Archives for category: Fitness

“In this moment, where all things are possible…” I have been using this statement at the end of the guided meditations that I lead in my yoga classes. Each time I say it, I ask myself, “Is this really true?”  I ask myself, “How does this show up in my life?”


I went to a Jack Canfield workshop in August of 2016. It was entitled, “Breakthrough to Success”. Canfield stepped into national recognition when his co-authored book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, now a series, sold 500 million copies. During his workshop he showed us a video, The Selective Attention Test, of a handful of college students playing basketball. We were asked a question.   In order to continue reading this blog, please hit the hot link and watch the video your self.[1]

I watched the video and actually arrived at the correct answer.  However, he then asked another question. I was so surprised because I had no idea to what he was referring.  He replayed the video and because I was now aware, I could answer his second question. This was startling to me. How could I have missed it first time? I was concentrating on counting the bounces. That was what was consuming my awareness. I was not in an open, relaxed awareness in which I took in everything. I was being tested and I wanted to get the correct answer.

In Canfield’s workshop I ‘got’ again that “Perception is reality”.   What I see, hear and feel are my reality markers. It doesn’t matter what is out there, what I perceive I assume is reality.

We all know that once we are introduced to something, i.e. a new model of car for instance, we see it everywhere. Have you ever taken the driver’s education course to lower your car insurance rate? It turns our drive to the grocery store into a defensive match. The cars that line the sidewalk have doors that can open at any moment. There could be a child chasing a ball running out in front of us at any moment. This experience of seeing the video’s array of possible driving mishaps changes our perception. It makes us hone in on our driving environment in a more defensive way. We aren’t just thinking about getting from A to B. We are focused on what could arise in the process.

At Canfield’s workshop Kathleen Seeley,, gave a lunch workshop entitled, “Tools to Maximize Your Learning”. One of the points she drove home with many examples she calls: “Tapping into the Gap Between the E and the R.”

  1. The Event
  2. The Story or interpretation of the event made up by you.
  3. The Feeling or feelings you created as a result of your story.
  4. The Response or what action is taken as a result of the story.


Where I put my attention is crucial to my state of mind beginning with my interpretation of an event.

Let’s consider Isaac Lidsky’s Ted Talk,


He discovered at age 13 that he had a degenerative eye disease and lost his sight by age 23. His talk is very inspirational! In it he states:

“Hold your self accountable for every moment, every thought, every detail. See beyond your fears. Recognize your assumptions. Harness your internal strength. Silence your internal critic. Correct your misconceptions about luck and about success. Accept your strengths and your weaknesses, and understand the difference. Open your hearts to your bountiful blessings.”

Now are you thinking this is too time consuming and taking self-awareness too far?  He is languaging the statement, “In this moment, where all things are possible.”


Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote the following:

“The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment.”

The producer of the Selective Attention Test video reminded me in an email that “the limits of awareness and attention are structural.  You can take in different things depending on how and where you focus attention, but you can’t fundamentally change how much you take in (at least not much).”

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to be more open and aware of your perceptions of an event and the result.  My statement:  In This Moment where all things are possible” is an invitation to be more aware and open to what is taking place in any moment.


The Breath Diva tells us:

“Attention is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and to others.”

[1] Viscog Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.



What is your body type? How does this influence your workout style and yoga preferences?

When I was in high school Levi’s jeans were one of the cool looks. Levi’s jeans are built for an ectomorph, someonewith long thin legs and a wider waist. I am a combo of mesomorph and endomorph; I have thighs and a more compact waist area. My thighs serve me well in cycling classes and in stability postures in yoga. However if I tried on a pair of Levi’s that fit my thighs, the waist area was too large.   It was not cool to use a belt if the fabric had to be gathered at the top. I did not fit the Levi’s mold. According to the Sheldon Somatotype model, each of us “inherited a body type based on skeletal frame and body composition”.   The University of Houston’s Teacher’s Corner article goes on to say, “William Sheldon, PhD, MD, introduced the concept of body types, or somatotypes, in the 1940’s. Since then, nutritionists exercise physiologists and even doctors have used it to help design effective, individualized fitness plans”.

The three types are characterized the following ways:

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Muscular, broad shoulders, defined waist and slim hips.

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Tall, long thin limbs and little body fat.

Endomorph 3


Are round and solid and often appear overweight.

I like to share this information with my USF students because I think it is important to understand one’s physical body type so that we may work in harmony and appreciation of our gifts and chose appropriate activities to balance our body/mind.

