Trick or treat? This is not a trick question (pun intended.) When you get asked "Trick or Treat?" you say "Trick!" Not treat. Step one. DONE.
A couple weeks ago there was an article in the Star Tribune about holiday weight gain. When they talked "holiday" what they were referring to is not a holiday, but a three-month span of the year... October, November and December. I think Halloween kind of kicked off the season - the season of treats anyway - since I can't think of any other well-known holidays in October. I don't think Columbus Day threatens too many health resolutions. The article stated that in the United States, weight gained over the "holidays," on average takes until late April to erase. It also stated that October 1, is when as a whole we are at our lightest.
Think about that for a minute. Because of a few single days, we justify three months of unhealthy overindulgence. We start the tick up in October and ride the treat train through December. Then we work to erase the "damage" from January to April, only to repeat the pattern (aka. nonsense) again. The funniest quote of the whole article - because of its total obvious-yet-not-obvious-at-all-ness - was this: "Instead of trying to come up with a New Year's resolution to lose weight, it's a whole lot better to maybe have an October 1 resolution to gain less in the first place." Was there ever a more true statement? It gave me a good laugh.
Aside from giving me job security, it's a little crazy. Would you agree? Or does gaining weight from October to December, then losing weight from January to April, every year, sound reasonable to you?
So why not have an October 1 resolution to gain less? To bypass the detour. Why not start today? (Not after Halloween. Today.) Seriously. Stop and ask yourself this question. Then wait, and listen to all the reasons why you tell yourself this is not a good idea. Get a piece of paper even. List them all out. "But I like all that holiday food." "This is such a busy time of year. I just need to get through the holidays." "But there are so many holiday parties and other social things." " I don't have that kind of willpower." Then shut them down.
What if you had a friend who was in a work situation or relationship that was not in their best interest. It may have its good days, but year after year they seemed stuck in the same spot. Not real happy with it. Frustrated a lot of the time even. And it affected their mood. How they felt about themselves. Their energy. Their confidence. Their social life. Their health. Wouldn't you at some point start to say: "Have you thought about getting a new job? Have you thought about breaking up?" Because in the back of your mind, whether you have the courage to say it or not, you are thinking: "You don't have to be a victim here. You do have a choice. You can make a change." This plan, called the great American Holiday Health Hiatus is no different. The choice to go backward, then forward, then backward, then forward - or backward, then backward, then backward some more - affects people's health, energy, confidence, hope, social life, mood. I think it is important to see this. To recognize the pattern. To know you have a choice. That at any point - and so why not today - you can decide it is time to break up. Time to move on. Time to start a new chapter.
All those reasons you listed above for why January 1 is a better plan. (All the reasons why the job will improve although it hasn't in years. All the reasons why the significant other will change though they have not shown any evidence to support that fact.) Those reasons are just that voice in your mind trying to hold you back. The voice that worries about how you will socialize or fit in if you don't partake in traditional, unhealthy celebration. The voice that doesn't know how else to deal with stress. The voice that wants to protect you from failing one more time - already assuming that is the case.
That voice is not necessary right. It just likes the "known" of the job and the relationship and the life. Not those things themselves. It just likes to know what to expect. Even if what is at the end of that expectation is not really what you want. At least you know how it looks.
So - this year. Make a choice. And understand whichever path you choice. You chose it.
If you choose to indulge for the remainder of this "holiday" season, put on the traditional however many pounds, then spend January, February, March and April losing the same pounds over again, or not - just like you may choose to stay in a job or relationship - that is your choice. And if you choose to break that mold, and start today, and be healthy through December - and then make further headway in January, February, March and April... and so on - and be a healthy person, rather than a dieter - and gain more energy and hope and confidence and health - that is also your choice. There is no right choice. It is simply your choice. So - what are you going to choose? Trick or treat?
Happy Halloween. Enjoy. DONE playing small.
