Get Ready To Evaluate The Last Year

Get Ready To Evaluate the Last Year

Before you move forward with new goals, it’s important to evaluate the last year. You can gain valuable insights that can help you achieve your goals when you pause to reflect. But you have to approach this evaluation of the past 365 days with a special attitude.

This isn’t about making harsh judgements or fixating on failed projects.

Don’t use this time to mentally beat yourself up. You won’t gain anything valuable from shaming yourself for past mistakes.

Instead, focus on looking for patterns and trends that impacted your goals. It’s best to handle your evaluation as if you were reviewing a friend’s year. With the level of detachment this brings, you’ll be more open to learning from the process.

Choose the Right Environment

Make sure you begin your evaluation in a quiet, calm environment. If you’re trying to evaluate your year in between cooking dinner and helping the kids with homework, your picture of the last year may not be that clear and you may miss important realizations.

When it comes to your evaluation, you’ll want to do it in a quiet space. It can be helpful to play soft instrumental music or to turn on a white noise machine. This allows you to get into a relaxed frame of mind.

Limit Interruptions

You may also want to silence your phone and log off of social media.

The constant dings from your cell and social sites can be distracting and you may find it difficult to get back on track after an interruption.

It’s also important to pick the best time of day to do your review. If you’re a morning person, then you may be too exhausted at the end of your day to give your full attention to the year’s evaluation. You should to try to schedule your review during a time when you feel alert and energized.

Take Your Time

Keep in mind that you can break your review up into smaller chunks of time. You don’t have to dedicate five hours out of your day to this project.

You can choose to break your sessions up instead. Many people find that one hour sessions are best. It gives you plenty of time to reflect on your year without causing you to feel overwhelmed.

If you find doing your year’s evaluation difficult or complicated, it might be best to get help from a good coach. Your coach can help you approach your year in review with a positive attitude. With a coach’s guidance, you’ll be able to identify the lessons that you’ve learned in the past 365 days.

Journal Your Thoughts

1. Have you found a quiet environment where you can review your past year?
2. Have you set aside the time for your evaluation? Is this a time when you’ll feel energized and alert?
3. Have you decided to stay detached from your evaluation so you can be open to the lessons you’re about to learn?

Looking Back at What Worked

It’s time to look back at your year. Approaching your review with a positive attitude is important because it helps you to see your accomplishments clearly.

If you’ve overwhelmed and don’t know where to start your year’s review, consider asking yourself these questions:

What saved you time?

You may have saved time by outsourcing certain tasks, like bookkeeping or content creation. Take a look at what you outsourced this past year and how it helped your productivity.

You also might have saved time by developing systems to handle your work more effectively. For example, if you’re a coach, you may have moved to an online scheduler that allows clients to book sessions with you during your available hours. This means that instead of scheduling every appointment yourself, you’re able to devote your time to more important tasks.

What made the most money?

Examine the different branches of your business and see which ones made you the most money. Did your web design package prove to be a big income generator? Did your new product bring you a flood of new customers?
Knowing which activities are making you money is important. You don’t want to invest your New Year into tasks that aren’t growing your business.

What created the greatest amount of personal pleasure?

Now it’s time to look through the year’s projects and evaluate them in a different light. You want to focus on the ones that made you happy.

Ask yourself why you felt happy when you worked on these projects. Did you get to tap into a skill you’ve always wanted to use? Did you discover a talent you didn’t know you had? Whatever your reason why, make sure you write it down so you can remember it later.

What relationships developed that you’re excited about and why?

Growing your online community is done one relationship at a time. That’s why it can be helpful to review your relationships over the past year.

Did you become friends with another business owner that you might want to partner with later on? Did you hear from several customers that love what you’re doing and want to beta test your next project? Make a list of the new relationships you’ve developed and why they matter to you.

What positive breakthroughs did you make that have impacted your mindset for the better?

As you’re evaluating your past year, reflect on your mindset. How is it different now? Did you experience a mindset breakthrough that changed the direction of your life? Did you invest in learning more about mindset and how it affects your business?

Think of your twelve-month review as a great way to dig up your past. You might just find a few golden nuggets that will help you in the coming year.

Journal Your Thoughts

1. Which projects brought you the most personal pleasure?
2. What relationships have you developed that you’re about? Why?
3. What positive breakthroughs did you make that have impacted your mindset for the better?

Be Honest About What Didn’t Work

You’ve carefully delved into the past year and found the positive moments. You celebrated your wins, embraced your favorite projects, and taken a look at what activities made you a nice profit. But now it’s time to step back and discover what didn’t work.

During this phase of your New Year evaluation, it’s important to remember that you aren’t judging yourself. What you’re judging are your projects. Just because a project failed that doesn’t make you a failure.

What projects flopped in the past year?

Did you try something new this year that didn’t work out? Maybe you tried Kindle publishing only to sell ten copies of your e-book. Maybe you launched a project that your community wasn’t enthusiastic about.
If a project failed, you need to identify it and consider why it failed. Maybe you didn’t spend enough time marketing your new Kindle e-book. Maybe you didn’t listen to your community’s needs and that’s why your project flopped. Acknowledging your failure is the first step to learning from it.

What did you invest time and money into that gave you the least return in profit?

Every project requires energy and attention from you. Are you nurturing projects that are sick and dying? These projects will often give you every little in return for all your effort. It might be that you have a blog that you’re still trying to get traffic to after months or even years. It might be that you’re still updating your course on web design even though no one’s buying it.

You have to examine the projects that are siphoning time and money from your business. Is there another healthier branch of your business that you could invest your time and money into?

What tasks or projects did you find yourself dreading?

Most business owners have at least one or two tasks on their plate that they don’t enjoy. Perhaps you hate designing graphics for your blog or you dread coming up with fresh content for your podcast every week. Make a list of tasks that you don’t enjoy. Look them over and ask yourself if you can drop or outsource some of these projects.

Are there people in your space that you feel unenthusiastic about?

Not every business partner or client is going to be a good fit for your business. Maybe you originally took on a client because you needed to pay the bills but now you make enough that you don’t have to worry about that. Perhaps you’ve been business partners with another entrepreneur who’s now going in a different direction than you are.

No matter the relationship, it’s important that you take time to consider why you no longer enjoy working with this person and what you can do about it. It might be time to let that demanding client go so you can embrace one that you’re enthusiastic about serving. It might be time to say goodbye to your business partner and find a new one to work with.

Keep in mind that you are more than your ideas. You are a human being on a quest for your dreams. If you approach this part of the evaluation with this in mind, then you’ll be able to learn as much from your failures as you have from your successes.

Journal Your Thoughts

1. What projects flopped in the past year?
2. What did you invest time and money into that gave you the least return in profit?
3. What tasks or project did you find yourself dreading?

What Were You Hoping For That Didn’t Happen?

It’s time to think back to the beginning of last year. You were probably reviewing your year and dreaming new dreams. You may have felt hopeful that this would be the year you would finally succeed. You may have been determined to accomplish your goals no matter what.

But no matter how hard you may have worked, some things just didn’t happen. Let’s examine why you didn’t meet some of your goals and what you can do about that.

What didn’t you accomplish?

First, you need to make a list of what you didn’t accomplish. Did you set big income goals or plan to travel to a different country? Did you want to publish a book or speak live at an event? Were you looking for a new business partnership?

What goals were you enthusiastic about?

Once you have a list of what you didn’t accomplish, you need to review the goals that you did accomplish last year. What made some goals stand out for you? Why did you prioritize some goals over others? If you had the year to do over again, would you still choose the same priorities?

Did you really want to accomplish these things?

Before you go any further, you need to look over your list of failed goals.

Did you really want to meet that goal or did you add it to your list because you felt pressured to do so? For example, maybe a lot of your friends started a weight loss program and you set a ‘lose weight’ goal simply because you wanted to be included.

It’s important to remember that it’s OK to let go of goals that you never wanted in the first place. By releasing these goals, you open more room in your life to pursue the goals that really matter to you.

What contributed to other goals slipping by without your full effort?

After you’ve reviewed your list and let go of the goals you didn’t care about, you should take a long look at why you didn’t put your full effort into the remaining goals that you wanted to accomplish. Were you so overwhelmed that you didn’t know where to start? Were you afraid of how accomplishing such a big goal could change your life?

You need to be honest with yourself about why you didn’t accomplish these goals. Remember that it’s easy to dream a big goal and write it down. But it can be tough to break it down into actionable steps. That’s where a good business coach or a trusted mentor can help you.

Once you’ve completed this step, it’s time to look at the upcoming year. You’re now ready to come up with fresh, hopeful dreams for your future.

Journal Your Thoughts

1. What didn’t you accomplish in the past year?
2. Why did you set these goals? Did you really want to achieve them?
3. What contributed to these goals slipping by without your full effort?

Create A Framework For A More Awesome New Year

You’ve spent some time carefully evaluating last year. You’ve mined the previous year for valuable lessons and paid attention to signs of trouble areas. Now, it’s time to tackle your New Year planning.

This is an exciting phase and you may be tempted to set the same goals again. You might tell yourself that this time you’ll really do it. Albert Einstein is loosely quoted as saying doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is a sign of insanity. You need a new plan of attack or you’ll experience the same results you did last year.

It can be helpful to build a framework and use it to guide you this year based on what you’ve learned about yourself during your evaluations.

Do more of what worked.

If you’ve been following along, then you already have a list of projects that you enjoyed and that worked well for you last year. This year, focus on what you enjoyed about these projects and try to re-create that feeling with new projects. For example, if you discovered that you loved making videos last year, then maybe you’ll incorporate more videos into your business. Perhaps you could add videos to an existing course and convert it into a video course.

Do less of what you dreaded.

The projects you work on should light you up. They should make you shine and give you a sense of pride. If you have projects from the last year that you hated, look at ways you can do less of them. Maybe you learned that you don’t enjoy offering group coaching because you prefer to offer one-on-one help. You should aim to move away from services and products that aren’t enjoyable to you.

Do more of what created profit.

Look at the projects that brought in the most profit for you last year. Usually, these are the projects you enjoyed the most and felt passionate about. You want to fill your New Year with more projects that made you money.

Do less of what sucked time and money.

Sometimes, we work on projects because we think we have to. It might be that someone told you that the best way to make money online was to do ABC.

It might be that you started offering a certain service because you need the experience when you were first starting out.

Whatever your reason, you have permission to let go of the projects that suck your time, your money, or your joy. If you offer a service you’re ready to retire or if you’re still offering a course that no longer fits with your business, set an end date.

Then let your customers know about this end date. Explain that you won’t be offering this course/service/product after your chosen date.

You can give yourself and your business a great gift by hiring a coach for the New Year. Pick a coach that has achieved success in area that you’d like to be successful in, too. For the best fit, look for a coach that shares your life values.

You can talk with your coach about what you’ve learned in the last year and invite him or her to partner with you during this year’s journey.

Journal Your Thoughts

1. What goals are you enthusiastic about achieving this year?
2. What are you going to do differently in your business this year? Why are you doing it differently?
3. Where are you going to be focusing most of your time and energy this year?

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Keeping Contagious Stress At Bay

 

It’s hard enough for us to manage our own stress, but when you have someone in your life who can’t handle theirs – and they lean on you (or to put it more honestly – mire you down in their stressed-out world), it can be equally harmful.

What is contagious stress? It’s stress that’s not stemming from your own life, but from someone else’s. But what happens is, because the stressed out person is in your life, you catch it easily and many times, you become just as stressed.

The Second-Hand Stress Effect

Second-hand stress can affect you the same way your own stress does. In small doses, it’s very manageable. But when you’re around someone who is constantly stressed out, and they’re around you quite a bit, it becomes overwhelming.

Stress has both a physical and mental response in your body. You might even be able to recognize the stress the moment you get around a certain person because your body reacts to their presence. It becomes conditioned to respond to them.

Depression and anxiety might be the first thing you feel when you get around this person. Their tale is always one of chaos and frustration – never peace and calm. It can make you nervous talking to them.

You also might start to feel angry more often. This is especially true if the situation is something that causes you to become angry, too. Every crisis they have suddenly becomes your crisis, too.

Physically, your body will be slammed every time you come in contact with this person. For example, you might have a headache develop while talking to them (or shortly after). Sometimes you might wake up with one because you couldn’t sleep well, thinking about everything they told you.

Your blood pressure is sure to rise when you’re in a conversation with this person. This is normal for you to experience, but if you already suffer from blood pressure issues, it can be disastrous for you to try juggling that person’s stress load, too.

Diabetes and heart disease are often associated with stress levels, and if you already have either one of these conditions, then being around stressed out people can be harmful to your health.

Skin conditions can become an issue. You might break out in hives when dealing with other people’s stress. You might have an acne outbreak – or your psoriasis or rosacea can flare up.

Of course these are all issues that can happen when you yourself have stress. The problem is, everyone experiences stress – but when you surround yourself with high-stressed individuals, you’re overdosing and it won’t be healthy for you.

People like this are like leeches. Not only do they come to you in order to soothe their frustrations, but they use to and feed off of you to get them through their tough times.

Unfortunately, by doing this, they drain you of your own good mood. Should something stressful happen to you in your own life, you won’t be equipped to handle it well – because you’re now depleted of any positivity thanks to their visit.

Not only will their foul moods sway you to becoming more negative about life in general, but your new disposition has a domino effect. You’ll put stress on your spouse, your kids, your family, co-workers and others.

What Kind of Contagious Stress Is There?

Any stress that’s truly part of your own responsibility should not be ignored – even if someone else is the one the situation is affecting more.

Your child’s stress is your responsibility. As a parent, if your little one (or teen) is enduring a lot of stress – with friends, schoolwork, sports, you name it – you need to take it upon yourself to shoulder that burden and help them get through a tough situation.

The financial stress of your household is part of your responsibility. If your spouse is suffering with their career, not bringing in enough money, then you can help them find ways to grow their contribution of the household earnings.

But you can only take on the burden so much. You can’t help it if someone is continually miserable with his or her job and they keep complaining about it day after day without ever taking steps to remedy the situation.

If someone you love is not handling their stress well – to the point that their life is in danger, then it’s natural to take that on to some degree. But if you sense there’s a danger like suicide, then you need to get the person professional help and remove yourself from the situation.

Job stress is one common form of stress that your friends or family might come to you to complain about. It’s one thing to get some quick advice about how to approach a certain situation, but another if they aren’t interested in change – but more prone to just gripe about it.

Find out if the person wants or needs your input. If you’re just a sounding board, and it never ends, then you’ll have to use one of the methods listed later in this guide to help you get relief.

Relationship stress is sometimes at the root of someone’s unhappiness. A friend might confide in you about their life behind closed doors. If they’re in danger, seek help for them.

If it’s simply a case of them allowing themselves to be a doormat for someone else, that’s when it can become a stress issue for you, even though you yourself aren’t part of the relationship.

Money stress is common for many people. Some friends or family might just be venting and sharing, while others are telling you in an effort to get you to bail them out of a money mess.

Health stress is one situation where you can help a friend or loved one shoulder the burden. If a friend needs to talk about their battle with cancer, for instance, then it’s helpful if you’re there for them, even offering to run errands or go to appointments with them.

To help you deal with this stress, you can practice stress-relieving measures yourself. That might mean aromatherapy, counseling, or exercise for you. If you can, take your friend who is in a precarious health situation and create a day out for the two of you to enjoy – like a spa day or lunch and a movie!

With health stress, if it’s short term, it probably won’t be an issue. But if you know someone dealing with long-term, or terminal illness, it can be something that is taken to the next level.

