Archive for May 2013 – Page 2

Physical Dimension of Life Balance

The physical dimension of life balance is one often overlooked by Americans. We spend billions of dollars every year in healthcare, yet we are one of the unhealthiest countries. The Army Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho began a campaign when she entered her position to try to stem the tide of deteriorating health among military members’ long-term healthcare needs by focusing on three simple areas that produce long-lasting results in this physical dimension, nutrition, sleep, and activity.physical dimention

Nutrition – Eating Right

Americans top the list in terms of eating the wrong things at the wrong time. We know what’s right, but just fail to follow the rules. Because of our affluence in the world, we have a tendency to eat tremendous amounts of sugars and fats, grains and processed foods. More than any other country we over indulge and eat more. We want our money’s worth! So we go for the buffet lines. Consequently, our adults are morbidly obese, our kids are obese, and we have the highest diabetes rate in the world. Is it genetics? If it was, it would be type I not type II. Face it, we’re fat because we eat too much of the wrong stuff.

The answer to our physical dilemma? Eat right. Look up a heart healthy or diabetic diet and follow it. Period. Start early. Put your kids on it…now! Teach them that fruit and vegetables are better than chocolate cake…by example! Take the soft drinks out of the house, make them an exception to the rule instead of the drink of choice. There are a lot of fad diets out there that won’t work. Sure they will take off pounds, but the pounds will come back as soon as the diet ends.

The secret to weight loss and healthy living is lifestyle change. That’s where the heart healthy or diabetic diets (they are almost the same) come in. You can change to these diets for a life time and make them your lifestyle eating habits. If you value your physical condition, change your eating habits. it will make a world of different in how you feel day to day.

Sleep – the body’s time to heal

Before electricity, we went to sleep when the sun went down and woke up when the sun came up. We took naps when we got tired and our bodies told us what to do and we did it. Somehow in the last century we decided it wasn’t good to listen to our bodies and most Americans figured out we don’t need as much sleep. We stay up all hours of the night, force ourselves awake with a blaring alarm clock, drag through the day, fall asleep on the coach watching TV, but stay up to watch that movie we just can’t miss and end up going to bed at 1:00. Then start the process again the next day.

Take a few months and figure out what your optimum sleep time really is. Go to bed at the same time every night. No TV, no radio, no distractions. Just a dark room. Set your alarm if you have to, but get up when you wake up and see how long you’ve slept and how you feel during the day. Start at 10:00 for one week, move an hour either way. Tired may mean either too much sleep or too little sleep. Most adults need 7 – 9 hours sleep. Most teenagers need 9 – 12 hours sleep. Most children need 10 – 12 hours sleep. It depends on the person’s metabolism, but figure out what’s right for you. It’s during your sleep that the body heals itself. To improve your physical condition, figure out how much sleep is right for you, not too much, not too little.

When you find the magic number, you’ll find you seldom need an alarm clock. Go to bed at the same time every night. Make yourself a routine. Plan to go to bed at or near the same time every night. Get up at the same time every morning. Even on those day that you could sleep in – don’t! If you find you have to stay up for a special event on some nights, that’s okay, get up at the usual time the next day, but schedule a power nap during the day to let your body catch up on sleep. Don’t break the wake up times. You’re body will thank you for it in the long run.

It really is okay to schedule power naps. A ten minute power nap can do wonders for you in the middle of the day. More than twenty minutes, though, will give you a groggy feeling that is hard to get over, so don’t plan longer than a fifteen minute rest. There are relaxation techniques that can help you get into a restful state quickly to take full advantage of those ten minutes if you have trouble clearing your mind or relaxing. The last ten minutes of a lunch break or that dreaded 2 o’clock wall is a great time to plan a short power pick me up nap.

Activity – moving doesn’t mean becoming a jock

Americans somehow equate the mandate to get active with going to the gym five days a week working out with weights and running a hundred miles a week. Because we see all the gym advertisements and the specimens of physical perfection encouraging us to work out, we slugs assume they must not be talking to us, right? And so we sit on our couch and stuff ourselves with potato chips as we think about what a slug we’ve become.

The third stool of staying healthy doesn’t mean becoming a jock. It means moving every day. So what is that exactly. It means quit circling the parking lot trying to find the closest space. Instead, just park and walk. After all, you’re going to walk every aisle in the store anyway, right? Just add some more steps in the parking lot. It means walk up one flight of stairs and down two flights instead of taking the elevator. It means if you’re at an open air mall, don’t move the car if you’re going to another store, just walk. It means walk around the block. It means if you own a business, reserve your parking place at the back of the parking lot instead of at the door (that’s good customer relations anyway!).

Just move. Make it a point to add some physical activity to your life. Get up off the couch and do some physical things that raise your heart rate a little. Do some things that move your muscles and joints every day. Do so physical things that will let your body recognize that you are not hibernating.

How do you manage these three components of your life?

What are your tricks for eating right? sleeping right? moving more?

How do you avoid the temptations to fall back into bad lifestyle patterns?

