Tag Archives: positive thoughts

Hi I’m Leslie. I am a recovering speed addict…

It’s true, I can remember a period of my life (over 5 years ago, when I first started personal training at Goodlife) when I felt as though there weren’t enough hours in the day….my to-do list was never getting smaller and I couldn’t keep up with my day to day tasks not to mention having  a social life and being in a relationship PLUS working out, eating and cooking and sleeping, PHEW!  Thanks to a 200hr yoga teacher training program a signed up for couple of years ago, and establishing a regular yoga practice,  I was made very aware of how my lifestyle and my “need for speed” was wearing me out!  I have been working very hard putting everything that I have learned into practice and this book (“Speed” by Stephanie Brown) was another confirmation of my former speed addiction.

Excerpt from “The Power of Less”

“For many people these days, work is a constant stream of emails, of new and requests, of phone calls and instant messages, of papers and notes and files.  The day starts with an inbox full of emails, and ends with an inbox just as full, and each email represents a request for information or for actions that we don’t have time to fulfill.  We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea how to reduce the flow…”

So true right? This is very stressful and wasteful.  If we stop to think about it, it’s not how we want to spend our lives. How do we overcome these problem of overworking ourselves and feeling as thought there aren’t  enough hours in the day?  We must set limits!!  Focus on the important things instead of EVERYTHING!  Life can become  much simpler, it’s all about choices!  We must learn how to identify the essentials and eliminate the rest…much easier said then done…

 

Now the book that inspired me to write today’s blog post is called  “Speed: Facing our Addiction to Fast and Faster-and Overcoming our Fear of Slowing Down” by Stephanie Brown. Since I was never very good at book reports (yep, I still struggle to summarize the important parts of a book and put in my own words)  in school, here is a summary I found on Barnes and Noble…

“Feeling rushed, out of control, and overwhelmed?
Feeling like you can’t keep up… and can’t stop?
It’s not just you.

From the need to be constantly connected and the changing definition of “work hours,” to unrealistic expectations of instant gratification, our bodies and brains are being harmed by habits that, as with any kind of addiction, promise short-term satisfaction while doing long-term damage.

As a psychologist and addiction expert who practices in Silicon Valley, Stephanie Brown sees firsthand the impact of ever-faster technology and the culture it has spawned. She knows it’s affecting us mentally, physically, and spiritually. In this ground breaking book, she explores how our beliefs and behaviors are being shaped by the seemingly limitless new world we’ve entered in recent years—and why faster doesn’t always equal better. Dr. Brown offers a step-by-step plan for breaking out of the speed trap. With practical guidelines, she shows us how to ease up on the gas pedal and reconnect with ourselves, learning to accept—and value—our limitations as human beings, reduce our stress levels, and free ourselves from our counterproductive obsession with speed.”

Sounds pretty interesting right?? I don’t want to give away too much of the book (you should read it yourself if you want to learn more) but one part that I found really interesting was the questionnaire she included in the beginning of the book.  Take a moment and answer the questions below.  How many do you say YES to??

Twenty Questions: Are you Hooked on Fast?

Your behavior:

1. Do you want to slow down but you cannot? Have you lost control?

2. Do you keep adding activities without taking any away?

3. Do you work longer and longer hours, but don’t ever finish?

4. Do you treat other problems: sleep, anxiety, depression?

5. Do you act first and think later?

6. Do you check your email and reach for your phone first thing and last?

Your feelings:

7. Do you feel internal pressure to live fast and act fast, which becomes a craving to “connect” more rapidly?

8. Do you feel empty if you are not in constant action?

9. Do you feel nervous without your tech gear in hand or pocket?

10. Do you feel the beep of your phone as a comfort that gives you a shot of adrenaline?

11. Do you feel you belong when you are rushing, stressed and in action?

Your beliefs:

12. Do you believe you have no limits and you are entitled to live without limits?

13. Do you believe you should think, feel, react, and behave instantly?

14. Do you believe you will fall behind if you slow down?

15. Do you believe success equals fast and faster, and slowing down is falling?

16. Do you believe you should only feel good, only feel high; other feelings are a sign of failure?

17. Do you believe stress is the price of success and chaos is normal?

18. Do you believe that the “new intimacy” is through technology; less time for off-line relationships is the price of success?

19. Do you believe instant action is a virtue and you can overcome anything with enough willpower?

20. Do you believe all change must be big to count?

Are you addicted to speed like I was? (there are a few on here I still struggle with, but I am working on it now that I have been made aware of them!)

What she also included were tips to help you slow down…read below….

