessman. He was famous because he was a servant. Life wasn’t about him, it was about you.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Gaining the strength to do traditional push-ups is a progression. In the video below, Shawn shows you an easy and safe way to gradually increase that strength. If you do three sets of 10 push-ups every day at a level that is challenging to you (a level that allows you to use good form but exhausts your muscles by 10-12 repetitions), you will eventually work yourself to the floor. Try it!
Then make a habit of doing three sets a day and keep that strength forever.
Monday, January 28th, 2013
The first rule of the February Challenge requires you to drink a half cup of warm (not hot) water with the juice of half a lemon…with intention. This rule could be the key to your success.
Seven great reasons for warm water and lemon are explained in an article I found on MindBodyGreen.com. According to them, it boosts your immune system, balances pH, helps with weight loss, aids digestion, acts as a gentle diuretic, clears skin and hydrates the lymph system. I don’t know about you but just one of those benefits is reason enough for me.
I’ve been testing this concoction for the past couple of weeks. I thought it would be too tart…it’s not. I thought it would be too much work…it’s not. I’m already a fan. The thought of starting my day with something so simple, so clean, makes me happy. But what makes it powerful is adding intention.
“Intention” is an internal statement or conversation about what you intend to accomplish. For the purpose of the February Challenge, your lovely morning lemon drink is accompanied by very specific thoughts and plans for the health choices you will make TODAY, only today. Sit down for a few minutes, savor your warm lemon water and visualize your success.
It might go something like this: “As this water cleanses my system, I know I’m going to follow it with healthy food all day. When I get to work and I’m faced with the candy jar, I’ll walk by and immediately feel proud of myself (see yourself doing that). When Jane brings in her grandmother’s homemade baklava and insists I make an exception because she has never visited this country before and I’ll never get the chance again(these things always happen), I’ll realize the trap. I know baklava won’t help me succeed. It’s just sugar and fat in a tempting little package. That’s not who I am today so I’ll say, “Thanks, but no thanks, not today, it looks great but I really don’t want any.” After she picks her jaw up off the floor and walks away, I’ll feel crazy happy. Today, every time I walk away from temptation, I will become stronger and happier.”
You get the idea. You have to imagine your success in the face of things that have tripped you up in the past and you have to imagine how great that feels. If you take a few minutes every morning to set up the day, you will win. But remember, it’s just today. Don’t take on the whole month of February. Just take on today…and then do it again, tomorrow.
A half cup of warm water with the juice of half a lemon and a few minutes of intention = the beginning of a great version of you.
Friday, January 25th, 2013
The February Challenge started 15 years ago because a group of friends wanted to help each other shed the pounds they gained over the holidays. They chose February because: the holiday parties were finally over; it gave them something to focus on in the dead of winter; they wanted to jump into spring already in shape for summer; and it was 28 days, exactly four weeks. They figured they could do anything for four weeks…if they did it together.
It worked and has become an annual event. The rules might change little from year to year but the goals are the same: Get in shape and lose a few unhealthy habits.
Many people give up on health related goals because lifestyle habits are tough to change. Plus, we live in a culture that promotes excess. So instead of trying, we make excuses…it’s too hard; I have no self-control; there’s too much stress in my life; I don’t have time; I do worse when I put pressure on myself; I don’t like to exercise and I love food so it’s hopeless.
The dialogue that runs through your head is also a habit. The messages you repeat to yourself over and over again determine your success or failure in reaching any goal. You know the saying: “If you think you can…you can. If you think you can’t…you won’t.” This year, for the first time, we’re going to try to change that dialogue.
Bottom line: If you want to get in shape, join the February Challenge. Come on! Yesterday’s mistakes were homework. Today you can succeed. Besides, it’s free. There’s no opt-in page and you won’t show up on any lists.
Below is an overview of the 2013 rules. Details and rational for each rule will be provided during the upcoming week.
Rules for everyone:
- ½ cup warm water with ½ a lemon first thing every morning with intention (the dialogue)
- 4+ cups of fruits-veggies/day ( 4 cups=8 servings)
- Avoid feeling full
Extra rules (Pick at least two):
- 10-10-10 challenge (sit-ups/squats/push-ups)
- 6+ glasses of water/day (in addition to other liquids)
- 7+ hours of sleep/night (or 49 hours/week)
- 1+ hour exercise/day (or 7 hours/week)
Recruit your friends and get ready to test yourself. On the February Challenge Facebook page, you’re invited to make comments, ask questions, make recommendations or just whine. The more conversation, the better (Please don’t advertise). You can also post comments here.
Saturday, December 29th, 2012
People hate New Year’s Resolutions because they don’t keep them. The 10 lbs Dick was going to lose last year are still hanging around. Jane’s new exercise plan got pushed aside because of other priorities. The clutter Sally wanted to control somehow managed to take over her house again. So what’s the point of making a New Year’s Resolution if you know you’re going to fail, right?
If you know you’re going to fail, there is no point. Only an idiot bets on a three legged horse.
Resolutions aren’t designed for people who “want” to change or for people who “wish” things were different. They’re designed for people who are sick and tired of the status quo, for people determined to do something better next year in spite of the challenges they will face along the way. Resolutions require a focused and unrelenting commitment to improve. For people with that mindset, New Year’s is exciting. It symbolizes a fresh start. It’s an opportunity.
2012 is almost in the history books. The year you just lived is your personal history lesson and the experience and wisdom you gained gives you the opportunity to live better next year. Look back and think about the things you’re proud of as well as the things you wish you did better. Will 2013 be a repeat of years past or will you finally break an old habit?
