Late to the New Year’s Resolution Party?

By Kristi Hoffman

Getting a late start on your New Year’s resolutions and now it’s February? Well lucky you. Join the party! February is the new January. So jump on, late “New Year New You” starters.

If hopes of starting a fresh new year filled with resolutions didn’t quite work out as planned. — health or family crises may have taken over, over-commitments didn’t allow it, poor time management took over — c’est la vie. Let’s get going #RightNow.

Here are three actions to get you February-motivated, to step aboard and get unstuck. Who says January 1 is the magic start date? “New Year New You” starts now, no matter what the calendar says!

Action #1: LOSE SOMETHING.

-Release an unhealthy habit such as smoking, over-indulging, impatience with others.

-Let go of an old routine — eating sugar-laden cereals for breakfast (try oatmeal), getting on your computer for hours every night (try talking with the family or call an old friend instead)

-Walk away from a negative, judgmental, nasty person in your world. Meanness is so last year.

-Let go of complacency and become active.

Action #2: CHANGE IT UP.

-Eat breakfast in a different chair.

-Drive the kids to school a different way.

-Get up 15 minutes earlier and read the headlines.

-Stretch before bed.

-Walk for 20 minutes in the morning.

-Have something to look forward to: spring, a vacation, a new job.

-Pray upon waking.

-Start a craft, an adventure, join a club. Start a new “thing.”

Action #3: BE THE FORCE THAT CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING.

-Smile at a stranger.

-Lead by example; people are watching, what are they learning?

-Don’t wait for someone else to tell you it’s “go” time. Take action.

-Trust your intuition.

-Speak positive words about yourself to others.

-Stop gossiping and start complimenting.

And now….. Download the Total Package Lifestyle App for daily positive #MeMantras! Your total package of Body, Brain, and Spirit will thank you! Happy New Year to you, no matter what the date is!

Set Your Set-Point: Uphold Your “Happiness Level” For Life

By Kristi K. Hoffman

We get to set our own goals in life. How beautiful is that? There is great power in realizing our own ability to challenge ourselves and set our GPS toward our loves and talents. And, even more beautiful still is that when we meet our goals, we get to re-calibrate them, and raise the bar to an even more exciting level.

In addition to goal-setting is establishing a personal set point. A set point is that place where you’d like to maintain, stabilize, and stay, as it relates to key areas in your life. Set points are important because they provide structure—something to aim for and stay committed to for future success. Consider your set point a personally satisfying, quantifiable objective you wish to maintain.

Set points help you step up to your next level, aim for and reach your life dreams and goals, uphold your “happiness level” for life. They are your sustainable happy place. Your set point may (will) change and evolve as chapters in your life change. But that’s the beauty of being able to set, reach, and recalibrate your own goals.

Establish a set point for these four areas:

Weight: Know at what weight (range) you feel good, healthy, and fit. Work with a physician, and as necessary, explore working with a dietitian, a fitness expert, and/or use your FitBit or My Fitness Pal app to stay consistent. Consistency, habit, and discipline are key core competencies here.

Work/Career: Know what measurable objectives you need to reach to be successful, to get the promotion, to seal the deal, to perform at peak levels, to get high marks on your evaluations, to set yourself up for future success. Drive, desire, and organization will help you with this set point.

Financial: Know where you’d like to be financially to live the lifestyle that makes you feel happy, comfortable, fulfilled. Be diligent about paying off debt, staying debt free going forward, and building a savings for your dreams. Discipline, perseverance, and patience will be critical core competencies to help you here.

Personal: Know who you’d like to impact, what your future self looks/acts like, what organization you can assist to make this world a better place, what actions will build a fit, healthy, fun life. That is living the Total Package Lifestyle! Introspection, desire, and passion will be key here.

Once you know your set points in these four areas, write action steps for each, to keep you steady and on track every day. Keep your set points your reality by staying focused on them, and working diligently towards maintaining these core goals. Notice the personal bliss you begin to feel as you achieve your set points. Now that’s a beautiful thing! #TotalPackageLifestyle

5 Easy Steps To Making Your Dreams Come True

By Darin Dillinger

Many people ask me a lot of questions about my life. Here are some of them: (1) how did I lose 400 pounds naturally, (2) how did I so easily make the decision to move to Hollywood, (3) how do I always meet such amazing people, and (4) how do I stay so positive.

Well, it wasn’t always easy. However, I learned that determination and really good intuition leads me to where I want to go. I could go on forever about the lists of books that I read to get me here. But instead, I’ll cut to the chase and list five easy steps on making your dreams happen:

1) Wake up every day acting like it’s your birthday!

I know this is silly, but your birthday always makes you feel like you’re invincible and that you radiate possibilities. And it’s a re-birth of sorts. Imagine every day is your birthday, and act as if anything is possible.

2) Listen to “God’s Whispers” …

I am not religious, but I am very spiritual. I use the word ‘God’ loosely, so it could be termed Universal Whispers. When you send a dream out to the Universe, God (or the Universe) will start sending you back signs. So you need to start talking about your dream and then start listening to the whispers around you. And remember that there are no coincidences. Luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity. You prepare yourself to see the opportunity when it arises.

3) Put it out there!

The more you tell people about your dreams, talk about it in your head, and write it down on paper, the more your brain begins to believe all of the possibilities. It’s like tunnel vision. Start saying you deserve it, and also say you already have it. Plus, when you start talking about your dreams, then people will support you and will be on the lookout for signs, too. You will probably hear things such as, “That’s a great dream! Hey, I know someone named John and he wants to do this too. I should help you two get connected!”

4) Always give thanks for who – and what – you have.

When we are happy and thankful, we literally generate a different vibration. This is actually a scientifically proven fact. The more we can live in a space of appreciation, the more positive things will come to us. But you need to remember this daily.

5) Eliminate the naysayers from your life.

Maybe your naysayers are family members, friends who you thought supported you, or perhaps even colleagues. People who put fear into you instill limits on you because they are afraid that you’ll succeed. In fact, they fear your success because they believe it’s possible. So you need to remember that you are as limitless as you see yourself.

6) Take a photo.

When you take a photo of your dream, it programs the brain to see it.

7) Put your photo(s) EVERYWHERE!

My absolute favorite people have vision boards. I call it a ‘SHINE ON’ Wall. On my vision board, I have pictures of people I want to meet, people who inspire me, positive quotes, jobs that I want, trips I want to go on, and the body I desire to create. I make it my shrine. I light candles every night with sage, and then reflect. When this happens, you will radiate your desires and dreams.

These are some of my tips. They are based on my reading and my experiences, and they are easy steps to start.

Let me leave you with this … VIBE STRONG!

On The Brink Of Breaking Your New Year’s Resolutions? Try These Tips …

By Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

Many New Year’s resolutions are broken by the end of January. If that sentence describes you, don’t fret. New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep because we humans—and probably most primates—have brains that are designed for pleasurable sensations and encounters such as eating delicious food, having sex, socializing or mastering a difficult task.

And you probably guessed it—New Year’s resolutions defy your brain’s wiring for pleasure. And when your fun actions stimulate your brain’s hormones of oxytocin and endorphins, you don’t want to stop.

Soon your brain makes neural connections for those experiences that make you feel good. No wonder you don’t want to deprive yourself of your favorite food or activity. Too much restriction feels so horrible that you over-correct by bingeing. And then you resolve to work harder to stop whatever it is that you are trying to fix—and you get trapped in a resolution-restrict-indulge-resolution cycle.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill or process that guarantees New Year’s resolutions success, but here are some tips that have worked for the women in my study and for people in general. You will have to experiment to see which ones work for you.

Smart Steps for New Year’s Resolutions Success:

1. Evaluate to motivate.

Make a list of all the things you’d like to change. Now rate them in both in degree of importance and difficulty. Ask yourself, “How likely am I to do this?”Since health issues are often the most important, you might choose to work on that. Yet, some health-related problems such as losing weight are the toughest ones to address. What should you do?

2. Build in on-going help and support.

Get professional guidance immediately. You don’t want that first week at the gym to be your last. The best solutions combine motivation and pleasure. Weight Watchers uses group support and motivation, and they design diets that permit treats. Tell all your family members and friends about your resolutions and ask them to help you—or join you!

Get a buddy. Tell a friend to check in on you—or go with you or speak up when you shop or eat too much. Going it alone courts failure. Or, if you really want to quit smoking, consult a professional and find a support group.

