While writing my book Redefine Yourself last year, my bedroom wall was covered with sticky notes of research (luckily Sammy didn't mind). Not only did this approach help me organize my thoughts, but it also provided the daily direction and reminders I needed to reach this goal.
Nearly a year later, the sticky notes have moved to my closet. Now, they state my personal and business goals for 2016. I see these reminders every day, and I do my best consciously (and unconsciously) to live in line with them.
I'm not sure what your focus is for the new year yet...or even if you take the time every year to reflect on one (or many) as I do. Just know that life isn't a steady stream that allows us to sit on a boat comfortably and watch it pass by (we might be bored after awhile, anyways). It requires us to remind, reenergize, reboot, redo, relearn, and repeat.
It seems like we need to do this at least every three months. The beginning of a new year is different, though. It's your time to look at your "big picture goal" and to reflect and adapt. Find new hope. You can make this as big or as small as you want. Start this process early, though. Start thinking about how 2016 will look like for you and what you want for yourself right now.
You don't need to do it yourself. Read self-help or self-improvement books. Ask friends for support. Hire a personal trainer. Talk to your doctor.
Please keep in mind that I'm not asking you to turn your life upside down or change every little approach. We don't need to brush our teeth hanging upside down or with our foot because we're bored. If it works the "normal" way, why change it (same applies to exercise). If there's something we can do to enhance your life, though, don't settle. Let's take a leap together and see what we can create.
Picture Credit: mountaingoatsoftware.com - What are your goals for a new year?
Other Related Content: Self Improvement from SelfGrowth.com- - SelfGrowth.com is the most complete guide to information about Self Improvement on the Internet.
Author: Michael Moody
The 1 Thing You Must Do in 2016
It’s the kid inside of us that still touches the oven after our mother tells us not to turn the knob. It’s the “let’s see if we can get away with a little more” syndrome. With this in mind, we occasionally need to protect ourselves from, well, ourselves, and define the most appropriate boundaries.
When redefining yourself, it’s very easy to tell you to live a perfect life, and then you’ll achieve ultimate happiness. You’ll be safer if you drive the speed limit all the time. You’d reach your ideal weight if you eat just a little bit less than you normally do. Unfortunately, we have too many distractions in life and also enjoy the freedom of doing what we want.
Instead of the all or nothing approach, I employ the following analogy as a way a life. I found through trial and error that I don’t receive tickets when I drive no more than nine miles per hour over the speed limit. How fast can I drive without getting a ticket? Nine seems to be the answer for where I live.
Once I hit ten, though, it’s a different story. Many police officers consider speeds of ten miles per hour or more over the speed limit more dangerous, and you are more likely to receive a ticket. There is a legitimate reason for this assumption. The state has determined the speed limit for a particular road as the most ideal based on the conditions. As you speed further from this number, the likelihood of an accident increases. For this reason, the court system assigns higher penalties for this class of ticket.
I’m taking a risk by acting beyond these limits, but I’m also mindful of an appropriate boundary. I refer to this behavior as "living in the gray." You may say, “But I don’t want live by any boundaries or a rule system!” Although many books will sell the idea of life without rules, it isn’t possible. All of us need boundaries or a rule system. Without them, we would probably harm ourselves or others.
Besides, you already live by a set of boundaries and rules. Now you only need to redefine them. Would you eat a piece of candy lying on the wet alley pavement? Let’s assume you and everyone else wouldn’t. You have established this rule about food as a safety precaution.
The behavior of my weight loss clients is another example. Their weight always tends to fluctuate between the same high and low numbers. It’s as if they retreat to their old habits once they reach a particular weight loss low. We learn that these figures are their tramlines, or boundaries, for their weight. Unconsciously, my personal training clients in Chicago modify their behavior when they reach a specific high or low number, for better or worse. These boundaries mark their patterns of behavior, and the tramlines must be redefined in order to achieve a healthy weight range.
What is your rule system? Is it good for you? Are you a healthier person physically, mentally, and emotionally for it? If your system and behaviors aren’t in line with what you need, there’s a chance you’re causing yourself stress. It should be in line with your homeostasis —your philosophical, efficient state of being. It’s whatever you do for your mind and body that make it work best. If you don’t know what this perfect state of being is for you, then you’re living a life of chance, pushing random boundaries. Any choice you make is a risk.
Up to this point, I hope you have been learning about YOU. Now, you must stop choosing boundaries that work for someone else and begin determining what works for your own body and mind. It doesn’t matter if it works for someone else. It doesn’t mean it will work for you.
