This Small Change Can Have a Huge Impact

Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you just feel bad? You can’t even put your finger on it, but for some reason, you’re just not as happy as you typically are. There’s nothing really wrong, but somehow life just doesn’t feel right. Have you ever been there? I have and I suppose most of us can have those moments.

Recently I was having a conversation with someone who was experiencing something similar. As we were chatting about nothing in particular, he eventually admitted to me, “I just feel out of sorts.” He couldn’t explain it, he just knew something wasn’t right.

We drilled down a little bit more trying to pinpoint what the reason could be for his disposition. As we continued to talk one thing became clear…the news around him was discouraging him. And the more we talked, the more I learned that this individual watched the news…a lot of news.

Stop Watching The News

I have fond memories of staying up with my parents, with a pot of coffee to watch the 11pm news. It was something we did almost nightly. (Back then I could still go right to sleep even after coffee).

But you want to know something? I think it’s a bad habit to get into. And here’s why…IT’S DEPRESSING!

Do you ever felt better after watching the news? Do you ever feel inspired or motivated after watching the news? I doubt it. In fact a Huffington Post study shows that just 3 minutes of negative news (is there any other kind?) in the morning increases our chances of having a bad day by 27%. (Another reason to protect your morning routine for things that will set you up for success.)

5 Reasons To Stop Watching The News

1) It makes you feel worse not better

I just mentioned this above but it’s worth mentioning again. Consistent exposure to news can have a negative impact on our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. If you don’t believe me, take a few minutes after your next news show to evaluate how you actually feel.

2) News is a money-making business

Money, (ie advertising) is what keeps news on the air. The focus will always be on what’s in their best interests, not yours. Sure businesses want customers but who do you think these news sources are really answering to?

3) We don’t get news we get a version of the news

It seems to me that there has been a huge shift from sharing news to crafting the news. Many news outlets have a political bent so we will hear things that typically support that political camp but will not hear things that might potentially oppose that view. We rarely will be getting the whole story…only their version of the story. So people will will gravitate to a particular station based on their own worldview and political opinions.

I just read a new phrase relating to news… it’s called ‘media-splain’. Which basically means that news sources work extra hard to spin stories toward their political, philosophical position.

Media-splain.

Thats’ what we get now. Not the story but their take on it and what they want us to hear/ and not hear about it.

News agencies simply are not objective. They don’t tell stories, they (re)write them.

4) The news could be fake

Maybe fake news has always been a problem, but it seems to be a real problem today. It’s hard for me to imagine the effort and motivation it takes to actually intentionally report false statements and outright lies but this takes news reporting to a whole new level. Perhaps our social media channels are most guilty of this but much of what we read or see today needs to be back-checked now.

5) Negative news leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless

Have you ever asked yourself why you watch the news? Most of what we see is negative…negative stories…and to what end? Is there a call to action? Maybe. But most often, it’s just information. Information that doesn’t do anything productive…it may entertain, it may even inform…but once the TV is off, what good will it produce?

I just took a 5-minute break to check out the latest news in my area. Here’s what I saw…

  1.  Truck fire started by homemade bomb
  2. Mother charged with felony-murder after of leaving baby in car while getting hair done
  3. Two people stabbed during assault
  4. Motorcyclist suffers broken arm making a u-turn
  5. Puppy found in garbage can; rescued and receiving treatment
  6. Woman found dead. Son charged with murder.

In 5 minutes!!!

Lets see…fires, bombs, death, accidents, murder…oh yeah and a rescued puppy. What do you think the long-lasting impact is of taking this stuff in, day after day after day? What toll is this taking on our mental and emotional health?

These situations are very sad and tragic, but does it help for me to hear about them?

This emphasis on negative news is only punctuated by the common strategy of ending a news segment with a feel-good story. It’s almost like, the station knows that the viewer have probably had all they can take of sad, disturbing images and stories, so they insert a piece about a lost dog being found or a stolen purse being returned to it’s owner or police officers playing ball with neighbourhood kids.

We all love a good story like these, sure; but weighed against the litany of negative stories we have to wade through first, I’d say they hardly balance out.

What Can You Do Instead

If you think that your viewing habits are having a negative impact, here are two suggestions that may help.

Clear Your Mind

Take News Detox

Detoxing our bodies can be a great way to improve our physical health; detoxing our minds can be just as helpful to our emotional health. Take a day or better a week off from watching news. Monitor how you’re feeling. I just know that you will eventually feel better emotionally, you’re demeanour will improve and you might just minimize those moments where you “just don’t feel right.”

