Mindset

How Can I Get Results in My Wellness Program?

I often see the question asked:  "Why am I not getting results?"  A better question to ask would be, "How can I get results?"

If there is any "secret" to achieving the results you want in your wellness program, whether it is weight loss, lower blood pressure, better blood sugar control, improved physical fitness, or any other goal, it is simply this:  Consistency in execution.

The secret sauce to achieving amazing results is consistency in execution

What do I mean by that?  

You have to be consistent in executing your plan.

It's that simple.  

You start by setting SMART goals:  Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited.

Once you have established your goals, you then create an action plan for each goal with very specific actions you will take over a period of time to achieve that goal.

You then follow your action plan with consistency (performing the actions 80-95% of the time).  That means you consistently do your exercise when you say you will exercise.  If you plan to walk every morning at 5 AM, you walk every morning at 5 AM - you plan for it, you plan for contingencies and you make it happen. 

You consistently eat foods that are good for you, and if you are trying to lose weight, you consistently eat fewer calories than you use.  If you consistently eat a hamburger and fries for lunch you will achieve a certain result - but probably not the same result as if you consistently eat a salad for lunch.

You consistently take the medications your physician prescribes for you, you consistently don't smoke...and the list goes on.  

Why didn't I specify a consistency of 100?  Because life happens.  A friend has a birthday party and serves cake - you don't want to be the Debbie Downer that refuses to share in the fun.  You get called in to work early and can't get your walk in that morning.  Things happen.  But if you can stay on track at least 80% of the time, you will have a much higher chance of being successful in achieving the result that you want.

After a predetermined period of time, you evaluate if you are making progress toward your goal.  If not, you re-evaluate your action plan and make adjustments as needed.

So why is consistency so important?

First, you simply must Do It.  Until you take action, a goal is just a dream or a wish.  To make it happen, you have to take action.

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Secondly, if you have not taken action and consistently worked your action plan, you won't be able to accurately evaluate whether or not your plan is working.  If you haven't consistently taken action, however, that may be what needs to be changed!

If you aren't getting the results you want, evaluate first if you have established specific, realistic and achievable goals, and secondly, decide if you are taking consistent action.  If you are not, what needs to change so that you can take consistent action toward your goals?  

Do you need help creating your plan for success?  I've created a special free training and workbook just for you!  Go here to get it!

Book Review: Women Fit at Fifty: A Guide for Living Long by Mary Kathryn Macklin, MSN

Mary Kathryn Macklin, MSN, is a cardiac nurse practitioner who works daily with people who are at high risk for heart disease.  Many of her patients have been inactive and sedentary for years, are overweight, short of breath, and deconditioned.  Many have been told they need to do more to stay healthy, but they don't know where to start.  Ms. Macklin wrote this book to  help women in their fifties or nearing their fifties take simple steps to remain, or to become, healthier.

Ms. Macklin starts with a chapter on mindset, excuses and procrastination.  I think that perhaps the most common limiting belief that we have is that we are "too old" to start now, that it's too late to reverse years of unhealthy habits.  In this first chapter, Ms. Macklin encourages us to think about what our excuses are, confront the fears and excuses that cause us to procrastinate taking steps to improve our health, and develop strategies for overcoming our excuses and fears.  With this chapter, she helps us set the stage for success in developing new healthy habits.  

Ms. Macklin goes on to provide an overview of the scientific research supporting the health benefits of exercise in older adults, and in the next few chapters, she talks about heart health and blood pressure, weight, diabetes, arthritis, diet, and fibromyalgia.  Throughout these chapters, she weaves the stories of patients she has worked with over the years.  

This book does not actually lay out a step by step strategy for diet or exercise, but it does provide a good foundation for understanding why diet and exercise is so important for women in midlife, and how diet and exercise impacts our overall health and wellbeing.  She helps us to understand the reasons we need to take steps to better health, and how we can get started.  She lays our excuses out in front of us, and knocks them down, one by one.  

