Category Archives for Motivate Me

Mediocrity is a Virus. Here’s How to Banish it from Your Life.

When you justify and allow even little things into your life which your intuition warns you against, you permit a virus to enter your life. It spreads to other areas. When you introduce a change to…

Read the full article at: medium.com

If you want to start 2017 right, read this post.  Advice this good is difficult if not impossible to find online – maybe because it’s a tough pill to swallow, or maybe just because everyone is looking for a quick fix, a magic pill or powder or book or video that will transform their life.

 

There are 3 brilliant quotes that are worth more than any motivational advice I’ve ever heard:

  • “Your life speaks for itself”
  • “Willpower is for people who haven’t made up their minds”
  • “Everything you have in your life is what you want.  If you wanted something different, you’d have something different.  Own it.”

 

Mediocrity creeps in, right?  It doesn’t announce itself – it just gradually creeps, if you let it.

 

Are you living within the limitations other people have placed on your abilities and performance?  If you continue doing the same exercises as everyone else at the gym you’re going to look like the average person at the gym – will that make you happy?

 

Stop doing the same old repetitive one-dimensional linear moves that everyone else is doing and start learning moves that are varied, constantly changing and challenging your muscles to adapt to novel alignments, twists, angles, loads and demands.

 

Make 2017 the year you start looking and feeling like a boss when you work out.

 

 

 

3 Scientific reasons why pushing your limits will make you happy

Do you dread exercise?  Judging by the sheer number of Americans who sign up for a gym membership on New Years Day and abandon it by Valentines Day, you’re far from alone.

I used to hate exercise – I was constantly coming up with creative new ways to distract myself from the soul-crushing boredom of those infernal machines.  All that repetitive motion, the sweaty gym, all that laundry.  It was the last thing I wanted to do in the morning.

Now I love exercise – I can’t wait to get out of bed, eat my whole grain oats with berries and coconut, and get outside and start moving.

The transformation was simple – I figured out that the conventional fitness programs I had been taught were placing the limitations of others on my body and I was passively accepting them.  One day I took a good look around and realized that if I continued doing what everyone else was doing, if I continued living by the limitations they set for me, then I would get the same results as they did.

Think about it.  Is the average member of your gym lean, toned, defined, agile, and strong?  Do they move the way you want to move, look the way you want to look?  I’m guessing the answer is no.  The question is – If they spend all that time working out at the gym, why not?

Hate exercise because it's repetitive, boring, saps your motivation and it doesn't give you the results you want?

Hate exercise because it’s repetitive, boring, saps your motivation and it doesn’t give you the results you want?

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  By bulking up specific muscle fibers in a small range of motion you are literally deforming and weakening your body for movement – what it was designed to do.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

You don’t have to accept the limitations other people place on your movement.  You were given a whole body so why not use it every day?  THE game-changer is new, holistic movement patterns that constantly challenge your body and mind with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and adaptations.  This type of challenge is, after all, how our bodies evolved into the incredibly finely-tuned wonders of movement that they are.

Most people shy away from curvilinear, multi-dimensional, movement challenges in the liminal zone at the edge of their capabilities. Don’t be one of those people!  The reason is usually fear, of failure or injury.

If you learn how to properly and safely push into that zone every day, the constant adaptation and micro-variation required will keep your mind and body in a continuous state of being challenged. This will not only motivate you but it will also keep you young. Imagine the confidence of being able to do a little bit more every tomorrow than you could do yesterday. When you reach that point, chronological age becomes inconsequential.

Flow

A study in the journal Neuroscience demonstrates that intense exercise promotes the production of neurotransmitters that prevent depression.  What’s even more astonishing is thata recent Harvard study reveals that stray thoughts and wandering minds are directly related to unhappiness. The study discovered that those with constantly wandering minds were less likely to be happy than those able to focus on the tasks at hand.

Exercise has been shown to increase levels of happy neurotransmitters, both in the short and long term

Exercise has been shown to increase levels of happy neurotransmitters, both in the short and long term

This study seems to confirm what Buddhists, sages, and saints have long taught–that an unruly mind creates unhappiness and dysfunction, and that the keys to happiness lie in mastering the mind, and not in changing external factors in our lives.

The most startling part of the discovery is that unhappiness doesn’t just come from the mind wandering to unpleasant things. The study shows that people with minds that wander to neutral or even pleasant thoughts are still less happy than if the mind did not wander at all.

During the study, people were asked to focus on a given activity. It was found that even if the activity was some boring chore, they were happier if their minds were fully there, focused in the moment. The conclusion is that when the mind wanders repeatedly (and for many of us it wanders all day, every day), it drastically reduces our overall happiness and well-being.

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, one of the world’s leading researchers in positive psychology, refers to this state of mind as “flow.”

Csíkszentmihályi describes flow as being totally absorbed or immersed in the activity in which you’re engaged. It doesn’t matter what the particular task is–what matters is that you are fully present when you’re doing it.

Csíkszentmihályi, often called the grandfather of positive psychology, found that our happiest moments are when we are in the state of flow. In this state, we are highly alert. We are totally focused with one-pointed attention. This focus–this mindfulness of being in the moment–is when true happiness spontaneously arises.

When you are mindful of your activity, you’re not preoccupied with regrets or worries; you’re not planning or wanting for anything. You’re not lending power to thinking processes and so they do not dominate your awareness.

Flow allows you to truly and deeply live your life as it unfolds in the here and now. Perhaps this is why the latest research continues to confirm that mindfulness increases happiness–to be mindful is to truly experience life and make the most out of every moment.

If you’re constantly looking for ways to distract yourself – TV, social media, podcasts, audiobooks, music – while you’re working out, then your mind is not present in the moment and focused on the task at hand.  The way to achieve this state of flow is simple – nothing focuses the mind quicker than pushing into that thin zone at the limits of your ability.

The magic happens right at the powerful motivational "sweet-spot" at the limits of our abilities.

The magic happens right at the powerful motivational “sweet-spot” at the limits of our abilities.

A challenging workout requires a continuous mix of technical, physical and cerebral difficulty.  Powering through endless reps of linear isolation moves is mindless and useless – it may bulk up specific muscles but it will never give you the definition, agility, and strength you want – and it’s guaranteed to bore you and kill your motivation.

Gym and machine workouts deconstruct human movement into tiny slivers of the 4-dimensional time-space continuum – only the tiniest linear slices that can be mechanized and marketed and endlessly repeated.  Stop working out like a machine and force yourself to laser-focus on new moves that challenge your mind and muscles every day and you will achieve a state of flow in your workouts that will actually alter the neurotransmitters in your brain and make you happier.  You will also be amazed at the definition, strength, and agility you can achieve.

Motivation

A challenging workout requires a continuous mix of technical, physical and cerebral difficulty.  Powering through endless reps of linear isolation moves is mindless and useless – it may bulk up specific muscles but it will never give you the definition, agility, and strength you want – and it’s guaranteed to bore you and kill your motivation.

Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon.

Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational "sweet-spot" occurs right at the limits of our abilities. In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational “sweet-spot” occurs right at the limits of our abilities. In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

We can call this phenomenon The Goldilocks Rule. The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.

Having one challenge that is just outside your comfort zone in your daily workout is one of the keys to maintaining long-term motivation. If you find yourself feeling unmotivated, it is often because your mind has drifted into an area of boredom or been forced into an area of great difficulty. You need to find a way to pull your tasks back to the border of your abilities where you feel challenged, but capable.

The key is finding that thin zone at the limits of your abilities.

Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational “sweet-spot” occurs right at the limits of our abilities.  In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

According to James Clear, “Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. Tasks that are significantly below your current abilities are boring. Tasks that are significantly beyond your current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon.”

In his book Living With a SEAL, Jesse Itzler tells the story of how Navy SEAL David Goggins shocked him out of a fitness rut by challenging him to do 100 pull-ups, which he did, a few at a time.  Goggins’ “40% Rule” states that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto: If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it.

Results

Face it – you don’t love the results you see in the mirror.  Maybe you don’t even like them, and maybe you’re not seeing results at all.  It’s no wonder, repetition is a results-killer for several reasons.

The first reason is time.  You’re wasting a massive amount of time and energy on repetitions that aren’t contributing to your results.  Think about it.  If you do 15 reps and you only feel the burn on the last 3 then you’re wasting 80% of your effort.  If you rest for a minute between sets then that number goes up to about 95% – of your workout wasted.

Neuroscience and metabolism also play a role in the diminishing effects of repetitive exercise.  A well-documented phenomenon known as metabolic adaptation essentially slows down your metabolism as you lose weight, so the same amount of exercise burn fewer calories.

To make matters even worse, a study from Columbia University found that your muscles start using genes that make them more efficient, so they burn 20 to 30 percent fewer calories for the same exercise.

So the loss of intensity due to boredom and exhaustion is compounded by the fact that you need to continuously refresh your workout to push the intensity of muscle stimulation to higher levels to achieve results.  Think about how many people you see running every day who are so unmotivated that they’re literally just falling forward, shuffling their feet in front of them just in time to catch their body weight.  That kind of low intensity effort is a certain results-killer.

There are several different types of exhaustion and the ones that you are targeting with repetition are muscle and joint fatigue.  Muscle fatigue results from repeated micro-trauma on a particular group of muscle fibers, depletion of glycogen, and the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissue.  Joint fatigue is simply the repetitive pounding of one-dimensional linear motion.

The truth is that if you allocated your energy more efficiently, to multi-dimensional movement combining different muscle fibers and contraction types, you would have abundant energy reserves available to sustain intensity for much longer intervals.

This is probably in part a psychological trick that rewards you for exhausting a particular joint and muscle group quickly, giving you the false impression that you’re achieving results, when really you’re just beating up your joints and reaching a state of muscle fatigue as quickly as possible with repetitive linear motion.

 

5 reasons you don’t stick to an exercise routine

5 Reasons you don’t stick to an exercise routine

Exercise every day – most people say they want to do it but they don’t actually do it.   You own the most sophisticated machine ever built – the human body – do you fail to give it the routine maintenance it needs for optimal performance?  Here are some of the most common reasons why:

  • Time  — How do you spend your time?  Here’s an awesome post by Tim Urban that will really get you thinking about how you spend your time every day.  According to the American Time Use Survey the average American adult watches 2.8 hours of television – per day!  So most people probably have the time to exercise.  Also, you may be subconsciously invoking this excuse when you see someone who has the body you want and think to yourself “they probably spend three hours a day at the gym”.  Both the fitness industry and the medical profession have you convinced that you have to commit a huge chunk of time every day in order to make any difference at all.  That’s not true.  In fact, tiny changes in your daily routine can have a huge cumulative effect on your fitness level.
  • Boredom — Does working out feel like a second job?  Schlepping to the gym every day and pumping the elliptical is ridiculously dull.  You probably spend more energy devising strategies and playlists to distract yourself than you do exercising.  You only have one life – about 30,000 days long – how do you spend it?   Why spend a part of each one of those days going to a place you can’t stand to do something you hate?  That’s perfectly logical.  The obvious answer to this conundrum is either to learn to love exercise or figure out a more efficient way to achieve your goals so you don’t waste a huge chunk of your life doing something you hate.
  • Overwhelm — Between the millions of workout videos, blogs and podcasts, the books and magazines, the different styles of gym, how can you possibly decide?  The simple answer to this is that if you did no exercise at all yesterday, then anything you do today, even 5 minutes, will be an improvement.  Make that tiny improvement right now.
  • Disappointing Results — You’re doing the cardio and strength training your doctor and trainer recommend, but you’re unhappy with the results you see in the mirror.  That’s because cardio is designed mainly to train your heart muscle and increase cardiopulmonary reserve (great if you’re training to be an olympic swimmer), and strength training is mainly focussed on bulking up peripheral muscles (great if you want to compete in a bodybuilding show).  So be honest with yourself about the results you want – it’s not really a number on a scale or to be “healthier”.  Is it really just about not dying, or do you really want to enjoy living?  Do you secretly desire to see a hot body in the mirror?  Fear of admitting what you really want is holding you back.  You can have the body you love, but first you have to say it out loud – “I want a hot body”.  There are lots of ways to get there but the most efficient way to get that lean, toned, defined look from all angles is to use your brain & scientific knowledge to change your metabolism.
  • Fear — Have you been told your whole life that your “body type” is chunky or husky or zoftig or rotund or full-figured or big-boned or mesomorphic or doughy or stocky?….  This false belief that your body type is your destiny can leave you terrified that no matter what you do you can’t change it.  News flash – there is only one body type – HUMAN!.  Your body type is human and you absolutely CAN change its shape.  All you need is a simple step-by-step system and the willingness to start today.

Wrong Body Type? – Think Again

Don't allow yourself to be bamboozled by fake science - your body type is not your destiny.  You can change it.

Don’t allow yourself to be bamboozled by fake science – your body type is not your destiny. You can change it.

“Body type” is a myth based on a now completely debunked scientific theory that emerged after World War II as part of the Eugenics movement of the 20th century (Eugenics was the theory used to justify Nazi atrocities in the name of breeding a “master race”).  The concept of body type masqueraded as science under the term “somatotyping” and was championed by W.H. Sheldon, a psychology professor at Columbia whose theory held that measurements of a person’s body could be used to accurately predict their intelligence, personality, moral worth and probable future achievement.  The most disturbing fact about this embarrassment to science in general and to the Ivy League in particular (Ivy League and sister schools, until 1968, took nude photos of entering freshmen, calling them “posture photos”) is that much of its mythology persists today.  You can still find the stereotypes in pop culture of the fat, jolly endomorph, the tense, high-strung, skinny ectomorph or the buff, narcissistic mesomorph.