When you know yourself well enough, you deserve the occasional slack to live a life outside the strict daily regiment. Disregard the teachings of many popular philosophers, pundits, and anyone else that has thrown their opinion at you. They may tell you to live this way or that way. But no matter what they say, you need to determine your boundaries based on what you discover about YOU. There isn’t a perfect way to live, after all.
I greatly encourage you to “live in the gray” a little bit. It will lead to valuable lessons about your spirit. Never forget, though, that you need to base your new boundaries on your needs instead of your wants. Test your limits but keep your true self in mind. You’ll be thankful when you KNOW why your weight increased while meeting with a Chicago personal trainer, why your spouse is upset with you, or why you received a speeding ticket.
Determine Your Boundaries to Achieve Weight Loss
If you want change to stick, it needs to become a habit. Especially when it comes to weight loss.
Habits are highly ingrained, learned behaviors. They are your subconscious' autopilot reaction. In a Duke University study, researchers found that 40% of our daily actions are habits. Your brain loves to multitask and will do everything in its power to build an association (consciously or otherwise). It wants to run on autopilot so that it can do the million other things it needs to do.
More times than not, your subconscious puts your keys in the same place and help you drive your proverbial car in the constant rush of your life. Habits are essentially the underlying force of your routines and take very little effort to carryout. They maintain the order in your life!
What if they are destructive, though? What if you recognize these bad habits and try to change them, but repeatedly fail? What if you want to lose weight but still grab a snack before bed like you normally do?
I wish we could just start a new routine and call it quits on the bad habit. Since the brain depends on repeated occurrences—or the value of the routines and rewards—a process must take place before this change occurs. The brain needs to know that a new habit is equally or more important.
A habit is a mental sequence that must be triggered to start. The brain must recognize a cue—an environmental signal for action based on repeated occurrences. It doesn’t want to waste its time on routines that won’t lead to rewards. It builds an association between a cue and helps develop a routine in hopes of a predictable reward.
If carried out repeatedly, the strength of a bad habit is probably too powerful to be extinguished quickly. You may figure out the cue to this habit and still succumb to the same destructive habit. It takes practice and your brain must be taught a new connection between the cue, the routine, and the reward. The mind doesn’t want to lose its prized reward, and it will keep leading you back to what it knows best —your habit!
How do you change something so ingrained that it happens subconsciously, and that will try to undermine your individual efforts to alter it?
The answer lies in the cue and reward. Most people try to erase the whole formula and completely remove themselves from the habit (and not just the bad routine).
Unfortunately, the reward and cue are too ingrained in us to simply extinguish instantly. Even if we try to escape it, there may always be something in our environment that triggers our routine. After all, we want our reward!
In the book The Power of Habit, the author Charles Duhigg wonderfully illustrates our need to trick ourselves into new habits. Remember metacognition? We need to think about our thinking to keep ourselves in check. When we change our habits, we must become the Wizard of OZ and unnoticeably make minor modifications behind our unconscious “back."
We need to insert a new routine, keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward.
You lose your focus at work every day at 3 p.m. You usually have stared at your computer screen for the last two hours and the words are starting to look like alphabet soup.
At that point, you get up and walk to the office kitchen where you indulge in the morning’s leftover donuts (even though you’re not hungry). You’ve done this for two years, and now you’re ten pounds heavier. In the wake of New Year’s Eve, you are ready to shake off the weight. Despite your best efforts, your 3 p.m. walk to the kitchen doesn’t change.
In this example, you need to break down the formula for your donut-to-mouth habit:
3 p.m. + Go to the kitchen and grab the donut that will make you overweight = Break from work
(Cue) + (Routine) = (Reward)
Take notice that the real reward is the break from work, not stuffing yourself because you’re hungry (since you just ate lunch two hours ago).
In our example, we need to change the routine of going to the kitchen as our first step. You can decide to work through your 3 p.m. break, but you and I both know that you would stare at the clock for an hour thinking about that donut.
Keep your break. Instead of eating, though, visit a colleague and discuss the latest episode of your favorite show or that football game. Sit in another part of the office and read a magazine. Do whatever you want—besides eating—to give yourself the real reward: a break from your tedious work.
Repeat this sequence until you don’t notice anymore. At first, it will be a fight with your subconscious to go the kitchen. You must resist. Remind yourself that you’re not hungry and that you just want a break. Find something else to do.
