Mental Fitness

Our Kids Are Inheriting Our Weighty Issues

kid scaleWould you be able to live without your scale?

If I put you on a workout and eating plan for 30 days and told you that you could not weigh yourself, would you be able to do it?

A lot of people in our 30 day flip program struggle with not being allowed to weigh themselves for 30 days.

Has this little devices that sit on your bathroom floor taken on a massive role in your day to day life? At some point in time our scales have become a digital morality compass on which we stand every morning to receive our verdict.

There you are a NEW day ahead of you holding your breath until that number reveals what type of mood you are going to be in today!

The worse is you could have been a “saint” narrowly avoiding the birthday cake in the lunch room yesterday but if that scale does not budge you are immediately stripped of your sainthood. You have done something “WRONG” and with a frustrated shrug of the shoulders and a few choice words you step off the scale carrying an even greater sense of weight, torment.

It is time to start asking some questions about your relationship with that pesky friend the scale. The one you are so oddly attracted to  and despite your years of wrestling and quarrels you have never let go of this dysfunctional relationship.

When did we start using the scale as a compass for what to eat or NOT to eat?

Well remember when you were a kid do you ever remember overhearing the adults say “oh my kids can eat whatever they want and not gain a thing”  OR “I do not know where they put all that food they must have a wooden leg”. Our society is hyper sensitive to the relationship between food and weight. It often seems like the only conversation we have when it comes to food and our health.

Our society believes a lie.

If you are not overweight your food choices are healthy or good.

If you are overweight your food choices are unhealthy or bad.

Why did my hotel room at a recent fitness conference I attended have a SCALE in it? I cannot even take a vacation from my scale anymore.

Whether my kid is struggling with their weight or not, FOOD has way greater consequences than weight.  Why has weight become our measuring stick for a healthy life?

Food can have a far greater impact on the things that really matter in this life.

Like energy levels, mental capacity, attention span, and emotional health.  All of which cannot be measured on a scale. Have we perhaps become hyper focused on the longer term consequences of poor food choices? That we are missing the impact my food choices today can have on me today!

How much longer are we going to allow the scale to act as our moral compass?

How much longer are we going to teach our kids that food choices should be solely based on whether a particular food makes you “fat” or “skinny”?

Being hyper focused on weight does not seem to be helping the obesity epidemic.  It is time to celebrate non scale victories and talk about all the HEALTH issues good quality food can HEAL.  Yes food heals.  Food restores. Food nourishes. Lets talk about what we are FOR not what we are against.

When our 5 year old  ask “hey Dad is this good for me?” I will tell him how the food will make him feel today.  Then let him decided if he wants to feel that way.

“Dad is this apple good for me?”

“Well that apple is going to make your tummy feel good, it is going to give you energy to jump on the bouncy castle and it is going to help you learn at school.

“What about this chocolate bar Dad?”

“Well that chocolate bar is going to taste really good but also soon after it will make you pretty tired it won’t really fill you up either you will probably need something to eat again soon.”

At our dinner table there is a lot of muscle flexing that goes on. As we feel how strong we are getting as we eat certain foods. Weight is never a topic. Neither is food morality. Food does not make you good or bad. We really do not make a big deal out of it.  As a result our kids do not either.

How many times has the scale thwarted your plans to get healthy? How many times has it made you give up? I am not saying to never measure this component of fitness I AM SAYING stop using it as the ONLY thing you feel like you can never measure up to. The more you feel like you NEED the scale the LESS you should be using it. It is simple the more REAL food you eat the more UNREAL you are going to feel. Whether you are standing on a scale or not your body has a way of balancing these things out so get out off the scale and get into the kitchen for some food that is going to make you feel GREAT today!

How To Deal With People Who Suck The Life Out Of Your Goals.

Dealing With People That Suck The LifeHave you ever been PUMPed up about making things happen in your life, only to have your balloon deflated by an unsupportive loved one, friend, co-worker, or even someone you barely know?

I have been asking my clients to do three things when they start a program with me.

Be Patient,

Be Persistent,

and go about it quietly.

I do not care how excited you are, do not let your excitement spill over into a facebook update.  There is no need to make an announcement about your newest venture. Nor is everybody entitled to an explanation surrounding your new behaviours.

Rather I would ask you to guard your heart and this decision closely.

Why?

