The Bucket List – Key to Intentional Living

Bucket list

Source: Flickr John Spooner

Do you have a bucket list?

A bucket list is generally known as a list of things you want to do before you die. It’s called a bucket list in reference to the idiom “kicking the bucket” which is used as another way to say to die.

I never had a bucket list until recently. Some people wait until they have a terminal diagnosis before creating their list. Kind of like a Make a Wish for adults. No, I have not been diagnosed with anything horrible. I have been listening to a highly motivating podcast called “Live Your List.” Ryan Eller and Jerrod Murr are the hosts and I’d love for you to check them out. In episode 10 they discuss the bucket list but I recommend you start with episode 1 so you can hear where they are coming from.

The idea of learning to live your list for me is to change the focus of my day to day life. Instead of waiting for “someday” I want to begin to see ways to move towards items on my list. This is a key to living intentionally.

Building your own list

When building a bucket list, Ryan and Jerrod mention starting with some common categories to spur your imagination. Not all bucket list items need to be big or expensive. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to knit so you can make cute little booties for your grandbabies – put it on your list! I’m going to post the categories along with one or two items in each category to inspire you and maybe give you ideas for your own list.

I would love to hear some of your bucket list items in the comments.

Travel – Kenya and visit Living Room International, vacataion in the Caribbean

Adventure – see an elephant in the wild, hold the hand of a Kenyan hospice patient at Living Room International

Education – obtain my Personal Trainer certification, learn Swahili

Family – family reunion, visit family in Kentucky and Ohio

Volunteer – donate my time to teach CPR and/or a diabetes class

Financial – be debt free!

Life Goals – donate high quality foods to the hungry (nuts are a great option – see this post)

Physical – do a pull up (my nemesis exercise),  hike Castle Crags

Lucky – meet a Dodger player

Random – I don’t have anything in this category but it’s kind of a catch all for items you can’t fit into any of the other categories.

Now it’s your turn. Let me hear what you plan to do.

Willpower vs. Building Good Habits

Credit: John.Schultz

Credit: John.Schultz

Good habits = successfully meeting your goals.

Willpower is exhaustible. It wears down throughout the day like a fatigued muscle. Even mental stress wears out our willpower. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with giving in to the munchies by the afternoon and evening. Stop relying on willpower and start working on building habits – then good choices become automatic.

Building habits happen when there is a perceived reward. My reward for accomplishments was always food. I have to work to choose better rewards. Sometimes it’s a tangible reward like new clothes when I lose fat, but more often it’s the intangibles that work for me. I have really learned to enjoy the sense of satisfaction after a workout as well as feeling the new muscles I’m building.

Another way to build healthier habits is to connect them to your values. Sometimes we know the right thing to do but we don’t do it because we don’t believe in the value. One example of how to use this to your benefit is to educate yourself about the food you eat. It gives you additional reasons to make better choices. As you learn more about organic foods, GMOs, unhealthy ingredients and how eating real food can make a difference you will be more likely to form new habits.

Two things that have  produced fantastic results for me is tapping in to the power of accountability and the habit of  breaking goals down into small achievable action plans. In light of that I have put together a 30 day email challenge to help others through the same process. This challenge is appropriate for ANYONE who wants to improve in the area of health, nutrition and fitness.

Join the Craving Fitness 30 day challenge to focus on build good habits in your life.

How to Get Back on Track when the Bowl Breaks

bowl broken Today’s post is about one of my experiences teaching the Healthier Living with Chronic Conditions class. One of the very first things we teach participants in this class is to make action plans. These are small, achievable steps that they commit to accomplish in the next week. These action plans are steps that get them toward a larger goal. The goals do not even have to be health related. Each week we go over what we accomplished during the last week.

During our first week, one of the participants, verbalized that he thought his action plan wasn’t as good as some of the other action plans. We assured him that we wanted to hear what he had to say and we wanted to support him in whatever he wanted to work towards.  He shared that he enjoys woodworking but he had stopped doing it over a year ago. He had been making a bowl out of redwood and was turning it on a lathe. While making the bowl he had a mechanical problem with the lathe and the bowl was shattered. He got so discouraged that he just quit. He  not only quit making that bowl, he quit making anything in the workshop – for months and months.  His goal was just to get back in the workshop and start the bowl. He didn’t promise to get any specific steps done. He just wanted to break through the barrier that had been keeping him from trying again.

