Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Self-Imposed Limitations: Your Biggest Barrier To Achieving Your Creative And Fitness Goals

“One should never be nervous about being asked to tackle anything. One has all the power necessary to achieve everything within oneself. It is only necessary to remember the power. If people are nervous, it is because they forget their potentialities and remember only their limitations”.

(Frank Lloyd Wright)

Do you remember that invincible feeling you had when you were just a kid? You drew, you painted and you never criticized yourself. As for physical challenges, you were ready to try anything, sometimes alarming your parents with your dare-devil feats. 

Then You Grew Up.
When last did you accept one of your own creative efforts as being ‘just fine’? When last did you so much as try to do a cartwheel? What happened? You’re stronger, more co-ordinated and your sense of aesthetics is more developed than it was back then, but a simple box-jump leaves you sweaty-palmed with the fear of failure, and when you look at a blank canvas, you find yourself afraid to make that first mark or brush-stroke on the pristine white surface.

What Happened?
Did your friends tell you to stop playing on the jungle gym and ‘grow up’? Did your art teacher at school critique your work after you put in a huge effort? Did your parents stop getting enthusiastic about your artistic efforts and resort to a brief glance and a bored “Uh-huh, that’s nice”?

But Who’s Holding You Back Now? 
Deep down, you already know who your fiercest critic is. That’s right, there’s only one person who limits your creativity and who makes you fear your fitness goals, and that’s you! Your biggest fear is ‘failure’ , your own imperfections scare you until you’d rather not even try. You look at that box-jump and say “I’m too old to do that”, you look at the canvas and say “I’m not creative enough”. The result? A self-fulfilling prophecy that prevents you from exploring your real potential for creativity and fitness.

Unleash Your Potential!
Of course, there will be things that you simply cannot do right now, but as long as they’re not physically impossible, you can work your way up and ultimately achieve your goals. For example, you may not be ready to run a marathon, but if you train regularly, you will reach the point where you can. You may need to work on your technique with watercolors, oils, or the simple lead-pencil, but if you allow yourself to try, and keep at it, wonderful things can happen. 

“I Can’t” or “I Won’t”?
We often claim that we want to achieve this or that goal, but then we add two little words: “I can’t”. These are powerful words. They’re almost like a magic spell, because they come true from the moment you say them. They’re born of fear. Either that, or maybe you don’t really want to achieve that goal after all. In that case, you should be saying “I won’t” or “I’d rather not try” instead of “I can’t”.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Not Wanting To Try Something. 
But there’s a big difference between lacking the desire to try and not being physically able to do something. If you have a fear of heights, you may not want to try bungee-jumping, but saying that you can’t do it is obviously not true. Bungee jumping is as easy as falling off a bridge with a line attached to you. What’s really stopping you? Fear!

Overcoming Fear
The first step to overcoming your fear of failure is to recognize that it’s there. Now ask yourself how much you really want to achieve your goals. The more you want to achieve a result, the more willing you will be to tackle the painful process of overcoming your fear. 
Don’t think that all it’s going to take is an Ah-Ha moment. You have created a “Can’t do” conditioning, and you’re going to have to overcome that. You will be outside of your comfort-zone. You’ll be sweating bullets at the gym or on your run, you’ll be making those first, hesitant brush-strokes on the canvas. You’ll pick up your musical instrument for the first time and it isn’t going to sound particularly good when you play.

Accept yourself and know that you can!
You won’t be a master at what you do the minute you begin, but know that you can achieve your goals, and accept the learning curve it may take to get where you want to be as an enjoyable part of the process. Try a lower box-jump: too easy? Now try that one that frightened you! You will find that you’re capable of a lot more than you ever gave yourself credit for – but you have to put your self-imposed limitations aside and take the plunge!

You Don’t Have To Be ‘Perfect’
Have you told yourself that you have to be perfect? Poor you! And yet you accept the imperfections of others. Sure, a handmade pottery bowl isn’t 100% symmetrical, but you are able to realize that this is part of its charm – unless you made it yourself! Then all you see is its ‘imperfections’. That’s if you were even able to bring yourself to try your hand at pottery. 
Be a little kinder to yourself. What are you really good at? What if someone else wanted to learn to do the same thing – what would you tell them? You’d tell them to keep trying and have fun while they’re at it! Your confidence will grow as you expand your physical and creative abilities – or you can stay just as you are – the choice is yours!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Daily Routines Will Determine The Following 24 Hours

Have you ever reached the end of yet another busy day only to find that you didn’t achieve any of the things that you really wanted to get done? Life’s like that. We get really busy, and the time just sleets past. Does that mean that you have to give up on your goals? Definitely not! Millionaires, successful entrepreneurs, serious athletes and the like always start their day the same way. The key to gaining control over your life lies in your morning and evening routines.

Routines make it easier to keep your decisions positive

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Every day is packed full of decisions: should I have eggs for breakfast or settle for just coffee? Should I answer my email or work on that report my boss wants? Psychologists say that all these decisions wear us out, making us more prone to take easy options. We lose out on will-power. But if the positive things we want to achieve become part of our daily routines, they happen on auto, and there are no pesky decisions to throw us off track. You don’t choose to work out in the mornings. You just do it because that’s how you start your day.

Staying sane
Not all routines are good for us. Lighting a cigarette the moment you wake up or routinely staying up too late at night are examples, but positive routines are liberating. They’re also comforting. It’s nice to know that we’re doing something positive for ourselves, and that we do it every day at around about the same time. According to psychologists, good routines help to reduce stress and doctors say that stress causes all sorts of ailments, so your positive routine will have multiple benefits.

Decide what’s important to you and incorporate it into your morning or evening routine
Most of us have pretty full days. Our only ‘quiet’ times are the times when we are beginning or ending off our day. Whether you decide to choose mornings or evenings for specific things you want to do for yourself depends on you, but most of us are pretty tired by the end of the day, so more energetic activities are usually best undertaken in the mornings.
Morning get-up-and-go
Let’s say you really want to work out and get fit, but you aren’t getting round to exercising. Get up an hour earlier and start your day with some exercise. Exercising in the morning has loads of benefits. The ‘after-burn’ of calories you get after exercising carries on through the day, and researchers say that morning exercise improves your sleep patterns at night and normalizes your appetite. Plus you’ll be much more alert than your co-workers or classmates!

Chilled out evenings
Evenings are good for the more sedentary activities you’d love to get around to. If you want to get creative with arts or crafts, keep a journal or read a book, make special times in the evenings that are devoted to these activities.
Tips for creating effective morning and evening routines
Are you ready to adopt a constructive routine? It’s what incredibly successful people
do, and you want to be incredibly successful in achieving your own goals too. Let’s get started!

  • Choose your activities by looking at your goals.
  • Prepare a schedule, write it down and stick to it.
  • Get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Have fixed times for the other activities you want to fit in.
  • Review your routine regularly and check that it’s still in line with your goals.
Now it’s just a matter of getting those things done! Using your ‘you’ time constructively is the first step towards achieving all the things you wanted to do, but never got around to!
Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mindset and Motivation To Increase Your Drive For Fitness

Mind-set and motivation – the keys that unlock your fitness potential

Have you ever struggled to maintain your drive to attain your fitness goals? Whether your goal is to run faster, be stronger or get leaner - just like our friend Meathead, it's mindset that will help you reach it. Ok, admittedly you still want to keep the grey matter – but it’s actually the grey matter that helps Meathead stay so meaty. Ladies, increasing muscle mass is for you too. Lean muscle may weigh more than fat, but it’s a darned sight more appealing to look at! So how do you get that bundle of neurons that makes up your brain working in your favor? You know the saying “A healthy mind in a healthy body”. Let’s get hat brain working towards a healthier happier you!

Meathead mirin his gains
Meathead hitting the double bi flex!

Think about your goals: do you really want to achieve them?