Real change is a very private affair. When you truly decide to go about making a change it needs to be set apart, it needs to hold a position of honor. It is an agreement that you have made for yourself, to better yourself and only certain people are deserving of an invitation to walk along side you. I will give you a hint, it’s the supportive ones that get to come.

For me real change has always be prompted in my conversation with God. I have asked for freedom from something that is holding me back and God has opened my eye’s to see it; Given me the confidence to face it and the discipline to stick with it; As well as the reminders to come back to it when I have walked away from it.

I must honor and prioritizes the source of my revelation.

That means I do not need to explain myself, my agreement has been made with my maker and that is good enough for me.

What does this look like in real life? It means when I am out to lunch with friends and I pass on the bread bowl I do not need to explain why or announce I am doing so. When I decided attending my regular scheduled class at the gym is more important than an impromptu invite to a social engagement  a simple “I can’t make it” will do.

People are going to notice your efforts. They Will ask questions. When they ask talk about what you ARE doing, what you ARE eating. You do not need to mention what you are NOT doing, what you are AVOIDING.

For example, tell them how you are keeping hydrated and drinking lots of water. Do not tell them about how you have given up your wine for the month.

Sometimes your new venture can be something that convicts the people around you. It is something they want to do to but they are still in the “looking for a way out” phase.  If they can poke holes in your plans it means they can remain safe in their current comfort zones.  Sadly some people will hope that you fail. WHY? It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. If you fail it means staying where they are comfortable was a good decision on their part. However, if you succeed they are left out, left behind, as you move forward. Studies show time and time again we are most like those we surround ourselves with and if you are looking to harness some change in your life it means some people will get left behind in that “area” of your life. They no longer have access to the areas you have set apart.

As you step out to make CHANGE in your life you will quickly be able to decipher who has come with a FRESH AIR supply to help fill you with excitement and who is holding a pin ready to pop your balloon. As soon as you discern those “against” your plan consider the conversation over.  I do not mean be rude, stop talking, and give them the silent treatment.  It is simple, change the conversation. “Enough about that, did you see the weather we are in store for this weekend?”  Make a mental note. I will work patiently, I will work persistently, and as I go about it quietly my RESULTS and the CHANGE in me will SPEAK VOLUMES for me. Those that keep pressing you to announce and explain yourself will slowly lose access to you, they will eventually learn the conversation is OFF topic if they do not have anything positive to say.

The funniest things often happens when you dedicate yourself to this process.

You get results.

When someone asks you what you have been doing, although you are so acutely aware of how hard you have worked, you quietly respond, “Oh I have change the way I do some things.” Sometimes even the most unsupportive people will approach you sincerely and ask you how you did it. Right there in that moment you will receive your greatest reward, you get to INSPIRE someone else to do what you did. Work patiently, work persistently, and go about it quietly and let your transformation do the talking.

Keep at it friends, your victory is waiting.

 

How I Can Help You Fail : #thetrainerpledge

the trainer pledge

I sometimes feel alone in my failure.

I look at all the success around me and I assume I am the only one slipping up in the same pitfalls.

Plagued by the lack of organization; the piles of well-intended but unfinished projects; the harsh words exchanged; the missed opportunities;   I can fill the page with my daily failures. Do not make me do it to prove a point. I am a failure.

You have heard of the saying “Failure Is Not An Option” Well actually it is an option. An option I choose daily.  Why? Because I am human, I am flawed, and despite the incredible amount of time I apply to bettering myself I still do not believe there will come a day on earth where I will arrive. I won’t ever be PERFECT.

The minute I set my foot to the ground “selfish intent” will be waiting.

Sigh…Some mornings before my feet even touch the ground I make the mistake of firing up my phone and scrolling through my social media news feed. Right there before my eyes have even fully opened and adjusted to the glaring light I am reminded of my failure.

Well intentioned #fitpirations (fitness inspirations) highlight my #fails

“You will get a lot more compliments for working out, then you will for sleeping in.”

“Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.”

“Excuses are for people who do not want it bad enough”

“Unless you puke, faint, or die. Keep going.”

OUCH! The words that are in my head, right there in print, they must be true.  I did sleep in again, I am not working hard enough, I am lazy, so I might as well label myself “failure” and just throw in the towel and let all the “better” people claim their success.

Instead of these #fitspiration which I know are posted by trainers with the best intentions I am hoping we as fitness professionals will re-think them and the message they are sending.