Major life change stress is another area where friends and family might reach out to you for help. These are things like marriage, birth of a child, death in the family, or even moving.

When you care about someone, obviously their pain is going to be your pain. This is normal – and it shows the deep bonds you have created with other individuals.

There’s a big difference between a friend who reaches out to you because she’s battling breast caner, and a friend who stays in a bad job and doesn’t make any effort to get herself a better career.

You have to gauge which type of stress your friend or family member is presenting. Is it something where you should be there for them unconditionally, or is it a situation where you’re exposing yourself to someone who refuses to take responsibility and merely wants another person to feel the pain with them?

Vaccinate Yourself From Other People’s Stress

It’s these types of people that we have to be careful of – the ones so mired in their own pity party that they can’t breathe – and they want you there with them so they don’t feel so alone.

Instead of being inspired by your positive outlook and using it to improve their own lives, they prefer to drag you down with them. They want to not feel so alone, and if you allow them to, they’ll chain you to their problems.

There are some people who you have to (or want to) continue being around. For these individuals, we need to have a plan in place where you can manage their stress so that it’s not affecting you.

This is a situation where you know ahead of time what you’re getting into, and yet you’re able to prevent their troubles from infecting your own life. There are three ways you can achieve this.

First, you can try steering conversation away from the repeat stress topics. For example, let’s say your friend continually gripes their spouse every time you get around them.

You just have to acknowledge what they say, offer condolences that they’re going through that, and then perk the conversion up to something more positive. Here is a sample conversation for you to see how it works:

Friend: “I’m so annoyed with Jeff. He never spends time with me anymore – he’s always out with his friends.”

You: “I understand that must hurt your feelings. Hey! Why don’t we get together next week and do something fun! Have you ever been to one of those paint and wine parties at the art store?”

You let the friend know that you heard what they said. You offered condolences. And you tried to present a positive spin on the situation. If they try to drag you back into the conversation, just nod, and “I’m sorry,” and change the topic again.

Never give them more ammunition than that. If you start asking questions and trying to be a relationship counselor, then it will just frustrate you. You might also want to get the business card of a relationship counselor and say something like, “I’m so sorry. I thought about you and picked this up the other day – since I’m not equipped to help you deal with it, so I hope this helps!” and then turn the conversation on to another topic.

The second thing you can do is fortify your own outlook – not taking on their problems. If you’re able to do this, your friend can mutter on and on about their woes and you’ll be just fine nodding your head, sympathizing, and never let it invade your emotional well-being.

You have to understand that not every problem is fixable. Not every person truly wants to fix their problems, either. Some just love having things to gripe about. Call them Negative Nellies or whatever you want, but the truth is, they don’t know anything other than unhappiness and you’ll never break through – so you can listen, but refuse to fix for them.

Lastly, you can help as much as possible without hindering yourself. What if a friend came to you complaining about her career? If she was struggling to pay her bills month after month – and yet you enjoy a great deal of wealth.

Would you feel obligated to loan money all the time? Instead, offer advice about resources they can use to change their life – but don’t make their problems your problems.

Setting Uncomfortable Boundaries That Offer You a Better Life

Sometimes when you’re unable to distance yourself in one way (like becoming emotionally un-invested in their issues), you have to distance yourself a different way – physically.

It doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties with someone (although in extreme cases, that may be what has to happen, depending on how bad it’s affecting you and your family).

Set a limit on your phone conversations. If your friend has a habit of calling you after work and droning on and on for two hours about their horrible life, make it a point to end the conversation at a certain amount of time, like 15-20 minutes. In `25fact, you might tell the person when they first call that you can’t talk long.

Meet with them in settings where other people or distractions are present. These kinds of stressed people usually want all of the attention on themselves. They don’t want to share the spotlight, so by forcing it to be in a place where your attention is divided, they’ll feel less like sharing – or if they do, you’ll easily be able to get out of the conversation and seek relief.

Be honest with them about how their stress is affecting your life. Some people just aren’t aware of how they act. In a loving way, let them know that you care about them and sympathize with their situation – but you have to alleviate stress in your life for your own reasons, so you’ll need to keep the conversation light.

 

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Your Success Report

Introduction

When you look at your life, you may be miles away from your goals and dreams – so far you wonder if you’ll ever get there. This gap can be especially frustrating when you feel like you’re working hard to move forward.

Unfortunately, just “working hard” doesn’t assure success. There are a lot of other elements and factors that determine how far you go and how close we come to achieving the life you imagine. This report discusses ten factors that play a part in holding you back from your dreams. If you can surmount them – or even a few of them! – your efforts will be supercharged, moving you past obstacles that formerly held you back.

Don’t try to tackle all ten at once. Read through the report and see which one or two resonate with you the most strongly, and start there.

There’s plenty of time for the rest.

One note: In this report, the words “dreams” and “goals” are used interchangeably. In reality, they are very different things: After all, a dream is a goal without a deadline. But since the principles here are equally applicable to goals AND dreams, I’ve used them as synonyms.

Reason #1: You Don’t Know What You Want

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much…Jim Rohn

Before you can get anywhere, you need to know where you are going. It sounds simple, but when it comes to life goals or dreams, it’s not so clear. We think, “I want my business to be a success,” or “I want to be happy.” But ask 100 different people to define success, or to say what makes them happy, and you’re going to get 100 different answers.

That’s why when it comes to getting what you want, the first step is to decide – specifically – what you want in your life. Not in generalities, but in specifics. For instance:

NOT: “I want to be skinny,” but, “I want to wear a size 10 and have my BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol in healthy ranges.”

NOT: “I want to be financially secure,” but, “I want to be debt-free and have $100,000 in the bank by the time I’m 50.”

NOT: “I want a new job,” but, “I want a job that allows me to work flexible hours from home, making $20 an hour, using my skills in word processing and business management.”

 

Specificity is critical in goal-setting for several reasons:

1.    If you only have a general idea of what you want, you can only get a general idea of how to achieve it. It’s like driving: If you know you want to drive from Portland to Philadelphia, you have a general idea of how to get there – and you may end up in the Schuykill River or on the wrong side of the tracks. But if you want to see the “Rocky” statue in front of the art museum, you can fine-tune your approach to get yourself exactly to the point you want.

2.    Being specific saves time. You will intuitively be able to sort through opportunities that are presented to you and know immediately whether they are in line with your goals or not.

3.    Being specific helps your mind create a vivid picture of what you want. Once your mind can picture it, it’s much easier to achieve it.

If you’re having trouble specifying your dreams, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What does it look like?
  • How will you know when you’ve made it?
  • When do you want to achieve this goal?
  • What does it feel like, taste like, smell like?
  • What would a day in your dream life be like, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed?

Write these answers down and revisit them frequently to see if they’re still true, and to remind yourself of what you’re working towards.

Reason #2: You Don’t Have a Plan to Get from Here to There

You can know specifically what you want to achieve, what it looks like, and when you want it – but without a plan, you’re like a vacationer to Paris who forgot to buy his plane ticket. Whoops!

The next natural step after determining WHAT you want is laying out a plan for getting it. Where many people make mistakes is assuming that having a plan is an all-or-nothing proposition: They need to have a carefully scripted path from A to B, and then on to C and D, with no unknowns, and no changes.

 

Not so! In fact, ask any visionary who’s achieved anything of merit, and they will say that the path they thought they were going to take wasn’t what ended up happening. But they’ll also tell you that knowing the first few steps and committing to them were critical to their success.

 

Take someone who wants to lose weight. They know what they want to weigh, and they’ve decided to try Weight Watchers combined with walking 30 minutes a day. That’s all they need to get started because it gives them the next steps: To sign up for a meeting, attend the meeting, and begin walking.

 

What they can’t anticipate, though, is the weather. Or pizza night with the girls. Or the fact that they seem to be having trouble losing weight on the prescribed plan after a few weeks of success and need to shake things up a bit.

 

Situations change; that’s a given. Rare is the plan that is laid out in excruciating detail on Day One and followed without adjustments. You have to be prepared to make changes along the way, but you also have to know what “the way” is. Without any plan at all, you are a victim of your circumstances, not knowing what’s going to move you closer to your goal and what’s going to take you farther away.

 

So after you’ve set your end goal in living color, figure out that one next step you have to take. Trust that when you take that step, you’ll see the next one and the next, forward to success. You’ll know when you need to move left or right, but only if you move until the point you see ahead of you. Sometimes it’s only in retrospect that the whole path is clear, like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs strewn behind them.

 

Reason #3: You Lack the Resources

Have you ever watched a show like Clean Sweep, Trading Spaces or The Biggest Loser and said to yourself, “Of COURSE they can lose weight/clean out their clutter/redesign their home. They have a team of experts at their beck and call!”

Well, while not everyone – and in fact, very few of us – can have Oprah’s dietitian, Jillian Michaels for a personal coach, and an interior designer to rework our home, we do need to find and use resources to help us achieve our goals. If we find ourselves stymied on the way to success, we just might be experiencing a lack of resources.

Resources fall into several types. Let’s look at each one and discuss ways to get the resources you need to get where you want to go:

Monetary. Usually, when we think we don’t have the resources to complete a goal, we think it’s a monetary issue. It’s true that some goals take cash, but most of the time, we think of money as the solution to all our problems. While it can definitely help smooth the way, there are other methods to getting the resources we need besides purchasing them. For instance:

Bartering. Trade your expertise for someone else’s services. If you’re looking for a personal trainer, swap your Internet marketing skills for her training.

Borrowing. One of the biggest disadvantages to our geographically disconnected world is the inability to borrow from each other. But why not reconnect with your neighbors? Someone may have a car they’re not using and would be glad for you to use it to get to your night class across town.  Someone else may have a summer house on the shore and would be happy to let you camp out there for weekends in the winter to work on your book. You won’t know until you ask.

Renting/Timeshare. Pretty much anything you want or need, from a horse to a car to a ski house, can be available for a timeshare or rental. Go online and google your desire and see what comes up.

 

Time. Time may be even more of an issue than money when it comes to reaching your goals. We often say, “I just don’t have the time!” when we mean, “It’s just not important enough to me right now.” The truth is, we all have the same number of hours in the day. You don’t have any fewer hours than the person who’s out there training for an Ironman, or staying up late to work on her new business idea. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way.

 

Support. Our cheering squads are resources, no doubt about it. And while the people closest to us may not understand why we want to build a log cabin in the woods or start a summer camp for disadvantaged ferrets, there are people out there in the greater world who would gladly cheer you on. All you have to do is find them.

There really are no valid excuses when it comes to lack of resources. Put it this way: Whatever you think your excuses are, someone else in a tougher position than you has already found a way to achieve what you want to achieve. You can do the same.

Reason #4: The People Around You Don’t Support You

In the last section, we discussed lack of resources, including lack of support. In my experience, that is the biggest obstacle for people reaching their goals. Isolation, or even downright discouragement, can thwart even the most dedicated individual. To put it bluntly, you need a cheering section.

 

Few people like change, especially change they don’t ask for or control. Those closest to us in our everyday life have a vested interest in keeping things – including you – the same as they’ve always been. After all, if you lose weight/get out of debt/get a new job/quit drinking/start a new business, what does that say about them?

 

There will be three groups of people in your life:

1.    Those who are avid encouragers. They get up early to go to the gym with you, find magazine articles on starting your own business, and offer to house-sit while you go to a conference. These people are golden!

2.    Those who don’t get it and don’t talk about it. They watch from the sidelines, scratching their head, as you start eating green, talk about SEO or autoresponders, and wonder what you’re up to now. They won’t actively discourage you, but the fact they don’t even ask about your latest accomplishments can leave you feeling bereft and slightly depressed.

3.    Those who are out to make you fail. That sounds harsh, but it’s true; a certain group of people will not want you to quit smoking, or find a new job. They like things just as they are, and they take it as a rejection of them and their choices if you succeed. Note: Unfortunately, these are often the people who are closest to us.

The solution is to minimize your contact with those who discourage you, and maximize your contact with those who want you to succeed. Avoidance can be tough if you happen to be married to a discourager; this is when you’ll have to make a decision about what’s most important in your life, maintaining the status quo or reaching your dreams.

 

If you need more supportive people, you can find them! Here are some resources online to track down like-minded individuals:

  • Meetup.com. Type in your city and your interest and find other small business owners, organic farmers, or model train aficionados.
  • Yahoo! and Google Groups. Search for others who are interested in the same types of things you are.
  • Twitter. Search by hashtag (#) for your area of interest.
  • Facebook.com. Tons of pages on everything from mothers who run to pet groomers.

 

One other way to find supportive people: Find a coach! A personal trainer, a business coach, a dietitian… there are tons of experienced professionals who can help get you where you want to be. The benefits of their experience can save you time and money as you pursue your dreams.

 

There’s no need to go towards your goal alone. Whether you hire a coach or find a virtual buddy to back you up, there are people who would love to see you succeed.

 

Reason #5: You Don’t Really Want What You Think You Want

 

Everyone wants 2.4 kids and the white picket fence… right?

Everyone wants a vacation home in the mountains… right?

Everyone wants to look like Jennifer Aniston or Brad Pitt… right?

Everyone wants to run their own business and be their own boss… right?

 

Wrong.

 

When it comes to dreams, one size most definitely does NOT fit all. Our dreams and goals are as individual as we are, and adopting someone else’s goals as our own can feel like wearing someone else’s shoes: It looks okay to everyone else, but to us, it feels awful and gives us blisters.

 

There are thousands, if not millions, of people out there striving for the wrong goals. Wrong not because there’s anything inherently bad about them, but wrong because the goals they’re aiming for are wrong for THEM.

 

There’s the med school student who loved her accounting and finance classes in college… but set any thought of being an accountant aside because her mom and dad are both doctors.

 

There’s the successful salesman who would really love to chuck it all and teach English, but he’s making too much money and only a crazy person would throw away a six-figure paycheck.

 

There are frustrated dentists, bakers, and candlestick makers. There are frustrated sheep farmers, personal trainers, bail bondsmen and police officers. Frustration knows no geographic, socioeconomic, or race or religious boundaries.

 

The only way to know if the goals you’re aiming for are the right goals is to figure out if they are your heart’s desire. Sometimes it takes some detective work to peel back the layers of societal and family expectations to get at what YOU really want.

 

There are clues all around you: If you fall asleep dreaming about something, wake up thinking about something, and find yourself perking up whenever you meet someone doing what you’d like to do, you’re on the right track. Meanwhile, if you get a sinking sensation when you pull into the garage of house with the white picket fence, or find yourself calling in sick to that six-figure job “everyone” would kill to have, then you may be in the wrong place… for you.

 

So what do you do if you find you’ve been chasing after the wrong dream? You readjust. You find ways to move your current life closer to the one you really long for. Maybe that means getting up an hour early to work on your mystery novel. Maybe it means spending your weekends teaching art to inner city kids. Maybe it means volunteering to do taxes at the senior center. Take a small step and see how it feels. Then take another, and another, until you know deep in your heart you’re on the right track. If you are, the momentum will carry you forward.

 

 

Reason #6: You Lack the Skills

Someone can know academically how to remove an appendix, but you wouldn’t want someone to take a scalpel to you who had never been trained – no matter how many books they’d read and videos they’d watched. There can be a big gap between knowledge and skill, and that may be what is holding you back.

 

Once you’ve identified what you need to learn, the next step is to try it. Skill can only be developed in one manner: Through practice. You can’t create a top-notch video… until you create a bunch of not-so-great ones. You can’t cook a gourmet meal… until you create a bunch of so-so ones. You can’t give a standing ovation-worthy keynote speech… until you give a few snoozy ones. You can read, study, learn, and learn some more – but until you actually try and refine your skills, you’re not going to get better.

 

There are a couple of misconceptions that hold us back from putting our knowledge to work:

 

1.    We think we need to “know it all.” The problem with gaining knowledge in today’s online world is that there’s no end to what we can learn. There’s always another class, blog post, video, article, or guru that we can consume. Solution: Pull the plug. Remind yourself that you cannot have perfect knowledge, and that is okay.

2.    We think knowledge is better than practice. In fact, the opposite is often true. Practice, as the old saying goes, makes perfect. There’s no substitute for picking up the golf club and swinging it over and over again – but that practice could very sell substitute for reading another book on hitting the perfect drive.

3.    We fear imperfection. We somehow think that “everyone else” is perfect and never falls down, sends out an email with an embarrassing typo in it, or otherwise struggles at first. This is so false; anyone who has mastered something, from making money to making a cake, went through failure first.

 

Sometimes, the only solution is to get out there and try. Publish the first blog post. Send in the first article. Sing the first song. Refinement comes through practice, and there is no shortcut to mastery. You can read as many books as you want, but true skill will only come with trial and error.

 

Reason #7: You Lack Stamina

Take a sprinter on a long run with a marathoner and you’ll notice something: The fastest man in the world isn’t so fast once you get past the first 10 miles. The marathoner, who started out at a more moderate pace, slowly overtakes the sprinter who has trained himself for short distances. It’s the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare.

If you tend to start out with a bang on a new idea or project, only to get discouraged when you hit that mental “wall” around mile 13, you may be out of shape. And while you may be banking on becoming the next overnight success, you need to know that:

A.   The true overnight successes of today become the one-hit wonders of tomorrow, and

B.   Most overnight successes were many years in the making.

 

Look behind virtually any rags-to-riches story, from Susan Boyd to Zappos, and you’ll see that years went into the preparation for their time in the limelight.

 

If you see yourself having trouble with your stamina, it’s time to work on building your endurance. Here are some exercises to help you:

1.    Track your progress. Often progress is so incremental that you can become discouraged before you hit your goal. Write down the successes – small and large – and review them regularly to remind yourself that you are making progress. You may even want to make a large visual representation of your goal and track your progress towards it, just like schools put up huge thermometers to show how much money they’ve earned towards their pool fund.

2.    Pace yourself. The marathoner knows that going out as fast as possible in the first mile is usually a recipe for disaster. Yes, you’re excited about your new venture, but keep some of that excitement in reserve. You may feel like staying up until all hours working on your business plan, and while that’s great, don’t expect to be able to maintain that level of commitment for weeks or months on end.

3.    Cross-train. Find other activities to give you a break from your main focus. You just might find that time away from your goal refreshes and energizes you, and keeps you from burning out. Even if it’s just an evening a week, make sure you take mini-vacations.

4.    Find a partner. Partners are great whether you’re heading to the gym or working your way through med school. Sometimes an outside commitment is needed to help you stay accountable and stay on track. Having someone who understands the challenges you’re facing can make all the difference between giving up and going on.

 

While a sprinter can be in great physical shape, most goals require a long-distance mindset. Remind yourself what the tortoise knew: Slow and steady wins the race.

 

Reason #8: You’re Scared of Failure

 

Any coach can point to a handful of clients who seemed to have all the talent, resources, and determination in the world, but for some reason, they were never able to reach their goals. They talked the talk, and walked the walk – for a while. But suddenly, they disappear into the sunset, becoming just a distant memory.

 

In my experience, it’s fear of failure that keeps these people stuck where they are, despite their resources and skill. They somehow figure that they’d rather be where they are, safe and sound, then venture out into the unknown and possibly not succeed that which they’ve set out to accomplish. They come up with every excuse in the book as to why they can’t do such-and-such:
-It’s too cold.

-It’s too hot.

-Everyone knows you don’t start (fill in the blank) in the summer (or winter, or fall, or spring).

-They need to take another class.

-They need to get their office ready.

-They need to wait for their youngest to start kindergarten, their oldest to start college, their husband to die, their wife to get well.

 

There’s always a reason why now is not the right time – but the real reason is that they’re simply afraid of not being able to make the grade. And then who knows what would happen if they (gasp!) failed?

 

Ironically, it’s the fear of failure actually causes them to fail! And they’re still alive, stuck in their little shell. So I guess failure wasn’t so bad after all, was it?

 

When working with people who have a fear of failure, sometimes direct questioning is the best method to get them to recognize their obstacle:

 

If not now, when?

If not you, who?

 

If you have this goal on your heart, then it’s there for a reason. You may be the only person who can bring that particular goal to reality in the exact way you dream of. If you don’t do it, no one will!

 

The truth is, there is never going to be a perfect time to start. And the truth is, you’ll likely have some stumbling blocks along the way. Everyone does. But you have to reach a point where staying where you are and never unwrapping your dream is more painful than any risk of misstep or failure. Then, and only then, will you be prepared to move forward. And I bet you’ll find it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as you thought it would be.

Reason #9: You’re Scared of Success

Susan wanted to go back to school after her twins had left for college to get her law degree. She wasn’t worried about being the oldest one in her class. She wasn’t worried about keeping up with the studies. She wasn’t even worried about taking the LSAT. Here’s what worried her:

“Who will take care of my dogs if I go back to work full-time? They’re used to having me home all day.”

 

This talented, vibrant woman was willing to put the imaginary wishes of her dogs three or four years from now, before her own desire to become a lawyer. Something else had to be going on!

 

A little digging showed that the dogs were just a convenient excuse. What she was really worried about was upsetting the carefully crafted balance she and her husband had stuck in their married life. He was the breadwinner; she was the homemaker. If she did something different, she wasn’t sure how he would respond. What if he left her? What if the friendships she’d cemented over PTA bake sales and field trips and Little League games couldn’t weather the change from stay-at-home mom to career woman? What if she lost everything she’d built her life upon?

 

Susan was afraid of success. Actually, it wasn’t fear of the goal itself, but of the byproducts of achieving her goal. The domino effect of making one change in her life – going back to school – might be more than she could handle.

 

If you find yourself not doubting your abilities, but feeling anxious about pursuing your goal because you’re not sure what will happen if you do, you may be like Susan. And it is a legitimate concern. Change often begets more change – more than we bargain for. But there are ways to prepare for it.

 

1.    Talk to the people closest to you. Share your fears about the changes in your relationship that might happen as a result of pursuing your goal. You may be surprised to find that they don’t care one whit whether you’re dressed in blue jeans or a three-piece suit; they just want to know they’ll see you at Bunco once a month.

2.    Be honest about your concerns. Don’t misplace your anxiety about your marriage onto your dogs – or your kids.

3.    Realize that change usually happens in increments. Yes, going back to school will be a radical change, but the subsequent adjustments in relationships will be more gradual. You will have time to talk about them and discuss them.

4.    Work with a coach or other expert. Coaches are trained in managing change, and will be able to help you predict some of the other secondary adjustments that may result.

 

Yes, things will change. But not all change is bad; in fact, you may find that your life in every area ends up better than you had ever hoped it would be. And that the dogs don’t miss you all that much anyway.

 

Reason #10: You Don’t Think You Can.

When it comes right down to it, there’s only one real barrier that will keep you from achieving anything you set your mind to, and that’s this: Your belief in yourself. If you don’t honestly believe you are capable of achieving your goals, your chances of doing so are very limited. And by the same token, if you honestly believe you CAN achieve your goals, there’s nothing that can stop you.

 

Many of us grew up with a limited sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. We constantly doubted our ability to do anything, from cross the street by ourselves to get a date. While this could spring from overprotective parents, who just wanted to protect us from the big, bad world, it resulted in lack of confidence that carried over to our adult life.

 

The only way out is through. The only way to build self-confidence is to do things you are nervous about. That means talking to strangers in line at the grocery store if you’re hoping for a career in direct sales, or posting some of your poetry on your blog if you’re interested in becoming a writer. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

 

There is no shortcut to self-esteem or confidence. No one can give it to you, which is where so many of the school programs aimed at enhancing kids’ self-perception go wrong. It must be earned, the old fashioned way, through risk and reward.

 

The great thing about confidence is that you can start small. If you want to complete the Ironman Triathlon, you don’t have to start at Lake Placid. Instead, you can run around the block and swim a length of the pool. Then you run a mile and swim two lengths, and bike home. You build and build and build, and while you’re building your muscles, you build your confidence. You know you can swim two laps because last week you swam one and a half. You know you can sell $500 in a week because last week you sold $400. You know you can get three customers because you have two right now. And so it goes.

 

Sometimes you may fail; you only make it one and a half lengths, or you only sell $467 in a week. But by looking at where you’ve come from and how far you’ve gone, you know that the next step is within your reach. And when you feel that in your very soul, you will be unstoppable. There is no obstacle or challenge that will be too large for you to overcome, because you know you can.

 

Conclusion

 

After presenting ten different reasons you aren’t where you want to be, it’s my intent not to overwhelm you with information, but to inspire you. Maybe you’ve identified only one reason you’re stuck where you are; maybe you saw yourself in all ten! In any case, I hope that you are prepared to make some changes to move yourself forward.

 

It doesn’t take huge movements to make progress; in fact, sometimes the biggest results come from the smallest actions, like giving up sugary soda, or making one more cold call at the end of the day. It’s the repetition of those small acts over time that brings about huge results.

 

I hope that after finishing this report, you have some clear ideas of changes – small and large – that you can undertake right now, today. I wish you only the best.

 

 

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Is Your Belly Fat Killing You

Is Your Belly Fat Killing You?

In your quest to lose weight and get rid of your own unattractive belly fat, you may have a tendency to people watch and notice others who are overweight. Maybe it’s because you can sympathize with how they’re feeling and how they look – tired! 

 

Even the act of walking is a monumental effort, especially in the summer months of the year when the heat works to drain a body.

 

Sitting in your car at the grocery store, you can study people. Start paying attention to how many of the people in the crowd are overweight versus those who aren’t. The numbers will shock you.

 

Don’t even measure how many are just a little overweight, but count how many are very noticeably overweight. There will be men, women and some kids who are carrying excess belly fat. Some people will make fun of them, too.

 

Belly fat has quite a few nicknames. Jelly Belly. Muffin Top. Spare Tire. Santa Belly. Beer Belly. We’ve heard the derogatory terms and know exactly what they mean. Sometimes, we try to give belly fat kinder, gentler names. 

 

Some doctors even refer to belly fat as the apple shape, which doesn’t sound all that bad. But whether derogatory or a softer label, they all mean the same thing – too much fat around the middle of the body that either sticks out noticeably or flops down over our belts. 

 

For many of us, gaining that spare tire isn’t intentional. There are many factors that gang up on the body as we grow older. One minute it seems as if we’re twenty and fit and the next…not so much. 

 

We get busy. In some cases, we’re overburdened with responsibilities. Our health gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list. 

 

There’s a commercial for a car insurance carrier that says, “Life comes at you fast” and it usually shows someone who’s just been involved in a car accident. Because life comes at us all fast and not just when it comes to driving, it’s easy to get bombarded on all sides by life’s circumstances. 

 

Not many people are true gluttons – someone who will overeat or over drink just because. When it comes to overindulging, there’s usually a reason behind it and that reason can be valid – even understandable. 

 

In college, when there’s the pressure of cramming for tests, trying to pay for tuition, and keeping up with a heavy class load, good nutrition takes a backseat to whatever food is quick, cheap and can be eaten on the run. 

 

When you’re working hard or working long hours trying to make ends meet, exhaustion plays a part in helping you develop that extra weight around the middle. You come home worn out and all you want to do is get something to wolf down and veg out in front of the television. 

 

The last thing in the world you want to do is hit the gym or go take a jog around the block. That’s perfectly understandable. We all find our habitual ways of trying to deal with stress. 

 

Stress is known to help in the harboring of belly fat because it acts as a trigger. When we get stressed, we eat. 

 

But weight gain can be a sneak attack. One minute, we look fine. We get busy, life is hectic and the next thing we know, we’re staring in shock at a new photo of ourselves. The camera doesn’t lie and it’s hard to reconcile the belly fat we see on film or in digital format with how we feel. 

 

Inside, we still feel like our appearance is the same as it’s always been, but on the outside, in that moment of shock, we and everyone else, sees how the weight has snuck up on us. 

 

Fat Through the Ages

 

If you’ve ever looked at any of the paintings done by the world’s renowned artists throughout history, you might have encountered ones showcasing people who were overweight. 

 

Some of the people were more than a few pounds overweight. In fact, their belly fat, especially on the nude models, was very obvious. Yet the women’s bodies weren’t considered to be ugly. 

 

Instead, they were considered plump and visually pleasing to the eye. Why? Because years ago, being overweight was thought to be attractive and even healthy. It also meant you had money to afford food, so it reflected riches as well.

 

A woman with belly fat was thought to be a good candidate for child bearing, a man with belly fat was thought to be able to be a successful, good provider for his loved ones. People were judged in reverse back then to the way they are now, but science and medical technology have come a far cry from the age of those historical paintings. 

 

Now we know that not only is belly fat unattractive, but left alone, it can shear years off your life span. 

 

What Exactly Is Belly Fat?

 

By the scientific name, belly fat is known by the title of visceral fat. It’s also been called intra abdominal fat. Translated, it means this is fat that you carry in your abdomen and it’s deep in the body surrounding your internal organs. 

 

If you’re thinking all the medical warnings about the dangers of this fat is mostly hype, you couldn’t be more wrong. 

 

Take what this fat does to your liver as an example. Your liver works to transform this fat and this fat then becomes cholesterol in the body. Not the good kind either. We all know what cholesterol does to arteries. 

 

It’s fat turned into plaque carried in your blood that sticks to the arteries and in the heart, this plaque constricts the amount of blood able to flow through. When the plaque builds up enough, the blood can’t pass through the artery and it leads to a heart attack. 

 

Fat actually has two labels – visceral and subcutaneous. The word subcutaneous means beneath the skin. The subcutaneous fat is the fat you can see as what’s commonly called cellulite. Some people refer to cellulite as lumps or flab, but it’s all the same. The subcutaneous fat, while unsightly, is not nearly as dangerous to a person’s health as visceral fat. 

 

Do family genetics play a part in the amount of fat you carry? Yes, but only a small part. You can still choose to be in the driver’s seat with your health and do something about your belly fat. 

 

“I’m a Man – I Can Carry More Belly Fat!”

 

Actually, this is a myth that most men choose to believe. This myth is something that society created. It’s okay for men to have more belly fat than women, it’s not as unhealthy, and it’s not as attractive … so goes the myth. 

 

Any belly fat that reaches the point of being overweight is bad for you.  Having too much belly fat is a threat to your health whether you’re a man or a woman. Belly fat leads to a host of problems that aren’t simply confined to your gender.

 

Belly fat isn’t just something hanging around, forcing you to buy bigger clothes and cut another hole in your belt. That fat is working hard to take years from your life – time away from your loved ones. 

 

That fat on your abdomen means there’s fat around your internal organs. Having fat around your internal organs translates into health risks and it’s not a matter of if it will affect your life, but when. 

 

Even carrying twenty pounds of belly fat puts you in a higher risk bracket for heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes to name a few. Having belly fat has also been proven to have ties to erectile dysfunction as men age, which in turn can affect your romantic relationships and lead to depression. Excess belly fat is one of the main causes of death by heart attack because of the problems it’s directly linked to. 

