How to tackle change

What’s the first thing that happens when we go to start a new routine or habit?  We want to make all the changes overnight!  We want to start that new fitness and exercise routine, start the new diet, get on that new sleep routine – all at once!  Our advice – Shrink the change.  We often bite off more than we can chew when getting started.  You’ll increase your chances of success when you merely focus on less.  How do you know what to focus on first though?  

We love to use this analogy.  Think to yourself:

 What is the ONE thing that if you change would make everything else that you want to change easier or even unnecessary?  

What if you started with drinking just ONE extra glass of water each day?  That would not only help with your hydration, but also your recovery, your sleep, and most likely your satiety.  So often, when we feel hungry, we are actually dehydrated and don’t even realize it until it is too late.  

As another example, say you want to start a new fitness routine.  Would you jump right into 6 days a week training, or would you be ok starting by scheduling 2-3 days a week that you know you could commit to and have live in your calendar as an appointment with yourself (and your coach, ideally!)   

Looking back into the past can give you a lot of insight on how you may have dealt with making bigger changes in your life.  Can you remember as far back to January 1st, 2021? This may have been the day you were going to make that massive shift in your life and start doing (fill in the blank!). 

How is that going for you now? 

In reality, only 7% of people actually stick with their resolutions over the year. The other 93% of us may have bit off more than we could chew. 

By focusing on smaller, more bite size changes over a longer period of time, you will actually see better results! 

Ask yourself, what is the ONE thing I can do successfully over the next 7 days that will get me closer to my goals? 

Can I drink ONE extra glass of water and track it?

Can I cut and slice my vegetables for the week?

Can I schedule my workouts 3 days this week?

Don’t do it all at once, just commit to ONE thing, and see how it goes.

We hope this little bite size tip helps you tackle change by shrinking it down just a little bit.  Want to learn more about how we incorporate these daily habits into a total routine for your mind and body?!  Check out our upcoming 30 day VIP Experience below, where you can get a kickstart to your fitness and your health.

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6 Techniques for a Growth Mindset

6 Techniques for a Growth Mindset

By: Ben S. Fogel

There has been so much talk lately about the “growth mindset.”  A lot of this has been due to a landmark book on the subject “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  The author does an amazing job describing the growth mindset, the fixed mindset, and how you can re-train your brain out of one mindset and into another.  But before we start talking all about the “growth mindset” I feel it is important to define both the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.  

In the fixed mindset, you believe that your traits are “fixed.”  Therefore, no matter how hard you work at something or how much effort you give, your traits (intelligence, athleticism, fill in the blank) will not change.  

The growth mindset is believing that you can grow your abilities – that’s really the best way to put it, and the way Carol Dweck, Author of “Mindset” defines the growth mindset.  You can grow your abilities and change, adapt and get better.  Your intelligence is not fixed, and neither is your ability to learn and improve in any part of your life. 

John Wooden, long time UCLA basketball coach was known to have very much a growth mindset.  He actually came up with the idea of the “holy grail” of the growth mindset being the culmination of these 2 things: 

Full preparation and full effort  

As John Wooden once famously said:

”You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better.  By applying yourself to the task of being a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.”  

With this idea in mind of getting just “a little bit better” each and every day, if you take this into action and get 1% better each day on anything in your life, by the end of the year you will become 37 times better!  There are 6 techniques to cultivating a growth mindset I want to share below that I truly feel will help you get 1% better every day! 

1. Stop Failing and Start Learning – You didn’t “fail”, you merely figured out a path that did not work this time around.  Instead of looking at failure as a dead end, look at it as a clue that will lead you to a different path on how to do something.  

As an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”  When you start to look at failure as another step into the right direction, you will start to make some positive progress.  

2. You don’t need others’ approval, you need their criticism – Don’t put praise ahead of the ability for you to learn from criticism.  One of the best ways to do this is to actually ask for feedback.  This is a skill we never learned in school, but that is so valuable in the workplace, or in your relationship.  An example I will give as a business owner is after a meeting, I will often ask my employees, “what could I have done better in this meeting?”  If you are not asking for feedback, it is really hard to cultivate an environment of learning and growth.  

3. Track your progress with a journal – Vividly describing your goals on paper is one of the best ways to really know if you are making any progress at all.  A Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.  

In fact, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis. It has to do with how our brains work. When you write things down, you’re activating both parts of your brain, the imaginative right hemisphere, and the logic-based left hemisphere.  When is the last time you wrote your goals down?  If the evidence says you are almost 50% more likely to achieve your goals by merely writing them down, I would start there!  

4. Focus Inwardly and not on your image – The last thing you need is other peoples validation to achieve your goals.  Don’t wait for others to validate your success, just start taking one step at a time on all the things you can control.  Albert Einstein himself insisted that, “he had not been born with any special gift.” All children are “gifted” for nothing in particular; they are gifted for “everything.” Children who believe that talent and intelligence are made, not born, get better results in every part of life, and this starts at a young age realizing that your traits are not “fixed.”  

5. Learn from the mistakes of others
– There is an old saying that “success leaves clues” – it is also true that mistakes leave clues as well!  These mistakes are what kept the successful to continue to learn and grow.  Learning from the mistakes that other people make before you will fast track your success by not making the same mistakes.  Oftentimes though, we sometimes only look at the success of people, and not the mistakes or failures.  Remember, mistakes leave clues, too!  

6. Practice Gratitude – I know this may be one of the most cliche terms over the past few years, but practicing gratitude daily can give you some of the most rewarding, positive energy for a very small investment of your time and energy.  By merely writing down one thing you are grateful for each day, you are delivering a positive thought into your mind and starting your day with positivity, not negativity.  Negativity leads to the fixed mindset, while positivity leads to the growth mindset.  Here is a little something I started to write every day:

Today can be better than yesterday.  I have the power to make it so.  From positivity and attitude grows perseverance.  Perseverance by definition makes me unstoppable!

Start with just one of these 6 techniques that will help you cultivate a growth mindset.  Want to join us for the next 3 weeks to cultivate a growth mindset in all the things you can control with your health, wellness and happiness?  Check out our next round of our Epic 21 Day Experience here:

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TIME – How to make the most of it

By: Ben S. Fogel

Time is our most valuable non-renewable resource.  Why does it feel like time melts away most days? 

Most people fail with time management because they don’t know or frankly realize how much time they waste.  

A typical smartphone user checks his or her phone 2,617 times every day, according to a study by the research firm D Scout.  

Yes, you heard that right!  That eats up 90 minutes per day wasted on your phone, or 23 days per year.  

What about Television usage?  The average American watches an average of 33 hours per week watching TV!  According to Neilsen, the average American spends 11 hours per day watching or interacting with media.  If you are wasting a majority of your waking hours on external media, and you are having a hard time “finding time” for other things, like taking time to take care of yourself – it may be time to audit your day.  

Bill Gates is never late to a meeting.  When asked, he said:

“Because time is THE ONE finite resource I can’t buy more of.”

The old proverb “time is money” isn’t really true.  Time is worth so much more than money.  Time is, literally your life.  What you do with your time directly correlates with your quality of life.  

Your tomorrow actually starts the night before.  Instead of staying up late worrying about your never ending “to-do” list, putting together a plan for how you will win the day tomorrow helps you close all the open tabs in your brain.  

Here are 3 tips I have to help you shape your best tomorrow.

1. Write out your “to-do” list the night before

But instead of just writing down all the things, capture them as either “primary” projects or tasks that absolutely need to get done tomorrow, or as “secondary” tasks – these are all your things you can quickly go through and “check off” your list when done, like grabbing the groceries, dry cleaning, or sending that email.  

2. Place your primary and secondary items in your calendar

Remember, the project or task will NOT get done unless it lives in space and time.  Make sure to actually schedule a time for it to get completed during your next day.  This is SO important.  This is often overlooked and you think, “I will just get it done tomorrow at some point” then it gets missed, forgotten or overlooked.  

Make sure to place it in your schedule just like it is an important meeting with a co-worker or client.  

3. Always overestimate the amount of time you think it will get something done.  

As humans, we are horrible at estimating how much time it takes to do things.  What I like to do is overestimate the amount of time a project takes.  Then, if I finish it early, I can give myself a big pat on the back and feel good that I have completed something early!  Also, if you have a project you know that will take more than one sitting (more than 1 hr) make sure you block out that time over the course of the week or month. 

Controlling your time will lead to so much more positive things in your life.  One being having the time to take care of yourself!  Are you ready to take the time for you, and control your health?!  We would love to be in your corner.  We have 3 more spots for our May 21 Day Challenge!  Learn more and sign up below:

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Your Thoughts Shape YOU

Your Thoughts Shape YOU

By: Kourtney Cannell

Our thoughts are important!  How we talk to ourselves and how we think about things impacts how we feel. Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “I look fat in this shirt.” How did that thought influence your mood?  I’ll bet the rest of the day you might be placing negative thoughts towards yourself based on how you talked to yourself in the mirror.  

We often will remind our members when they make a negative comment to themselves with this question:

“Would you talk to your best friend the way you are talking to yourself right now?” 

The answer is always no.  

Our thoughts play a huge role in how we feel, interact with others, and perceive the world around us.  Our thoughts are literally the seeds that form our actions and behaviors every single day.  If you start your day with negative thoughts, it is often very hard to turn that thought patterning around to positive ones.  

Oftentimes, we might focus our thoughts on what is wrong or negative. Inaccurate thinking patterns lead us to see the worst possible outcomes to a situation. These distorted thoughts cause us to feel bad about ourselves and/or others. We all experience negative thoughts, but sometimes we get stuck in them and don’t see the pattern and how it hurts our emotional health and well-being. 

This is a list of common inaccurate thinking patterns. Can you identify any of these patterns in yourself? 

Common Inaccurate Thinking Patterns:

Inaccurate Thinking Pattern

Description

All Or Nothing

Thinking only in absolutes.  Seeing someone or something as all good or all bad (Binary Thinking) or looking for “always” or “never”

Labeling

Labeling yourself or others in terms such as “lazy”, “fat”, “stupid”.  Stating these labels as facts. 

The Comparison Game

Comparing yourself to others and needing to keep up with others to feel good or better about yourself. 

“Should” Statements

Have pre-conditions on how you or others “should” be.  

My challenge for you is to recognize the pattern you use the most.  Then from there, when you catch yourself in that inaccurate thinking pattern, pause for a moment and reflect on your feelings.  Ask yourself “Does this make me feel worse or better in this moment?”  Then, say something positive to yourself (this is the MOST important part!).  

It could be as simple as you caught yourself labeling yourself as “fat” in the mirror.  Instead, you look in the mirror and say, “look at my strong body. I can do things now that I couldn’t do before I started working out.”  Try to be specific as possible on that positive attribute you want to highlight.  

One of the hardest things to do is to actually NAME the pattern you are doing.  Once you are able to identify, name and flip the switch to the positive you will feel and see the difference it will make on your day!  

Give it a try, and let us know how it goes! 

Come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we can help guide you with positive thoughts and actions and help you gain more confidence in yourself in the next 21 days than you ever have in the past!  You can get all sorts of BONUSES for signing up now!  Check it all out here:

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Stop Setting “Weight” Goals

By: Kourtney Cannell

Have you ever seen a previous picture of yourself  and thought  “I looked great back then! What I would give to look like that again!” or weighed yourself and said “Awe, there was a time when I was “X” weight, what I would do to get there again!” 

I have a question for you. At the time of that picture or when you were at that weight, were you happy with your body? 

Hey Epic Rockstars.  Coach Kourtney here.  I just wanted to get real with you all for a few minutes here about “The goal number.” The goal weight, the goal body fat percentage, the goal pant size.  Most of us have these types of goals.  But where do they come from? 

My experience has been that they come from a place of comparison, a comparison to someone else, to how I used to be, or how I think I should be. 

My thought process would kind of go like this – and thus, the goal number is born:

“Maybe if I lose 20lbs, I’ll like what I see.” 

“She’s a size 4, maybe I’ll look like her if I’m a size 4 too, then I’ll be happy.”

“I won’t have any insecurities about my body if I have “X” body fat %.”

The “I’ll be happy/happier when I reach this number” kind of goal. 

There is nothing wrong with having and pursuing goals. The problem comes when we put our happiness and excitement on hold until we reach that goal.

Here’s my personal experience with these kinds of number goals and the two things that always happen:  

  1. The “weigh-in” doesn’t go well which leads to a  terrible mood, then I start picking apart my body. 

  2. The weigh-in does go well, but not as well as I wanted.  I find something negative about it and I am not as happy as I thought I would be. 

I have thought, and maybe so have you, that as soon as I reach this magic number, it will be like a switch is flipped and I, all of the sudden, exude confidence, have no insecurities, and am thrilled with this “new” body of mine. But does that really happen? My experience has been that it does not.

I am not saying that we should not have goals, but should we really be putting our happiness on hold because we aren’t at that “goal number” yet? 