One of the most damaging aspects of the persistence of this pseudoscientific myth is that it still has people convinced that their body type is their destiny and there is nothing they can do to change it.  This attitude can be seen on websites for weight loss or workouts that encourage consumers to take a test to figure out which body type they have.  But what if you want to change your body type?  Is it possible?  The answer is yes – you simply have to decide what you want to change, obtain a little bit of knowledge, devise a strategy, and implement a system.

Of course it is true that all bodies are different, and anyone can come up with a set of measurements, but classifying them into dogmatic, either/or “types” with scientific-sounding names (or fruit names like banana, pear, apple etc.) is a canard.  It creates the false impression that there is a natural, bright, clear dividing line between body types that cannot be crossed – there isn’t.  Spot fat reduction is not possible without surgery (sorry – you can’t lose belly fat by doing sit-ups, or butt fat by doing squats), but the good news is that total body fat reduction is actually not as hard as you think.  Furthermore, the exact same habits you build into your daily routine to burn fat can be used to reshape muscles.  Sculpting lean, toned muscle and reducing the bulk of the fat layer over the muscles can dramatically change the shape of your body.  You can even change your posture and the curve of your spine, to further your goal towards having a body shape that you love.

The human body, each and every one, is, by orders of magnitude, the most miraculous machine ever created.  There are far too many people walking around who are willing to accept living their entire life not loving, not even liking, the one-and-only unique version of this miracle machine they’ve been bestowed with, simply because of the remnants of a defunct, pseudo-scientific, nonsensical theory that claims physique equals destiny.  Your body type is not your destiny.  You can change it.  Don’t be bamboozled by fake science and false reasoning to convince yourself that you’ll fail to achieve your fitness goals before you even start.

The psychology of fitness phobia

Martin Seligman is famous for shocking dogs.   As a psychology graduate student at Penn in the 1960s, he ran a well-known experiment in which dogs were administered electrical shocks under 2 scenarios: either they could learn how to avoid the shocks or the shocks kept coming at random no matter what the dogs did.  The ones who were given the opportunity to avoid the shocks easily learned how.  The other poor creatures quit
trying.  They even quit protesting and just cowered and whimpered quietly, resigned to their fate.  This response, dubbed “learned helplessness”, became an animal model for human depression.  Seligman further observed that dogs who were first taught that they could avoid the shocks, were more resistant to becoming helpless.  Their brains had rewired themselves.  Their own beliefs had, in effect, become a vaccine against depression.  Think about the power of that concept for a moment – beliefs can rewire the brain to resist depression.

Dogs who were first taught that they could avoid the shocks kept trying - they had learned optimism

Dogs who were first taught that they could avoid the shocks kept trying – they had learned optimism

 

Changing your beliefs can rewire your brain.

In 1978 Seligman, by then a famous psychologist, designed an experiment to see if humans could be similarly vaccinated against depression.  The answer, in short, was yes.  The mechanism  of the response had to do with what Seligman called their explanatory style.  Training people to respond to negative events with a certain type of thinking habit (called narrow, external, and transient) fortified their defenses against depression.  He called this new response, “learned optimism “, and it ushered in a new field of psychiatry – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

If you think that your metabolism, motivation, willpower, and body type are all out of your control, you are likely to give up on fitness altogether

If you think that your metabolism, motivation, willpower, and body type are all out of your control, you are likely to give up on fitness altogether

If you’re reading this, you’re fitness-phobic.  You’ve probably been told and you’ve somehow come to believe that your body type is your destiny, you can’t change your metabolism, or you just don’t have the discipline or the willpower to stick to a fitness program.  Even worse, you may have come to believe that you just don’t deserve to be one of the fit people, the kind of person who loves the body they see in the mirror.  These are what Seligman would call broad, internal, and permanent explanatory styles – the exact thinking patterns that lead to learned helplessness.  The assumption that deep down there’s something wrong with you – it’s internal; it dooms everything you ever try – it’s broad; it will never change – it’s permanent.

So when you blame your failure to persist or reach your goals on yourself, you’re suffering from a form of learned helplessness.  This is why you face such overwhelming fear of failure, a fear that can make you decide to fail before you even start, or can erode you motivation once you do start, until you resign yourself to failure and quit.

The good news is that it’s been scientifically proven that these thought patterns can be reversed, and changing them can make you immune to the negativity for good.  There is nothing wrong with you.  Your body type is not your destiny.  You can change your metabolism.  You don’t need some super-special willpower or uber-discipline.  All you need is knowledge, a plan, and a system.

Most importantly, you are worthy of waking up every day for the rest of your life and loving the body you see in the mirror.

How to Stay a Badass for Life – GMB Fitness

Here are 3 strategies to help you overcome the challenges of getting older, so you can be a badass for life.

Read the full article at: gmb.io

If there were a pill that made you younger every day, would you take it?

I do a new jump-yoga interval training workout every morning at Lake Worth beach.  The most common question people ask me is – how old are you?

The subtext is clear – they simply can’t believe some of the moves I can do at age 53.  I can hardly believe it – I’m talking about moves like eagle handstand and lotus scorpion.

The more challenging moves that I can now execute with ease and style are things that I couldn’t imagine my body doing 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.  What’s up with that?

The graphs in this article show that a regular exerciser at age 80 can have the strength, flexibility, and motor control of a non-exerciser at age 20.

It’s clear that a lifelong habit of daily exercise is literally the fountain of youth.  If you are becoming stronger, more flexible, and more fit every day, in what sense are you actually aging?

You can even take this powerful principle one step further.

If you are working out at a gym or with a trainer, you are most likely doing a low variety repetition of routine linear, mid-range movements that were designed to bulk-up a specific bundle of muscle fibers while stabilizing the rest of your body.  You sit in a chair and work one muscle while the rest of your body literally shuts down.  The result is specifically strengthened tissues next to weak underdeveloped ones, leading to deformity and unhealthy loads, reducing overall strength, agility and mobility.

That conventional model of fitness training deconstructs human movement into tiny one-dimensional slices. It reduces the broad range of human movement to a narrow type of ‘exercise’ that can be mechanized and marketed.  So stop exercising like a machine and start moving like a human.

You don’t have to accept the limitations other people place on your movement.  You were given a whole body so why not use it every day?  THE game-changer is new, holistic movement patterns that constantly challenge your body and mind with ever-changing alignments, loads, variations, and adaptations.  This type of challenge is, after all, how our bodies evolved into the incredibly finely-tuned wonders of movement that they are.

Most people shy away from curvilinear, multi-dimensional, movement challenges in the liminal zone at the edge of their capabilities. Don’t be one of those people!  The reason is usually fear, of failure or injury.

If you learn how to properly and safely push into that zone every day, the constant adaptation and micro-variation required will keep your mind and body in a continuous state of being challenged. This will not only motivate you but it will also keep you young. Imagine the confidence of being able to do a little bit more every tomorrow than you could do yesterday. When you reach that point, chronological age becomes inconsequential.