Feed Your Mind 

Instead of news, real or fake, why not read a book or blog (sorry if that seems self-serving) that not only informs you but inspires and encourages you. The Bible says, “Be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” For me that begins with reading the Bible each morning.

Maybe that’s not your style. But if you want to change your life, change what you feed your mind.

Just one small change can have a huge impact on your well-being.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Let’s talk.

What I Overheard At the Salon; But Wish I Didn’t

The other day I was getting my monthly haircut which by the way, considering it takes less than 5 minutes, is probably one of the most expensive things I do on a minute-by-minute basis. But I digress.

Next to me was a woman talking with her stylist about all things TV. She went into great detail about the various shows she loved and the different ways in which she accessed them, including the latest apps she uses to stream programs. Then she went on to tell how she falls asleep every night with her tablet in her lap.

As someone who has struggled to sleep well, I can’t imagine dozing off like that.

The stylist then chimed in with her nightly ritual which included late night TV and binging on Netflix. She too apparently had the same habit of falling asleep with the TV on in her room.

They were quite entertaining and funny, but their habits were not. The more I listened the more concerned I became. I wanted to jump into the conversation, but that’s not really my style. I was imagining the domino effect that just this one particular bedtime habit could have.

Outcomes to falling asleep in front of the TV include things like…

  • poor sleep patterns
  • increased insomnia
  • hindered ability to get up in the morning refreshed
  • vulnerability to depression
  • interference in romantic relationship which could lead to increased relational conflict
  • lack of productivity at work
  • high blood pressure

I could go on.

What concerned me most about the conversation I was privy to, was the resignation in which these women accepted their situation. In fact, they weren’t lamenting their habit at all. They were actually encouraging each other with how to access even more programing. They were essentially taking notes from each other on how to get the most from their respective screens.

The Compound Effect in Reverse

In his book, “The Compound Effect”, Darren Hardy explains the benefits of repeated smart, regular choices over time.

For example, investing small amounts of money on a monthly basis over time will lead to a substantial amount for retirement.

But harmful choices repeated over time can also have a profound impact on our lives.

It’s been said that our futures are determined by our daily habits. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Think about it. The habits and routines we choose today will influence where we are down the road.

Common Sense?

If we regularly eat burgers and fries we’re going to add unwanted pounds that will deteriorate our health.

If we spend more than we earn, eventually we will be overrun by debt.

If we neglect our spouse, eventually they may look elsewhere for the attention they need.

If we work 80+ hours a week, month after month, year after year, our body may shut down so we can’t work at all.

If we short-change ourselves with sleep, our capacity to function well will disappear…eventually.

How we eat, exercise, work and relate to those around us today will have a direct impact our health, careers and closest relationships ten years from now or even six months from now.

Q. Where do your current habits and routines suggest you’ll be in 6 months? In 1 year? In 5 years?

Q. Is what you are doing today, setting you up for success in the future? Why or why not?

I continue to think about the women I overheard in the salon; and I can’t help but be concerned that their current habit of TV binging will take it’s toll…maybe next week…maybe next month or next year. Maybe next month when I go back for my costly 4 minutes, I’ll get an update.

 

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be?

Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 45-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

6 Simple Habits That Can Make a Significant Difference

I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of February. It’s the shortest month on the calendar but can seem like the longest. Other than my son’s birthday and the Super Bowl, I’d love to jump to March. At least there’s a chance I’ll see grass then. Spring is hopefully around the corner, but Winter does it’s best to remind us…not yet.

 

Blah Blah Blah

February is also the time many 2017 goals and ambitions fall off, leading to feelings of discouragement, frustration and apathy. Maybe that’s you today. Are you dealing with the Winter blahs? If you are, you’re not alone.

I’d like to suggest 6 simple habits that you can initiate today that can have a greater impact on your life than you might want to believe. 6 lifehacks if you will, that are easy and effective in improving our lives. So without any further ado, here we go.

Make Your Bed

In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg writes that “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.

It may seem silly, but making your bed can give you a sense of accomplishment and it can reduce your stress level too. By accomplishing a simple task such as making your bed you have accomplished something and organized your space.

It might seem too small to matter but starting your day by making your bed gives you an instant feeling of success and the feeling that you are on top of things. You feel organized and ready to take on the day. This two minutes of work sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

By making your bed, you are starting to declutter your space. And a decluttered space lowers your level of stress and very calming. Who doesn’t want some calm? You are in control of your own space and how it looks and therefore, how it makes you feel. Why not start with making your bed? 

