Strategies to Help You Stick with Your Exercise Routine

8 Ways to Keep Your Intentions for Exercising

The Best Intentions

Have you ever set out with the best of intentions to start exercising regularly?  Maybe you even went as far as buying a gym membership, a piece of exercise equipment, or some new gym clothes.

startDid you start exercising regularly, with the best of intentions to continue exercising regularly, but still “fell off the wagon”?

If you answered yes, to either of those questions you are not alone!

Everyone knows that exercise has many physical and emotional benefits; it can make you stronger while also relieving your stress.  However, despite the well-known benefits of exercise, many people have trouble sticking with a consistent exercise regimen.

As a fitness professional with twenty-six years of experience, I have seen this happen to MANY people.  In fact, I would say that the majority of people struggle to maintain a regular exercise regiment.

Why?

Well, it is difficult to stay on task.   We are all busy, and it is easy to get distracted.

However, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done; even busy people who often lack focus can make regular exercise a habit.   I know this because I interact with MANY people who have a regular exercise routine, and I what has helped them maintain this habit for years and allow it to become a part of their lifestyle.

 

Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

My experience has taught me that there are many ways to make exercise a habit.   However, I suggest trying the following strategy to keep your intentions intact and jumpstart your roadmap to regularity!

  1. Master your Mindset

    Henry Ford famously said “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”  In other words, what you think matters!   So if you believe that you are too busy, too lazy, too tired, etc. to add regular exercise into your life, you will most likely not be able to add regular exercise into your life.  On the other hand, if you believe that you will succeed, it is most likely that you will.  As Buddha said “What you think, you become.  What you feel, you attract.  What you imagine, you create.”

  2.  Set a Goal.

    Setting goals is an important, and often necessary, action.   After all, your intentions matter.

    goalsTherefore, when we set a goal, we are specifically telling the universe what we want to happen.  We are taking the time to define exactly what we want to accomplish; we are setting a clear intention.  We are making it more real.

    With regards to exercise, goal setting can:

      • speeds up your progress.
      • Increases the likelihood of success.
      • Increase your task persistence and make it less likely that you drop out

    If you need help getting started with writing meaningful goals, please read my previous blog posts on goal setting:

  3. Schedule It.

    timeMichael Hyatt says “What gets scheduled, get done.”

    In other words, if you block out time in advance to get something done, you are much more likely to accomplish it.

    Not surprisingly, this concept is especially true for exercise.  Although we all know the many benefits of exercise, many of us still tend to put it on the bottom of the list of priorities.

    However, I challenge you to record how you spend your time for the next week.  I would bet that you are spending some of your time doing things that are simply not a priority.   If this is the case with you, align your time to your priorities.

  4. Create space for it.

    In addition to creating a space on your calendar for exercise, you also need to plan a physical space for your exercise routine.

    Of course, there are many options for your exercise space.  your space could be you favorite local gym or studio.   Or, it could be an area in your house that is conducive to the exercise format that you have chosen.  If you live in an area that is experiencing great weather, you may choose to exercise outside.

    The location that you choose should resonate with you.  You should love it; so that you are more likely to look forward to the time that you will spend exercising there.

  5. Find an accountability partner or workout buddy.

    Most people would agree life is better together.

    Well, this isn’t just true for romantic endeavors; this is also true for exercise!   As explained in this article, research shows that if you exercise with someone else, you are more likely to feel accountable and stick with it!

  6. Hire a trainer/coach…..Monitor progress and give feedback

    While an accountability partner or workout buddy is a great support, sometimes we just don’t have currently have anyone who is appropriate for the role.  In this case, take the plunge to hire a fitness professional like me someone who will hold you accountable for meeting your goals.  Or, if you are on a budget and like technology, you could use an app like Habit List to help you achieve the goals that you set for yourself.

  7. Publicly profess your goal.

    When you tell your goals to others, you are making yourself publicly accountable.   So if you really want to increase the odds of accomplishing your exercise goals, tell others!   You can announce it to your lunch buddies at work, you can announce it at your next family event, or you can post it on your social media page; just choose what group will make you feel the most accountable and, therefore, make you the most likely to continue working towards your exercise goals.

  8. Join a community.

    Margaret Mead said “Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”

    Undoubtedly, joining have been shown to influence behavior.  For this reason, joining an in-person or online support system to help you stick with your exercise routine.  Many different communities exist to support you.  The Facebook group that I oversee for people participating in my 30 Day Free Pilates Mat Challenge for Beginners is an example of an online support community that you could join.Learn Pilates at Home

How do I make time for exercise?

Five suggestions for busy people who want to get fit.

Finding the Time

With 27 years of an experience as a fitness professional, I have had encountered many people who want to exercise consistently.

However, most of the people confess that they are not sure how they  can consistently fit exercise into their already busy schedule.  With jobs, significant others, family responsibilities, hobbies, and life in general, it is hard to find any “free” time to fit one more thing.

But, we all know that many busy people actually do consistently fit exercise into their life.   So how can you do it too?

 

1-Decide that Exercise is a Priority

I am going to be brutally honest, even though you may not like it.  It is unlikely that you will be successful in reaching your goal to consistently exercise if you don’t feel it is a top priority in your life.

That is, if it isn’t extremely important to you, you are unlikely to follow through long-term.  (BTW, I feel like this is true for most facets of our life.  If it isn’t a priority, it is unlikely it will remain habitual; whether it will be spending time with your friends, family members, etc. or saving money for the future.)

In my opinion, the single most important step in establishing a consistent exercise routine is deciding that this is important to you.

So before you buy a treadmill, sign up for a gym membership, buy an exercise DVD on Amazon, or start any other physical aspect of exercise, you must work on the mental component first.  You need to me in the right mental place before you can get in a good physical place.

 

2-Choose Something that you Enjoy.

Choosing something that you enjoy may seem obvious but it is something that is commonly overlooked.

Many people try an exercise that is popular, rather than an exercise that they will truly embrace.

For instance, while I wish that everyone loved taking classes at a fitness studio like mine (Auburn Yoga & Pilates Center), I recognize that our method of exercising is not for everyone.   Some people would prefer something else; dancing, swimming, running, bodybuilding, walking, etc.