 

 

 

 

 

Move Like a Human: Why You Shouldn’t Exercise – Parkour Generations

Movement is more than the sum of its parts. Reduce your patterns to linear, closed chains and guess what – that’s all you’ll ever be able to handle.

Read the full article at: parkourgenerations.com

Stop exercising and start moving.

 

You’re exercising like a machine – and it’s not giving you the results you want.

 

If you’re doing exercises on gym machines taught to you by trainers, you’re accepting the limitations that others are placing on your potential fitness.

 

Repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves will never give you results you want to see in the mirror.  The reason is clear: standard exercise deconstructs natural human movement into what this author calls “linear, closed chains” resulting in athletes with specifically strengthened tissues sitting next to underdeveloped tissues.

 

According to Laird Hamilton, “When you sit down on an exercise machine, with your back against a chair, you tend to shut down the rest of your body.”

 

Think about it – you go to the gym and strap yourself into a chair complete with armrests, leg rests, and handles – are you working out or watching a movie?  Stabilizing your body in this way and then building disproportionate strength in one set of muscle fibers while all the others become progressively weaker in a relative sense is diminishing your ability to move the way your body evolved to move.

 

Exercise is not movement, at least the exercises taught in the modern gym aren’t.  They are small, highly mechanized snapshots of moments – only the tiniest slices of the 4-dimensional time-space continuum in which we move – the slices that can be easily built into machines and marketed to gyms and health clubs.  They limit your understanding of movement and reduce your potential to that very narrow slice.

 

You will never gain agility from a leg-press machine, but try just one of these squats.  You will never see the kind of shoulder definition from a overhead press machine that you can get from this one move.  These are examples of holistic movements that combine different types of muscle contraction (concentric, eccentric, isometric) with multi-dimensional (seeping curvilinear arcs and twists) movement.  Use the outdoor environment and find movement challenges that are “quirky, technically challenging, and require the body to think”.  Train outdoors on structures that weren’t designed for that purpose and the resulting micro-variations will build the kind of strength, agility, and muscle definition you will never find at the gym.

 

A 23-Minute Morning Ritual That Will Transform Your Whole Day

How cool is science? Now you can set yourself up every morning for an awesome day by doing these simple activities.

Read the full article at: www.inc.com

More scientific data that confirms the magic of exercise.  Just a few minutes of some fun type of movement every day will result in the release of dopamine, the pleasure chemical in your brain.

 

The author also reports another effect of exercise – it trains your brain that your behavior matters.  This phenomenon has been confirmed in other studies, including one from the Psychology blog Psyblog indicating that when people are depressed they tend to habitually engage in activities that cheer them up, like walking outdoors, listening to music, or exercising.

 

The science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is the most effective form of therapy for anxiety and depression, supports these claims. It is essentially based on the idea that you have 2 levers that you can control to change your own mood: thoughts and actions.

 

The 5 actions suggested by the author have all been studied and they work, so if you don’t have time to do them all every day, try just one a day – you’ll be amazed at the effect on your mood, energy, and productivity.

For an even simpler, quicker, awesome morning ritual, check out this post.

 

Is Repetition Killing Your Motivation?

If you do the same exercises as everyone else, you will get the same results.  Look around - is that what you want?  I'm guessing I know your answer.  I know exactly how you feel.  I felt that way for a long time.

Repetition - Reps - even that little trainer-slang mini-version makes me cringe to this day.  I'll never be able to get the time back I wasted doing repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range, isolation moves that didn't yield results.  Even worse, I'll never get back all the time I wasted trying to distract myself with TVs, iPods, audiobooks, magazines, and hundreds of other desperate attempts to stave off the soul-crushing boredom.

People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it every day.

Zig Ziglar

How Repetition kills Motivation

  1. It's Boring
  2. It's exhausting
  3. Lousy Results
  4. It confines you to your comfort zone so you never push your limits.

Boredom

If you're spending more time on planning and implementing your workout distractions (music, social media, TV etc.) than you are on the workout itself - guess what?  You're bored.  It's bad enough that you're wasting several hours every week, time that you'll never get back, in a state of dismal, soul-crushing boredom.  What's even worse is the effect it has on your workout.

Boredom not only kills your motivation to start and to keep going, it also is a massive drag on intensity

Boredom not only kills your motivation to start and to keep going, it also is a massive drag on intensity

Boredom not only makes it difficult to get started - the hardest part of any workout - but it also is a massive drag on your intensity level.  I do my interval training every day at the beach and as I watch all the runners going by I notice that most of them are either landing their feet in front of them as they fall forward (so essentially stopping their forward motion with each foot strike), or just dropping their feet below their body to catch themselves and stay upright.  It's literally painful to look at their faces and see how bored they are - I can feel it.  And I can feel the time they're wasting ticking away.

Rarely, I will see a runner who is airborne, maintaining a powerful kick, feet flying, propelling themselves forward with every step.  It's rare to see someone like this, who has defeated boredom - it always makes me smile.

Exhaustion

​Repetitive, linear motion forces you into a misallocation of your energy resources, tricking your brain into thinking that you are exhausted well before you actually are.

​Repetitive, linear motion forces you into a misallocation of your energy resources, tricking your brain into thinking that you are exhausted well before you actually are.

​Repetitive, linear motion tricks your brain, so you reach a state of exhaustion quicker

There are several different types of exhaustion and the ones that you are targeting with repetition are muscle and joint fatigue.  Muscle fatigue results from repeated micro-trauma on a particular group of muscle fibers, depletion of glycogen, and the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissue.  Joint fatigue is simply the repetitive pounding of one-dimensional linear motion.

There are many different types of exhaustion.  Repetition will accelerate both muscle and joint fatigue and you will feel exhausted long before you reach the limits attainable with a more efficient allocation of energy.

There are many different types of exhaustion. Repetition will accelerate both muscle and joint fatigue and you will feel exhausted long before you reach the limits attainable with a more efficient allocation of energy.

The truth is that if you allocated your energy more efficiently, to multi-dimensional movement combining different muscle fibers and contraction types, you would have energy available to sustain intensity for much longer intervals.

This is probably in part a psychological trick that rewards you for exhausting a particular joint and muscle group quickly, giving you the false impression that you're achieving results, when really you'r just beating up your joints and reaching a state of muscle fatigue as quickly as possible with repetitive linear motion.

Lousy Results

Face it - you don't love the results you see in the mirror.  Maybe you don't even like them, and maybe you're not seeing results at all.  It's no wonder, repetition​ is a results-killer for several reasons.

The first reason is time.  You're wasting a massive amount of time and energy on repetitions that aren't contributing to your results.  Think about it.  If you do 15 reps and you only feel the burn on the last 3 then you're wasting 80% of your effort.  If you rest for a minute between sets then that number goes up to about 95% - of your workout wasted.

Neuroscience and metabolism also play a role in the diminishing effects of repetitive exercise.  A well-documented phenomenon known as metabolic adaptation essentially slows down your metabolism as you lose weight, so the same amount of exercise burn fewer calories.  

To make matters even worse, a study from Columbia University found that your muscles start using genes that make them more efficient, so they burn 20 to 30 percent fewer calories for the same exercise.

So the loss of intensity due to boredom and exhaustion is compounded by the fact that you need to continuously refresh your workout to push the intensity of muscle stimulation to higher levels to achieve results.​

Pushing Your Limits

The Most important reason that repetition is killing your motivation is that it confines you to a comfort zone in which you will never learn how to push your limits, which is crucial to achieving results.

Repetitive workouts confine you to your comfort zone - where you'll never see the results you want

Repetitive workouts confine you to your comfort zone - where you'll never see the results you want

If you stay within your comfort zone you are always doing exercise that is too easy for you, and studies show that is a powerful anti-motivational force

If you stay within your comfort zone you are always doing exercise that is too easy for you, and studies show that is a powerful anti-motivational force

If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it.

Navy SEAL David Goggins

Any exercise you can do 15 repetitions of is too easy for you.  That type of standard workout will never give you the results you want.  Even worse, it saps your motivation.  Psychological studies show that the most powerful motivational "sweet-spot" occurs right at the limits of our abilities.  In other words, challenging yourself with moves that are sometimes attainable but sometimes just outside your limits is the best way to stay motivated.

In his book Living With a SEAL, Jesse Itzler tells the story of how Navy SEAL ​David Goggins shocked him out of a fitness rut by challenging him to do 100 pull-ups, which he did, a few at a time.  Goggins' "40% Rule" states that when your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done. And he had a motto: If it doesn’t suck we don’t do it.

The Science of Sleep: A Brief Guide on How to Sleep Better Every Night

Want to learn how to sleep better? Look no further. This guide walks you through everything you need to know to learn how to sleep better every night.

Read the full article at: jamesclear.com

Sleep and athletic performance

If you could take a pill tonight that would improve your athletic performance tomorrow, would you?

Try going to sleep at least an hour earlier.

Anyone who is serious about fitness and health must read James Clear’s excellent review on the science of sleep.  I was blown away by the results of the sleep study performed on the Stanford basketball team.  For five weeks the team slept 10 hours per night instead of their usual 8 and the measured performance results were dramatic.  Shooting percentages increased by more than 9% and their 80-meter sprints were more than half-a-second faster.  Wow!

Sleep and weight loss

Sleep deprivation may also be the reason you’re not losing weight.  Lack of sleep makes your hunger hormones go all cattywampus – turning off the “I’m full” signal and pumping out more ghrelin and endocannabinoids, which make you eat more.  It also increases insulin resistance and the stress hormone cortisol that makes you store more belly fat.  That extra hour of sleep may actually be better for your waistline than an hour at the gym.

Happy & Smart

Oh yeah, one more thing –  good quality sleep makes you happier and smarter.  And it’s free!

According to an NIH study, we are chronically sleep deprived.  The number of prescriptions for sleep medication increased from 5 million in 1999 to more than 20 million in 2010.

So here’s the quickest, easiest, cheapest way to get leaner, smarter, happier, and fitter – go to sleep earlier.

Awesome-est Morning Ritual Ever

​I love my morning ritual.  I love reading about morning rituals.  Truth be told, though, some days, forget about winning the day or crossing the most important item off my to-do list, it's literally a struggle just to get up and get started.  So how do you start and stick with it?  It's all about neurosynaptic rerouting and long-term potentiation - Huh? - psychology and neuroscience teach us that we can actually rewire our own brains!  How cool is that?  How?  By starting a new micro-habit that gives us immediate feedback in the form of positive reinforcement.

​One of the major reasons people fail at behavior change is that they either bite off too much right at the beginning, setting some ridiculously huge goal, or they lose motivation.  This bite-sized morning ritual is just the thing to get you started and keep you on course.

7 Micro-Rituals

It consists of 7 micro-rituals, one for each day of the week.  Commit to doing one of these as soon as you wake up in the morning for 7 days and notice the effect on your mood, energy, productivity and happiness.  Ask for feedback from others.  Watch yourself get happier.

Win

Lots of morning rituals tell you to start the day with a win.  Some days that can feel like a lot of pressure.  So let's keep it simple.  Just think of a win from yesterday and say it out loud.  It can be anything - overcoming fear or an obstacle, figuring something out, a random act of kindness, making someone laugh.  

This exercise will focus your mind on wins, and start you thinking about what win from today will stand out in your mind tomorrow.  The point is not the actual winning, but rewiring your brain to see your life as a series of wins, with some inevitable failures and setbacks.  When you start seeing each failure or setback as just one more necessary step toward success, your response to them will completely change.

I teach my yoga students "every fall brings you one step closer to the perfect handstand" - they immediately get it.  Suddenly instead of treating falling with fear and avoidance, they actively seek it out and embrace it.

Awesome-ness

"One awesome thing about me is ________".  Fill in the blank.  Out loud.  Really.

It sounds kinda goofy, but try it.  Pick a likable quality or something about yourself you are proud of, stand in front of the mirror and with a big smile on your face and a booming voice, say it out loud.

You will be amazed at how many times during the day you'll catch yourself thinking "yeah, I am very ... patient, generous, caring, etc."  Stating the behavior out loud in the morning builds and reinforces a framework of qualities which form your positive self image.  Conscious and subconscious cues will cause your behavior to emphasize and your thoughts to recognize and reinforce those qualities.  

This exercise will also help you catch that substernal twinge of cognitive dissonance you feel when your behavior is out of sync with your admirable qualities.   Passive aggressive or selfish behavior will begin to screech like nails on a chalkboard, alerting you that you are not behaving like your ideal self and telling you to start looking for that "undo" button sooner rather than later.

Gratitude

Studies show that you can make yourself 25% happier simply by expressing gratitude.  Choose one thing in your life that you're grateful for and say so, loud and clear, to yourself or, even better, someone else.  If it involves someone else make sure you let them know - "I was reflecting on gratitude today and thinking about how lucky I am to have you in my life".   Reflect on how much better your life is right now, today, because of that person, condition, or event.  Imagine how much better your life could be if you enhance that condition (e.g. your health), or put more time and energy into that relationship.  

Let the feeling of gratitude stay with you all day and permeate your entire routine.  Everything will look and feel different, like you're wearing new glasses for the first time.  It's so easy to get into the habit of listening to all the bad news stories and start thinking negative thoughts about the world.  Guess what?  It's just as easy to start picking out all the positive nuggets - you just have to retrain your brain.  Subjects who were asked to come up with a list of 3 new things they were grateful for each day started seeing the world completely differently after just 21 days.  They had rewired their brains to scan the world for and amplify the positive aspects of their lives.  Try it, it works.

