Angie's Corner

When Life Throws You Lemons, Make Lemonade

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Five Ways to Deal with Adversity

One thing we can always count on is that life is unpredictable. Our circumstances often change unexpectedly and our coping skills are put to the test. Resilience, the ability to recover from adversity, trauma, or hardship, is a trait that gives us the ability to “bounce back.” For many of us, being resilient doesn’t come naturally. We resist change, and dislike situations that have potential to disrupt our lives; but reality is that we all face adversity. Divorce, job loss, moving, illness, and other hardships require strong coping skills and effective strategies to move forward in a positive direction. Whether you’re naturally resilient or you strive for predictability, the following five strategies were designed to help you cope effectively with life’s challenges.

  1. Establish or maintain a healthy support system. Establishing a supportive community that includes family and friends is pivotal, especially when times are uncertain. Connecting with people you trust gives you a safe place to be heard and express your fears and concerns. Having them by your side will foster the sense of security you need to get through difficult times.
  2. Allow opportunity for growth. No matter how difficult or tragic a situation, time has the power to heal. With time we gain clarity and perspective and soon discover that even the most unfortunate situations lead to self-discovery. Hardships help us grow in unexpected ways and through them we’re able to appreciate what is good and true in our lives.
  3. Accept change as a natural part of life. Despite our best intentions and best-laid plans, life is unpredictable. The more we accept this, the healthier our attitude and ability to adjust. Ultimately the more flexible we become, and therefore more capable of growing and evolving to meet life’s demands.
  4. Respond with action. As tempting as it is to crawl under the covers when adversity strikes, taking action and being able to face the situation will empower you. After the first step, every step gets a little easier. Pretending that problems will go away or detaching yourself emotionally will only prolong the inevitable; at some point you will have to deal with the situation.
  5. Nurture your mind, body, and spirit through exercise. Exercise acts as a natural drug and increases serotonin levels in much the same way that Prozac does. Increased serotonin levels elevate your mood and give you a natural mental boost. Exercise reduces anxiety, stabilizes your emotions, and helps free you from disabling thoughts. When stress is at its peak and emotions are heightened, exercise is your best defense.

Best to you in good health, lots of laughter, and loving relationships

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

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Learning to Love Yourself~ An Ode to Valentine’s Day

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

“To love others you must first love yourself.” Leo Buscaglia

A reflection on love:

In Eastern philosophy, self-love is thought to be the cornerstone of inner peace. A journey toward self-discovery is believed to be essential, as introspection promotes understanding and harmony with oneself, which lends itself to harmony and peace with the world.

Love is the foundation of human compassion toward others, but first and foremost toward oneself. It would be difficult to embrace the differences among us, and to feel empathy toward those with whom we share little in common, if we don’t embrace personal trust and honor. Peace within, promotes universal peace and acceptance.

Learning to love unconditionally and to fully embrace our unique qualities, from our greatest strengths to our most unbecoming weaknesses, is a more daunting task than we sometimes realize. Just as important, and even more challenging is being able to look in the mirror and love the image staring back at us. While there are endless ways to build and secure self-love, I believe that two of the most important are to Maintain Perspective and to Make Peace.

Securing Self-Love

  1. Maintain Perspective~ Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself from five or ten years ago and yearned to look like that again? What’s more disappointing is to reflect that it was lost on you then, that your mind was shrouded in self-doubt and judgment. Looking back, whether it was your beautiful body shape, or your radiant, wrinkle free smile, it's difficult to imagine that you didn’t see it then, especially now that some of it has faded with age. With that in mind, why waste another day, another moment of self-doubt, judgment, or scrutiny? Isn’t now the time to celebrate your body, your face, your curves, your greatest assets, and yes even your wonderful flaws? We know that time doesn’t stop. We were just reminded of that when we looked at an old photograph. Any more time spent wishing, takes away from time spent living and enjoying life to the fullest. I’ve said before that if we could have a 40-year old mindset with a 20-year old body we’d have killer self-esteem. Don't wait for time to pass to give you perspective on how good you look and how healthy you are. Embrace your body, your mind, and your spirit as it is, the youngest it will ever be.