The first thing you need is the right mind-set. Just thinking “That sounds cool” isn’t enough. You need to be hungry for those achievements. So what are your fitness goals? A beautifully toned body? Extra energy and get up and go? Improved immunity from illness? Washboard abs? Be real about your goals. Own them. Choose goals that you really want to achieve rather than going with something someone said you ought to want. 
So before you get up and start working out, do a bit of a brain workout. What do YOU want to achieve? What will you have to do to get there? Be realistic. You aren’t going to get bulging biceps or perfect pecs in a week or two. You aren’t going to shed excess flab just because you went for a run. It takes commitment. It takes patience, and it will take hard work. Sometimes, you simply aren’t going to be ‘in the mood’. What can get you through the mental block? Commitment. Dedication. And you’re not going to get there unless you take 100% ownership of the goals you’re striving to achieve.

Your goal can be as big as you like, but getting there will be a journey. Let’s say you’re doing a long road-trip. How do you measure your progress? There will be towns along the way, won’t there? Every time you pass through one, you feel a sense of achievement. You’re getting closer to your destination. 
Your journey towards your fitness goals is very similar. If you’ve set an ambitious goal, you need milestones to measure your progress, or you’ll soon become discouraged – even if you have been making great progress.

Goals should be SMART:
Specific: Define what you want to achieve.
Measurable: How far do you want to run? How much weight do you want to lose? What percentage body fat are you aiming for?
Achievable: Setting an impossible goal is like setting yourself up for failure. If you’re only 5ft tall, you’ll never be 6 footer. If you’re an endomorph, you’ll never be an exomorph. Choose goals that you can achieve.
Realistic: Maybe it isn’t going to happen in two weeks, maybe weighing 110lb would actually be bad for you – even if you could achieve it. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
Time bound: With realism as your guideline, what can you achieve by when? What milestones will you pass on route to your destination and when can you realistically expect to reach them? Remember to celebrate those achievements, and be ready to move your goalposts if you see that you haven’t been realistic!

Staying Motivated
Once you’ve set your SMART goals, you should already be feeling more motivated. You’ve planned your journey, and you know how long it will take you to reach your destination. You really want to achieve those goals, right? But you need something more if you want to stay motivated. There are going to be days when you just don’t feel like making the necessary effort, and when your goals aren’t going to be enough to keep you going.

Be mindful: Try and determine where your mental block is coming from. Is it time-pressure? But your workout doesn’t take all that long to complete – how much difference can that time really make in the scheme of things? Are you feeling tired and worn out? Perhaps you haven’t been eating or sleeping properly, or you might even be overtraining. Find out why you feel demotivated and discover ways to eliminate these negative factors.

Be your own cheerleader: Having a conversation with yourself might sound a bit nutty, but it can really help. Remember how the encouragement of your friends, coach and team mates kept you motivated on the sports field? Become your own cheerleader: tell yourself that you can do it. Demand that little bit of extra effort: just two more reps, just one more set, just that little bit of extra exertion. You’ll thank yourself for the positive self-talk later on!

Stay positive: If you’re not reaching your milestones, you may become discouraged, but perhaps the problem isn’t you as much as the goals you set. Are they really realistic? Perhaps they could use a little revision. If you’re finding it really hard to set realistic goals, you may want to consult a fitness professional to get them back on track.  It’s all too easy to ask the impossible of yourself and then give up altogether when things don’t work out as planned. Taking a bit longer to get where you want to be is better than giving up altogether.

Set a routine and stick to it: Remember, it’s going to be 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration. The best way to develop stick-to-it-ness is to give yourself a schedule to stick to. Your run, walk or workout happens on certain days of the week and at certain times. Get into the routine, and you’ll soon notice a sense of unease – something ‘missing’ – when you break your routine.

Apply your mental muscle
Who’s really driving that body of yours? You are! Take charge. Be masterful. Know what you can and cannot do, and understand why you sometimes develop a mental block that threatens to derail your efforts. Most of all, have fun. Isn’t it great being able to walk, run, bend and stretch? Don’t you love that feeling of having challenged your body? That feeling of drive, motivation and energy you get after exercise is worth maintaining, and when all’s said, you’re the boss.

Thanks for reading.