It is important to do an exercise that you truly enjoy because, most often, people who stop exercising report that either they didn’t enjoy doing what they were doing for exercise.

While different types of exercise have different benefits, ; some have more cardio benefits, some have more strength training benefits, and some have flexibility benefits.  Of course, some types of exercise have multiple benefits.

But, all forms of exercise can be beneficial.  And although you may not choose the optimal exercise, choosing to do some form of exercise is undoubtedly better than choosing not to exercise.    The key is that you find a form of physical activity that you can embrace, that better suits you personal tastes and/or schedule; this way, you are more likely to stick with it.

 

3-Make the Time

If you are going to maintain a consistent exercise regiment, you will need to make the time for it.   For many of you, this means that you may need to take a critical look at how you spend your time.

If you haven’t ever done an analysis of your time, you definitely should.  Try writing down what you do for two days.   Try selecting a weekend and a weekday so that you can see the differences in a work and non-work day, if there are any.

I did an analysis of my time, and it was definitely revealing.   Personally, I found that I was spending a lot of time on activities that really weren’t a priority for me.

For instance, in my personal situation, my time analysis revealed that I was spending too much time on social media.   Those “quick checkins” were adding up to a half hour or more of time.

For me, social media was not a priority.  It isn’t that I don’t enjoy reading posts from friends and acquaintances;  it is just that I would rather spend time with my kids or working on my business.   Plus I figure that if it is important, someone will tell me.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I never go on Facebook.  During the academic year, I limit myself to no more than 10 minutes a day.  During the summer when I work a slightly less demanding schedule, I am more liberal.

Of course, I am not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t spend your time doing.  How you spend your time is ultimately your decision because your time is just that, YOUR TIME.

But, I am telling you that you should take a critical look at how you spend your time so that you can align your activities with your priorities.

Doing this will inevitably cause you to rank your priorities; and if exercise is really a priority for you, you will find some time.

 

4-Exercise when it Works for You

Over the years, people have asked me when they should exercise.  Should they exercise in the morning?  at night?  during their lunch hour?

I emphatically tell all of them that they should exercise when it makes the most sense for them to exercise.   In other words, if exercising before work is the best time, do it then.  If you have time for a walk during your lunch hour, exercise then.  If you are too exhausted to even think about exercise when you come home from work, don’t plan to exercise at that time.

In other words, exercise when it works for you; you are more likely to stick with it if it works with your life.

But aren’t there some studies that found the optimal time to workout?  Probably.  But, if the time that you exercise doesn’t make sense for you, then you are unlikely to stick with it.

 

5-Exercise how it works for you

How you exercise is just as important as exercising when it works for you.   You have to decide how you prefer to exercise.

That is, maybe you would like to take classes at a studio like mine (Auburn Yoga & Pilates).  After all, having an instructor to plan and guide a safe and effective workout for you takes planning off of your plate.   You simply have to show up and follow along.

Or, maybe you like going for a walk or run with your partner.   If you are both enthusiastic about the exercise, it might be a nice togetherness activity for you.

Maybe you want to join a gym.   If you are someone who likes a variety of equipment, or simply enjoy people watching while you exercise, a gym membership might work for you.  Or, maybe the fact that you are obligated to pay a monthly fee will motivate you to stay consistent.

Or, maybe you want to exercise at home.   If you like exercising alone in your own space, this is a logical choice for you.  However, exercising at home sometimes leaves the planning and equipment to you, unless you want to participate in an online challenge similar to the one that I describe below…

30 Day Pilates Challenge for Beginners

30 day pilates challenge for beginners

I have met so many people that are hesitant to attend a class at a studio or set foot in a gym.  For some reason, they are afraid that they will feel out of place because they are a beginner.

In my opinion, the fear of feeling out of place is unwarranted.   I hope that the staff at any quality facility would do their best to welcome and assist any new client who visit their facility.

However, my many years as a fitness professional have taught me that the fear is real for many people.   For this reason, I am starting my first ever, online challenge for beginners who want to learn pilates.

I chose pilates because I have found that many new clients want to try pilates but don’t know where to start.  They have heard or read that pilates strengthens their core, but they don’t feel that they are strong enough to start.

So, to help conquer fear and hopefully help people to embrace pilates, I am offering a FREE 30 day pilates challenge for beginners.

In the challenge, I introduce you to 30 common pilates mat exercises through 30 short video clips.  I break down how to do the pose, and I give you modifications for beginners.

The goal is get you familiar with the movements.   Watching some of the videos more than once, and practicing them consistently will make you  more confident and stronger.

At the end of the challenge, you can choose how and when to practice pilates mat, providing that you enjoy doing it as much as I do.

If you are interested, sign up at www.doingpilatesathome.com

 

 

 

 

Need and Energy Shift? Try Using Reiki to Change Your Energy

Method for self-healing or the healing of others

What is Reiki?

Reiki (pronounced RAY-key) is a Japanese form of spiritual medicine.  Mikao Usui developed it in the early 20th centuryIt uses hands to transfer energy/healing to someone (or something).

 

Really….Is Reiki a Magic Elixer or Hogwash?

Reiki has existed for more than 100 years.  However, it is still not universally accepted as a healing techniques.

After all, it utilizes energy, which can’t be seen.

For this reason, many people are still skeptical on the effectiveness of this method even though it is widely used and accepted.

In fact, the Catholic Church, through the 2009 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued guidelines that say “a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition.”   Furthermore, the churches’ guidelines say it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions to offer reiki to their patients.   (Please note that the author let out a big sigh and eye roll while writing these two sentences.)

Furthermore, in the past, there was limited scientific research on reiki .   However, recent trials are beginning to show scientific evidence of the benefits.   For instance, reports on benefits from just a few studies include the following conclusions:

My Reiki Journey: How it Began

My children recently went to visit family with their father, and I found myself with the unique opportunity to have some “unscheduled time” while they were away.

Coincidentally, I saw that a somewhat local metaphysical shop that I sometimes visit was holding a Reiki Level 1 Certification class during my “free” weekend.

I had always been interested in learning more about reiki, for personal and professional reasons.   Personally, I had heard so many stores about the wonderful energy and healing shifts that happen for many people who receive a reiki healing;  I hoped that I could learn something that could benefit me, my family, or my friends.  Professionally, I thought that knowledge of it might benefit me as a yoga instructor and wellness/fitness studio owner.

