Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Leaning Out through the Holidays

As November starts tomorrow, me and some of my friends have planned a Fit Through the Holidays challenge group. I'm very excited for this group, because this is typically the time of year where I go hog wild on sweets and comfort foods. I cannot help it, I love to eat. Guilty as charged!

But one thing that can get me on the right track is the accountability of others, and that is what this group is set out to do. Each person who has joined can expect uplifting accountability from the others within the group, motivational support at every hurdle they may face, meal planning, recipes, contests, fun activities, and discover ways in which they can make changes that will positively affect their life even after the 60 day challenge group is over.

Our goal is not to be sitting around binging on New Year's Eve claiming how we are heading to the gym the next day to sign up for a year membership, or how we are going to take on Crossfit. Our goal is to be sitting around on New Years Eve telling others how we have already done that and how we plan on bettering ourselves even more throughout 2014. We plan on bragging (maybe a little bit) about how we have already been practicing healthy eating and fitness for the past 60 days and how we are ready to take 2014 by storm without having to make a resolution to lose weight.

For this challenge I am going to be taking Brazil Butt Lift on for the second time. The first round, I achieved AMAZING results. I won't lie, I have remained VERY active and workout 6 days a week, but my day job leaves me sitting on my butt ALL-DAY-LONG. I swear it's getting flat and ain't nobody got time for that!

I'm excited to see what this challenge is going to bring me in the form of increased awareness, fitness, and friendships. Can't wait to report back in!

Want in on this challenge? Shoot me an e-mail at for details for entry!

Monday, October 28, 2013

How to Achieve Success through Reverse Engineering

When I share my vision board for a new year in January to my social media audience, it is most commonly met with cheers of support from my friends. I mean, that's only natural right? You always want to support your friends and their goals. What surprises people the most, however, is when I post the vision board again at the end of the year showing what I had accomplished, and what still is left to be taken care of.

The difference between goal attainment and dreams is action taken on part of the individual. You can plan for hours, days, or even months on how you are going to develop a life that you feel that you deserve, but it will never amount to anything or go anywhere without action by YOU.

So how do I achieve everything I set out to do? I plan and I permit myself to have some fun in the meantime.

Life doesn't have to be so serious all the time, that's why my vision boards always contain business strategic goals, and fun little goals for myself.  But regardless if it's a business goal, a personal goal, or just a fun goal that you have set for yourself you need to plan.

The first step is writing down exactly what it is that you want.  What do YOU want? I'm not asking what other people want FOR you, I'm asking you what you want. This is not a list you have to show others, you can keep it to yourself. But get honest about it.

The second step is putting a date on it. When do YOU want it by? Now, some people will say go way outside of your comfort zone with this, but this is a step that I usually spend the most time on because I want my goals to be challenging, but not so much so that they seem impossible. When creating a goal, think about what you have now, what you will have in the future, and the amount of time you have to work on achieving it.  Most importantly, and this can be hard, but how much heart do you have behind it, because that is going to determine a lot of what you are willing to sacrifice to get there.

The third step is to write down everything you can think of that is needed to achieve that goal. This is called reverse engineering and is a step that is most often skipped, but one of THE MOST VALUABLE steps to take. This lays it all out for you. This gives you a clear picture of EXACTLY what you need to do. It is the rough draft of the story that you are about to create. After doing this, you might need to adjust your dates a little bit and that's okay, just make sure you are not laxing on yourself to the point where you will get lazy.

The final step: take action. Take massive action to make it happen. Take one goal at a time, look at it reverse engineered, and think of how you can take one step per day (or more) towards achieving those small items on the to do list of your goal. 

At first it's overwhelming, but practice makes perfect. Not to mention, every goal you mark off is a boost to your own self confidence, and your own belief in yourself which will push you further through life to achieve things you never thought possible.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quality vs. Quantity: Getting the Most Out of What Matters

As you may have noticed, it has been almost a month since my last blog post. A lot is going on in my life right now, which has taken me away from some of my normal and enjoyable priorities.

My last entry was about doing what you love, and what you love becoming just another j-o-b. For me, that is what a lot of things were becoming largely because I had overloaded my plate with activities. I would be lying if I said my plate was not still full; however, after taking some time off to re-evaluate what I was doing, how to do it better, but more importantly how to do it efficiently while also being effective, I believe I have found a good formula.

After talking with one of my best friends last night, she made mention that sometimes when we are very busy we begin to do tasks just to do them. Our brain begins to go on autopilot, and there is not much thought or heart put behind what we are doing. We are simply doing it to get it off of our To Do list so we can move on to the next item and if we are lucky,finish them all that day.

The problem with this method is that your quantity may remain high in the period of stress; however, the quality of what you are doing begins to be negatively affected. When your quality of work goes down the drain, the time (be it short or long) that you spent working on it was largely a waste of time. When you are extremely busy, the best thing that you can do for yourself is make the time you are spending on tasks WORTH your time. After all, your time is valuable and clearly if you are at this point there is not much wiggle if you are going to do it, do it right.

This might mean scaling back, even if you are like me and that idea scares the crap out of you. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a bit of a break. This does not mean quitting, rather re-evaluating where you can offer the most value at the given time with your given responsibilities and obligations. This idea falls back on the 80/20 rule: 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your efforts. The trick that lies before you is deciding which tasks are your 20% that will yield you the highest results.

Here's how to do it: List your activities for the day and look them over. Which one of them will have a domino effect on other parts of your life? Which ones will move you in a positive direction towards your goals? Which ones MUST you do because they are an obligation?

My suggestion: If you have an obligation that stands in the way of you doing the activities you need to do to move you towards your goals (for example: grad school paper), get that over with first. It is the ugliest, probably most un-enjoyable item on the list, but if you get it done first the feeling of accomplishment you will have will propel you to dive into your next, hopefully more enjoyable tasks with heart.

In addition, once you have picked out the 20% of activities that will give you 80% of your results, work those next. And don't just do them to do them. Remember, the other tasks are not giving you 80%. Sure, they contribute here and there but they are not the "head honcho" of things you need to do. So rather than looking at them and thinking "I must get these done!" Stop. Breathe. And work on your 20% with a lot of thought, effort, and heart behind it. Put your time and effort into these tasks and watch it payoff...then you can go do the other small activities if there is time. By always focusing on what matters most, you can continue to move in a positive direction even when times are tough

Nicole's Method: I use the Reminders app on my iPhone for my daily To Do list. I write everything in there that I need to do for the next day (clearing out my brain before bed) and then when you click on the little "i" icon, you can add a priority to those items. My ugly obligations get highest priorities because I want them out of the way ASAP, then my 20% items get the next highest priority, and the trivial tasks that I would LOVE to get done, but if I don't it won't push me further ahead or make me fall behind get the lowest priority. I hold myself accountable to this list and resist the urge to go to the lesser priority items until they are the only ones showing on the list. I have found this works for me.

Do any of these ideas work for you? Do you have other ideas that you would like to add? Feel free to comment below and don't forget to follow me on Pinterest at Nicole Murray Fitness for various boards pertaining to how you can better your health, your fitness, and your life.

Make today awesome!