Posts Tagged 'motivation'

What’s Ahead for You in 2013?

Living in AZ provides us with unlimited possibilities for hiking, an activity that Ed and I both enjoy.

My bottom line description of hiking is taking a walk on a trail.  That said, all hikes are not equal.  Three weeks ago we revisited a hike in the Superstition Mountains. On that first attempt in January, 2012, we started out mid-morning on the Garden Valley Loop Hike, an 8 mile, 5 hour hike.  We got back to our car as the sun was setting behind the mountains, and pulled away with our headlights on!  For more of the drama- and the lessons learned- read my previous blog post.

As we re-walked the trail we were impressed with the challenge of the terrain. We didn’t remember it being so difficult: bald rocks, washes to cross without markings, trail signs (cairns- piles of rocks), many, many natural steps both up and down, narrow passes, broad flat lands…and almost always, rocks of various sizes covering the trail.

Garden Valley Trail, bald rocks

Garden Valley Trail, bald rocks


Garden Valley Trail- cairns

Garden Valley Trail- cairns

The variety in the trail prompted me to take a number of photos.  As I walked over and around the rocks,  I thought about what a picture this is of our lives- and at this point in the year, Dec. 22, not only reflective of 2012, but also a potential picture of 2013 that is unfolding.

If you are evaluating 2012 (as I am) and you are planning 2013 (as I am), perhaps these thoughts can encourage you and prepare you for what lies ahead.

On the trail, sometimes the rocks were quite large- and our pace and progress were definitely slowed.  Does that describe any part of 2012 for you?  How did you handle that? What were the lessons? As you are looking at 2013, and writing down Plan A, do you have a Plan B?

Garden Valley Trail

Garden Valley Trail- large rocks


Garden Valley Trail- small rocks

Garden Valley Trail- small rocks


Garden Valley trail-uphill

Garden Valley trail-uphill

The majority of the trail was strewn with many little rocks-slowing the pace only slightly, requiring adjustment of immediate attention, while continuing to move forward.  I thought of the many daily distractions that become momentum-busters, and the necessity to focus on the big picture of what needs to be accomplished for the day, the week, the month. I recently was reminded of this planning tip: Before the end of the day, take time to write down the 6 things you wnat to accomplish the following day.  On the new day, start with number one and pursue it until it is done.  Then start number two.  Whatever is not completed moves to the next day’s list.  Brian Tracy calls this technique “Eat That Frog” and further says that if there are two frogs that must be eaten, eat the ugliest one first!

Sometimes we were climbing up- and sometimes we were climbing down.  During those climbs I was very thankful for the walking pole that I had: it provided stability, so that I could keep my pace fairly consistently, and gave me confidence that I had help if I needed it.  What’s your tool?  Do you know how to use it?  Are you using it?

Because we were constantly navigating rocks of various sizes, we were immediately aware of  ‘smooth,’ no rocks.  We definitely took advantage of the change!  Whoever was leading shouted out, “No rocks- let’s make up some time,” and we immediately quickened our pace.  When the terrain changes in your life, when opportunity comes, are you ready to move forward quickly and gather momentum- or do you fail to notice the change and therefore lose the opportunity to gain ground?

Garden Valley Trail- smooth!

Garden Valley Trail- smooth!

Hikers are typically a friendly lot: they’ll tell you how far it is to the next marker, share a sandwich, point out an unusual bird or other animal, or share a tale


about someone who got lost on this very trail!  Many of us are in a ‘people business,’ regardless of our industry.  Are you ready to talk to people you meet? I have found that it’s best to have a friendly attitude: ‘to have friends, show yourself friendly.’  It is difficult to maintain a friendly disposition if you are sick, not feeling well, or are ‘under the weather.’  Do your best to stay healthy: maintain (or gain) a strong immune system.  If you need some assistance in this area, please give me a call.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my business is knowing that I help others to be the best they can be on many different levels, including their health.

Hiking is a great metaphor for facing a new year.  Both are best done with a good measure of preparation: mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Both hiking and a new year have aspects of predictability and serendipity.  Be prepared for both and enjoy the ride!

What are you looking forward to in 2013? And how are you preparing for it? I’d be delighted if you would share your thoughts and plans below.

Have a blessed Christmas and may your 2013 be your best year ever!


To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 1

Hard to believe that half of January is gone. You may be one of those people who has been hearing conversation, reading articles, listening to your own conscience…about setting goals, making plans for 2012—but you still haven’t written anything down.

You may have  done the typical New Year’s Resolutions in the past- and not succeeded…OK, you put a new practice into place for one day, and then forgot about doing it the second day. Sounds familiar.

It is possible that because of your previous experience, you may be hesitant- perhaps resistant?- to even think about planning.

Let me share a couple of experiences I have had in the past week to further confuse the issue.

