For those of you that have children, or who have worked with children we know all too well that “Why?” seems like the only word in their vocabulary. For a parent, the 300th “Why?” can make us crazy, but after reading Simon Sinek’s Book, Start with Why, perhaps children are way ahead of the game. Instead of questioning them, “Must you ask why again?” we may think about praising them as they simply try to gain a better understanding of the world around them.
I am looking forward to starting our first Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Book Club. The goal is to focus on books that shed light on some of the most challenging areas of business, leadership, management, marketing and effective communication, just to name a few. I selected Start with Why for two reasons, one because we don’t ask why, typically we start with what. What do I want to do? What do I want to sell? What does my customer want? Second, my goal is to help others ask the right questions so they can discover success. I have learned, that going back to the instinctual question of why, is really the litmus test of feasibility. In other words, asking why may lead to the realization that your product or service needs changing or is simply irrelevant.
When I started my business back in the early 90’s, I innately asked, “Why?” I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to start a fitness business that spoke to the millions of women that were suffering from low self-esteem and unrealistic fitness expectations. But why did I want to start my fitness business? To ensure that women would have a safe place to learn practical health strategies to improve the quality of their life, because they deserve it. Because I knew the why, the how and what came very easily. I knew then and have been affirmed by this book, that asking why is simply the best strategy to create allure and loyalty to your product or service.
In Sinek’s book, he discusses something called the Golden Circle. It’s brilliant. The Golden Circle is in my mind, the best way to start a business plan. It should serve as the foundation of any business decision. However, it can be used personally as well which is what I love about it. Whether you’re looking to start a business, grow a business or start a new life for yourself, starting with why will surely assess the relevance and passion of your goal.
I’m very pleased to announce that Simon Sinek will also be coming to Naperville, May 5th at 7:30 a.m. The event will be hosted by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. We are excited to bring such a visionary to Naperville who has inspired millions of people simply by challenging them to ask, “Why?”
Here’s to never wishing for time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On January 1, 2015 No Comments
My Grandfather always used to say, “It’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new.” As one who loves to learn, I remind myself of this on a daily basis. I try and learn something new every day.
When we celebrate New Year’s many people are reflective, and I am no exception. Although I am not one who regrets, or wishes I’d done something different (after all, we learn best by our mistakes) reflecting on the New Year allows me to take stock of the things I’ve learned and incorporate them in to my life moving forward. Life lessons equate to wisdom, at least that’s my thinking.
I was recently having dinner with a friend who is about 10 years younger than I. We were talking about the aging process and I shared with her, “My 30’s was still about trying to impress people while making everyone happy yet not having a sense of who I was. When you enter your 40’s there’s this surge of confidence where you begin to realize there’s nothing you can’t do, however, wisdom hasn’t settled in yet, so some decisions are questionable. But when you hit 50, it seems like everything finally comes together. 50 brings confidence without arrogance, security without naivete, compassion without pity, insight without assumptions, experiences without expectations and relationships without conditions.
Last year was a year of new beginnings almost every day. I entered a new position without a clear understanding of what I was getting in to. Each day I learned what needed to be done and I set out to get it done. Each day, I realized that I had a choice to play the blame game, or to figure out what I was going to do to turn the ship around. Each day, I got to know the people around me and learn who was ready to go on this ride with me, or those who opted out. Some days were amazingly rewarding, while others were very, very difficult. Fortunately, I have an incredibly supportive Board and staff who believe in my ability to take the potential of the organization and run with it, without looking back.
So, there’s the conundrum, looking back. After all, isn’t that what the New Year is all about? Looking back and reflecting? Well, if you’re looking back to see how far you’ve come as well as lessons learned it’s healthy. If you’re looking back with the attitude of, “shoulda, woulda, coulda”, that will not assist you at all in moving forward. You’ve got to assess and progress. I look back simply to marvel at what life tosses our way and how, more often than not, we can surprise ourselves with what we’re able to handle. And with the things that aren’t handled well, it’s a learning moment, never a regret. Regrets do nothing more than set a roadblock for self-forgiveness.
With all that said, what did I learn this year? Here’s just a few of the many things I learned.
1. Never assume. Life is full of surprises so hone your flexibility skills and move along.
2. Communication is King. Unfortunately, not everyone communicates the same way so the best way to communicate starts with listening.
