The Relentless Pursuit of Greatness

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My husband drives me crazy. He never writes anything down. Not a single reminder. Not even a note in his phone. He laughs at all my list making. So what.

The Secret to Achieving Your Goals

Now, I imagine if you are reading this, the headline got you and you are looking to achieve something great. Weight loss? More money? Better relationships? Peace of mind? Whatever you are attempting to get better at, it helps to set goals. Here is the formula I found works for anything I want to achieve and it is a mash up of some of the best advice and tips from experts throughout history on how to go about setting and achieving goals. 

Scientific behavioral studies at Harvard have proven that those who WRITE down their SPECIFIC and ACHIEVABLE goals increase their chances 10 fold.   I add that WRITING and SPEAKING your goals OUT LOUD with emotion each day in the morning (and maybe in the evening too) increases your success even further.

It’s simple, it’s easy and here is how it works.

STEP 1. SET PRECISE and MEASURABLE goals that you are CONFIDENT that you can achieve.

For example: I want to lose five (5) pounds by Thanksgiving, November 25, 2015.

body weight

I found this free Body Weight Planner recommended by Shape Magazine and developed  by the National Institute for Health with the help of Dr. Kevin Hall’s research group for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to better understand how diet and exercise quantitatively contribute to weight loss and weight loss maintenance.

According to this calculator, I’ll achieve this measurable goal if I walk/hike and run at a moderate jogging pace for 60 minutes a day seven (7) days a week consuming no more than 1,955 calories a day. I calculate this is a loss of .75 (3/4) of a pound a week.

STEP 2.WRITE them down on paper (or in your phone) and keep them in CLEAR site. READ the goal OUT LOUD each morning.

Me in the mirror every morning:

I will be 123 pounds by Thanksgiving in 48 days by following these easy steps to achieve this weight. I will practice self-discipline and design my days around achieving this goal. Relentlessly.

STEP 3.BREAK down the goal and REMOVE all obstacles involved in the process of achieving it.

Each Bite Counts

Each day, I commit to counting calories – the LoseIt App is wonderful for this, as is the FitBit calorie tracker. You can also use a note book. Here are 5 great calorie counting sites/apps that you might want to try. I will jot down what I ate or take a photo of what I ate to calculate my calorie intake every day.

What if it’s raining?

How will I make SURE that I get in a 60 minute moderate run/hike each day? What if it rains and I can’t go outside? Will I go to the gym? Do I have a way of doing this at home in the house?  Will I ask a friend to hold me accountable? Will I get it out of the way every morning? What if I am traveling?

Have a PLAN to REMOVE every obstacle.

No more chips. Damn.

I eliminate all refined carbohydrates from my daily meals. No breads, crackers, chips, cookies, etc. I will try to each a very healthy, plant-based meal with protein three (3) times a day and limit by alcohol to 1 glass of white wine. I will consume no more than 1,955 calories a day.

STEP 4.READ your goal OUT LOUD every morning and include HOW you will FEEL when you achieve your GOAL.

Me, in my head all day long:

I will look and feel amazing in my jeans, feel lighter on my feet and freer and more energetic. All that movement will also help me feel less anxious and healthier at 123 lbs.

Inspired by Executive Toughness: The Mental-Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance

You can do this four step process with anything you want to achieve, including making new friends, getting a raise, building a business, whatever. The secret is a mindful attention with intention and focus on your goal.

toughness

Visit Jason’s website here

This gem of a book by Napoleon Hill  Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

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And the book that inspired me to lose 25 lbs last year.

The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman

four hour

10 Super Simple and Easy Ways to Drastically Improve Your Workout

fitness-061. Build Your Mind Muscle. Meditate your way to a deep sleep every night. In order to have a great workout routine, you must have a nightly relaxation ritual that does not include a couple of drinks to calm you down. Some of the best guided meditations for sleep and relaxation are here.

2. Be your Own Best Coach – but first you must listen to how you feel. Do you hold any guilt, anger, resentment? You can’t carry that extra weight to the gym. It’s not like fat that you can burn off. That baggage is heavy and more exhausting to schlep around than those extra pounds.

