Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are You Willing To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Just another great article to share with you that follows the theme of my blog. This one is the crux for many of my followers here. Reminds me of a woman I was seeing as a weight loss client when I was a hypnotherapist. She said she was going to the gym and really upset that she wasn't seeing results. I asked her if she was breaking a sweat and, of course, sheepishly she admitted 'no.'

Increase Training Enthusiasm - Get Out of Your Fitness Comfort Zone

I am going to assume that because you are reading this article that you really care about looking and feeling better. I am also going to assume that you want to learn something new because your daily 5- minute walk around the block with the dog is not enough of a justification for your daily physical exercise. You might also be saying to yourself, "I am so glad I did those extra 20 minutes of running today, that I am going to treat myself to an extra slice of cake or some ice cream after dinner." And, one last time, making an ass out of you and me, I will assume that you have reached the inevitable plateau, or Comfort Zone, in your training regime and that you NEED TO GET THE HELL OUT- but you don't know how.

If you are stuck in this Comfort Zone, which I refer to as the "C-Zone," keep reading. If you are not in a C-Zone, put this article down and then come back and read it in about 3 weeks. You will soon be there. Either way, sit back, but don't relax. I am here to help you get yourself uncomfortable.

First, think about your current fitness goals. One of the worst things that I can experience while training a client is to ask them what his or her goal is for the day and for the answer to be "I Don't Know." If you don't have a goal for the day, go home. You are not only wasting your time, but my time. You might as well be praying to the workout fairy to come sprinkle some fat-loss dust on you, as you are training without purpose and focus. You need to seriously contemplate where you want your level of fitness to be and what you want to look like and then write down the action steps you are already doing to get yourself closer to these goals. I say "seriously" because we tend to overestimate the amount of activity we do, or the amount of healthy food we eat, and- guess what- we underestimate our down-time. Bottom-line, think in terms of specific goals when you write these action steps down in front of you. Maybe your goals are to lose 20 LBS before your cruise, or gain 10 LBS of Lean Body Mass before summertime. Or, maybe you just want to eat a whole hell of a lot better because you have been over-indulging during your monthly business trips and have been slacking on getting into the gym for your normal workouts. What are your action steps that you are doing to get to these goals- it is time to get serious.

Grab a piece of paper and write these action steps down in a list form. Once you are done, draw a box around them and then on top of the box, write the word C-Zone in big fat letters. These action steps have caused this comfort that has put your body in a state of adaptation. Plain and simple, you have stalled any progress by being boring and too easy on yourself. It's time to step it up and only you know how hard you can push yourself.

Second, draw about 5 arrows from that box of current action steps in any direction (preferably, as far away from the C-Zone as possible) and then a line extended on each line, write a new action step to take each of those current steps to a new level. We will call these your C-Zone Breakers. For instance, if one of your current action steps is that you have cut out desserts except for 2 days out of the week, then your C-Zone Breaker would be to cut out desserts completely. Each C-Zone Breaker represents a new threshold for which you should reach- a new level of self-discipline, a new level of pain tolerance and sacrifice. This is a gut check moment and a true test just to see how much you really want this escape from the C-Zone- no pain, no gain. Ask yourself, how badly do you want it? And, are you up for the challenge? I have made a diagram of my personal C-Zone and C-Zone Breakers to give you an example of what this looks like (see below). My fitness goals are to gain about 3 LBS of Lean Body Mass, while losing about 5 LBS of Fat Mass. In order to reach these goals, I am currently doing some action steps that I know will take me at least half-way toward my goals. However, I understand that I my body will adapt, enter the C-Zone, and therefore I will need to "change it up" in the future with some hard core C-Zone Breakers. Here is Erika's plan of attack:

