Are you intrigued by this headline?
I thought I needed to offer something provocative and meaty for my first post in a long while. I’ve been a little radio silent on the blog lately. I am sorry to leave you hanging for WOWs and fitness advice, but I’ve had a lot going on. You can see the results of this hard work when you come and work out at the new location for Performance Fitness. That’s right, after five years of wanting my own studio, I decided to take the plunge and sign a lease.
Opening a permanent location for Performance Fitness has been a process, one that didn’t happen overnight. Before inking my name in the lease contract, I encountered several roadblocks. They included practical ones, like finding a great location of an ideal size that fit into my needed budget. And they involved mental ones, like figuring out what I wanted as a small business owner and how I could achieve that. (Once I signed the lease, I had a crazy number of logistical decisions to make as well — including the shades of gray and orange to paint the walls!)
Looking back, I realize that my recent journey pushed me out of my box, which resulted in significant results. In fall 2014 and leading into this year, I engaged in a few meditation and vision practices. These exercises prompted me to embrace new things, even using some “crunchy” methods (not usual for me), to get me into a more bold and focused place.
I’ll share my decision-making process in hopes that it will inspire you to tackle any major life challenges or goals, whether they are fitness related or not.
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who couldn’t meditate. Instead of focus and clarity, all that stillness, breathing, and silence led to “squirrel!” distraction.
I had talked with a good friend, someone similarly practical and “non-crunchy,” about her mediation practice. I was shocked that she meditated. She gave me some resources for guided mediation (or what she called “meditating with training wheels”). I found it wasn’t as difficult as I thought, and I actually managed to stay focused during my sessions. However, sometimes 15 minutes felt like a lot. Then I discovered one-minute meditation.
I was surprised how calming and filling those brief sessions were. They helped me relieve my anxieties about taking big leaps with my business. Fast-forward to today, and I can say that I’m much more focused and driven on the days when I meditate — even for a minute — in the morning.
The next part of this goal-setting and goal-realizing journey involved prayer, particularly in the morning. This is something that had been missing form my life for a long time. I found this particular prayer very calming:
Into your hands I place my worries, fears, and troubles.
Into your wisdom I place my path, direction, and my goal.
Into your love I place my life.
This prayer was a great reminder for a control freak and worrier like me that I just needed to put in the work and then let go.
3. Daily Gratitude Journal
I mocked this idea when every blogger, Facebooker, and e-mailer talked about #gratitude. After all, I had prayer (even if I hadn’t really prayed in months) and was always aware of giving thanks/being thankful for what I had in my life.
However, the process of actually writing it down — just one sentence a day — and expressing gratitude for the silliest things sometimes (like coffee) changed my outlook on life. It made this semi-optimist even more optimistic and driven.
4. Psycho Cybernetics
Yep, I read a self-help book. And not only did I read a self-help book, but I read one that dealt with the concepts of self-affirmation (CRUNCHY!) and visualization. Both were foreign concepts for a practical type like me. I had read a ton of business books, but was skeptical about the self-help genre in general.
I cracked open the pages of Psycho-Cybernetics (OK, I actually listened to it on Audible.com) by Maxwell Maltz, written in 1960. The book discusses the idea of self-concept and how the concept of one’s self is integral to achieving goals. My business coach had suggested for years that I read this book, which proved to be life changing.
5. Visual Reminders
NPE, my business coaches, have 10 client success principles. Principle number 2 is: “Have courage, practice faith.” In theory, I ascribed to this principle, but I didn’t actually practice it. Then one day last December while shopping for Christmas gifts for my team I saw three colorful, heart-shaped rocks that caught my eye. They said “courage,” “faith,” and “strength.”
The shopping trip for my team became a bit of a shopping trip for myself. I bought the rocks and lined them up on my windowsill, where I would see them every morning and night. Those rocks became a daily reminder for me to have courage, practice faith, and gain strength.
6. Vision Board
Remember when I said that I’m practical and non-crunchy? Last December I signed up for a vision board workshop led by a woman, Angela Marchesani, from my Bizzy Mamas networking group. I attended the workshop even though I laughed when a wellness consultant suggested I do a vision board around a particular goal I was working on years ago. In my mind, vision boards were artsy and craftsy (I am neither) and crunchy. “So you glue stuff to a board, like some camp collage project, and then all that stuff magically comes true? Whatever.”
Despite this view, I signed up for the January workshop. I approached the task without judgment or censorship. And guess what? I loved it! I enjoyed flipping through magazines and finding pictures and words that represented what I wanted to achieve in my personal and professional life. I took pleasure in mapping out the board. In fact, I was the last person to leave the workshop that day. I put the board up at my desk where I could see it all the time. My eye always focused on the cutout that said, “Personal Training Studio.”
There was no magic in the vision board, but it did bring about focus, which helped me work on my “big rocks” (aka goals) and get out of my comfort zone.
I’ll be back to fitness posts next week, but I hope these techniques I tried can be helpful as you scramble over some boulders in your own life.