As some of you know, I have struggled with eating disorders since I was 13. I was anorexic for a time, bulimic for a time, a binger for a time, even now I still struggle with emotional binge eating. With this comes a negative body image and toxic thinking patterns.  

We have this illusion that we will only feel better once we hit that goal. 

I would do whatever I could to get to that number, even if it meant starving myself, or working out until I burned off as many calories as I just ate. 

I would argue to myself, “But Kourtney, the whole reason I exercise is to get to that number.”

I used to think that the only way I could be happy with my body is to hit that goal number, but over the last 2 years I have learned that I can be happy in my body now. Being grateful for what my body can do right now!  

Here is what I have learned that I think can help you along your journey to reach your health and wellness goals:

  1. Do not put your happiness on hold until you reach a goal.  As the saying goes, it is about the journey and not the destination.  This is so true when it comes to health and wellness.  The journey of becoming a better version of yourself, and 1% better every day is what will bring you lasting change to your mind and body. 

  2. Don’t associate your health and wellness goal to a goal “number.”  Instead, focus on what your body will be able to DO as a result of your progress you make over time.  Focusing on outcomes that that occur as a result of your hard work that are not directly tied to a goal number is a healthy place to start.  Being able to get up and down the stairs without feeling out of breath, getting up and down off the ground to play with your kids – these are much more than merely side effects of losing weight.  These are the “why” behind what you are doing.  They are the reason you keep pushing towards improving yourself. 

  3. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.  Your health and wellness journey should be a lifelong one, and when you start to see progress it can be very motivating.  It can also be a long, sometimes boring road of eating the same (or similar) meals filled with protein, veggies and water.  Reward yourself often – go out to dinner and order the dessert –  give yourself a built-in reward for accomplishing a milestone.  It can be something as simple as buying those new clothes with the changing of the seasons.  Rewarding yourself often for your accomplishments is something that will keep you motivated as well.  

  4. Be grateful for what your body can do RIGHT NOW.  This is one of the most powerful things you can do on a daily basis.  Something as simple as writing down ONE thing you are grateful that your body can do today can change your mindset into the positive.  For example, writing “I am grateful to be able to play with my kids at the park today, and slide up and down the slide” can bring positive affirmations of what your body CAN do!  

Remember, there is so much more to be proud of than just reaching that “number” on the scale.  Once I realized I could create my happiness by being grateful for what my body can do right now, that changed my mindset for the long term progress I like to call “life”.  

Come join us for our next round of the Epic 21 Day Challenge where we can help guide you with creating your “perfect day” and help you gain more confidence in yourself in the next 21 days than you ever have in the past!  You can get all sorts of BONUSES for signing up now!  Check it all out here:

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Stress Management & Relaxation Techniques

By Abbey Bronzati, BS, CPT

Intro to Relaxation Practice

5-minute Gratitude Practice to Relax & Reboot Your Brain

Why is it important to talk about relaxation?

We talk regularly about various ways to prevent or minimize stress in our lives. If we were perfect at managing our thoughts, time, exercise, finances, sleep, emotions and mother nature, we would always be capable of keeping our stress and anxiety at bay. However, we’re not perfect at these things, and many of them are often out of our control completely. We live in a hectic, fast-paced, go-go-go world, global pandemic or not. Due to the inevitability of experiencing stress,  especially during uncertain times such as now, it’s important to have techniques to turn off, or at least tone down, the stress response.

Let’s talk about the word “relaxation.” People often misunderstand or misuse this word. Relaxation is defined as “the state of being free from tension and anxiety.” It’s the restoration of equilibrium following a disturbance.

The relaxation response is the exact opposite of the stress response (AKA fight-or-flight response). There’s a lot of physiology surrounding the stress and relaxation responses I could talk about here that I’ll spare you the details. If you’re interested in learning more about the physiology of what’s going on inside the mind-body connection response to stress and relaxation connect with me and I would be happy to do another post or video.

The relaxation response facilitates an increase in alpha brain waves, which allow us to focus, and, contrary to popular belief, there is actually an increase in physical and mental energy. This is always beneficial to our lives, but especially right now.

4 basic sources of stress

Generally, there are 4 basic sources of stress from which we might currently be experiencing at a heightened level. These sources are taken from “The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook” by Dr. Martha Davis and Dr. Matthew McKay. This is an excellent workbook I highly recommend having as a resource for anyone interested.

  1. Your environment bombards you with demands to adjust. You’re required to endure weather, traffic, noise, a global pandemic or other natural disaster.
  2. You must cope with social stressors such as demands for your time and attention, job interviews, deadlines and competing priorities, work presentations, interpersonal conflicts, financial problems, and the loss of loved ones.
  3. A third source of stress is physiological. The rapid growth of adolescence; the changes menopause causes in women; lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and inadequate sleep; illness, injuries, and aging. All these things tax the body! Your physiological reaction to environmental and social threats and changes can also result in stressful symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches, an upset stomach, anxiety, and depression.
  4. The fourth source of stress is your thoughts. Your brain interprets these complex changes in your environment and body and determines when to turn on the stress response. How you interpret and label your present experience as well as what you predict for your future can serve either to relax you or stress you out more. For example, interpreting a sour look from your boss to mean that you are doing a poor job is likely to be very anxiety-provoking. Interpreting the same look as tiredness or preoccupation with personal problems will not be as frightening. Remember that how you think is how you feel.

Where does stress begin?

Stress researchers argue that stress begins with your appraisal of a situation, meaning that first you ask yourself how dangerous or difficult the situation is. Then, you assess what resources you perceive to have to help you cope with it. More anxious, stressed people tend to decide that (1) an event is dangerous, difficult, or painful, and (2) they don’t have the resources to cope.

Now that we have a better understanding of why and how the stress response is triggered for us, let’s dive deeper into the resources available to create a true relaxation response both mentally and physically.

Over the coming weeks we will review different relaxation techniques and how to practice them whenever and wherever you are. Please know that as you practice your relaxation techniques, you’ll become familiar with how it feels to be truly and deeply relaxed.

Right now, if I were to ask you what you do to relax, you might say that you watch TV, daydream, read a book, apply a face mask, or any other list of activities that are enjoyable and don’t elicit a stress response. However, this is not relaxation. While most of these activities are distractions, they don’t directly target the parts of our nervous system that trigger a relaxation response.

Relaxation is more than just doing something you enjoy, even though as you learn different techniques, you will learn to enjoy them.

Considerations for starting relaxation practice

  • A good place to start is to practice in short increments of 10-20 minutes per day.
  • It’s best to seclude yourself to minimize interruptions and background noise. Anything that you can do to minimize distractions will help you stay in the moment and focus on the activity. That said, relaxation practice is a skillful and valuable technique for kids from age 1 to 92. I hope you will consider sharing the various techniques you’ll be testing out with your loved ones at home. I know you will notice a difference in the lives and relationships around you.
  • Whatever relaxation technique you are testing out, it’s important to keep an open mind. Strip yourself of any expectations and allow the experience to happen. If you don’t think it’s going to work, it probably won’t. If you think it will work, it likely will.
  • Please know that every technique we’re going to talk about has been proven to elicit a relaxation response. Some of the techniques can seem odd to some people, but if you keep an open mind and allow for the possibility that these practices will help you relax, I promise you will find that there is great power in these activities.
  • Your attitude plays an important role in maintaining a high degree of mindfulness. This means that you’re engaged in the moment without judging it to be good or bad. Rather than forcing an experience, you’re just allowing it to happen. In other words, you have a passive attitude. Allow and accept. Don’t get frustrated with yourself or the experience.
  • Not everyone will have the same experience with relaxation practice. Take time to experiment and find what works best for you. For example, different times of day might work for different people. You may find that you get the best relaxation response in the morning so you can calm your mind and get yourself focused for the rest of your day. You might find that the afternoon works better as you start to feel tired and run-down. You may even find it’s best when you’re already in bed to help you fall asleep and get deeper, higher quality rest. Like I said, take time to experiment and find what works best for you.

The goal of stress management and relaxation practice is not merely stress reduction. After all, life would be pretty boring without stress. There is a common tendency to think of stressors or stressful events as negative, but stressors are often positive. The physical exertion of a good workout or the challenge of doing something new for the first time are great examples of good stress.

Performance and efficiency both improve with increased stress as long as the stress level doesn’t become too great. Stress management involves finding the right types and amounts of stress, given your individual tendencies, priorities, personality, and situation, so that you can maximize your performance and enrich your life experience. You can learn how to cope with stress more effectively while including more positive stress, challenge, excitement, and pleasure to your life.

Are you ready to not only relax, but also get into a regular exercise routine now that you are stuck at home, with no gym to go to? You are in luck! We would love to invite you to check out our LIVE Epic “At-Home” Coaching Program below, where you can give it a try for 21 days with ZERO risk!  

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