Ed (husband) and I flew to Phoenix early  on Jan. 1 to share in Daniel’s  (oldest son) 30th birthday celebration.  THE PLAN for the evening was that Erin was going to surprise Daniel with a dinner reservation at a Brazilian restaurant in Scottsdale and we would watch the boys.  Great plan—except that Daniel didn’t feel real great, and food, especially a nice dinner, was not top of mind!

So THE PLAN was postponed until Thursday night, when everyone felt great, and the details worked out just fine.

Hurray for flexibility!

Saturday, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful 70-something sunshine of Phoenix and walk around the Phoenix Zoo.  THE PLAN was to walk around the zoo, simply enjoying the day together.

We eventually got to the elephant yard, only to discover that the three elephants were safely behind closed doors. However, feeding would take place shortly so we decided to wait. A zoo keeper came out and asked for volunteers to join her in ‘hiding carrots’ which the elephants would then look for and eat.  This activity is done daily to keep the elephants’ minds active. (Is there a clue here about challenging activity being necessary to keep OUR minds active?)

Greyson (age 2 1/2) was definitely up for the adventure, so he and I picked up two carrots, headed out into the yard, and Erin followed us with her camera.

Picking up our carrots

Looking for a hiding place

Finding a hiding spot

Completing the task

We couldn’t have planned it any better!

What about you? Have you had a recent serendipity happening that was unforgettable? Share it below!

PS Notice this is part 1.  Come back to read about another Phoenix adventure in part 2.

Emotions of Change

When I find an article that is valuable to my readers, I like to share the link.  As a follow-up to my last post, here is a link to an article by Jim Rohn (you’ve probably guessed he’s my most valued business mentor by the number of times I quote him on this site: check out Biz  tips tab).  Jim writes about Allowing Emotions to Fuel Your Desires. 

Amidst the crowded schedules of December, some are going through the motions of activity but are in quiet desperation of wanting/needing to do something drastically different in their lives: they know it is insanity to continue doing the same thing and expect different results.

If you are one of those in need of change, please take the time to read this article.   Jim’s thoughts could play a major role in giving you the courage to change direction so that in 2012 you get closer to achieving your goals.

If there is anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Age is not an excuse!

Last week-end I visited my Mom in La Grange, IL. We celebrated Mom’s 87th birthday.

I am so proud of her!

She lives in a retirement center on her own, in her own two-bedroom cottage. She is in great shape. She unofficially heads up a crew of mobile residents at the main building who helps transport wheelchair-bound residents to various activities. She also helps out with the weekly program to the resident Alzheimer’s patients, teaching them patiently, for example, about plant cuttings that she has prepared for them to grow in their own little pots.

Mom has a daily and weekly activity and social routine that I encourage her to keep even when I visit. She has a lesson twice weekly in the therapeutic pool with an instructor and does activities in the pool on her own before her lesson. She participates daily in two back-to-back exercise classes along with 10-20 other residents. She leads the group on Saturday, so that the group only takes one day a week off! She walks on a regular basis.

Mom can still drive, so she participates in weekly senior activities at her church as well as in the community. She attends church services and a weekly evening Bible study (one with homework!) as well. She always has a couple of projects going on: collecting calendars, Christmas cards and stamps for prisoners; collecting used Bibles and Christian literature for an overseas ministry…you get the idea!

When I visited this last time, I talked to a couple of women in the exercise class, asking them why they were so committed to attending. They both answered that when they are regular they get tremendous benefits- less stiffness in their joints, overall feeling better- and they can feel it when they miss class. Excellent!

The large exercise area is next to a room with a number of machines, including a bicycle, treadmill, and other fitness equipment. As I was finishing on the treadmill, a couple came in (Mom’s age), George using a rolling walker, his wife walking on her own. George slipped out from behind his walker, personalized the settings, and got moving on the bicycle. His wife waited for me to finish, and then she got started with her workout.

This kind of activity happens daily. I congratulate each one for taking personal responsibility for his health.  The physical benefit is obvious.

With this group of seniors, there are a number of social and emotional benefits as well. The residents in the classes and activities look out for each other, notice when someone is not around for a couple of days, and provide that extra safety net of friends that is so important for everyone.

You know, the physical, social and emotional benefits of exercise don’t just happen for seniors!

Are you committed to moving purposefully each day? Don’t wait until a doctor says you must. Take responsibility now. Think about Ruth and her friends in La Grange. Remember, age is not an excuse to not participate!

Is this a good excuse?

My dog died and I used to walk him twice a day as my exercise.

We went on vacation.

I had family  visiting from out of town.

I WAS family visiting from out of town.

We have been having a family crisis all summer.

I don’t have time.

It’s been too hot/wet/humid.

I eat more when I exercise.

I don’t like to exercise. (Ah, here is a thought to consider.)

I have been taught that when you need an excuse, anything will do! I know from my own repertoire of excuses that this has been true for me many times.

In contrast, here are some thoughts from a good friend, Pam Popper, ND, (Wellnes Forum, Columbus, OH) about exercise and the excuses that are offered as to why clients don’t. Dr. Popper was offering comments from a speaker on a talk show she had heard.

