Fighting For What You Want

woman boxerFighting For What You Want

Are you ready to put up a fight for what you want? What are your personal standards of excellence that you desire to live up to? As cliché as it is, at the turn of the year, we are all making plans for how we are going to make our upcoming year better than the previous year. It is not wishful thinking, rather good planning. If you plan your dream out in full and vivid detail, you are well on your way to achieving your desired outcomes. Here are some techniques that I use when it comes to the turn of the year goal planning.

1. Make your goal something that is important to you. 
If you don’t care all that much about achieving your goal, when the road gets difficult, it is unlikely that you are going to stick it out. Dig deep and ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish for yourself? Not for anyone else, but for you? That is where we are going to get our driving power.

2. Make sure that your goal lines up with your values.
Know what you value. Living a life of values is an important part of the goal planning process. When you make goals that you care about at the deepest level, when you need to dig deep to find your inner drive, it will be there waiting to be revved up.

3. Don’t compare your goal to other people’s goals or what you think your goal should be.
It is easy to make goals based on what other people are doing. Sometimes what is right for someone else is not the best for you. Use others as a source of motivation and inspiration, then ask yourself this question. What is the goal that is true and right for me, that is in this same area of achievement?

4. Make a detailed plan of action. 
A goal is a great start, a detailed plan of action with short term, medium and long term goals along the way is a great way to stay connected and moving forward toward your goal.
 
5. Create a supportive environment.
It takes an army of a support team to help me with my goal of becoming pain-free. I work with a chiropractor, go to Cryotherapy, work with a sport psychologist, nutrition coach and I make sure that my family and friends are at least neutral about my goals. I don’t need constant cheerleading every single day, but I want people around me that believe in me and support my efforts. Make sure you surround yourself with a support team that moves you in the direction of your goals.

6. Don’t give up.
It is possible you won’t reach your goal in the timeframe you have set out. That does not mean you have failed; it just means you need to readjust the plan of attack. Get rested, and then reset your new plan with a new target date. Develop mental toughness by being flexible with how you go about achieving your goal.
 
7. Make sure that you are in control of making your goal happen. 
It is great to have goals such as winning, but we also want to make sure that we set goals that are within our control. We want to have behavioral goals as well as outcome goals.Life is not going to just hand you what you want; you have to fight for it! What are you willing to fight for today? Pick goals that are worth your time and effort.

Nancy Georges

IFBB Figure Pro
Contest Prep Coach
Mental Game Coach

Mood Manipulation for Peak Performance

armsup

Mood Manipulation for Peak Performance:
I needed a little mood manipulation this morning. I have been having such a great week bumping up my workouts and cardio sessions, since I am getting ready to be on vacation from school for the next month. Everything was going amazing. I felt great all week, super focused, and then, I got some personal news that really distracted me and brought me down. My morning cardio in the beginning was dragging and I had to really do some work to talk myself into a good mood. And that is exactly what I did. I manipulated myself into a good mood.

Sometimes we need to take a break, but sometimes we can talk ourselves back into the zone and back into a great workout. Here is an outline of how I talked myself into a good mood.

First: Identify your current mood. Don’t be afraid of how you feel, go ahead and name it. You may feel tired, sad, irritable, bored, just go ahead and name the feeling that is getting in your way of your workout.

Second:Recognize that your feelings are present for a reason. Thank yourself for the way you feel. Say: Thank you self. I appreciate this feeling very much, I am sure it makes sense.

Third: Time for some negotiation via internal dialog. Ask the part of you that created the feeling if it would be willing to subside temporarily until you get through your workout. Check in to see if you get a yes response. Once you get a yes response, negotiate for a time that you will tend to this feeling. Commit to checking back in for example, 20 minutes after your workout, or when you get home for the evening. Whatever it is, make sure it is within the next 24 hours or so.

Fourth: Recall a time in your recent past that you had an amazing workout. What was going on in your mind’s eye? What were you saying to yourself? What pictures were you making? And how did all of this make you feel? Really see this out in front of you clear and big and bright. Now step into this feeling and put it on like a coat, basking in all the wonderful feelings that were present for a time that you had an amazing workout.

Fifth: Go workout. Have an amazing, energized, fantastic workout!

I hope you enjoyed that quick mental exercise to help you manipulate your mood.

Remember last newsletter, where I talked about getting in the zone? Well, It was such a popular topic of conversation, that I created an MP3 hypnosis session to help you eliminate distractions. Also based on feedback, I kept the session to 10 minutes. It is a great session to help you quickly get to what you want to focus on in the moment and throughout the day. See the link below to grab your copy.

http://www.nancygeorges.com/mp3-downloads.html

Until next time,

Nancy Georges

IFBB Figure Pro
Contest Prep Coach
Mental Game Coach

Time to Get in the Zone

Getting in the zone; in the fitness world we call that flipping the switch. Which is ironic since so much prep work needs to really happen ahead of time it seems like a switch is being flipped. In reality we are going over in our head all the ways in which said switch should be flipped. It is a mental game and a major struggle. Why? Often times we can’t seem to find the switch to flip.

Today I posted a short video in my private Facebook group a little mental exercise on flipping the switch. By the way, if you are not a part of my group and you are interested in taking your mind and body to the next level, you will want to add yourself to the group. Here is that link:

Step 1: How do you know you are not in the zone? The way you know you are not in the zone is that you have been there before, so we do have something to compare it to. Write out all the ways in which you know you are not in the zone:

a. What are you saying to yourself in regards to your workouts, your food prep, your cardio, your body, etc?

b. What pictures are you making in your mind’s-eye? Do you have an image in your mind of looking shredded? Or are you picturing yourself sleeping in and getting a little bit more rest?

c. How do you feel? How is your posture, is it upright or slouched over? How much energy do you have? How fast are you walking? Do you have a spring in your step?

Step 2: Recall a time that you knew you were in the zone.

a. What were you saying to yourself in regards to your workouts, your food prep, your cardio, your body, etc?

b. What pictures were you making in your mind’s-eye? Did you have an image in your mind of looking shredded? Or were you picturing yourself sleeping in and getting a little bit more rest?

c. How did you feel? How was your posture, was it upright or slouched over? How much energy did you have? How fast were you walking? Did you have a spring in your step?

Step 3: Try on a sample from your zone experience right now. The easiest is to try on the auditory. What were you saying to yourself when you were in the zone? Say that now. Now change your posture. Now change the images to match the type of images you had when you were in the zone.

I hope you enjoy this technique and find it helpful. Remember to join my private group for more videos and updates on mental skills.

Until next time,

Nancy Georges

IFBB Figure Pro
Contest Prep Coach
Mental Game Coach

Mental Edge: How To Make The Most Out of Interpersonal Relationships

The holidays are here. It is time for parties, family gatherings, and social engagements galore! I know many people don’t look forward to the amount of socializing that goes on around this time of year. For one thing, we socialize with people that we only see a few times a year, and getting conversations going can be a bit awkward. On top of that, we have gatherings that are more business in nature, and we are meeting people for the first time. Getting those conversations going, can also sometimes seem challenging.

And then there is that Aunt, who is stuck in the past that every year reminds the entire family of all the embarrassing things they did when they were ten years old. I feel you. It can make one want to sneak away and hide in a bottle and go numb to it all.

But I have a proposal, a challenge if you will. Live each event to the fullest. Be the life of the party, engage enthusiastically, strike up conversations that are stimulating to other people, and leave people feeling good for having interacted with you. Whether that is your sister, step cousin, or that random stranger that one of your family members invited so that they too have a place to go for the holidays.

What if we challenged ourselves in a new way, to live each event as if it were the only thing important in life? What if we gave an overhaul to our social skills and our family etiquette? If you are up for the challenge, here are a few ideas to get things going.

1. Accept others for who they are. It is my opinion that one of the most important ways we can have meaningful interactions is to accept that others are different from us. Some are VERY different. It’s all good, right? We don’t want little clones of ourselves do we; that agree with everything we say no matter what and never challenge us? I don’t think that would be interesting at all. So next party, clear your mind of all that you believe about people and just come in as a blank slate, open to some interesting and engaging conversations.

2. Get interested in their unique story. Once we come in as a blank slate and accept others as they are, it is much easier to become curious about people. When someone is different, be curious rather than judgmental. Think of it as an amazing opportunity to try on someone else’s life for the fun of it and then giving it back at the end of the conversation. Ask engaging questions that will get them excited. Play a game to see how much better of a mood you can leave them in than when they started talking to you.

3. Be the happy person in the room. I don’t recall where this advice came from, maybe it is an old Taoist saying, but people remember you based on how you made them feel. That to me is so wild. Here we are thinking we need to impress people with our fancy dress and perfect makeup, and it turns out, when they feel good after interacting with us, they also feel more positively toward us. It is a win win deal as far as I can tell. You feel good for allowing yourself to be in such a good mood and interact with positivity, and they feel good for the positive interaction. And based on my experience, that positivity will become contagious real quick.

4. Balance family time with alone time. Our schedules are usually tighter than normal over the holidays, be sure to find time for yourself. Even if you have to scale it back from your usual hour a day to 30 minutes a day, at least you are doing something to turn inward and connect with yourself and check in with how you feel and recharge your mind and body.

5. Realize that the only moment that ever matters in life is this moment right now. Or is it this moment now? Or this one? Or maybe this one? Well, you get the point. The past is done and over with, and the future will never arrive. Spend this holiday season in the present, enjoying each moment as it comes.

Make a personal challenge to yourself, to improve your interpersonal relationships. Get to know someone on a deeper level, or maybe several people. Any bit that you do to stay engaged, positive and present will make each holiday event and gather that much more full of spirit and joy. And I think that is what the season is all about, joy.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday full of love and connection,

Nancy

Concluding Video: Pre-contest Diet Without a Contest

The Power of Choice!
Pre-contest dieting -vs- Lifestyle Dieting

I guess it is true that all good things must come to an end. I have enjoyed the discipline and dedication that doing a pre-contest diet has offered me. I really do miss competing. I had to transition into lifestyle, and I will speak a little bit about that in my concluding video.

Lifestyle eating is the phase that I have transitioned to now. I tell my clients that this is a good phase to be in when your focus shifts to other areas. I like to be cognizant of what I am doing, whether it is pre-contest dieting, lifestyle dieting, or the all-out eat what I want plan. (Yes, I have done this). My point being, making a conscious decision about your eating plan really puts you at choice. It gives you the power and clarity of what you have decided to do. This philosophy has kept me relatively free from drama as it relates to food. I always know what phase I am in at any given moment and that makes eating easy to plan and easy to think about.
Here is my concluding video of my pre-contest diet without a contest:

Week 3: Pre-contest diet without a contest

Can Mental, Emotional and Physical Transformation Be Reduced to a Number on a Scale?

It’s the end of week three, and I am still going strong on my pre-contest diet without a contest. My birthday was yesterday, no cake. I didn’t even want any cake. To be honest, it was weird. Once I lock in the diet is easy. The ease of locking into the diet is something that I address in this video, because I know there are people who do struggle with this, and I don’t want to make light of your struggles at all.

The question that came up for me this week in my candid video is this: Can a mental, emotional and physical transformation be reduced to a number on a scale? It is ridiculous I know, but we all do it.

Part of my emotional transformation this week is exploring the resistance. Last week, I seemed to be in the zone with allowing every emotion to come at me with reckless abandon. This week, I have been a little resistance, and I will explore why in my video.

So here’s week three. Let me know if there are any questions you have or anything you want me to address next week. I am feeling committed to another week, so feel free to email me what emotions you would like me to explore while I am on my nutrition plan. Sorry for the rambling at the end. Like I have mentioned, I don’t edit, I just let the video run and the thoughts come out of my mouth.

Week 1: Pre-contest diet without a contest. Is Dieting Really Easy?

Hello, it’s me again. I decided to do a mid-month newsletter this month. I have something that feels important that I want to share with you today. You may know that I stopped competing in 2009 due to a back injury. I have not been 100 percent since. But this update is not about my recovery, rather it is about me moving forward in spite of not having recovery. It is about embracing where I am and being ok with it, even if it feels not ok, and moving forward.

I started a pre-contest diet a week ago today. No, I am not competing. But, I am doing this for several reasons, the first is obvious, let’s face it, I can stand to lose a few pounds. But the second and more important reason is to feel my emotions. Before I was in chronic pain, I never considered doing anything to numb myself to life. After six years of pain, trust me, I have found a multitude of ways to numb myself to pain.

Recently, I have been in less physical pain, and I have decided to feel my emotions in all their glory… Well, let me say, they are not all that glorious. I wanted to do a video so you can see the raw emotional tone of my week as I launch into week one of my pre-contest (without a contest) diet. My diet this past week consisted of 1800 calories, no just-a-bites, no alcohol and no sugar. I cut out most of my fruit as well. I had a small amount of fruit on Friday due to a splitting headache from cutting sugar. As of now my energy is good, and my workouts are strong.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s video newsletter. I know I am not as elegant on video as I am in writing. Hopefully it brings some light on the important subject of being who we really are, while we strive for increased excellence in our lives.

Nancy

June 2015: How to Reduce the Need for Self-Control

Successful couple of young athletes raising arms to golden summer sunset sky after training. Fitness man and woman with arms up celebrating sport goals after exercising in countryside field.Willpower, self-regulation, and self-control; whatever you call it, many claim it is the cornerstone to success with goal achievement. In fact, I have written many articles myself on being able to increase willpower and self-regulation.

Recently I came across an article by Job, Bernecker, Miketta and Friese (2015) that argues will power is not in limited supply. In other words, just because we utilize willpower to go to the gym, does not mean we will be any less capable of using this resource to say no to that cookie. It is a fascinating study that aims to prove the only people that are limited in their ability to use willpower are those that believe it is a limited resource. That’s right, if you believe you have limited willpower, then you do. This new insight got me to thinking. Why do we need to use willpower or self-control at all? If we want a goal, why don’t we just do what needs to get done to achieve it? Why can’t we treat our goals like brushing our teeth? We do it every day. It takes daily effort, yet the cognitive load on this activity is almost non-existent. What if we applied the same concept of brushing our teeth to achieving our goals? What if our goals didn’t take self-control at all, rather they were a series of automated behaviors, just like brushing our teeth? Sounds too simple doesn’t it?

Recently I have taken on some new health behaviors that looking back on how I implemented them, they carried very little need for self-control to implement them. All I did was create a plan, write it in my calendar and then performed the tasks. They were small tasks, nonetheless, as I was going for my daily morning walk this morning that I have been doing for about two months now, I got to thinking how natural and easy it has been to incorporate that activity into my daily routine. I started with a plan to go for a walk first thing in the morning three times a week. I did that until I was successful, then I increased it to four, then five, now, I go for a 45 minute walk most mornings and I don’t really think about it as a hassle at all. It is an enjoyable part of my morning. And, when I don’t go, I don’t worry about it, I just go about my day and go for a walk the following day.

I have been theorizing for some time now, that when we have goals, we tend to make sweeping changes in our lives that require cognitive load and take mental space, which causes us to utilize willpower or self-control in order to implement our new activity. But, what if like my morning walk, you made changes in your life in the same way?

There is only one way to find out if my hypothesis is true for you, and that is to try it. Here are some simple steps.