Procrastination Almost Kept Me from Learning

While I was tempted to sign up, I must admit that I procrastinated in signing up.

While I was interested in signing up, I was conflicted about taking the training.    Part of me was saying that the universe was gifting me with the opportunity to take this training, but the other part of me was thinking about all of the projects that I could tackle if I was home alone for a weekend!

The day the training was to start, my inner voice told me that I should take the opportunity to attend the training.  However, when I went to sign up online, I found out that the training was full!

DRAT!   I had waited to0 long to sign-up.  (The lesson here is that, when you feel compelled to do something, you should seize the moment.)

Persistance and Timing

For the first few moments learning the certification was full, I took the news as a sign that the universe didn’t feel that I should participate in this training.

But, then my inner voice returned, and I couldn’t release this feeling that I should keep trying to sign up.

So, I called the store.  They verified that the class was full and stated that I was on the waiting list.  If someone dropped out, they would call me.   (I felt that it was unlikely that someone would drop out at that point because the training was that night.)

Refusing to give up, I emailed the instructor teaching the class to ask if I could possibly be added.    It was my lucky day!  She promptly responded saying that, while it was full, I could join the class if I felt that this was the time that I should take the class.  She believed in divine timing.  I was grateful to the teacher, and I was in!  Thank you universal timing!

So What is the Level 1 Reiki Certification?

Level 1 Certification is anReiki stone introductory course, generally open to anyone who is interested in learning reiki.  In essence, the course introduces participants to this universal life force that channels through all of us.  It also teaches us how and why this energy is effective in healing.    Most often, participants receive an overview of the history of the method, along with knowledge pertaining to specific hand placements for practicing on yourself and others.  The hand positions essentially align to the chakras (energy centers) of the body.

Participants who want to pursue additional trainings can pursue a Level 2 and/or 3 certifications.

To learn more about reiki, visit some of these sites:

What happened at the training?

True to the description, I learned about the history of reiki.  I learned how to perform it on myself.  I also learned how to do a treatment to a supine or seated participant.

Furthermore, I received two reiki attunements.

Attunements

Part of the level 1 training involves reiki attunements.

I must admit, before taking the certification, I did not have any knowledge of these attunements.  I didn’t know what they were or how they were done.

However, on the first night of the training, the instructor explained that learning reiki is different than learEnergy ning many other modalities.  Instead of studying the material and taking a test, as you would when learning other information or techniques, you receive the gift of reiki through the master instructor.

Basically, the process opens the participant’s crown, heart, and palm chakras by creating a special link between the student and the Reiki source.

I must also admit that when I first saw the attunement process, I thought it was a little odd.   The room was dimly lit.  Each trainee took turns sitting in a chair, and the teacher performed a ritual that involved bowing, circling, etc.  the participant.

But, I will admit that it was a powerful experience.   The energy in the room was intense.   I even started to unexpectedly cry at one point.

Attunement Hangover

Reiki.org explains that the Reiki attunement “is a powerful spiritual experience.

My instructor explained that the reiki attunement starts a “21 day cleanse.”  However, this attunement cleanse is much different than the type of cleanse that you may personally know.    The reiki attunement is a cleansing process that “cleans” the energy in your body.   It can impact the physical body and the emotions by enabling the removal of toxins that have been “stuck” in the body.   These toxins can have many forms, including the release of thoughts and feelings that no longer serve you.

In addition, “the attunement can also increase psychic sensitivity. Students often report experiences involving: opening of the third eye, increased intuitive awareness, and other psychic abilities after receiving a Reiki attunement.

I am now about 17 days into my cleanse.   While I can’t admit that I feel like I have released all my toxins, and I am not yet personally seeing auras, or experiencing any other noticeably new psychic gifts, some things did shift after my reiki attunement!

While I initially expected the attunement to yield positive results immediately, I found that my initial results were not positive!

For the first two weeks, I felt overly overly sensitive.   I didn’t have my same energy level.

What was going on? Have I opened up some Pandora’s box that I won’t be able to shut?

Cleaning House

Luckily, a “Google investigations” yielded some comforting answers.   A reiki website said that the effects of an attunement can be compared to those encountered when cleaning a dusty house.  That is, when you first start to clean, the dust can fly around and make you cough and sneeze.   However, after some time, the dust settles, and you have a cleaner house!

So I am confident that, by the end of this process, I will be energetically “unclogged.”   I am hopeful that the flow of energy in me will be improved.   Additionally, I hope that I am able to be an conduit of positive energy for friends and family, if needed.

Stories that Opened my Mind

Personally, after attending the training, I believe that reiki has real benefits.

Not only did I hear stories at the training, I heard stories after the training when I told people that I had attended.

The instructor and participants in the class told stories about medical aliments, from a chronic limp to cancer, that were resolved after reiki treatments.   Students at my studio shared stories about having a reiki treatment lower their blood pressure or relieve chronic pain.

I also learned that many in the medical community are now acknowledging the healing power of reiki.   For instance, the nurses who attended the training received CEUs for it.    (Yoga instructors like me also received continuing education credits for attending.)

Furthermore, I also learned that many area hospitals are using it as part of their treatments after one woman from the training spoke of receiving reiki after waking up from surgery at a Boston area hospital.  (Curious about this, I did my own research.  I found that more than 60 U.S. hospitals use Reiki as part of patient services.  Additionally,  more than 800 hospitals offer reiki education to patients.  Other hospitals, like Boston Childrens’ Hospital, offer reiki education classes to interested parents.

Using Reiki on Animals, Situations, etc.

Before the training, I had no idea that reiki didn’t have to only be used on people.  I also didn’t know that seasoned practitioners can sometimes send it without using their hands. In fact, learned that reiki could be used on a person, animal situation, object, etc!   (I thought that this was SO fascinating!)

For instance, a surgical technician admitted that she sometimes performed it on the surgical instruments before surgery.  She hoped to send positive energy into the tools being used to heal the patient through the practice.

The teacher who led the training, who was a nurse, told us how she sometimes gives it through her eyes when working with patients undergoing stressful situations.

Another woman said that she knew of people who primarily performed it on pets.