Last night I was at a group for women I like to go to every month in Shakopee called the Polka Dot Powerhouse. Among other things, each of us gets up for a minute or two and tells about what we love about our business, or maybe the types of connections we would like to make. I told a quick story about how at my favorite Restorative Yoga I go to on Tuesday night (8:00pm @ The Yoga Barre), last week as we were sitting on our mats at the beginning of class, in a circle, with the lights dim and the candles lit - the instructor, Tammy, invited each of us to go around the circle and share our high and our low for the day or week, whatever came to mind. I was sitting next to her at the end of the circle. As I listened to the six other women share their high and low, all but one had to do with work stress and work/life balance. As I sat there and listened, my heart went out, yet I was not surprised as this is a predominant theme from my clients. Not to mention most of my friends. (In case you were wondering - my low was about the election. Of course. My work is a high.)
So this is what I shared in the meeting. How - when I work with clients the conversation goes way past calories and carbs - as you may have guessed since, so does my blog - because it has to, or it is only cosmetic. The biggest barrier I see, is not a desire to be healthy, but how to find the time. How to put it first. (Hold that thought.)
Then, the speaker for the evening told a story about how, in a nutshell, she walked into a room full of peer business consultants who were assembling packets for a conference, and it was a total mess. There was no system. Which seems ironic, and she thought so too. She proceeded to help bring efficiency and order to the project until it ran smooth. Then afterward in her hotel room, her a-ha was to not dwell in frustration over the mess, but instead to realize creating systems was her gift. (Hence her 20-year background in retail work.) That the others had many other gifts, but her gift was order. And so her ability to create systems is what she shared that day. (Hold that thought.)
After the agenda wraps up, we end up staying around for a while to chat. I got talking to a friend of mine, Suzy Wigstadt, who is a sales coach. She had a handled mirror with her, with the purpose of having you say what you get to do to help others, while talking into the mirror. You were not able to look anywhere but into your own eyes while you talked - no looking up, around or even blinking too long. In other words, no thinking. Just speak from the gut. IT took me a few attempts.Each starting with: "I get to.. help women take back their lives.." And then I would talk on a bit about whatever came out. It surprisingly very effective at striping down all the rhetoric and getting to the core of what your purpose is really about. Laying in bed that night it got even more clear. "I get to... help women take back their power. Help women be strong, and confident. And create lives that mean something, to them. And have healthy bodies. And healthy lives. And raise strong, healthy, on purpose kids...." (You see my "low" issue for the week, right?)
Which brings me to today. I talk to my business coach, Melissa, on Friday mornings, and what had bubbled up for me was - a) my gift, or superpower and b) the first step for many people (I do not just work with women, but it is a passion, as I am one.) as they desperately want to create health, is to clear the chaos and create some calm, to be able to see how health as a priority is even possible.
I shared with her how, quite a number of years ago while networking, I remember a divorce attorney who would facilitate on Fridays, for up to four people each week, a mini-mastermind, problem solving group. Free of charge. With nothing to do with divorce or law. It was just something he did, because it was his thing.
So I decided a couple things: I know one of my gifts is to go from chaos to calm - and see all the steps in between. For example, when I was a business coach a number of years ago now - my favorite thing was to set aside the agenda for whatever the meeting was planned to be, pull out my unlined notebook and have a business owner brain dump every single thing spinning in their head, getting in the way of their ability to focus - and turn it into a plan. I just see the steps. The dominoes I call them. I do this for myself when I get overwhelmed. I can do it with a mess of a basement or garage, with a mess of anything really. I used to get frustrated with others for not being able to see the path, but now understand it is somewhat unique. And so - as I know there are many people out there - who would love to focus on their health, but cannot fathom being able to focus on it now - because of all the other pieces spinning in their heads... I want to offer something similar, starting next week. Because it's my thing. Here is a link to my calendar - to schedule a "Chaos2Calm" 30 minute call from 12:30-1:00pm on a Friday. There will be no back-door agenda.
The second thing I decided was to bring my "Make It Happen Monday" concept to Facebook. God help me. I am going to make peace with my fear of Facebook or die trying. :) Each Monday we are going to start a conversation about an intentional area of life. Meal planning, finances, purpose, ME time, etc. If you would like to be added to the group - please let me know. Just send me an email with the subject: "I'M IN" - and I will add you to the group, by next Friday. I plan to kick it off the following Monday, October 24.
Now that you know all about what's in my head... I would very much encourage you to try what seemed like a silly exercise. Hold that mirror up and say what you get to do. Or, ask yourself the question - what is my gift, or secret super power, and how do I share it? And move from frustration to appreciation.