This is #mytrainerpledge and I am hoping to inspire other fitness professionals to take it with me.

I will honour and respect the fact that I do not know your story or your current circumstances.

I will earn the right to have impact and influence in your life by showing that I care.

Just because I have navigated some fitness and health in my life it does not give me the right to barge into your life to tell you how it’s done and highlight all you have done wrong.

I will do my best to NOT point out your failures, because I believe you have gotten pretty good at that yourself.

I will help you see your untapped potential.

I will encourage you.

I will applaud your small steps.

Most of all I will sympathise with you, because I am a failure too.  I do not have it all figured out but what I am learning is to not let my failure shame me. To not let it hold me down. That my failure makes me no different than everyone around me, I am not alone.

We all fail daily.

We say inappropriate things.

We let our frustration out on the wrong people.

We make unwise choices.

We give into temptation.

We take the short cut.

We pretend we don’t see the person coming behind us because we don’t have time to hold the door.

We withhold.

We boast.

We give in.

We ignore.

We compete.

We put down.

We raise our voice.

Whatever failure you and I choose today it does not have to define us. We just have to choose daily to stand up to our failures and strive for more. To not allow the defeat that comes with failure to settle upon us. Together we can stand up, dust eachother off, receive forgiveness, and learn to be better failures. The truth is success does not mean we are free of failure. Success comes when we do not allowing our failure to dictate what we believe about ourselves.

We are forgiven.

We are free.

We are full of potential and possibility.

We thrive when surrounded by people who believe in us and are for us.

I pledge to do my best to call out what WE are for in your life, NOT point out what WE are against.

We can all learn to be better at failing. This is #mytrainerpledge.

What’s Wrong With These Bikes?

I have been a group exercise coordinator for a very long time.  Which means I manage the group exercise programs at the gym.

Here is something I come across A LOT, A LOT, did I say A LOT?

iphone pics 149What is that? Well my best answer is I do not know? My assumption would be it is a cluster of spin bikes that have been moved to the back of the spin room because they are not working correctly. My job? Solve the mystery.

Step One: Look in the bike maintenance binder to see what bikes need fixing.

I open the binder. Well that is funny because there is nothing written in the binder which means everything is functioning perfectly.

Step Two: Look at each bike to see if there is anything obvious broken.

Nope, after a little bit of searching and effort on my part nothing stands out.

Step Three: If time permits prior to my class climb on each of the bikes and ride them as you increase tension. Listen for any noises, feel for any issues.

Nope.

Step Four: Shrug shoulders in frustration wheel bike back to its position and hope it was just moved to wash the floor or something.

I find I can relate to this back row of bikes facing the wrong direction and begging for attention. Do you?

Often times when something is not working I find myself doing one of two things.

(1) Isolating myself because I feel I am not of any use to anyone.

(2) Making an emotional display of my displeasure in order to draw some attention.

Whether I choose the 1st or the 2nd behavior both of them get me back to the same place. Those around me will attempt to get me back in the game and when nothing is solved and I no longer appear or feel broken I will just be thrown back into the pack until the next time I try to be useful and my problems once again surface.

Two lessons my crazy mind sees in this back row of misfit bikes.

Lesson #1 The SPIN class called life can be grueling and if you are playing hard all the time things eventually will break, need replacing or repair, nourishment, some loving that’s just NORMAL.

Lesson #2 It’s my job when things are not working to COMMUNICATE what the problem is. Even if I a not exactly sure, sometimes there is so much squeaking, squealing, and misalignment you do not know where it is coming from BUT the more information I can share with the ones I love the better opportunity I am giving them to HELP me meet my needs.

What are your struggles when it comes to getting healthy?

Have you talked to the people around you about them?

Have you given them specific things they can do to help you?

Personally I isolate. My wife Jen is learning this about me and I am learning that if I cannot clearly communicate to her what I am dealing with that I need to tell her that. Sometimes that looks like “I am frustrated with __________ right now and I am praying for clarity. I am not sure what the root of it is. But when I know what it is I will tell you what you maybe able to do to help”

I find that talking it out with her will sometimes bring the clarity I need, which beats the isolation that solves nothing.

We are both getting better at asking “what can I do for you?” and then being specific about what that is.