 


Clutter creates chaos

A cluttered desk, a cluttered room, a cluttered house, a cluttered life can all add stress to your life. Things get lost. Some people can live that way and it never bothers them. Most can not. You’ve probably flipped through the channels and seen “Hoarders” and been mesmerized by the piles and piles of stuff an individual can accumulate without really being aware of it. For those individuals, it’s a disease, an obsessive compulsive disorder. For most of us, we can let little things pile up, though, until it becomes an overwhelming distraction and we just don’t know where to start.

That’s the problem with my garage at the moment. I have a detached garage and it’s just too easy to shovel out the stuff from the car and put it on the closest thing at waist level before pulling out for a last-minute departure. The problem is when I return, I fail to recover the junk I left behind and instead just close the door…out of sight, out of mind. So now…remember the “Hoarder” scene? It’s not quite that bad, but…

What the garage does to me, though, is keep a small nagging voice in the back of my head that continually say, “Richard, you need to clean up the junk! You need to clean up the junk! You need to clean…” But Texas is hot. There are a million other things I’d rather do than clean up the clutter. I know my back will hurt when I’m finished because of age-old injuries. I’m embarrassed to hire someone to do it for me because it’s gotten so out of hand. But the voice keeps calling, “You need to clean out the junk! You need to…”

Fixingcluttered-garage1 the clutter problem

As a life coach I know what physical and mental clutter does to a person. So, it’s time to get after it. But I also know that if I try to tackle it all at once, I won’t make it. Physically because of previous injuries, I’ll end up not moving for several days if I tackle the task all at once. I know that about my physical capabilities. That must go into the planning risks. I also know about how long it will take me to get the job done based on the square footage of the space and the length of time it take per square foot from a short experiment earlier.

So I can free myself of the physical clutter and the mental clutter by getting the task into my calendar, making it an appointment like every other appointment I make and sticking to it. It is hot in Texas, but not so hot at six in the morning. I just need to handle the task as my morning exercise. It may not work all the same muscle groups, but that’s okay. An hour of cleaning up that mess will probably do as much or more with different muscle groups and takes care of two tasks at once. I don’t even have to worry about getting wet during workouts since I’ll be inside!

That takes care of the pile. Then it’s building the habit of removing the stuff when I get out of the car, not before I get into the car. 21 days! That’s what the psychiatric world says it takes to build a habit. So I’ll put a sticky on my door, on my steering wheel, on the console to remind me I’m building a habit. After 21 days of doing the right thing…voila! I’m on the path to a clutter free garage and no more voices in the back of my brain.

Your garage may not look like mine. Maybe it’s your Fibber Maggee’s closet (okay, some of you are too young to understand). Maybe it’s your desk or your sock drawer. Whatever the cluttered part of your life, you can fix it. A life coach can give you some tips and techniques and help hold you accountable.


Set Priorities with the 95% Rule

Reading one of Talane Miedaner’s Life Coach blogs reminded me of a rule I’ve tried to use for several years to set priorities. It goes something like this: “95% of everything you do today doesn’t matter, so find the 5% and do it well.” When I started using that rule a hundred years ago, it was an 80% rule, but as I’ve matured the number gradually grows. I expect in another few years it will change to the 99% rule.

Some of you are skeptical and don’t quite get it yet, so let me explain the concept in a little more detail. You see, we get overwhelmed with life too often. We allow ourselves to worry about things that no one really cares about in the long run. We lose out on the important because of the urgent when the urgent will disappear without a thought and no one will remember it tomorrow. If you think about it, most of the things you do and most of the things that happen to you today, you won’t remember next week or even this time tomorrow. And no one around you cares about it either.How-to-Set-Priorities

I find it really interesting with what we do for work at the expense of family. I’ll have to admit I’ve been guilty in the past. I had to get that report done. I needed to make one more call. I had to meet one more client. Hogwash! When I left the assignment or the company or the job, my position was filled in no time and no one cared whether I was there or not. Life goes on for the company. But I can never get back the ball games missed, the recitals unheard, the birthday parties where I showed up late, or the anniversaries when I was out of town. Those are gone forever.

How about that report that must be done by close of business? Who’s going to read it at close of business? Will it lay in the inbox until morning anyway? Why miss that important event? Make a deal with the task master and come in early to deliver it so you don’t miss that once in a lifetime special event. If your boss makes you miss the event, you’re probably working for the wrong boss. Start looking for different work! That said, there are certainly times when work needs to come first, but not often. There are times when you need to come first. There are times when family comes first.

Priorities are fluid

Priorities are fluid things based on a lot of factors. I’m not a big fan of a making a hard and fast inflexible priority list except that God is at the top…period. Apart from that, when I was writing the medical support plan to make sure 135,000 soldiers had the right medical care in Desert Storm, that task took priority over my family for the moment because of the gravity of that task. It didn’t mean I didn’t love them or care for them, but the situation dictated they took a back seat for a period of time until that task was done.

Sometimes, I’ll recognize from the tone of text or phone call from a family member that a crisis is unfolding and walk out of a meeting because family is more important than whatever meeting I’m in. If I lose a sale because of it, so what. Family is more important than any amount of money that meeting might have brought to me. One word of caution about living with flexible priorities. You need a strong compass and those close to you must understand how you operate. Communication is key.