Be The One

"Today I'm going to be the friendliest one in the room."

"Today I'm going to be the first one running on the beach as the sun rises"

"Today I'm going to be genuinely and ridiculously kind to someone I don't really like."

Imagine the person you want to be.  Be that person for one day.  Just one day.  See what happens.​

Dance

My girl and I woke up this morning and danced to U.S. Blues by The Grateful Dead.  We made up a bunch of new moves - some pretty cool, some totally dorky.  If you're not sure what to do just mirror a crazy movie scene.  Dance like Austin Powers, Vincent Vega, or Rodney.  
Disco-dance like Tony Manero - Guaranteed smile on your face all day.

Sing

No I'm not talking about humming quietly to yourself in the shower.   Imagine you're holding a microphone, performing before a full stadium.  Stand up tall, chest out, take a deep breath, and belt out a verse of a favorite song.  High notes. Harmony. A capella. Doo-Wop. The whole shebang.  How does that feel?

Wild Card

For the last day of the week, pick your favorite one from the list above and repeat it.  Or just roll a dice.

Training Tips from the World’s Greatest Athlete

The two time Olympic gold-medal winner and decathlon world record holder talks to us about the importance of focus, running, and coffee.

Read the full article at: www.outsideonline.com

Anyone who is serious about fitness should read this interview with Ashton Eaton.  My favorite response is to the question about the most overrated training advice –  his reply –  “I would label any advice that would have you do more of something as overrated.”

Why repetition kills motivation

That is my pet peeve about fitness advice in general – it’s all about repetition, and repetition kills motivation.  Why?

  • It’s boring
  • It’s exhausting
  • It counterproductive to the results you really want

When you go to the gym, hire a trainer, or watch a video, what you get is repetitive, one-dimensional, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves.  Doing them over and over is a sure way to bore and exhaust yourself.  If you do the math you’re really spending 90-plus percent of your reps and your workout time on moves that aren’t targeted at results.

Perfect training day

When asked about his perfect training day, Eaton’s response was “A struggle, a breakthrough, and something gained mentally.”  That’s awesome advice – scientific studies on motivation show that the best way to motivate yourself is with tasks that are at or just beyond your current abilities.

Don’t be one of those people!

Most people shy away from curvilinear, multi-dimensional, movement challenges in the liminal zone at the edge of their capabilities.  Don’t be one of those people!  The reason is usually fear, of failure or injury.  If you learn how to properly and safely push into that zone every day, the constant adaptation and micro-variation required will keep your mind and body in a continuous state of being challenged. This will not only motivate you but it will also keep you young. Imagine the confidence of being able to do a little bit more every tomorrow than you could do yesterday. When you reach that point, chronological age becomes inconsequential.

Every second of every rep

So why not push your limits every day and design every second of every rep of every move to laser-focus on the only results that matter – the ones you see in the mirror.

The only results that matter

If you can’t dance naked in front of a mirror then your workouts are a waste of time.  Stop wasting time and energy and start seeing results – learn how to challenge yourself to make every move and every second of every workout count.

An Astonishing Effect of Exercise on Your Brain

Exercise not only creates new neurons, it makes those neurons nimble – capable of multitasking.  And, by the way: You’ll live longer too.

Read the full article at: www.inc.com

Neurons with superpowers

I was blown away by an absolutely astonishing finding in this study.  Not only does exercise stimulate the formation of new neurons in the brain, but those neurons have a kind of “superpower” –  they are able to join different neural networks.

In the words of the authors, “…running, unlike learning, had created brain cells that could multitask.”

Enhancing cognitive skills

Even though the formation of the new neurons was stimulated by physical activity, they were able to enhance completely unrelated cognitive skills.

Cognitive improvements can be seen in all age groups.  So kids who walk to school do better than bus-riders on tests, and older people can ward off dementia with exercise.

Lack of time is no excuse

And guess what?  Time is no longer an excuse.  Recent studies have proven that as little as one minute of intense exercise per day can confer all the benefits of hours of cardio.

If there were a magic pill that made you smarter, leaner, fitter, healthier, and younger, would you take it?  There is, and it’s free … it’s called exercise.

 

The Selfie And Self-Esteem Have An Unexpected Link – PsyBlog

The selfie is sometimes linked to low self-esteem and low life satisfaction, but it depends on your personality.

Read the full article at: www.spring.org.uk

Do you love your selfie?

Do you love your body?  Can you imagine loving your body?

Have you been told you can’t change the shape of your body?  That it’s genetics, fixed metabolism, or destiny?

Can you imagine loving your body?

Judging by the more than $60 Billion Americans spend on weight loss and exercise programs, most people don’t love the body they see in selfies and in the mirror.  How many of those people will actually put their brain and willpower to use to sculpt a body that they will love?  The sad statistical truth is not many.

Happiness

A lot is written about the health consequences of being overweight or obese, but what about happiness?  I know exactly how it felt to wake up every morning living inside a body I hated, and I now know exactly how it feels to love the body I see in my selfies and in the mirror.

Sadness

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.  I imagine the sadness of all those people who don’t love the body they wake up in every morning as a dark cloud hanging over us.  What about the psychological consequences of all that sadness?

Only 3 steps

Guess what?  You CAN change the shape of your body.

There are only 3 steps to getting there:

  1. Analyze – shoot some selfies of angles and of body parts you like, then shoot some of angles and of body parts you don’t like.
  2. Educate – Learn the basic anatomy of the body areas you want to change.
  3. Do it!  – Apply biomechanical principles to sculpting the body that you will love.

Forget about counting calories and starving yourself.  Forget about exhausting yourself with repetitive, boring, exhausting exercise programs that don’t work.  There are much easier ways to get started.

I’ve already done steps 2 and 3 for you, so get started shooting those selfies now!

 

President Obama’s Workout Playlist

In his recent gig as a guest editor for Wired, President Obama shared his 10-track workout playlist on the magazine’s Spotify account.

Read the full article at: www.popsugar.com

So The Commander-In-Chief  gets it started with the Black-Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get it Started” – cool.

Here are my top three songs for motivation:

The toughest step in any task is getting started.  My go-to pump-me-up song is Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”.

If you find your energy flagging while running up a mountain trail or pushing through a difficult set of reps, the best crescendo for motivation is Bill Conti’s “Going the Distance” from the original Rocky movie.

Need to re-energize or maintain motivation during a workout?  Try Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name”.

What about those dorky, nerdy feel-good songs on our workout playlists that we don’t tell anyone about?  Mine are Rose Royce’s “Car Wash”, the Austin Powers Theme, Cameo’s “Word Up”, and Silento’s “Watch Me”.

 

Check out all these workout playlists, from President Obama’s to SoulCycle instructors to Muscle & Fitness Readers.

 

Soul Cycle instructors' playlists

I asked five SoulCycle instructors for their most coveted possessions — their playlists.

Read the full article at: www.vox.com

Music is MotivationMusic is Motivation

The top 25 workout songs chosen by our readers to get you motivated to hit the weights.

Read the full article at: www.muscleandfitness.com

5 SoulCycle instructors give us their most coveted possessions: their playlists.

 

Soul Cycle instructors' playlists

I asked five SoulCycle instructors for their most coveted possessions — their playlists.

Read the full article at: www.vox.com

Here are my top three songs for motivation:

Lose Yourself

The toughest step in any task is getting started.  My go-to pump-me-up song is Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”.

Going The Distance

If you find your energy flagging while running up a mountain trail or pushing through a difficult set of reps, the best crescendo for motivation is Bill Conti’s “Going the Distance” from the original Rocky movie.

Remember The Name

Need to re-energize or maintain motivation during a workout?  Try Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name”.

What about those dorky, nerdy feel-good songs on our workout playlists that we don’t tell anyone about?  Mine are Rose Royce’s “Car Wash”, the Austin Powers Theme, Cameo’s “Word Up”, and Silento’s “Watch Me”.

Music is MotivationMusic is Motivation

The top 25 workout songs chosen by our readers to get you motivated to hit the weights.

Read the full article at: www.muscleandfitness.com

Yoga Boosts Brain Function

Research has revealed that just one 20 minute session of Hatha yoga considerably improved speed and accuracy on tests of inhibitory control and working memory

Read the full article at: www.ahealthblog.com

Your Brain’s RAM

Working memory is the RAM of your brain.  Kind of like a temporary storage bin that allows you to think on your feet and organize your thoughts coherently.

What it Does

While delivering a presentation, having a conversation, or simply reading a blog post, your working memory is constantly processing, filing, and shifting your thoughts around into an organized queue that allows you to sort, store, and deliver information to achieve your goal – comprehension, communication, persuasion, etc.

The Neuroscience

Several fascinating recent neuroscientific studies show that there is much more to the deep core stimulation and isometric muscle contractions of yoga than a simple relaxation response.

These types of muscle stimulation actually have traceable, neurosynaptic pathways that result in testable improvements in working memory.

Calmer AND Smarter?

Other studies have mapped out a direct connection between the brain region that connects to the deep core muscles and the adrenal gland – the source of the stress hormone cortisol.

These studies give us actual testable results, and even a traceable neurosynaptic pathway, that can explain and confirm how yoga can make you calmer and smarter.

This is different from the subjective, nebulous, post-exercise “high” attributed to endorphins but rather a testable outcome with identifiable neurosynaptic pathways.

What about Cardio?

Do all forms of exercise have this effect?  Well, yes – but sorry cardio – not to the same degree.  When comparing different types of exercise, so far the evidence shows that strength training has a greater effect than cardio on working memory, and the link between the motor cortex and the adrenal gland has been demonstrated only for the deep core muscles.  The current study also looked mainly at isometric contraction, common in yoga but not typical of standard gym workouts.

More Great Reasons to Do Yoga

Further study will undoubtedly shed more light on these effects, but for now you have some solid scientific evidence that the deep core isometrics of yoga can actually make you calmer and smarter.

The Strange Brain of the World’s Greatest Solo Climber

Alex Honnold has his own verb. “To honnold”—usually written as “honnolding”—is to stand in some high, precarious place…

Read the full article at: nautil.us

Say Hello to Your Fear Threshold

Alex Honnold is the world’s greatest free solo rock climber, which means he climbs with no rope or protective gear of any kind.  In 2008 he became the first climber to scale Half Dome in Yosemite in this style.  He looks peaceful, calm, deliberate, and totally in control on the rock, but he is literally 1 tiny slip-up, on the scale of millimeters, from certain death.

How does he do it?  and Why?

To Honnold, the most astonishing fact is not that he is able to do it, but that he wants to do it, which is a fact about himself that he has always known but can’t fully explain.  Using functional MRI scans, scientists were able to identify his brain’s fear center (the amygdala), and document the fact that it doesn’t fire at all under stress compared to other age-matched adrenaline junkies.

No Fear?

So he doesn’t feel fear?  Well, not exactly.  Honnold himself describes the “adrenaline spike” he feels when a foot slips or he finds himself off his planned route.  He also says that he was really scared on his first ever solo climb, and he utilizes journalling and mental imagery, both revisiting past situations to figure out what he might have done differently and anticipating the perfect climb along with almost everything which could possibly go wrong (including falling and dying) before he climbs.

Brain Training

What Honnold is doing is using his prefrontal cortex (the planning center) of his brain to “reconsolidate” (or even “pre-consolidate”)  fear memories, and turn them into useful go-to algorithms for his brain that can be loaded into the prefrontal cortex before amygdala-based panic sets in.  According to Marie Monfils, head of the Monfils Fear Memory Laboratory at the University of Texas, this is a textbook, if extreme, approach to dealing with fear.  By repeated mental imagery of past and future climbs, Honnold has been able to turn outrageous acts, like swinging by his fingertips from an overhang, to walking toes-out across Thank God Ledge in Yosemite (1800 feet off the deck), into methodical, step-by-step, routines.

What You Can Learn

For most of us, physical activity is laden with fear, most of which is imagined.  Think about it – the first thing you see on an exercise video or machine is a warning – but it’s much more dangerous to sit on the sofa eating Cheetos, which is what’s really killing us.  So where’s the warning on the sofa and the cheetos?

When you are exercising, do you feel fear at the slightest hint of discomfort, breathlessness, or fatigue?  Try channeling some of the techniques of the world’s greatest solo climber.  When you plan in advance how to confront your fear threshold, you will be much better equipped to push through it.  You’ll quickly achieve new levels of strength and stamina and you will find your body capable of things you never thought possible.

The key is training your brain’s simulation engine to override fear by pre-programming it with step-by-step protocols.

Click Here to start learning, step-by-step, some super-cool moves (on the ground) today:

Download Free Video Mini-Course Now!

 

Simple Trick to Leverage Your Willpower

It’s Not Magic

willpower is not magic, it’s not a superpower – we all have it, and as it turns out we all have a limited amount of it at any given time, and it can be easily exhausted.  So the good news is that people who seem more “disciplined” than you really don’t have superpowers – they just know how to spend their willpower, like money, to get the most bang for their buck.  More good news – you can learn these tricks too.

Decision Fatigue

The process of exhausting your willpower is called “decision fatigue” and it is a well-documented and measurable phenomenon.

A study of judges making parole decisions showed that the more decisions they made, the more likely they were to keep someone in prison (i.e. opt for the status quo) than to change their status, regardless of the circumstances of the offense.

Our brains are wired to opt for the status quo, and making a decision to change takes mental energy which can be easily exhausted.

This is why preparing a healthy breakfast the night before, packing your workout bag and laying out your workout clothes by your bed all make it much more likely that you’ll eat healthy and workout in the morning.

You can simply wake up and perform a series of mechanical pre-planned habits without making any decisions – and voila! you’re working out.

Micro-Motivation

So if you only have a limited amount of willpower, why not leverage what you’ve got?  Interval training, by means of a concept I’ll call “micro-motivation”, allows you to leverage your willpower to the max.

The concept of micro-motivation is as astonishingly simple as it is effective and interval training leverages the power of micro-motivation to the hilt

Connecting To Your Future Self

Studies have shown that establishing a psychological connection to your future self is a powerful motivator to keep you working toward your goals

For example, people who are shown aging images of themselves are more likely to elect to save more for retirement.  Studies also show that it’s actually easier to stick to a goal if you visualize it in days rather than months or years, because the  shorter time intervals connect you more directly with your future self, who has already reached the goal

Taking this fact, along with the fact that It’s easier to connect psychologically over a short time frame than a long one, leads to an obvious conclusion.

You have lots of future selves, not only after reaching a goal, but all along the way, and it’s much easier to establish a connection to those that are closer to you on the timeline.

micro-motivation is simply a technique to connect with all of those future selves along the pathway toward a goal.

4 ways to establish the connection for a burst of motivation

If you’re having trouble getting started, try only committing to finishing the first interval

It will be only a matter of seconds in the future so the connection will be easy.  Imagine your future self after having completed that one interval.  Allow yourself the option of quitting after one interval – seriously

Getting through one interval will seem a lot less intimidating than getting through the whole workout, and the connection to your future self, 30 seconds from now will be much easier to establish, because of proximity on the timeline.

It’s astonishingly simple, but watch what happens once you’re there.  From the inside of the interval routine, things look very different.  You can now connect to your next future self, slightly further along the timeline, rather than seeing the entire timeline as an intimidating task.

If you find your motivation lagging during the interval routine

Try committing to just one more interval.   Tell yourself,”one more and I’ll quit – so I’ll make it a good one”.  Chances are that once you power through a single interval, you will feel good for not having given up a minute ago, and you will want to pursue that feeling again.  Also, you will be closer to the end, allowing you to connect more easily with your future selves, who have finished 1 more interval, 2 more intervals, etc..

go super-micro

If the above methods fail, go super-micro.  Break the next interval down into tiny steps and just convince yourself to do one of those steps.  For example, if I have a jumprope interval, I’ll just tell myself to turn the rope 3 times.  Once I get going, the same forces as listed above kick in and the rope turns start falling like dominoes, until I gt through the interval.  Usually I’m so happy at having made it through one that I just forget about my wanting to quit and I just keep going without skipping a beat.

If the all three methods fail, try self compassion and give yourself a rest

I build random rest intervals into my workouts.  But there are times when I feel weak, fatigued, breathless, sore, or just plain unmotivated.  At those times, I practice self-compassion, which is treating yourself as you would treat someone you love, and I give myself a rest.  I tell myself that I’ll come back energized and stronger, and I usually do. The most important thing is to allow yourself to be human and stop beating yourself up.

Your Brain Has A “Delete” Button–Here’s How To Use It

This is the fascinating way that your brain makes space to build new and stronger connections so you can learn more.

Read the full article at: www.fastcompany.com

Cells in your brain acting as little micro-gardeners? It’s true! A recent article from Fast Company explains “synaptic pruning” – the microglial cells in your brain act as gardeners and prune away synaptic connections leaving room for new ones to form.  You decide which synaptic pathways get pruned and which new ones are formed by practicing desirable new habits.

The process of forming and reinforcing new pathways, called neurosynaptic rerouting and long-term potentiation is another way of saying that you can literally rewire your brain.  So if you have a long term fitness goal, break it down into tiny micro-habits that you want to reinforce and start practicing them today.  Learn how to turn your interval training into a neuroscientific hack to leverage your willpower in this blog post.

The key to proper brain maintenance? Sleep and mindfulness.

Who’s the fat stranger in the mirror? OMG it’s ME!

Who’s that fat stranger in the mirror?

You have lots of choices.  There are 5 ways to measure body fat.  There are 4 female and 3 male body types (banana, pear, apple, hourglass, ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph, respectively).  From bands that track every twitch to apps that count every calorie to bio-electric-impedance scales to forks that admonish you to eat slower, we’ve become obsessed with metrics.  But there’s only one metric that matters, and if you’re like me you know exactly what that metric is.

The only metric that matters

I had all the high-tech bells & whistles, measuring everything from exercise intensity (level 9 on the elliptical – wow! – I’m almost ready for the olympics.-) to strength gains to calories consumed and burned to body fat.  I even had a personal trainer and a doctor telling me I was in great shape (I was paying them, of course) and doing exactly the right thing.  But there was one metric I was missing, the one for which there is no measure — happiness.

The fat stranger

It took a long, painful moment for the truth to sink in, and as it did I felt the pit of my belly sink.  I stared at the photo for an interminable moment, first wondering who the fat stranger in the picture could possibly be.  I even stared harder at the photo, as if the power of my gaze and my will could either make him disappear or transform him into “the real me”.  I actually looked away for a moment, hoping that when I looked back he would be gone.  But, there he remained – a fleshy, doughy, rotund blob who looked nothing like the guy I imagined I saw in the mirror every day.  There was no denying it – the fat stranger in the picture was me.

The Aha! moment

I’m grateful for that Aha! moment.  At the time I was confused because of all the measuring and reassuring from “experts”.  But now I see clearly – that’s exactly what all that measuring and reassuring is about – confusion, hiding, denial.  I see it so clearly now that the recognition of my own stupidity is embarrassing.

Fear and hiding

The truth is I was afraid and I was hiding.  Hiding behind metrics, hiding behind clothes, hiding by avoiding certain angles in the mirror.  I even diverted my eyes to avoid my reflection in windows.  I was literally afraid of my own shadow.

The philosophy of beauty

Philosophers have debated the meaning and purpose of beauty for millennia.  In Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man (1795), the German poet Friedrich Schiller tried to describe what we feel when we gaze upon a sculpture of a beautiful body.  As the philosopher John Armstrong wrote in Aeon, the experience of beauty teaches us something about how we should be.  Schiller’s point was not that we should try to look like that statue, but rather that we should seek to realize in ourselves the fusion of the drives embodied by the sculpture.  Beauty is not something external to us, it is something we feel.

Ask yourself…

How do you feel when you look, I mean really look (try no clothes and your worst angles), in the mirror?  Are you happy?  Do you love the body you see?  Happiness is the only metric that matters.

Imagine loving your body

It’s not your destiny to live your whole life inside a body you don’t love.  You can change your body.  The first step is to pierce the fog of denial.  Measuring is avoiding, buying more clothes for your body type is hiding.  So stop avoiding and hiding.  Decide what you want to change and start implementing a step-by-step system.  It’s not as hard as you think.  Before you know it you’ll be asking yourself, “who’s that lean, toned, agile stranger in the picture?”