Kiss Your Spouse Goodbye                                                                                                                                                                      

No, I don’t mean for good. I mean each morning as you leave the house. I came across research suggesting that men who do this live 5 years longer..even if that’s anecdotal, it’s worth it, isn’t it?

Run Your Own 2-Minute Drill

In football there is a scheduled timeout when there are 2 minutes left in each half. The team with the ball is usually trying to score or run out the clock to prevent the other team from scoring. This is called the 2 minute drill.

Every day we have the opportunity to run our own version of the 2-minute drill.

Think of the transitions that occur each day as your 2 minute drill; here’s an example.

When you come home from work and the family is home, the first 2 minutes can determine the tone of the entire evening. How you greet them, your body language, facial expression and tone of voice are all part of the drill. Use them wisely.

How you enter the office at the start of the day can impact the relationship you have with your coworkers.

Whatever transitions you have, decide ahead of time how you will approach them. Determine that you will smile, give a warm greeting, a hug or kiss (if appropriate), use a positive tone of voice and offer a genuine greeting. It could have a dramatic affect on you and those around you.

Express Gratitude

Writing in a gratitude journal has become a popular practice. It’s a great way to start the day (after you’ve made the bed). According to Amy Morin, being grateful and can have a significant impact on your health, relationships and even improve your sleep.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Don’t Let The Dishes Pile Up

In this current season of my life I wash a lot of dishes. Whether at home or at our cafe. And truthfully, I don’t mind at all. I’ve written about this before, you can check it out here . But essentially, washing dishes can be refreshing, relaxing and provide time for reflection. So don’t avoid the dishes, wash them.

Ask How Someone Is Doing…And Listen For Their Answer

The other morning I was clearing the sidewalk out front of our cafe. A woman walked by and I said hello and asked how she was doing. She stopped, paused, and with trembling in her voice said, “I talked with my dad last night and he called me names.” She started to cry as she shared some of the harsh words directed at her.

I told her that I was sorry she had such a conversation and that she wasn’t the things he called her. That she wasn’t those things. She smiled, thanked me and went on her way.

The whole encounter took less than a minute but hopefully the exchange encouraged her. It wasn’t a bad way to start the day for me either.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to make some big decisions that can have a huge impact on the direction our lives go. But we can also make simple decisions that don’t take a lot of time or money, just focused effort.

The winter months can take their toll on our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual well-being. But these 6 simple habits can make a difference.

If you begin practicing all these habits, they might take you thirty minutes a day. But even implementing one or two is a good start.

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Your life not where you want it to be?

Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

 

The Secret To Not Dropping Your Phone in the Toilet

I came across a report recently that said that 19% of smartphone users have dropped their phone in the toilet at least once. That means that if there are 5 in your household, each with their own phone, chances are one of you has seen your phone go for a swim.

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Sure I know people who have experienced this relatively new phenomenon, but apparently smartphones ending up in the toilet is a larger issue than I realized.

Perhaps it is more complicated than this, but I’d like to suggest a solution that I think can make a dent in those numbers.

Stop taking your phone into the bathroom!

Maybe it’s too simplistic or I am missing something (wouldn’t be the first time) but is it possible to simply leave our phones outside the bathroom…say, on a dresser, in a purse or the office while we “go”?

I’m not a doctor but isn’t there a hygiene issue here? If you are, please speak to this, but it can’t be a good thing to scroll through our newsfeed, check Facebook post likes or text our best friend while we’re taking care of business, can it? Seems kind of gross to me.

I can hear someone respond with, “You’ve got to be kidding. I get some of my best social media time while on a break in the bathroom.” Others simply just never leave their phones out of their sight, ever.

Hey, I’m not against smartphones. I have one, I like it, it’s super helpful and convenient. Like you I check emails, listen to music or podcasts, I text and I search social media.

I remember my first phone. It was new and exciting and all of a sudden I had access to things that until then I had to go to my office for. Soon, I was emailing people at 11pm and checking sports scores in the middle of the night if I couldn’t sleep. It was cool. But the advent of the smartphone also meant I had to learn new behaviours and new boundaries. This became obvious when one night Kathy and I were watching TV when I received an email from a distraught person. I soon was in an email conversation that could have easily gone on indefinitely.

That’s when I first saw that this wonderful device while beneficial, could actually interfere with my life. I’ve been trying to learn and live with the tension ever since.