“Liking exercise is great if you do, but the reality is you have to do it whether you like it or not. People have to do things all the time they do not like in order to be successful, and exercise is one of them. He really landed on people who insist they don’t have the time. Exercising one hour per day, if you do it every single day, represents less than 4% of your time. Exercising 5 days per week for an hour represents only 4.5% of your waking hours, assuming you sleep 8 hours per night. There is absolutely no reason you cannot commit 4-4.5% of your time to engage in an activity that can save your life.

He further stated that if someone offered you the opportunity to make an extra $300,000 per year if you spent one hour per day without fail on a particular endeavor, would your response be “I don’t have the time…or… I don’t like that particular activity?” Of course not! You wouldn’t make excuses because the stakes would be too high.

So, there are no valid excuses. Just say you’re not going to exercise if you’re not, but stop telling yourself and others that you are busy, don’t like it, or had to take time away for travel, houseguests or other distractions. Successful people, including people who maintain optimal health, find the time to do things that are important, and discipline themselves to do the right things daily.”

I agree. What are your thoughts?

It’s already May? Time for a change?

As I was walking at the gym yesterday, Brian remarked that he was seeing new faces.

I thought about the date, May 18 and its possible implications:

Five months past 2009 New Year’s resolutions-time to re-start.

Five months into an up and down exercise cycle- must be an ‘up’ time.

Spring fever has hit for those of us living where it has been cold, which means we WILL be outdoors more often. That particular morning, however, brought freeze warnings!

Summer activities are coming soon- including swimming and pool activities, picnics. Certainly I can fit into last summer’s shorts and suit! Maybe not.

Summer family get-togethers and reunions- haven’t seen the relatives recently. I know I should look better than I do!

(Add your own observations!)

Regardless of where you are with your exercise/fat loss/weight management plan, it’s good to take time- perhaps now would be a good time- to evaluate its effectiveness. Here are a few quick questions to ask yourself:

Have you experienced gradual weight loss of 1-2#/week?

Have you had measurable inches loss?

Do your clothes fit better? Are you in a smaller size?

Do you have more energy?

Are you sleeping better?


Has anyone asked: You look great! Are you losing weight? What are you doing?

If your answer is no to any or all of these markers of success, and especially the last one, you need to change SOMETHING!

A well-known definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing, expecting different results!

The application to weight management and fat loss seems obvious. You are the one responsible for your results. If there are no results, or minimal results, choose to do something different!

If you need an accountability partner, ask someone to be there for you.

If you need a coach, find one. Email me for a recommendation.

If you need a trainer, find one.

Don’t go at this alone. Studies indicate that better results occur when you surround yourself with like-minded committed people. (Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology)

A short article I discovered on the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute website, may provide some helpful tips for getting back on track with exercise:

1. Look at all the options available to you.

2.  Find out what’s offered in your area.

3. Pick an activity that fits your budget and your schedule.

4. Choose an appropriate level.

Click here for the full article: 

Where are you in your plan?

Tomorrow look for some basic principles I recommend about food choices.

Being Honest

Have you gotten used to using a GPS to get you quickly to a new destination? I certainly have!

Regardless of the features your GPS has, one of the requirements in getting accurate directions is having an accurate starting point, wouldn’t you agree?

As basic as it sounds, one of the necessary components of a weight management/fatloss program is to have an honest picture of where you are as you start. To me, determining your starting point is a good reason

to look at yourself carefully in the mirror…

to take accurate measurements…

to keep a food journal for a week before you make any drastic changes…

to wear a pedometer (counts all of your steps).

Yesterday, we were vendors at a local bridal show. We had a full-length mirror at our booth. We posted this on the mirror:

The Photo Shoot of Your Life. Be Ready.

Wedding photos are a permanent memory,  not only for the bride and groom, but for the entire family. You will look at them again and again. If you are the bride/groom, bride or groom’s parents, or a member of the bridal party, you may eventually display a photo on your wall where not only you, but every guest in your home, will be able to see what you looked like on that wedding day. 

Make a conscious decision to look your very best. 

Perhaps some of the most difficult conversations yesterday were those we didn’t have. Young ladies who didn’t stop by to talk with us…those who avoided looking in the mirror. 

Throughout the show, I also talked with several wedding coordinators. One of them told of a client she had who didn’t want to order her dress in a timely way because she wanted to lose some weight first. This decision was frustrating to the wedding coordinator because she had seen this happen before: the girls just don’t lose the weight or inches on their own the way they think they will. Delaying the dress order can simply compound the stress for everyone.

To accurately get directions to a new destination, you have to accurately assess your starting point. I encourage you to take the time to do that. If you need some assistance in your assessment, or you need some assistance in charting a path to the new you, get in touch with me. 

Here’s a suggestion for an honest assessment. Today is March 9. In a short few months, it will be swimsuit season. Slip into last year’s suit. How do you look in the mirror? Be honest.

Re-read my first post. I’d be glad to coach you to achieving your goals.

What do you think?