The Twenty Guidelines for Slowing Down: How to Unhook from Speed

Your behavior:

1. You ask for help; you seek a mentor who believes in slowing down for guidance and support

2. You develop a recovery action plan.

3. You begin to make small steps toward change.

4. You learn to pause, to reflect on your behavior, feelings and thinking.

5. You ask yourself, “What am I doing?”

Your feelings:

6. You feel the reality of limits and face the feeling of failure.

7. You become aware of feelings, and learn to face them.

8. You trust that the high of impulsive action is NOT the feeling you seek.

9. You develop a wider range of new feelings.

10. You come to trust that deep, intimate human ‘connection’ exists in a slowed down, quiet state.

Your thinking:

11. You believe in the reality of limits.

12. You learn to recognize and challenge your belief in entitlement.

13. You challenge your belief in willpower.

14. You believe in the value of small steps and a slower sense of time.

15. You believe in a new definition of success; you best effort within a structure of limits.

16. You believe in the value of delay, endurance, and the concept of “enough.”

17. You believe that growth and change are not instant; that ‘quick fixes’ reinforce the thinking of fast and impulsive action.

18. You believe in the value and necessity of reflection as a part of health and success.

19. You challenge your all-or-none thinking.

20. You give new meaning to ‘service.’

It is a process…it takes time and practice.  But the best way to improve your relationship with yourself and others, your health and anything else that is being affected by your fast -paced, non-stop, go-go-go, so many commitments, not enough time, crazy lifestyle is to stop for a moment, turn off your computer, turn off your phone(s) and sit in peace to think really hard about what you really want to accomplish in your life.  Instead of bragging about how busy or stressed out you are, focus on the ESSENTIALS and allow everything else to drop away.  It’ll make you much happier, less stressed, and surprisingly, more productive!

Ever since I started doing more self reflection I know what my limits are.  I have taken the steps (it is a work in progress) to simplify my life I have been able to reach new goals and habits and love sharing my experiences and tips with others.  Focus all your energy and time on one thing at a time (start small and build on one small ‘thing’ at a time) instead of trying to accomplish everything at once.  Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing….it works!

For more information on how to simplify your life be sure to pick up Leo Babauta’s book “The Power of Less”, you’ll be glad you did…I am almost done reading it and I just picked it up from the library (my new favourite hangout!) an hour ago!

Les 🙂

 

 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Ways to Live a More Positive Life

I feel it is my duty to share how I maintain such a positive outlook on life.  People comment regularly on how I have the ability to always make them feel better, or they ask how I can always find the positive in every situation.  This is a skill that I have practiced and learned throughout my many experiences in life, it wasn’t always natural for me (trust me).  If you’re someone who is looking to get more out of life, here are 5 simple ways to live a more positive life…

1. Appreciate everything around you! People often want appreciation from others. Instead, start to appreciate everything around you, for example:

 – The sunshine and the weather (this can be hard especially at this time of year, but soon, spring will be here!)

– How easy it is to get healthy food and our unlimited supply of drinkable water

– Your health and fitness.

– The people around you. Your friends, family, co-workers and any strangers you walk by everyday

– A good TV-show, a movie or a song on the radio

– A good conversation.

– The roof over your head and the clothes you wear.

– All the great things you can find online (including my blog of course!)

– Yourself. If look closely, there is a lot to appreciate about yourself (this is a tough one for most people)

These are just a few things you can be grateful for, I’m sure you can think of many more!  Practice doing this everyday, even write a few things down when you wake up or before you go to bed (keep a Gratitude Journal).  It’s a quick way to turn a bad mood into a more positive and productive one. Just try if for a minute and see how it changes the way you feel. It’s a win/win situation and I promise you, more people will want to be around you if you appreciate them more and think this way!

 2. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want!
The more I do this, the more I discover that it is so key in improving my life. It sounds silly but it takes practice but by doing this, in time you will begin to see your life fill with more of what you want and you will be surrounded by the type of people you enjoy being around!  We are so good at focusing our thoughts on what we don’t want (and the people who we don’t want to be like) rather than what you want. If you do that then it will be hard to get what you want in life.  For example, if you want to improve your finances then focus on having a great financial situation rather than your lack of money and your debts. If you want a new relationship then focus on meeting a lot of new people and forming great relationships rather than focusing on your loneliness and your lack thereof. If you want get in better shape then focus on the lifestyle that you need to have in order to get there!  If you don’t then you’ll miss many opportunities that your mind just blocks out since it’s focused on what you don’t have.  But if you do this then there will be a greater chance of opportunities popping up that you have always dreamed of.  Your mind can mostly just see what you focus it on. So focus on what you want in life instead of what you don’t want.  I think it is also important to focus on WHAT YOU HAVE instead of WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE…another important thought pattern to practice!

