This week we are working on external rotation and opening up the chest.
This month, we are going to focus on shoulder health. Follow along all month long and get moves that help create strong, mobile shoulders.
We are going to close out hip month by activating and lengthening our posterior chain with these 2 exercises.
This week we are moving through our stretches, making them dynamic and loaded to help utilize our new found flexibility.
This week we are focusing on hip rotation with our 90/90 mobilization and our shin box press-up.
In the month of November, we will be exploring our hips. Each week we will release 2 new exercise for you to try. Give it a whirl!
January is a time for goal-setting. With that in mind, I wanted to talk about the idea of rewards. Not the reward of doing something good for yourself (though we will touch on that as well), but more about the idea of rewarding yourself with something (think clothes, spa day, food, etc) for reaching one of your goals. While this seems like a logical way to get yourself motivated, it turns out the truth is as the title states…”You are not a dog” and this particular rewards system does not work for our species.
I know some of you have already started an internal argument with me. You may have had results increasing a good behavior or decreasing a bad behavior by using a reward as a shiny, gold, dangling carrot. This could be true, but let me ask you, how long did these changes last? Was it something short-term? Were you able to continue this changed behavior over the long-term? Are you motivated to continue?
While research still continues to pick apart motivation and change, there are some concepts that come up time and time again. For example, the idea that there are 4 main motivators. On one side people are extrinsically motivated, meaning they are motivated to do something for a reward or out of fear of a punishment. Close to this is an external motivator. These are the things you do because you feel you “should” and feel guilty when you do not complete them. On the other side of the spectrum we are looking at internal motivators or things that align with our values. Next to this are the intrinsic motivators or the things you LOVE to do, no real persuasion needed.
So the rewards I am talking about are those in the extrinsic category. These are the deals you make with yourself (“after I lose 10lbs, I can buy a new dress”) that involve a reward or punishment. This reward system has shown to increase the wanted behavior immensely in the short-term, but for long-term change, can actually hurt your motivation.
Let’s use exercise as an example. You hate running, but you made a New Year’s Resolution to “get in shape”. So you decide that for every day you get up and run, you get to buy yourself a fancy coffee. So you head out every morning and suffer through your 45 minute jog, distracting yourself with music, and thinking only of your coffee reward. After about 2 weeks, you decide it is not worth the coffee. It is too awful. So you start up your coffee pot at home, have a little session of self-loathing and resentment, and throw the idea “getting in shape” in garbage.
Now, let’s try this a different way. You decide you want to “get in shape”. So you decide to experiment with different ways of moving to see what feels best to you. You decide you love swimming. You love the silence in the water, the rhythm of the stroke, and the time away from your phone. You exit the water feeling energetic, calm, and ready to take on the day. You LOVE it. You can’t imagine starting your day any other way. That is the reward.
By taking the material reward away, you were able to focus on the things that were important to you. The things that aligned with your values. This was the reward for your changed behavior. When you added the reward in, that was your main focus. The reward undermined your intrinsic motivation and undercut the success of accomplishing your long-term goals.
So how do we connect with our internal and intrinsic motivation? Well, start by asking yourself why you want to accomplish a certain goal. What would change in your life if you accomplished it? Why are you making it a priority in your life right now? These questions will help reveal your values.
Now choose a step in the direction of your goal. Is there an easy step? Something that does not even feel like a sacrifice , something you may even enjoy? For example, say you want to move more, but you don’t really like exercise. BUT you do love spending time with your friends. Is there a way to ask a friend to join you on a walk or at the gym so that you can socialize and work toward your goal of being healthy?
If you can’t find a way to easily motivate yourself, take a look at your values. How do your values align with the next step toward your goals? For example, you don’t have a friend that can meet before work for a walk, but you value moving better and feeling healthier and those values align with the act of walking. So now, you are walking for your health, not just because you feel you should. This also leaves room for variety. Health could also be represented in a different movement, a mediation, or cooking a healthy meal. You are not committed to one activity in order to reach your goal.