Even if your partner does not want to join you, do it without him or her—at first. Usually, one partner’s new behavior eventually sparks the other person to participate, too. Be careful, though, of the temptation to give up together!

3. Take small steps to train your brain.

Rather than make big resolutions, vow to take one small step a day. Allow your brain to get used to going without the pleasure of a cigarette or drink or dessert. In some cases, though, eliminating totally your unwanted behavior works better. Now you can see why resolutions are so complicated! Some people don’t make New Year’s resolutions at all since the resolutions are almost always too big. Instead, truly take it one day, one hour at a time.

4. Know your moods triggers.

Get mindful of your feelings and state of mind. Do you feel insecure, lonely or unloved? What have you done in the past to soothe you—drink, eat, shop, for example? Ask yourself: “How am I feeling right now and what would I normally do about it that is not good for me? And what can I do to handle my situation that is good for me?”

5. Start again—and learn. Don’t give up.

Get back on that horse, as they say. Giving up old behavior that made you feel less stressed and unhappy is difficult to change. Learn from your setback. Ask yourself, “What triggered my relapse?” When you relapse, which is very common, just start over—and be more vigilant about your triggers. Remember, behavior is a choice.

6. Create rewards to assist your brain to connect pleasure with discipline.

A reward might be permission to eat one or two small bites or buy one item under a certain amount—or not buy anything at all! Eventually, your success will become its own reward. Or, create a money jar where you deposit a dollar or all your change every time you stay on course. Or, don’t allow yourself to watch your favorite show or use social media until you complete your task for the day.

7. Be your own buddy and stay positive.

Think about your previous success in overcoming your urge to spend, smoke, eat, drink or do any other undesirable behavior. Keep a Success Journal so you can read what you did to recognize and resist the temptation to give in. Say these words out loud: “I know this change is difficult, but I deserve to be healthy and happy.”

Happy Smart New Year!

The Power Of Writing Down Your Goals: 5 Tips For Success

By Dan Munro

Goal setting is a very powerful practice.

Strategic goal-setting will help you define the activities you will undertake to achieve that dream life you always wanted. You can easily plan, step-by-step, the pathway that you will walk down to achieve your ultimate lifestyle.

In order to achieve something huge, you will be most effective if you break it down into manageable steps and focus on the process. You simply cannot jump straight to the finish line.

Most people do not achieve a majority of their goals for a number of reasons. These are the problems I see time and again with my clients, staff and friends:

• They only have goals in their head and never write them down or otherwise make them “real.” This means that the goals are never clearly defined and the barriers are not planned for, so they can never figure out what went wrong if it doesn’t work out

• Their goals are too broad and do not provide any guidance on how to actually achieve them; with goals like “I will become a millionaire.” This gives the goals an intimidating quality that reduces a person’s motivation and courage.

• They are not challenging enough to cause any major life improvements. Or, there are too few of them, like “I will get a promotion sometime in the next 5 years… and maybe also buy a dog.”

Every highly successful person I know has followed a written plan of action to achieve their success. OK, actually there are a couple of people I know who have just winged it and relied on blind desire to get them through. I don’t consider them to be any less successful. However, I do wonder if they could have achieved success quicker, easier, and more enjoyably if they had tried less of a brute-force method.

Imagine this:

You are challenged to build a structure out of blocks of Lego. For those of you who have never heard of Legos, they are small plastic blocks designed to cause excruciating pain when stepped on with the soft arch of the foot.

Anyway, the structure is to be a detailed, 50 foot high, exact replica of the Eiffel Tower, complete with all of the complex girders and beams.

Now, if someone dumped a truckload of grey Lego blocks in front of you, along with a photograph of the tower, and then just said “Build!” you wouldn’t stand a chance. A small few of you may be able to do it, but like the brute-force friends whom I mentioned earlier, it would take you a very long time and you would have to make thousands of mistakes.

Imagine the same scenario, but instead of a photo of the tower, the person hands you a set of detailed blueprints; step-by-step numbered instructions on how to assemble the blocks. These instructions not only guide you on how to connect the blocks, they also give you:

– a timetable to follow that ensures progress and makes efficient use of your time
– regular reminders about why building this structure will benefit you, so you stay motivated
– a guide on how to overcome some of the problems you are likely to encounter over time
– contact details for people who have already built one so that they can give you advice

All of a sudden, this imposing 50 foot structure becomes a relatively straightforward process you can follow. Each step along the way is challenging but entirely manageable.