3. It’s never too late to change something that isn’t working.
4. Trust your gut, most often it’s right. Especially as you get older. (One of many perks of getting older).
5. It’s not how hard you’re working, it’s how much you accomplish.
6. If you trust someone enough to hire them, trust them enough to get the job done. (That’s under delegation 101)
7. Leadership can be lonely, surround yourself with great people. “Being a leader means finding the right solution, not the easy one.”- Kate Stull
8. Always remind your staff that their ideas and insight matters, they forget.
9. Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
10. Working hard doesn’t always mean working smart. Assess your work and ask yourself, “Does this matter? Is it getting me closer to my vision while aligning with my mission?”
I could go on and on with all of the things I learned, or was reminded of that really matter in life. I suppose, aside from the top 10 things I listed, I have to address the many wonderful people I have met. People are amazing and there’s no better learning opportunity than meeting new people and listening to their story. So I suppose, if you’re not learning, perhaps you’re not listening- bonus tip. 😉
Here’s to an amazing 2015.
By Nicki On March 23, 2014 1 Comment
After only 6 weeks in my new position, I hear the voices of my clients from the past (my clients from the fitness world). Client after client would swear that they just didn’t have time to exercise and eating well was near impossible due to eating out for business meetings. I rarely bought it and believed if they wanted it bad enough,they could make the changes.
As I write this, I have become my client. Working 12-14 hour days, my flexible schedule no longer exists as I’ve become a product of work hard, exercise later. This past week as I found myself feeling a little “off” after once again eating out. I now have a much better understanding of my clients challenges. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
You really have to want it. My day starts around 7:15 a.m. or so. If I want to get a workout in, I need to be up at 5:00 a.m. and in the shower by 6:00 a.m. I have chosen to set aside M,W,F as my exercise days, but right now I’m lucky if I hit two of those days. Thank God for Saturday and Sunday, those are my make-up days. I do commit myself to no less than three days of workouts with a feeling of exhilaration if I can make four. Who’d a thought? After 30 years of listening to what I thought were excuses, I now get it. However, I do the best I can knowing that staying committed to my workouts allows me to perform optimally both personally and professionally.
Oh the food. I now average eating out about 7-9 times per week. Additionally, there is always food at the office, not necessarily healthy food. Although I don’t eat any of the left-overs at the office there’s still eating out. I thought I had it under control. I never eat anything fried or processed. I stick to “clean eating” as best as I can, but the bottom line is that restaurant food tastes good for a reason, the secret ingredients whatever they may be. Even in salad there likely lurks something that may not be good for you. After years of eating most all of my meals at home and being largely in control of what I put in my mouth, that has all changed. After this last week of once again feeling “off” after eating out, I’ve realize I simply need to keep the fridge at work stocked with healthy food. When eating out, make it minimal such as a side salad, or small bowl of soup (ugh the sodium) and then come back to the office and eat what’s in the fridge. P.S. Why do hotels that have fixed menus think when you order vegetarian it means pasta and cheese? Just throw a bunch of veggies on a plate and I’m happy. Interesting perception.
Breakfast is still the most important meal. Because my time is crunched, I’ve been grabbing a Larabar with some fruit. I was used to better quality such as oatmeal, eggs, green smoothies, leftovers from dinner. I need to get back to that.
The weather has sucked. There is no doubt (I’m sure psychologists have research on this) that a long, cold, snowy winter changes food cravings along with the desire to exercise. Oddly enough, during the time of year when we need it the most, we don’t do it. Guilty as charged. I do hope once summer hits things will change. I live four blocks from work and have walked to work a total of one, yes ONE time. Why? Weather along with meetings where I need my car. It stinks. Once the weather shifts (if it ever does) I will get back to walking.
At the end of 6 weeks, here’s what I’ve discovered. As a country we don’t design life around healthy living, we design it around convenience which means too much fast-food and too little exercise. For years I believed that no matter how busy your life, you can and must make time for health. I still believe that however, my reality has altered. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.
- So how about you? Do you squeeze in the time to care for your health or do you find that it’s just too hard? If it’s the latter, I feel your pain, but do what you can to make it work, even if it’s just a few short walks here and there. Let’s not let work trump our quality of life, it’s short enough as it is!
Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On February 8, 2014 4 Comments
A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity for a new job. The challenge is that I was working a couple of other jobs and making my own schedule. This made the idea of a 9 to 5 j-o-b less than appealing. When this position became available, a few people reached out and told me I’d be perfect for the role. I highly doubted I was their ideal candidate. However, my curious nature nudged me into researching the position more thoroughly. The more I learned and read, the more I realized that perhaps this was that time in my life where I had an incredible opportunity to marry my passion with my purpose. However, the 9 to 5 idea was far from tempting and I remained skeptical.