In the Ayurvedic system, there are 3 body types or “Doshas”: Pita, Vata, and Kapha. According to mindbodygreen these body types have the following characteristics.

Pitta: Medium physique, strong, well built; a sharp mind and good concentration powers. Pitta’s tend to be orderly, focused, assertive and self confident.

Vata: Slender, Tall and quick to learn and grasp new knowledge but also quick to forget.

Kapha: Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced; affectionate and loving. Forgiving, compassionate and non judgmental. Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build.

I have correlated these 3 body types with the Somatotypes. I am not the first person to correlate these 3 Ayurvedic doshas with the Sheldon Somatotypes.

We can have an ‘Aha’ moment when we realize our personality characteristics are strongly influenced by our physical body type. A Pitta/Mesomorph, strong and muscular can be assertive and possibly quick to anger.   A Kapha/Endomorph, who has a solid build, has enduring patience and is slow to anger. A Vata/Ectomorph is the forward thinking, creative person who may move quickly from one area of interest to another.

In relationships and in the workplace these doshas and body types have a strong influence. The Vata/Ectomorph gets up early in the morning.   The Kapha/Endomorph gets up late, is slow to get moving and has the endurance to stay up late to finish a project for instance. This body type will stick with a project until it is just right, never straying from the goal. The Vata/Ectomorph works on a project but not non-stop.   The Vata/Ectomorph needs to eat regularly to keep blood sugar levels up. The Kapha/Endomorph can skip meals and then feast in one sitting. The Vata/Ectomorph will come back to the project several times before finishing it. Then may tend to jump to a new idea and has to work on “stick-to-it-ness.”

In fitness that same applies. A Pitta/Mesomorph is an avid exerciser choosing demanding workouts that are challenging and varied. They tend to like a schedule and want to monitor their workout progress with fitness gadgets. The Vata/Ectomorph needs variety in their workout to stay motivated. These are truly the individuals that the experience oriented marketers target. They are on to the latest, hottest workouts on the market. One Vata/Ectomorph type mentioned he like to do activities where he can keep score; he plays handball. The Kapha/Endomorph has to enjoy their workout. They would tend to not be the early morning workout person. They are the trickiest clients to work with because they tend to not be self motivated in this area. They may have to multitask when working out, such as watch the news or a favorite television program. I want them to do endurance workouts. I want them to do things to get themselves moving in the morning – even just jump on a home elliptical to rev up their metabolism while they watch the news.  Or, take their dog for a walk.

What about yoga and pilates? Unknown.jpegThe creator of the Pilates Coach program, Leslee Bender is an Ectomorph. Because of her long limbs, she added a mini ball between her knees to make a Teaser safer for her lower back. She became the fitness guru of using props in Pilates classes.  Joseph Pilates was a Mesomorph.

A Pitta/Mesomorph will have strong, well defined muscles. Standing, strength postures come easy to this group. An Ashtanga or Bikram class would be appealing. Touching their toes may not. Because their muscles are short and strong, flexibility is not their strong suite. Bending their knees, widening their stance in a forward bend is helpful. The Vata/Ectomorph has long limbs and muscles, they adapt to flexibility more easily. Standing single leg balances such as standing bow can be challenging. Iyengar or Flow classes may be more appealing to these long limbed individuals. Vinyasa, as long as the sequences do not load the hips repeatedly would be a good choice.

The Endomorph/Kapha is strong and stable in yoga postures. Forward bends may be uncomfortable because of the compression to the abdomen.   Their bodies respond very well to an appropriate yoga program that is paced evenly and presents a well balanced series of postures. Wide base standing postures such as triangle, Warrior 1 and 2 are good for this body type as well as spinal twists.  A flow that is challenging is recommended becausethey need a practice that keeps them engaged.

real-face-2.jpg                                 The Breath Diva says:

“In this moment I can slowly inhale

and fully appreciate my body/mind.”


MikeI recently took a ‘Hot Pilates’ class. The format begins with one minute of continuous bicycle abs followed by a minute of mountain climbers.  We repeated this combination 6 times. So, 12 minutes later I was hoping this exact segment would not be repeated during this hour of exercise! What I did notice is that my mind was grasping for the next mountain climber segment, since this was easier to perform than the bicycles. I wanted relief from the demands of the bicycle exercise. You know what I am talking about: lying on your back with your elbows bent and palms holding your head, knees bent in table-top position, you alternate right elbow to left knee, left elbow to right knee. Your legs scissor back and forth. The object is to lift from your respective sides employing your oblique muscles, the muscles responsible for twisting and rotating our spinal column. This is a demanding process; done properly it is a very demanding process. A mountain climber is executed starting in down dog position, lift your knees to your chest repeatedly for the minute.

