Health, motivation, Personal Success

Guilt as Motivation

 

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Photo by Atlas Green

 

I’ve noticed that I have been using guilt to motivate myself to exercise. It didn’t dawn on me until recently that this could be different.

The moment I wake up, I feel a bit of dread and (sub-consciously) give myself permission to feel good only AFTER I work out.  But can I train myself to look forward to working out?

When I spoke about this to friends and family, most responded with, “Of course, that’s the only way it can be when it comes to doing tasks what we don’t enjoy!” However, I suspect it’s not the only way…

Changing my motivation to a more positive approach would also help me with willpower in general. If I positively anticipate training, then I utilize no willpower, which is a limited source. I can then apply willpower to that piece of cake in front of me.

 

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Photo by Taylor Kiser

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

1-2-3

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I was preparing to do a backbend with pushups (yes, it’s just as fun as it sounds!) when I was filled with dread and doubt. But Jillian said, “One, two, three!” and I started bending my arms slowly, until my head touched the ground and then I straightened my arms. I did 15 of those. It was grueling. I hated it. I’m glad it’s over.

There’s something about counting…counting down or counting up, it doesn’t matter. Notice when parents tell their kids to do something and they start counting: “ONE…TWO…!” The kids hup to it before “THREE!” Why? They just know they better get going. It’s a weird motivator.

I love this Ted Talk from Mel Robbins. She says the key to success in anything is to know one thing:”You’re never going to feel like it.” You’re never going to feel excited to do those backbend pushups, you’re not going to feel like jumping out of bed to get to work first (well, probably not…) and you’re not going to feel like eating salad instead of cheesecake.

But in those areas of your life that are working, you are doing the things you don’t necessarily feel like doing. You’re exercising self-discipline. Robbins’ “Five Second Rule” is to take action no longer than five seconds from the moment you have the thought, I should…

I should get out of bed now…

I should go for a run…

I should send that email asking for a favor…

I should clean the fridge…

I should go to bed now…

Try it. The rule is, you have five seconds from the time you have the thought. Or make your own countdown!

 

 

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

Jump, Jive an’ Wail!

J is for Jillian

I have been doing Jillian Michael’s workouts for the past seven years or so.

A friend of mine introduced me to her DVDs and I’ve been hooked ever since. At 48, I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in and it just takes 30 minutes a day. (Do I sound like an infomercial or what?)

In my youth, I exercised to look good. Now, I workout to be strong.

When I feel strong physically, I am stronger mentally and spiritually.

I take care of my health for my loved ones, too. I want to be active for as long as possible and I want to model good living. Yesterday, my 15 year old daughter said, “Mom, when I’m your age, I hope I look like you.”

Body+Revolution+Logo

 

 

*Alphabiography blog series

 

 

Health, Personal Success

At First Blush…

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photo by Evan Kirby

par·a·dox

ˈperəˌdäks/
noun
  1. a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

 

I roll out of bed after two days of rest from exercising. I do not want to work out today! Paradoxically, after such a long respite, I feel more tired than usual. But I don my clothes and shoes and start the physical self-flagellation exertion.

Curiously, I feel so much better afterwards. I actually have more energy after expending it: the fridge gets cleaned out, I chirpily run errands with the family and I feel like I can handle anything.

Not everyone feels this way, I know. But if you’re in a slump, give it a try. I’m recommending a challenging workout, not just a walk around the block. See if it works. (It’s better than over-caffeination, eating sugar or complaining!)

 

Health, Personal Success

Eat Your Words

While pregnant with her, the most astounding thing happened! I would put food in my mouth and chew. She’d kick like mad before I even swallowed. This occurred every time. I was incredulous – what a baby! 

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Providence Doucet

When she was two, she had chocolate cake. She kicked her feet high in delight. The frosting was all over her face and her eyes shone with joy.

At four, she had pizza. How she held it in her tiny, pudgy hands!

She’s had many meals since then. With girlish abandon, she eats what she wants when she wants: warm bread with butter, garlic mashed potatoes, steak, ice cream sundaes and healthy food, too.

She. Loves. Food. She likes high quality food. She can discern whether ingredients are fresh and she doesn’t like gristle on her steak.

She also loves dance class. She loves to learn challenging moves and practice them over and over and get good at it. She’s made such progress! Her body is lithe, supple and strong.

She’s my baby. She’s 15, but she’s my baby and I want her to be happy and healthy. I want her to love eating, dancing, laughing and playing violin all the rest of her days. I want her to enjoy life!

But our culture wants to destroy her. American society wants her mind to be cloudy with insecurity and a bit of self-hatred. Air-brushed models are in magazines,  surgically modified celebrities are on TV, the Internet and film.

Even family members make comments. Grandparents plant seeds of doubt when they caution against weight gain. They compare sisters to each other, silently massacring dreams and self-confidence. They undermine the strong sisterly bond that exists. Well, they try anyway. These girls have each other’s backs, thank goodness.

If she were my son, would you tell him to watch what he eats? Would you scare him and tell him he might get fat if he “puts that” in his mouth? Would you comment on his figure as he stands in front of the fridge?

Please…I implore you…stop it. Stop with the comments and the body shaming. Stop trying to exert control through fear.

Let her enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

 

 

Health, motivation, Personal Success

Habits, Success and Resolutions

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I don’t like to work out, but I’ve been working out regularly for decades. The secret? A reward shortly after working out. It’s usually a bubble bath.

I just bought this:

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According to Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit), the secret to developing a habit is to identify and implement three things:

  1. a cue
  2. a routine
  3. a reward

The cue could be “morning”, the routine could be going to the gym and the reward could be a bubble bath (I don’t advise chocolate cake).

Remember, good habits are invaluable: they help you reach your goals on autopilot. If you don’t have to struggle to do the work because it is a habit, the more likely you’ll stick with it!

What are your cues, routines and rewards?