So when you think about all you want to accomplish, first ask yourself why. Then get very clear about your values. Try to find something that you already like to do or is easy to do to start moving towards your goals. Then, move forward with your values in mind. Get rid of the material reward and let your accomplishment, discipline, and transformation to becoming who you want to be in this life be your ultimate reward.
I want to use this very appropriate time in the year to talk about resolutions. I have noticed that the media surrounding this subject has changed over the last few years. As a society, we have consistently failed at keeping our New Year’s Resolutions, so the popular message has turned to “stop making them”. While I agree that resolutions put a lot of pressure on ourselves and I also agree that most people don’t follow thru, I believe this problem to be user error rather than the act of making a resolution.
What I mean is, we make resolutions quickly, without much thought or reflection, and usually as a reaction to something in our life that we are currently doing or not doing that is making us feel bad about ourselves. Instead of making “changes”, what if we thought about “adding” to our lives. Using the New Year as a chance to reflect on what we want in life, what are some things on our bucket list, and what we feel are our top priorities. Before making any promise of a resolution, make sure you have a clear plan of what it is you want to do with this life.
For example, I make a sort of “resolution” every year. There are certain things I have always wanted to add to my life, and using the New Year to set up a plan on how to get it into a busy schedule feels motivating and keeps me consistent year-over-year. Last year I added 3 things in, and in order of priority they were: 1) Learn Spanish, 2) Add Meditation in my routine, 3) Journal. I didn’t just make these resolutions and hope all would fall into place, I made a plan. Any addition we want to add to our lives will take a sacrifice of time and a solid commitment. It is important to know where that time will come from and the cost of the commitment.
For my top priority, I started to look at my options, between classes, tutors, and online courses. Knowing I would needs consistency and accountability in order to commit to learning Spanish, I opted for in-person classes. After a few months, the times were too hard to make, so I committed to one-on-one tutoring so that I could more easily work it into my schedule. I am still getting tutored once a week.
For my second 2 priorities, I had to play with what worked. Was morning or evening better? Should I do them together or separate? Should it be daily? I started with daily and then worked my way to a place where I felt I could have consistency (which turns out is 3x/week). All 3 of my resolutions are now just part of my life, they do not feel like a sacrifice of time or resources, it is just part of me.
I like resolutions and I like the New Year as a time to reflect and remind ourselves about what we want in this life. You can do it whenever you want – 4th of July, Summer Solstice, your Birthday – it doesn’t matter, just make sure you take the time to reassess. Without this time, we tend to get caught up in the day-to-day of our lives and never move onto the things we really want.
Here are a few suggestions on how to make productive additions to your life instead of resolutions that will never manifest.
- What is on your bucket list? Is there something on there you could start working towards or even complete this year? What will it cost you in time and money? Do you have those resources available to you or do you need to find them?
- When you think of what you want your life to look like, what do you see? Is there something you should add to your life to move closer to this vision? Do you need help and guidance, or focus and time, or all of the above? Where can you find what you need?
- Is there something you love to do, but have not had the opportunity to do it lately? How could you add this back into your life?
- Do you need support? What does that support look like and how could you move closer to finding it?
From these answers, start to make your roadmap. What is the most important? What can be accomplished easily with just a little effort? What are your first steps?
Now give yourself “loose” deadlines. You don’t want to leave everything open-ended or a whole year may go by with little progress. Take a look at your roadmap and give yourself achievable deadlines. Sometimes it is easier to give yourself mini-deadlines for all the first steps instead of one massive, end-goal deadline.
Now you have a plan for your additions. Focus on these additions rather than changes. Make sure you have a clear reason “why” these additions are important to you. The first thing my Spanish tutor asked me was “Why do you want to learn Spanish?”. It is important for everyone involved to know the motives.
At the close of 2019, I am no where near fluent in my Spanish, but I practice every week and could easily travel with my “Spanglish”. I will continue to learn and progress, not just with my Spanish, but with everything is this beautiful life. And this year, I am focusing on making things (already handmade a few Christmas presents) and mapping out the future of my business (already met with and hired a business coach).
What will you do with you 2020?