  1. Think about a goal that you have.
  2. What’s one behavior that you can do this week that will move you in the direction of that goal?
  3. Write it down in your calendar. Put the days and times that you will do this activity. Make it simple, maybe three times a week or something like that.
  4. At the end of the week review your progress and make adjustments the following week that are slightly more ambitious.
  5.  Once this behavior gets automated, add a second behavior.

Continue to your heart’s content.

That’s all. A few simple changes now leads to your desired goal later. Here are a few more ideas that will help you to reduce the need to self-control and make your health behaviors an effortless part of your life.

  1. Establish goals that not only have a compelling outcome, but are also fun to do in the process.
  2. Make your workouts fun
  3. Scale back slowly on undesired habits.
  4. Laugh a little, or a lot.
  5. Don’t overthink it.
  6. Get rid of the rules.
  7. De-stress.

Feel free to send me a message and let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear about your success with it.

Reference:

Job, V., Bernecker, K., Miketta, S., Friese, M. (2015, June 15). Implicit theories about willpower predict the activation of a rest goal following self-control exertion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication.

April 2015: How to Give Your Brain a Workout

BrainAs the days get warmer, motivation increases. Many of us are in the midst of a mastermind plan to obtain and improve our level of physical fitness and physique mastery. We have competitions to win, vacations to take, and short shorts to easily fit into during our summer vacation. We are in the zone and focused on our goal and ready to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Unfortunately, heightened motivation can lead to overtraining, burnout and even worse, injury. When we are highly motivated, sometimes we want to push our bodies because our minds are motivated to achieve our goals. But, be forewarned, deviating from the scheduled workout program and skipping off days can have negative consequences that will potentially require more time off due to a variety of issues that come with over training. That is where mental practice comes in.

Mental practice is something we can be incorporating in an ongoing way. However, it is most relevant during times when we have a scheduled rest day but are inspired to push ourselves just a little more. Save your joints, and start incorporating mental practice to take your fitness to the next level. Here is how:

Mental Practice: How to Give Your Brain a Workout

Mental practice, is defined by Magill and Anderson (2014) as the mental rehearsal of a skill without physical movement. This is the perfect workout for your brain, on those days that your mind is ready to go, but your body needs a rest day.

Mental practice is not to be confused with meditation, which is often a passive activity. Mental practice is an active cognitive rehearsal. We can use mental practice for a variety of different outcomes. Since there is no one proper way to perform mental practice, I will provide an outline of how mental practice can be done. From there, simply refine the technique to meet your personal needs.

  1. Think of a specific type of mental practice you are interested in. Would you like to image in your mind’s eye, winning a competition, or looking great for the beach, or your summer vacation? Or perhaps you are interested in visualizing your procedure goals, such as having great form and intensity for your workouts, or having a perfectly planned day of food prep and positive attitude and energy. Or maybe you would like to focus on imagery that considers more specific emotional states of mind, such as having the proper arousal and focus for your workouts or day to day activities that help prepare you for your goal. So take a moment to think about what you want to practice and write it down.
  2. Find a place where you can perform your visualizations without distractions. Allow yourself to be free from distractions such as your phone or internet and also put yourself in a place where you will not be disrupted by others. Set a time frame that you wish to do your mental practice and set a timer on your phone.
  3. Get yourself into your preferred state of mind. Often times I actually use music to help me to perform my visualizations when I am focused on being on stage for a competition. I like to focus on my affect, or how I will feel when I am on stage, and music is very inspiring. Whatever works for you, get yourself into that state of mind.
  4. Set your intent to have a great mental workout for your established time. Take several deep relaxing breaths to get yourself relaxed and open to receive a wonderful visual experience in your mind’s eye.
  5. Start your imagery. You may be going through your day with a positive attitude, having good energy, focused on your goal, bypassing treats that are presented to you that are not part of your plan. You may be focused on how you feel when you are working out. Be sure to get the emotional elements of your mental practice, such as how good you feel about yourself and the proper emotional tone for the situation. Think about any thoughts you may be saying to yourself that will help get you inspired and pumped up in this situation. Take all the time you need to really play out your selected scenario.
  6. Come back to the present moment and write down any interesting findings that you have gleaned from this experience or notes on what you visualized so you can come back to this at another time in the future when you want to practice again.

