Monday, June 19, 2017

Block Your Bad Habits With Obstacles!

We have all been the victim of our own bad habits!  

Sometimes those bad habits seem so far entrenched in our every day lives that we are helpless against them.  No matter how hard we know we shouldn't be doing them, having a lack of mindfulness can lead you to not even realize you are sabotaging yourself until it's too late!

Bringing mindfulness into your life can be so powerful with a small amount of planning and some ingenuity, even breaking some bad habits you thought you had ZERO power to overcome.

When I was in the corporate world, my life was riddled with unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the stress and depression I experienced on a daily basis.  Of these coping mechanisms perhaps one of the most damaging to my physical health was a nasty habit of having a martini almost every night I came home.

I knew I needed to stop this habit but in the short-term it became a release...a way to wind down from the stresses of the day and medicate myself to a calmer place.

But how could I get past this habit that was so engrained in me that I had already prepared a drink and put it to my lips by the time I was cognizant of my actions?

I needed an obstacle, something to get in my way so I could become mindful of my actions!

Here's what I did:

  • I put the cocktail shaker on the bar in the dining room, far away from the kitchen where I would have to walk across the house to get to it.
  • I placed my favorite gin high up on the top shelf of my cabinet in a corner so I would have to climb on the counter to get to it.
  • I stored the olive brine deep in the refrigerator, behind the condiments so I had to move them in order to find it.

At first having these obstacles in my way only served to annoy me more than my stressful day already had.  I would swear to myself as I had to perform each ritual to make my drink.  Or swear that I would stop rearranging everything.

But soon, I found that just the simple act of having to jump all these hurdles started to make me think...

"Is it really worth it to go through all this for a drink?"

"Am I just going to regret making this drink once I'm done like last time?"

By forcing these questions upon myself I found that the answers entered my mind and brought me to a place where I became mindful of my current actions.  It was REALLY effective!

Give this strategy a shot and you may find that your bad habits don't have so much control over you afterall!

Some quick tips if you want to try blocking your own bad habits with obstacles:

  1. Make the obstacles easy to install, don't come up with a crazy ritual to disrupt a highly habitual one.
  2. Put the obstacles in key areas that interrupt your "automated behavior" before you get there.
  3. Find hiding places or put things in places where they make no sense. Habits are tied to logic, disrupt them!
  4. Get creative!  The best obstacles make you laugh, confuse you or even surprise you!

Have fun coming up with your obstacles.  Don't let your absent mind have control over you, challenge it and discover the power you have over your bad habits!

Stay Motiv8ed!

Coach Joe

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mindfulness: USE negative space, DON'T fill it!

Are you filling your negative space?  STOP!

Negative space is the concept of using a lack of "content" to create a feeling, an action or to communicate the importance of the most important element in a creative design.

Some of the best advertisements use negative space and we tend to be attracted to the simplistic idea of using only a logo or a simple statement surrounded by nothing else.  We tend to think of these advertisements as "clean", "upscale", "classy" or "intelligent".


In fact the proper use of negative space in advertising can be very elegant. BUT, we don't tend to place the same importance on negative space in our every day lives!  In fact, we often look at holes in our day as some type of emptiness or poor planning on our part.  Maybe we even think we are being lazy by not filling that void?

When you encounter negative space in your day, USE it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness!

Take inventory of what is important to you.  Think of ways to use this time as a way to learn something about yourself instead of as a way to "get things done".

Instead of mindlessly looking for a way to fill that space, seek to recognize yourself in that moment.  This is where taking stock of your experience can be a HUGE wakeup call.  Notice your breath in this moment, notice your heartbeat, observe the world around you.  How does this moment feel different than when you are rushing around "getting things done"?  Do YOU act different?  Are your behaviors, habits or routines different?  However different they are, realize that your "default" is here and now.  Notice how this default varies from your reactionary state in a moment of stress or anxiety.  That lack of centeredness can lead us to make poor judgement calls or distract us from doing our best work.  Take a mental picture of this moment.  

What if DO have things to get done even though I have negative space?

Finding negative space in life can be a GREAT way to identify habits or routines that have been holding you back from your best!  As tempting as it may seem, I urge you NOT to attempt filling the new found void with a new activity, new goal or new project.  

Instead practice the art of SLOWING DOWN!

Take your highest priority item on your to-do list and give yourself extra time to work on it.  When you do, try to break up your work into segments that you can focus on closely.  Then take each segment and analyze the importance of it's inclusion in accomplishing your to-do item.  Are you focused on the wrong part of the job?  Is the time spent on each segment enough?  Too much?  Are the separate pieces of the greater whole even necessary?  Can you take steps out to remove frustration, gain time and create a faster or better result?  

If your "to-do" is a part of a routine, maybe it's time to rethink your routine?  Are you usually rushing through this activity so quickly that you don't think about what you're doing at all?  NOW is the time, you have negative space to concentrate on this activity and seek out where you may be inefficient or redundant in your action.

We have become so conditioned to fill our time with activity that sometimes we fail to respect our "time earned".  If we can't appreciate the moments in life that give us space to reflect internally, we cheat ourselves of the opportunity to become our best.

Stay Motiv8ed!

Coach Joe

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mindfulness: Prioritizing Stress

Hey Motiv8ers!
This month we want to challenge you all to a Mindfulness Challenge!
Mindfulness is all about taking every moment in it’s current state and not attributing emotion to anything you experience.  Our feelings are experienced from a source of either love (positive) or fear (negative).  Feelings come and go.  Emotions however are feelings with stories attached to them!  When we are not mindful of our emotions, sometimes they can get the best of us and start to control our actions or create a false reality.  
Much of our stress in life comes from our reality being mismatched with the expectations we create through our emotions!

By far the worst emotion we can experience is Powerlessness!  The range of fear-based feelings we can have whether negativity, sadness, rejection or anger cannot compare to the sense that we have NO CONTROL over our future nor the ability to impact our world around us. 

So here’s your first Mindfulness Lesson!

Do this quick stress exercise to help you create focus on the things you can control and stop fretting about the things you can’t.  

This is a REALLY helpful exercise if you take the time to do it!
Start with a blank piece of paper.  Draw a line down the middle and across the middle…so a big plus sign!  Make a title in each of the four boxes:
Important / Can’t Control
Important / Can Control
Not Important / Can’t Control
Not Important / Can Control

  1. Write down anything causing you anxiety. All your struggles, challenges, responsibilities and anything else stressing you out. 
2. Ask yourself the two simple questions to each of these. Is it important? Can I control it?  Then you’ll know what box to put them in!
3. When you’re done here is what your priorities for each quadrant should look like:

More Attention, Make a plan to address these challenges, educate yourself to gain control, seek out help from those with ability, influence, decision making

Most Attention, Decide on and take action NOW to overcome! Place most of your effort in life toward these things!
NO Attention, Ignore these things! These things DO NOT serve you to worry about or pay attention to!

Least Attention, Build a habit to make action automatic, Schedule monotonous activities into your free time, Set
reminders so you don’t forget!

The moral of our lesson here?

It is completely normal to emote Powerlessness BUT, you always have control over how you react to an emotion.  If, in fact, you are feeling powerless over a situation ask yourself if it's even important?

Will your anxiety about a situation matter in:

5 hours?
5 days?
5 weeks?
5 months?
5 years?

If your answer is "no" to any of those it's time to change your perspective about how important this stressor really is!  Maybe it's time to stop obsessing over it?

Focus your concerns on what you have control over (either individually or with the help of a friend) and forget the concerns that you can't control.  Putting yourself in a place of distress or agitation will only compound the effect of something negative happening to you.  

Here's a final thought: What if the negative thing we've created this emotion over never even happens?  We've just created stress where it didn't deserve to exist.  Aren't there enough REAL things to worry about?

This is one of the foundational elements to creating Mindfulness in your daily life.  We will explore other areas in future blog posts but, acknowledging and prioritizing the importance of your daily stressors is one of the biggest impacts you can make to your mental health starting today!  Try it, I promise it will help!

Stay Motiv8ed!

Coach Joe

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How To Enjoy Success In The Midst Of Failure!

Is the line between your work and personal life so blurred that you can't distinguish between the two? 

Do you have a hard time "getting away from it all" or just feel like you can never recharge?  

Does life ever feel like a never-ending struggle of failures with very little success? 

Perhaps it's time to create balance?

Our world is filled with a constant fascination of improvement.  We are expected everywhere we go to find ways to be better, to strive for more, to acquire things, to compete and to win.  This philosophy has been so ingrained in us that we sacrifice things in order to say we've moved the needle of "success".  We rationalize lack of sleep, strained relationships, dreams thrown away and sometimes even declining health to be able to say we've moved the needle closer to what we are told is "success".

We end up feeling overwhelmed, devoid of joy, mentally drained and even physically exhausted when that vision of success doesn't come to fruition despite our best efforts.

But what use is any amount of success if we feel like we've failed in other parts of our life to achieve it?  Does money, power or fame make you feel complete when you lack family, relationships and passion?  OF COURSE NOT!

And what use is failure if it leads us to tell ourselves that we aren't good enough, don't have the talent/ability or that it was never meant to be in the first place? 

Here's a few different ways to look at success and failure: 

Failure is Transition...nothing MORE!

It will always be very difficult and some may say impossible to achieve anything great in life without balance.  The concept of balance is perhaps best described by the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang. The concept is simple.  We must have good and bad (bright and dark) in order to be whole.  Rather than viewing good and bad as opposing forces, Yin and Yang suggests that the two must interact and coexist in order to achieve the power and greatness that neither alone can possess.  

It's hard to accept for many of us but it can be true that bad things happen to allow a way for good things to also happen!

Even the Stoics believed that bad things were a part of the natural order of life and inevitably happen despite the pain or frustration they create.  They believed that we should look at our problems logically and never let our emotions get the best of us because doing so would cloud our good judgement of what to do next.

Rather than go to that extreme I'd like to challenge you to look at "failures" in life as a key that opens a door to a new path.  That path can always lead in multiple directions, SUCCESS being one of them!

Dark days are ALWAYS followed by brighter days but we can never be sure when each will come.  Sometimes we have to push thru the darkness with our head held high and just tell ourselves "This is necessary in order to have good things also happen for me".

The success you create doesn't have to be yours alone!

We won't always have good things happening to us at all times but there are always good things to look at.  

One way to deal with creating balance in your life is to look outside yourself.  We tend to focus so much on what's happening to us personally that we get bogged down every time something bad happens.  BUT, you ALWAYS have the power to contribute to success ANYWHERE.  It's a simpler task than it sounds but it takes some mindfulness and benevolence on your part.

If you have a friend who's having great success in life, support them, show them that you're proud of them, help them to make that experience even better.  Share in their bright days and they'll remember you during the dark ones.  One day the tables will turn, the yin will become yang and they will need you.  Be their inspiration!

You'll find that focusing on contributing to success anywhere means that even though you occasionally don't see success in your own life you still have the power to create it!  That's incredibly empowering!

Contribute good to the world in whatever you do and you always have something good to look at even if life seems to be a struggle for you personally.

Remember that the dark days you're experiencing now are always followed by bright ones, so do your best to accept what you cannot change and create success where you are able to.  It may not always benefit you personally but you can always create your own light to shine on others!

One more thought:
If something is disrupting balance in your life, always be open to the idea of clearing out that roadblock to your own success.  If we aren't healthy mentally it will eventually show in our relationships, our work and even our physical health. Doing anything that drains your energy and eats away at your passion is not time well spent.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to Achieve a Dream!

Hi Motiv8ers,

Coach Ty here again, and I want to talk to you about how to achieve a DREAM.  Not just any dream, but something that you have been dreaming about for years.  Because of life, your health, your finances, people saying you could never do that, or your dream is half way around the world, or you just haven't taken action on it, and it is something you are just left dreaming about.

One of my biggest dreams was to run a 100 mile race.  For 10 years I had that dream.  But I kept putting it off because I would always tell myself I would do it when I was financial stable, or I just wasn't fit enough, or just didn't have time to put in the work, or I would say, "I'll run one when I have a year that I am not injured."  I kept putting it off year after year and just kept making excuses.

Well, last year I got fed up and I made my dream come true.  Last summer I ran my very first 100 mile trail race out at Lake Tahoe.  It was amazing.

Well what changed in me that got my dream rolling?  I listened to this video.

It provoked me to do four very important things.  Without these four things I never would have started or accomplished my dream of running a 100 mile race.
  1. I found my goal and I set the date. I put the time, the day, and what I was going to do on that day down on paper.  Setting the date is so important. And I said to myself that no matter what, on that day I was going to step up and give everything I had to try and conquer that goal.
  2. I ASKED FOR HELP!!! I told everyone on Facebook, all of my friends, Every one at Boot Camp, I found a running coach, I found a group of runners that could give me advice, and I developed an accountability team.  This team kept me on track.
  3. I developed a PLAN.  I worked with my coach and we scheduled out everything I was going to do leading up to the 100 mile race.  I had every day for 5 months planned out.
  4. I wrote down my goal on my wall, in my notebooks, on my phone, and on my computer and I told myself every day that I was going to conquer my goal.  Never did I doubt my abilities to make my dream happen.  Nor was I going to let anything or anyone stop me from conquering my goal.
Crew, if you do these four steps, nothing is going to stop you from accomplishing your dream.  And number two is probably the biggest one.  Look, I had know idea how I was going to train for a 100 mile race or even how I was going to pay for my plane ticket to get down there.  Bu,t let me tell you after I announced it to the world what I was trying to accomplish I had people all over the place giving me advice and wanting to help me make this goal happen.

Trust me that is all it takes.

Now, let me tell you about a special person.  William Greer.

I met William about a month ago through my running Coach.  William is legally blind and was looking for a sighted guide to help him get through his first 50k Trail Race.  I was instantly inspired by his story and I didn't hesitate to contact him to see if I could help.  I was the first one to email him and he was so eager to meet me.  We instantly connected and now our goal of getting him through his First 50k happens tomorrow, Saturday, March 19th.  So Excited!!

William wasn't always blind. He was born with 20/20 vision.  At the age of 17 he suffered a severe brain injury.  Since then he has been legally blind.  He can see a little but it is very poor.  I have ran with him three times now and basically he can see the trail but he can't see details like puddles, roots, low hanging tree branches, or changes in elevation.

But here is the inspiring part.  His lack of vision doesn't slow him down.  I ran 7 miles with him last Saturday at an 8-minute pace and we were chatting the whole time.  That is wicked fast.  And never did he get nervous about hitting anything. I think I was more nervous then he was.  I would tell him about an obstacle coming up and he would just file in right behind me and we kept moving along at a fast pace. 

William found his passion for running back in 2005 and found that he could run even with his disability. He would need a little help at times from friends but it was definitely doable.  He started with 5k's and 10k's and then a friend inspired him to do a half marathon.  He said then that he would never do a marathon but that soon changed after his half. To this date, William has now completed 13 marathons including Boston.  And now tomorrow William is heading out to do his very first 50k Ultra Marathon. That is awesome. William is such an inspiration to me and I hope you find his story Motiv8ing as well.

Crew, you have been given dreams.  Every body dreams of doing something.  And you could say that your dreams could be your life's mission.  So what ever you do do not let anyone, anything, or any bad negative thought prevent you from making your dreams happen.  William has a huge obstacle.  His vision!  But that isn't stopping him from doing what he loves to do.

He set the goal, he asked for HELP, he wrote out the plan, and he didn't let anything talk him out of going for his dream.

Crew, get inspired and step up to life and make your dreams happen.  They aren't going to happen on their own.  You have to make it happen.  So right now...

Start Being EPIC and let's make some SHIT HAPPEN TOGETHER!

Crew Be EPIC and Don't Forget to Be AWESOME!

Coach Ty Out!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Change Your Self Image....Change Your Life!