Question is, “How do we employ mindfulness during these demanding exercises?”  Our mind is actively processing the comfort or lack there of during each repetition. The instructor is reminding you of proper alignment and execution. Our self-talk is noting, “Am I lifting and twisting my chest high enough?” “Am I being precise enough?” “This is uncomfortable!” “How much longer will this go on?” There is relief when one segment is completed. Then the possible self talk when we have completed all 6 segments of each. “Wow, I did it!” “I want to do this class again!” “I am getting stronger.” Is this not mindfulness? It is not the quiet mindfulness when we pay attention to one breath. This is not the quiet mindfulness technique of counting our breath, four counts in, pause, four counts out, pause.
I would suggest that it is the same mindfulness expect for the physiological response of exercise. During the bicycle and the mountain climber exercises our breathing is increased, we are sweating, our heart rate is increased and we are moving our body.  During a simple mindfulness moment we may be stationary, not moving. Our physiological responses are going in the other direction. Herbert Benson termed the phrase, Relaxation Response. Heart rate slows, positive hormones increase and breathing slows. The combination results in feelings of comfort, ease, i.e. ‘relaxation’.

Like a boxcar on a roller coaster track, I had to corral my thoughts into a positive direction during this demanding class. I didn’t want to be negative; I wanted to inspire myself to perform as well as possible on that given day. It helped to keep me going. I often remind myself that, “What I focus on, expands”. So by ignoring the unpleasantness of the workout, I was able to have success. I left feeling better than when I entered the class. I felt as if I had accomplished something demanding.

In our mindfulness practice we can apply the same principles.  Choose a time of day or a routine event like walking to your car. Make it a practice to look around. As you walk this familiar path, notice everything around you. Employ all of your senses:  look at the sky, feel yourself in the outside world, smell the air and just generally be mindful in the present moment. This requires a type of endurance.  This focus will put you in the moment so that other mundane or disturbing thoughts are replaced. By practicing this sensory awareness focus, mindfulness will be enhanced. Perhaps gratitude will become part of the mix!

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

real face.2


In this moment I can fully focus and be present!


Listening to Matin L. Rossman, MD’s talk, “How Your Brain Can Turn Anxiety into Calmness” on University of California Television (UCTV) and delighting in a scientifically based argument against worrying.

One teacher told me early on, “Worrying is a useless activity; don’t let your mind go there, you will be wasting precious energy.”  In theory I agree, and I do find myself worrying.  In his superb lecture, Dr. Rossman asks us to make a list and divide our worries into 3 categories:  ‘Things I can change’, ‘Things I am not sure I can change’, ‘Things I can not change’.  Do this now.  For instance, I can change my lifestyle choices;  I can change my attitude.  I may be able to change…  I cannot change the past.

Rossman makes the point that by “turning worry around into a positive visualization” we can reduce our own stress.  He suggests, we ask ourself the question, “If it were up to me…”  Create an imagine of the outcome you desire.  Reinforce this image whenever you begin to worry.  Turn the negative outcome, that which you feel you have little or no control over, around.  Rossman suggests saying to yourself, “This is where I am going to put my energy.”  The redirection of our thoughts takes practice.  Try this and notice how you feel.  BirdsofPardise

He uses an example of an expert skier at the top of a run.  This skier assesses the run, noticing the obstacles on the run.  If the skier where to keep looking at the obstacle, the large rock on the side, he would surely ski into the obstacle.  If rather he puts his attention on where he wants to go, he will successfully ski the line of the run.  Focusing our attention on the positive outcome, is his suggestion.

This does take practice; it takes imagination.  Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”  He also said, “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”

When I was taking riding lessons and learning how to jump, I was told, “Always look beyond the jumping bar to where you want the horse to go.  If you  look at the bar, the horse will interpret this as you wanting him to stop at the jump.”  I found that fascinating and wonderful at the same time.  Move beyond fear and worry.  Put your eyes on your target.