During week two we shared our progress on our action plans.  He shared that he did get into the workshop and started on another bowl. His subsequent action plans reflected the progress he wanted to make each week on the bowl.  On week four He  showed up to class with the bowl in hand. We were all so excited to see this tangible representation of his achievement. bowl complete

The story of the broken bowl was a powerful one for me. So many times we get derailed from working on our goals or our dreams because something went wrong. In my life this has been reflected many times. Back in the days when I would try different diets I would hit a point where I just totally blow it. After that it always seemed so difficult to get back on track and I would just give up. Sometimes the same thing would happen when pursuing other life goals. Right now I am working towards my Masters in Nursing degree. I have hit a point in the program where I need to complete some self-study courses and take some tests. I have been at a standstill for months and I haven’t busted out the study materials and knocked out these courses. It’s not difficult…I just find myself stuck. So, like Herm from my class, I am going to use the power of group accountability. It’s silly for me to stop after getting this far. I am making an action plan to get back on track and break the studying into smaller goals and I’m going to hustle to get this done. Will you hold me accountable? Can I do the same for you with one of your goals?

bowl credit

Cast Your Vote for a Healthy Life

Healthy LifeToday’s post was prompted by a Calorie Myth podcast by Jonathan Bailor.  This particular podcast featured an interview by Krista Scott-Dixon.  This podcast really spoke to me.  I have struggled with doubts about coaching others since my own progress in fitness is so slow.  I have put so much work in but sometimes it is not as outwardly apparent as I would like it to be.  This sometimes makes me doubt myself and what I am doing.  But then my passion to inspire others and help them improve their health kicks in and I know I need to continue pursuing my dream.  I am reminded that I don’t have to strong in every area all the time.  Sometimes my weaknesses and vulnerability speaks to others in the midst of their own journey and struggles.  It is not about being perfect, but more about balance.  It is more about finding the essentials and doing those things while clearing the clutter of non essentials in my life.  It’s about the journey – getting stronger physically, mentally and spiritually along the way.

In the podcast, Krista mentions that she asks herself the question,

What am I doing today that’s essential and that casts a vote in favor for living a strong and healthy life?

We tend to try to be our best self and we usually let ourselves be guided by external standards.  We want to be a certain size or weight for example.  But the real power comes when we are driven by a deeper intrinsic value.  When I pursue health because of an external value (my size, my weight) or by a set of rules, I set myself up for failure.  Instead, I want to make changes toward better health because it is the right thing to do.  This puts in words the feeling that I’ve had for the last year or so.  The feeling that the changes I have made are not because I’m following a set of rules that will result in weight loss, but the changes are a part of something deeper.  The changes I’ve made are permanent because I am learning what is right for my body and what aligns with my beliefs and values.  Yes, those things start with a set of guidelines, but then I learn what works for me and my body. I want to be guided by the results and not by a set of external rules.

In the podcast Krista suggested two ways to know if you are on the right track.  One is by listening to “somatic cues.”  This simply means listen to your body.  If you eat something and later you have a stomach ache and feel tired, your body is telling you that you didn’t make the best choice in nutrition. If you make changes in your diet or exercise routine and you find that you have more energy and feel better then you are headed in the right direction. The other measure she mentioned was to ask yourself if your life was shrinking or expanding.  If you are hounded by the rules and by the “I shoulds” it causes you to be a fragmented version of yourself.  This is an example of your life or your world shrinking.  If your life is expanding you are enjoying new experiences, meeting new people and you will feel like you are a part of something larger.

Krista threw out an interesting challenge at the end of the podcast.  She said that she asks her clients something to the effect of

What can you do in the next 3 minutes to show your commitment to better health?

So I’m going to toss out the same challenge to you.  Do something right now that moves you towards better health.  Comment below and let me know what you chose to do.

 

The Help Experiment – It’s Time to Give

HelpExperimentI’ve written before about my involvement in the START experiment.  One of the many wonderful things to come out of the START experiment (now renamed Dreamers & Builders) is the Help Experiment.  The Vision of The Help Experiment is this:  “We are a collective of individuals joining together to help others. We do it because we can, we do it because we should, and we do it because we think… you would too.”

The concept is so simple but the results are so powerful.  Give what you can give.  Take what you need.