increase training enthusiasm

Now, you do the same thing. Take a look at your C-Zone and the C-Zone Breakers you have just laid before you on your goal sheet. For instance, one of your current steps that you have parked your ass in the C-Zone is (quoting you): "I go to the gym at 6 P.M. each day, 3 times a week, to workout." However, you had a gut check moment and, honestly, you end up getting to the gym by 6:30 P.M. on average because work went late and traffic was shitty and you only end up getting in 80% of your workout because you want to rush to get home to eat and relax. You're distracted and rushed in your workout and have seen no results in the last five months. Your C-Zone Breaker is "I need to get up at 5:00 A.M. to get in a better workout," as you know you can get in your full hour, and potentially 10 minutes of high-intensity fat burn cardio at the end. It will be painful because you might have to go to bed a bit earlier each night and get up early enough to get in your pre-workout shake, but damn it, you will get better results. Whenever I hesitate to wake up in the morning for a workout, or fail to motivate myself to get to the gym, I always psyche myself up by saying to myself "Somebody, somewhere, is working harder than me right now. So, stop whining, suck it up and get working." Ask yourself- are these C-Zone Breakers really that hard to grab on to? The challenge lies before you- the choice is yours.

Change is not easy. It is hard. Really hard. It takes sacrifice, dedication, and most of all, a tolerance for pain. Everyone reaches that plateau in their training or eating habits because our bodies are a hell of a lot smarter than we are and they adapt. Think about most things in your life right now- your job, your family, money, friends- and you are probably in your C-Zone. When is the last time you have tried a new food? Ran at least 30 seconds/mile faster? Lifted 10% heavier? 20% heavier? Have you even been keeping track of progress, or have you fallen into the comfort trap of not tracking your achievements as well? Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France who has an idea or two about getting out of the C-Zone, said, "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." Don't make excuses, set your pride aside, endure the pain needed to push you that extra inch or two harder, and get ready to do it all over again in about two months- your payoffs are going to be priceless in the long run, and you will thank yourself for it. Big Time.

I am a firm believer that anything is possible- for as cliché as that sounds, it is pretty damn true. That said, these C-Zone Breakers you have listed are goals that you are going to eventually reach and, once again, you will find yourself in a new C-Zone. These C-Zone Breakers are going to take the place of what is now in your square of comfort. Get ready for it and prepare for this adaptation. We will never out-smart our bodies, but we can sure as hell try.

Note the 5-Step Plateau Cycle.

  1. We lose weight.
  2. We reach the C-Zone.
  3. We gain a bit back.
  4. We hit our C-Zone Breaker and lose again.
  5. Repeat Cycle.

Stay on top of this cycle and recognize that reaching your plateau is inevitable- the most challenging part is getting past step #3. But, with a bit of discomfort (everyone loves some pain anyway) and competitive spirit, you can push through and you will see results. You will see results. YOU WILL SEE RESULTS. But, I will warn you. Comfort will soon follow these results, so get ready to push yourself out of the Zone again and Break It with some pain and, as a result, you will gain a shit load of respect from your peers as you are the one that is constantly getting more fit, getting stronger, getting leaner and, most importantly, having the most fun changing up their workouts and training with purpose.

So, look back at your C-Zone and C-Zone Breakers you have laid before you. Think how long you have been in your Zone and know that you should plan to be in this zone for ONLY 1 month-2 months at a time. If you are doing the same thing for a period that lasts any longer than that, whether it be in your diet, workouts, life- you have reached a state of complacency and you need to get the hell out- as quickly as possible. Take a personal inventory of your progress and figure out how to break past your C-Zone. Make some positive changes in your workouts and nutrition and, while you are at it, if your results are not positively correlated with the degree to which you are "changing it up," get a bit bolder with your C-Zone Breakers and embrace the temporary pain for a lifetime cycle of results. Now, shut up and lift.

By Erika Lilley

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Key to Happiness: Stop Being Right

This article was just to potent NOT to share with you. Personally, I'd be a lot happier driver if I remember this article. And what the heck, it only takes a second to change your mind. So, I think I will become a happier driver!


A Simple but Startling Secret to Being Happier: Stop Being Right

by Brian Vaszily, Founder of &
Creator of The 9 Intense Experiences

Which would you rather be, right or happy?