Take those dreams of a better lifestyle and break them down into daily, weekly, and monthly activities which are entirely achievable. You’ll find that your waking life will transform slowly but surely until it becomes a series of challenging but enjoyable activities

This will ensure that you are achieving, instead of just living out your time. You’ll find that after a few months of doing, this you won’t ever be able to go back to just winging it; your ambition to succeed further every day will drive you for the rest of your life.

Here are some rules for writing your  goals:

1. Try a simple model – “DRM.”

I like this model because I made it up myself … anyway, it stands for Detailed, Realistic, and Measurable. Write your goals in such a way that a complete stranger could pick up what you’ve written and achieve the goal. DRM ensures you don’t have to problem-solve along the way, you just follow your own instructions.

2. Have no more than 10 goals at any given time.

You’re better off getting a few things done well than procrastinating on 100 things half-completed.

3. Aim for the smallest reasonable “next step.”

Start with the big picture in mind and then work backwards in logical steps. Keep working backwards until you arrive at where you currently are. You now have your next step. Until that’s completed, none of the other steps matter, so forget about them

4. Tell others about it to hold yourself accountable.

However, double-check to make sure you don’t need anyone or anything else. Goals should only need one person to complete them: YOU. Re-write any that rely on other people. That said, telling other people you plan to achieve your goal puts positive pressure on you to get it done. Secrecy leads to quitting.

5. Create a clear link between the goal and your overall dream.

Make sure it’s impossible to forget WHY you are trying to achieve this goal. Have a clear path from the goal to your dream life. When you’re trying to do 100 crunches, it helps to remember that this pain will lead to a six-pack.

Stop “Believing In Yourself”… Just Do It!!

By Dan Munro

The education system you were raised with, if you went to a traditional school, is basically the same around the world. And it is completely messed you up.

As described in this awesome TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson (click here to view), there is a globally recognized hierarchy of subjects. Most of the world’s schooling systems subscribe to this, despite research often showing that there is no longer alignment between this hierarchy and the highest paying jobs (most are in psychology, medicine and IT, for which there are almost no specific subjects available until university level). So, the first problem is that you were discouraged from pursuing your natural talents and passions unless they aligned with this hierarchy.

The second and far more insidious problem is the structure of learning. In school you passively learn a new concept before you apply it (i.e. take action). You sit in a classroom being bombarded with information without being encouraged to apply it practically until the last minute, often in an unrealistic pressured situation.

In some high-ranking subjects, like English, the ratio between passive information and application (essays, exams, assignments) is ridiculous. You sit for 1-2 hours per week in class, for up to 40 weeks (60-80 hours of passive learning), and are then asked to apply it in high pressure exams (3-6 hours) and unsupported assignments (another 3-6 hours). So your opportunity for trial and error learning, which your brain is wired towards as a preference, is a mere 5-10% of total learning time.

Simply put, we are raised to believe that we somehow learn before we apply. For some reason, this has not been questioned by the schooling system.

In my coaching work, I’ve found that an opposing approach is far more productive. It’s all about re-framing your understanding of learning, from sitting there and passively absorbing information to getting active and trying ideas spontaneously.

There are few obstacles to this approach. Once you overcome these, your progress will skyrocket (or your money back!)

Fear of Failure

In school, you were taught to be afraid of failure. I call this the “red pen effect.” Every time you venture an incorrect answer in school you’ll face a high likelihood of punishment, through either embarrassment, dismissal, degradation, or rejection.

You learn quickly that it is safer to avoid answering a question than to guess. This is supposed to condition you into studying so that you know the answers prior to the class. That’s like asking someone who’s never driven a car to tell you the best way to parallel-park. It makes absolutely no practical sense.

In school, mistakes are highlighted and ridiculed. The teacher will write disparaging remarks in red pen next to guesses or incorrect answers. You will get into trouble if your grades fall low enough. You will be placed in “special” education, learning at a slower rate than the others, if your grades continue to remain low.

Bear in mind that this is all related to learning mostly about subjects which are not linked to the highest paying jobs!

