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Think Small This Year – How to Really Get Healthy in 2019

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Every January 1 you are inundated with ads, emails, social media posts about how to completely change your life by setting some crazy resolution.  The whole “New Year, New You” mantra is insulting. It says you’re not good enough as the current you. It tells you that you have to completely remake yourself to live up to some kind of unrealistic standard. And, it’s total bullshit.

I despise the New Year’s resolution hype because when I work with people who want to make true improvements in their health, the thought of a complete overhaul of their lives is overwhelming. And, when people are overwhelmed, they often give up.

Among all the memes and inspirational posts you’ll see today, this week and this month will be lots of encouragement to think big. Dream big. Set big goals. And, while there’s nothing wrong with that, I am going to challenge that thinking to help you be more successful.

Today, January 1, 2019, I want you to think small. Make small changes. Set short-term goals. Take daily action – even if it’s not perfect.

Setting goals always seems daunting because we all think in big picture terms. Consider setting a process goal vs. an outcome goal that has a shorter time frame. For example, you may want to lose 20 lbs. this year but what if you stepped away from the number and focused on the behaviors and processes that will help you lose weight – one day/week/month at a time? For example, can you eliminate one take out meal a week? Or, commit to exercise three times a week? When you break down the bigger goal into bite sized pieces, you re-establish healthy habits that will get you to that 20 lb. weight loss.

So, how do you start today?

Here are my 3 Tips to A Healthy New Year:

  1. Take Action. Do something today. It doesn’t have to be an hour workout or throwing out all the food you love from the fridge. Take a walk. Make a healthy dinner. Take deliberate action to be healthier. Do just one thing each day.
  2. Find Accountability. Tell someone. Make a point to have a weekly check in with a friend, spouse, coworker who knows you are trying to improve and can help you stay on track. If you invest in a personal trainer or health coach, they should be setting up check in points with you at least weekly. I use texting and online tools to support my clients with accountability.
  3. Always reassess. Check in with yourself once a month to see how you are doing with your short-term goals and new lifestyle changes. If you’ve been consistent with a goal, add a new goal or amp up the current one. For example, if you’ve hit the gym three times a week for the whole month, add a day and shoot for four days in the new month. If you never change-up your goals or challenge yourself in new ways, you’ll get stuck, bored and worse yet, revert back to old habits.

 

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Creating a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be a complete “do over” every January. It should be a process of continual improvement. Ditch the stress of New Year, New You and think in terms of New Year, Healthier You.

In the category of taking action…There’s still time to join my January lifestyle program – The Little Black Dress Project. 6 Weeks of total wellness coaching (all online!). Fitness, nutrition, mindset, financial, career, beauty and more! You will learn how to make small, sustainable lifestyle changes to be your healthiest, happiest and most confident self. We start January 7. Take $100 until January 4 with code LBD100.


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Putting the Power Back into Willpower

Willpower is a Limited but Renewable Resource

 

Someone in my Facebook group asked a great question the other day…how do I gain more willpower to make the right food choices?

There were some great answers from other members about the importance of accountability, taking small steps to improve versus trying to “fix” everything you’ve done wrong in the past, and giving yourself a break sometimes because, none of us is perfect.

But it got me thinking even more about the question. What is willpower? And can we really create more of it? So my writer instincts said…go research it. First, I went back to my health coaching textbook and looked up how my field describes willpower.

“Willpower is the ability to ignore temporary pleasure or discomfort to pursue a bigger goal.”

Busting the Willpower Myths

More digging into the subject busted some long-standing myths that I had about willpower. Such as:

  • You just need more information. Knowledge is not power when it comes to willpower. Apparently, even if we know a sleeve of Girl Scout Cookies are high in calories and generally not a good choice for breakfast (oh no!), that does not increase our willpower to resist them.
  • Using the willpower “muscle” makes it/you stronger. Ugh. You know how people say practice makes perfect. Not always with willpower. The cognitive function that controls your ability to have willpower can become fatigued, like an overworked bicep.
  • Willpower is a long-term strategy. Willpower is an “in the moment” response to the cookies, a second glass of wine, or whatever you’re trying to consume less of. To truly change your behavior long-term, willpower is only one part of the equation.

So, knowing all these fun facts, what can we do to not only increase our ability to make snap decisions that are healthy but also increase our overall ability to reach our long-term goals.

Let’s Get GRITty

According to the experts it comes down to GRIT. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania coined the acronym and it is defined as “the ability to “work strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity and plateaus in progress.”

Wow. That’s motivating.

Dr. Angela Duckworth distinguishes self-control (willpower) as a shorter-term behavior—not eating the cookie right in front of you. While GRIT is about pushing toward goals over a longer period.

Here’s an overview of GRIT and how I use these techniques to help my clients gain better long-term control over their lifestyle habits and behaviors.

  • Goals Get You There. If you’ve read my blog for the last year or two or if you’ve worked with me, I am a big proponent of setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound). When you lay out your goals in a way that has all those elements it helps to focus your efforts on ONE thing and strengthen that willpower muscle for endurance, not just spurts of heavy lifting.
  • Relax and Reward. Again, something I teach my clients. First – I help them find ways to reduce stress and increase energy. Yoga, long walks, silent meditation for 15 minutes a day – whatever it takes to quiet your brain and refocus on your goals. When you’re tired or stressed out you don’t make good choices. Your guard is down, and you reach for comfort, and convenience. Also – I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself and celebrating the little accomplishments. If you never allow yourself to eat that cookie or order the second glass of wine, you’ll eventually overindulge and end up on a path back to old behaviors.
  • Intention and Implementation.  Ahhhh…it all comes down to planning and preparing. When you plan what you’ll eat and drink at a cocktail party or map out when you’ll workout on a business trip, you are in CONTROL and when you’re in control you are ready for the temptations and roadblocks. One way researchers suggest to prepare for something that will be tempting is using the “if-then” strategy. Let’s say you’re going to a client dinner where there will be lots of alcohol flowing. “IF someone tries to pour me a drink, THEN I’ll thank them and carry a glass of club soda with a few olives in it.”
  • Thinking Truthfully.  Kelly McGonigal the author of The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It says there are three different aspects of willpower:

-“I won’t” power—the ability to resist temptations
-“I will” power—the ability to do what needs to be done
-“I want” power—the awareness of one’s long-term goals and desires

Using these mantras to deal when temptation pops up will give you the ability to respond to whatever the world puts in front of you (cookies, wine, the couch and remote).

Let Your Willpower Renew

Finally, even with all the good intentions and planning and goals, it’s important to remember that we are human. We are flawed. We will give in to temptation sometimes. The most important thing I teach my clients is self-forgiveness and self-compassion.

Remember what I said about willpower ‘muscle fatigue’? Some days that muscle will have had all it can lift and will give out. When it does, acknowledge the slip, remind yourself of the long-term goal, and refocus on you and what you need to do next time to avoid the pitfall. Give the muscle a break; let it renew a bit. It’s when we never use the muscle that poor “in the moment” choices then become habits and then deeply-ingrained behaviors. That’s when we need to bulk up that willpower muscle and use a little GRIT to overcome the challenges and make the positive changes needed to be healthy.

Want more help finding your GRIT and strengthening your plans to be healthy? Let’s chat. Fill out my FREE Wellness Assessment and you’ll get a 30-minute call with me. We’ll discuss your goals and what I’d recommend to strengthen your willpower and GRIT.

Have a happy and healthy day and watch out for those willpower-busting, yet adorable, Girl Scouts and their addictive cookies!

Xoxo

Niki

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Your Waistline Affects Your Bottom Line

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You’re Missing Opportunities

I’m going to ruffle some feathers with this blog post but I feel like it’s time to get real and call it like I see it. Because you’re leaving money on the table. Like it or not…Your waistline affects your bottom line. Your income suffers when you are overweight, unhealthy and don’t like how you look. Yep. I just said that. Why? Because your health and wealth (however you define it) are intertwined.

I could point to studies that prove this . Like this one done in the U.K. in 2016. Or this one done by a professor at Wharton. But I don’t need to. I’ve seen firsthand in my work with executives.  When you are overweight, unhealthy and uncomfortable in your own skin you are less confident. And, when you lose confidence, your credibility suffers. And when you aren’t credible or convincing, you lose — money, job opportunities, clients, sales.

To build your empire; to shatter that glass ceiling; to make a big fucking impact in this world, you need to be at the top of your game both mentally AND physically. And that means dropping the weight that’s holding you back. You need to stand tall and feel proud of how you look when you are doing that white-hot, bad ass presentation, sales pitch, interview, etc.

Confidence Sells

Extra weight – even 10 lbs. – drags you down. Literally and figuratively. When you are carrying around extra weight and aren’t confident, it’s what people see FIRST and sometimes it’s ALL they see. It’s often what they base their decisions on. When you don’t like how you look, neither do your clients or customers because they sense your discomfort and lack of confidence.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to carry around extra weight and feel the way you do. You can change it. You can lose weight, feel better and gain your confidence back. IF…yes, there’s an IF. If you stop making bullshit excuses and start taking action. Yep. Another #truthbomb.

The only thing stopping you from losing weight or getting healthy is YOU! Not your job. Not your boss. Not your demanding clients. Not your kids or spouse. Not an injury. Not your busy schedule. Those are excuses. Every one of us has the same 24 hours in a day. We all have the power to re-prioritize and put ourselves first.

Now…having said all that, I am acutely aware that while we all have the power to change, we don’t all have the knowledge and resources to make it happen. There is a new diet, workout trend or weight loss promise out there every day. There’s a gym on every corner and lots of videos online. Knowing what to eat, how to workout to maximize your results and trying to fit it all in…is overwhelming to say the least.

How to Jumpstart Your Slim-down Strategy.

Look, I’m pretty forthcoming with my thoughts on fat. I take the emotion out of it. It’s something you HAVE. Not something you ARE. It’s disposable too. But, I also recognize that people get overwhelmed with where to begin when it comes to ditching the fat and being the healthy, energetic person they are meant to be. Where do you start? How can you fit it in when you’re busy AF!? Here are 3 tips that any busy professional can do to kick your body into action and start looking and feeling better – in as little as 7 Days.

  1. Drink up! Not booze. Water. At least half your body weight in ounces. I’d guess most of you are dehydrated. When you’re dehydrated you think you’re hungry so you eat more. You have less energy so you don’t workout as much. Water is life. Literally. Stop whining about how boring it is and drink up! Don’t add any crap to it. Lemon, lime, strawberries, etc. are fine but no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.
  2. Get you Ass Moving. Stop making excuses. You have 30 minutes a day to sweat. You do. You make time for what you prioritize in your life. My guess is, you haven’t been prioritizing your health. So…stop that. Sit down, look at your calendar and pick 5 times over the next 7 days that you can get on a treadmill, go for a run outside, attend a spin class…whatever. 30 minutes is all I’m asking for.
  3. Eat Less; Eat Better. Ditch the take out and drive thru for one week. Cook at home and that doesn’t mean popping a french bread pizza in the oven. Reduce your overall calories by 250 each day. Track your food. Watch sodium and amp up that fiber (at least 25 grams per day). Bottom line…be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Mindless eating is the enemy.

Successful People Seek Out the Experts

Have you ever seen a successful team without a coach? Or, a successful businesswoman without a team of experts around her? Successful people seek out those who know more than them. And, that’s where I come in. My coaching is laser focused on YOU and your individual health and wellness needs. I have the knowledge and do the work to ensure you have the most efficient and effective program to get you back in shape and feeling great.

So, if you are done with the “reasons” why you can’t get healthy, and you’re ready to raise your hand, take action and get the help and support you need…let’s talk.

Your career, business and financial future depend on you looking and feeling your best. Invest now in your health, lose the weight and feel confident so it doesn’t cost you in the long run.

Ready for a Bigger Badass Jumpstart?

I’m getting ready to open up my 8-Week Badass Bootcamp for those ready to ditch the fat and get healthy. I’m not going to sugarcoat it (and you’ll probably eat less sugar) – it’s a lifestyle overhaul. A reboot of your bad habits to transform them into healthy behaviors. It’s 8 weeks of nutrition and fitness coaching, daily accountability, weekly coaching calls, workouts, recipes, meal ideas, etc., etc. You will lose weight, have more energy and get back that swagger that you had 15 pounds ago.

There are limited spaces because of the attention and time required to implement this program. To apply for a spot, you’ll need to fill out my Wellness Assessment and have a quick call with me to ensure you are ready for this and we’re a good fit! You can’t be on the fence for this program. This isn’t going to be 8 weeks of me dragging you along and convincing you that you’re worth it. So, if this has you even thinking HELL YES, fill out the form and let’s chat.

This program will change your life. You just have to commit to getting help. Hope to hear from you soon!