Far more often than most people realize – to their great detriment – it really is an either/or proposition. Do you typically choose being right or being happy? Which of these values do your actions typically show that you hold higher?

Most people, without even being aware of it, choose being right at the expense of their happiness. And by the end of this piece you may be surprised to see how much you do, too.

People fight, stress themselves out, make themselves and those around them miserable with their ego’s need to be right. It cuts life short and destroys relationships, businesses, and nations.

Nothing is more deadly to happiness than the pursuit of being seen as right. For personal proof of this, consider the people you know who are most insistent on their politics, their patterns, their viewpoint, their way… they tend to judge the most, insult the most, complain the most, and suffer the most. They reek of misery. This is often also reflected in their physical health.

Yet most people aren’t even aware that the choice between these two values – being right or being happy – is present in most of life’s key situations. And being unconscious of it, as usual their egos instead make the choice for them. And being the ego doing the choosing, as usual the choice is shortsighted, fear-based, defensive and unhealthy to the Self’s greater good.

Further, the more intimate the situation – the closer to home -- the less likely most people are to recognize and remember the choice between these two values of being right or being happy. And the more damage making the wrong choice does.

The need to be seen as right is enemy #1 to love and marriage. A parent’s need to be seen as right severs ties to their children like nothing else can.

So Which Value Do You Really Hold Higher?

To “be” right implies a need for others to recognize you as such … to be proven right, seen as right. Again, it emanates from the ego and is vastly different than doing right, which has no need for external recognition. Doing right has no need for others to know you are right.

So to what extent would you choose not being seen as right if you could be happier for it?

Could you choose not to prove your point if you were all the happier for not doing so?

Of course there are many situations where differences need to be sorted out, and where your particular and opposing viewpoint may in fact make an important impact on a given situation. There are many situations where in fact others see black where you see white, and by helping them to see white you achieve some important benefit like saving money or preventing accidents or the like.

Dealing with disagreements is standard fare in life.

Dealing with them harshly – that is, with the ego, as if every opposing viewpoint is a personal insult to your rightness – does not have to be. There is a world of difference between contributing to the greater good (between a couple, in a family, a business, a nation, etc.) versus needing to be seen as right.

And all that said, in MOST situations where people claw, struggle and crack away at their happiness to be proven right, it means little to nothing to less than nothing anyway.

Is it really right if you ARE right about putting the toilet seat up or down but it ruins your morning, and chips away at the health of your relationship, to prove it?

Is it really right if you ARE right about religion, the economy, and your politics but you end up angry and despising large segments of the population to prove it?

An Intense, Transformative Experience for You to Try

The next time you KNOW you are right about something with a spouse, significant other or anyone close to you whose viewpoint opposes yours, consciously back off the need to BE right.

Even as that “I’m right about this!” feeling wells up inside your chest, catch it and stop yourself from reacting this time.

Instead, consider if there is truly a reason to even pursue the issue at all: will resolving the difference really lead to an important benefit, such as preventing accidents, improving health, making or saving money or the like? If so, consciously remind yourself to proceed softly and kindly this time … remind yourself (and tell the other person!) that you are pursuing this discussion gently to achieve the desired benefit, not to have to be seen as right.

Chances are, though, that like most such situations, your need to be right is mostly an ego thing. The potential benefits of the other person seeing you as right don’t equal the stress, the erosion of peace and happiness, that can occur to demonstrate you are right.

In which case, just back off your ego’s desire to prove you are right at all. This time. Let it go with your spouse, significant other or whoever you are in disagreement with.

Let them believe they are right.

And watch and evaluate your own reactions to letting them believe they are right.

Most people are astonished at how difficult this actually is for them. Through this experience most people are startled at the chokehold their ego actually has on them. Even though knowing that you having to be seen as right can harm the peace and happiness, letting someone (especially someone close to you) believe they are right to avoid the harm is a mighty hard thing to do.

“But they’re going to THINK they are right!” your ego may shout. “They’re ALWAYS going to think they’re right!” you may hear your ego insisting.

