Moving Forward without Resolutions

You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!-Dr. Seuss

The new year is upon us. Where will you go in 2018? While many people are focused on “new years resolutions,” I suggest you focus on painting a picture of what your life looks like if you “had it all.” Begin by asking, “What do I want for my life?” Instead of resolutions, this exercise is about exploring your dreams. It’s about being your best possible self. “Possible selves encompass all of our imaginable futures for ourselves” (King, 2001). Remove all the barriers you are facing and write out your vision in first person as if it’s happening now. A sample sentence might be, “I exercise daily and choose foods that nourish my body.” Another example, “I travel to places I’ve never been before and feel the excitement every time I step off the plane.”

How would your journey unfold if nothing was standing in the way? A clear and consise vision “enhances well-being and increases hope” (King, 2001). A vision that is internally linked to your desires will help to connect your goals with internal vs external motivators… setting you up for success in achieving future goals. Vision’s can be done in writing or with imagery on a vision board.

There was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do, determined to save the only life you could save. -Excerpt from The Journey by Mary Oliver

Lets remember, January 1 is nothing but another day. You get to choose when and where you will begin to change. Don’t fall into the trap that you can only change your life on New Years Day. Today is your day. Tomorrow can be your day. Regardless of the day, you have to determine you’re ready and willing to live out the vision you have for your life. Once you’ve determined you’re ready, post the vision where you will read it daily, gather your most positive supporters, share your vision with them, and start with small steps… SMART weekly goals. Little by little you’ll get there!

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains. -Dr. Seuss

If you need help writing a Wellness Vision, please let me know. Feel free to email me a kwiesmann@inspireonewellness.com.

References

King, L. (2001). The health benefits of writing about life goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 798-807.

In Case You Missed It…

In case you missed days 5-9 of the Connection Challenge, I wanted to wrap it up here. Days 1-4 included:

  • Make Eye Contact
  • Use Small Touches
  • Write a Thank You Card
  • Restate What You Heard

These were all ways of connecting deeper with those you love. You can read them in more detail under “Latest Wellness Articles.”

Days 5-9 included:

  • Make Time to Get Together:
  • Listen with an Open Mind
  • Remove Technology
  • Feel Others Joy
  • Express Emotion

Details on Days 5-9 can be found on my social media platforms. On Instagram @inspireonewellness and on Facebook at InspireOneWellness.

Incorporating each of these ideas into your relationships will help you deepen the connection with those you love and cherish. Try it today!

 

Connection Challenge Day 4

#connectionchallenge Day 4: Listen and Restate

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To connect deeply in your relationships you have to really listen. In order to listen well, use eye contact (see previous post). Don’t think about what you want to say in your response. Focus instead on the words the person is saying. See and feel their emotion. Once they are done speaking, pause, and restate what they said.

For example, you might say, “so, I heard you say this has been difficult for you.” Or, “Wow, it sounds like you are really excited about this new venture you’re talking about.” Try slightly reframing what the person said. This makes sure you understood what they said and they feel heard.

I challenge you to make someone feel special today. Really listen to them by restating what you heard.

#livewell #connect #connection #relationships #kindness #listenwell #mindfulness #tryittoday #connecttoday

Connection Challenge Day 3

#connectionchallenge Day 3: Handwrite a Thank You Card

ThankYou.png

To connect on a deeper level, people need to feel they are appreciated. A handwritten thank you note to someone you care about is a great way to show you are grateful for their presence in your life.

You never know how such simple words can impact the person on the receiving end. It can also impact you more than you think. Researchers at Indiana University found people who wrote letters expressing thanks to someone “had more gratitude-related brain activity” than those who hadn’t practiced being grateful.

Research has shown people who express their gratitude are happier, healthier and have more energy. People who say thank you are more resilient and show signs of more impulse control. Therefore, I challenge you to put pen to paper and with honesty and sincerity, write out the words you’ve been meaning to tell someone.