The book is short at 120 pages and easily readable in an afternoon.  Ms. Macklin writes with the knowledgeable warmth of many years of experience caring for patients in midlife who need both a supportive, empathetic coach and a gentle kick in the butt to get started.  If you are just starting your journey toward health in midlife, or if you are struggling with excuses and procrastination, this book will ease you into believing that it is not too late for you to develop healthy habits.  

Jogging Through the Cemetery: Reflections on Living Fully

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Ever since I can remember, I have loved cemeteries.  There is a peacefulness in a cemetery that I can find no where else.  A sense of quiet and calm.  A curiosity about the folks who are buried there, what their lives were like, how they lived, how they died.  I love to stop and read the headstones, especially in an old cemetery.  Often, the old gravestones tell stories, of children, young, women, old men, soldiers.  Who their children were, who they loved, who loved them.  Stony cherubs dance around Victorian verses, granite angels gently caress roses that will never fade, and endlessly weep for lost youth.

There is a cemetery a block away from my house.  I've walked through it many a time, sometimes in a spirit of curiosity, at times in meditation, and sometimes in grief.  Lately, I've been taking some of my morning jogs through the cemetery.

Some might think I am being disrespectful, to exercise in a place set aside for paying respects to the dead.

I don't think so.

When I jog along the gravel path through the cemetery, I contemplate those around me, buried forever beneath the earth and the old headstones.  I almost seem to hear their voices cheering me on:  "Run, girl!"  "Live life while you can!"  "Treasure this moment."  "We will never feel the cool breeze blowing or smell the sweet mowed grass.  We will never again touch a baby's cheek, or feel our heart pumping the blood through our veins, the breath fill our lungs, our feet skim the ground.  Run, girl.  Live now, for all too soon, you will be here with us, never to run again.  Run while you can.  Run as long as you can."

This may seem like a grim post.  It is not.  Every morning when I jog through the cemetery, I am reminded why I am running.  Because life is for the living.  It is all too short.  It is here and then, it is gone.  And I will treasure it, honor it, live it, while I am here, as long as I can.

Baby Steps Will Get You There

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Like many of you, I have spent years - thirty-three to be exact - building my family and career.  I've supported my husband mentally and emotionally; carried children on my hips until they could walk and then nurtured them through childhood to adulthood; spent many hours, often working overtime, at jobs that sometimes I've loved and sometimes hated, but I had to add to the family bank account and pay the bills.

In all those years of caretaking others, I stopped taking care of myself.  Not that I completely let myself go, but most of the time, I didn't eat healthy foods - I bought what was cheap or fast.  Although I cooked for my family (I love to cook when I have time!), what I made was heavy on "meat and potatos" and light on vegetables and fruit.  And there were the inevitable fast food and pizza take out meals on those days when there are more activities than time to get them all done. 

My exercise consisted of pushing strollers or chasing toddlers or lifting baby carriers or bags of groceries, or rushing from one meeting to another, with an occasional walk in the park around the playground.

I so admire those women who have managed to maintain an exercise regimen throughout their lives!  But, that wasn't me. 

So, thirty-three years later, I looked into midlife having gained 100 pounds and developed high blood pressure.

Every day that I wake up is a new chance to improve my health and fitness

But I refuse to be defeated.  Every day that I wake up is a new chance to improve my health and fitness from this point on.  A year ago, I didn't think I could ever run again.  Walking down the block was a struggle.  But this month, I signed up for a 5K fun run/walk.  I will probably walk most of it, but having added in running intervals of 1-2 minutes at a go into my daily walk, I know now that I CAN run, at least for short distances.  Maybe by next year, I'll be able to run the whole 5K, but even if I can't, I will have made progress.

We don’t have to reach perfect - we just have to make progress

And that's the point, right?  We don't have to reach perfection.  We just have to make progress on this new journey.  After years and years of taking care of other responsibilities while we let ourselves go, it's going to take time to regain our former health and fitness levels.  And that's okay.  As long as we take the time now, each day, to take care of ourselves, just as we have taken care of so many others.  In the words of the delightful Flylady, "Baby steps will get us there."  So keep taking those baby steps, each and every day.  