Many things have been accomplished on this simple but powerful Facebook page.  From people buying Christmas presents for a needy family to people offering to send a card of encouragement, the page is full of people helping people.  Financial counseling, fitness coaching, website building, prayers, all are available on the page.  There is no catch. The people who offer their products and services have no expectation of building their business – they just want to bless others.  I encourage you to check out the page.  If you have something to offer, read the rules, fill out the offer form and you will be contacted by a page admin.  If you find an offer that would be helpful for you, claim it!  It’s that easy.  Find us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheHelpExperiment/

Don’t Wait for New Year’s Resolutions – Guest Post

New Year's ResolutionToday I’m pleased to share a guest post written by a friend of mine, Becky Brett Caldwell.  Becky’s passion is to  help busy people be healthy.  If you’d like to connect with Becky you can find her on Facebook.  Becky wrote this post as part of a Facebook status and I found what she said to be so powerful that I wanted to echo what she said by posting it here.

Hey guys, I’m gonna tell you the secret to health and fitness. As you may know, I’m a Beachbody coach (think P90X, Insanity, Turbofire, Shakeology, etc.), but I have to ask you a favor. Do NOT buy any of that stuff from me if you are just starting out on your health and fitness journey. Please do not spend $200 on a workout and meal replacement plan if you are unable to eat right and be active on your own. Because here’s the secret to your success–it’s YOU. The habits you’ve built, the decisions you make every day, the belief that you are worth taking care of. Do not worship false idols of workout DVDs and nutrition powders. Or frozen meals and magic numbers on a calorie counter. These will not fix you. Until you can make the right choices, consistently, with what you eat and your activity level, NONE of this other stuff will make a dent in your long-term progress. You have to be in this for Life, not for Now, and Life takes time. Take a few minutes and review your choices so far today. What is one thing you could do differently tomorrow? Are you willing to do it? And then are you willing to do it the next day, too? How about for longer? Find that ONE thing and do it. Don’t wait for January, or for a sale on gym membership, or (God forbid) a trip to the ER. YOU can do this! You are worth saving! You don’t need any item on this earth to make it happen for yourself. 

So what are you going to do differently tomorrow?  If you’d like to tackle your nutrition you can join us in our clean eating challenge to help you avoid holiday weight gain.

What Halloween Taught Me About Accepting Compliments

My Mummy

Lessons from the Mummy: Accepting a Compliment

 

Last night was Halloween.  My son dressed up as a mummy.  He was the most adorable and yet creepy mummy.  He was very pleased with how his costume turned out before we left the house.  His satisfaction didn’t last long though.

You have to know something about my boy to understand the rest of the story.  He’s very particular about how things look and how things feel.  He likes to have things be the way they are “supposed to be.”  He’s a wonderful, sensitive kid and incredibly bright and funny.  But some days his obsessive nature can make me a little bonkers.  So being a mummy with gauze hanging down in places was almost a recipe for disaster.  It made for an awesome costume, but he wanted it to be perfect.  Mummys aren’t perfect, buddy!

We headed out into the neighborhood for trick or treating.  People at almost every house commented on how great his costume was.

“You are the best mummy ever!”

“Who did your makeup?”

“You look so scary!”

“Here’s extra candy…you’re awesome!”

and on…and on…and on…

He politely said thank you but in between each house we heard,

“This part is falling.”

“It’s coming off.”

“People can see my shorts.”

“This looks funny.”

He made me re-pin several areas that he didn’t think were just right.  After about 30 minutes of this I began to think about times that I do the exact same thing.  I tend to listen to compliments and immediately discount them.  I obsess about my weaknesses and imperfections.

“Your hair looks really cute!”

“Yea, but my gray is showing through and they cut my bangs too short.”

“That was a great class!”

“Thank you, but my voice was shaky and I kept forgetting what I was going to say.”

“You inspire me.”

“Really.  I still have so much weight to lose.  I feel like a failure.”

When I don’t accept a compliment it’s like throwing it back in the giver’s face.  It doesn’t do me any favors.  It keeps me feeling bad about myself and keeps me feeling that I am not worthy of whatever the compliment giver has said.  It gives the negative voices in my head a stronghold to keep me captive.  It keeps me from growing and learning and dreaming.  All it really requires is a smile and a “thank you.”  Take in what was said.  Believe it.  Dream.  Grow.