 

Really get a sense of how you feel during the day. Log those emotions. Do you tighten up when you see your coworker? Feel anxious when someone stands just a bit too close on the train? Feel like you want to choke the loud cell phone talker on the street in front of you? Those emotions are invaluable. They’re keys to the things that will really improve your life if you dig into them, because those kinds of emotional responses that we quickly temper are signs of an internal disagreement.

More on how to be your own life coach here.

Remember, resolving the internal disagreements that lead to unhealthy emotions and choices  are vital for improving your life.

3.You can’t head to the gym in your paint-stained sweat pants that double as your bathroom/kitchen cleaning outfit. Eventually you will want to go pro and prepare with the right workout gear. This includes clothes, water, podcast or music playlist, headphones, FitBit, etc.

My favorite picks for the gym here and more here –

 1

Nike Team Training Gymsack Black/White Size One Size

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Nike Women’s Free 5.0+ Running Shoe

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Aquasana AQ-6006-BLU-TR 18-Ounce Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve, Blue

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Champion Women’s Absolute Workout Capri Legging

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Champion Women’s Absolute Workout Sports Bra, Black, Medium

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adidas Performance Women’s 24 Seven Deep V-Neck Tee, Midnight Grey, Large

4. Play the Leading Role in The Award-winning Film of Your Life – This is what worked for me. Weigh yourself, look in the mirror, see yourself as you are now.You are the star. This your time. Every day.  Then, in your mind, see yourself as you want to be. Visualize yourself. Want to drop 10, 20, 50 pounds or more, fit into a tight tee shirt or just feel more energized?  List the things you must do to become who you want to be. Write them down. Now do one simple thing each day on this list to get yourself closer to where you want to be during your workout. Note: you need to eat less to weigh less, so tracking calories for a 500 deficit each day is imperative to losing weight. Do this in conjunction with your work out if you want to lose weight.

5. Talk to YourselfIncessantly. I repeat the following to myself every time I walk into the gym. 123 Tone. That’s my goal weight of 123 pounds and my tone body. I have linked it to the photo of myself in my mind of what I look and feel like at 123 pounds with slim tone arms, a flat stomach and strong legs. Keep that vision in front of you as you work out. See yourself slipping into those jeans.

6.Set a time limit and and a target list of what you will perform while you are at the gym- don’t leave until you are done. Today my goal was 60 full minutes of cardio and three rounds of 22 push ups, 60 and sit-ups. Although I fought it – yes, I really did want to leave early, I did not walk out the door until I finished. It wasn’t easy.

7. Listen to Someone Motivating. If you have a smart phone, down load a motivating podcast to listen to while you are on the treadmill.  My favorite todayThe Good Life Project. Click here for more.

8.Sweat and track you success daily. I have come to understand that if I am not sweating or getting really heated up during at least a part of my workout, than, I are not working out hard enough. You have to push yourself.  But first you must know your target heart rate. It is a very simple calculation and you can find it at Every Day Health, here. After working out a while, you will be able to physically tell if you are in fat-burning mode by the way your body feels.

9. Switch it up. Do not do the same thing every day. You will get bored and you will not optimize your workout. Try new machines and classes, today I did 20 minutes on the tread mill -a set of sit-ups and push ups and then 20 minutes on the Elliptical followed by another set of sit-ups and push ups and then another 20 minutes on the other machine that looks like the Elliptical but it’s a stair climber thing. Play with the buttons on the treadmill – build an incline, jog for a minute, slow walk, then speed walk, etc.

10.  Move Every Single Day. Do something active every single day. I work out every day but every day is just bit different. One day is a 5-7 mile walk with hills and stairs, another a day at the gym, another is Spinning class, etc. I don’t take a day off from movement and do not believe it would help if I did.

Do you have a workout tip that is simple, easy and effective? I would love to learn from you, so please share in the comments below.