If you would like support in your journey to health and fitness, pop over to our free private Facebook community, The Pride, and sign up!

Believe You Can Do It

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I'm curious...If you have spent the last few years taking care of other people and other responsibilities besides yourself, and you have now reached your forties or fifties or even sixties and beyond, and realized your health and wellbeing needs some attention...do you believe you can make the changes necessary?

If you haven't exercised in a very long time, do you believe you can exercise now?

If you have have gained weight over the past few years, do you believe you can make the dietary and activity level changes now to reach a healthy weight?

If you haven't walked, do you believe you can walk now?  If you haven't run, do you believe you can run now?  If you haven't prepared healthy meals before, do you believe you can learn to eat healthier foods now?

I'm asking because this is a really important question to ask yourself.  What do you believe you can (or can't) do?  Before you do anything else, you have to answer that one basic question, because how you answer is going to affect everything you do from now on.

If you think you can't do something, guess what?  You're right!  But the opposite is also true.  If you think you can do something, then...you can!  

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That's the power our mind has over our actions.  It all comes down to mindset.

A few months ago, I believed I couldn't run.  I did believe I could walk.  So I walked.  Then I read about the run-walk-run method.  And I told myself, "I think I can run for 15 seconds."  Because 15 seconds is not so much, right?  So the next time I went for a walk, I tried it.  Was I scared?  Yes, because I hadn't run in years - not since I was a teenager in physical education classes!  But I believed I could do it.  And guess what?  I was right.  I amazed myself when my feet broke into a run for 15 seconds.  I did it!  I felt like a million bucks!  Just because I ran for 15 seconds.  

So am I running marathons now?  Nope.  I can run for about 2 minutes total now, at a slow jog, without being totally winded.  But I am improving.  And, I signed up for and successfully completed my first run/walk 5K.  All because I decided to believe that I could run.

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Will Run for Beer

Will Run for Beer

When you tell yourself that you can't do something, whatever that something happens to be, your mind is setting up a "limiting belief."  In other words, your mind is creating a limitation for you based upon what it believes.  You can remove the limits by changing what your mind believes it can do.

How can you change your limiting beliefs?

I'm glad you asked!

1.  Start by asking a good question.  We are always asking ourselves questions and then answering ourselves.  If you ask yourself the question, "Why can't I lose weight?" your mind will try to give you an answer, and most of the time, it's not a very empowering answer, either.  But if you ask yourself a better question like, "What is something I could do everyday to help me lose weight?" your mind will start thinking of better answers.  In fact, you would probably come up with a lot of possible answers, and they would all be empowering.  Then all you would have to do is pick one of those answers and try it out.

2.  Get accurate information.  Maybe you have a limiting belief that is based on inaccurate information or lack of information.  There are so many information resources available to all of us now, that we can all benefit from researching until we get the information we need.

3.  Monitor your thoughts.  Negative self-talk has derailed so many people! If you catch your brain engaging in negative or disempowering thoughts, stop that thought in its tracks and switch it around to something empowering.  Start training your brain to be disciplined.  Become aware of when your brain is most likely to feed negative thoughts to you (when you are anxious?  when you are trying something new?  when someone else has said something negative to you?) and create a plan for those situations so that you won't be triggered.

4.  Be careful who you listen to.  It's been said that we become who we associate with.  Sometimes friends and family members are just trying to be helpful (and sometimes, they're not!)  If someone you hang with is giving you advice or feedback that is supporting your limiting belief or is discouraging you from accomplishing your goals or engaging in healthy behaviors, maybe you need to re-assess that relationship and how much you want to be around that person.  And if it's a relationship you can't limit, then you will need to be firm in standing by your goals and limiting discussion that disempowers you.  And look for people or groups who will support you in reaching your goals.

5.  Learn about other people who have faced and overcome similar challenges.  Often something seems to be impossible, until you find out it's been done.  Once we know something has been done, then we start to believe that we can do it, too.  

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