SO what has you sidelined? Work on clarifying what the problem is. Pray about it. Then ask for specific HELP.

Clearly writing your problem in the bike maintenance binder means there is a much higher chance your issue will be addressed and you will be back in the pack moving forward longer before the next problem arises.

I love this point from Danny Silks “Keep Your Love On.”

“It’s my job to tell you what is going on inside of me, and your job to tell me what’s going on inside of you. We do not have powers of telepathy or the right to assume we know one another’s motives, thoughts, feelings, or needs.”

  

Be Like James : Lessons From A Dearly Missed Friend

Picture your dream home.

Now picture your outdoor space.

Imagine I have contracted a landscaper that is going to build you a fire pit.  Complete with retaining walls, gardens, end tables for your glass of wine, and those long backed adirondack chairs.

Don’t get me wrong, you are going to flip the bill, I am not paying for the landscaper.

But the finished product will be all yours to enjoy.

I just need you to pick out a spot in your yard and we can get started.

So have you picked a spot?

If you are anything like me I can see the spot you picked. In the backyard, maybe close to and nestled in with some trees.  A private space where you can invite “the good friends over” to laugh the night away, enjoy a glass of wine or cuddle with your partner, where you can spend a summer night roasting marshmallows with the kids.

That space you are imagining my friend James built it and all those moments you imagined in that space he did those too; With one simple difference.

He built it in his front yard. No he does not live without neighbors in the country either. He lives in a thriving busy subdivision.

K29

This is James sitting in that space a couple years ago.

Today he would have been 46 years old. We lost him 2 years ago after he spent 4 years battling cancer. That space is still there in his front yard and highlights one of the most admirable qualities you and I can learn from James.

James was a busy successful family man but he always made time to focus on what was most important, RELATIONSHIP.

One morning a couple years ago James who was running his business and suffering through the cancer treatments sent me a text. “HEY BRO!!!! Tea?”  I accept the invite and as I pulled into his driveway there he was sitting in the front yard. We joked, we laughed, we had some serious conversations too. Every once and awhile a neighbour would pass by and James would call out to them by name. “YO! YO! How’s it going?”

As we wrapped up our conversation, James asked where I was heading. Then he proceeded to tell me he was heading down to a BIG meeting in an hour. He would be presenting a proposal to a large company. I thought oh wow and hastily stood up with a sense of urgency, I talked too long, he has this big meeting, he needs to prepare, he needs time, I better get out of here.

James stood up casually and said “hey thanks for the visit, what’s the rush?” I asked him “well aren’t you nervous you have to present in an hour, I can’t believe you invited me over for tea.”

He casually shrugged and reached over to pat me on the back and give me a hug.

That moment has sat with me.

That day, if I were James, I would not have texted a friend for coffee. Not before a big meeting like that and a fight like cancer on my plate.

Instead I would be sitting in that chair in that comfortable isolated space I built in the backyard. Doing what you ask? Worrying, planning, and worrying. With whom you ask? By myself.

In your life today “Where are you sitting?”

Your dream house the one I asked you to picture, there is no sense in it. Not if you are going to sit in your backyard alone, worrying.

We have all become too busy for what really matters.

While you are sitting in your backyard trying to control and manage every detail of your life, you are missing out on the relationships and experiences sitting around the fire pit in your front yard.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Mathew 16:25

Whether you are able to admit it or not your heart’s greatest desire is relationship. Our worry has no value it just robs us of what matters most, the present.

When I worry, I spent less time with God, I shift my wife, my kids, my friends to another “less busy” day.

I withdraw,

I isolate,

I actually accomplish nothing.

There I sit in the backyard of my life. While James with much more to worry about built a space in his life for the things that mattered he built it right there smack dab in the middle of his front yard. I am not saying he did not worry he worried. But time and time again he chose to not let worry steal lives best moments from him.

James lived 44 FULL years. His cancer was not the catalyst that brought about his priority for relationship. His value for meaningful relationship was always there. When I met him at 16 years old, I was a shy awkward teen lacking a lot of confidence. James, treated me like he treated everyone else.

James invited people in, whatever went on in his life you could always find him right there with his legs up in the front yard and he would always offer you a seat.

Stop using your “too busy” as an excuse. James was busy and James never did. He always made time and he always had fun.

I once left a clipboard in a bag that belong to James.  He kept texting me to come pick it up. I kept saying ok, I will come and get it, I don’t need it right away.