Although the results may vary, don’t be discouraged. Your self-talk will override your old, bad habits eventually. As you unravel these habits, you will create new ones by introducing new approaches to life.
Reflection Section: Answer these questions to begin your journey!
1.) Awareness: Describe a habit you want to change. How does this habit affect you? What are the benefits of changing this habit? What are the obstacles to changing this habit?
2.) Acceptance: Can you accept that you’re not perfect and that it will take time, effort, and patience to change this habit?
3.) Adaptation: How will you change the present routine to achieve your goal? Break down your habit into the following parts (use the donut example as a reference).
******Check out my new self-improvement book Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness on Amazon!!!!!!
The Secret to Losing Weight
1. Believe that you can redefine yourself.
2. Create a business plan for your life.
3. Become a human scientist and study the physical, mental, and emotional you.
4. Make it a point to understand yourself and others.
5. Commit to this journey and don’t take the easy way out.
6. Become an outside observer to the mechanics of your mind and think about your thinking.
7. Ask yourself the tough questions and answer honestly.
8. Practice looking at yourself objectively.
9. Trust your instincts, your gut, and your perspective, but know where they stem from.
10. Don’t be a bystander in the course of life.
11. Adopt the mantra “Keep it Simple”.
12. Write your new mantra on a post-it note and place it in numerous places as a reminder.
13. Confront your inner influences.
14. Approach new ideas with an open mind.
15. Realize that you’re not alone.
16. Practice mindfulness.
17. Teach yourself to wake up to life around you—and inside of you—at any given moment.
18. Schedule alerts throughout the day to remind you to “take a breath”.
19. Listen to your inner voice.
20. Catch yourself making negative statements about you while randomly doing other things and write them down.
21. Don’t analyze yourself.
22. Filter your subconscious messages.
23. Create a list of positive messages and repeat them to yourself daily.
24. Face your inner self.
25. Remove the invisible obstructions that hold you back from achieving personal success.
26. Become a detective and collect the truth of a moment, observing yourself and every movement, sight, touch, scent, and sound of the world.
27. Gather evidence for the truth without judgment.
28. Don’t take a leap of faith without stopping first and observing the moment.
29. Accept that you don’t know everything.
30. Stop the train of life and pick up the bits and pieces around you every once in awhile.
31. Remain aware before making a decision, judgment or movement and commit to a higher state of living.
32. Accept the real perfections and imperfections of the world.
33. Soak in the aura of a moment wherever you are as often as possible.
34. Don’t dwell on the imperfections of you, your situation, or your surroundings.
35. Remove yourself from a situation when necessary (despite your emotional investment).
36. Don’t fixate on imperfect pieces of life that are unchangeable at the moment.
37. Don’t construct a rose-colored reality to mask the blight and scathing.
38. Accept things in their current state, including the blight and scathing.
39. Sometimes listen to your subconscious when it taps you on the shoulder.
40. Sometimes ignore your subconscious when it taps you on the shoulder with the same negative message.
41. Remember this quote by Frederick Douglass, a former slave and leader in the abolitionist movement. Accept that what you discover isn’t always the easiest to handle (and that’s okay): “…I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow slaves for their stupidity. I often wished myself a beast.”
42. When you don’t accept it, tell yourself again and again and again that you should.
43. Quit complaining and do something.
44. Accept your ‘selfish friends’ as they are and ignore their ‘selfish’ tendencies. Discuss with them how their actions make you feel or begin dismantling your friendship.
45. Accept that the president (insert Republican, Democrat, or Independent here) is the leader of the United States. If you don’t support them then either: get involved with politics, make a grassroots effort for change, or ignore their political decisions.
46. Develop an evidence-based strategy to overcome challenges and choose the best possible decision.
47. Judge yourself fairly.
48. Don’t avoid looking at yourself.
49. Accept that obsessive, perfectionist ambition will lead to a perfect state of stress and an emotional unacceptance of your life.