Learn More

if you are interested in learning more about this healing method, I would highly recommend enrolling in a reiki level 1 certification.    Or, I would suggest looking for a qualified practitioner who is local to you if you feel like you could benefit from a healing session.

For me personally, the experience reminded me of the importance of listening to the universal voice that speaks to you.   In other words, when it talks to you, be sure to listen. It is almost always helping you to do or know something for your greater good!

If it Doesn’t Serve You, Don’t Tolerate It

Why do we put up with the bull?

Why do we Tolerate that which doesn’t Serve Us?

Why do we put up with bull?

Why do we tolerate problems that don’t have to present in our lives?

 

What We Can and Can’t Control

Unfortunately, there are some things that we can’t control.   Disease, natural disasters, war, etc. are often things that are beyond our control.

But. luckily, we can control many aspects of our life.

For instance, you can control things like your breath, your self-talk, and your attitude.  You can also decide whether or not you communicate your thoughts and feelings.

In addition, we can also control many of the relationships and circumstances that don’t serve us.

God, Grant Me the Serenity

I have the Serenity Prayer prominently displayed in the main hallway of my house.   I believe that it is a good mantra for life.  It reads:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
~Reinhold Niebuhr

 

 

In other words, change what you can, and accept what you can’t.   And, of course, don’t bullshit yourself about the difference between the things that you can and can’t change.

 

Sweat the Small Stuff

flowerSometimes, we are tolerating small annoyances, and we think that they don’t matter.   But THEY DO MATTER.

Maybe it is the leaky faucet that we hear dripping every night as we go to sleep, maybe it is the lukewarm coffee that we get at the drive thru on our way to work.

Either way, even small annoyances can have a BIG impact.

Instead of tolerating the annoyances, do something to eliminate them.  Changing your environment can have a big impact.

For instance…

I went to a Feng Shui workshop years ago and heard a story that has stuck with me for years.  The Feng Shui instructor told the story of a client who had a picture of the Eiffel Tower prominently hanging in her home.   The artwork was very tasteful and fairly expensive.  When the Feng Shui instructor saw it, she thought that it suited the client and her home.

But it turns out, that this picture ended up being a source of disharmony for the client.   Turns out, this picture was purchased years ago, when she was with her ex-partner. The relationship didn’t end the way that the client wanted, and the picture reminded her of the heartache that she experienced at the time.

Well, this picture was prominently displayed in her home.

She went by it SEVERAL times every day.

And EVERY time that she went by it, she was either consciously or unconsciously reminded of the old partner and the unhappy ending.

Clearly, the picture was not serving her for a long time.  But, the picture remained prominently displayed in her house for all that time.

Why did she hold on to it when it wasn’t serving her?

Several reasons:

  • The picture had a monetary value.   Maybe she felt that removing it would be like throwing money away.  Or, maybe she didn’t want to spend the money to replace the picture with another.
  • Replacing the picture takes some time and effort.  If she removed the picture and wanted to fill the space with another picture, she would have to spend time finding a new one that better suited her and the space.
  • She didn’t evaluate the cumulative negative impact of the picture.   While she sometimes recognized that the picture conjured unhappy thoughts, she discounted the impact of experiencing these thoughts frequently, over a long period of time.

After the Feng Shui consultant explained the implications of this repeated toleration, the client removed the picture.  Soon after she found a new picture, she also found a new partner who was more suited for her.

 

The Big Stuff

Big issues like relationships and job situations can be complicated.

And even the best relationships have their less than ideal moments.  That is, sometimes, relationships and jobs present stressful situations that we need to accept and tolerate.   Nothing is perfect, and “if you look for perfection, you will never be content.

However, sometimes, we tolerate relationships and jobs are far from perfect when we shouldn’t put up with them.

For instance, you need to rid your life of situations that are:

  • Constantly draining your energy and repeatedly making you unhappy
  • Consistently making you feel unappreciated
  • Keeping you from showcasing your talents and passions
  • Providing no value for your time investment

 

Why Do We Tolerate it?

Personally, I have had several experiences with tolerating situations that didn’t serve me.

In the past, I have been guilty of staying in “friendships” and romantic partnerships that didn’t serve me.

I have stayed in jobs that haven’t served me.

Why?

Well, there are several reasons..

Sometimes, I felt guilty.   Other people may be hurt by my decision.

Other times, I was trying to give the situation time to work itself out.

Or, I was giving the person an opportunity to act differently after letting them know my feelings.

Other times, I was in denial.  I either consciously or unconsciously failed to see that I was foolishly tolerating the situation that I was in, instead of acting to change it.

Sometimes, I was giving the person or the situation another opportunity.  After all, we know that we sometimes misinterpret the situation at hand or the behavior of others.  I firmly believe that people and situations are multi-faceted; until we have had an opportunity to view all of the sides, it isn’t always worth giving up.

But, in the end, tolerating the situation that really annoyed me, never served me.

 

Have the Courage to Change It

We all know that change is difficult.

Letting go is not easy.   

Sometimes, we are more comfortable staying in our current situation because taking action can be scary.  Taking action means that we will have to be somewhere new, an unknown place that may be the same or worse than we we are now.   BUT, what if we create a better situation?

What if we find a better job?

What if we increase our income?

What if we find a partner who is better suited for us?

What if we are simply happier and more energetic because we aren’t experiencing a time, monetary, or energetic drain anymore?

Let Go

Analyze first, Act second.

I am not suggesting that you write off everyone and everything the moment that it annoys you.

Instead…

When UnsureReflect on the situation or relationship.

Mediate about it.

Discuss it with an unbiased close friend or counselor.

Pray about it.

When appropriate, share your feeling with the person/people who is/are involved.

Then, if you determine that it isn’t for your highest good, stop tolerating it and let it go.

Tell yourself that you deserve better.  Life is too short to tolerate.

Risk and Reward: do you need risk to reap reward?

Sometimes Life is a Four Letter Word

Lessons from Books

I must admit, I am on a string of amazing (in my opinion) books lately.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the last several books that I have read, and I would highly recommend them to anyone who likes (or needs) self-development books..

Each author had their own story and lesson to share in each book.  As a result, each book shares a valuable message.

Steve Harvey

One of my latest books conveying these messages to me is Jump by Steve Harvey.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking.  You are thinking, “Jennifer, you read books by Paulo Coehlo, Wayne Dyer, Gabrielle Bernstein, Marianne Williamson, and….Steve Harvey?”

Yup, I do.

I am a huge Steve Harvey fan.  In fact, I believe that I have read all of his books.

I think he is funny. and I also greatly admire what he has achieved in his life.  In addition, I also admire how he has tried to use the “fruits of his labor” to make a positive impact in the world, through his mentoring programs for young boys.

Certainly, Harvey is a good storyteller. He has a message, and he knows how to effectively convey his message; his messages are “to the point” and he uses his background as a comedian to tell them in a humorous way.

Jumping

In his latest book, Jump, Harvey discusses the importance of having the guts and determination to take jumps, or leaps, in life.

He discusses how life presents ALL of us with opportunities to pursue our dreams.  BUT, we have to be aware of them, and we have to have the courage to pursue them.  In other words, we have to have unwavering faith in our natural abilities and gut instincts and JUMP towards our goals and dreams.

Otherwise, we risk missing out on the life that we truly want.

After all, as the old saying goes, “we only regret the risks that we didn’t take.”

Risk

Barry Farber famously said that “Without risk, there is no reward.”

But risk, by definition, is risky.

Taking action can be HARD!  As a result, most of us avoid it whenever possible.   We avoid leaving our comfort zone.

Sometimes, the self talk gets the best of us.  We convince ourselves that if we don’t jump, we won’t risk getting bruised.   We won’t fall, so we won’t break.  We will stay whole.

But, staying whole doesn’t mean that we will be complete.

Failing to pursue our dreams will most likely result in less fulfilling life, whether that means that we never get the dream job that we want, or whether it means that the wildly romantic partnership we wish for will never materialize.

Telling the Universe What We Want

As Harvey stated in the book, it i
s hard, or even impossible, to achieve “gifts” from the universe when you don’t tell the universe what you want.  If we want the universe to help you to achieve your desires, we must tell the universe what we want.      After all, how likely is it that you get the present that you really wanted for Christmas if you never let any of your friends or relatives know that is what you really wanted?

For this reason, we must be definitive and clear in our intentions to the universe so that it can support us in the pursuit of our dreams.

Universe Meme

If you need help setting clear goals, please read these past blog posts:

 The Universe is not a Magic Lamp

We also need to remember that the universe will not generally simply give us everything that we desire.  It is not a genie, waiting in a bottle to deliver the wishes that we create.

We can’t set our intentions and simply sit back and wait, thinking that the universe will simply deliver it to us.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the way that it works.

Instead, to accomplish our desires, we must follow these three steps:

  1. Clearly tell the universe what we want
  2. Show the universe that we are putting in the work to achieve our goals
  3. Be willing to trust in yourself and take a risk

The Universe WILL Test You

Know that it is likely that they universe will provide you with the support that you need to achieve your goals.   But, that doesn’t mean that it necessarily be an easy road.

Life will test you along the way.

It will see how badly you want it.

It might knock you down and see if you want it so badly that you get back up.

There are No Guarantees

I would love to tell you that, if you take action towards the pursuit of your dreams, you are guaranteed success.  However, the harsh reality is that, even with hard work and good intentions, jumping towards our dreams does not always produce the intended results.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always turn out like we planned.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts and well laid plans, we experience twists and turns in the road, or even a road that appears to be a dead end.  We will likely all experience turbulent times, whether it be a relationship crisis, health crisis, job crisis, etc.

Sometimes the path is clear and we can fly or sail directly towards our destination with no obstacles.   Sometimes we have to jump over hurdles, avoid potholes, or even pull ourselves out of a ditch.

In fact, life can sometimes be a struggle.   The life that we want may not be not match our experiences.

As Harvey says in one of my favorite lines from the book, “Sometimes, life is a four letter word.”

However, even if the path to our destination is full of challenges, we are unlikely to achieve what we want if we don’t ever pursue it.

That is, the risk of turbulence doesn’t mean that you should avoid the opportunity to fly.   After all, avoiding flight may cause you to miss a breathtaking view, or you may be unable to reach your destination without boarding the plane.

Don’t Stop Jumping

The decision to jump, or not jump, applies to all aspects of your life.Jump Meme

If you want a promotion, you have to jump.

If you want to earn a degree, you have to jump.

If you want to increase your income, you have to jump.

If you want to experience a different culture, you have to jump.

If you want a wildly romantic and compatible partnership, you have to jump.

Jumping and Relationships

While writing this post, I couldn’t help but see the implications that jumping (or not jumping) has on relationships.

Personally, virtually everyone that I know wants to acquire or maintain a long-term, blissfully happy and widely romantic relationships.

Some of these people have found “the right one” and are experiencing the relationship of their dreams.

However, too many people that I know are unable to find, or keep, the relationship of their dreams.

Giving Up

Of course, now that I am in my forties, I have heard many “war stories” about romance from many friends and acquaintances.   Of course, I also have my own experiences.

Some of these friends are still looking for “the right one.”

Others gave up on finding “the right one” and settled for the “good enough one.”

Still some others have completely given up on finding “the right one.”

Decide What is Important to You

Of course, a wildly happy and romantic relationship is not a priority for everyone.  Everyone is different, and everyone has somewhat unique priorities.

If a relationship is not a priority for you, then you should definitely not expend time or energy to acquire one.  Instead, focus your efforts on something that is really a priority in your life.

But, if you gave up on something that was important to you, then you should consider reevaluating.

Heartbreak and Hard Work

By the time that you a certain age in adulthood, many have been knocked around a bit.  Most of us have had our heart broken.    Some of us immediately think of a failed romantic relationship when we think that “life is sometimes a four letter word.”

The negative experiences sometimes cause people to give up on their dreams, whether it is finding the perfect mate, the perfect job, or the perfect housing.

Sometimes people convince themselves that finding a good relationship is too much work.  I have heard multiple say that “dating is too much work” and “takes too much time.”

Others decide that maintaining a relationship is too much work; staying in a relationship is not worth the compromises that have to be made, so they end their relationship.

Still others are simply afraid to pursue a good relationship because they feel that a good relationship won’t work or happen for them.

Of course, entering a relationship can be a risk.  When you are “all in” a relationship, you can become vulnerable.

You have to open your heart, and sometimes your home and wallet, to someone else.

You are forced to expose your real self to someone else.

You have to learn the art of compromise.

You might make a mistake.

You might get hurt.

But, as the old saying goes, “nothing worth having comes easy.”  So you probably won’t find your ideal made if you sit on your sofa alone every Saturday night.

Therefore, if finding a relationship is a priority, you need to take a calculated risk and JUMP into the pursuit of your dream.

My Thoughts

I could be wrong but, I wholeheartedly believe that we owe it to ourselves to try to create the happiest life that we can.  Undoubtedly, we all acknowledge that life is short; and it is most assuredly too short to life an unfulfilled life.

I also believe that we are all here to fulfill our SOUL purpose.  I have heard experts like Gabby Bernstein say that we have to learn lessons; I have heard others like Neale Donald Walsh say that we have to “remember” who we are.  (As a side note, I also found the Conversations with God books interesting.  While I understand some people’s hesitancy to take Walsh’s material as “gospel,” I considered the books an intriguing opinion on God and why we were are here.)

Granted, life is not a fairy tale.  Even with hard work and good intentions, you will not immediately cultivate everything that you want to achieve.  BUT, if you are unfulfilled in some aspect of your life, try to change it.  Don’t just jump, leap with wild abandon towards the life that you want.   You may stumble or fall but, eventually, the universe will support you and help you to achieve your dreams.

And as it always does, the universe always sends us exactly what I needed to hear as Harvey’s message was exactly what I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear it.  (Remember the universe sends us ALL signs.   We just need to stay “tuned in” to the signs and listen carefully.  For instance, maybe you have read this post all the way to the end because there is a message that you needed to hear contained in it?  ;-))

We Can Only Control Our Own Actions

Obstacles

Sometimes, we meet an obstacle (or several obstacles) on our way to achieving our goals.

Sometimes, we cause the obstacles.

We think that we aren’t worthy of achieving our goal, so we self-sabotage our efforts.  For instance, why do I deserve such a high bonus?

Sometimes, we create an obstacle because we are fearful of the changes associated with meeting our goal.   For instance, how will others perceive me if I weigh less?

Sometimes, we get fatigued, and create a problem so that we have an excuse to give up.   For instance, if work gets busy, how many of us will give up on taking the time to pursue the relationship that we have always dreamed of having?

 

When Others Create Obstacles for Us

Other times, we aren’t the ones creating the roadblocks on the road to our goals;  instead, other people are creating difficulties for us.

when-you-face-an-obstacle-created-by-someone-else-you-have-to-constantly-remind-yourself-that-you-can-only-change-youSome of these people are intentionally creating obstacles for us; they are purposely and transparently sabotaging our path to achieving our goals because they don’t want us to be successful.  They don’t want us to make more money, be thinner, or be happier.    They intentionally try to try to knock us down.

Most often, these people are trying to derail your goals because they are afraid that your new goals will cause you to move further away from them.

Other times, people cause unintentional damage to your efforts; they really don’t mean to impede your efforts, they simply don’t understand your situation.   Or, maybe they just don’t understand you.     Sometimes, they aren’t even aware that they are causing harm.   (In fact, sometimes the people who derail you are the same people who feel that they are helping you.

Regardless of how it happen; it does happen, and it is real.

For instance:

  • Is your spouse discouraging you from pursuing another career, telling you that more job responsibilities will cause you unnecessary stress?
  • Are your friends telling you that you shouldn’t leave an unhappy relationship, because you won’t be able to manage on your own?
  • Are your co-workers trying to dissuade you from returning to school, saying that it will take too long, cost too much money, or be too difficult?
  • Is your partner telling you that you don’t need to pay down your bills, because a “little bit of debt” can’t be that problematic?

Others have an Impact

Unfortunately, the words and actions of others can often impact many of us.

Furthermore, if you are like me, other people’s negative words and actions sometimes have a damaging impact on you.

Sometimes, the influence of others is so strong for some people in certain situations, that they cause us to change our path.  As a result, we may be settling for less than we want or deserve.

if-they-dont-want-to-change-your-best-option-is-to-let-them-be

We Deserve a Great Life

We all deserve to have a great life.

Personally, I believe that we are not in this world to be miserable.  While there are unhappy events that happen in all our lives, we should all do our best to create the best life that we can.

In other words, we don’t have to be passive bystanders in our own life.  We can work to create the life that we want and deserve.

Granted, there are some things beyond our control.   We can’t plan and control everything.

For instance, we can’t control the thoughts and actions of others.

We can only control our own thoughts and actions.

We Can’t Change Others

I am sure that most of us have hoped and/or tried to change other people.   (For instance, think back to that high school/college flame that you tried to change.)

However, the reality is that we can’t control what other people say or do.

We can’t make our friends understand that we are not fulfilled in our current job.

We can’t make our partner realize that the “little bit of debt” is causing a lot of daily angst.

We can’t make our family members realize that our current situation is causing us to become less energetic and “alive” each day.

We can’t make our last partner realize that he/she just let go of the best mate they could have ever dreamed of having in their lives.

In other words, we can’t control the thoughts and actions of others.

But, we do have control of something;  we can control our own actions.

 

Things to Remember

When you face an obstacle created by someone else, you have to constantly remind yourself that you can only change you.

So don’t waste your time or energy trying to change someone else.   If they don’t want to change, your best option is to let them be.

we-should-never-settle-for-less-than-we-want-or-deserveUnfortunately, this advice is not always easy.

It is often difficult to keep the actions and comments of others from “renting unnecessary” space in your head.  

Therefore,  you sometimes have to stay out of the “energy” of these people and remember the following thoughts.

  1. You are capable of creating the life that you desire.
  2. You are worthy of of creating the life that you dream about.
  3. You do not have to react to the words or actions of others.  Those words and actions are owned by them, not you.
  4. Your potential is amazing.
  5. Your thoughts and feelings have value.
  6. We should NEVER settle for less than we want or deserve.

 

 

 

Should you struggle to make it work when it isn’t working?

struggle-1271657_1280The Struggle is Real

Achieving your goals isn’t easy; in fact, sometimes it is an absolute struggle.  Often, people set goals that they fail to meet.