He kept texting.

So I picked it up with a bunch of other stuff that I needed from him. It was not until later that night that I unpacked the bag to find my clipboard. My clipboard that James’ had enhanced.

clipboard

 

James was killing himself laughing when I called him.  He said you know I may have cancer but I have been working out, just show people pictures of how buff I have been getting and I can be your poster boy. They will be lining up to personal train with you so they can “Be Like James”

This clip board that James gave me as a joke, now sits above my desk on the wall as a reminder to “be like James” and pursue meaningful relationship today!

happy birthday

Are you SURVIVING or are you CREATING?

Answer searchI took a seat at a restaurant a couple weeks ago, a restaurant that I had frequented a lot in the past, enough that I was known by name.  A familiar waiter came to the table paused momentarily to think and then said

“Ira, oh….it’s been a bit….I have not seen you in a while.”

My response “Yep.”  I grinned

“I moved to BC, three years ago…..it has been three years”

Stop and think about that, THREE years, BOOM, gone like that.  Really it has been three years?

I have been prompting my class participants lately to ponder this question.

If I went away for three years and came back to see you, would you be a different person?

Or would everything including you be the same?

After being away for three years, I ran into some of the same people, in the same places, complaining about the same things.  Now I am not coming down on anyone, if you know me that is not my style.

Shaking up the way you think, NOW that is totally my style;  Urging you to pay attention to today, not just survive to the end of the day; Calling out the opportunity and not putting love off until tomorrow NOW we are talking about my PASSION.

Total health to me is not just good workout habits, enviable dietary traits and a six pack. When I think HEALTH, the words that come to mind are, FULLY ALIVE, VIBRANT, PASSIONATE, FUN, LIFE GIVING, CONTAGIOUS, ABUNDANT AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIP…… come on help me out, I know you can come up with a few more words to describe TRUE HEALTH!

I ran into people who life is just happening to, people who will end up with a life.

What I want for you and I believe God wants for you is a life that was CREATED not something that just happened to you.

I can sympathize I have been there a lot. Just ‘coping’ going through the motions. Sometimes I have found myself lying around just hoping bedtime would come sooner  so I could have a accomplishable task to do, one I felt I could handle…. like sleeping.

But my desire is to use my gifts, the ones God has given me to CALL YOU TO ACTION.  My desire is the lady I saw at Tim Hortons 3 years ago who evidently hated her job would not be there when I returned for a visit.  But there she was, same job, same time, same place, same frown, my heart desires more for her and for you!

I hear it a lot from people when I go back home.  “Ira, you have changed, there is something different about you, something new about you, you seem happier?”

It’s a change I do sense myself and the ones closest to me recognize it as well. Slightly more assured in my calling, more intentional, more focused, less concerned with pleasing people all the time and more concerned about the things that matter and certainly less likely to take offence so easily.

Where did it come from? TRUST, PRAYER lots and lots of PRAYER, and GRATITUDE, oh such a shift in what I am thankful for.

What did it cost my wife and I?  our comfort, our familiar, our security.  I sold our house, left a $120, 000 a year business, packed a small amount of our possessions in a moving truck and drove 5 days across this beautiful Canadian country to meet my wife and first child Noah who had flown ahead to pitch our tent in our new home Kelowna, BC.   I did not have a job waiting for me either.

Why? I can’t quite explain other than a prompting that started small and grew larger until I could not ignore it.  During prayer times in my car I started to ask God. “I need a revelation, should I stay or should I move?”  These words were lyrics from a Third Day song I heard LOUD and CLEAR one morning.  As I sat with that question soon came another prompting “Come on, take a chance, LET ME LOVE YOU.” I felt God saying STOP going through the motions, playing it safe, staying inside the lines, do it, take a chance, let me catch you, let me show you profound, life changing, uplifting LOVE.

What does this look like for your unique situation?

I am not saying you have to seek out a tough life. Or that you have to pick up and move away. Your journey will be unique to you.

Here are some points that have helped me:

Refuse to complain about things that you are unwilling to change. If you are not in the right “head space” to make a BOLD change, then start small.  Acknowledge the blessings in your current situation. Start changing your words and start believing that your current space is “training ground” for your future assignments. In fact ditch complaining completely it gives you temporary satisfaction but you get to live with the toxic aftermath of your negativity.