 

Carrying excess belly fat can not only make you susceptible to a host of medical conditions that can affect the way you live your life, it can also lead to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has been directly linked to having belly fat and this condition took the life of a famous athlete several years ago. 

 

The good news for you if you’re a man, however, is that men do have a tendency to be able to get rid of belly fat faster and easier than women do. Why? Because a man’s metabolism is higher than a woman’s. 

 

What Belly Fat Means For Women

 

A lot of women gain belly fat, even if they’re still young. But as women grow older, if they’re not diligent about their weight, weight gain leading to belly fat can slow everything down – especially the metabolism. 

 

Just like men, when a woman carries belly fat, her odds of having a stroke, heart attack or getting diabetes becomes higher. Diabetes, especially Type II, develops because the pancreas can’t produce the insulin the body needs to properly work.  

 

There have been many studies done by leading medical universities proving that belly fat and diabetes go hand in hand.

 

There other gender-specific health risks for women that can be even more dangerous than the risk of diabetes. Belly fat is instrumental in helping cause so-called female cancers, too.

 

One scientific study linked visceral fat with the odds of developing breast cancer as greatly increased. So when a woman carries belly fat, it doesn’t simply mean she won’t look good when it’s time to hit the beach during the summertime. 

 

Belly fat has also been said to raise a woman’s possibilities of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, one of the silent cancers.  Getting rid of the excess belly fat lowers your overall risk of these cancers. 

 

When you’re not carrying excess belly fat, you feel better about yourself, you look better and shopping for clothes that fit is certainly a whole lot easier. But the outer appeal aside, it’s too risky being a woman with too much belly fat. The fat around your abdomen doesn’t just sit there idly. It’s hard at work releasing hormones that trigger a hunger response – even if you don’t feel hungry. 

 

Teenagers and Belly Fat

 

Even teenagers are susceptible to the health risks involved with belly fat. In the last ten years, belly fat among young people has increased by more than fifty percent. That’s an astonishing and rapid rate. 

 

By carrying too much body fat, teenagers can develop Type II diabetes and today, doctors are seeing far more cases of this type diabetes in teens than in the past. Even if a teenager with belly fat doesn’t develop diabetes, they increase their risk of serious health complications by the time they reach their forties. 

 

It’s hard enough being a teenager today. Before they reach midlife, teenagers experience all sorts of angst common among people their age. When belly fat becomes apparent, it works to lower their self esteem and can rob them of what should be some of the most wonderful and formative times in their lives. 

 

“I’m a Thin Person, So I Don’t Have to Worry About Belly Fat!”

 

Wrong. You aren’t immune to the destruction belly fat can cause in your body. Being thin doesn’t exclude a person from carrying around dangerous visceral fat. Researchers are now beginning to realize that visceral fat doesn’t discriminate against any body type.

 

While it’s not as obvious in a thin person as it is in people whose bellies stick out noticeably, it’s just as bad, if not more so because of the way society assumes thinner people automatically have a healthy fat level. 

 

It’s this kind of thinking that leads to undiagnosed or overlooked risks for slender people. If you don’t have belly fat to the point where it’s able to be seen, then how can you tell if you need to be concerned about visceral fat? There are tests that can tell you how much of your body is composed of this type of fat. 

 

The Outside Versus the Inside

 

Even if we put all health issues and concerns aside, if we take them off the table and by some wave of a wand could say that belly fat didn’t cause any harm to the body at all, there’s the still the visual appeal. Or in the case of belly fat, the visual un-appeal. 

 

When our belly sticks out over the waistband of our jeans, there’s nothing attractive about that to others and while it shouldn’t be the case, the truth is, we are judged by our appearance. 

 

We’re judged in social settings among our peers, in the workplace with colleagues and if job hunting, people with larger bellies are hired less often than those who are physically fit. 

 

There are also studies proving that fit people get promoted more often than their heavier coworkers. No, it’s not fair, and it’s not right (not to mention illegal), but it’s the way society is. 

 

Worse than the unattractive picture a protruding belly presents to anyone else in our circle, is the way it can make us see ourselves. We feel ugly inside based on what the mirror tells us on the outside. 

 

Our inner critic has a field day when we look at ourselves in a full-length mirror, standing sideways with our belly front and center. When we try on clothes and have to go the BBC route (buy bigger clothes) it can make us feel discouraged or disgusted with how our belly looks. 

 

Have you tried to find clothes that flatter a body when you have a larger belly? They’re not attractive either.

 

That disgust or discouragement we feel when trying to find clothes can lead to more overeating, which can lead to beating ourselves up emotionally even more, which leads to overeating….get the picture? 

 

It becomes a cycle, but it doesn’t have to be a cycle that we can’t break. 

 

How Much Is Too Much? 

 

You can gauge how much is too much by using a measuring tape around the center of your belly. For a man, if your belly measures over forty inches when you use a tape measure around it, then it’s too much fat for you to have. 

 

If you’re a woman and your belly measures greater than thirty-five inches, it’s time to do something about it. Whether you’re a man, woman, thin person or obese, baby boomer or teen, belly fat isn’t safe to have hanging around. 

Do something about it. 

Don’t procrastinate. 

Your life is far too important. 

 

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5 Strategies For Getting Fit

5 Strategies For Finally Getting Fit

If you pull up information about weight loss online, you’re going to get so many results back that it can easily be overwhelming. What’s worse is that when you check out each of the results, what’s being said is going to contradict the information another site says. 

The truth is that there’s a lot of hype out there about losing weight, getting fit and having the kind of body that you want to have. As you get older, your body is going to change. 

 

But it’s a lie that you have to accept an out of shape body as your destiny – because you don’t. You may have been one of the ones who has always believed a certain way when it comes to weight loss. 

 

But if you want to lose weight and get fit the healthy way so that you stop looking and feeling older, it’s time to let go of some damaging beliefs that could be sabotaging your efforts. 

 

Stop Believing the Low-Fat Myth

It’s important that you eat a healthy diet that provides your body with all of the nutrients that it needs to function. Some information that you see spread around will tell you that if you want to be healthy, you have to change the way you eat and should only eat foods that are low in fat. 

 

That’s a huge myth that can have some pretty bad side effects if you listen to it. Low fat diets can age you.  Low fat diets can damage your body. Your body can’t absorb nutrients and vitamins that you need without fat. 

 

You must have a certain amount of fat every single day in your diet plan or you’re shortchanging your health. There are a lot of reasons why you need to eat fat. The first reason is that fat does a lot of work in your body to keep you strong and healthy. 

 

Fat is used to help nutrients do their work. Without it, you don’t get what you need. So then your body’s immune system isn’t at its optimal performance level – because it’s one of the things in your body that works with fat consumption. 

 

The second reason that you need fats is because you’ll have problems with how you feel if you don’t. Have you been struggling with feeling kind of down when you’re eating low fat? 

 

It’s not you – it’s what you’re eating. Or rather, what you’re not eating. You have to have fat in your diet in order to fight off feelings that contribute to down moods. A diet that’s low in fat can make you feel sad because you’re not giving your body the foods that it needs in order to help your brain have what it needs to function the right way. 

 

Another reason not to go low fat is because eating a low fat diet can actually increase your risks of getting certain cancers. How many times have you heard of someone who eats healthy, exercises, keeps their body weight within a normal range and still struggles with all kinds of health issues? 

 

The culprit behind that could be that they’re not getting the fat they need that can impede some cancers. Diets that are based on low fat eating can be bad for your heart. 

 

When you eat following a low fat plan, it’s true that your LDL level does drop. But it’s not the only thing that drops. That good cholesterol, your HDL, heads the same way. 