  1. Make Peace~ Now that you have embraced perspective, it’s time to authentically make peace with your body. I think it helps to start with a reflection so that we might remember what our body has done for us over the years. Reflecting: How our feet have kept us moving even when we were tempted to sit down and surrender. How our legs kept us standing even when the obstacles we faced made us feel too weary. How our hips, thighs, and abdominals have blessed us with our unique shape. Though they may be the bane of our existence, in another person’s eyes they signify the beauty and grace that makes us women. How our arms have embraced our children and the people we love. How they’ve lifted everything from the heavy load of life’s burdens to the powerful kettlebell we swing at the gym. How our hands have written love notes, held on to those who need our support, and given us the power to do daily tasks and achieve professional accomplishments. How our neck and face may show our age, but thanks to good health and proper care we’ve made it to an age where those fine lines are a badge of honor and a sign of wisdom. How our lips have kissed our children and our lovers, how they’ve formed words we regret and those we’re proud of, but all of which have taught us lessons. How our ears have listened to our children breathe as we watch them sleep peacefully, how they have listened to words from others that wound us, lift us up, educate us, and fill us with information that helps us grow. In the end, we are a culmination of our experiences and our body is an amazing structure that allows us to embrace life and exist on this earth. Far be it for us to do anything less than be appreciative that we are unique, first and foremost, and though we are flawed and fragile, we are blessed nonetheless.

Maintaining Perspective and Making Peace lends itself to personal acceptance, and that’s where it all begins. Personal acceptance translates to self-love, to honoring oneself, and to recognizing that love begins on the inside. The more foster it and allow it to grow, the more we have to share with others.

“The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you.” 
― Leo Buscaglia

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

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Four Ways to Hate Exercise (If you don’t already)

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

We don’t lack exercise programming in our society. There are more exercise programs, workout DVD’s, gyms, equipment, ideas, tips, and information than ever before. What we do lack is motivation to start and maintain an exercise program, and that’s something that can’t be packaged or sold. The thing about motivation is that it varies from person to person, depending on interests, lifestyles, upbringing, and beliefs. What motivates me might not motivate you, and vice versa. I’ve always believed that there is a missing link between what we know on an intellectual level about exercise, (we know it’s good for us and that it will help us stay healthy), and how motivated we are mentally and emotionally to make exercise a part of our lives. Rather than list 10 Tips for Motivation, I did that in a previous blog, I thought I would do the opposite. I’ve listed four surefire ways to hate exercise, hoping to shed irony on some of the decisions we might make that inhibit rather than increase our motivation.

  1. Make it a goal to exercise every day of the week, especially if you’ve never exercised before. I hear this a lot after the first of the year, aka New Year’s Resolutions. Individuals email me, or see me at the gym, and tell me that their goal is to exercise everyday until they lose x amount of weight. Exercising everyday, especially if you’re not in the habit, is the kiss of death. There are few things I want to do every single day, even when I enjoy them. Exercise is not one of them, and I love to exercise. I know that my body needs rest and recovery, and I know that my mind needs a mental break. Three days a week is a great place to start. Four is good after you’ve accomplished three for at least six weeks, (six months would be even better). Five is something you strive for when exercise is truly something that is here to stay, an integral part of your life. Six is starting to push it, and seven; that’s overkill.
  1. Don’t have a plan for when you’re going to exercise, what you’re going to do, who with, or where. Just wing it. Sort of like we wing our jobs, where we’re going to work, when we’re going to work, or what we’re going to do at work. Or how we wing appointments, just showing up when we’re in the mood for an annual physical check up, or head over to the dentist because our teeth could use a good cleaning and we have some extra time in our day. That’s silly, right? We have to schedule exercise the way we schedule everything in our lives or it just won’t happen, at least not consistently. Bottom line, schedules, including a specific plan for what, where, when, and how, lead to success.
  1. Order a super intense program off of the late night TV infomercials, the one that shows the individuals with perfect bodies and sculpted abs to boot. If we’re having an issue in our personal or professional life, we don’t look for the quickest fix, we look for the fix that will help us or our loved ones get back on track and resolve whatever issue is at hand. Exercise is not a short-term solution to an immediate problem… I need to lose five pounds for my reunion then I’m done. Exercise is a long-term commitment like raising kids, marriage, our career, and everything else in our life that is worth the investment for health, happiness, and personal fulfillment. We don’t need the most intense program; we need the program that makes us feel inspired to do it again and again. Quick results are not the goal. Lasting results are the goal. Intense workouts can lead to injury and burnout. Enjoyment leads to a long-term commitment and weight loss that is slow, safe and steady, promising to stay with us as long as we stay with the exercise program.
  1. Check out You Tube or another social media channel scanning for some awesome new moves and advice that may or may not follow. This might be one of my biggest pet peeves, and it’s certainly one of my greatest concerns. It’s the Wild West out there on the Internet and anyone can claim they’re anything. Fitness “experts” and “coaches” (life coaches, health coaches, fitness coaches) abound, but is anyone checking their credentials? Are we digging deep to see if they’ve earned certifications or licensures authenticating their ability to dispense advice about the human body? We wouldn’t get medical advice off of a social media channel unless we knew that the source was authentic, that they were actual physicians. We wouldn’t get psychological or mental health advice off of a social media channel unless we knew they were educated, licensed professionals. That said, it seems incomprehensible that we might consider getting fitness ideas, tips, information, workouts, and nutrition advice off of a social media channel without checking the source, investigating their credentials, and making an educated decision as to whether or not that source aligns with our goals.

