How Do We Build Support Networks?

So far, Mentoring Movement is out to create support for people starting on their exercise journey.  We know there is plenty of information, plenty of resources, plenty of organizations, plenty of inspirational “just do it” motivational quotes.  The real question is why do some people keep exercising, and why do some quit?  How do we get started and then KEEP GOING?

I have been reading a book called, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.  In this book he outlines the process that gets new habits started.  With each repeated behavior, there is a cue (stressed out), a repeated behavior (eat ice cream), and a reward (pleasure / relief).  After a while, we enjoy this reward so much that we begin to anticipate it, even before we get the cue.  This creates a craving, and reinforces the behavior cycle.  Unfortunately, once that habit is wired, it can never be completely extinguished.  If you see a commerical for Ben & Jerry’s, your old craving and behavior pattern will get triggered.  So instead of trying to “get rid” of that old behavior, you can put a new behavior in its place.  When you’re stressed out, you can call a friend instead of diving head-first into the ice cream, and get a similar sense of relief.  (Here’s a great flow-chart on how to change a habit.)

This process of replacing one behavior pattern with another will only get you so far, and it’s why people will start exercising, but not stick with it.  Eventually, the old behavior pattern will win if they don’t believe that change is possible, and see that it is working for others.  I knew this was missing from so many exercise programs, even before I knew it was a necessary component of creating lasting change in people’s habits.

The question is: How Do We Get People Together To Create Belief?

I don’t know the answer to this … I just know that together we can answer it.  I come to you having seen something that we need, and ask for your help in creating the belief that together, supporting each other, we can help each other change, see the change in each other, and make the changes that will withstand any temptation!

Leading Leads to Learning

I am leading this community not because I have the answers, and not because I have figured out how to have a consistent fitness routine, or how to stay on track with my diet.  In no way do I have that figured out yet.  I am leading this community because I allow myself to grow by honoring a committment to help others, and by doing so, learn from others as they grow.  I am leading this community since I am in the process of developing exercise as a habit, and I see plenty of other people going through my same struggle.  When I say struggle, I mean that some days I’m sticking with my commitment to eat a low-calorie diet of healthy food, get my exercise, and balance that with the other commitments in my life (like building this community) … and other days I eat the foods I know I’m not supposed to eat, I skip my workout when my back has such powerful spasms I have a hard time getting dressed, and I wonder how I’m ever going to stay consistent in making progress toward my goals.  When I get derailed from my goals, I wonder if I am setting a good enough example to be a leader.

 

There is a purpose behind every delay.

 

This community was born out of my participation as a coach in Landmark Education’s Self Expression and Leadership Program.  While I was coaching, I had the distinct privilege of helping people to unlock the potential they have in themselves that is aleady there, but don’t always see.  I got to lift them up, and see them as the transformed individuals they are … and are working to uncover.  There is a power that comes from having others in your life see you as already successful, and not paying heed to the part of you that wants to snuggle up on the couch in your jammies and live a small life.  This is what I see we can create with this community … a group of people that see each other as the successful, fit, healthy people that we are committed to being, even when we haven’t fully developed the habits that come with that way of being.

Developing the habits that come from a new way of being take time, and take choices … constant choice in the moment.  Do I continue to honor what I gave my word to by making a new (and not always comfortable) choice, or do I continue to do what is familiar?  We are pulled toward the familiar, but we get to really find out who we are when we honor our commitment, and from that make new choices that allow us to have entire new worlds open up for us.

I am privileged to have you as a part of this community, and welcome your input as we help each other develop the habits of a new way of being.

 

What is “Enough”?

There is a hole in many of us that will never fill up. For some it’s love, for others it’s money, for others it’s recognition. For me, it’s worthiness. I never feel like I’m good enough, have accomplished enough, or checked enough stuff off my to-do list. I realized that at some point, I started to tell myself that I’m lazy. This created a bizzare dynamic in my life that I have fought for at least thirty years, without even realizing I was fighting it. For the people who know me, they are probably thinking, “You are the least lazy person I know next to Oprah, and possibly the President.” Isn’t that ironic? On the outside, I’m not lazy … I’m actually a “git ‘er done” kind of gal. Yet this comes from my need to prove to myself (and everyone else) that I’m not lazy.

I had the opportunity to really experience the impact of what it’s like to constantly prove to the world I’m not lazy. I know for myself, my experience of the world is much like Scrat in “Ice Age”. I’m always rushing around, frenetic, wondering if I’ve forgotten to do something, or if there is something else I should be doing, jaw clenched, pulse racing, blood pressure pounding, neck in knots … it’s NOT a fun place to be. I also realize that even when I get stuff done, it’s never enough! Sure I got that task done, or that big project, but that’s just one thing. If I’m not careful, I’ll turn into a sloth overnight. And for the people around me, it must be exhausting! When I take on more than I can do on my own, to prove how not-lazy I am, they get to help me out with what I can’t get done. When they try to praise me for doing a great job, or for all the hard work I do, I dismiss them, “Yeah, sure, thanks … it’s just getting something done.” Around me, there is no time to just chill and relax, or when I do try to relax, you get my guilt trip as an uninvited guest!

I realized that I can let this go. I can take on being relaxed, peaceful, and happy as a way of approaching my life. Instead of trying to prove to everyone what I’m not, I can take on living my life in this way. What this means is that my exercise routine can be fun! It can be a way to spend some “me” time. The kick off event for Mentoring Movement can be a party, instead of a mad dash where I’m trying to handle every detail.

Let’s support each other’s efforts to take on our life afresh. Our exercise journey doesn’t have to be the same old slog. Let me know if this speaks to you. Are there any areas in your life you work to prove to others how different you are? Are there areas you try to fill up and never get full?

Thank you for reading and sharing. Together we all grow.

Before you break the rules, learn them!

RuleQuotePicasso“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” I have achieved this level of mastery with a few skill sets, and it’s a fun place to be. When you realize that you know something so well that you know when the rules are working, and more importantly, when they’re not. You have the foundation techniques to fall back on, but you have the feel, sensitivity and intuition to know when sticking with the rules 100% isn’t getting the desired result. The problem comes when people don’t bother to learn the basic technique first. They see people breaking the rules, and they think, “Well, why bother learning the rules at all?”

If you don’t bother learning the basic techniques, you don’t have the skills available to you that those techniques provide. For example, if you attempt to draw a face, but you never learn about perspective, shading, lighting, or proportions, the drawings you produce will never be truly life-like. You could always say, “Well, it’s art … I just meant to have it look flat and distorted.” But what if you didn’t? What if you really want someone to recognize themselves in what you draw, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t capture their likeness? That is when learning the techniques first would come in handy.

People point at Picasso to show someone who breaks the rules. Most people have only seen his cubist works … the paintings of figures that look like they are people made out of building blocks. What they don’t realize is that Picasso was painting near photo-realistic portraits of nobility in his teens and twenties. Picasso knew how to accurately reproduce what he was looking at FIRST, before he got bored with it and created Cubism.

I am seeing that evolution occurring in my own fitness journey. I am getting to the point where exercise is more of a habit, and less of something I have to remind myself to do every day. I am learning to listen to what my body is telling me, and figure out how to adapt to keep working out, while still giving my body the space it needs to heal and grow. I am learning how to trust these basic skills so that as I continue, I can build and create a truly fit life for myself.

Where have you mastered the basics in your life so well that you know you can break the rules? Where are you committed to learning the basics first? Share with us your journey on the road to mastery.

Building Community

Mentoring Movement is about support.  This is a place where we can come to see what others are up to on their road to fitness, and give each other the pat on the back of encouragement to keep going.  I am pulling together the resources so that we can all ask questions of people who are further along this road, and can help us avoid some of the pitfalls along the way.

As a part of building this community and resource, I am putting together an event called “An Exercise for Everyone”.  This two-hour event will gather fitness professionals from the Seattle area to lend their knowledge and expertise in helping others to find the type of fitness activity that best works for their lives.  This will also be the participants’ opportunity to meet the mentors we will be featuring on this website.  We are getting some great businesses on board to participate in the event, and become a part of the Mentoring Movement community.

If you are fitness professional who is interested in being featured on our website as a mentor, please email me at mentoringmovement @ gmail.com to get more information on how you can participate in our community.  If you are in the Seattle area, we would love to have you at our kick-off event, “An Exercise for Everyone”.

If you are still getting started with your fitness goals, you are in the Seattle area, and would like to come to the event, please check us out on Facebook.  There is also a link at the bottom of the page to go to Brown Paper Tickets and purchase a ticket to the event.  It’s $10 to come to the event (and those pesky ticket handling fees are included in that price, so $10 is all you pay).  Children 12 years old and under are free.  Coming to the event will give you access to great information and demonstrations, savings off of introductory lessons, and the potential to win door prizes for free lessons.  All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Special Olympics.