I am concerned that phones can have a negative impact on things like our schedules, our free time, and our relationships. The other day I saw a couple in our cafe, who stopped in for lunch. They were there for over an hour and each of them were on their own phones the entire time. They never talked to each other, at all. I actually had another customer come to me and comment on the situation with deep sadness in his eyes.

Like with so many things in our lives, the smartphone has lead to new behaviours. Behaviours that can serve us or hurt us. At their worst, they can become addictive.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines addiction as, a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble); an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.” 

I would add that a behaviour could be an addiction when it interferes with healthy functioning in other areas of our lives.

Clues you might be addicted to your phone:

  • your phone is in your hand 24/7 (at least while you’re awake)
  • you are on your phone in social settings (parties, family dinner etc)
  • you take it into the bathroom
  • you check your phone for no reason, only because it’s there
  • you use your phone to avoid silence
  • checking your phone is the first thing you do in the morning and last thing at night
  • you don’t take a vacation from your phone when on vacation
  • you check and answer emails and texts all day long
  • you’re on your phone while eating
  • you’re texting your friend while on a date

I’m concerned that our excessive use of smartphones could lead to greater harm for ourselves and our relationships without some appropriate boundaries.

Here are some suggestions that may help:

  • don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow
  • leave all phones off during family dinner
  • don’t answer your phone during a meeting with a co-worker or business associate
  • when out with a friend for coffee, stay focused on each other
  • limit texting to information not conversation
  • have verbal conversations
  • take extended breaks from technology
  • control the use of your phone, don’t let it control you.

Do you have a problem with dropping your smartphone into the toilet? Then stop taking it into the bathroom. It might be the healthiest decision you make.

If your phone is interfering with other important areas of your life, like your relationships, productivity and personal health, then maybe it’s time to make some changes.

How about you?

How do you manage your phone?

Do you control your phone or does your phone control you? If you’re not sure, ask someone close to you. I’m sure they will have some helpful feedback.

What is one decision you can make today, to establish a healthy boundary with your phone?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

 

Sleep: Why 71/2 Hours is Better Than 8 But Not As Good as 9

How did you sleep last night?

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I’m asking because it seems to be a popular topic right now and lately I’m not sleeping so well.

Until a few years ago, other than a bout of insomnia in 2003 that lasted for about 3 months I slept fine. But again I’m in a season where I’m not sleeping much more than 4-5 hours a night…that might work for some people but not for me.

When I was a teenager I worked with a guy who bragged he only needed 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night. He argued that while most people slept through the night he had more time to do other things. I wasn’t sure what those things were exactly, I never asked.

Growing up I was taught that getting 8 hours of sleep a night was imperative to good health. I don’t know where that number came from or if it was ever scientifically proven, but it seemed to be the gold standard for as long as I can remember.

But what if 8 hours of sleep is not ideal? What if you you should get less sleep not more?

I’m not suggesting that we can live on 2 to 3 hours a night. That guy I worked with eventually had to stop working altogether while he was hospitalized. He was gone for months.

The national sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults 18-64. But maybe it’s more specific than that.

Sleep Cycles

While you sleep, we go through cycles of sleep states. The first state in a sleep cycle is light sleep, followed by deep sleep and a dream state referred to as REM-sleep. A full sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and is normally repeated several times each night.

If we typically sleep in 90 minute cycles throughout the night, and if we wake most refreshed at the end of a sleep cycle, then we should schedule our sleep to coincide with our sleep cycles. In other words, 6 hours equals 4 sleep cycles. 71/2 hours equals 5 sleep cycles and 9 hours equal 6.

If this is accurate, then waking up after 8 hours means we will be doing so in the middle of a sleep cycle, and might explain why we wake up groggy rather than refreshed.

For Example

Let’s say you go to bed at 10pm tonight, and fall asleep in about 15 minutes. After 5 cycles of sleep (71/2 hours) you should wake up @ 6am; give or take a few minutes. If you wake up or set your alarm for 6:30 or 7:00am you might be waking up mid sleep cycle and possibly sabotaging your best chance for a productive day.

This is also why using the snooze button typically backfires. You might think you’ll benefit from an extra 10 minutes of shut eye, but if you actually fall asleep only to wake up 10 minutes later, well, you get the picture. (which might be why you push the snooze button a second or third time)

There are numerous ways to improve your sleep such as…

  • choosing a consistent bedtime and wake up time,
  • keeping your room dark,
  • avoiding screen light (laptops, smartphones etc) an hour before bed,
  • getting regular exercise,
  • getting a better quality mattress and pillow

But ensuring you are sleeping the proper amount of time might be just what the doctor ordered. So remember; follow your sleep patterns. Getting 8 hours sleep a night might not be in your best interest.