In the real world, the ability to continually face failure is rewarded. The most successful people on the planet are those who have been through mistake after mistake, and learned from those. There are very few overnight successes in the top 1%, nor are there many people who played it safe.

Failure is something to be admired, not feared. Every time you screw up you are one step closer than 99% of people to success in that area.

Not Knowing Where to Start

School conditioned you to follow instructions and wait for guidance on how to get something started. In real life, no one tells you anything unless you’re a wage-slave.

If you want to be free, you need to accept the responsibility for initiation. It is your job to start things, even when you don’t know how. I’ve worked with some very ambitious people who had great ideas but never took action on them. It was like they were waiting for permission, or for someone to convince them that everything was going to work out fine.

There are no guarantees. Let go of the need for them. Instead, like serial entrepreneur Marie Forleo says: “Start small and sucky.” As soon as you have your first rough draft idea, take action. Even if the action is a dismal “failure,” you are now at least one step into your journey instead of sitting on the bench.

Temptation of Passive Learning

We feel good when we sit still and absorb information. It feels like real progress. This is because we were conditioned to feel rewarded for attendance. In school, you get more social reward points for simply showing up than you do for innovation.

As Eben Pagen says “Without action there is no learning.”

We feel good about ourselves when we absorb new information. This is why seminars by certain motivational speakers sell so well. You get there, you feel pumped and excited, and you are exposed to a bucket-load of new information. You walk away thinking “Wow, I learned so much!”

Fast-forward three months later, however, and your life has not changed a bit. All those revelations and epiphanies you experienced have not resulted in actual, measurable changes to your life.

“What happened?” you ask yourself. You figure it must be your fault, and that perhaps another seminar is the way to go. I mean, you felt so good the last time, right? That must be the answer.

Nope.

You’ve fallen for the oldest marketing trick in the book: you’ve been made to feel that you received value while your problem remains unsolved. This turns you into a repeat customer. Time for you to attend another seminar, or by the book, or subscribe to the monthly video series. None of which will solve your problem.

Without action there is no learning. Without learning there is no change. Without change in behavior, the results remain the same. Why is sitting there and absorbing information so tempting? Because it is EASY.

School has us believing that we are entitled to the good things in life if we just attend what we are asked to attend. It’s not the case I’m afraid.

If you want results, you need to take action. Period.

The only people who walked away from the seminar and saw actual improvements in their lives long-term were the ones who put the ideas into action. They set goals, based on behavioral changes, and went to work making them happen. They faced setbacks, misunderstandings, fear and embarrassment in order to implement the changes.

They got their money’s worth.

Focus on Outcome Instead of Process

Sometimes we do take action and yet feel like nothing’s changed. I see this all the time with clients who start working out and going to the gym, or changing their diet. Months go by and their frustration goes up due to lack of “results.” It’s only a matter of time before they give up.

You cannot control results.

Let me say that again: results are not under your control. Predicting the future is impossible.

So what does attaching your self-worth to the outcomes/results you’re after do? It puts your confidence in the hands of forces outside of your control, which will inevitably turn against you over time.

It all comes down to how you measure yourself. Let go of the results and focus on the part of the journey that is completely under your control: the process. Focus on the actions you take and efforts you make. It’s all about the attempt, not the outcome.

Let’s say you have a potential promotion coming up, and there are two choices: 1) try to write a perfect job interview script based on articles and hope to land your dream job (passive learning first with a focus on outcomes), or 2) practice being interviewed by friends you can trust and aim to use the job interview as a learning experience for your career (active learning first with a focus on process).

Which option leaves you feeling better about yourself? Which is more likely to get the result you desire?

Conclusion

You may be wondering about the title implying that “believing in yourself” is wrong. Let me clarify; this process I’m advocating is actually all about believing in yourself. But the perspective is different.

Rather than trying to be perfectly prepared before you take action, believe that you will learn what you need to learn from the experience. Believe that you will be able to handle getting it wrong. Believe that you a strong enough to face fear and rejection.

Actually, you don’t need to “believe” at all. Don’t trust it, just test it.

Use passive learning to understand your mistakes better after the attempt. By the time you attend the seminars, they should simply confirm what you’ve already found through trial-and-error, and give you ideas as to how you could do things better in the future. Make the first thing you learn be based on experience.

Just do it.