Recognizing your ego’s chokehold on your happiness in this manner is the first step in removing that chokehold.

After this first time of letting go of the need to be right -- even and especially if it means your opposition will think they’re right – watch what happens. Likely, here is what will happen: your world won’t collapse. Things won’t fall to pieces because you didn’t demonstrate you were right.

Likely, here is what will also happen: there will be no arguments. No clashes between your ego and someone else’s. Nothing cracking away at your greater peace and happiness.

So then, if you want to move toward being happier, try the experience again when the opportunity arises. Consciously back off the need to be right again. Watch how your ego responds this time, so you know where you need to work on being in control of it versus it being in control of you.

And watch how your world doesn’t cave in even if you aren’t seen as being right … how quite the contrary occurs, in fact.

Approaching it like this – consciously backing off the need to be right one situation at a time, versus trying to commit to doing it for good – makes your success and happiness much more likely.

Another thing that tends to happen is that, over time, those close to you see and feel the example you are living and they end up following suite. Though not necessarily at the pace you might prefer, but they end up backing off the need to be right, too, making life all the more pleasant.

Our greatest right of all is our gift, our blessing, our ability to pursue our happiness. But most people are their own biggest barriers in that pursuit. Is your need to be right preventing you from achieving this greatest right?

Which would you rather be, right or happy?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thinking is Thin-King

If you have been following along, you know that I enjoy sharing other folks' articles that have the same mission I do. And here's one that follows suit:

Thinking is Thin-King

By Donna Krech

Let me warn you now. Reading this article could result in the reversal of obesity in our world! Are you ready to be part of that solution?

Wow!!!! Did you get that title? Maybe you need to go back and read it again, eh? Wait. Let's do this the way it needs to be done. Grab a pencil or pen. Write the word "thinking" on a piece of paper. Now say the word out loud... thinking. Again please... thinking. One more time if you would. It will help bring about a fantastic result for your life... thinking. Now draw a thick diagonal line between the first 'n' and the 'k'. Please read the two words you've just unveiled inside of the word thinking. THIN KING!!! Thinking is thin king!! You've uncovered the secret to being thin. As a matter of fact, you've uncovered the KING of the secret to being thin and it's been living inside the word for centuries!!!

All these years we've been counting calories, carbs and fat grams. We've been tossing back diet pills, eating pre-packaged meals, and listening to the newest diet guru or fitness expert. The trouble with these solutions is that virtually every new program that comes along or every guru that talks out there is preaching what to do with food, how to prepare food, or very simply, what food to eat! The fitness experts are screaming (sometimes quite literally) at us to push ourselves, push ourselves more, more, MORE!! "Calories in, calories out," they bellow. "You just need to burn off whatever you put in!" The trouble here is that someone with weight to lose most often puts exercise near the bottom of the list of things they desire to do. In all honesty, until we fall in love with the benefits of fitness, most people WITHOUT weight to lose feel the same way.

As a veteran in the business of weight loss and fitness since 1982, I find all of this food and fitness focus ridiculous! I don't even like to tell people I'm in the weight loss industry. I tell them I'm in the weight loss, weight gain, weight loss, weight gain industry because until I put two and two together, there hasn't been a weight loss solution that's permanent.

It seems with every year that passes there are more and more "answers" and less and less results. Well, unless you count obesity climbing as a result, because that's exactly what's happened. The reason is so elementary that once I explain it to you, you may just want go back to all those folks who sold you a diet and ask them, "What on earth were YOU thinking?"

Don't do that though. The fantastic news is that once you're equipped with this information, your life is going to change. Know that once you begin to realize how big a role thinking plays in being thin, you will discover it's actually easy to lose weight and keep it off. You're about to learn that everything you ever needed in order to lose weight permanently was inside you all along. It's not what your friends have told you, things like, "Why don't you just push yourself away from the table?"

Let's look at the three examples we've talked about. One was to focus on a way of eating, or the diet that was going to make you thin. Another was exercise, movement that would burn off calories. The last one was the classic pushing one's self away from the table. Now here comes the fun part!