Zero Calorie Foods, If/Then Snacking, Saying Grace and 3 Fab NYC Kitchen Supply Stores

 

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Have you ever noticed how extremely grateful dogs seem to be when you throw them a bone or dish up their chow?

Like they are eating for the very first time.

Saying Grace

Taking a moment of gratitude before each meal is a mindful and thoughtful approach to eating and enjoying time together. I’ve noticed a few times that this can make guests at the table a little uncomfortable. Perhaps they don’t want to say grace to a God they don’t know. Or perhaps they don’t know what to say, or maybe how to lead the prayer.

Saying grace or taking a moment to pause before dining together, can be as simple as bowing heads or holding hands and saying thank you to each other and the host. Each culture has a unique way to pray. One of my favorite mealtime prayers. . .

Let us be together; let us eat together.

Let us be vital together, let us be radiating truth, radiating the light of life.

Never shall we denounce anyone, never entertain negativity.
      The Upanishads

Snack Struggles

Okay, so here is my new If/Then algorithm for snacking. If I want a bag of salty Kettle chips, then I snack on cucumber slices with sea salt. I don’t think I will ever give up my search for nutrient dense snacks pack as much gratification as a bag of potato chips. I found this Zero Calorie Food chart today on Rodale’s site, (publishers of Prevention Magazine). Click here for the full article. With the exception of the celery, these foods are lower in calories than most. For example, a cup of apricot is about 79 calories.

Zero calorie

If you are visiting New York this upcoming holiday season and you are looking for unique gifts or something special for yourself, I have three timeless and classic Manhattan favorites that are all so very close to each other  and located in the Flatiron district right below Madison Park, home of the original Shake Shack, which by the way is open until Christmas. I’m curious, what are some of your favorite places to shop in your town/city village for kitchen tools and table settings?

Whisk at 933 Broadway

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Fish Eddy’s 889 Broadway

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ABC Carpet 888 Broadway

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ABC

A Super Simple Way to Prepare Farm Fresh Vegetables

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You know that wonderful feeling that bubbles up when you go to a fresh farm stand on the side of the road and you load up on your favorite vegetables? Still covered with dirt, very much “in season” and obviously locally grown.  Juicy, ripe healthy tomatoes, corn, spinach, broccoli, beets, carrots, onions, cilantro, radishes, peppers, squash, etc., stacked chin-high in old wooden crate bins.

You haven’t even started cooking and your soul feels nourished. The smells, the colors, the textures. Yes, this is how food is suppose to be. Like you’re deliberately shopping for something very wholesome and pure for yourself. In my mind, this is where nourishment begins.

radish

I have a favorite “health food” grocer in town but I stay away from this isle on the left. The plastic jars, the amber bottles and the supplements with names and claims that are absolutely daunting to comprehend. This aisle gives me a headache. I find it incredibly ironic that a “natural” market would have so many processed products. Take a real mindful look at the photo above. Do you get the same feeling when you are bagging a bunch of fresh radishes as when you are  reading the back of a supplement box? Probably not.

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I obviously love vegetables and share one of my favorite and easiest ways to prepare them so you can nourish yourself all week long.

Grilled Vegetables Marinated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Roasted Garlic

Step 1

Put on your favorite play list, pure a glass of wine and wash, chop and dry your favorite vegetables.

Step 2

Heat up the grill while you chop and saute fresh garlic in a teaspoon or so of olive oil. The more garlic the better as far as I am concerned.

Step 3

Grill vegetables, let them cool a bit and then toss with garlic. Add a bit of oregano, garlic salt, pepper, fresh basil and turmeric to taste.

Pack them for lunch and eat them with dinner all week long.

Tips

Don’t procrastinate and wait a few days to clean and cook your harvest or you will feel guilty about wasting them. With the exception of potatoes and onions, real food doesn’t last for weeks in the fridge.

Do bulk up and prepare enough for the week.

Do chop and slice them according to how they will cook on the grill and keep the red onions thick or they will fall into the fire.

Do store in glass containers that are oven proof so you can continuously warm them up during the week.

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My favorite

New Snaplock Lid: Tempered Glasslock Storage Containers 20pc set~Microwave & Oven Safe

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Do add love and mindfulness to your cooking and eating

 

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Read How to Eat (Mindful Essentials) by Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Success with a Strong Sense of Urgency

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It’s a sad thought, but true just the same.  The world has lied to us about what is really important in our lives. If you are working as hard as most and wondering what this is all about and if you have a dream bigger than your 9-9 day job, read on.

I am sharing some very practical and inspiring advice on how to break through your procrastination which will help you build the success you need to get where you want to be. Whether it’s a more meaningful existence,  10 lbs lighter, scaling your business growth or meeting the mate of your dreams. Whatever you want in life, you can have it faster if you create a stronger call-to-action.

Tragic Loss Forces You To Move

What you are going to do is simulate natural occurrences before they actually happen.  You see, when life throws you a fast and furious curve ball and disastrous things happen, a strong sense of urgency is created. Decisions have to be made and you must act, no matter what. You were let go from work, hit hard by the flu, heart-broken by your cheating ex., things change fast and in an instant, and so you must.

Fabricating a Sense of Urgency and Creating An Enormous Call to Action

Here are a few ways in which you will find success in recreating (that is on purpose) a “mock” sense of urgency, a manufactured moment when your priorities become paramount, which will help you break through to change and create the life you really want.

Once you stop wasting energy fabricating excuses, you can start spending energy creating victories.

armada-invencible-pintura--644x362Burn the Boats

Do something that makes it impossible for you to change your plans and go back to the situation you were in before. Break up with the bastard, donate those donuts to a food kitchen, tell your boss your leaving at 6 pm to get to the gym because your health matters.

c167b171-729a-feab-0b5e-5b246d9f7ba0_AMC_TWD_Gallery__Zombies_Upshot_1745gn_V1Create a Very Frightening Story

Go ahead, make a really frightening movie in your mind about what will happen in the future if you continue to smoke two packs a day, day-to-night drink every weekend or eat another slice of dollar pizza at your desk. What will fall to pieces? What will your bad habits drive you to if you don’t make this change?

photoStart all Over

Louis C.K. practices throwing out all of his best material each year,  challenging himself to create better stand up material. Reframe your ambitions with a beginner’s mind.

Ask Yourself Ambitious Questions

What would I do with that five thousand dollar raise I’m going to ask for? Where will I vacation after we hit the million customer mark? What would I create if I had better PhotoShop skills?

No Plan B with a Hard Deadline

You just don’t have one because retreat isn’t an option. Similar to burning the boats but with more deliberate intention. The pain of action is nothing compared to what if feels like to quit. Setting a painfully precise hard deadline holds you accountable and helps keep you from distraction and confusion about your goals.

Do you have any tips to add to this list? What have you tried to spark action in your life? If so, please share it. I would love to hear from you.

Robots Serving Fast-Food Quinoa Bowls in San Francisco

Eatsa is using technology like iPads VS actual wait staff in San Francisco. Unlike these droids serving up delicacies in China.
droids
At Eatsa’s automat it’s pretty simple, once you place your order at a kiosk, you pick it up a few minutes later behind a glass door. The only people in sight are the “concierges”, who can answer questions like those at CVS and Home Depot who are there to service those who are frustrated at the idea of self-checkout. From what I understand, there is still the prep work that needs to be done, and that is the reason for the  dozen or so staff in the kitchen. Eatsa is the brainchild of Scott Drummond, a techie focused on data-driven results. He says forgoing meat, along with staff, helps keep the cost of goods down.
Grains Packed with Protein
Eatsa serves up Keenwah or properly spelled “Quinoa” is known for its high protein content, and with good reason. The seed (yes, it’s technically a seed—not a grain) contains eight grams of protein per cup. Plus, it’s considered a complete protein, meaning it packs all nine essential amino acids your body needs. But it’s definitely not the only grain stand-in out there that’s loaded with protein. In fact, these five options—spelt, kamut, teff, amaranth, and sorghum—all contain even more protein than quinoa.
 protein grains
Automats in Amsterdam
The concept is not new at all. Here we see Audrey Hepburn at a Hort & Hardart’s Automat in the 1950’s.
Audrey Hepburn
In Amsterdam, the automat has been the heart and soul of FEBO for over 40 years. In 1960, pastry chef J.I. de Borst was the first in the Netherlands to transform his pastry-snack business into a fast, “hit-and-run” snack bar, in which the automat played a starring role. He attributes his success to a focus on quality, a top priority for him since he started out in 1941 in Maison Febo in Amsterdam. Over the years, FEBO has grown to become a concern with franchises all over the Netherlands. Mr. de Borst has never outsourced the production of his snacks.
    1222411153878_fWith collaborative workplace with locations around the world, WeWork has been playing around with the concept of automated snacks and healthy food since 2013 with their Honesty Markets. I started an experiment in 2012 called The Original Snack Cart in 2012 at WeWork. Honestly, I can tell you, our research showed a spike in sales when healthy fare was served with a smile.
WeWork Honesty Market