PauseAnother expert,  David Steindl-Rast, in his TED talk entitled, “Want to be happy? Be grateful”, suggests we “STOP”-“LOOK”  and “LISTEN” to cultivate an appreciation of our life, to cultivate gratitude.  His premise is that gratitude makes us happy.  When we stop, look and listen, we tune-in to the moment: the birds flying by, the waxing moon in the sky, notice…so many details of our lives.  We know that good hormones circulate in our system in response to feelings of gratitude.  Youth enhancing hormones circulate.  I would shift this command to “PAUSE”, “LOOK and LISTEN”.  As the Breath Diva says,  “In this moment I can fully inhale, fully receive life force, vitality and pure energy!”

He goes on to say, “Opportunity is the gift within every gift.  Every moment is a gift!  This is the key to happiness.   We hold the key to our happiness in our own hand.”  Fear and gratitude cannot exist in the same place in our mind.  By pausing, looking and listening we have an opportunity to be present.    As the Breath Diva says, “In this moment I can fully exhale, fully release tension, fatigue and fear.”  His invitation is to be in the present moment through our senses, instead of being ‘in our heads”.  Using our senses to listen, to see, to taste, to cherish the present moment.

Serendipitously, Sunday after working on this blog, I walked by the placard pictured on the left.  If you read it you will notice how perfectly it fits here.

real face.2Whispers of the Breath Diva:

In this moment I can be fully Present.

We all have body rhythms, the question is; how in sync is our lifestyle with these rhythms?  Are you an early riser or do you fight yourself to get up in time to meet your responsibilities?

In a perfect world our responsibilities would revolve around our body rhythms, not the other way

I used to give a lecture called, “Do Exercise and Relaxation go Together?  You Bet!”  I cited Irving Dardik, a surgeon who developed a controversial SuperWave theory to treat his patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  Keep in mind that he developed these treatments when we as a culture were not as aware of the relationship between our habits and behavior and our wellness.

In 2002 diabetes and heart disease were not viewed as “lifestyle” diseases the way they are today.  Exercise and relaxation are recognized as means to stave off these diseases.  Irving noticed that in cultures closer to the equator, where life revolved around a more natural cycle, the populations didn’t have these diseases.  In our culture we get up to an alarm, we eat on the run, i.e. we can be in a constant state of stress.  This he felt wears us down because our natural rhythms are like a wave.  With this chronic stress, we flatten that wave which he proposed, caused disease.   Instead of following our natural rhythms we have become an “always on” culture.

He went on to develop an exercise protocol re-named the “cyclic exercise protocol” that increased heart rate variability so that instead of steady state exercise (warming up for 10 minutes and exercising at a steady pace for 20-30 minutes and then cooling down) one would exercise very intensely and then sit down, stop exercising. I remember thinking this was too extreme at that time.  Dardik ‘s premise was that one’s heart rate variability is a predictor of health.

Today, heart rate variability is a popular way of accessing health and optimal performance days.  Heart Math, founded over 19 years ago, has created products that access HRV and guide one into what they term “coherence”.  Optimum coherence is measured as 0.10 hertz, cycles per second which equates an optimal relationship between our heart and our brain.  Their programs/products teach meditation/breathing techniques showing graphs of HRV and of one’s autonomic nervous system.  Other companies produce similar devices for elite athletes to measure their performance readiness.

Fast forward to Douglas Rushkoff who’s book, Present Shock, explores how the digital age may be changing our lives in ways we never considered before.  He maintains that we thought the digital age would give us more free time and we would be able to create less stressful lives.  The opposite has occurred, we have more information and messages to ingest.  It is not uncommon to see couples sitting at the table texting someone who is not in the room and ignoring the present company/moment.   What are we missing?  There is a 24/7 stream of information coming at us.  A synopsis of his book is another blog.

What I found interesting in terms of rhythms was Rushkoff’s mention of working with brain chemistry in a 28-day cycle with each week being governed by a different neurotransmitter.   “The first week is acetylcholine, the second week is serotonin, the third week is dopamine, and the last week is norepinephrine.”  According to Rushkoff, Acetylcholine is associated with “good energy, they are going to be peppy and a great time to introduce them to new ideas”.   During a Serotonin week “everyone is going to be very productive”.  Forget a Dopamine week, “you are not going to get anything done, that’s when you are going to go ski and party and go nuts.”   The final week in the cycle:  “Norepinephrine, that’s the fight-or-flight neurotransmitter, so that’s putting everybody in a very sort-of analytic, structural…organize the calendar” week.