May you be motivated to exercise, and supported in your endeavors.

Best to you in health and wellness~

Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

Easiest Protein Smoothie Ever

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Smoothies aren’t just for summer, and nothing tastes better than a cool smoothie after a hot workout. Too often, people share with me that they don’t have time to eat before coming to the gym in the morning. I know that mornings especially can be crazy, but time is about management and priorities and if we want the best return on our investment we have to invest wisely. That means that we have to practice sound nutritional principles to supplement our workouts. Just as we can’t drive to the gym on an empty gas tank, we can’t workout to the best of our abilities with no fuel. Staying fit and healthy is hard work, no doubt; but smoothies are one way to amp up our nutrition intake while keeping us hydrated and refreshed. Not to mention, they’re easy to make. For someone like me who doesn’t feel at home in the kitchen that’s music to my ears!

The smoothie I made this morning included the following ingredients:

  • ½ Cup of Water
  • 1 Serving of Chobani (peach on the bottom) Greek Yogurt (this is strictly preference. I prefer Chobani yogurt, and I love the peach flavor mixed with apples and bananas)
  • 1 Medium Banana
  • 1 Small Apple
  • 1 Scoop of Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (you could add a second scoop, depending on which type of protein powder you buy and how many scoops equals one serving)
  • 1 Cup of Ice
  • 1 Tsp. of Cinnamon (optional)

Put all of the ingredients into your blender, in the order listed. Start with a low speed then slowly increase the speed to a high. Blend for one minute or until smooth.

 

This makes almost a full pitcher. Therefore, there’s plenty to share for your kids, or more than enough for you to drink one smoothie before your workout and one afterwards. If you’re not drinking your smoothie right away, put it in a shaker bottle and keep it refrigerated. When you’re finished with your workout shake it up and enjoy!

 

 

 

Wishing all of you a healthy, productive week!

Sincerely~

Angie

 

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

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5 Simple Steps to Weight Loss Success

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

  

Sometimes in life things really are simpler than they seem. Exercise and weight loss might be one of those things. You don’t need the hottest diet on the market or even a degree in exercise science to figure it all out. If you want to establish a new exercise routine and lose those last 10 pounds, consider these simple steps:

  

 

  1. Realize there’s one formula for weight loss… calories in vs. calories out! The quality of foods you eat and where your calories come from is important when it comes to body composition, energy level, and overall health and wellness, but ultimately when it comes to weight loss it boils down to one thing. You need to burn more calories than you consume.
  2. Accept that there is no quick fix! You’ve heard this one time and time again, and sometimes you might wish it weren’t true. There’s no gadget, tool, machine, ball, or otherwise that can give you the body of your dreams without a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance on your part. The good news… I’ve never met a person who couldn’t do it once they set their mind to it.
  3. Find activities that you enjoy. Just because your best friend claims to have lost 10 pounds taking her favorite indoor cycling class doesn’t mean it’s the answer for you. If you try the class several times and it doesn’t make your heart sing, move on. Investing time and energy into activities that you don’t enjoy is a surefire recipe for disaster. It won’t be long before doing laundry and picking the lint out of the dryer will seem like a better alternative. Find something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.
  4. Be realistic and don’t overdo it. If you’ve never exercised in your life, or you haven’t exercised for an extended period of time, be realistic about the amount of time you are willing to invest in this new endeavor. Start gradually and work your way up. Diving into something head first is never a good idea, but diving into exercise too quickly can be downright dangerous. Sore muscles aside, you could risk burnout and possible injury.
  5. Establish a routine…ASAP! Routines are good. They’re predictable, they give us a sense of control over our lives, and they allow us to manage our time more efficiently. Write out your exercise routine, post it on the fridge, and share it with family and friends. Make sure everyone knows that your exercise time is not something you’re willing to compromise. Encourage them to keep you accountable. Kids love doing this! You get to ask them if they did their homework, they get to ask you if you did your exercise.

In the end, it would be great if the pounds would melt off as easy as a chocolate bar melts in your mouth. But exercise and weight loss are like any skill or talent you have cultivated. You have to work hard and stay committed to experience success. That, and a positive, realistic approach, can be the perfect recipe for long-term health and happiness.

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

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How to Stop Procrastinating

by Angie Miller


Angie Miller  
For the last two weeks I have blogged about New Year’s Goals, and this week I’m wondering how many of have you taken on those goals with a vengeance, and how many are still procrastinating? Sometimes when one of our goals seems daunting, and we can’t find a way to break it into smaller, more manageable pieces, we are paralyzed by our own internal struggles. At the core of those struggles is the power of our thoughts, namely that nagging voice inside us that creates self-doubt. It asks questions like:


           
            Is our goal is too challenging?
            What if we don’t deserve it?
            Do we have time for it?


It could be any multitude of self-sabotaging thoughts, but it’s those thoughts that stand in the way of accomplishing that which propels us forward and helps us realize our dreams. None of us wants to wake up one day and feel that we have let time slip away, or that we aren’t where we aspired to be. Life is too short to have regrets. So today, once and for all, it’s time to start realizing our potential and attacking our goals. In order to do that, we have to first recognize why we procrastinate. Though the reasons are vast and varied, fear seems to be most compelling. When it comes to self-defeating behaviors that stand in the way of our goals, fear trumps.

Do we fear failure or success?
If procrastination is a means of self-sabotage, and it is, then fear is it’s greatest ally. Fear is that ugly beast that lurks unknowingly just under our consciousness and undermines our ability to succeed. Fear comes in two forms: Fear of success, and the flip side of the same coin, which is fear of failure.
            Fear of Failure: Those who fear failure often don’t try at all, with the mindset that if that if failure is an option, and it is anytime we put ourselves out there, they’d rather chalk it off to lack of effort than lack of talent or intelligence. It’s when its our subconscious says, “I’d rather fail because I didn’t try, than put all of my effort into something and take the chance that I might fail regardless.”
                Fear of Success: Often stems from the fact that subconsciously we don’t feel good enough, or we feel guilty, believing that we don’t deserve the opportunities that could stem from our success. Fear of success also comes from the fact that we might be concerned about the additional responsibility and visibility that accompanies success, thus added pressure and higher expectations from others. We may worry that our relationships could suffer, or that our success will expose us to too much scrutiny.

If fear is our nemesis, how do we conquer it?
First, we have to realize that fears are that which we create in our mind, so our mind is where we need to start. Here are two powerful ways to manage our mind and put our fears aside:

    1. Analyze your fears. Write them down on a piece of paper, evaluate them, and decide whether or not they are rational. Take a realistic look at what will happen if you succeed. What are all the potential outcomes? Remember that the more you own your fears the less power they have over you. When you take a good hard look, you may find that you can make your fears disappear just by accepting that they exist and recognizing that they’re bigger in your mind than they are on paper.
    1. Take the first step. Set aside a small, manageable amount of time, 15 minutes or 30 minutes at the most. Set a timer, and then start tackling your goal. Your mission here is to break down the magnitude of that seemingly overwhelming goal, and to complete one task or one objective that gets you closer to your long-term goal. When the timer goes off, allow yourself permission to move on to something else. Chances are you’ll be so immersed in your project you won’t want to, but either way you took the first step and that’s always the hardest.