Eating at Airports and Healthier Chow for Commuters

plane

I have been spending way too much time passing through airports this summer. I love to travel, but the food options along the way, let alone the lack of hospitality, leave much to be desired.

I’d like to think that I’m that girl that packs a healthy lunch from home for the plane, but I’m not.

The Commuter Chow Dilemma

In my humble opinion, airport food options haven’t gotten any healthier, tastier or better. When it comes to eating on the go, this whole “food revolution” might just be a farce.  It’s just pretty packaging and pricey promotion. Shake Shack – the new modern roadside burger – is simply a replacement for the old McDonalds brand. Exotic veggie chips-  just another processed fattening mindless bag of nothingness –  a big fat “0” of nutrients.

The shelves and signage look prettier – with better eye-popping packaging to lure you in with sugar-dense, dried-fruit (kettle-cooked??) candy replacements –

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Fattening Nuts – Weighing the Options

These pumpkin seeds and “healthy nuts” should come with a high calorie – extremely fattening warning. 1 cup of seeds = 747 calories.

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Wait! Terra chips seem to be “high fiber”. 12 grams per serving.

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Photo from the bathroom plane – an ashtray in the door?  – smoking was banned in 1988 – wait, but this means my plane is over 25 years old.

I’d love to hear from nutritionists on what the healthiest food options are for airport travel. Do we have to pack our own snacks?

a total mind and body transformation

Beans-and-Legumes

Around this time last summer I decided to make some major changes in my life.

I knew the changes had to begin from what I was doing daily and I had to get real honest with myself.  Sitting at my desk, working ten hours or more a day in front of a screen just took a toll on my entire being.

These changes included a new way of eating, exercising, working, living and thinking. Yes a complete mind/body transformation. Ever since, I have been determined and devoted to creating what I call “daily result rituals” and habits to help continue to move me in a healthier and happier direction.

It’s an ongoing quest and I hope to share some of the people, strategies, books, podcasts and other influences that have helped me along the way. My main goal is to be the best version of myself that I can be and to be an inspiration to others.

For starters, I just knew that feeling great about my body would help boost my confidence, so I started with a new way of eating.  I have had tremendous success (read:25 lbs lighter) by following the slow carb diet from Tim Ferriss (check him out on Twitter @tferriss). The slow carb diet involves managing your insulin levels by avoiding grains, fruit and sugar and replacing them with vegetables and legumes.

Now at the same time, I knew that I would benefit from a mental diet, so I followed The 7 Day Mental Diet by Emmet Fox. This was more difficult than shedding pounds because more often than not, I lived “behind enemy lines” inside my head and the worry, fear and anxiety was just tremendous. I had to start the mental diet three times before I got through 7 days without obsessive worry.

I also started my own fitness training program, with some serious workouts seven days a week. I did say I’m determined right? More like relentless.

Prepare to blow your mind
The Seven Day Mental Diet: How to Change Your Life in a Week

Read & shed those pounds –
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman