Tag: goals

Just a little more

Just a little more

In a quest to add just a little more weight, sets, or reps to your strength training routine you find your energy is not infinite. You start out with a 3 day split and pretty soon each workout is taking 90+ minutes and your completely wiped out, and worse there is no way you could keep adding sets to this already arduous workout. So what is the answer? You can try to increase intensity, but with a 3 day split you are pushing the limits of your endurance and this is no longer a lot of fun. I ran into this myself, and then created a 4 day split but over time this also became too much and I finally landed on a 5 day split that allowed me to add lots of sets and progressively increase the weight I was lifting. I’m not advocating this is for everyone as some of you might not be able to devote this many days to strength training each week, but for those that can it allows you to expand the amount of work you are doing and still get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Here is my new 5 day split routine:

Day 1 – Chest & Triceps

Day 2 – Biceps, Forearms, and Delts

Day 3 – Legs

Day 4 – Back

Day 5 – Core

strength-training-protect-brain-and-bones

None of these workouts exceed 60 minutes and most can be done in 30 – 45 minutes. This is a big advantage of a 5 day split over lesser day routines, allowing you to focus on fewer body parts and really turn up the intensity while keeping the workouts relatively short.

So next time you consider adding just a little more to your routine, think about a 5 day split.  For ways to increase the intensity of your workouts refer to one of my earlier posts Just What is Progressive Resistance?

Old Habits Die Hard

Old Habits Die Hard

Isn’t that the old saying “Old Habits Die Hard”? The reason that this saying is relevant is that it is true. Once something is repeated enough times to become a habit it becomes difficult to change. To make it more challenging it seems like those old habits that are destructive are even more difficult to discard. This might be because a destructive habit has morphed into a full fledged addiction like smoking, alcoholism, eating disorders, or gambling just to name a few. What are we to do about this old saying and how can we look at the positive consequences of old habits dying hard? Listen I don’t claim to have all the answers to how you might get rid of a severe addiction, but I can speak from experience on what has worked for me. Let’s take a look at some things to consider when tackling a destructive habit or addiction:

  • Seek out medical help – Contact your doctor and see if there is anything they would advise. Sure you may feel you can kick this habit on your own, but if you have tried in the past and failed it may be time to seek out the assistance of a physician or physicians assistant.
  • Break the pattern – The reason it is a habit is that you probably have a pattern of when you would indulge yourself in whatever you are addicted to. Maybe every Friday night you end up at the liquor store, make your purchase and decide it is time to have a few drinks after not drinking all week-long, and end up finishing the bottle, in effect binge drinking. Recognize that there is a pattern of behavior in play here and the trigger is Friday night. Now that you know the pattern you need to create a new form of behavior and substitute something else for that trip to the liquor store and the subsequent binge drinking episode. So maybe that is going out to dinner, taking a walk, going to the theater, or even reading a book. The behavior pattern is well ingrained in you mind by now and you will need to work at breaking it, but recognize it is a habit and you can replace it with a more constructive behavior.
  • Goal Setting – I bring this up because I found myself pursuing a number of positive goals, but continued to have a couple destructive behaviors that just didn’t support what I was all about. When you realize that there is a destructive addiction that you are clinging to, but 90% of your life is headed in the opposite or positive direction, you begin to chip away at the strength of that addiction. One part of your brain begins to battle the weak part and this helps you build up some much-needed resolve to banish the bad habit so you can stay true to your real purpose and goals.

Obviously there are many other things you can do, but when they say old habits die-hard it is very true and just wishing for it to end won’t cut it. So seek out medical help to pick a strategy, recognize your pattern of behavior and break it, and get yourself some positive goals to help you battle the addiction.  Let’s talk about the reverse of how this old habits die hard paradigm can work to your advantage. As we are all creatures of habits then we can choose what habits to embrace, setting our course by using this habitual behavior to enhance our lives instead of dragging it down. The paradox is that it is often more difficult to make that good behavior into an old habit that dies hard. Let’s take a look at some ways that have worked for me:

  • Perseverance – I posted a blog on the topic of perseverance a while back and won’t go over everything in that post, but it might be worth a look to get a better idea of why it will help you create those good habits we are seeking. I struggled with this recently as I was attempting to make my yoga and meditation practice into a daily activity. I would get up at 5:00 a.m. and feed the dogs, grab a cup of coffee, and go upstairs to my game room and unroll my mat and begin my practice, but I also had days that I skipped it for what I  justified to myself as good reasons. After about 4 months now I don’t seem to have those excuses/reasons for skipping my sessions and recently I had a pretty bad cold but stayed with the program, and that is the power of perseverance. I might add it is also the power of how what finally became an old habit dies hard. The act of getting up and ritual created a habit, and it turns out to be a pretty good habit that went from somewhat of a struggle to something I really enjoy today.
  • Repetition and Ritual – I mentioned above that it took me about 4 months to go from an activity and turn it into a positive habit. I had to repeat the activity over and over again even against my desires at the time. As you develop a positive habit make sure you try to stick to the same time, same day(s), and repeat the pattern. To further integrate this new good habit into your life make sure you follow the same ritual as much as possible. An example might be changing into your favorite workout shorts, shirt, socks, and shoes, then drinking a pre-workout drink or in my case at 5:00 a.m. a bit of coffee.  Why do you think churches follow the same ritual during a service? Rituals provide structure and repeat a pattern of behavior that lends itself to becoming a habit.
  • Alignment – Make sure when you go down the road to creating a good habit that it supports your most important goals. I say this because now that it is a habit it commands your attention and you now have a trade off, the habit or something else I could be doing with my time that aligns to my goals. Remember you just created a habit and even a good one will require some time to break it, so choose wisely and align your new good habits with your goals.

Let’s all say goodbye to those destructive habits and say Hello or Hola to our new positive die hard habits. I would love to hear how you destroy the bad habits and create good ones, don’t be shy.

Namaste

Perseverance

Perseverance

According to Merriam Webster perseverance is defined as “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering”.  Another definition from the Oxford Dictionaries states that perseverance is “Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. Essentially perseverance is needed for something that is difficult and without it you will not achieve success. Now perseverance doesn’t gaurantee success, but without it you are almost certainly gauranteed to fail.

Persaverance Steve Jobs

A couple synonyms for persevere are persist and hang on; I would add a dogged determination to see something through, to give it your best effort, and to not give up. Now let me also state that there is a difference between between perseverance and being stupid. One perseveres when pursuing a goal that is attainable, and usually perseverance comes from passion or a deep seeded belief that what you are seeking must be achieved.

We all have lots of great ideas and most of the time we pass on them because we lack the desire to make the long term investment or to persevere. Perseverance can apply to all aspects of our lives, but let’s take physical fitness as an example. If my goal is to run a marathon, and I’m just starting a running regime then one would need one hell of a lot of perseverance to make the investment in training required to achieve this goal. I’m no expert in marathon running, but I know some people who are and they train for many months to get in shape to run the 26+ miles required to complete this race. Apply that level of determination to other activities like strength training where you are using progressive resistance and every workout gets more difficult, or your yoga practice when you crawl out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and get on the mat challenging yourself time and time again.

So you want to be more physically fit, you want to have a better body, more strength, improved aerobic endurance, but are you willing to pay the price?  I would guess that we tend to prematurely call it quits when in reality we are so close to achieving our goal and that’s where perseverance comes in. Only you know when you need to persevere and when what you are attempting is not worth the effort.

perseverance Author Unknown

Namaste

 

 

 

Embracing the Monday Goals

Embracing the Monday Goals

If you have read some of my prior posts you know that I was advocating that you set a goal each Monday that will lead to making positive changes in you life. These might be losing weight, exercising more, eating better, overcoming some unhealthy addiction, starting a business, getting a new job, repairing a relationship, and the list goes on and on. I’ve been taking my own advice and am now on my fourth goal or fourth Monday. What I have begun to realize is that most of the goals I set are ongoing and require a frequent investment in time to achieve, so they tend to pile up and require a lot of dedication to achieve them. This is a good thing, but sometimes it might be wise to throw in some easier to achieve goals in the mix. Here is an example of how you might intersperse some goals that can be more easily achieved or at least require less ongoing time to support:

Week 1: Do something everyday towards a business you have started. Clearly this will be one of those ongoing goals that requires effort overtime, categorize this as a big goal.

Week 2: Make changes to your diet to include more fruits and vegetables. This is one of those easier to achieve goals and doesn’t have a lot of overhead associated with it.

Week 3: Practice yoga six days a week. Again this is a pretty big goal and has no end date, you achieve this goal 6 days a week so we might categorize this as a big goal.

Week 4: Make a commitment to donate $500 a year to the United Way. Here is a pretty easy to achieve goal that only requires minimal effort. For those of you who work for a corporation this is simply filling out the pledge card once a year.

Week 5: Commit to calling your parents or siblings once a week. This is somewhat of an in between goal, not a huge time commitment but it does require some discipline.

These are just a few examples of goals that have an ongoing cost, and those that are a bit easier to achieve. Does the fact that a goal requires a big commitment make it more important? Maybe but take the goal for Week 2 of adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and Week 4 of donating $500 per year to the United Way; one might suggest these are both pretty important things to do. We all have limited time, so those goals with a high ongoing costs must be things you are extremely committed too. It is always a good idea to have some goals that you can achieve more quickly but that still have a positive impact on your life or the life of others.

Update on the Monday Challenge

I’ve posted a couple different times on how Monday is the ideal day to set a goal that you will work towards or maybe achieve depending of course on the nature of what you are seeking. My own score card is I have completed two of the three goals I set for myself. Instead of taking my own advice I set goals that were very difficult so 2 out of 3 is not so bad, and I have made some progress on the one that I cannot say I have completely mastered. This brings up another point about goal setting that we need to understand. It is vitally important that you set the goals so that you can begin to change your behavior, but realistically you will not always achieve them in the time frame you set for yourself. I’ve always liked the graphic below because it does a good job of simply depicting what really happens when we set a goal and work toward achieving it.

success looks like

Sometimes reaching your goals and the resulting success this brings you is a messy process, so I wanted to make sure you cut yourself some slack during this whole process. I found myself questioning the order of goals I set for the 4 or 5 weeks, re-ordering them, and even eliminating some to better suite my true desires when it comes to work and my personal life. I’m sure you will do the same as you make adjustments as you think about what you really want to achieve. While it is true that we will all struggle to achieve our goals, it is no reason to hesitate to move forward. The very fact that you may find the goals you set difficult to achieve means that you have set worthy goals. Continue to have faith in yourself and your dreams. Don’t fall back into old patterns of behavior as every Monday brings with it a new start, a new goal, and change.

Namaste

Comfort Zones

I’ve been reading a book by Joel Osteen called Break Out, and before you get judgmental regarding Mr. Osteen just hold on. In a previous post I talked about breaking patterns of behavior by using goal setting and then following up with the achievement of those goals. One of the things that is repeated throughout Break Out is the idea that we seem to settle in and get a bit too comfortable with our lives and we begin settling for less than what we are capable of. There may be other reasons like lack of self confidence, past failures, and our overall self image that holds us back, but what I am focused on is that success can also result in settling for the status quo.

Do Not Change

The graphic above really says it all. I’m doing well in my current position, or things are adequate in my relationships, so why make the effort to change it all up? Because you are stagnating, you are not living up to your potential, you are settling for the comfortable. Think about yourself does any of this ring true for you? Do the words stagnation or plateau describe your career or your relationships? Sometimes success brings with it complacency that can only be disrupted by leaving your comfort zone. I would suggest that most of our comfort zones are self imposed by our own thoughts about our abilities and potential. We reach a level of success, and we may say to ourselves this is adequate, I have found my niche and it would be the safe choice to remain right here. Wrong!

Use the Monday challenge I wrote about in Monday Motivation and Are You Repeating the Same Behavior? to break out of your comfort zone. Remember you have a vast amount of potential and should not be settling for anything less than utilizing it, in your work and in your relationships. Don’t settle for comfortable, adequate, or reaching some arbitrary plateau.

One other word of advice, don’t be surprised when you ask your friends or family if you should take a chance in your business life or personal relationships that they tell you to play it safe. Most people are risk adverse and will gravitate to a conservative approach; It’s best to just smile and thank them for the advice, and then go ahead and do what you wanted to do in the first place.

Life is short, so don’t let other people dictate what you do.

Namaste

Are you repeating the same behavior?

behavior sorry

Last week I wrote about how you could make Monday a new start by setting just one goal that you will accomplish during the week. The idea is that these goals would accumulate and you would certainly be on the road to changing your behavior, and not falling into the trap of repeating the same old stuff. I have found myself as guilty as the next person in falling into patterns of behavior that don’t support my goals.  For instance I ate well for two days in a row and then decided it was alright to eat that hamburger and fries, or I did two workouts from my three day split and failed to do the third on Saturday or Sunday, or instead of pursuing that business opportunity I failed to put out the effort and instead watched endless hours of television.

Yes we all need time to relax, but wasting your time in the evenings and on weekends is another example of falling into a pattern of behavior that leads to absolutely nothing. I’m not saying you should eliminate time with your friends and family because your goals are so overly important, but you should also not give into living everyone’s dream at the expense of your own. This is then about seeking some sort of balance, and yes making some sacrifices along the way.

balance

While I mentioned the word balance I am not a big fan of the term work life balance, the insinuation is that work and life are some kind of different categories of activity and that balancing them is desirable. My view is do what you want to achieve your goals and if that means you need to work more than you relax then do it. Don’t fall prey to patterns of behavior that do not support your goals, but always make sure that the goal you set is what you really want. Sometimes you will need to change your goals or even eliminate some of them as they no longer represent what you really want. There are perfectly good reasons to abandon one goal and pursue another, but don’t let your dreams be replaced by mediocrity and settling for less than you are capable of.

Most of us operate at about 50%-75% of what we are capable of, settling for a comfortable existence when greater things are in your future if you are willing to put in the effort and fully utilize the gifts that each of us possesses.  So make this Monday the day you begin to follow your dreams, set a new goal and just do it. Stole that little gem from Nike, sorry guys.

Namaste

Monday Motivation

Goals this week

Last week I wrote about how exercise and meditation that is focused on gratefulness sets you up for a great Monday morning instead of a difficult transition from weekend to work week. Today I would like to ask a little more, so instead of just starting out with a great attitude we need to view this day as a chance to start anew.  Pick something you want to change about your life, which shouldn’t be too difficult for most of us.  Here is a list of a few goals that apply to many people:

  • This week I am going to stick with my exercise program.  No excuses, no more days missed because someone else set your priorities.
  • This week I’m going to kick a bad habit I have.  This habit might be over eating, smoking, drinking too much, loving your cell phone more than your friends or family, too much time with video games, gossiping about family/friends/co-workers, and the list goes on and on. You know what is holding you back, so pick one.
  • This week I’m going to think about what I eat and make some good choices. You know what I mean; you don’t need to be a nutritionist to know when you are eating garbage.
  • This week I’m going to focus on positive interactions with everyone I encounter. What will it cost you, but practicing a little self-control, maybe a bit of empathy, or being less judgmental.

goals

So we are starting out a new week and we will make one change, from my list above or something else that has been weighing heavily on your mind. I’m not advocating you give it all up and join the monastery, we don’t have to make a radical change, but make a change and do it now. The result is these changes will accumulate, they will make you stronger, and they will build on each other.  Let’s take a look what 4 short weeks could do:

  1. Week 1 – I started running/walking 3 days a week
  2. Week 2 – I stopped drinking anything with sugar in it
  3. Week 3 – I volunteered at the local food pantry
  4. Week 4 – I stopped gossiping about people I work with

These aren’t huge things that take tons of planning, but you are now creating good things in your life.  After a month of just changing 4 things I now have a good exercise habit, rehydrating without the worthless calories, giving back to your community, and taking the high road with your co-workers.  Now that was just the first month.

Your homework should you choose to accept this challenge is to write down 4 goals, one for each week in the month and start working on one every Monday. When you reach the fourth week, write down 4 more. I just started a Google doc I called “Weekly Goals” so I can see how this flows over time. Sometimes we get hung up on making elaborate plans with no due dates or simply unreasonable ones; this method keeps you focused on one goal for the week not some daunting list. The approach is one step at a time and it is based on achievement, and it takes minimal planning. I also would start with those goals you can achieve, don’t set yourself up for failure, as you begin achieving some of your initial goals, you can make them more challenging, but you must first embrace the mindset that you can change and this takes time.

It is important that you choose 1 or 2 goals for the week and they should be those of the highest priority. This means choose a goal or two for the week that will have an impact on your personal development, family,  or career. Here is an example of goals I set for a 4 week period:

  • Week of 4/9
    • Study for the AWS Developer Associate certification
    • Meditate for 15 minutes each day
  • Week of 4/16
    • Study for the AWS Developer Associate certification
    • Create YouTube Channel
  • Week of 4/23
    • Review and take the AWS Developer Associate certification exam
    • Schedule a meeting with an attorney to setup a will and trust
  • Week of 4/30
    • Install new hinges and pulls on kitchen cabinets
    • Start writing a gratitude journal every night

Note that some of these goals you have committed to each week may be an ongoing activity that improves your life over time. For instance in the goals I mention above meditating for 15 minutes and writing in your gratitude journal are an ongoing process.

This methodology asks you to prioritize what is most important to you and requires a commitment on your part. On the flip side failure to follow your plan leaves you no where, and you continue to just exist, living the same life you have now.

Start slow and choose one small but significant goal for each week and over time you begin to feel a sense of achievement that comes with taking care of those important things that will enrich your life.

Namaste