I loved my life, after 20 years of business ownership, I was able to create my own schedule. I could either accept or turn down freelance jobs and my time was completely my own. I was able to spend the entire summer gardening and cooking, running on a whim, (versus getting up at 5:30 to get it in before work), and actually having friends over to enjoy a leisurely dinner. I loved it. But the truth is, I had this pull in my gut to seek out every opportunity that came my way.
I don’t do well when I’m not seeking out or fulfilling my purpose. Although I dove in with freelance work and volunteering with two of my favorite charities, I still grew restless. The idea of sleeping in every morning didn’t appeal to me, a loosey-goosey schedule didn’t go well with my ADD and I found myself desperately seeking out “my place.”
Over 20 years ago I had a dream to start a business. I remember not sleeping at night just thinking about bringing my dream to fruition. My purpose and passion was crystal clear, I loved inspiring people and felt I was pretty good at it. I took the dreams and turned them in to reality and before I knew it, I had a thriving personal training business with staff and great clients. I was able to travel all over the world and share my insight on how to start or grow a business. I loved doing that. Talking to entrepreneurs and assuring them that with hard work, clear vision and excellent customer service, you can’t lose.
I have always said that as long as I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead, I’m on the right track and in my place. A few years ago I woke up and I didn’t want to get up. In almost 17 years that had never happened. I knew something was amiss. It was like realizing you’re in a relationship that’s no longer working, it takes a long time to admit it and then do something about it. That’s exactly what happened to m e. I somehow felt guilty about not loving my business anymore. But I had also realized that I did what I came to do and now it was time to walk away and leave room for someone else. Fortunately, that someone else showed up and took over my business allowing me to go out and find my next place.
It took me almost 2 years to find my place. Steve Jobs sums it up. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
Looking back and connecting the dots pointed to this new position. All those years of giving business lectures to hopeful entrepreneurs. All those years of consulting and assuring weary business owners that failure sometimes happens, but it simply gives you what you need to build stronger and avoid the same mistakes. All those years learning the importance of networking and business building. These were all dots connecting me to this position. It became very clear that this position was to be my new place.
As of February 2, 2014 I took on my new role as President/CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. You might wonder why that after y ears of fitness? Check t his out for a better idea. But the truth is once I decided to accept this position, quiet confidence became my best friend. Typically women focus on the doubt and miss all the possibilities. As the first woman CEO of this organization, you can bet I went forward with trepidation. I also went forward with excitement and when people asked, “Why?” I simply responded, “Why not?”
I have written more than once about the beauty of hitting your 50’s. In our 50’s we’re more willing to take chances (which seems ironic), we’re more confident in our abilities, we are better able to listen versus trying to constantly get our two cents in. And, we easily walk away from things that offer us little in the way of positive growth.
I just finished my first week in my new position. There were some amazing things as well as some tough decisions. But I’m up for the challenge and most importantly I have found my place. Every day I get to advocate on behalf of business owners, big and small. I get to find ways to help make other people successful. That is truly my purpose and I am passionate about moving that purpose forward.
Some people search forever to find their place, but very often that place is where it’s been all along, in our heart and mind. It’s taking what’s in your heart, combining in it with your intellect and creating magic. I see all to clearly now how my dots connect and I am happy to say that I really like my new place.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On January 6, 2014 6 Comments
O.K, I have to admit that every January I cringe when I see the ads for weight loss. The miracles abound and the “real” answer to weight loss woes are simply a click away. Too much belly fat? There’s a program for that. Excess holiday weight gain? There’s a drink for that. Get abs of steel with 4 simple steps. My response to all of those secrets to success is bull$&@*! After 30 years in the health and fitness industry I ask that you read the rest of this post knowing that what I’m sharing with you is fact. No hype, nothing earth shattering simply the honest to goodness truth about weight loss, why people are overweight and ultimately what the ONLY solution is.
First, let it be said that I made the conscious decision to sell my fitness business and walk away from the industry after 30 years. I was fried, frustrated and felt it was time to move on and find my passion and purpose somewhere else. I’m sharing that with you so that you understand I have no ulterior motives other than to motivate you to walk away from any “too good to be true” ads and prevent you from parting with good money for bad solutions. So, here we go.
1. Diets don’t work, period. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all lost weight on them, self included but for the long-term they do not work. What works is CHANGING your diet. Each day,bit by bit, small change by small change.
2. Say good-bye to fried food, fast food and fake food. You can’t expect to make these changes over night, but I can assure you, if you get rid of the 3-f’s your body will respond in kind, i.e. you’ll drop some lbs. and feel significantly better.
3. Ignore the television ads and 3 minute solutions in magazines. Here is what you should always remember, if there were truly a drug, vitamin, piece of equipment that really helped you lose weight successfully, it would be on every news program, on the front of newspapers, etc. There isn’t one so the next time you see an ad that shares “Millions of people have already bought our product and been successful” they’re likely lying.
4. Here are the ONLY things you need to know to reach a healthy weight, reclaim your health and potentially get off of medication: Eat less, move every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes), drink more water, limit alcohol, get a decent amount of sleep and love yourself. That’s it, that’s the secret, that’s the miracle.
Books, magazines and ads can spin weight loss any way they want to, but the truth is #4 is the ultimate solution. Of course, your expectations need to be in line with your lifestyle. In other words, if you like having that occasional glass of vino, you know that exercise daily may not happen and you still love your Friday night pizza, don’t expect miracles. But if you’re still eating better, drinking more water, moving more consciously (even if it’s getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to grab a drink of water) you’ll be ahead of the game by years end.
O.K. I feel better. Do you?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it. Happy 2014!!
By Nicki On December 8, 2013 2 Comments
I live in Chicago, a very long way from South Africa. About four years ago I had the privilege of visiting South Africa and it was there that I learned a lot more about this incredible warrior and liberator, Nelson Mandela.
I’m embarrassed to admit that in 1993, I was so busy raising my children and starting my business I didn’t pay close attention to Mandela’s greatest milestone, fighting for and guaranteeing full rights for all black citizens. When I visited in 2009 there was no sign (to me) of apartheid. People compare Nelson Mandela with Martin Luther King, Jr. for their unwavering efforts to give all people of color the right to live freely in a country that touts justice and liberty for all.
With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela I couldn’t help but think back on some of the amazing forces that have fought for human rights and inspired me. Going as far back as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and of course Rosa Parks. There is Desmond Tutu and one of the more recent, young activists for human rights, Malala Youzafzai.
The common denominator amongst this group of individuals, (yes I know there are many more), is leadership. Taking the risk for something they believe in and doing whatever it takes to bring justice to fruition. These individuals took the helm at a time where death was always a potential outcome yet never wavered from their convictions. Compassion is also a strong part of their DNA. Because of their personal struggles, they rose above to save others from the same fate. Humbles me just thinking about it. Risking ones life to save another.
I have always been drawn to those individuals that lead with integrity, honesty and passion. It is empowering to see that because of people who dared to dream and take the risks to make it a reality our world is a better place.
There is no doubt Nelson Mandela has touched an infinite number of lives, mine included. How lucky for those that knew him personally. He was a force to be reckoned with if he wanted change yet he was a consummate peacemaker. How one can combine those qualities and create the changes he has can only be explained as extraordinary.
My feeble attempt at honoring a man who is responsible for positively changing so many lives is shared below. Please enjoy some of my favorite quotes by not only Nelson Mandela, but the others who also fought for the rights of so many. As a mom, woman, business owner, community advocate, and volunteer these quotes and many others, have helped me become a better person.
“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” -NM
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – NM
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” MLK
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” MLK
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” AL
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” – AL
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – FD
“Without struggle there is no success” – FD
“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. ” – RP
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – RP
“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” – DT
“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.” – DT
“I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” – MY
“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.” – MY
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On November 9, 2013 4 Comments
It was almost 20 years ago when I started reading about the dangers of consuming foods containing trans fat. I was raised in the age of Crisco and fake butters. My Grandmother used Crisco freely knowing that as long as it was homemade it was good for you. That’s what the ads said, so it must be true.
This week the FDA made it official, trans fats are in fact bad for your health. Well, it’s preliminary, so we’ll have to wait for a solid decision. ‘sigh’
By the time I started studying nutrition, I discovered some of the foods that I fed my children were in fact harmful to their health. Wait, you mean to tell me that fruit roll-ups aren’t made with real fruit? And, McDonalds isn’t serving my family good-for-you foods? Outrageous I tell you!
Yep, when I started digging in to the truth behind the foods being pushed, advertised and promoted to our country and kids, I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how it was o.k. to push food that clearly caused heart disease, obesity and diabetes. I understand all too well now, M-O-N-E-Y.
