Reflections, Commitment and The Hero’s Journey (A personal essay)

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I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment lately. Reflecting on the themes in life past and present and where commitment has shown up. 2013 was a big year of commitment for myself and many of the people around me. Personal relationships and career paths took a big shift forward and I’m excited to see more of that energy created in 2014.

My role as a Nutrition Coach has a lot to do with helping others articulate their goals and align their daily actions with their greater vision. The idea I am feeling confronted with most at the start of this new year, is that whether or not you are conscious of it, you are making commitments to follow one path or another. If you are watching television or being distracted by some other energy draining activity night after night, week after week and then “don’t have time” for preparing food or packing your lunch for the next day, you are making a commitment. A commitment to stay the same and choose the path that has gotten you exactly where you are. If you recognize that change takes sacrifice and commit to adjusting your energy accordingly, change happens. It’s like magic! Only, it’s not.

I read a quote by Thomas Edison recently, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I love this! It feels so spot on. It becomes incredibly easy and comfortable to stay in our rhythm, even if that flow has created a life and a body we never would have chosen for ourselves. Another quote for you: “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”

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At the end of last year I began attending an Intentional Life Design group at Heroics Training Studio. This has been a beautifully inspiring process of voicing commitments and breathing life into goals and dreams. The idea is to gather with others (which has so far been a beautifully eclectic mix of Seattleites) to declare our commitments aloud, share ideas, do exercises to build skills in communication and test and practice these goals. The leader of the sessions, Titus Kahoutek, co-owner of Heroics, a physical trainer, and graduate of the Newfield Coaching program, brings mindfulness activities and focus to the group. This week, we discussed Joseph Campbell and elements of “The Hero’s Journey.” The call to adventure… meeting the guides… crossing the threshold… tricks, trials and tests… the lessons/rewards… ascension… reintegration. Having a lively discussion around this topic has been a wonderful opportunity to bring real perspective into the commitments I have set for myself in 2014.

Breaking out of the cozy comfort zone with the support of others cheering you on and keeping you accountable, injects a real force and possibility behind the life you are looking to design. For me, it has helped to build momentum behind what I want to create with Kitchen Delightenment this year. I have purchased the official domain name (as apposed to having it at WordPress), which is a small step, but a big symbol for me, ordered professional business cards, began researching education opportunities for personal chef certification, began building resources for professional kitchens and venues I can potentially hold workshops at, and followed up and began working on a business plan for a few clients that have inquired about cooking meals for their family. In addition, I have overcome my hurdle with social media and my limited technology skills. I have posted regular content to my Facebook page involving healthy recipes, wellness articles, facts of the week and inspiring quotes; I’ve gotten in the flow with Instagram and a bit with Twitter, which I still hesitate with, but do recognize the value and am getting better.

At this point, I would consider myself to be at the threshold of the Hero’s Journey. The adventure has been called, the guides are in place and I’m excited to see what tricks, trials and tests my journey has in store. If you are looking to take that extra step this year towards creating change and building your dreams, and live in the Seattle area, I highly recommend checking out the Life Design Workshop at Heroics.

As for your 2014 commitments… What does the life you wish to design this year look like? Are you looking forward to more activities and projects that support your personal identity? Creating better habits to maximize your health and utilize your greatest physical potential? Change your career to align better with your personal happiness and fulfillment? Where are you on your Heroic journey? Get out there and make it awesome! Happy 2014!!

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Setting Smart Goals: A Guide to Successful New Year’s Resolutions

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A national statistic posted in the NY Times stated that over 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are broken in the first 3 weeks. I can already see the numbers fading at The Redmond Athletic Club where I run my nutrition coaching business. The yoga classes I could barely find a place for my mat to rest the first Saturday of January, had a little extra breathing room this weekend, and the pool where I lap swim in the morning had less than 4 people per lane today for the first time since the 1st.

Did you set resolutions or new goals for 2014? How are they working out so far? We are right around the 2-week mark, and this is the make-it-or-break-it time. If you make it into February, it is much more likely that you will make it to the 6-month mark. So, what is it going to take to get you there?

Let’s start with your strategy for goal setting. Making sure you are creating S.M.A.R.T. goals will help to set you up for success in accomplishing your objectives for 2014. Following is a guideline to setting SMART goals and creating an environment of achievement!

Specific- Being as specific as possible will help to focus your efforts and clearly define the outcome you’re looking for. What do you want to ultimately accomplish? Why is it important to you? How are you going to do it? Rather than simply stating that you want to lose weight or read more, be more specific. You may want to lose 10 lbs. by March or read 2 full books a month.

Measurable- If you can’t measure your goal, how will you know when you’ve succeeded? Establish criteria for measuring progress and set smaller short-term goals so that you can see the changes occur. This is a great way to stay on track in achieving your goals.

Attainable- If a goal is set too far out of your reach, it’s unlikely you will fully commit to doing it. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement, but make sure your goal is realistic and do-able to keep the momentum going.

Relevant- Brainstorm for a few minutes as to the relevance of your goal. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it look like to have succeeded? What will keep you on track when you feel challenged? Answering these questions will help to give you a focus at all stages of accomplishing your goal.

Time-bound- Set a specific time-line for each stage of your goal. A weekly check-in is a great place to start, then make sure you have the final goal in mind within a realistic and attainable time frame. Without a time-line there is no call to action, no urgency to begin. This is a vital part of goal setting.

Internationally renowned business philosopher Jim Rohn says, “We want to set the goals that our heart conceives, that our mind believes and that our bodies will carry out.”

Everyone will benefit from setting SMART goals to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions.