Category Archives: Motivation

When It’s Good to be INFLEXIBLE

Be inflexible!

Huh?

“Wait a hot minute, Tammy!  What are you talking about?  Aren’t you all about flexibility and balance????”

I am!  I’m flexible about many things…

  • food choices
  • working around obstacles
  • the “plan” to reach a goal

But not in all things.

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I am NOT flexible about…

  • reaching those goals
  • keeping my word
  • acting with integrity
  • embracing the grind

 
The ends do not justify the means if short cuts were used or if too many compromises were made.

This applies to many things in life besides fitness, but it is important to your health to use science-based best practices for nutrition.  

If the results aren’t sustainable, they aren’t really results.

(Humans are not supposed to always be on a diet.  The metabolism will adapt because it’s designed to do so.  How many times do people keep doing battle with the same 20 pounds just to get to the point where nothing works anymore?)

Short cuts are long-term self-sabotage.

And there are health concerns, too.  Some need to repair some damage from years of being busy, taking care of everything, everyone – expect themselves.

Most just want to feel better so that they can fully participate in life with loved ones.

For those of us who are a little older, it’s easier to accept that there isn’t time to try every diet that is out there anymore.

That’s when it’s important to be inflexible.  It needs to be done the right way this time.  We don’t want to waste time wondering if we’re doing it right.

Sticking to a plan?  Well, that’s a different beast, isn’t it?  That’s where the accountability and mindset work becomes critical.

I never did my work alone. I still don’t.  I rely on my coach to do some of the thinking for me and for accountability.

Are you ready?  

Are you ready to be inflexible about your own success??

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Filed under Life, Motivation, Nutrition, Weight Loss

WHY Did I Keep Quitting?

DISCLAIMER: As much as I’d like to have a visit with you if you think I might be the right coach for you, this post isn’t about coaching. Even if you work with someone, they might just focus on the program and not get into a topic like this – even though it’s critical for long term success. This post is based on my personal journey since 2010. I don’t expect it to resonate with everyone, but it might help one person.

You’ve done it before.  You’ve started a program.  And…then you quit.

I started and quit many times.

And then something changed. 

You might know my story, but I’m digging a bit deeper in this post.

There are several things that contribute to “success”.  Let’s use a working definition of success in terms of a heath transformation as…

HEALTH TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS: Sticking with a program long enough to reach a goal and then having the tools to maintain it.

I didn’t have the THE mysterious thing that I needed to make a health transformation success happen before. Was it a piece of knowledge I was missing? Was it a character flaw? Was it a weakness in my personality??

And then *POOF* it all clicked. It made sense.

It wasn’t fear of dying early was on my mind this whole time, even though the doctors were quite clear about that risk. That was the catalyst for the real work I needed to do.

It was a mindset shift! I needed to figure out WHY I was OK with quitting repeatedly. That’s actually out of character for me.

I needed to be willing to be vulnerable, get my ego out of the way, and be brutally honest with myself as I looked for answers to questions I didn’t want to ask.

I did this to myself.  That’s obvious.  But WHY?????

The reflective work to find the “WHY do I keep quitting” was THE thing I needed to do.

Highly successful people have demonstrated motivation and determination in other areas of their lives.  But they will still sabotage their own self-care!  Right?  I did.  And then I used “lack of motivation” as an excuse.   Or blamed my screwed-up priorities. Those are easy to grab.

But they aren’t the reasons. They are the results of something else.

As a math teacher, I dealt with this daily. Apathetic teens were willing to give up the high school diploma instead of challenging their fixed mindset about how they couldn’t learn algebra and/or geometry. (And I suspect there is at least one adult reading this right now who probably had to power through that particular mindset, too!)

This health stuff and the math stuff are more closely related than most people think.

Be brave.  Ask yourself the hard questions…

  • WHY are you repeating this pattern?
  • Why don’t you think you deserve to fix this??

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing this alone or working with a trainer or coach.  If quitting feels like a better option than pushing through and figuring out WHY you want to quit, there is something underneath that is the driver for what you might think is a a lack of motivation or a weakness in your determination-muscle.

Even if you have a coach who is willing to engage in the work with you about these hard questions, if you’re not willing to dig in, the result will be the same.  The pattern will repeat.

My hard truth was that I didn’t believe I deserved to treat myself better. It felt like I hadn’t earned it.

My self-worth was based on what I did for others.  I was invisible unless I was reflected in another person’s opinion of me.  I wasn’t actually me.  I was some type of character in my own life based on my “roles” (wife, teacher, daughter, sister, etc). 

I’m NOT blaming anyone other than myself for how I felt.  No one expected me to become invisible – quite the contrary. 

People usually want the people they love to be happy and thriving.  But I wasn’t happy, wasn’t thriving, and nothing was going to change until I figured out why I didn’t care enough to change.

I’m not a psychologist, so I’m sure there is more under there to explore, but I needed to have the epiphany that I wasn’t properly caring for one of God’s kids…me.  I needed to step back and look at what was really going on.

And I needed to accept that my self-neglect, which I thought was honorable because I was putting others first, would actually harm them over time as I developed more serious health issues.