Start seeking out “doers” or mentors, people you admire.  I prayed for God to surround my family with people who would challenge, inspire, and LIVE out a LIFE rather than go through the motions.  He delivered.

Today NOT tomorrow. Don’t concern yourself with things in your tomorrows that distract you from your todays.  “Worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have.” (Joyce Meyers) Be intentional about being present in your TODAY.

Take Action. Take a chance. Pursue your dream. Maybe it’s a small step towards a dream and away from survival mode.  Ask yourself am I just surviving today? Or am I living and seeking and giving?

Exercise Patience. Getting uncomfortable is well, uncomfortable. Be powerful and be willing enough to stay in uncomfortable long enough to see the change and for things to be made new.  Make your goal progress not perfection.

I think you would agree life is short and time flies. I know I want to hear those words from God “well done, my good and faithful servant” when I die.  If you feel the same way and want to inspire a generation with me, be sure to stay connected.  If you’re willing enough you will  take action right ;) you can like my Facebook page today not tomorrow.

You Have Weighty Issues Too

rachel biggest loser

You may have heard the controversy over the Biggest Loser Finale this week. The beautiful and tenacious Rachel who weighed close to 300 pounds lost nearly 60% of her body weight in 5 and a half months, weighing in at 105 pounds to win the shows cash prize. Even the trainer’s jaws dropped upon first seeing her extreme weight loss. It was not long  before the social media “I don’t know you, but I will personal assault you with a vicious tweet” #trending began. I honestly watched the finale with a broken heart.

Why?

“Culture baits us to the edge of moral disaster than chastises us when we cross certain lines.” (Andy Stanley)

The “overweight” Rachel said she felt hopeless, out of control, unworthy, a failure.  The truth is that is how society viewed her as well.  Rachel’s coping mechanism is food, which unfortunately results in her literally wearing the weight of the world on her body.

Your coping mechanism may not be food and it may or may not be as visible as obesity is; But you do have your go to unhealthy comfort.  Is it drowning yourself in social media, alcohol, excessive exercise, gambling, gossip, TV, sex, I can keep going and I will eventually hit something you struggle maintaining a healthy relationship with.

So here is Rachel,

on public display,

deciding she is done,

fed up,

and ready to get uncomfortable and do something about her unhealthy addiction.

 

Our culture is sales driven and the show Biggest Loser is made possible because it is entertaining enough to attract an audience advertisers are willing to “pay for”. Stuck in the middle is a LIFE, Rachel’s and the other contestants lives.

When Rachel was struggling with obesity she may have heard,

“Oh wow, you have really let yourself go”  OR

“Rachel you were so healthy and beautiful, what happened?”

The weight of the comments would be overbearing and just perpetuate her already severely damaging self-talk.

When Rachel stood up and started to do something about it, we are on her side, cheering her on, encouraging her.

“You go girl, you are looking awesome!”

“You are an inspiration!”

“I can’t believe what progress you have made.”

Then Rachel finds herself at the finale; where it is obvious she gave it her all. During her Biggest Loser journey she had mustered up an “envious” amount of strength to do something about the pit she was in. Only to wake up in the same pit she found herself in 155 lbs ago!!

All over twitter you could find quotes like these:

#BLFinale becomes literally “The Hunger Games” with Rachel starving herself for 250K.

“LOL, you are soooo gross.” -Thin Rachel #BiggestLoser #holograms

Now I want to be clear. YES, as a fitness professional I agree Rachel lost too much weight, too quickly. But just like us she will struggle with her weakness for the rest of her life. This was not the END of the story it was just a tiny part of her life we saw on TV.

As I watched the finale, my jaw dropped when she walk on stage and my heart sank with it.  I knew what was coming. I knew it would be all over the news, social media and the morning radio talk shows.  I knew that even though each and every one of us has an unhealthy relationship with something OR someone we would be quick to chastise someone who was doing their best to overcome their worst. The pressure of our culture told her she needed to change, then we cheered her on when she decided to give it her all, and then chastised her when we saw her “failure” win on TV for 5 minutes that night.

Now can I ask you to bring to mind the unhealthy relationships you are struggling with?

What do you need from me?

May I guess you need my unconditional love, you need me to believe in you, listen to you, get to know you. Most of all you need me to offer you the SAME space and grace I need.  Space to LEARN how to flip the switch from “unhealthy” to “healthy”  and GRACE to do it as many times as it takes.

As a Christian I am called to LOVE unconditionally. I am not able to pass judgement because I am not FREE of my “issues” ever, no matter how perfect or on top of things it may seem.  The only words I should ever offer someone is kind words because I know if the self- talk that is in my head is in their head too that battle is already a difficult one.

Who do you need to extend GRACE and SPACE too? Or perhaps you need to believe you are worthy of receiving it.

Please keep going,

don’t give up

and remember to extended space and grace to the people around you.

Extended to people whether they are people you are close to and have a personal relationship with or someone you got to know a tiny bit once upon a time on a TV show.

“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 

Interested in being part of the supportive community I have started on facebook? Pop by my “Ira McNamara” facebook page and let’s connect.

Slipped Up On Your Resolution Already? Why You Can’t Start Over

comfort zones

As much as you don’t like your old habits or what they produce, they are what you know and what you are comfortable with, getting rid of them is going to be uncomfortable.  Prepare yourself to push through the uncomfortable.

There is comfort in familiarity and lets be honest we like to be comfortable.  Being UNcomfortable is, well, UNcomfortable. Our disposition for familiarity is no secret either. Case in point; big box stores go to great lengths to create familiar environments.

Have you ever visited a Starbucks 5000 miles from your home that makes you feel like you never left home?

We crave the same old, same old. On the other end of the spectrum we yearn for something new.  So somewhere in the middle we desperately flounder to either IGNORE our dream or make failed attempt after failed attempt to go for it. This struggle is much more present during the NEW YEAR as we look back at what might have been and with renewed vigor set our sights higher this year.

Years ago I read a book by Bruce Wilkinson called the Dream Giver it’s a modern day parable about a man named Ordinary that lives in a place called familiar.

“For the most part, not much happened in Familiar that hadn’t happened before. Ordinary thought he was content. He found the routines reliable. He blended in with the crowd. And mostly, he wanted only what he had. Until the day Ordinary noticed a small, nagging feeling that something big was missing from his life. Or maybe the feeling was that he was missing from something big. He wasn’t sure. The little feeling grew.  And even though Nobodies in Familiar didn’t generally expect the unexpected, Ordinary began to wish for it.”

The New Year has a unique way of poking at those nagging feelings doesn’t it?

Can I ask you to trust that little nagging feeling was placed inside of you?  

Can I beg you to go get it?

Here is the truth.

The pursuit of any dream worth pursuing is not going to be easy. If I were a statistic kind of guy I would tell you right here how many people fail to use their newly purchased gym memberships a month after they purchase them.  Lucky for you I am not a statistic kind of guy. You might call me a statistic HATER!

Why? Because in that simplified sometimes skewed number is a sense that you might as well give up before you start. You feel like you already know which side of the statistic you fall on. Let’s face it you’re a victim to those numbers and you are never going to change  it.

…….WRONG! Picture me jumping up and down right now telling you “STOP, just STOP it, STOP believing these numbers have any POWER over you!

Guess what? Your comforts are literally killing you.  As much as you hate them they are going to BE HARD to get away from. You are going to want to give up, and curl right back up in those familiar habits. You need to acknowledge the journey is going to be hard. You need to prepare yourself to stay in uncomfortable for as long as it takes.

You are powerful and need to POWER up and BUILD up your RESOLVE to be uncomfortable long enough to conquer or perhaps take back some territory and expand those comfort zones. WHY?  There is much more to life on the other side of comfort.

I want you to really understand this. You are normal when not even a day into your new journey you suddenly find yourself sitting on the couch with a tub of ice cream proclaiming “what am I doing?” as you hastily throw another spoonful in. It’s easy to fall back into familiar.

How about every time you slip up you commit to getting back up, rather than feeling like you have to start over?  There is a difference.

When you are always “starting over “ it means you have  an expectation that venturing out of your comfort zone was going  to be as easy as flicking a switch.  Well it is not that easy, it takes time, it requires grace, it requires learning, it requires you to get back up and keep going.

Be faithful in the small things my friend! Over time the small ADDS up to BIG VICTORY in your life. You just got to keep getting back up. Will your spirit and ask God to make you strong and courageous as you step back into uncomfortable.  You are ready to rise above what keeps knocking you down.  You got this!