Tag Archives: positive reinforcement

Why the Ball Drops on Your Intentions

Ever wonder why you have great intentions at the new year and THEN the ball drops? You just need to be a little “S.M.A.R.T” – er.

This formula will help you get on track in any area of your life as you contemplate changes for the new year

S. = Specific

Be specific with what you want during the new year. Most of the time, the ball drops because you are too general with your intentions.

If you want to find balance, then be specific with scheduling. “For an hour a day, I will use 15 minutes to workout, 15 minutes to have quality conversation with someone I love, 15 minutes to decompress after a stressful day, or 15 minutes to have quiet time.”

For weight loss, be specific: “I want to lose 10 pounds.”

M. = Measurable

What tool will you use to measure your progress? A planner? A scale? An iPad? An app?

A. = Achievable

Many times a goal isn’t reached because it’s too big. Start with what IS achievable.  If you have no exercise routine at all, then just start with scheduling time for what you DO have.

R. = Reward

Most S.M.A.R.T. models utilize this as the “realistic” component.  I will insert “REWARD” here as a means to positively reinforce a new behavior.  The best incentive is to reward yourself weekly for having met a goal for just that week. Mind you, not with unhealthy food if your goal is to eat better or lose weight!

T. = Time

Give yourself a timetable for reaching your goal.  If you don’t, it’s easy for the goal to be dropped as fast as the new year’s ball.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Anxious Living: “E” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y.

IMG_8599.JPG

R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. = “E”

Reality check:  As a kid growing up, I hated P.E. class as much as I did math class.  In college, I was praying to survive the basic mile and a half within the time allowed so as to “Pass” the class – a freshman course that I waited to take until my senior year – to meet graduation requirements.

Thankfully, being athletic and being fit are not synonymous.

My lifestyle change came while my husband was in graduate school.  I needed something to do while he studied, so I found time on my hands for Jane Fonda’s workout routine (Don’t do the math!).

Why is exercise so important?

Recent neurobiology has discovered that a 10-20 minute brisk walk reduces stress.  How is it possible to know this?  Measuring cortisol and performing brain scans.  What is cortisol?  It’s an essential hormone in our body, but when we are under stress, our bodies produce too much.

Exercise is a MUST if you are in a season of crisis (acute) or daily (chronic) stress (e.g. caregiving, etc.). Why? Because your body is a “trap” for the extra load you are carrying.

Don’t know how to start? Set a realistic goal for yourself.  Just start!  If you’re used to no exercise, just get active.  Go for a walk. Gradually increase your pace.  Just start where you are with what you CAN do, not what you can’t.  For instance, if you’re not used to any activity, set a goal to do something for 3 days in the first week.  At the end of the week, reward yourself (this positively reinforces a new habit which you are cultivating).  Don’t reward yourself with food, but something like purchasing a book, getting a manicure, time with friends, etc.

It takes a good solid 21 days or so to begin a new habit or lifestyle change.  So here are some pointers to get you started:

Use this formula to begin:  “BFF”

  • B = no more “buts” (“But I don’t have time….”).
  • F = enlist a friend.
  • F = do something fun as a reward.

When you think about it, exercise really is your Best. Friend. Forever.

You will be well on your way to incorporating activity into your life that will only benefit you physically and emotionally (exercise increases the production of serotonin which combats depression).

Just start.  Don’t wait for a better time.  Today is the BEST time.

This is Hope Unveiled!