3. Self educate and explore yourself!

This is something I am constantly doing. Whether I want to learn more about myself, the people I interact with, the fitness industry, my business, areas of my life that I want to improve on, I take responsibility and seek out the resources that I think will help me become better!  This is one of the keys to a better life!  We can never possibly know everything so it is so important to constantly look for ways to educate ourselves.  One of the best things I ever did to learn more about myself emotionally and spiritually was to do a 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training program.  It was one of the most intense 8 months of my life but the end results have changed the way I view myself and the world around me.  I have become much more self aware and kinder to myself and those around me.  I am also constantly looking to learn more about my career in fitness, whether it is related to programming for my clients, nutrition information, injury treatment and prevention, how to improve someone’s behavioural patterns, etc.  I’ve read books, articles, attended seminars, talked with experts, and I have also learned a lot through my own self discovery.  I still have so much to learn, I am a lifelong learner! Find out what area of your life needs improving and start to seek out the resources that will help you to achieve what you’re looking for! This is also a great way to get to know yourself better and understand why you think, feel and do – or don’t do – the things you do. And knowing yourself better – and other people too, since we share so much that make us alike – is pretty useful if you want to improve your life and lives of other’s too.

 4. Take action!
So many times I hear people saying “Man I really wish I could do _________” or “I have always want to ____________” or “I wish I had the motivation/discipline/will power to _______________”  Well guess what? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO, IF YOU REALLY WANT SOMETHING!  Yeah, this one’s maybe easier said than done, but stop wishing and start doing! There is so much great information on how to go about it and it’s a great way to improve your life. “Just do it!” is one of my favourite mottos. But if you feel like you really can’t do what you want then it will probably not be too helpful. If you feel that fear is holding you back from doing something then you might need someone to help you out (i.e. for fitness goals, an awesome personal trainer!) Here is something else to think about, if you want something you’ve never had you must do something you’ve never done (thanks to my wonderful fiancé for that quote).  In other words, you  must step out of your ‘comfort zone’ in order to achieve your biggest goals and dreams.  Take a risk, it might not always work out BUT you’ll never know if you don’t try right?  A good way to make your goal or less daunting, break it into smaller steps or goals and confront your ‘fear’ little by little, thereby creating a momentum that let’s you move on to the next step. Another is learning to surrender, accept the now, live in the present (something that takes practice, yoga has really helped me with this!)

5. Improve your social skills!

This is such a big part of my life! Not only is my job VERY social but when I am not at work I surround myself with many different group of friends!   So much of the happiness, value and fun in life comes from  my interactions, experiences and relationships with other people. Improving those interactions and your communication skills can greatly improve your life.  Sometimes, when we spend too much time alone that we become overwhelmed by our thoughts (and most times the negative ones and those feelings lead us to feeling more self conscious!) so if we surround ourselves with positive people we can focus our attention outward.  Most people have a hard time living in the present as they are too preoccupied thinking about what happened yesterday, or last week or last year OR they are worried about what will happen tomorrow, next week or next year.  We must practice focusing on what is happening right now!  If you can’t enjoy the present moment, when will you be able to enjoy the future?  This is the joy of having great friends and a busy social life!

  To all my positive friends and followers out there, do you have any other tips to share that can help someone who is looking to live a more positive life?

Les 🙂

Tagged , , , ,

How to Build Mental Toughness

Everyone knows how important it is for us to “stay in the game” when it comes to mental strength.  It’s a common theory that you either have it, or you don’t; either you were born with it, or you weren’t.  For some, it certainly may feel that way.  Then there are those who crumble when things get tough.  Why is it that some people are able to get through challenging moments while others break down at the first sign of difficulty? Developing mental toughness is as important as developing physical strength.  First of all, let’s look at the definition of mental toughness.

Wikipedia describes ‘mental toughness’ as: “A term commonly used by coaches, sport commentators, and business leaders-generally describes a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”

Sounds like a trait that is pretty desirable, don’t you agree?  So, let me share with you some ways to develop your mental strength…

Manage your self talk

“You can change who you are by changing what you say when you talk to your mind.”

The mindset of a ‘winner’ is produced by positive self talk. Self talk is your mental evaluation of your behaviour and performance. In other words it is the conversation that goes on in your head. Your self-talk is built by your thoughts. Unfortunately for many, most of these conversations are repetitive, full of negative thoughts – focused on the things you should have done, the things that went wrong, telling yourself that you aren’t good enough. Each conversation that you have with yourself supports in your mind who you are and what you are capable of. It will build or pull down your self-esteem and self-worth.