There are many reasons why people struggle to achieve their goals.   Sometimes,  people don’t know how to create and follow a step-by-step plan for to attain their goals.   Other times, they don’t know how to deal with stuff that may get in the way.  Or, they sometimes simply give up too easily.

Let’s face it, it is easy to hit roadblocks on the journey to achieving your goals.

Is the Universe Testing Me?

I feel like, sometimes, the universe tests us.   (In all honesty, I personally feel like it is testing me a lot lately.)

It presents obstacles to see if we really want to achieve the goal that we said that we wanted so badly.

Sometimes, the obstacle brings out our “stubborn side.”  It causes us to dig deeper and determine that we want it so badly that we won’t give up.  We persevere.  We stay the course, and we fight, whether it be for the promotion that we want, the relationship that we want, or the last ten pounds that we want to lose.  In these situations, we know that, not only will we fight, we will win.

Other times, the obstacle helps us to reflect and change our strategy towards meeting our goal.   Desire to attain the goal stays the same, but the reflection that occurs thanks to the struggle helps us to see our situation through a fresh lens that affirms the direction that we need to go in order to meet our goals.   We learn that there are often many paths to the same destination, and that each of us as individuals can pursue whatever path is most effective for them.

However, other times, we encounter an obstacle, struggle, and give up.

Why do We Give up?

There are many reasons that people give up on achieving their goals.

Sometimes, the obstacles that the universe presents show us that we really didn’t want to achieve our goal as badly as we thought that we did.   We give up simply because it we learn that it wasn’t really that important to us.Is the universe testing me?

Sometimes, we realize that the goal that we set was flawed, and that we should have been more thoughtful before initially setting the goal.    That is, we realize that the promotion we thought that we wanted involves too many hours away from our family, or the man who we thought was perfect for us wasn’t as wonderful as we first thought, etc.

Sometimes, we give up on the goal because it wasn’t our really our goal. We realize that we initially set the goal because someone else thought that it would be great for you to achieve this goal.  For instance, maybe your coworker thought you would be perfect for the promotion but your really didn’t want the new job?  Or, maybe your mother thought that it would be a good idea for you to get married before your next milestone birthday?    Basically, you realize that you are struggling with the goal because the goal wasn’t set from your deepest dreams and aspirations.

 

It’s the Gray Matter Matter Between Our Ears

Other times, we give up because of the gray matter between our ears.   That is, we begin to think that we can’t really achieve what we wanted.   We tell ourselves that it is too hard, or too unlikely, that we will ever achieve our goal.   Achieving the goal may be difficult, or scary, to achieve; so instead of continuing the pursuit of our dream, we lose confidence in our ability to reach the goal, and give up.

Are you Lying to Yourself?

Sometimes, we give up on the goal because we believe the excuses that we tell ourselves.

But we are often lying to ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously.

We tell ourselves things like:

  • We don’t have enough time to write the book that we always wanted to write,
  • We are too old to meet the man of our dreams
  • We aren’t smart enough to go back to school
  • We aren’t qualified enough to pursue the career of our dreams
  • We aren’t attractive enough to date the handsome bachelor that we see at the gym
  • etc.

banner-1188502_1280

Sometimes, we lie for self-preservation.  We tell ourselves lies to make us feel better so we don’t have to face the truth of the situation.   In these cases, the truth hurts so much that we don’t want to face it.  We don’t want to face that we didn’t get the job because  we weren’t qualified, or the relationship didn’t work out like we hoped because the man didn’t like us as much we initially believed that he did.

Instead of facing the truth of the situation, we allow our doubts and fears overtake us;  we convince ourselves that our goal isn’t as important as we initially claimed.

Attaining our goal is not easy; it involves hard work.  Often, getting to our goals also involves something new, which is also scary.  So we are lying to ourselves because it is the easier path, and FACING THE TRUTH IS SOMETIMES SCARY. 

We tell ourselves that we didn’t really want the job, that we didn’t really like the guy, that we didn’t need the promotion, etc..

In other words, we lie to ourselves because it is easier than facing the truth.  We decide that it is easier to make an excuse than it is to admit the truth; we tried, and we didn’t achieve our goal.

BUT, if we are honest with ourselves, we admit that we did really want to achieve the goal and fulfill our dream; we really wanted the guy, the job, the promotion, etc. But, we hit an obstacle and/or got scared, and gave up on achieving our dream.

 

Was it just not meant to be?

It’s often hard to know when you should “keep the faith” and continue the pursuit of your goals.

After all, let’s face it; sometimes, regardless of how well you plan and work on your goals, you will not always get THAT guy, THAT job, THAT promotion.   Sometimes, we have to accept that THAT job, THAT guy, or THAT promotion weren’t really meant for us.

But is completely giving up on your goals the best decision?

No, not when you really want it.

You don’t have to completely give up your goal because of an obstacle.  When you struggle and fall, it is best to get back up, rather than give up.  Most of the time, we tell ourselves excuses in order to avoid pursuing our goals; we often give up to soon.

faith-612461_1280

But instead of giving up, we should reflect on the situation and try to use the obstacle as a lesson along our life path.   We should take the opportunity to ask if the route that we chose is really the only path to achieving your goal.  We need to consider if there maybe is an alternate path that you didn’t consider before that will get you to the same destination.

For instance, most of us aspire to find that special someone, to happily travel along the path of life.  Sometimes, we get so fixated on another person that we feel like they are our only option to achieving the goal.    Instead, we need to consider that they are a learning experience on your way to to person who will help you to meet your goal.

Or, maybe that job opening was your dream job, and you didn’t get it.  But, that doesn’t mean you can find your dream job.  Use the experience as an opportunity to regroup and seek another job that will truly be your dream job.

 

I DARE YOU!

Do you have a goal that you want to achieve, but struggle and need help and support to achieve it?  If you do, I invite you to join my FREE 30 Day Goals Challenge.

In this challenge, you will work with me and many other motivated individuals to achieve one goal.

It begins on September 22nd, which is both the first day of fall and my birthday.

To sign up, simply enter your name and email at this link.  (You can also visit settinggoalsthatgetresults.com/challenge for more information.