Sick, unhappy Tammy would not be a good partner for my husband and would not be a good teacher for my students.

After that, I approached everything like it was a problem at work.  What’s not working?  What will fix it?  Work. The. Problem.

The answer for me was to give up pretending I knew what I was doing, give up control, get help, and do what I was told.  Period.

I resigned to trust that process and be patient.

There have been a few changes on “Team Tammy” as people either needed to leave or I needed something different.  That’s OK and expected.  It’s part of the growth process.  If you take this route of working with a trainer or coach, your job is to find the right one to be on your team.

Refer to DISCLAIMER above! I am NOT the right coach for everybody. Not even going to pretend that’s the case. There are plenty of coaches and trainers out here doing this work online and in person. Do your research. Trust your gut!

My underlying resolve to keep all of this going for myself remains in tact because I was able to adopt a mindset that values self-care without making it seem like selfishness.

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Filed under Life, Motivation, Weight Loss

The Importance of Mindset To Do Scary Things

Still working on developing a consistently positive, growth mindset about when I compete again next summer.  Now that it’s a little less than a year out, nerves switched on this week. If that seems like an odd problem for a competitive bodybuilder to have, check out this blog because in it I briefly describe what happened the last time I was on stage.  The discovery path I was set on because of that experience has changed my teaching practice and my life, I guess.  For that, I’m grateful.  Still, my “fight or flight” response gets a bit stuck in “flight” when I think about another sticky spray tan, posing suit, and stage experience.  I told my coach this week that I’ve developed a little learned helplessness about what I’m going to be able to accomplish in this sport.  I call it that because I recognize in myself what I see in my students when they come into my classroom to take a geometry exam.  “I’m going to fail”, they tell me. What do I tell myself?  “I’ve been placed dead last three times.”  “My pelvis is too wide.”  “My shoulders are too narrow.”  “I’m too old.”  All of these are my version of “I’m going to fail, so why bother?  Who am I kidding?”   And nothing anyone says is going to change ‘reality’, right?  You know how this goes.  It’s uncomfortable to admit, but we all do it at some time about something.  That is a sign of a fixed mindset about one’s ability to do a particular thing.  Working towards a  growth mindset allows for the “I’m not ready, but I can improve” attitude.  Once I recognize it, I can deal with it.  Trick is to catch it before I end up ruminating on it.  I’ve been going back and forth on this one for almost a year now.

Thank you, readers, for hanging with me while I work through these things.  I don’t expect this to be resolved until after I’m on stage again.  Oh and, I kid you not – as I type this, I’m watching a baby bird through the blinds of my window.  She will be ready to fly soon and is tentatively exploring the opening and perch of her birdhouse.  And…she goes back in.  Not ready yet.  Hope she doesn’t decide there is no point…

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Way back in 2010 when I first set my mind on bodybuilding as the “big, scary goal”, I wasn’t a person who had any business making a goal like that.  Almost EVERYTHING had to be changed – how I ate, had to make time to train, and I had to retool all my routines about teaching because I no longer had time to bring work home.  I’m still married to the same wonderful man, but he was forced to make some adjustments because his wife just up and decided that she was going to be a bodybuilder now.  What was I thinking?  How would I do this thing?  The mental game was so hard then!  Looking at what I’ve done, it seems really silly to still be fighting dragons, but I’ve obviously developed a habit over the years of falling back into negative self-talk when I’m insecure and doubtful.   Back then, I put a small bulletin board up in my bathroom and filled it with motivational quotes that meant something to me.  Basically, I left myself reminders where I would see them to counter negative thoughts with positive ones.  I think I will do that again.  And I just happen to have a bigger bulletin board!

Something else occurred to me this morning while I was at the gym.  It would be useful for me to mentally redefine what is real for me about being on stage and then rehearse those thoughts.  I’ve competed three times.  I know how warm it is under the lights.  I know what it smells like – a mixture of spray tan and hairspray.  I know what the stage feels like under my feet.  I know I can’t see much past the first two rows in the audience without my glasses (which is a blessing).  I can completely visualize it now, which is a plus.  My thoughts up there are loud.  I can create a new set of thoughts to put with that visualization.  When I got home from the gym, I wrote this out.  I don’t think this is final form.  At some point, I’ll print it, laminate it, and put it up on that bathroom bulletin board.

I’m here to celebrate.

I celebrate the joy and gratitude that I finally get to do this.

I celebrate the useful, purposeful pain that forced growth and renewal.

I celebrate the courage I found minutes ago to walk out and stand here.

I celebrate the discipline to push myself to do things I could not do when I was a younger person.

What you see is the PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION of my MINDSET.

I’ve overcome obstacles to be here.

I’ve slayed dragons.  I got back up when dragons slayed me.

See those people there?  The judges?  They have a task to do for the promoter of this show.  I am not here for them and what they do is not my concern.  I’m here, on this stage, on this day, for my own reasons.

I’m here for the people who love me, who inspired me, who helped me, who believe in me, and who need me to be here.

I’m here for my mom.

I’m here for the pictures that will document the inner strength the struggle built.

I’m here to show others how to slay dragons, too.

I’m here to celebrate.

 

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Filed under Competing, Life, Motivation