12 Strategies to have a great new Year 2014!

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At the end of the last year, I spent a few weeks in Australia. Now the sudden drop in temperature from 34 C to 34 F plus jetlag has tested my body's resilience to stress and attacks on its immune system. I'm slowly acclimatizing and relaxed and recharged I wanted to share my go to list with you for a great new year 2014.

  1. Start anywhere: Around the New Year, we often get bogged down in expectations and resolutions lists. I say, don't get overwhelmed on New Year's Day by the gazillion things you feel you need to accomplish right away. Most likely you'll be tired after celebrating. So start anywhere... have a healthy late breakfast, do some yoga or go for a leisurely run. There are still 364 days in the year to come.
  2. Make a plan: They say slim people usually eat in a pretty boring way. It keeps your diet simple and less room for too much over-thinking (i.e. cravings, etc.). This doesn't mean that you should eat the same thing every day. But eating at set meal times, and keeping meal sizes the same from day to day along with keeping healthy staples at hand and a healthy exercise routine, will change the way you look and feel.
  3. When in doubt, meditate: Meditation can be done in many different ways, IMHO. Its health benefits are undisputed and clearing one's head is generally a good idea. Whether you have a set time and place each day to sit and breathe or if you swim/ run whilst solving the world's problems, find that me time and focus inward.
  4. Don't restrict yourself: On MBG's recent list of wellness trends to watch in 2014 they mentioned that the strict view on gluten, alcohol and other ingredients of life would probably loosen up! Amen! I think healthy eating is very individual and needs a lot of experimenting. There is no one-size-fits-all. Ultimately you have to be mindful of the quality of the things you bring into your life. Whether they are food groups or relationships.
  5. Foster healthy relationships: I have dealt with deceptive people and it wasn't nice. It was also very hard to break free. However each one of these relationships has taught me something... Now my gut usually tells me early on what to do. We are overwhelmed with the amount of people and information that we are surrounded by. Pick and choose and make sure you spend quality time with the people who add the most (love) to your life.
  6. Read and Write: This is a petpeeve of mine, but seriously. Have you recently read a book? Not just an article online, a buzzfeed post linked on Facebook? Have you picked up a pen and written a thoughtful note, a letter or postcard? Maybe in the future, we won't need to anymore, however I would rather receive a love letter than an email. And smelling a book still excites me more than a kindle... Just sayin'.
  7. Spend time in nature: Yes, the local park counts. But try and be mindful of the time you spend there. Even in the winter, you can go for a walk. A friend of mine suggested hiking with our dogs in the summer. Time flew by and the landscape was breathtaking... and literally breathless, we got good exercise in, too. Nature's beauty gives us a different perspective on urban life, with its wide unpopulated areas which is very calming.
  8. Act in a respectful manner: Listen rather than speak, hold the door for someone, sit down for a meal and leave the phone in your bag. Manners have changed, there are a lot of things we would need to add to classic etiquette with subway seats and cell phones on tables. But the underlying sentiment is still the same. Make things easier for someone else, listen to them and make them feel appreciated and it will come back tenfold.
  9. Look forward not back: I am the queen of what-ifs, shoulda, coulda, woulda and regrets. It's a hard thing to shake. However, what's done is done. If you have hurt someone and are aware of it, apologize and make amends. However if all the looking back is about life choices, STOP! Nobody's perfect. Nobody's expected to be... You can make better mistakes tomorrow :)
  10. Listen to music: Regardless of what kind of music you like but it will usually have some effect on you. When you are tired, it can wake you up, music will push you through a run or other exercise, soothing music will help you release sadness or anger. Classical music may help you study or work. Go on now, switch on that radio, iTunes or Spotify and enjoy.
  11. Stop fretting about the future: Again, check no. 9... I am learning to live and be present. To lay the groundwork for things to happen but not forcing them to. I am learning to let the best outcome come to me, whether that is what I expected or not and accept it. It is hard and it takes time. And I won't always know why a disappointing outcome may not have been good for me if reversed... But the things that come in its place are looking to be pretty good!
  12. Go mirror-less: Have you noticed that when you go away on a vacation, you can probably go for a full day without really looking in the mirror? Well if you don't do that, try it! I'm sure you can do your morning routine and then resist looking in the mirror and checking on your appearance too often. It feels good! Trust that you look good, feel what your body needs (hand cream, lipbalm, a glass of water) and stay away from the selfies for a few hours...

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2014! xxR

Success Factors - Five Ways to "get there"...

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How do you define success? What are the factors? In our humble society, the word success almost takes on a dirty meaning. I personally prefer to talk of progress, which I define as small successful steps towards my very own goals. Success and the relief, power, satisfaction and other things we attribute to it, can be scary if we don't put it in perspective. As an athlete, my ultimate goal was to participate in the Olympics but I also know many of my former team mates, who did, and the satisfaction from having participated or like these two, having won the Gold Medal in Beijing (Britta & Lena), wears off and makes room for other superlatives to try to reach. It is an ongoing journey and we need to acknowledge that.