Hi Motiv8ers,

Coach Ty Here with another killer Blog post and a really big PEP TALK to help you get back on track if you are feeling in the slumps or help you get fired up if you are feeling GREAT! =)  But first check out this quick video that Coach Joe Found.  It is amazing and will fire you up.
That was pretty Motiv8ional right?

Ok Lets get Started.  Today I want to Talk about SELF IMAGE!

First Question.......What is it that you want?..........Who do you want to be?......What do you want to accomplish?

Focus these three questions towards the health and fitness side of things.  Really think about it for a little bit.

Do you want to be a person that......

-Looks and feels vibrant, healthy, and energetic
-can do 100 push-ups without stopping
-run 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, or marathons
-doesn't suffer from illnesses

-can keep up with their kids on family outings
-is motivated to conquer their workouts and have fun doing it
-is an inspiration to others to stay strong and never give up on their goals
-is just all around motivated and so ridiculously strong it is contagious.

Think about the person you want to be and the goals you want to accomplish. 

Now that you have thought about those ideas write those thoughts down!!!!.....DO IT.....It will make them more real.

Waiting on you to write them down.  =)

Writing is a powerful tool and your brain connects thoughts and actions better when it can see it and read it.  After you have written those thoughts down there is only one thing that you need to do at this point in order to accomplish those goals and to become that person you want to be.

 You have to stop and tell yourself this phrase..... 

I TRULY BELIEVE THAT AM THAT PERSON!..... and I will do the actions/work needed to help me accomplish my dreams/goals!  Nothing is going to hold me back.  I have 100% conviction that I am going to reach my goal.

Motiv8ers saying this one phrase is a step in changing your self image of yourself.  Once you have figured out who you want to be and the goals you want to accomplish you have to truly believe that this is who you are!

Example: if you want to be lean, look like a runner, and be able to do burpees all day but your self image of yourself is an out of shape couch potato who can't even run down the block....then there is no way your going to motivate yourself to get out there and do what runners do...Because your self image of yourself is telling you that you are a lazy couch potato.  In order to be lean and be crazy fit you have to do what those types of people do and tell yourself that you are that type of person!

Motiv8ers be your own therapist and believe that you truly are the person that you want to become and do not allow your negative self image of yourself put doubt in your mind in your abilities to make change happen. 

So many of us start the process of making change but after a few days or weeks we allow our past self's to get in the way of our progress.  We say things like:

-I have never been fit in the past.  It is just to hard for a person like me. 
-I've never been a runner before.  I could never do that.
-No one in my family has been fit before.  it just isn't in my genes.
-I've always been over weight.  That is just who I am.

Crew this is called....."Putting Your Past into your Future!"

This way of thinking is self sabotaging because you are not your past.  You are a new person in this moment.  Remember "What you Think About is what you will get and BECOME!"

If you are constantly putting yourself down and telling yourself that you are not the person you wish to become.  Then guess what? 

You won't ever reach your goal!

Crew all of you have the power and abilities to be whoever you wish to be.  You just have to believe it, feel it, think about it constantly, and Kick your old self out the door and never let that person come back into your life!

Believe in your dream and tell yourself that you are the person that you wish to be and.....that is who you are! Write down who you want to be, read it every morning, and truly believe that is who you are.

Then go out and be a force of Epicness and do the work needed to accomplish your Dreams! 

Do this and you will change your Life!
Crew if you want to learn a little more check out this video from Bob Proctor.  It is a little long better will definitely open your mind to how you might be sabotaging your success just by how you see yourself in your mind.
Motiv8ers I hope this message helps you.  It has definitely helped me in my journey to becoming a better runner, Motiv8 instructor, teacher, friend, and I want to share that story with you.  Come to camp today or tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it.

All of you are amazing and thank you for letting the Motiv8 Team and I help you with your fitness!

Bring the questions and see you soon!

Stay EPIC and Don't Forget To Be AWESOME!

Coach Ty Out!



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trigger Your Habits!

Hey Motiv8ers!

We try to check up with Motiv8ers who are missing the workouts and give them a little push to get back out.  Most of you have gotten these emails.

We do our best to keep the Motiv8tion high!  After all, it's in our name!