For more times when you should say “Thank You” check out James Clear’s article:

http://jamesclear.com/say-thank-you

#livewell #relationships #connection #thankyou #gratitude

Connection Challenge Day 2

lighttouch
#connectionchallege Day 2: To connect with someone today offer a light touch on the arm or shoulder. Or offer a hug. Kiss or hold hands with your significant other.

From the moment we are born we experience touch. Touch connects the newborn to his mother. Touch can soothe a crying child. Touch can create intimacy between a couple. There is an actual physiological response that goes on inside the body when touched.

Research has shown that we are wired to communicate emotions through touch. We are more compassionate and non-violent when we experience appropriate touch. Touch can decrease stress. Hugs have been shown to lower blood pressure. There is an actual physiological response to touch.

Remember personal space and boundaries when offering a light touch. Think about who you are connecting with and whether or not the touch is appropriate.

Connect with someone today you care about by offering a light touch. Whether it’s kissing your spouse goodbye, holding your child’s hand or touching a friends hand to offer your support.

#livewell #connect #connection #relationships #kindness #thepoweroftouch #reachoutandtouchsomeone #peace #tryittoday #nonviolentcommunication #connecttoday

Connection Challenge

For the next 12 days, I’ll be offering tips to help you connect on a deeper level with those you are close to. We should practice connection daily, but the holidays highlight our need to feel close to those in our inner circle. December 12, marks the first day of the challenge. See below.

connection

#connectionchallege
Day 1: Today, practice looking people in the eye during conversation, giving the other person your complete attention.

Dr. Furnham notes, “Where, when, and how we look at others are all part of the phenomenon of eye gaze, one of our most important and primitive means of communication.” Eye contact allows you to see the other persons reactions, gestures, and emotional state. Carol Gonman says, “As a general rule, direct eye contact ranging from 30% to 60% of the time during conversation- more when you are listening, less when you are speaking – should make for a more comfortable, productive atmosphere.”

Eye contact also allows the other person to feel seen and feel as though they have your attention. Studies tend to show the greater the eye contact the closer the relationship. Connect today by practicing eye contact.

 

5 Qualities Every Weight Loss Individual Needs

I recently listened to my daughter’s soccer coach discuss the upcoming tryouts for the fall season. As he spoke, his words resonated with me. As a Personal Trainer, who has dealt with many weight loss clients over the years, I found that losing weight is a tough journey to tackle. It’s not just hitting the gym, but exploring the struggles with food and learning to live in a completely different way. Coach Mark’s words connected with me because they are precisely what a weight loss individual needs to take on their journey ahead.

The 5 Qualities Every Weight Loss Individual Needs

  1. Skills – You need to learn the necessary skills for weight loss. These skills will become your toolbox you can carry around with you for the rest of your life. Working with a Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian can help you develop the skills in the gym for strength training, flexibility, balance, ways to be active outside the gym and healthier eating habits. If you don’t have the necessary skills to move forward, your journey will be that much tougher.
  2. Attitude – You have to have a positive attitude if you are going to make the decision to lose weight. You also have to have the attitude that you are ready for a change. The weight loss journey is extremely difficult. You’ll be asked to change habits that are ingrained in you. There will be ups and downs. A positive attitude, with the drive to change, will help you make it through the rough spots. The Mayo Clinic notes there are many health benefits that come with a positive attitude. Their staff says,

    “One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It’s also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.”

  3. Effort – Effort is defined as exertion of physical or mental power. Weight loss will require both physical and metal power. You have to be ready to put forth the effort to make changes in your life. Without effort, your likely to slip back into old habits. Be prepared to work hard along this journey.
  4. Grit – My daughter’s coach described grit as “working hard when everything around you is going wrong.” The dictionary defines it as “indomitable spirit.” This is POWERFUL, not only for weight loss but life itself. Possessing grit can get you through the toughest times in life. Athletes need grit to get to the top of their sport. And weight loss clients need it to get through tough workouts, to battle food issues and keep them moving forward when they face setbacks. This is one quality you need to dig deep to find.
  5. Coachable – This may be one of the most important qualities you need to acquire/possess to take on your weight loss journey…being coachable. Weight loss takes a team effort. You need the support of your family and friends. As I mentioned above, it’s also beneficial to have a Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian in the beginning to help you develop the necessary skills and coach you through the process. If you aren’t coachable, you’re going to have a hard time moving forward through this journey. Laura Probert, MPT notes,

    “If you’re any kind of person who wishes to grow, learn, improve, excel or peak perform, you should care about whether or not you’re coachable. In other words, being coachable relates to a happy, productive life. It means you’re ready to do what it takes to change, transform, improve or excel, whatever that means for you and your situation.

    Laura’s words hit the nail on the head. To lose weight, you have to do what it takes to “change, transform, improve and excel.”

The weight loss journey is just that… it’s a lifelong journey. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, habits aren’t formed overnight and progress is slow. But, the journey is worth it. You can look forward to a life where you have energy, move well, have confidence and experience excitement to try new things. With a lighter load, life becomes more livable. I hope you’ll explore these qualities and work on building them into our life as you take that first step to losing weight!

Please let me know how your journey is going or what qualities you think should be added to this list.

Life is Hard, Let’s Sprinkle it with Hope

Life is HARD… Let me say that again, Life is H-A-R-D! When we are children, life is littered with toys, cartoons, sweetness, dreams and fun. As we get older, we began to see that bad things can happen to us and not everyone is nice and looking out for our best interest. We have to struggle to maintain our identities, our health, our relationships, our physical fitness…to be honest, we have to work hard at just about everything as the years go on. Ok, so this post is starting to sound bleak, but this is not about the scary parts of life, but more of how to get through them. I think HOPE may be the answer.

I recently came across this quote by Rob Bell.

Ultimately our gift to the world around us is hope. Not blind hope that pretends everything is fine and refuses to acknowledge how things are. But the kind of hope that comes from staring pain and suffering right in the eyes and refusing to believe that this is all there is. It is what we all need…HOPE that comes not from going around suffering but from going through it.

Wow! The last line kind of blew me away. “HOPE that comes not from going around suffering but from going through it.” We tend to want to avoid the bad and that’s okay, when we’re talking about running out into traffic or driving without a seat belt. But often times we just need to face what’s ahead with hope.

Dictionary.com defines Hope as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Brene Brown said, “Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act.”

As kids we are full of hope. We truly believe anything is possible. But, we lose that belief at some point in adulthood. What if we could take off our adult blinders and sprinkle hope throughout our day, our months, our lives? What if we believed in our own abilities and what we wanted would turn out for the best? Wouldn’t life be a lot easier? I think so. I hope so!

Take some time this week to journal or meditate on the following questions to help you bring hope back into your life:

  1. What did I hope for as a child? What do I hope for now?
  2. What am I struggling with?
  3. How can hope help me push through my struggles instead of avoiding them?
  4. What can my life look like after this (the struggle) is over?
  5. What activities bring me joy, which can ignite hope?

Take time to reflect after you complete this activity. My hope is you’ll find the way to add those “sprinkles” back into your life!

Are High Expectations Zapping Our Joy? (repost)

 

NOTE: This is a recent post I did for Emmanuel Church at www.eclife.org

I once had a therapist tell me I needed to lower my expectations if I wanted to find peace in a work situation. I’ve pondered this thought for quite sometime. Aren’t we taught to have high expectations in everything we do in life? How could we possibility dare to lower our expectations? Was this guy crazy?

Google defines expectation as “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” From the time we are born, our parents place expectations upon us. Soon, expectations arrive from our teachers, our friends, our spouse, our church, ourselves…The list can go on and on. Every expectation, asking us to do more or reach a ceiling we may never be able to, setting us up for failure, sadness, frustration, guilt and shame. Anne Lamott said, “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” Have you ever felt resentment in your life because of an unmet expectation? I know I have.

It’s not that I feel expectations are bad. Expectations can motivate us and inspire us to do better. But, if we don’t look at them with a realistic eye, they can shatter our hopes and dreams. Brene Brown describes expectations this way:

The way to address this is to be up-front about our expectations by taking the time to reality-check what we’re expecting and why. Expectations often coast along under our radar, making themselves known only after they have bombed something we had high hopes for into the rubble.

We’ve all seen relationships crumble after expectations weren’t met. We’ve seen children fall into despair when they felt they couldn’t reach their parents expectations. Expectations can be a dangerous threat to our happiness if we don’t rein them in. Jen Hatmaker described her busy life colliding with expectation in her book, “For the Love.” She notes,

This is beyond unreasonable. It is destructive. We no longer assess our lives with accuracy. We have lost the ability to declare a job well-done. We measure our performance against an invented standard and come up wanting, and it is destroying our joy. No matter how hard we work or excel in an area or two, it never feels like enough.

I truly believe God would not want us to live our life this way. Proverbs 19:20 states, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails.”

I challenge you to move forward with close examination of your current expectations. I’m not asking you to live a life without goals or dreams. But to live a life where expectations don’t control the way you love others or yourself. I challenge you to pray to God to release you from past expectations that went unmet. Start today fresh, with a clean slate. Feel bold and bright knowing that God’s purpose will be your life guide not the expectations placed upon you.

 

Taking the Next Step? Let’s Make Sure There’s a Path Ahead!

*This is Part III of the Series “Your Path to Wellness”

You’ve decided to get healthy! You’ve decided to make a change! So, you’ve explored your inner desires, you’ve done your vision board, you’ve written out your Wellness Vision and now we’re going to make sure there is a path to get there. I want to make sure you’re stepping on stones, not randomly walking in the dirt. Now is the time to move into Goal Setting! If you haven’t already read Part I and Part II of this series, please do so before moving on.

Train yourself to begin the habit of prioritizing the replenishing streams that breathe life into your soul and leave your bucket filled. ~Bill Hybels

Goal setting allow us to set a guiding path to our destination. Goals direct our attention, help us measure progress, energize the push in a positive direction and give us momentum to move forward.

In Wellness Coaching, I would typically help you set 3 month goals, but for this article, we’ll discuss weekly goal setting. Click Here for a goal setting sheet you can utilize each week.

To begin with, review your Wellness Vision. Ask yourself, “Where would I like to focus?” or “What specific changes to I want to see?” Start by setting 2-4 goals per week. This is a manageable range. Follow these steps:

  1. Once you have your focus, write your goal down in the SMART format – Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timely. Examples include: I will meditate for 15 minutes, 3 times this week at 9:00 a.m. I will exercise for 30 minutes on the treadmill, 5 days this week.
  2. Review your goals for challenges and/or barriers. As you examine these, begin to strategize on how to overcome them as they arise, because problems come up. Be prepared!
  3. Think about who will support you in this goal and who will hold you accountable. Jot this down.
  4. Use positive language.
  5. Consider your drives, desires, motivators, values and beliefs. Ultimately, these are what’s going to allow you to make changes that will last a lifetime, not just a few weeks.
  6. Finally, ask yourself “How confident am I on a scale of 1-10 that I will succeed at this goal?” If you aren’t above a 7 on the scale, reconsider and revise your goal so you are more likely to succeed.

As you complete your goals for the week, post them with your Wellness Vision. Each morning, spend a few minutes reviewing them and visualizing their completion. If you don’t complete a goal 100% by the end of the week, regroup and reset. Invoke self-compassion and move forward the next week.

A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life. ~Dr. Christopher Germer

Repeat this process of goal setting weekly. Always keep your Wellness Vision at the forefront. You can revise your goals or set brand new ones as long as you remain connected to the process and zoned in on where you’re headed. Have an awesome week! I’ll be rooting for your success!

Any questions, feel free to email me at kwiesmann@inspireonewellness.com.