Joseph Alonzo, in a blog entitled: Lunar Cycles and Neurotransmitters written June 18 and posted on “Great Place to Work” wrote:

“Our current workplace systems are not designed to support working on tasks that align with the dominating neurotransmitter, but what if they did?  Admittedly, this is a challenging concept to consider given the reality of deadlines and the collaborative nature of many workplaces; however, when dreaming up the future it is important to consider the value of an idea before immediately finding its inconveniences.”   See more

I think it is important for us as individuals to understand our own rhythms so that we can live in harmony with these rhythms.  Balance is always the key!

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

real face.2

“In this moment I can sink into my heart and breathe deeply.”

“In this moment I am self-aware.”

The biggest loser star, Jillian Michaels was in San Jose on April 12th speaking on her “Maximize your Life” tour.  She emphasizes how important it is to set a goal.  Setting a fitness goal is easy, “I want to increase my endurance, I want a stronger upper body, I want to lose 10 pounds, …”  But, how do we map a road to success?   We live in a technological age of ‘gadgets’ that can measure our steps, our calories expended, the stairs we climb and yes, even our sleep.

SkyWhat we can measure, we can manage; we can modify our behavior based on the information we glean.  We can successfully set and execute a goal.  “In a 2007 analysis of several studies, people who used pedometers increased the number of steps taken by an average 2,491 a day and boosted overall physical activity by about 27% from previous levels”, cited in the Wall Street Journal article, “Hard Math: Adding up Just How Little We Actually Move” written by Sumath Reddy.      Reddy goes on to say, “Americans on average take 5,117 steps a day, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

A good daily goal, by contrast, is 10,000 steps, according to the American Heart Association.   “Walking a mile roughly equals 2,000 steps; climbing 10 steps is equivalent to taking 38 steps on level ground.”  We can do this easily by parking our car a few blocks away from our destination.  One of my clients walks to work two days a week instead of driving to improve his numbers.  Simple shifts in patterns can result in the addition of those extra steps we need to meet this health standard of fitness.  Even today on NPR a new story, “How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia”  by Patti Neighmond of highly functioning ’80 somethings’ discovered that exercise is number one in keeping our brains healthy.  Walking tones our internal organs and forces us to breathe more fully thereby getting more oxygen into our healthy cells and our brains.  In Ms. Reddy’s article she cites another study,  “Dr. Bassett says a doctoral student in his department conducted a study in which 58 people watching 90 minutes of television marched in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks.  “They increased their steps by about 3,000 per day just by doing this during commercials,” says Dr. Bassett, “That’s equivalent to about 30 minutes of walking.”  The study was published last year in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.”


I have mentioned in previous blogs that I use both a heart rate monitor and a Fitbit pedometer.  I park my car to walk a round-trip of 6 city blocks to teach a yoga class in which I do not participate; I walk around the room giving instructions.  According to my Fitbit I burn 737 kcal from start to finish.  I take 2836 steps in this time period; 3 of those blocks are up hill?  I have successfully quantified a routine activity.

When I suggest a pedometer to clients, I hear the usual, “I walk around quite a bit during the day.”  Still the question remains, exactly how many steps and how close is this total to the desired 10,000 steps for health standards?  Using a pedometer such as the Fitbit, the Nike Fuel Band or the the Jawbone UP  device make it easy and fun.  You will receive weekly reports, can keep track of your calories eaten by entering your daily food consumption and as I mentioned, even track your sleep.  The Jawbone UP can be programed to vibrate when you have been sedentary for a preferred amount of time, such as 30 – 60 minutes.  You can then at least get up and move around before heading back to the desk and the world of your mind.

StepsMy fitbit gives me little messages:  “Way to Go Laura!”  “Bravo!” “Keep Moving!”  These messages are endearing.  On the website you are able to set up a group so that you can track and support each other’s progress.  Buddy systems are known to reinforce our fitness goals.

On the down side, some people don’t like having any electronics on their person.  Or, some will find keeping track of the device can be challenging.  I have heard stories of Fitbits slipping into the toilet or still attached to a garment landing in the washing machine.  At a $100 a pop that can get expensive.  The wristband is a simple solution since it is not attached to clothing.  We are fortunate to have these products and their website support on our ever present  journey to health and fitness, one of our most important investments.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

real face.2

“In this Moment I can design my lifestyle.