Thank you.facebook_button

 

Staying Motivated When You Just Don’t Feel Like It!

excellenceHow do you keep working out when…

you’re too busy, too tired, injured, sick, feel like it’s not working, etc., etc.

There are many ways to motivate yourself to keep moving towards your goals when you’re not feeling it.  This is not an exhaustive list but it includes many of the ways that I keep myself motivated.  I have plenty of days that I come home tired, frustrated, cranky, or just not “into it.”  I’d love to hear more of your motivation tips in the comments below.  These are listed in no particular order.

Step one – make yourself a priority.  You are worth it!  If you don’t already see yourself as worth it then this is a great place to start!  You can’t keep giving and giving to others without taking care of yourself.

Step two… evaluate your goal.  Do you even have a goal?  Do you have too many competing goals? A really important part of the journey is to  find your why. Why are you making the time to exercise?  What do you hope to accomplish?  Some of my goals are based on numbers on the scale or the tape measure.  But I think that my more important goals are those non-scale victories I’m hoping for.  Things like being able to do a pull up, not having my thighs slap together when I exercise, smaller clothes and feeling good about myself  are some of my reasons.  Once you have figured out your goals it takes frequent evaluation to decide if the things you are spending your time on are moving you towards your goals?

Step three…what inspires you? who inspires you? Surround yourself with people who are inspiring and don’t drag you down.  People who can encourage you to follow your dream  Sometimes it helps to visualize what it will look like when you reach your goals.  Many people make a dream board with photos and sayings that create a visual reminder of their goals.

Step four…be accountable to others and get support from others.  Find like-minded people who can cheer you on when you’re on the right track and encourage you when you’re derailing.  Announce your goal and keep your support team informed of your progress.  Most importantly, know when to ask for help.

Step five…do it anyway! Push through the tough times and make an effort.  I find that many times when I don’t want to work out, I’ll get ready and commit to  working out for 10minutes or so.  Most of the time once I get started I can stick with it.  The hardest part is just dragging my buns into the workout room and starting.  If you’re still not feeling it after 10 minutes then give yourself permission to stretch, foam roll, etc. for the day instead of strenuous exercise.

Step six…be realistic!  Break your big goal down into smaller steps. Take one of those small steps and commit to it.  Do it faithfully and make it a habit.  Build on your successes and work steadily towards your goal.

Step seven…brag about your successes – to yourself and to others! Even small successes can motivate you and inspire others.

Step eight…push yourself!  Give yourself some credit and know that you can do much more than you think you can.  Do it until you can’t do any more and then push a little farther.  Your brain gives out before your body does.  When you think you’re done – you’re not!

Step nine…keep track of your progress.  It’s easy to forget just how far you’ve come.  Keep a journal, log, calendar or photos of your workouts and your progress.  Visual motivation is powerful.  Someday you will have your own transformation story!

Step ten…figure out a way to make it fun.  Work out with a friend, play your favorite music, be silly, involve your kids.  There are many ways to bring a little fun into something that would otherwise be a drag.  I love it when my kids work out with me.  I also work harder when I have a friend alongside me – I push so much harder when I am challenged by someone else.  Sometimes you may need to try something new.  Find what you like.  That was the key for me.  Insanity was the first workout that I got addicted to.  It was such an incredible challenge and so different from anything I had tried before.

Step eleven…if you blow it, get right back into it.  Just because you miss a day or two doesn’t mean that you should give up.  Get in there and “git ‘er done!”  Forgive yourself for slacking and get in there and be awesome!

Step twelve…reward yourself.  Celebrate each step that you make in the right direction.  Find your joy in taking on a challenge and conquering it.

Please let me know how you have accomplished tackling difficult goals and staying motivated.  If you haven’t already joined me on Facebook  I’d love for you to “like” my page here.

 

 

December Squat-a-thon

Squat Challenge
I have been participating in a squat-a-thon this month that someone posted on Facebook. When I decided to join the challenge, I posted it on my Facebook page in order to be accountable to others. I was amazed as the posts on my page and others went viral and now there are so many people joining in the challenge. It’s just that easy – commit, let others know what you are doing, and pretty soon everyone is joining in the challenge to live a healthier lifestyle. It’s not too late – join in the December challenge and start squatting! Your quads, hamstrings and glutes may thank you. Comment below if you are participating!