71/2 of sleep is better than 8 but not as good as 9

What do you think?

How well do you sleep? What habits do you practice that help you?

What tips can you offer those struggling with sleep.

 

Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

The Power of Doing Nothing

The Hardest Task You Will Face Today

A number of years ago, I was sitting in my office looking out the window. A colleague knocked on the door and walked in and said, “Oh good you’re not busy…got time to talk?”

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It’s hard to get away with doing nothing isn’t it?

Actually, while I appeared to be taking a break from “work” I was thinking about many things related to my work. In fact I would suggest that some of your best work is done when you are quiet and seemingly doing nothing.

But taking time to do nothing seems irresponsible doesn’t it.

When was the last time you just paused, took a deep breath and sat quietly and did nothing? That’s what I thought. I think it’s more difficult then ever to find the time and space to experience quiet.

Here are a few suggestions why…

  1. We value busyness over restfulness.
  2. We are never separated from our smartphones.
  3. We create “to do” lists that are longer than our grocery lists.
  4. We take on more believing our lives will be better for it.
  5. We fill our daily planners with everything except for quiet, unproductive, down time.

But what if doing nothing is in your best interest.

Many companies today–including Apple, Google, Nike, and AOL Time Warner–offer employees a variety of programs to help them find time to clear their minds, from meditation to yoga to stress reduction.

Why would some of the largest companies in the world invest in their employees personal well-being?

Doing Nothing Is Actually Doing Something

Okay, maybe you’re not convinced that doing nothing is actually in your best interest. Well, lets start with 6 reasons why you should reconsider…

Doing nothing…

1. Allows you to clear your brain and unwind. Constantly being “on” doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It’s an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.

2. Helps to improve concentration and increase productivity. When you remove as many distractions and interruptions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate, which will help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time.

3. Gives you an opportunity to discover yourself and find your own voice. When you’re a part of a group, you’re more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn’t always the actions you would take or the decisions you would make if you were on your own. (This is also an argument against group work and brainstorming sessions but I’ll save that for another post)

4. Provides time for you to think deeply. Day to day responsibilities and commitments can make your to-do list seem as if it has no end. This constant motion prevents you from engaging in deep thought, which decreases creativity and productivity.

5. Helps you work through problems more effectively. It’s hard to think of effective solutions to problems when you’re distracted by incoming information, regardless of whether that information is electronic or human.

6. Can improve the quality of your relationships. By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You may also come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone.

But as important as alone time and doing nothing can be, it is still a challenge to find ways to make it happen.

Here are some guidelines and ideas to get you started:

  • Schedule the time in your day. Make sure you are realistic in where the best place to schedule the time is. Don’t make it the first thing in the morning, requiring you to set the alarm earlier or the last thing in the day when you are too tired to really focus on doing nothing.
  • Start with 5-10 minutes. You’ll be surprised the difference it can make.
  • Get outside. Sit quietly by water or another peaceful setting. When I’m at our cafe, I often step out back to stand by the river and just listen. Feel the warmth of the sun
  • Silence all technology, completely disconnect. When was the last time you left your phone in another room, or left it at home on purpose?
  • Find a quiet and private place where you will not be disrupted, if this means in the bathroom with the shower running and the door locked, and then spend your 10 minutes there.
  • Sit by yourself.
  • Simply take notice of your thoughts. Where do they take you?
  • If you really struggle to truly meditate, just pretend, it totally takes the pressure off.
  • Just breathe
  • Listen to God. What is He saying?

So…the power of doing nothing…it may be undervalued in our culture but just 5 minutes a day can be the start to a better day.

Q. How about you? Do you take time on a regular basis to simply do nothing? Why or why not?

Are you looking to make some changes? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

Had a Bad Day? 8 Habits That Can Make a Difference Tomorrow

I would never consider myself a morning person; perhaps you don’t either. But I’ve come to learn that the most productive and successful days, almost always start with a good morning routine.

As a teenager my bedroom was next to the laundry room. Which meant listening to the spinner of the old Hoover machine on Monday and Thursday mornings. I could sleep through almost anything back then and I usually did. Getting up at the crack of noon wasn’t uncommon for me.

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But looking back I realize that I squandered a lot of time.

