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Archive for the tag “Challenge”

The path to success: a leap of faith and a whole lot of trust

leap of faithTrust is something I have been thinking about a lot of late. When you really think about it, all of us exercise varying levels of trust every day. We trust that our train will get us to work without incident.  We trust that the school will take good care of our kids.

Without trust, we would probably spend most of our days incapacitated with worry.

Obviously, there are varying degrees of trust. Yet the ability to trust seems to be related to the consequences of the trust being broken, or the likelihood of something going wrong.

For example, if you trust that a chair will hold your weight, and it doesn’t, then the repercussions are likely to be fairly minor — maybe some bumps and bruises and a bruised ego to boot. So it’s a risk worth taking.

However, one thing that I have realised, is that it can be a lot harder to trust ourselves than to trust other people. Yet in order to begin to trust ourselves, we sometimes need someone to believe in us first.

About seven weeks ago, I completed a 12-week body transformation. It was a fantastic 12-weeks (overall). There were times when I wanted to throw in the towel and just blob on the couch and eat ice-cream. There were times when I really didn’t want to get up at 4.50am to get to the gym for my workout. There were even times when I wanted to quit because I couldn’t see any changes happening, no matter how hard I was working out and how spot on my nutrition was.

So in order to keep going, I began to trust more. I stopped thinking and analysing and began to trust the process. I trusted the advice my trainer Mel, was giving me, especially when it came to nutrition. I trusted my body would respond if I kept following the plan. And during my training sessions, I trusted my partner to ‘spot me’, especially when I was lifting weights where I knew the likelihood of getting out all my reps was low. Trust was becoming more important the further we got into the challenge.

The most important person I had to trust in, was myself.

Trusting in ourselves is sometimes easier said than done. Too often we doubt our abilities and our intuition, only to find that if we trusted in ourselves in the first place, we would have been a lot better off. Often this inability to trust ourselves can render us paralysed with fear, rooted to the spot, afraid to take the next step.

I clearly remember a training session towards the end of the challenge. Six of us were in various stages trying to master three sets of 12 push-ups on our toes. When Mel found out that I could already do a full three sets she told me to get a weight and put it on my back.

“What! A weight?,” I thought. “How much?,” I asked, expecting her to say 1-2kg.

“5 kilos,” she said.

“5 kilos? That’s heavy!” I said in shock.

“There are heavier ones,” she countered.

So off I went to get the 5kg weight plate, pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to do one push-up with that extra weight on my back. After all, push-ups on my toes had taken a while to achieve. Besides, push-ups were always the last thing in our training sessions, and I had already increased my weights for every exercise. I didn’t trust my body’s ability to push much further than I had.

“Even if you only get out three or four,” said Mel. “Just try it!”

So the weight went on my back. And I began to push them out. 1-2-3-4-5-

“Keep going,” said Mel.

6-7

“Keep going”

8-9-10

“keep going”

11-…

And then I collapsed, ecstatic but shocked that I had done so many.

I then went on to do another two sets of 12 push-ups with that 5kg plate on my back.

My trust in myself (and my body) was restored because Mel, whom I trusted when it came to exercise and training, believed that I could do it. She felt it was safe for me to attempt it. She also gave me permission to ‘fail’ at getting the full set out, yet encouraged me to keep going in my attempt to get my push-ups out.

Somewhere along the line, we all need people like that. Someone who can see the potential in us that we often fail to see. Someone to help us believe in ourselves when we find it difficult. Someone to encourage us to ‘have a go’. Someone to be there beside us to support us and cheer us. Someone whom we can rely upon to help us out if things go wrong. Someone to say ‘it’s okay if you fail’. Someone you can trust.

success isn't linearThe road to success is never smooth sailing. It’s a bit like a dance where you take some steps forward and some steps back. Sometimes your steps take you back to the start and sometimes they go way off course. At times your steps may be stumbles and may cause you to fall. And depending upon the dance, you may need to take a giant leap of faith.

However, if you have someone beside you guiding your steps, picking you up when you fall, believing in you and giving you the confidence to take that leap of faith, then your chances of success are that much higher.

The question you need to ask is: “Do I have someone like that in my life?”

If you don’t have someone like that…

I don’t wish this blog to sound like an ad, but if you don’t have someone in your life to help you reach your goals (particularly if they are related to health, fitness and wellness), then I really encourage you to contact Mel Cook.

Not only is she a Lifestyle Transformation Specialist and Director at Run With Life, but she is a friendly, positive and happy person who brings out the best in people. It doesn’t matter if you are young or not-so-young, or whether you are fit or not-so-fit. If you want to become a happier, healthier version of yourself, then take that leap of faith and give her a call.

You can also find out more information about our next 12-week Transformation Challenge.

 

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

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10 tips to make a change

Over the past 12 weeks, I (along with 18 other people) have undertaken a 12-week Transformation Challenge.far from what I once was

While the focus has been on transforming our bodies (into one that has more muscle and less fat), for me the challenge has been more about transforming my mind. I have made changes to the way I think about food and exercise, the way I think about my goals and the way I go about chasing them down. I have made changes to my attitude towards setting big goals and I have changed the way I see myself. I have also made changes in the amount of self-belief and confidence I have, in all areas of my life. All of these changes have been positive ones.

While I knew that undertaking this challenge would involve hard work, I thought the process would be reasonably straight forward, seeing as I have done two before this. However, this challenge turned out to be one that taught me the most.

So, I thought I would share with you some of the things that I have learnt over these past 12 weeks.

  1. There is no such thing as a comfort zone — so keep moving ahead. If you want to make change, then you are obviously not comfortable where you are, nor do you want to go back to old habits. Moving towards your goals will involve doing things you are not comfortable with, but if you are going to be uncomfortable anyway, why not move in the direction of your dreams?
  2. Motivating others also motivates you. When you become part of someone else’s cheer squad, the positive energy and encouragement you give to them rubs off on you. So next time you lack motivation, try encouraging someone who is working hard at reaching their goals — and you will feel encouraged to keep pushing through.
  3. You must compare apples with apples. There is no joy to be gained by comparing yourself, or your journey with someone else. Everyone has obstacles to overcome, but they differ for everyone. Everyone has different goals they want to achieve. So comparing yourself with your perception of someone else, will only distract you from your progress. If you must compare, compare yourself now to yourself 3 months ago, 6 months ago or 12 months ago.
  4. Time goes by anyway. Regardless of how you are feeling in the moment, time is still ticking by. Sure, you may not feel like taking the steps you know will lead you closer to your goals. (I had a week where I was not particularly motivated to eat well or do all of my workouts). But don’t let your feelings dictate your progress. Do what needs to be done, regardless of what you ‘feel like doing’. Because if you don’t, you will kick yourself. (And yes, for the record, I did every prescribed workout during the whole 12 weeks.)
  5. There are opportunities everywhere. It doesn’t matter what you are working towards (e.g. a better body, improved health, the job of your dreams, buying your first house, etc.), there are always opportunities to move you closer to that dream if you look for them. When you spot one, make the most of it.
  6. Food does not solve problems. During the past 12 weeks, I had a health scare. Luckily it was just a scare. But I was tempted to turn to food (a McDonald’s sundae with the kids to be exact), to comfort myself. What I realised however, is that no amount of ice-cream was going to change the situation, ease my worry or alleviate the stress. So I said ‘no’. Instead, I drank my water and focussed on positive thoughts.
  7. Small achievements add up to big ones. It can be daunting to set out to achieve a goal. Particularly if you have a fair way to go to achieve it. However, instead of focussing on all you have to do, focus on little steps. During this 12 weeks, in each workout I focused on getting out one more rep, or increasing the weight just that little bit. When I compare what I was pulling and pushing 12 weeks ago to what I can do now, the difference is huge.
  8. You are stronger than you think. I’m not referring to physical strength, but mental strength. Undertaking a challenge (of any kind) should require you to push your mind to places you never thought you could go. Don’t run from the challenge. Instead, embrace it and see just how far you can go. There is no shame in failing. Only in giving up before you give it a go.
  9. Focus on what you DO HAVE and what you CAN DO.  It is very easy to make excuses as to why you don’t achieve what you say you want to achieve. But if you are serious, you won’t let obstacles stand in your way. No one has all the resources they need at their disposal. Sometimes money or time may be limited. Sometimes you need more knowledge or experience. Instead of using these limitations as excuses why you can’t achieve something, focus on what you do have and can do. When you take action, things begin to fall into place. And the very obstacles that you saw standing in your way are no longer there — because you have found a path to take in spite of them.
  10. Don’t be surprised if the true value of the experience is not what you intended. You may be embarking on a challenge or working towards a dream for a particular reason. For example, you may enter a half-marathon to ‘tick it off your bucket list’. Or you may wish to go back to study because it will mean you have a higher earning capacity in your career. While those reasons for undertaking the challenge are great, the true value that you get out of achieving those things is likely to be something you never even thought of.