One step leads to the next, and just like weight loss, slow, consistent patterns of behavior lead to long-term results. When we face our fears and take that first step, we can realize our goals and maximize our potential.

Remember, goals are the driving force behind our success and our ability to lead purpose driven lives.
Best to you in 2016!
Sincerely,
Angie
 
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

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Why Goals are So Hard to Reach?

by Angie Miller

Part II of Resolve to Set Goals, not Resolutions for the Year Ahead

Last week I wrote a blog about the importance of setting goals vs. New Year’s Resolutions, and the power of goals in helping us to achieve our greatest potential. I shared a Six Step Guide to Goal Setting Success and promised that this week I would share a goal setting contract as well as some common pitfalls when setting goals. Lets start with the pitfalls because the key to goal setting success is to set realistic goals. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

 

Potential Pitfalls When Setting Goals:

  1. Setting Gargantuan Goals- Goals are like stairs, the best way to go up is to take it one step at a time. If you try to skip a step it makes the journey more difficult and less enjoyable. Goals should be challenging enough to keep you interested, but not so difficult that you become frustrated and lose hope.

Remember the S.M.A.R.T. goals I shared in last week’s blog:

Specific= Goals should be as specific as possible. Broad, general goals like, “I want to get fit” aren’t recommended.

Measurable= Goals should be measurable. You should be able to calculate your progress. (You can measure weight, inches, distance, and even load (such as 10 lb. dumbbells vs. 8 lb.).

Achievable= Goals should be attainable. You should be able to reach the goals you set.

Realistic= Achievable and realistic go hand in hand. You want to set goals that make sense, that are realistic given your level of motivation, history, time frame, and physical abilities and limitations. Ideally, your goals should be moderately difficult: Enough to challenge you, but not too difficult where you’re set up to fail, and not so easy that little effort is required.

Time Oriented= Goals should have a definitive start and end point. They should be attainable within that time frame.

  1. Fearing Failure- Sometimes we’re afraid to set goals because we’re afraid we won’t succeed. When fear gets in the way, we tend to take the path of least resistance and set no goal at all. That way, we can avoid the risk of failure. In truth, though, we know that failure is only in our lack of willingness to try. Even when we don’t achieve our goal we learn something in the process, and knowledge is power. We can apply what we learned to our next goal.
  1. Forgetting the Power of Words- If your goal starts with the word stop, it’s grounded in negativity. Words are powerful, and the words we use matter to our mental mindset. If we want our goals to motivate us, it’s best to see them as something positive that we’re striving toward rather than something negative we’re trying to escape. Take a look these goals and see how they sound with a negative connotation vs. a more positive spin:
  • Stop eating late at night (vs.) Start eating a healthy dinner that will help prevent late night cravings
  • Stop skipping workouts (vs.) Establish a workout routine that I enjoy so I look forward to working out
  1. Setting Too Many Goals with Too Little Time- One or two goals is achievable, five or six goals are overwhelming, especially if we allow too little time for completion. Sometimes we get so excited to change something, like our exercise diet and exercise habits, that we decide to go all in. That said, if you’re not currently exercising and you decide to workout everyday for the next six months, you’re setting yourself up for frustration. There’s also a higher likelihood that you’ll abandon your goals due to burnout or injury.

If you’re new to goal setting or you’ve been discouraged in the past, here are two suggestions for success:

  1. Set 1 or 2 goals maximum
  2. Make the goals short term, achievable within two to four weeks rather than two to four months. The longer it takes to achieve a goal the more daunting it can become to get started, let alone see it to the finish.

Example: For exercise, an achievable goal would be to workout for thirty minutes, two days a week, for two weeks.

At the end of the two weeks if you’ve succeeded you could increase it to three days a week, or increase your time to 45 minutes per workout.

Proceed in that fashion and though it may take longer to reach your goal, there’s a far greater likelihood that it will become part of your daily routine and a lifetime habit.

  1. Forgetting to Follow Up and Adjust if Necessary: A daily follow up is a great way to stay inspired and keep you focused. Goals take a lot of work and we’re more likely to succeed if we check in and take note of our progress. A calendar is a very effective way to do this. Each night, take a few minutes and record how you felt about your goals for that day, what obstacles your encountered, and some encouraging words to keep you motivated.