I wasn't always this relaxed about things. I would push and shove and train hard. I had the biggest falling out of my teenage years with my coach when he told the then national coach to go to hell and not enroll me on the team in early 1997 (I was 15) because he didn't want me to compete internationally at that young age. I threw a tantrum, I cried, I sulked and I hated him. Ultimately he was right. It would have been too soon. Being on the team meant that the national coach took over from mine and dictated my schedule, with very little room for negotiation. If that meant World Cups throughout the winter, that also meant there was no solid time for me at home to still build my strength, stamina and ultimately all things that made me the well rounded athlete I became later on. When I joined the team 8 months later, I learned first hand how painful it could be to train with someone who didn't care that I was still growing, that I needed adequate rest time and couldn't be partnered up with 17 year young men in little competitive races, swimming and running while reminding me that as a representative of my country, giving up was NOT an option.

At a particularly grueling workshop the boys, who swam the 200 m freestyle in 20-30 seconds faster than me, had to swim 10 sets of 50 meters diving and then 50 meters sprint. Myself and them had the same 'go times' of every 2:30 minutes which meant that they had ample time to recover after each set but my rest time vanished into thin air with each one. The same was true for the 400 meter runs we had to do every day. A week later at the European Championship I swam the worst time of that year and ran a minute slower than ever, with the first three contestants finishing in my usual time. In his defense, my coach did not say "I told you so"...

I digressed a little. Nowadays as a business owner and working my own hours and being solely responsible for my success, it has been hard to be patient. I have touched on patience in a different post but it is not the only thing that I had to apply to remind myself that success can be measured in different ways.

  1. Why only have big goals? Focus on smaller attainable goals and celebrate when you get there.
  2. Talk and listen. We don't like to take advice from parents but we can learn from other people and sometimes simply because they see us from the outside and assess the situation more clearly.
  3. Realize that it is a process. Last week I received a text message from a great woman I work with that she had to buy smaller pants. We've worked together for some time but not too long. This is amazing and the fact that it took some time means it will stick.
  4. Don't compare. Hey, I'm the most competitive woman on the planet so that's hard. Ultimately its two things: there is enough success for everyone (no, really!) AND be kind, because everyone out there is fighting a tough battle (too).
  5. ... which brings us to this: Be KIND to yourself. Because if you're not, why should others be? Don't beat yourself up. Things take time, especially the lasting ones. Fighting yourself can - at the worst - result in self sabotage or self fulfilling prophecies. Try my advice for stressful situations and keep soldiering on.

I think you're great! Please share some successes with me in the comments, pass on the post, like it, and if you haven't yet and want more info from me, sign up for my newsletter on the homepage!

PS: Zola learned how to balance on her hind legs. Success!

xxR

New Beginnings - How to embrace them

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I have only been back in the training business since April this year and I'm loving it. Not being tied to a desk and working as a personal trainer is the best thing that has happened to me. With summer coming to an end and a new moon happening tomorrow, I only found it apt to reflect on new beginnings and the past few months.

"A New Beginning usually happens at the end of another New Beginning"

On September 5th we will have a Virgo new moon, which is here bringing into alignment and integration all we have been learning and growing into. We have been going through some deep shifts as we birth our new selves into being, shedding our skins in favor of  more authentic forms… (see this article on the Mystic Mamma blog).

For the last month or so I have been feeling this shift pretty intensely, After an initial 3 months of excitement, new things, new clients, I reached a plateau, which is good but I'm not quite where I want to be yet. I have more goals for the future, both practically such as finding a great indoor space to work at in the winter as well as where my personal growth is concerned. Part of that personal growth is to embrace patience and impermanence.

Even though I am not always fond of new beginnings/ change, I like new moons, they feel cleansing, powerful, like a clean slate. I have used them in the past to re-evaluate, to get back on track and to listen deep inside me to see if I'm still following my intuition. And with each new moon, usually something happened, sometimes bigger, sometimes subtle but always valuable. So I'm excited to see what happens after tomorrow.

Each new moon that I consciously paid attention to, has also taught me a thing or two. Here are 5 things that I continue to find valuable:

  1. Change makes us uneasy but since it is happening anyway, embracing it, is the easier path.
  2. Someone has been in that situation before and has experience but that doesn't mean that the way they dealt with it, has to be my way.
  3. Patience means resting assured that if it's not the new beginning that we wanted this time, it will still happen in the future.
  4. Trusting that the best possible outcome for us will happen, is something we can learn from the "Urvertrauen" (basic trust in the goodness of existence) that children have.
  5. Getting rid of some old stuff, baggage etc. is GOOD and feels even better.

My next four weeks will be dedicated to training for the 5k race that I mentioned recently (see below).