I have my final measurements tomorrow morning and then this challenge is over.

While I am a little anxious about what they will be (I always put too much pressure on myself and set high expectations), I know that I can already be proud of what I have achieved this time around.

Even if I don’t achieve all that I set out to achieve, I am certainly a lot closer to my goal than I was 12 weeks ago.

I am already thinking about my next set of goals, and know that whatever may come along, I am better equipped to reach them, than I was 12 weeks ago.

The truth about comfort zones

take at least one - chance

I’m sure all Harry Potter fans will remember when Harry stumbles upon the Mirror of Erised.

For the one or two of you who haven’t read “Harry Potter” (or at least seen the films), the Mirror of Erised (Desire spelt backwards), shows the person who is looking into it nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of their hearts.

Of course, for young Harry, who had never known his parents, he sees them standing around him. Ronald Weasley, always overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, better than the rest of them — Head Boy and Quidditch captain, as well as holding both the House Cup and Quidditch Cup — and looking GOOD!

But as Dumbledore reminds Harry: “The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is.” (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

What would you see, if you could look into the Mirror of Erised?

I’m sure very few of you would see yourself EXACTLY as you are.

Maybe you’d like to be taller? Perhaps have straight hair? Any hair!!? Maybe a little less round. Some of you might like to have more money in the bank. Some may see a version of themselves bursting with vitality. Perhaps more education under your belt. Some of you may be in an exotic location. Or perhaps married with a brood of children.

Whatever the case, very few people in the world would see themselves EXACTLY as they are.

Some of you know, I have been making some significant changes in my life over the past 12 months. Notably:

Fitness — Instead of trying on losing ‘weight’, I have been focussing on building muscle, losing fat and changing my body composition. This can be very difficult at times (particularly during some of my training sessions), but this is a choice that I have made.

Work — I have recently started a freelance writing business. Yes, certain things acted as a catalyst for that decision, but once again, it was a choice to go out on my own.

Eating — Earlier this year (after months of investigation) I was diagnosed as wheat and fructose intolerant. That means that if I want to feel well, energetic and healthy, then I need to limit or cut out certain foods in my diet. Once again, certain factors have contributed to this, but it is a choice of mine to feel well.

All of these changes have involved me doing things that I have found uncomfortable. Some have been exciting changes, others pretty scary, and some unpleasant! Some have also been extremely difficult and have been made over a long period of time, with some hard lessons learned. However, by doing things that I was initially uncomfortable with, I have achieved some great things. I am also closer to achieving some of my other goals, and overall, in a happier, healthier place.

The other good news is that the ‘uncomfortable’ has become ‘comfortable’.

Now you may be thinking you couldn’t possibly move out of your comfort zone, to make the changes you want.

What if I told you there was no such thing as a comfort zone? It doesn’t actually exist.

Think back to your mirror. What is it you see? If you can’t see yourself EXACTLY as you are now, then you are already uncomfortable.

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I happened to walk past Baker’s Delight. Mmmm mmmm. Even to someone who is wheat intolerant, it still looks and smells very appealing. The thought even popped into my head: “How nice would it be to get a fresh, soft bun and take it home to have with my cup of tea?” It was quite a comforting thought.

But then I realised that eating a bun was not really going to make me feel comfortable. Within 20 minutes, I’d feel bloated, sick and I’d have a stomach ache for the rest of the day. Not to mention that the food wasn’t going to help me reach the goals that I had set myself, and I’d have a terrible case of guilt and regret.

It dawned on me that the past way of behaving wasn’t going to make me feel comfortable.

I realised that if I’m working towards certain goals, then there is a level of ‘uncomfortableness’ about my present.

I also realised, that to achieve my goals, I’ll have to continue do things that are uncomfortable.

So, past, present and future — all uncomfortable for one reason or another.

Which means — NO COMFORT ZONE!

Just varying degrees of discomfort.

So the question is not whether you are prepared to move out of your comfort zone; it is: If you are going to feel uncomfortable anyway, then why not do the things that will bring you closer to your dreams?

So that’s what I am trying to do —  embracing all those things that will take me closer to my goals — no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

And knowing there is no real comfort zone anywhere, makes it a little easier to step out into the unfamiliar.

How about you? Are you making the most of being uncomfortable?

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