That’s all there is to it. Feel free to modify to anyway that suits your needs best. I sometimes will do mental practice for 45 minutes, which is around the amount I would spend on an actual workout. This is a great way to get in a “workout” when your body needs a rest but your mind is motivated and eager to exercise. I hope you have enjoyed this mental workout.

References:

Magill, R., Anderson, . (2014). Motor learning and control. (10th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

January 2015: Self-Regulation Success

cartoonish_character_2008013293-1113int.epsThis month I want to talk about successful self-regulation. I know this won’t be the first time, and most likely it won’t be the last. Self-regulation and self-control in the context of goal achievement are subjects that are near and dear to my heart. I think it would be good to revisit self-regulation since many of us are embarking on new fitness journeys with the demarcation of a new year.

Self-regulation, will power, and self-control are all terms that are used to describe efforts that are made in order to change the way a person responds to a stimulus. For example, when we want to break a habit or create a new habit, we employ our self-regulatory efforts. A logical response right?

The important thing, in my opinion to understand about self-regulation is that it presupposes there is something to regulate. In other words we have a goal in mind. It is no surprise why so many fitness and motivational experts spend so much time on SMART goals. Without a clear direction of where we are going, we are most certainly not going to get there. If we want to curb a behavior, or create a new behavior for that matter, we have to have an idea to what end we have in mind. In other words, why is it important to postpone something that looks really good right now? Whether it be a new dress, a cupcake, a cocktail, gossiping with a friend, or lounging around and watching TV, what motivation do we have to stop these behaviors and start doing something else? How do we know to self-regulate in the first place? The answer is, we have a goal of something that we want.

What is interesting about goals is that once we establish them, we are also setting ourselves up to feel not only good about achieving them, but bad about not achieving them. Goals in part are a cause of low self-esteem. According to Baumeister, Heatherton, and Tice (1994), low self-esteem is nothing more than our inability to self-regulate in order to live up to the standards that we have created for ourselves. Now, I am not going to address depression, this is something completely different, and potentially a medical issue, but we have all felt bad about ourselves at one point or another. In fact, even the media understands this and many companies such as Dove and Lululemon have created ad campaigns to attempt to send a message that we are all ok just the way we are. But what is fascinating is the thought that our own goals and our lack of discipline to achieve our goals is the root of what is creating feelings of low self-esteem.

So, how do we set up goals, and standards of what we desire, AND implement effective self-regulation. This is really in my opinion the key to getting what we want, once of course we know what that is. I am going to offer an easy solution to this dilemma. In fact, the solution is so simple you may even disregard it a first. But it does not require you to do mental mantras or write in your journal, or put yourself in a hypnotic trance to convince yourself that your goals really are worthwhile. It doesn’t require you to create a vision board, or to post love notes on your bathroom mirror. It only requires one thing and that is very simply, to change your environment. Think about all the ways in which you feel that you have not lived up to your own standards and moved in the direction of your goals, where were you? Change your environment. That is it. If you find yourself waking into a bakery, walk out. If you find yourself lying on the couch, get up. If you find yourself with gossipy friends, walk away. (Seriously, you really can walk away). Do whatever you can to make your environment conducive to your goals, that is my challenge for you this January. I know it seems simple, and it really is. I am looking forward to receiving an email from you, detailing your success, just by making this one change.

 

Reference:
Baumeister, R. F., Heatherton, T. F., & Tice, D. M. (1994). Losing Control: How and Why People Fail at Self-Regulation. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.