Imagine you're walking on a swinging bridge, a wooden and rickety swinging bridge. Picture the bridge suspended 10,000 feet above a rocky ravine. One last thought to add to the story. You are terrified of heights. Now, somehow you manage to get yourself to start walking across. In your mind reverberate the words, "Don't look down, don't look down. Whatever you do, DON'T LOOK DOWN!" What do you feel compelled to do? What, to your horror, do you find yourself doing? Yep!! You're looking down!! The VERY thing you DON'T want to do, you're saying to yourself over and over again. Imagine how much better and easier the whole thing would be if your focus was, "Look straight ahead. The other side is so beautiful. Getting there is easy!"

Now let's parallel. It's like saying, "Don't smoke." Don't is a negative approach and smoke is the very thing you don't want to do! The message sent to our mind is clearly what we DON'T want to have happen! When we focus on something like, "My lungs expand fully as health and energy surge through my body 24/7!" Guess what? You got it! You'll begin smoking less and, more importantly, will find it so much easier to quit!

If the route you've chosen to lose weight with focuses on what you eat, you're going to be asked to do the same thing - focus on the foods we are "allowed" to eat, and highlighters or red pens are used on the food diaries we keep to place even more focus - on what? THE FOOD!! So, what's going on in our minds when this occurs? We're processing what we can and can't have. If we can muster up any motivation at all, it's based on NOT wanting to be FAT... or wanting to LOSE the WEIGHT... or staying AWAY from a certain type of food!! Stop the madness!!!

Look again at what's written there! We focus on what NOT to do! It's a double negative. We need a positive-positive in order for success to come in any realm...including the area of our weight. You see, our minds comprehend negative language 50% slower than positive language. So, if nothing other than this was the case, we'd not be succeeding because our brain doesn't know what on earth we're talking about! But there is more to it than that. Rather than repeating in our minds what we DON'T want to see happen or what we need to STAY AWAY from, if we focused on what we WANTED to see occur... the simple truth is that we'd begin to see it. Our minds hear what we want and see what we think about as who we are, so we behave accordingly. Truly, it's this easy.

Think about this with regard to working out. We join a gym or buy the most recent product that tells us we'll drop 7 dress sizes in one month or some crazy nonsense like that. Reflect back, what's going on inside our head at the time? "I do NOT want to be OVERWEIGHT... or I HAVE to exercise so I can LOSE... or I've GOT to MAKE myself do this." Again I say, "GOOD GRIEF!" Do we truly wonder why we haven't been fully successful when we keep telling our minds what we MUST NOT do or keep repeating the words we don't want to come to fruition over and over again.?

So, let's stop the madness here and now! The next time you see one of those ads reading, "She lost 113 pounds... see what she ate." Or, "Her workout only took 20 days... learn it now." Stop and remember that focusing on the food or the workout is NOT going to be your key to success. Focusing on the result you want, however, is. If we focus on the food or the workout, it would be like focusing on what the bridge is made of, or what length it is. While these components are how you get to the other side, focusing on getting there is what causes you to do so. This is true with your thinking and weight management too. Focus on 'why' you want to be thin and the how will be infinitely easier.

Anyone who's made a habit of exercising regularly or eating in a healthy way does so because they know their why, not because they focus on what to eat or how to move. Even those who have built the habit into their life or have the self discipline to do what they need to do for a lifetime possess these traits because their why was in place long ago. Remember, when the why is strong enough the how is easy!! That's it! That's the secret to permanent loss and looking better, feeling better and living longer. I've seen this secret bring about immeasurable success. I'd love to help you find yours. Send me a note at and we'll get moving on this goal together in the life-changing coaching program I'm putting together.

Thin-King teaches us to focus on the positive to acheive success in any realm. If you want help with your focus, our Never Ending Motivation program can make all of the difference. Want to learn more? Visit our Never Ending Motivation web site, and you can learn the secret to building an endless supply of motivation in your life. Click here to learn more...