I am a big believer in massive action. This past Memorial Day weekend, I read a book called "The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up," by Maria Kondo. If you have been reading my blog for a while you may recall my big mission to be DONE with all the clutter in my home. It's not that my home was a total disaster, but it was certainly bogged down. In my mind it is just another form of weight, and I was ready to feel FREE. The author talked about taking massive action - really digging in for a short few months - versus dragging it out, drawer by drawer for a year. The idea is that with massive action, you see quick results, which bolsters momentum. The slow approach, shows minimal impact, which makes it easy to get bored and move on to the next new and shiny distraction.
I liked this philosophy. So I did - take massive action. My goal was Memorial Day to Labor Day. In those three months I de-cluttered my clothes, bookshelves, kitchen, office, laundry room, bathrooms, toy room, garage, kid's rooms, husband's clothes, stored decorations - even the decor on my walls. It felt so good it was like a train I could not stop. It was cathartic really. There was a moment in the garage I remember, where my husband was resistant to some part of it (I say this, knowing he has been a VERY good sport), where I found myself ranting around, "I am DONE!! DONE. DONE. DONE. DONE. DONE! DONE living with all this crap we don't need!!! D-O-N-E! Don't you read my blog?!!" (Which I know he does.) :)
The only area left of the house to be reclaimed is a corner of the basement, where once Mark gets done going through his old work boxes - this month - we can put carpet down, pull out the ping pong table, treadmill, and actually use the space! I can't wait!!
Now that the weight of all the STUFF is lifted, I feel much more calm. Much more present believe it or not. Plus, it freed up my head space to move on to a couple other areas of life where I want to feel more free. And I know with little doubt, had I just cleaned out a drawer here and there, by now, I would have a couple clean drawers.
So this week, in regards to a networking group I enjoy - there was discussion about the desire to grow the group from nine to 25 members by this summer, or wait no, by next December. Of 2017. But what if I thought - what if instead of dinging around for the next 10 to 15 months, slowing trying to grow the group. What if - in the next six weeks each member brought in one new member. That would be 18. Then, for the following six weeks, what if each member brought in one new member. That would be 36 - in 12 weeks. Then in 2017, rather than continue to try to slowly grow - what if we were already there and spent the year enjoying the fruits of our labor. Wouldn't you rather take massive action for a short time, and have all the rest of the time to reap the rewards? Doesn't that sound better than to continue, and continue, and continue to have to work at something... for what seems like forever. Until you get bored and move on? Seriously. It just makes sense. (If you are looking to grow more business - let me know!)
I think what happens is rather than the results, we focus on the work. "Yeah but... that would be a lot of work. I don't want to have to do that much work." Newsflash: it's the same amount of work. Just condensed, versus drawn out. It's not like the longer you wait to take something on, the less work it becomes. Wouldn't that be nice? Like, what if you want to lose 20 pounds - and if you waited six months it would magically turn in to only ten pounds instead. What if $5000 in debt now, in six months was only $2500 in debt. Fairy tale land, right? But what if - rather than wait, you get DONE playing small - and you take massive action for the next "season" and knock off those 20 pounds, and then are able to enjoy great energy, confidence and ease starting in January. OR what if you really dig in and pay off that $5000 as quickly as possible. Imagine the freedom, the bliss, you will feel when you send in that very last payment. Why would you want to put off that feeling?!! When we procrastinate - we don't miss the work, the work is still there - what we miss is the reward. Does that make sense?
So here is my challenge to you -- What is one area of your life where you can either make slow, painful progress - or you can take massive action and quickly reap the reward? Maybe it's your health, or some debt, or you are putting off a job search or house project?? Then, what is your vision for when it is done? How will it feel?? And finally, what is the first step? Be DONE playing small!!! JUST DO IT. And enjoy!
Oh - P.S. Per blog from last week... my daughter came in second in her mayoral race by two votes. She then congratulated the girl who won - and the girl in return said she wished there could be two mayors because they both did a good job. If only the adults could be so adult. It was a proud mom moment. And of course, both girls were pleased that at least a boy did not win. :)