But Motivation works only for a little while.  It is only good for short term success. 

We need to transform that Motiv8tion into a regular habit in order to continue seeing the same success we do in the first few weeks of the workouts.  A regular habit of making your 3-4 workouts per week, staying hydrated, eating a whole food-based diet and staying focused on who you want to be are what turns a Motiv8ed person into a Transformed Motiv8er!

What is causing once motivated individuals to get so unmotivated?  Why do we start off with such great intent of getting healthy and then just end up falling off the wagon?

Here's the thing.  Your health MUST be a priority above all other things in your life.  Why?

Because at the end of the day ONLY YOU have control over it.  Your boss, your spouse, your doctor and anyone else in your life isn't going to reschedule a lost workout.  YOU have to.  So make time for it and schedule EVERYTHING else around it.

Afterall, if we aren't healthy how are we able to give anyone else our best?  How do we perform at work, how do we give our children the attention they need, how are we able to stay mindful in our relationships?

So here's an example of a priority list (yours may differ but your health should always be at the top):

  2. My family
  3. My work
  4. Personal growth
  5. Helping others
  6. Giving back to my community

You get the idea….

We create habits and routines that drive ALL of our behavior around the things most important to us.  If we have work at the top of our Priority List for instance we:

  1. Make sure we get up at 6am to get ready for work.
  2. Make a habit of leaving at a certain time every day to show up on time
  3. Regularly meet with our boss to understand what is expected of us and get feedback about our performance
  4. Learn on-the-job skills to become better at what we do and more efficient during our workday

Why do we do these things?  Well because we've made "work" our top priority.  If something like personal growth is lower down on the priority list how likely is it that we'll challenge ourselves to read more books, or take more classes or research more articles/studies?  We may set habits to do those things but not with the same focus we'll set habits for our #1 priority!

Ok so we've made our health our top priority and we've decided to start making habits but how do we really do that?

Most of us start from the wrong end of the equation:

So here's the equation: motiv8tion + ability + trigger = behavior 

You've got the Motiv8tion or you wouldn't be at Motiv8!  You have the ability because we create the workouts for you, setup times that work with your schedule and are there to coach you every day.  So the last part of your behavior change is...


After I________ I will_________!

Ok so here's an example.  Let's say getting to your SET is your habit you want to create.  Here are a few small triggers to help you get there.

After I Hit the Snooze I will Sit up!
After I turn the lights on I will put my workout clothes on!
After I drink some water I will eat a banana!
After I brush my teeth I will grab my keys!

This sounds really silly but I promise it works!  

The reason is you are creating an association of your new habit with an existing habit. Making it an easy add-on to an existing habit creates a quick and painless way to ensure you perform the habit over and over without fail.

FACT: The easier a habit is (good OR bad) the more likely you are to continue it!

Here's the great works the opposite way too with bad habits!  I like martinis (I used to drink one every night after work during my corporate days) BUT, I DON'T like to drink them if it takes a long time to make them so.....

I put the gin on the top shelf in a hard-to-get-to cabinet, it's in the back of the cabinet so I have to move bottles around to even make sure I have some, I put my shaker and martini glasses in the dining room, I have to go thru a whole series of behaviors to even get to the point where I'm able to MAKE a martini.  The martini habit is totally GONE at this point.  

Triggers don't have to use association but those are the most effective.  You can also use things like:

  • written notes
  • phone reminders
  • an accountability buddy to call or text you
  • a family member to ask you how your training is going
  • a diary or food journal to remind you about good habits

BUT, the KEY is the EASIER it is, the more likely it is that the behavior will continue.  So think about what has become automatic for you.  Don't start a diary if you've never done a diary WON'T be successful.  Don't use written notes around your house if you won't be mindful of WON'T be successful.  The best you can do is find a current behavior that has become a habit for you and associate it with the thing you want to change.  That is your best trigger!

NEVER forget that without celebrating the little behaviors you are trying to make habitual, your focus and passion will fade as well.  So tell yourself, "I'm awesome" whenever you succeed at your new habit.  Of course we'll help you with this one too! :-)

See you soon!

- Coach Joe