Four tips to help you succeed:
- Pick something extremely specific. For example, instead of keeping your house clean, resolve to clean the kitchen before going to bed every night or instead of starting an exercise program, resolve to walk for 30 minutes after dinner every night.
- Shorten the time frame. Don’t take on the entire year. Start with January. Resolve for one month and then re-evaluate. It takes about a month to change a habit so if you can survive January, you’ll be well on your way.
- Recruit your friends and family. Make sure everyone knows what you’re trying to accomplish, even if it’s embarrassing. Besides, a little humility just makes you more real and the added accountability will help you stay the course. Why not get a few friends on board and start a texting support group? It’s fun and it’ll dramatically increase you success rate.
- Don’t give up when you mess up. You’re not perfect. Life isn’t about perfection, it’s about becoming a great version of yourself. When you fall down, get back up. Happiness comes from getting up one more time than you fall down. Never quit!
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
I was reading my friend Joy Jordan’s blog about the layers of emotion connected to change.
She says, “Emotions we attach to the unknown, like difficulty, doubt, dis-ease, trust, transition, vulnerability, risk–are not easy to process; not easy to sit with. Yet this is most of life. The world constantly changes. Real life interrupts our plans. Surprises abound creating an uneasiness that we try to band-aid with a false sense of control…”
The fears she talks about are universal and unfortunately they can paralyze us. They’re the same fears that keep us from choosing to change things in our personal lives, things we CAN control. It’s easier to stay the course, even when change is better, even when our current path is miserable. Sometimes we “try” to change and fail and “try” again, but in the end, stay the same. We have long ingrained habits built around the way things are. It’s what we know. It’s safe.
Examples: Unhappy marriages, the 20+ lbs that turned into 30, dysfunctional work relationships, clutter around the house, etc… It’s easy to find people who are living unhappily-ever-after in some aspect of their lives because “trying” to change is hard.
Stop that! As Yoda would say, “Do or do not…there is no try.”
When you say, “I’ll try.” you’re saying one of two thing: “I’m not committed.” or “I’m not sure I can.”
If you take a minute to think about it, most of the change fears you have aren’t related to ability. That’s a reflex excuse. You do have the ability to eat healthier or eat less or exercise more. You do have the ability to organize your home and office. You do have the ability to work on relationships.
Bottom line: Most of the change fears we have are related to commitment. We want it, but not as much as we want something else. Commitment is an absolute. To succeed we have to be all in, no matter the hardship that might cross our path. Change comes from having undying passion for the outcome. It’s a choice.
Why not pick something to change in 2013? Read books and blogs that support you. Journal your emotions and frustrations along the way. Recruit your friends to hold you accountable. Set specific smaller goals to keep you on track. And don’t give up until you succeed. In other words, COMMIT…go all in. 100% all in. You’re worth it.
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Jennifer’s husband was going to Europe for two weeks on a business trip. She decided to clean up her “diet” while he was gone and recruited five friends to figure out how. What a great idea!
We met for lunch and hashed out a plan. It had to be something challenging and of course, there had to be a reward at the end…a party. We settled on James Duigan’s 14 days of protein and veggies. No sugar, no salt, no fruit, no wheat, no dairy, no artificial sweetners, and no WINE! Lots of lean protein, lots of water, and lots of dark green veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale, and asparagus. The first week was torture but we texted each other religiously and that ongoing feedback helped us stay on track.
I lost 7lbs in six days! Granted most of it was water, not fat, but my clothes fit better and I was excited. All of us had similar experiences but all of us were also struggling with the restrictiveness of the plan. So we modified the second week to include non-fat greek yogurt, fruit, 1/4 cup of whole grains…not wheat, and some salt-free seasonings. It’s easier now and feels healthier.
The bottom line is it’s “our” plan and it’s working because we’re holding each other accountable. We’ve already learned valuable lessons about our habits, appropriate serving sizes, and what being hungry really feels like. But most importantly, we’ve learned a lot about each other.
This team concept will change the way we move forward. Never underestimate the power of friends.
Saturday, September 8th, 2012
Sometimes in our personal or professional lives we need help. Champions count on coaches and mentors to enhance their success and we should do the same thing. However, when the help your getting isn’t helpful, don’t put up with it. Change it.
My girlfriend and her husband struggled in their marriage for years. They finally decided to get help but their first experience with a marriage counselor wasn’t helpful. They tried someone else…still not helpful. They tried a third time and finally found someone without an agenda who actually listened to them. They’re doing much better these days. I wonder what would’ve happened if they stuck with the first person.
When it comes to the coaches/mentors in your life, don’t settle for ‘good enough’. Have the courage to keep looking until the help you’re getting is great.
Bottom line: If your help isn’t helpful, get different help!
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Gratitude is important. It reminds us that we need each other, that we’re part of something bigger. The gratitude we feel toward those who’ve helped us along the way, the appreciation we feel for the gift of life, for family, for friends, and for health…all of these things should motivate us to give back, to strive to become great versions of ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes I think the opposite happens.
It’s easy to look around and find circumstances worse than our own. For example, if your boss micro-manages you, making your life miserable, you might complain only to be reminded you that you have a great job with excellent benefits. The message is that you should stop complaining and feel grateful. There are plenty of people looking for work. Or if you’ve gained a few pounds and complain, your friends may remind you how good you look for your age. They might even recount a story about a mutual friend with major health problems. Again, you’re left feeling guilty for wanting more, for your lack of gratitude. Gratefulness in that context doesn’t make us happy. It lowers the bar of our personal expectations. If we’re not careful, it can lead to mediocrity.
Happiness comes from striving to become a great version of yourself. It’s a combination of doing your best and overcoming challenges to reach a goal. It doesn’t come from settling for “good enough”.
Don’t let gratitude keep you from success.