So what’s the real secret to discovering the 5%? Usually, normally, most of the time the 5% will deal with eternal things and relationships. That’s it. That’s the magic formula. Nothing else matters much. Material things disappear and just aren’t that important. If you don’t believe that, ask hurricane victims or flood victims. Stuff can be replaced, people can’t. Take care of relationships and the rest will fall into place.

What do you think about the 95% rule?

Do you have a comparable philosophy?

How do you set priorities in your life to keep well-balanced?


A Life Coach Can Help Bring Joy Back to You

child playingI visited a church other than my own the other day for a special celebration. We celebrated the life of a young lady who fell victim to leukemia far too soon. She lived more in nine years and touched more people with her enthusiasm and passion than most do in a lifetime. Perhaps I’ll write more about her in another post. But today I want to talk about a particular impact the service made on me by watching one individual. This wasn’t behavior taught by a life coach, but inherent joy demonstrated by one person!

One young man in particular in the worship service caught my eye. He had some developmental problems, but I couldn’t help but see the pure joy with which he lived life. The music lifted him in a way I can hardly describe. You could see the young man’s family and friends loved him and accepted his handicap, but as we sang, pure joy just exploded across his face and through his whole frame. What a way to live. Look around and you’ll see it in children. As they play, children express unbridled joy. They laugh, they sing, they dance, they just enjoy life.

Have you lost that joy? Have you become so encumbered with the stresses of life that you’ve forgotten how to laugh? Have you let the unimportant or the urgent get in the way of real life and lost the purpose of being? A life coach can help you find it again. That’s what they are all about. Helping you find purpose, balance, tools and techniques to cope with the stresses that rob you of the joy of living.

I’ll admit, even as a life coach, I sometimes get caught up in the crush of life, but I’ve learned through the years most of the things we seems to worry and stress over aren’t worth it. I’ll share my 95% rule with you. “95% of everything that happens to you today or that you do today doesn’t matter. No one cares about it or will remember it tomorrow. So why stress over it. So figure out the important 5% and do it well.”

So what’s the 5%? I’ve found it usually, normally, most of the time has to do with relationships between you and God or you and someone else. Nothing else really matters. I’ll be honest with you that 30 years ago, this was an 80% rule. As I’ve matured, it has become a 95% rule. I expect in another 10 years it might progress to a 99% rule.

Relationships seem incredibly important! Take care of them. That doesn’t mean always compromise or coddle. It means take care of them. Relationships are where you’ll find real joy. You’ll also find real sorrow and real stress there. You’ll find yourself vulnerable in relationships. But without relationships, you’ll have a hard time finding the unbridled joy you find in children.

Take a look at the five dimensions of a balanced life depicted on the “Life Balance” page of my website and you’ll understand how relationships are such a vital part of life. They weave in and out of every dimension because we are social creatures. As much as some people would like to think they could live forever in a cave by themselves, hermits just can’t survive long. We need each other. We need relationships and healthy social interaction for a joy-filled life. A life coach understands those relationship needs and can help you navigate them.

What’s your opinion?

How do you bring joy back to into your life?

What do you do to make sure you laugh every day?

Richard


Life in the fast lane

The older I get the faster time seems to move. I used to have a theory about it that time was just a perception based on your age. A year to a two-year old is a long time, 50% of their life. Now, pushing the big six-oh, a year is less than 2% of the span that I can draw from in my memories. Of course, that assumes I can remember anything longer than what I ate for breakfast. Now I’m not so sure about my theory anymore. I’m beginning to think time does slip away faster than it did ten years ago. So what does this have to do with a life coach?

I think time moves fast because we have things so turned around. We somehow got the impression that a productive calendar means no white space left on them. I fell into the trap. It took my wife and kids continually reminding me, disease processes, and hitting the magic 30 years in the Army to finally figure out I was way out of balance. I’m hoping I can share through this blog and a new career path a better way of living for some who head down that same dead-end before it is too late.

So what does a life coach do and what do I mean by balance in your life? In other parts of this website you can explore some of the aspects of balance. You can see my credentials in the About Me page, but the model the Army uses with its five dimensions of physical, family, spiritual, emotional, and social wellness are pretty good starting places. If you’re not looking out for yourself in all of them, you’re out of balance. A life coach will help you assess yourself in each of these areas and see how you’re faring. They will help you set goals to balance those areas and action plans to achieve those goals.

Remember, though, life coaches are not magicians. Like an athletic coach, they will point you in the right direction, but you must expect to do the work. Kobe Bryant has a shooting coach. His shooting coach seldom breaks a sweat, but has propelled Kobe as one of the best scorers in the NBA. Likewise, Mickey Mantle had a batting coach. Unfortunately, what he didn’t have, was a life coach he would listen to.

So how do you manage to balance your life? What are your secrets to getting everything done in a world that pushes for every minute filled with activity? What are your goals in each of the five dimensions – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social?