Given that smoking (though it took years) is finally recognized as dangerous and banned in restaurants and the workplace, it seems foods that cause death and disease should have the same red flags. But you know and I know there’s not only money to be made in the world of food, the pharmaceutical companies are making out like bandits.
Do you know that the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that advertise prescription drugs on television and in magazines? And we wonder why prescription drugs are so ridiculously expensive. Don’t blame the pharmacies, blame the big advertising pharmaceutical budgets.
Any way, back to trans fats. So this week, the FDA as made a preliminary decision that a major source of trans fats– partially hydrogenated oils– is no longer “generally recognized as safe.” Apparently, if the preliminary decision is deemed final, than foods cannot contain partially hydrogenated oils without approval. In my humble opinion, if a food is not safe, what would ever constitute approval?
If you look at any snack food, basically anything in a box, anything processed it will contain trans fat. And beware of labels touting “No Trans fats” as there is a formula that companies can get away with and still use trans fat. Although over the last few years, manufacturers and restaurants have made small strides in reducing trans fats in their food, it’s still out there and it’s still a health concern.
I have to go back to what I’ve been preaching for a long time. The closer your food is to nature, the healthier it will be for you. Frozen fruits and veggies are fine for those that don’t have access to fresh. And there are plenty of healthy options for busy, on-the-go people.
Read your labels and start cutting out processed foods in your diet. The truth is that our country, a very advanced, smart country is extremely unhealthy. Poor diet is the norm. After 30 years in the fitness industry, I saw the bodies of women change. I saw their health issues change and I feel very strongly that it was mostly food related.
Just like smoking, the truth is finally coming out about trans fat. For years the nutrition experts have warned against consuming trans fats and they were dismissed as fanatics.
When things sound too good to be true, they often are. “Eat all you want and don’t gain weight. Cookies that are only 10 calories each! 100 calorie snack packs.” All of those likely carry trans fats and are not a natural source of food that your body can digest and utilize properly.
There are some great websites to learn more about healthy nutrition. Remember, changing your diet doesn’t mean deprivation. It means paying attention to the foods that work well with your body and make you stronger and healthier. The current American diet only serves to weaken our body and house disease. You can be a catalyst for change not only for yourself but for future generations.
What do you think?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!
By Nicki On October 24, 2013 6 Comments
Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape. But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body. For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.
At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.
So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry, the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.
1. It’s too time consuming
2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.
3. It’s too hard
4. I don’t get results
5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.
Here is my response to the above.
1. It’s too time consuming. According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job! Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.” Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.
2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70’s and 80’s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move.
3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t. Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.
4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better. Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise. I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise.
5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health. Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.
Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.
There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.
Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.
By Nicki On September 30, 2013 14 Comments
My friend and I were out for breakfast the other day and we started talking about the importance of self-care. We discussed friends our age that due to self-care negligence are suffering from a number of maladies. We then discussed the perception by others that just because we both work out doesn’t mean we love it, it simply means we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.
After 20 plus years in the fitness industry I saw my share of clients who suffered with a number of preventable diseases most common, high blood pressure and diabetes. The truth is that for many of them (other than Type 1 clients) the diseases were 100% preventable. 100%! Yet, after years of neglect, the body begins to shut down and many feel it’s too late to intervene. It’s never too late.
I was never an athlete. I wasn’t raised being active and never did much of anything until at the young age of 16 I found myself 50 plus pounds overweight. I started reading and implementing what I learned about nutrition and exercise. One year later, I lost the extra weight and never felt better.
The hardest part of being or becoming a healthy weight is maintenance. I can say with certainty that the way I felt 50 pounds heavier, versus the way I felt after, set the stage for a lifelong dedication to exercise and eating well. To this day, I continue learning. There are also plenty of times I need to push myself to exercise, like now I should be running, I’m writing. I’ll go, I’ll go.
Along the way I’ve picked up some nuggets that help me stay on track and get my butt out of bed on those mornings where my toasty bed begs me to stay. See if some of these may help you.
1. We all want to feel good. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet feels good.
2. We all want to look good. There is no doubt that exercise and a healthy diet result in looking vibrant and well.
3. We all want to fully engage in our lives. I have seen too many people avoid certain situations because their weight kept them from participating. Life is too short and the older you get the more you realize it. Becoming engaged starts with becoming active.
4. We all have moments where we just don’t want to. There are times when you need to accept you don’t want to and move on or times you need to kick yourself in the arss and just do it! You need to understand the difference between giving your body a day of rest or giving up on your body.