The higher your sense of self-worth and self-esteem the more competent you will be dealing with the challenges and difficulties life will throw at you. When your self talk focuses on self-doubt and is always critical of you, then you are unable to see the best and bring out the best in yourself.

Have you ever made a mistake then played it over and over in your mind? “How could I have been so stupid, why didn’t I keep quiet, why didn’t I say, Why didn’t I do it like that instead, why do I keep messing things up …” The problem is compounded by the fact that we often repeat these conversations over and over again, reliving the mistake, keeping it at the forefront of our mind. We stay focused on all the negatives from our experiences and this then builds a negative belief about how we handle this type of situation.

During your workouts, positive self talk can help you to succeed by motivating you to do your best, lift heavier or finish one more rep. Self talk is the thoughts and beliefs that you have about yourself and your ability. It can help boost your mood or drag you down.

One thing that works for me is repeating to myself over and over again “I CAN DO THIS! LET’S GO LESLIE!”…As I think these things and have these thoughts, I immediately start to feel more confident and strong. I talk to myself calmly and positively about what I need to do to complete my workout. I prepare my mind to achieve feelings of success, determination and ready to take on any challenge.

Next time you want to give up on your set or slack off during your cardio session early, try pumping yourself up with some positive affirmations that you can repeat in your head…here are a few that you can use…

  • I have trained hard.
  • I am strong.
  • I am doing my best.
  • I am getting better everyday.
  • I can lift this weight.
  • I have enough strength for this.
  • I can push through the pain.
  • I can do this!

Visualize where you want to be

When I meet with clients for the first time, a question I always ask people during our consultation “What are your goals?  How badly do you want to reach your goals? Do you believe you can get there???” More often than not, people go into great detail about what their goals are, how much weight, inches or body fat they would ‘like to lose’ and then when it comes to actually BELIEVING they can get there, well that is where most people become unsure and make excuses as to why they haven’t been successful in the past when they have tried to achieve their goals.  As with a meal plan, exercise routine or even a relationship, you need to align your thoughts and goals with your actions.  Once you have a clear vision of what it is you want, develop a well prepared plan and if you need help with this, seek out a personal trainer or friend who will hold you accountable.  The success rate is always higher with preparation than winging it or trying it out and seeing what happens.  Know what you want and really go for it!  Professional athletes didn’t reach their success through improvising.  Their hard training is what gives them the results they’re searching for.

Eat well and sleep well

Sounds easy enough right? I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good sleeping patterns and maintaining and healthy diet.  When your body is weak, your mind has a harder time concentrating (and saying no to unhealthy food!)  When you are sleep deprived, you lose your focus and concentration.  It’s harder for you to stick to your goals when you’re distracted and irritable.  Overeating can create sluggishness along with feelings of guilt once you’ve recognized that you’ve indulged.  Not eating enough can result in fatigue, irritability and poor energy levels.  How can you concentrate on building mental strength when you can’t stay awake or get out of bed in the morning?  The right change to your diet can immediately increase mood and energy levels.  A healthy lifestyle (not a quick fix diet) is a great start to achieving any goal.  Another key point to remember is when you operate ‘outside of your comfort zone’ you will learn to become adaptive and resilient (this is one of the best lessons I have ever learned in my life!)  Falling into a boring routine or rut has an effect on our motivation.  So spice it up! Try a new class, get a personal trainer, change up your workout routine, or try some new recipes.  At times we almost need to feel uncomfortable so we recognize our weak points and discover areas in our life we can improve on…in most cases it is usually the exercises you hate the most that will benefit you the most!

Whatever challenges and obstacles that come your way should be taken as an opportunity to learn more about yourself!

The main thing to remember here is we all talk to ourselves, either out loud or mentally. When your self-talk is positive and helpful it will empower you. When it’s unkind, critical, full of anxiety, it makes you feel bad, destroys your confidence and lowers self esteem.From now on pay attention to it. Each time you recognise that you are self-criticizing or self-defeating,STOP, remind yourself that it’s just that old habit you’ve got into, and that from now on you’re changing this habit, but it takes practice!

Top athletes and leaders think positively, using self-talk to build on their self-belief and confidence. They focus on improvement not on worrying about poor performance or negative consequences of failure. They build on earlier successes and don’t dwell on failure or poor performance which helps them build a positive self-image, confidence, and personal belief in themselves.

So, instead of wasting energy telling yourself “I’ll never get there”, or “it’s too much work” or “I’m too busy” or “I don’t deserve it”, try spending your energy focusing on how far you’ve come, what you want and who you want to be, use your mental toughness skills and you can do anything you put your mind to! 

Les 🙂

 

Tagged , , , , ,