50. Limit your distractions and listen to the people around you.
51. Don’t multitask (sorry).
52. Accept that feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is the result of your perspective.
53. Think rationally about the challenges you face daily.
54. Identify the fears that steer your behavior.
55. Refuse to allow insecurities to steer your behavior.
56. Tell yourself that you’re strong enough to face your fears again.
57. Tell yourself that your insecurities are irrational.
58. Find the root of your insecurities and write down the evidence against these irrational claims.
59. Extinguish Your Insecurities.
60. Don’t worry what people think unless you request for their input.
61. Accept people’s input, but remember you don’t always have to agree with their opinion or approach.
62. Leash and manage your emotional output.
63. Develop a cool head that will allow you to see the whole picture without a filter.
64. Recognize what drives your emotions and the coping behaviors that result.
65. Accept that you failed to reach these goals once before, and you may fail again.
66. Regain control over your life.
67. Feel confident about your approach, accepting the consequences, and adapting whenever and wherever needed.
68. Take control of the trends, patterns, and little idiosyncrasies that make up your world.
69. Don’t say “It is what it is” unless you’ve fully investigated yourself and the possible solutions.
70. Accept that improving a relationship might mean adapting or leaving it.
71. Identify the areas in your personal life in which you feel helpless.
72. Find control over your happiness at work.
73. Take control over your position and reshape it in a way that brings fulfillment to you.
74. Reevaluate your role in the company.
75. Change or redefine your position so that it fosters autonomy.
76. Request a position that values your creativity and judgment.
77. Understand your decision-making process.
78. Control the external influence on your decisions.
79. Convince yourself that you can change your environment.
80. Approach new problems with confidence.
81. Identify the problem accurately and specifically.
82. Consider as many solutions as possible and their implications.
83. Choose the best solution and then act.
84. Accept that making mistakes is part of the learning process and sometimes we have to make them repeatedly before we notice they’re a problem.
85. Accumulate wisdom through error.
86. Change bad habits by inserting a new routine, keeping the old cue, and delivering the old reward.
87. Accept that you already live by a set of rules.
88. Redefine your boundaries based on your needs (not your wants).
89. Create conversations with others.
90. Realign your perspective with your purpose—what you feel you were meant to do.
91. Create goals to maintain your positive focus.
92. Create a bucket list.
93. Slow down your life.
94. Treat life as an adventure and explore the unknowns.
95. Smile more often.
96. Share wisdom with others.
97. Give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not.
98. Help someone when you notice it.
99. Be your best self.
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
99 Ways to Redefine Yourself
Chicago Personal Trainer Will Launch Book to Help Readers ‘Redefine Themselves’ and Reach Health Goals
To help individuals striving to find the happiness and success they desire, Michael Moody, Chicago personal trainer and weight loss guru, will launch his book - Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness - in February.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 17, 2015
Redefine Yourself exemplifies a new generation of health and fitness books that emphasizes the mental and emotional “you” when pursuing success. Not only does this book help the readers examine their lives, it provides them with the tools to handle any challenges within and beyond the gym. It is the “in-your-pocket” resource for daily change for any person wanting to transform his or her life.
“Redefine Yourself will help you overcome the obstacles that have plagued your life. You will incorporate new adaptive strategies that will not only change your life, but positively impact those people around you, as well,” said Moody. “You will truly redefine yourself and achieve the happiness you’ve always wanted. You might just achieve that long list of other wants too.”
During the transformation process, the main focus of physical and personal change isn’t just nutrition and exercise. It’s a targeted focus on awareness, acceptance, and adaptive strategies. As the readers integrate the Redefine Yourself approach into their lives, they will refine their perspectives and understand why they:
- Do what they do.
- Can’t reach their goals.
- Find themselves in the same destructive position repeatedly.
- Want to be the best they can but they always tell themselves they can’t.
- Can’t reach their best physical, emotional, and mental self.
- Live an unhappy and unfulfilled life.
"Redefine Yourself is inspiring in its simple yet meaningful message, this book is an important reminder about the power of the mind. If we simply use our thoughts as tools in working for us rather than weapons against us, Michael shows us how we can truly learn to live out our best lives," said Dana Michelle Cook, Emmy Award winning producer of Girls on the Run.
Readers interested in taking the first step to redefine their lives can visit http://www.michaelmoodyfitness.com/authorchicago/ to find Michael’s book.
About the Author
Michael Moody is the former fitness expert on the Biggest Loser/MSN Chicago tour and the former personal trainer for PBS’s The Whitney Reynolds Show. His weight loss and life-structure programs have helped clients lose more than 2,500 pounds combined while running his successful personal training business, Michael Moody Fitness, since 2005.
Michael has presented over 100 hours on fitness, motivation, body image, and stress at universities, corporations, schools, and workshops. Michael has researched emotion and coping behaviors in university level studies, as well. For more information, including a video trailer for Redefine Yourself produced by Emmy Award winning producer Dana Michelle Cook, please visit the website http://www.michaelmoodyfitness.com.