I am the author of my life!  I am fit.  I am healthy!”


tarot22We all know January is the time for resolutions and planning.  Are the resolutions milling around in your head realistic?  Do you wish to stop smoking, lose 30 pounds, limit alcoholic consumption?  How do we do this?  Simple right; one step at a time?  In a recent edition of IDEA’s FOOD magazine, M. Cartwright, PhD, RD discussed the “5 Stages of Change” in her article entitled, Realistic Resolutions.  She begins with the ‘Pre-contemplation’ stage.  At this point the person has no intention of changing.  During the ‘Contemplation’ stage we begin to be aware that a change is desireable and we lack the resolve to actually begin to change habits and behavior.  Once we decide to do something, to purchase a club membership, to use a Nicorette product, we have entered the ‘Preparation’ stage.  Even the tag line for Nicorette, “All little wins add up to one big” suggests the complexity of stopping a habit such as smoking.  There are so many factors involved.  Are you a tactile person who has been comforted by the tactile nature of smoking?   Are you a kinesthetic person who enjoys sitting with a cigarette and ruminating?  How can one replace this tactile sensation with a healthy process?  Will using a fake cigarette help?  Later we will discuss cues, routines and rewards.

I have a statement on my desk, “Your Path will reveal itself when you are looking at your life from a different angle.”  Focusing on our habits with a new perspective is very helpful.  Cartwright goes on to describe the 4th stage, ‘Action’, “the person has made specific changes in the past 6 months.”  What takes place in between the ‘Preparation’ stage and the ‘Action’ stage?  Cartwright sites Wee, Davis & Phillips 2005; Grandes et al. 2008 as documenting that “Those who perceive weight as a health risk are more likely to be in the advanced stages of readiness.”  Elevated cholesterol or shortness of breath may be effective motivators.

Beyond the fear factor of disease or disability, beyond having a team of experts designing your lifestyle as in the popular TV show, The Biggest Loser, it comes down to how much faith we have in our own ability to affect positive change in our lives.  Ralph La Forge, managing director of the Duke Lipid Disorder Physician Education Program at Duke University Medical Center, cites “displacement of unhealthy behaviors” as a factor in Self-Efficacy and as a benefit of exercise.  By introducing a new, healthy behavior we can be successful in replacing the habit pattern we want to alter.  Shifting the focus from what I don’t want to what I want is imperative in changing behavior.

Cartwright goes on to describe “Habit Loops”.  “Habits are powerful–40% of daily actions are habits, not decisions” (Wood, Quinn & Kashy 2002).  Discovering the cues, routines and rewards that are associated with a habit is crucial.

Self -efficacy “is the measure of one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals” according to Wikipedia.  Albert Bandura published the paper, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change,” in 1977.  What are the little wins that combine to make the big win?  And what are the contributing behaviors and attitudes that allow us to maintain our gains?  The 5th and final stage of change is ‘Maintenance’.   Kendra Cherry defines strong and weak senses of self-efficacy in her article, “What is Self Efficacy” in

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities

By focusing on a positive behavior, i.e. going to the club to workout and just doing that.  “By just doing that” and not altering any other behavior; by committing to one new behavior, it makes it possible to displace the old behavior.  I will not have a cigarette until an hour after I workout.  I will include raw kale in my diet everyday.  If I am hungry between meals; I will drink a glass of water.  If I am still hungry, I will reach for a healthy snack such as an apple.  These little choices make a huge difference in the long run.

Cartwright went on to define cues, routines and rewards.  How many times have you heard someone say, “When I get home from work, I reach for….I just need to relax.”  ‘Cue’ is the time of day, ‘routine’ is repeating the action day after day and ‘reward’ is the cigarette or the calorie rich coffee drink or the glass of wine.   Identifying your cues and rewards is the first step.  Will power can be strengthened with use.  The coffee drink may have 500 calories that are preventing you from losing those last 5 pounds.  By changing this one behavior you can create a ‘positive’ reward.  Create a positive habit pattern, i.e. going to the health club before going home.  Assess how you feel, still need to “relax” with that cigarette, that glass of wine?  You win because you have replaced a negative habit pattern and you are making a decision!  What we know and understand has an impact on us.   What I can quantify I can fine tune into concrete lifestyle choices.  Experts tell us that it takes 21 days or three weeks to reprogram a habit, to make it stick.  Be gentle with your self, do not give up.

real face.2

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

I am the author of my lifestyle.  In this moment I can make a positive choice.

I live in my body!  I can create a positive reward for myself right here, right now!