And now at age 50 I have a better appreciation for the value of time…

  • how quickly it goes by
  • how many things compete for it
  • how easy it still is to squander it

The other lesson I didn’t appreciate at the time, was that our days will be dramatically impacted go by how we begin them. So if you would like to accomplish more, be less stressed and enjoy a more productive day, here are 8 tips you can put int0 practice right away.

8 Things You Should Do Before You Leave the House Every Morning

Get enough sleep. A report suggests that 60% of Canadians feel tired most of the time. So actually having a good day starts the night before. If you want to sleep in, do it on the front end of sleep. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier.  You may have to forego the late show or dare I say, the third period of a hockey game. But you’re worth it aren’t you? 

Don’t push the snooze button. If you want to avoid a rushed morning, get up when your alarm goes off. Nodding off confuses your mind and body. (Are we getting up or not?) Have you ever noticed that you feel worse after every 9 minute extension in bed? Your morning alarm is not a false alarm!

Avoid checking emails. When you immediately go for your phone as soon as you wake up, you go into reactive mode and this is counter-productive to a meaningful start to your day. As soon as you look at work emails or even friends FaceBook posts, you’ve given up control of your morning routine and your day.

Drink water. We wake up dehydrated so at least 8oz of water is a good way to begin. Dehydration is often why we are tired throughout the day as well…keep drinking water. 2 litres a day is a good rule of thumb.

Get moving. Even 4-5 minutes of intense activity can give you lasting results.

Here’s the routine I followed this morning…I did each exercise for 30 seconds.

                           1) Bodyweight Squat
                           2) Rocking Plank
                           3) Reverse Lunge (alternating sides)
                           4) Cross-Body Mountain Climber
                           5) Jumping Jacks
                           6) Close-Grip Pushups (with feet elevated 4-6 inches) or Kneeling Pushups
                           7) Total Body Extension
                           8) Burpees or Bodyweight Squat

Simple right? If you have more time you can go through the routine 1-2 more times and I promise you it’s more effective than 30-40 minutes of running on a treadmill and you’ll burn calories all day too.

Consume 20-30 grams of protein. After a workout making a quick, healthy protein shake is a great way to give your body the nutrients it needs. Mix some frozen berries, yogurt, almond milk & protein powder in a Magic Bullett & you’ll be full for hours.

Make your bed. Yes. You know the chore your parents hounded you about as a child? Well, performing this seemingly mundane task has its advantages. US Navy Admiral, William H McRaven, highlights the benefits of making your bed.  “By making your bed, you’ve already accomplished something.”… “If you can’t do small things right, you won’t do big things right.”

Find solitude. I wonder if this is becoming a lost discipline, but quiet time is crucial to a good start to the day. As a Christian I look forward to reading the Bible and prayer. But I also value sitting quietly, listening to God and listening to what’s going on inside of me. If you begin the day rushed, you’ll have a rushed day. Quiet solitude can be the start you need to a day full of demands. 

Your first hour of the day can have a dramatic impact on the next eight

So there you are. 8 things that you can do tomorrow morning, before you leave the house, that can have a dramatic impact on the rest of your day.  And all of these can be completed in less than an hour.

Q. Which of the 8 habits are you already doing?

Q. Which habit will you implement right away? Tomorrow?

Q. What hurdles stand in the way of your success? 

Are you looking to make some changes? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

In Honour of World Health Day: 3 Simple Steps To Improve Yours

Today, (April 7, 2016) is World Health Day, and this years focus is the prevention and treatment of diabetes. A health issue personal to me because complications from diabetes ultimately took my dad’s life at age 54.

Many people fail to make the changes they want to make in their health (for example many New Year’s resolutions to get fit, get sidelined within a few weeks) in part because they try to do too much too fast, they get overwhelmed, they feel defeated and quit.

Does that sound familiar?

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Well in honour of my dad and everyone who has felt the impact of diabetes I’d like to suggest 3 simple steps that you can take to improve your health.

Step #1 Commit to 4 Minutes a Day

Research suggests that 4 minutes of interval training will give you much greater results than 30 minutes of long, boring cardio.

Try This 4-Minute Circuit

Here’s a sample bodyweight workout you can do in just 4 minutes! (There are literally hundreds you can choose from).

1) Jumping Jacks
2) Push-ups or Kneeling push-ups
3) Burpees
4) Run-in-Place

Do each exercise for 50 seconds then rest for 10 seconds.
If you have extra time and want to do 2 or 3 rounds, take an extra minute of rest between circuits.