At the end of the week, reflect on what’s working and what’s not. Above all, give yourself the option to adjust your goal/s if need be. Adjusting your goals doesn’t mean you’re settling for less, it means that you’re smart enough to recognize when you need to rethink your strategies so you can set yourself up for success. 

Remember, goals are impactful; they give us direction and help us stay motivated. They lead us to accomplishments we might never have thought possible, and they help us begin each day with intention.

Goal Setting Contract

S.M.A.R.T. Goal: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Short-Term Goals: Long-term goals give us direction and guide our future. Short-term goals give us measureable objectives we can work on in the here and now. Short-term goals lead us step by step to our long-term goals.

Short-Term Goal #1: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Short-Term Goal #2: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Reward for achieving my SMART goal: For many of us the reward is in the achievement, but there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with a new outfit or a new pair of running shoes to keep you motivated.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Barriers: We all have obstacles/barriers that get in the way: I’m too tired, I don’t have enough time, my job is demanding. Write out your barriers, those things that pull you away and challenge your motivation.

                Three Barriers:

  1. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strategies for Success: These are ways you will overcome those barriers.

                Three Strategies:

  1. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Support in Achieving your Goal/s: Enlisting in the help and support of your significant other, friends, children, co-workers, or anyone else who might be of assistance is very impactful. List your support system, or resources you will use to help you achieve your goal/s.

  1. ___________________________________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________________________________

I sign this contract as a commitment to achieve my goal/s:

 

Signature:  _____________________________________________________ Date: ______________

May your goals guide to success throughout the year and throughout life.

Best in Health~ Angie

- Angie

Angie MillerAngie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at:http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

 

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Resolve to Set Goals, not Resolutions for the Year Ahead (Part I)

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller
 

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.”

- Hall of Fame baseball legend Yogi Berra

 
 
 

 

Last year I wrote a blog about the importance of Setting Goals vs. New Year’s Resolutions. As 2016 approaches I’d like to reinforce the power of goals in helping us to achieve our greatest potential.
Goals are impactful; they give us direction and help us stay motivated. They lead us to accomplishments we might never have thought possible, and they help us begin each day with intention.

 Resolutions on the other hand are notoriously short-lived, rarely do they last and seldom are they structured and planned. One of the greatest gifts of goal setting is that goals build our self-esteem. Each time we conquer a goal our confidence gets a boost and we are inspired by our own success.

While goal setting holds tremendous potential, it does take practice to set specific goals that are realistic and achievable. That’s why SMART goals are so popular. Ultimately, goals give us a plan and a plan is all we need to succeed. I’ve developed a Six Step Guide to Goal Setting Success to help start your new year off right.

Six Step Guide to Goal Setting Success

  1. Set SMART Goals:

Specific= Goals should be as specific as possible. Broad, general goals like, “I want to get fit” aren’t recommended.

Measurable= Goals should be measureable. You should be able to calculate your progress. (You can measure weight, inches, distance, and even load (such as 10 lb. dumbbells vs. 8 lb.).

Achievable= Goals should be attainable. You should be able to reach the goals you set.

Realistic= Achievable and realistic go hand in hand. You want to set goals that make sense, that are realistic given your level of motivation, history, time frame, and physical abilities and limitations. Ideally, your goals should be moderately difficult: Enough to challenge you, but not too difficult where you’re set up to fail, and not so easy that little effort is required.

Time Oriented= Goals should have a definitive start and end point. They should be attainable within that time frame.

Here’s an example of a SMART Goal for Running:

Specific- (Example: Increase my running mileage from 10 miles per week to 16 miles per week in six weeks.)

Measurable- (Example: Each week, add one mile.)

Action Oriented-  (Example: Run 3x per week, and add the additional mile to one my runs…For instance: Week One-run two/four mile runs, and one/three mile run. Week Two- run three/four mile runs…Keep progressing in this manner.)

Realistic- (Example: Increase the distance I can run by 10 percent each week so that I can safely work my way up to 16 miles per week in six weeks.)

Time Oriented- (Example: Try my new running program for six weeks, then reassess.)

  1. Set short and long-term goals: Long-term goals give us direction and guide our future. Short-term goals give us measureable objectives we can work on in the here and now. Short-term goals lead us step by step to our long-term goals. Imagine a staircase. At the top is your dream, or long-term goal. Each step is progressively linked; therefore every step is progress and one step closer to your ultimate goal.

  1. Record Your Goals:

Writing your goals on paper makes them more concrete. It also keeps you focused. Equally important is that you record your progress to keep you motivated and accountable. The key is to design a simple, efficient workout log that’s easy to reference.

I recommend that you follow the FITT principle when recording your workouts:

Frequency= record the date, the time you work out, and the number of minutes you worked out

Intensity= record your heart rate or rate of perceived exertion during your workout

Time= record the amount of time you worked out

Type= record the type of exercise you did

 

  1. Get Support: Enlist in the help, support, and encouragement of your significant other, friends, children, co-workers, or anyone else who might be of assistance in helping you achieve your goals. Give your goals power by giving them a voice. Share them with others so they can be the wind beneath your wings, giving you that extra push when you need it. We’re social creatures, so if you can find someone who shares your goal that’s even better. You’ll have a workout partner and someone to share in your success.

 

  1. Know Your Barriers: We all have obstacles that get in the way: I’m too tired, I don’t have enough time, my job is demanding. Write out your barriers, those things that pull you away and challenge your motivation. Then write out ways you will overcome those barriers. We all have barriers, but if we plan ahead and strategize how we’re going to deal with them that’s more than half the battle.

 

  1. Evaluate Your Goals: Since you set SMART goals you had a definitive start and end point. At the end of the given time frame that you set, evaluate. Did your goals work? If not, what got in the way? If so, where can you go from here? Small steps lead to big gains. Sitting down and evaluating your goals gives you an opportunity to celebrate your gains and strategize for future accomplishments.

Check back next week. In Part II I'm going to share a Goal Setting Contract, some common problems in goal setting, and a little note on the power of goal setting for increasing motivation and commitment to exercise.

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

Do you have love/hate relationship with exercise?

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Here’s 10 Tips to Get You Motivated

If I challenged you to list five things you love about exercise and five things you hate, which would struggle with more?

In my past life, my younger years you could say, I had a plethora of things I didn’t like about exercise, but in my life today you’d be hard pressed to keep me away from my workouts. I depend on them for my sanity, self-preservation, sense of routine, and mostly because they provide me much needed mental space, (it’s the broomstick to the brain analogy I like to use, because exercise always clears my head). That said, there are many people out there who dread exercise as much as a root canal, who struggle to find a type of exercise they enjoy let alone one that will become part of their daily routine. If you’re one of those people, statistically you’re in the majority not the minority.
So how do we master motivation? How do we find that internal spark that gets us out of bed in the morning and into a pair of tennis shoes?  I’m glad you asked, because I don’t think it’s as complicated as it seems.
 Ten Tips to Get You Motivated:

  1. Make it something you enjoy! The bottom line is that motivation comes naturally when we enjoy something. The key is to find something you enjoy, even if it means thinking outside of the box. Exercise is any form of structured movement, and structured movement could be as simple as walking through your neighborhood after work, or it could be structured activity that is broken in smaller increments for those who are time pressed. An example would be: 10 minutes of your favorite cardio DVD to get you energized before work, 10 minutes of a strength training DVD in the afternoon to get you pumped up for your evening activities, and 10 minutes of yoga before you go to bed. Anything that gets your body moving will boost your metabolism. You can’t go wrong.
  2. Options are not an option! Variety is key when it comes to exercise. If you do the same thing day after day eventually you suffer burn out and you don’t see results. Worse yet, you go through the motions and that’s anything but exciting. Change up your workouts to keep your body guessing and your mind active.
  3. Timing is key! There’s no right time to work out, just the time that’s right for you. That said, you have to find that magic time that fits into your schedule. Once you do, write out your game plan for the week, or month if possible, and stick to it. If you try to “fit in exercise,” chances are it won’t happen, but if you schedule it, it’s a pretty sure bet that it will become part of your routine. We all thrive off of routine.
  4. It has to be convenient. Chances are, if the gym is 30 minutes away it doesn’t matter if your favorite instructor is there, or your best friend works out there, it’s not convenient and our lives are too busy and demanding to expect that we will sacrifice time, energy, and cost of travel. Set up your living room or bedroom for your workouts, or find a gym nearby.
  5. Value is vital. If exercise is going to become an integral part of your life, it has to hold personal value. In other words, you have to believe it’s worth it and that you’re worth the time it takes. There are few situations where I will allow something to disrupt my exercise routine because exercise is my lifeline. I’ve lost too many people in my life to preventable disease and I know all too well that exercise is my most powerful defense. That beats burly biceps any day.
  6. Ask a friend to join you. We’re social creatures, and we enjoy things that we can do and share with others. Friends are also great at keeping us accountable and giving us that extra push. Whether you share a workout in your basement, or at the gym, it’s not only an activity to get you both healthy; it’s an excuse to spend time together.
  7. Tackle your goals. Before you begin, start by setting one or two SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. Example: I want to perform 30 minutes of light resistance training three days per week, at a moderate intensity. The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. No goal is too small, but big, overwhelming goals can be discouraging.
  8. Invest in good workout wear. A new pair of supportive shoes and a cute outfit or two is not only motivating; it’s worth it. If we’re comfortable and we feel good about what we’re wearing, we’re more likely to want to look forward to exercise.
  9. Own your barriers. Know what gets in your way… work, time, fatigue, etc. Write out your barriers, those things that pull you away and challenge your motivation. Then write out ways you will overcome those barriers. We all have barriers, but if we plan ahead and strategize how we’re going to deal with them, that’s more than half the battle.
  10. Never let someone make you feel guilty. I’ve been told countless times, “I wish I had time to workout.” This is generally a statement by someone who doesn’t value exercise; therefore they don’t make the time. We all have the same number of hours in a day and if we value something we make time for it, bottom line. You don’t need to feel guilty for taking care of yourself, so you can better care for others. Kudos, for striving to be your best.
Best in Health~

                  Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

                   

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                  Three Tips for Holiday Happiness

                  by Angie Miller

                  Angie Miller

                  Let today be the day you learn the grace of letting go and the power of moving on.” Steve Maraboli

                  I teach a course in Stress Management, and one of my favorite topics is the power of acceptance and the ability to let go of that which we cannot change. Acceptance frees us from the emotional chains that bind us to situations, events, and losses in our lives over which we have no control. Whether it’s the loss of a job, a relationship, a valuable possession, an unrealized dream, or one’s health, with acceptance comes the ability to let go of unresolved emotions that hold our heart hostage. Acceptance allows us to make peace with our situation, without resentment, hostility, or even pity; and to move forward with hope for a brighter future.

                  Acceptance isn’t something that happens overnight. Depending on the situation or loss, it may take days, weeks, or even years to realize. But acceptance can be nurtured and we can learn to make peace with our past. Here a few tips:

                  1. Practice the Art of Courage. First, realize that acceptance isn’t about giving up or surrendering. Acceptance is about recognizing that sometimes it takes more strength to let go of a situation, person, or past event than it does to hold on. Acceptance is about courage, our ability to move forward through the uncertainty of change, and our strength to adapt to what lies ahead.

                  2. Practice the Art of Forgiveness. Acceptance and forgiveness go hand in hand. Sometimes we have to let go of mistakes and realize that we did the best we could with what we knew at the time. Sometimes we need to let go of transgressions that others commit against us and refuse to take refuge in our pain. Forgiveness is critical to learn from our past. It frees us from emotional debts that hold us back, and it empowers us to move forward.

                  3. Practice the Art of Perspective. Acceptance is a choice. We can choose to accept or choose to resist, but either way change will take place. When we accept, we choose to embrace the change with a new attitude. This attitude gives us perspective. No matter what the loss or hardship we experience in life, chances are we come away with more insight, compassion, and confidence in our ability to rebound. As psychiatrist Victor Frankl once said, “If there’s meaning in life, there must be meaning in suffering.”


                  Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. Unknown.

                  Here’s to Letting Go~

                  - Angie

                  Angie Miller is the star and creator of the Bedroom Body™ Workout and other top selling exercise DVD’s. Passionate about fitness and education, Angie teaches at Northern Illinois University and is a Certification Specialist for the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). She is a freelance writer, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and proud mom. Learn more about Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

                  By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, fitness, Healthy, holiday, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more
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