I am so excited for this challenge to begin!

We all know that together, we can accomplish more than alone.

 

Say it isn’t so! Mercury is in Retrograde

Off My Normal Course

I haven’t been myself the last few days.   Something just hasn’t been right.  I haven’t been able to focus.  I have been extra sensitive.  It seems as though the little daily annoyances have been more frequent and extra bothersome.   I have been wrought with worry about more than usual.   I haven’t been making incremental progress towards my goals, and I have been “sweating the small stuff.”

I’m just feeling “jumbled.”

I attributed it to the beginning of the school year. I assumed that the change of schedule  for me and my daughters was throwing me off a bit.

Then, when scrolling through Facebook, I saw it.   I literally said “oh no” out loud.  Mercury was in retrograde!

distraught

This is what I looked like when I found out Mercury was in retrograde again.

 

What is Retrograde?

mercury1Mercury retrograde occurs three or four times a year.   It occurs when Mercury “speeds” past Earth and “appears” to be moving backwards, although it really isn’t moving backwards.

As a result of this planetary movement, we can feel the impact of this retrograde period on earth.

 

 

How are we Impacted during Mercury Retrograde?

According to astrological and planetary experts, Mercury rules your intelligence and communication (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-schwimmer/top-10-things-not-to-do-d_b_4133136.html).   As a result, it is possible that tasks involving clear thinking and open communication my be more challenging than normal. In addition, it can also impact negatively transportation, possibly making transportation more troublesome than normal.

As a result, people who are sensitive to Mercury retrograde may find themselves misspeaking, disagreeing, or experiencing equipment failures.   In fact, experts say that, if you are sensitive to Mercury in retrograde, you should avoid making agreements, along with avoiding commencing new commitments or projects.    (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-schwimmer/top-10-things-not-to-do-d_b_4133136.html)

mercury-must-have-been-in-retrograde-im-sorry

Virgos are Sensitive Souls.

I also ALWAYS feel the impact of Mercury retrograde in my life.    In fact, even when I don’t officially know when Mercury is in retrograde, that I ALWAYS sense that something is misaligned.

But why?

Well,I am a Virgo. And, come to find out, Mercury in retrograde often has an exaggerated impact on Virgos UNLESS Mercury was in retrograde when you were born.  (I wasn’t surprised to learn the Mercury was NOT in retrograde when I was born since I feel such an impact on Mercury in retrograde.)

As a Virgo, I naturally analyze and overthink.    I also have difficulty communicating and articulating my emotions.

Therefore, when a Virgo like me experiences “disruptions” in communication and transportation during Mercury Retrograde, we can become obsessively analytical or experience painfully struggles with communication during Mercury retrograde if we don’t carefully pay attention to our actions and reactions.

 

So what should we do?

Some people want to run and hide during Mercury retrograde.

However,  Mercury retrograde happens three to four times per year for approximately three and a half weeks each time.  Therefore, is it really realistic to put everything on hold for almost 25% of the year?

For me, it isn’t.

I have things to accomplish.

I don’t want to put taking conscious actions to achieve my goals on hold for almost a quarter of the year.

So what can be done?

 

What Can You Do When it Feels like the Universe is Literally Against You?

Although Mercury Retrograde is often viewed as an unwelcome disruption, some activities are actually most conducive during Mercury Retrograde.   For instance, the confusion that Mercury Retrograde presents often provides an opportunity to reflect and reorganize.

 woman-1030920_1280

I needed a strong intervention.

With Mercury in retrograde, I realized that I needed to get back on track; I needed something that would help me reorganize and reflect.

I needed something that could reset and reinvigorate me.   I needed to become better aligned.

So I stopped listening to my current book and podcasts and re-downloaded one of my favorite books, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

Operating in Your Zone of Genius

The Big Leap is one of those books that reminds you how important it is to live in alignment. In his book Hendricks, who is an experienced leader in relationship transformation and body-mind therapies, explains that we all have a unique set of talents.   He goes on to explain that when we live in alignment, operating in our zone of genius, we live the most fulfilled and well-aligned life.

On the other hand, Hendricks states that living out of alignment with your unique gifts can cause unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and misalignment in our lives.

When we are out of alignment, Henricks believes that we are operating in our zone of incompetence, our zone of competence, or even our zone of excellence.   In other words, we shouldn’t be focusing our energy on doing things that we are not good at, or only okay at doing.   In fact, we shouldn’t even be focusing our energy on things that we are pretty good at doing; instead, we should be doing things that no one else can do well or as easily as we can.  (Granted, you may not be the ONLY person who is a genius at this specific task or skill.  However, the way that you actually execute your skills and passions for your craft in your zone of genius should be fairly unique.)

Lesson Learned

Hearing the content in Hendricks book again reminded me that alignment generally produces more order and tranquility.  Similarly, misalignment generally produces more chaos and frustration.

I needed to be reminded of the importance of avoiding acting in my zone of incompetence.   Instead, I need to act in my zone of genius.   After all, when you are operating in your zone of genius, the work comes more easily and leaves you more satisfied.  You are also more likely to be able to take action towards achieving the goals that are most important to you.

Most importantly, I need to remember that I need to stay aligned to my zone of genius so that I am focused and aligned.  This way, Mercury moving backwards doesn’t have to continue set me back.   I can use Mercury retrograde as an opportunity to reflect and reaffirm what is most important, while also ensuring that I stay focused on my goals and in my zone of genius.

The Morale

This week reminded me that we all go off our course.  But, in fact, we all have the capability to get ourselves back on track.

We simply need to have a collection of resources that can help us to realign when we feel like we are starting to travel “backwards.”

For me, the favorite resources to get me on track was a favorite book and a great business coach.  Both resources reminded me that I needed to create space and time before trying to get myself back on a forward moving path.   

Inevitably, I will get “out of sorts” again.  We are human and respond to the ebb and flow of life, including the pull of the planets and universe as a whole.

However, rather than letting the current of life carry me down a path that I don’t want to travel on, I will use the resources available to me to reflect and reaffirm my goals until I can get back on track.     I will also remind myself  that God gave us all a unique purpose, and that when we align to that purpose, our God-given genius has the opportunity to shines.

mercury retrograde 2017