Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to Reach Your Goals With Ease

What Do You Want?
A goal is something you want to achieve.
It can be an action, an ability, a title, a role, easily quantifiable or an ongoing effort.
In order to achieve a goal, you must know your goal.

What is your goal?
What do you want to achieve?
What are you willing to trade time, energy, and attention for?
Write down your goals.

Why Do You Want It?
Why do you want to achieve this goal?
Knowing why is crucial.
Your reasons reveal and define your approach towards achieving your goal.

Do you approach the goal as a challenge because you want to expand your capabilties?
Or is this goal something you are working towards to gain validation and approval from others?
Are you pursuing this goal because you believe it will provide you with fun, learning, and experience?
Or are you motivated by competition, jealousy, and power?

Goals are much easier to achieve when approached from the right mind set.
A personal goal can only be achieved by one person- you.
Logically, the only person to whom the attention and efforts should be projected onto is....yourself.
Do not fuel yourself with motivation that depends on the comparison of others with yourself.
Don't pay attention to what others are doing- goal setting is not a competition unless you actually are participating in a judged competition.
Still, even in a judged competition where comparison is necessary, focus on your progress without obsessing over factors only others have control over (i.e. their own improvements.)

What Do You Expect from It?

Goal setting is primarily based on expectation and possibility.
Expectation will breed frustration and stress, whereas openness to possibility will allow you to clearly assess your strengths and weaknesses and edges of your comfort zone.
Challenge your comfort zone, but do not disregard it.
Your comfort zone is there for a reason.

Allow yourself to play with improvements that are accessible to you at the moment.
If your goal is to do be able to do the splits, and you are rather inflexible, stretching beyond your limits would be dangerous and likely to hinder your goal, rather than support it.
If your goal is to earn an A in your class, but you are in the middle of your semester with a C- average, you must be open to the possibility that your highest grade is a B. 

One must practice discernment whilst goal setting and progressing towards achievement.

How to Make It Easy?

Even if your goal seems rather difficult, you can adjust to infuse ease into your goal reaching practice.

Most of what you must adjust to allow ease into your experience is all in your mind.
Rid yourself of any expectations that kill motivation or provide unsustainable means of motivation.
Don't expect yourself to progress according to a calculated schedule. Although schedules offer a general idea of where you should be if you maintain your practice, your actual improvements can not be predicted or dictated by even the most highly researched set of numbers.

Do not hold onto expectations that kill your motivation or create a lack of motivation for you.
Motivation comes from within.
Motivation that comes from external sources is not sustainable.
These are usually created whilst comparing...
"I'm going to be skinnier/stronger/smarter/richer than him/her..."

Do not waste your efforts trying to validate or increase your value by judging yourself against others.
If you so badly want to prove someone wrong or prove yourself superior, you must look within yourself and identify that issue and work through it because it will only lead you to disappointment and suffering.
Mind your own business.
Take care of yourself.

Be Playful With What is Accessible

This can not be stressed enough.
Work with what you have.
If your goal is to be able to do a certain pose in yoga,
you must be able to do the supplementary and complementary poses in order to achieve your goal and be able to practice it sustainably. 

If you injure yourself, you will not be able to practice and you will limit yourself.
Make sure you have the base work done. Make sure you have the basics strengths and fundamental knowledge needed to approach your goal with a clear sense of self evaluation.
Know enough about your goal to be able to stop yourself from doing things that might hinder your goal and encourage yourself to strengthen your foundations in order to support that goal.

Be Honest With Yourself

You can't write an album if you barely know the chord.
And you can't lose 50 pounds if you don't know how to eat well.
Educate yourself and practice looking at your situation clearly.
Be truthful to yourself. 
Do not taint your evaluation with expectation, fear, or negligence and excuses.

Accepting where you truly are makes being honest much easier.

Detach From Your Goals

Your goals should not consume you.
You should not define yourself with your goals and your achievements.

Being able to create create a 5 course dinner does not make you a better person,
it makes you a better cook.

You can always allow the strengths you gain during your progress to infiltrate other areas of your life, but if you allow yourself to live only to achieve, you will be disappointed once you have no goal to complete.

Be able to look at what you've done today and accept it as sufficient.
You can always do more, but can you do it without causing tension and possibilities of injury?

If you are super attached to your goals, you will approach them in a manner that creates tension. You become preoccupied and lose your free time to worrying.

Yet, if you approach your goal from a place of detachment, you do not create tension. You create a playful ongoing interaction between your will, your interest, and your abilities.
You still care about your goals, but you allow yourself to manipulate the factors within their limits.
You can not brew tea with cold water as quickly as you can with boiling water.

Realize Goals Are Not Concrete

Goals may be achieved, but there will always be more goals beyond them.
Goals are ongoing, changing, and challenging.

Choose your goals wisely. You can not achieve everything at once.
Goals require your time, energy, and attention, so invest accordingly.

And if you realize one day that you are satisfied with what you have done and your goal truly does not resonate with you, then feel free to drop it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

How to Improve Your Relationship With Food Part 2: How to Enjoy Eating

Change Your Attitude Towards Food

Food is essential for sustaining life. Most of us do not live under the direct pressures of survival, meaning we can afford to anticipate our next meals during a very lengthy time frame. Most of us can rest assured that our caloric needs will be met. With this security, we are able to luxuriate in the pleasures of food.

Yet some of us forget that food is not only for enjoyment- it fuels our bodies and changes the quality of our life. A diet consisting of junk food will render an individual weak and unhealthy. 

The manner with which we eat also contributes to our wellness. Those who eat without mindfulness and appreciation tend to choose unhealthy foods and unhealthy quantities. Those who become afraid of food battle with eating disorders and are constantly fighting to maintain or gain control over their power struggles.

In order to establish a healthy relationship with food, one must find balance between the quality of food and the quality of their attitude towards it. 

Choosing Good Food

In order to enjoy food and fully benefit from it, one must be wise about what they consume. 

No matter what diet ones chooses, the simple truth boils down to the fact that simple whole food is the healthiest.

Appreciate the flavors of nature. 

Stop buying fake, processed foods- these are laden with preservatives and chemicals which warp the body's cravings for natural sustenance. 

Read the ingredients list. Try to prepare most of your food at home. Research what you put into your body. 

Keep it simple.

Getting Personal

When you eat, pay attention to how a certain food makes you feel.

If you experience discomfort or sluggishness after consuming certain foods, you probably shouldn't be eating them.

Everyone is different. Don't put the entirety of your trust in someone else's research and opinion. 

Take the time to take note of these effects and trust your honest diagnosis without warping it with preconceptions and frustration. 

Assess yourself in a straightforward manner.

Practice Mindfulness and Appreciation

A well prepared meal deserves your full attention.

Take the time to sit comfortably without distractions whilst enjoying your food.

Calm your mind and be mindful of your appetite- gauge your level of hunger and thirst. Do not start eating only because you are bored. If you are eating because you want to experience a new food or indulge, allow yourself to do so but do not push yourself to a point of sickness due to overeating.

Take note of all the flavors, textures, aromas, and subtleties of your dish. Chew thoroughly. Smile.

Enjoy food with the pleasant company. Bond between bites. Nurture the atmosphere with warmth and friendliness. 

Express gratitude, internally or externally. You are able to delight in  a pleasurable meal that gives you the energy to function. 

Keep It Simple

Don't over think your diet.

Would you rather be 8% body fat year round while eating nothing but pre-measured health foods or would you rather be healthy enough and fit enough most of the time to afford a few indulgences here and there?

Focus on portion control. Eat when your hungry. Stop when your full. 

Be grateful for your food, and choose food you'll be grateful for.