5 Additional Benefits of 4-Minute Routines

  1. You don’t need equipment. Bodyweight routines can get you the shape and health you want.
  2. Short, interval training is safer than long cardio routines. If you love spinning classes or P90X workouts…fine. But you’re more likely to sustain injuries that can cause setbacks to your health and fitness goals.
  3. You will save time. Workout at home and avoid the drive to the gym. Use the time for other priorities.
  4. You will save money. With minimal equipment and no need for the gym, you can put that monthly membership fee to better use.
  5. You will avoid the boredom of long, boring cardio. Maybe it’s just me but I’m not sure there’s anything more monotonous than running on a treadmill for 30 minutes or longer. (not to mention its ineffectiveness)

Step #2 Exercise First Thing In The Morning

“It doesn’t matter when you exercise, all that matters is that you are consistent. But when you exercise first thing in the morning, that means you will be more consistent. And being consistent is one of the most important things in your fat loss program.”– Craig Ballantyne

So if you are struggling to be consistent, get up a little earlier and do your workout before life gets in the way and stops you from pursuing the health you want.

Step #3 Start With 3 Days A Week

Maybe you haven’t worked out for a while…maybe it’s been years. If so, don’t try to exercise every day of the week. Sure even on your off-days you should try to get some activity in, but you will set yourself up for failure by trying to do too much too fast. Remember your last New Years resolution?

Start with 3 days a week. Maybe Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings work best for you. Maybe Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday are better. Whatever they are, just commit to them.

It’s World Health Day. What better day to decide to make your own health a priority again. But to ensure that this time is going to be better than last time, implement these 3 easy steps.

Commit to 4 Minutes

Exercise first thing in the morning

Start with 3 days a week

Happy World Health Day!

Q. Which of these steps would make the biggest difference for you?

Q. Will you implement one or all of these steps, starting tomorrow?

I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below

Another Objection to “Living Your Best Life Now”

Last week I addressed a question that I was asked in response to my current series of posts titled, “Live Your Best Life Now.” The question suggested that pursuing our best life now, was a selfish pursuit. You can read more about it here.

Today, I’d like to raise another (legitimate) concern. In another conversation I had recently, someone asked if “all this talk about pursuing our dreams and setting long -range goals…” was an indication of discontentment. “Shouldn’t we just be content with who we are?” They quoted from the Bible to support their assumption, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)

I think this is a great question and one to be considered carefully. Paul, wrote those words and also, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in want or in plenty.” (Phil 4:11)

Perhaps at first glance it does appear that pursuit of our best life now is at odds with the command to be content.

Contentment seems to be a mindset about our current circumstances, especially as it relates to what we have, or don’t have. Whether you and I have much or little, our contentment is not dictated by that.

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Content or Comfortable

What if contentment is an excuse for comfort (dare I say laziness). In the Bible, contentment appears to be an attitude rather than an achievement. It also is closely connected with money or lack of it. Contentment cannot be achieved with more money. The love and pursuit of money, is a result of a lack of contentment.

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates

But does contentment in our current circumstances preclude us from pursuing goals, following our dreams and passions, or wanting to grow and change?

Divine Discontent

Ralph Waldo Emerson talked about the concept— “divine discontent.”

“I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in.”

“It is my belief that authentic vocational success is tied to our spiritual well-being—the identification of those inner gifts and talents that need to be used for us to feel fulfilled. Now I don’t want this to be so “spiritual” that we can’t find real application, but work has to provide more than just an income.” – Dan Miller

It’s Not About Getting More, It’s About Being More

What are your dreams and passions? What do you want? “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. ” (Psalm 37:4)

What are the skills and abilities you have been blessed with. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

Pat Flynn says we all have an “unfair advantage” based on our personal experiences, our story and our abilities. What comes naturally to you that doesn’t for others? We tend to minimize the things that come easy or natural to us. We see them as unimportant or simply things that anyone can do.

Do you know your calling? (not your career or job) “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Peter 4:10)

The Lazy Servant

Jesus tells a story about three servants who were entrusted with a certain amount of money unique to each of them. The first 2 put it to work, but the third did nothing with it and was chastised for it. (Matt 25:14-23) Why? Because he was given something with which he did nothing! Was he content to simply hide the money until his boss came back? Or was he too lazy to put it to work? 

What have you been given? Time, gifts, abilities, health, relationships, work and our resources. How are you using what you have?

Maybe contentment is being satisfied with what we have (verses comparing what we have to what others have) but not an excuse for not pursuing what we can become.

The issue isn’t what we have or how much we have, but what we do with what we have.  