5. Unrealistic expectations are the undoing of many well intentioned exercisers. None of us, no matter how we exercise will ever have a perfect body, ever. So what? Exercising automatically kicks up self-confidence. When you move more you feel better about yourself. Let that be enough. It’s not a competition.
6. Have fun. For the love of God, find something you enjoy. And don’t say, “There’s nothing I like.” If you say that it’s because you haven’t found it yet. Maybe you don’t like crowds, so stop joining a gym. Maybe you don’t like exercise clothing, don’t wear it. You don’t like running? Biking? Swimming? Then don’t. There’s plenty, literally hundreds of options. Create a list, try everything, dancing,. martial arts, hiking, whatever. Find something. If you can’t, call me, we’ll talk.
7. Make the most out of your life. The truth is that if you really, really want to feel your best, you must care for yourself the best. No one can take better care of you than you! So many people give, give, give and forget themselves in the mix of things. Carve out some me time, even if it means 15 minutes of stretching before bed. You will limit the quality of your life if you don’t take care of yourself, period.
8. Find a role model. My role model is a gorgeous woman who is likely now in her 70’s and has been an active woman since I met her over 20 years ago. She’s always got a smile on her face, a kind thought to share and is regularly active. She’s impressive. I want to be her when I’m her age.
9. Be a role model. If any would have ever told me that someday I’d be a mentor for exercise I would have laughed, a lot. By changing your life, you may inspire someone else. Trust me, if you’re struggling with eating well and getting active, there are likely people around you who struggle with the same. Be the change, start the movement and watch the lives you can change, beginning with you.
10 Set a dream activity. Ever wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro? Go on a safari in South Africa? Bike Australia? Participate in a fundraising walk? Create the steps to make it happen. It will be so cool when you do. I know because I’ve done it.
I hope this helps if you’re at a crossroads with getting yourself on a healthy track. Please don’t wait until January 1st, because statistically those resolutions are short lived. Baby steps today, climbing mountains tomorrow, why not?
Here’s to never wishing for more hours in a day, rather making the most of them!
By Nicki On September 11, 2013 11 Comments
Let’s stop the whining and the “its not fair”, and get on with it!
When I was raising my kids there was this disturbing culture in children’s sports, everyone wins. As a young, naive Mom I went along with it. No matter what happened during a game, no matter who screwed up, everybody got a trophy or ribbon. WTH?
If there is one thing I regret as a parent it was raising my kids with the everybody wins BS. What a disservice to my kids and all of the other kids that grew up believing no matter what, they will always win. Wow. And some people freak out about the Santa Clause myth.
A friend of mine recently shared a link (if you’re offended by foul language I encourage you to let it go and read it), it inspired this blog. Reading it I was reminded of two things. First, I wished I raised my kids with the understanding that there are winners and losers and there is a direct correlation between the actions of both.
Second, winners know failure is part of the success equation and they take failure as a lesson versus their fate. Losers give up based on the belief that failure is their fate.
Personally, I, we, can get awfully comfortable. When I do that I forego my innate desire to push forward and make an impact, a big one. This article reminded me to re-energize, re-focus and hop back on that horse. These two words jumped out, giving me a much needed swift kick to the head. Bitter vs. motivated, wow. The writer went on to say, “….largely determines whether or not you’ll succeed in the world.”
Think about it. All those kids raised to believe they automatically win are likely bitter that the world didn’t deliver. Hopefully there are those that escaped never-never land and realized you win when you exhaust all avenues and continue full speed ahead. They also likely recognize failures even if they briefly divert their efforts as simply lessons in what not to do and move forward.
I think success is also a matter of action versus reaction. Winners constantly take action willing to risk failure because they know its temporary. Losers react to the negative letting it permeate their psyche ultimately stifling growth of any kind.
Aside from getting a good laugh at Lenny Kravitz’s expense, this article made me think and inspired me to do what I do best, full speed ahead, filling voids, making a difference with ‘ner a thought of the f-word – failure, just to clarify.
If we look at the 18-30 year old kids that we raised with the “everyone wins” mindset, they were set up for failure. For those that have figured it out and moved onward and upward, good on you. For those that haven’t here’s my advice:
1.Read the article again.
2. After you read the article, stop making excuses for your failures and recognize and embrace your talents, perfect them, find a void and fill it, keep pressing on.
3. Remember the only way one can win is to rid themselves of the belief that everyone wins just because. It’s that thinking that will hold you back and prevent you from being an authentic winner as a result of hard work, focus and the desire to positively impact your world. You don’t just get to win, you have to earn it.
Do you think success is a right or a privilege?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.