 

It goes low as well. When your HDL heads south, your body is at risk for a host of health problems – including problems keeping your heart healthy. While low fat diets sound good in theory, the trouble can also be what’s in those low fat foods. 

 

Many low fat foods are packed with things that can impact your health negatively – like too much sodium.  Eating the low fat meals can impact your appearance, too. 

 

You’ll look and feel older – both on the inside and outside of your body. So look for smart ways to eat like they teach in the online course Old School New Body by Steve and Becky Holman. 

 

Exercise Can Be Bad for Your Body

Many people exercise to get fit, stay fit and slow the effects of aging. But they can be damaging their health and speeding up the aging process without even realizing it. 

 

With everything that you’ve read about how great exercise is for your body, it can be disturbing to think that you can actually be introducing harm into your life and causing aging to your body instead – but it’s the truth.

 

When you go out for a walk, you’ll inevitably see someone out jogging or running. You may also notice that some of these people have support devices on some areas of their body. 

 

That’s because exercise is not kind to the body, especially where bones meet. Repetition in movement – especially when you do it often and for hours at a time – is one of the easiest ways that you can hurt the joints in your body. 

 

When the joints in your body are damaged, it causes premature aging to that area and knee replacement or other joint replacements could very well be in your future if your joints are being abused through the wrong exercises now.

 

Some people believe in exercise so much that they push their body beyond its ability to cope. They think that if exercising a half an hour a day is good, then exercising for an hour must be even better – but that’s not true. 

 

The key to successful weight loss, to successfully shaping your body and slowing how you age is found in cutting back on the exercise you’ve been doing if you’re the type of person who works out hard.

 

Exercise is a lesson in body stress. Because when you exercise, you’re putting a great deal of stress on your body. Everything from your tendons to your joints, to your organs are feeling the impact of your workout. 

 

You might assume that you’re being proactive for your health, that you’re giving your body good health benefits. That assumption is only correct if you’re exercising the right way, in a way that doesn’t speed up the aging process for your body. 

 

Did you know that exercise can affect your mood? You might have heard that it releases those feel good hormones in your brain and stimulates your mood. You would be correct. 

 

However, your body has that flight or fight response whenever you have to deal with stress. You may not realize this, but exercise puts a lot of stress on your body. 

 

You feel pain if you run when you don’t feel your best. You feel pain when you exercise and your body is hurting. So what happens is that your body reacts to this stress. 

 

Not once or twice – but every single time that you give your body exercise stress, it’s reacting. This reaction is being dealt with by your adrenal glands. After a while, your adrenal glands can’t keep up with this constant stress drain. 

 

You have to learn how to exercise in ways that do not bring stress to your body.  You’ve learned how exercise and diet go hand in hand and that you shouldn’t just eat healthy without working out. 

 

But working out can be one of the biggest diet busters there is. That’s because when you work out, your body burns up those calories, your glucose level drops and suddenly you have to eat to keep from hitting the floor. 

 

Now if you couple that workout with a low fat diet, you’re not getting enough nutrients for your body to stay healthy while you get in shape. Food is fuel and when you exercise, you’re burning up that fuel so it has to be replaced. 

 

Exercise is actually one of the fastest ways that you can fall off the diet wagon. You want to learn how to exercise in such a way that it gives your body great benefits and slows down the way that your body ages. 

 

If you look at the Old School New Body program, they have some great tips that can guide you in this area.

 

Don’t Let Your Mind Keep You Out of Shape

Some beliefs are universal simply because they’re sayings that have been passed down over time. There’s no truth in them, but because these beliefs have been around for decades, everyone automatically swallows them. 

 

One of those beliefs is that aging means being out of shape. There are jokes about ‘middle age spread’ and jokes about all of the aches and pains associated with aging.

 

You’ve seen photos of men with beer guts and shirts that don’t quite cover that supposed middle age weight gain. You’ve seen women wearing the polyester pants suits and sporting plenty of extra weight on their hips, thighs and buttocks. 

 

You might have noticed that older people look out of shape. As the aging process takes its toll, what happens is that people start to accept in their mind that being out of shape is simply what happens at that point in life. 

 

But it’s a complete myth that no one has to put up with. Growing older doesn’t mean that you have to accept being fat. True, it’s best to get in and stay in shape while you’re younger so that you have fewer health issues to deal with when you do age. 

 

But just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean that it’s too late. It’s never too late to slow the aging process within your body that can go along with being out of shape. 

 

And it’s never too late to change the outer appearance of your body. So the first thing you need to do right now is stop accepting age as an excuse. Because that’s all it is – an excuse. 

 

You’ve heard the phrase, “You can do anything you put your mind to” – and it’s true. That’s because your mind controls what you believe about yourself, about your life and about your body. 

 

If you think that you’re going to live out the rest of your life out of shape, out of breath on exertion and feeling old, then you will. On the other hand, if you take control of what you believe, you can change your physical appearance. 

 

All you have to do if you want proof of that is to do an online search of middle aged people who changed their appearance. You’ll see thousands of people who made the decision that enough was enough. 

 

Age had no bearing on them being fat or fit. You may even come across the stories of the woman who became a bodybuilder in her mid fifties. She wasn’t in shape when she started, but she made up her mind to be. 

 

Today, she’s in her 70s and looks better than many 20 something year olds do – and she’s still going strong. 

 Why Water Really Is Important

Remember how when you were a child, your parents always pushed you to drink water because they said it was good for you? When you became an adult, your doctor gave you the same advice. 

 

It turns out that the advice to drink plenty of water is some of the best advice you were given. The standard advice tells you that in order to get enough water, you have to drink eight glasses every day. 

 

Those glasses should be a minimum of eight ounces of the healthy liquid. But that’s not exactly correct. How much water you need depends on if you’re active or not, if it’s hot or cold outside and how hydrated you already are. 

 

You’re just not going to need the same amount of water every single day and your water intake isn’t going to be what everyone else’s is. The best rule of thumb to follow is to drink what’s best for your body. 

 

Water helps your organs do the jobs that they’re meant to do. Without enough water, you can get dehydrated. Your kidneys work too hard and can become overloaded. 

 

Your skin gets dry. Dehydration makes you look older – because without enough water, your skin doesn’t stay smooth and soft looking. Not only does dehydration make you look older, but it can make you feel older. 

 

You can develop headaches from dehydration. Your energy level can drop and you can even start to experience mood changes. But the most important issue with not getting enough water is that you will have a tougher time losing weight. 

 

Without enough water, your body does its best to hold on to what it does have. So you might experience bloating. Besides bloating, not getting enough water limits your body’s ability to get rid of fat. 

 

It’s your liver that’s your biggest weight loss ally. So you want to make sure that it has what it needs to do its job – and that means making sure you stay hydrated. Your liver works hard to eliminate fat. 

 

That’s why you want to take care about what you put in your body, especially alcohol. There’s a reason that people who consume a lot of alcohol develop beer bellies. 

 

Alcohol ends up being dealt with by the liver. The liver works hard to get rid of alcohol, but fat is created within the liver as a result of alcohol. So then it can’t burn fat the way it was meant to. 

 

You want your liver to do the job of burning fat rather than alcohol, so make it easy for this organ to do its job. 

Forget Anti-Aging Products

While there are some creams on the market that can minimize the effects of aging by reducing the appearance of wrinkles, the truth is that there are no anti-aging creams or supplements that can actually slow the process on their own. 

You really need a program that will teach you how to look younger by showing you the proper way and the right length of time to exercise. You need to learn how to follow a nutritional eating plan that not only slows the aging process – but also shows you how to eat in a way that’s best for you. 

You want to learn how to lose weight and also how to shape up your body so that you look years younger. And you also want a program that will give you plenty of tips on the anti-aging process. 

So look for programs like Old School New Body that will give you all of this information. Remember that regardless of which program you choose, the most important thing is that you take control of how your body looks and feels.

Don’t be a passenger in your own life when it comes to your health. 

 

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