So what do you think? Are you content? Can we experience contentment and discontent at the same time?

Does contentment mean we shouldn’t pursue our best life now? Why or why not?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…leave me a message below.

 

If you have questions or would like to explore life coaching but you’re not sure where to begin, contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

Is Pursuing Your Dreams Selfish?

Last week we wrapped up a 5-part series called, “5 Keys To Living Your Best Life Now” and I have received a lot of feedback, comments and questions. And today I would like to address a great question I was asked recently.

In my conversation with this particular individual I could see she was struggling with the basic premise of the series of blog posts I had written. Eventually she was able to ask the question that was troubling her,

“Isn’t it selfish to focus our attention on pursuing a better life?”

She went on to say that there seems to be a lot of attention (through articles and books etc) given to pursuing our dreams, living our passions and striving for more. “Everywhere I turn I see the same questions. Are you following your passions, living your dreams.” And to her, this seems to be a selfish way to live. And apparently my blog posts were adding to her frustration.

I think this is a great question. Is it selfish to focus our attention on what we want, who we want to be, and what we want to accomplish in our lives? Is is selfish to want to live your best life now?

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To me it comes down to motivation. The why? Let me illustrate. A few years ago, after coming in from cutting the lawn, my son asked me why I spend so much time on cutting the grass. (I didn’t think I was out there that long).

I explained by saying that besides the enjoyment of working outdoors and working up a sweat in the sun (a pre-requisite to jumping in the pool) taking care of the things we have is important. We have a lawn so we should care for it; cut it, fertilize it and water it. (I have to admit I rarely do the that last one).

Stewardship

I believe that each of us is called to steward what we have. To mange it and take care of it. As a Christian, I believe God has given us specific things to manage during our lifetime.

  • I have a home. So we must care for it…which is why we put a new roof on it last fall (I didn’t want to but our home needed one).
  • I have a car. So I got an oil change last week as part of it’s regular maintenance. Why? Because that’s what a car needs to keep it running.
  • I worked out this morning. Why? Because I enjoy a measure of health and I don’t want to squander it by being sedentary. Plus, taking care of myself will impact the other areas of my life.

Stewardship Beyond Your Possessions

God has created us and uniquely designed us with our personalities, passions, skills & abilities, personal experiences, preferences, and aspirations. As we gain clarity around those things I think we have an obligation or better, the opportunity to steward them. So for me, pursuing my best life now is hopefully not a selfish endeavor but a matter of stewarding who God has made me to be.

In an earlier post I shared 3 reasons why we should pursue our dreams you can read about them here

Here’s the thing; it’s not about getting more or making more…it’s about being more. It’s about being the best version of who God created us to be. That may be a lifelong pursuit but for me it’s a most worthwhile one.

  • You are unique
  • Your life is meant to impact others
  • Clarity about who you are, will impact who you become
  • Others need you
  • Your life is not your own, but meant to be lived for the sake of others.
  • Striving to reach your potential is a never-ending journey that honours the One who made you.

A Different Question

Earlier I shared the question, “Is it selfish to pursue your best life now?” A valid question for sure, but I’d like to suggest another.

Is it selfish NOT to pursue your best life now?

If each of us have been a measure of, health, financial resources, relationships, work, and also skills & abilities, a particular personality style, passions and dreams…would it not be selfish not to make the most of them? What is the alternative? To simply accept where we are with no thought to how we can grow, get stronger or get better seems selfish to me.

If you are a Pittsburgh Steeler fan than you know who Martavis Bryant is. Martavis is a wide receiver for the Steelers and has incredible talent. He made one of the most amazing catches you will ever see, this past season. Unfortunately, he failed a second drug test and is now suspended for the entire upcoming season. I feel terrible for Martavis and I hope he gets the help and guidance he needs to change the direction his life is going currently. He has incredible skills and opportunities to display them on the football field. But some poor choices and personal problems will keep him on the side line.

It’s not about getting more, it’s about being more

What would it mean to you and those around you, if you saw your health, your relationships, your finances, your family and your work, as gifts and opportunities that need attention, to be cared for and developed? That’s true stewardship. That’s a worthy pursuit. That’s living your best life now.

So how about it?

Are you living your best life now? Or are you delaying making the changes you know you want to make?

What changes would make the biggest difference for you and why? What is stopping you from making those changes and making them now?

 

If you have questions or would like to explore life coaching but you’re not sure where to begin, contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

Simply fill out the form below and we can arrange a conversation. I look forward to it.