getting un-stuck

Are you tired of getting the same old results? I know the feeling, and there is only one way to break from this routine. You have to step outside of your comfort zone.

No growth comes from within the comfort zone. If you want new outcomes, you have to  first change the input.

It’s like planting a garden. You cannot plant corn and then be upset come harvest time because you don’t have any beans.

If you want beans, then start planting beans and stop planting corn.

The harvest is not enough though. First, there are several months in between planting and the harvest where the crops have to be cared for.

You can rarely just throw some seeds down and come back several months later for a harvest.  You have to care for your crops, you have to weed them, and water them. You have to make sure the temperature and soil are just right.

It’s like that old facebook game Farmville (which sadly I admit I have played). Even in that game, you cannot just leave your farm to run itself.

The same is true with your mind, you have to care for the thoughts and actions you allow into your life. Thoughts and actions are the seeds and your mind is the soil.

Take care of it. Afterall a good harvest requires consistent care and hard work from start to finish.

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slacking

I am just as guilty of this as anyone. Procrastination and laziness are something we all have to battle on a daily basis. The moment you start resting on your laurels, you’ve already lost.

If you want something bad enough. Go out and fight for it. Work for it. No one is going to do it for you.

This applies to write your book, losing weight, going back to school, being a better parent, etc.

No one, no matter how good of an intent they have can or will do the work for you.

Maybe this isn’t what you want to hear, but its the honest to god truth. You have to work for you.

Your friends and family should be there to support you along the way, (and if they arent then fuck em. You don’t need them anyways). But no matter whos giving you support, it’s on you to produce.

For years I slacked off on what I should have been doing because I was waiting for help to come. Guess what. It never came.

Do it your damn self.

You will get beat up, you will get knocked down, you’ll be tired and over worked. None of that matters because your life work will not take form without you working on it yourself.

Get up. Shake it off. And work.

stop lying

Who is the most important person to keep your promises to? Surprisingly, it isn’t your parents, lover, friends, or even your family, it’s you.

When you tell yourself you are going to do something, start living up to those promises. If you are not living up to them, then stop lying to yourself.

Keeping promises to yourself builds

  • Trust
  • Character
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-worth

and a whole host of other positive attributes.

Next time your vow to make a change in your life, find a mirror and look yourself in the eye. If you can lie to yourself in this fashion than you can lie to anyone and anyone can lie to you.

Keys to keeping your word

Start small. you must start by making small promises to yourself. Remember, break everything you do down to micro goals. Want to lose 20 pounds? Start with trying to lose 3 pounds first. Then 5, then 7, then 10 and so on.

Set deadlines for yourself.  Never leave your goals open-ended. Goals without an attached date are merely wishes. Having a date gives the goal a sense of urgency.

Write them down, not only should you be making promises you can keep but make a contract with yourself. Goals, when written down are much more powerful than goals floating around in your head.

Keep them to yourself. You don’t need to share all of your goals with everyone around you. It’s fine if you have a strong support group close to you, or a coach that is helping to guide you but don’t feel like you have to share every goal you have.

Keep the end in mind. What happens when you do reach your goal? What does life look like when you lose that weight? Do you have a plan to keep it off for good? Remember, anything lost can be found again. Losing weight or even gaining muscle isn’t a short-term goal, it’s a lifestyle change. Be ready to commit to the long-term

:work

 

psychophysics

Ever notice there is a profound difference between practice and competition?

In psychology, we use the term psychophysics, which refers to the study of relationships between the objectively measured intensities of various stimuli and the subjective impression of those intensities.

In other words, how the same thing can affect us differently in different environments.

For example, if you light a match in a dark room, the match is highly noticeable.  Now if you light that match in a bright room if the match is hardly noticeable at all.

The same is true with sound, whispering in a library sounds much louder than whispering at a concert.

Although the pitch and volume of your voice might be the same, just as the match brightness is the same, the perception is vastly different based on our surroundings.

This same phenomenon can be observed during competition. Even though training has gone well up to this point, when we enter the competition it is like we have not trained at all.

Many people experience this same response when called upon to give a public talk on a topic they are familiar with. We can sit and chat comfortably with the group, but when called upon to speak formally we are flooded by emotions that were not previously there.

The conscious sensations of stimulus do not reflect our physical reality. In other words, we over hype our surroundings and their importance in our head. This is a form of self-defeating behavior.  We can combat that response by following these three basic principles of performance.

Mental Practice 

Obviously, we cannot mentally practice every situation we may come across, but we can mentally practice a few basic elements of performance before, and even during events. Go over the event details in your head, and focus on feeling good about it. Look at the event as just another practice.

Understand: one event in your life is no different that one letter on this page. There is no one letter that is so important on this page that it would change the outcome of this discussion.

Visualize the event 

Visualization is another form of mental practice. The beautiful thing about visualization is we can do it any time anywhere, with no fancy tools or equipment. Draw up a mental movie of ourselves performing your best. Focus on key elements and details. Vividly see all five senses in a much detail as possible. Sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

Understand: you don’t need to have competed at this same thing before to visualize yourself doing well. Instead, focus on past wins and successes. These can be from anything in your life, school, sport, work, relationships. Find a memory that made you feel good and focus on that feeling while seeing yourself performing some given task.

Stick to the Basics 

In psychophysics, the environment controls the outcome.  Remember this next time you take the stage.  If the light of a struck match doesn’t change, then a performance is just a performance,  a speech is just a speech, an event is just an event. Focus on executing the basics to perfection.

Understand: don’t give your environment control over your performance. A match does not care when it is lit. It’s going to burn as bright as it can for a few seconds, a burning match sticks to the basics.

stressed?

4 methods to minimize stress in your life.

Self-reflection – this looks different for everyone and can come in the form of meditation, journaling, writing, playing music. Any form of outlet you find relaxing. Make it a priority to do.

Exercise – believe it or not, exercise releases endorphins in your brain and nervous system. These endorphins reduce the sensitivity to pain receptors in the brain. The trick with exercise is you must find something you enjoy doing otherwise it is not sustainable long-term. If you like doing CrossFit, do CrossFit.  If you like Jiu-Jitsu, do it! Whether it running or tennis, or whatever else keeps you busy, breaks a sweat and gets the heart rate up, then do that. The point here is to relieve stress, not create more.

Social structure – friends and family are a great resource for coping with stress.  Tools like Facetime, Skype, and snapchat allow for faster communication with friends and family around the world. Remember, sometimes our closets friends sometimes have fur and four legs.

Time management  Stress often comes down to not being able to meet expectations. Plan our time accordingly. Make daily to-do lists that involve long-term and short-term goals. Then give your short-term goals, short-term goals. Remember, goals can range from the next several years to the coming hours.

 

Stress can be good

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Stress Management

The first two are pretty common. Walk into any commercial gym, sporting good store, or vitamin shop and you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of diet and exercises products. Not surprisingly, diet and exercise have long been the proven keys to the ignition of optimal health, and they are highly important.

However, there is an often overlooked third key. One that, in my opinion, could be the most important one of them all. Stress management.

Stress can, and will, kill you if you let it slide by unchecked.

Stress is a primitive response passed down from our earliest ancestors. Stress can be both useful or dangerous.

As a useful response, stress can warn you when other animals are trying to kill you. Stress is dangerous to our health when we let it affect our social life, sleep patterns, and relationships.

Eustress is typically considered good, or healthy forms of stress.  This type of stress is sometimes referred to as micro stressors, or stressors involved with everyday tasks. This type of stress usually involves some form of personal growth when the challenge at hand is neither too difficult nor too easy.

Distress, on the other hand, is negative. This type of stress is normally considered a threat to your quality of life. Distress is brought on when the demand greatly exceeds the capability. Death, divorce, injury, abuse are examples of distress.

Understand, stress is common to all living organisms. Plants, animals, and humans all experience varying degrees of stress. Although we can never fully remove stress from our lives, we can learn to recognize and cope with stress.

 

Diet? What Diet.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC)

I get asked all the time, “do you follow a specific diet?” No.

To be honest, my wife is such a wizard in the kitchen I let her imagination run freely. Her and I both try to eat “clean”, but I understand that eating clean means different things to everyone. I once had someone tell me, banana bread is good for you because it has bananas….. (insert facepalm emoji here).

So if I don’t follow a specific diet, what do I eat?

Background: I was born into a vegetarian family. This lasted during the first few years of my life. I hate to get all Freudian psychology on this but, this type of diet probably helped shaped how I eat today. 30 years later I still don’t enjoy eating red meat. I don’t like the texture, taste, or ethics involved with it. If I do eat red meat, I try to seek out wild or free range.

My protein sources are mainly from poultry and fish. I eat eggs and some dairy.

The mass of my daily caloric intake comes from, avocados, nuts and seeds, blueberries, strawberries, green vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach, collards, chard), potatoes, rice, tomatoes, and olive oil.

I also drink a shit ton of black coffee but no soda. I try to limit my alcohol consumption to no more than a few drinks a week. I am also a sucker for a good fried chicken sandwich once in a while (#southernroots).

Thanks, Havard

I have been eating this way for years, so I was pleased to see Havard publish a study on anti-inflammation foods. Lucky for me, it pretty much mirrored my diet. Back in the day,

I tried the Paleo thing when it was booming among the CrossFit community. Long story short, it fucked me up. I felt like shit, my blood pleasure spiked, it just wasn’t for me. Diet, just like an exercise routine has to be a personal choice. Find what works for you and do it. If you can eat Paleo like your stuck in the stone age, pillage away. If you like killing helpless plants to be a vegan, slice and dice friends.

Moderation in all things” – Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)

Truth is, anything in moderation is okay. The problem is, as a society we have lost our ability to moderate. 10000 years ago, our ancestors had to hunt, harvest, and forge their own food. No one back then was a fat bastard like we are today because when food is a finite resource, rather than a commodity, overeating usually meant risking your status within the tribe.  Things had to be rationed. Now we have infinite opportunities to stuff our faces on virtually every corner we can drive our cars up to a window and get food from anywhere in the world all within a mile radius.

The days of having to walk 20 miles to hunt in order to feed the tribe are long gone. Can you imagine what would happen to these guys if they drove up to the local Chinese buffet? Not only their psychological reaction to today’s society (ugh, this is red sauce, I wanted white. I said no tomatoes) but their physiological reaction to the shit we eat today?  It’d be like giving your dog pizza. Diarrhea for days.

hunter gather

Damn, there’s a 25-minute wait at the Hong Kong Buffet. Want to go next door and get Tacos?

Own your life.

 

:work

Opinion

The opinion you have of yourself is your reality.

I’m not talking about being a self-grandiose ego driven asshole.

I’m talking about how you think about yourself when you think about yourself.

Are the thoughts you hold in your head positive? Negative? neutral? Chances are, they are on the latter half of that scale.

Sadly, more often than not, we tend to think of our negative qualities before we think about our positive self-attributes.

We start exercise routines, and diets but instead of looking at the progress we have made in such a short period of time, we look at all the negatives and things we don’t like.  Remember, you can’t undo several years of bad health habits in just a few short months.

If this sounds like you worry not. This is a type of learned behavior, and like all behavior, it can be changed with enough concentrated effort.

Try this:

  • Think of a few things you like about yourself. They can be anything, from looks to intelligence, to a certain skill you have developed.  Anytime you start to think down on yourself recall these attributes.  These are often unique to you and no one else.

 

  • Stop judging others by their flaws and faults. Seeking these things out in others only makes them more evident in yourself as well. Ignore these traits in others and focus on the good they bring to your life. If you find these people don’t bring good to your life, minimize the role they play.