Health & Fitness: How to Succeed When Willpower Fails

August 2, 2012

Can you remember a time when you were eating out of control? When you weren’t actually hungry but you kept stuffing food into your face anyway?

I can… It was this past Saturday.

It was an “all you can eat” situation at an outdoor festival and I PIGGED out. I got so full and bloated that I started jokingly sticking out my stomach and asking my friends if they wanted to feel the baby kick.

Yes, I hide my shame behind humor, just like you.

Now what happened? Why was I so out of control? Was it a lack of willpower? That’s what most people think to themselves: “I just need more willpower.”

But willpower is a lie. Think about it. Do you really believe in some magical force inside of you that you can somehow conjure up to make you do the things you don’t want to do?

We do things for REASONS, not because of magical forces like “willpower.”

We have internal reasons and external reasons. External reasons are things like wanting a promotion or fearing someone’s negative opinion of you. Internal reasons are things like your values and beliefs about life.

BOTH the internal and external are important, but consider this…

Bucky Fuller (arguably one of the smartest thinkers in the world) said that “environment is stronger than willpower.” What he meant is that if the forces that surround you are pushing you in one direction, it’s extremely difficult to sustain the inner motivation to go in a different direction.

For example, if you’re trying to eat healthy and you’re surrounded by all-you-can-eat desserts and fried food, it’s going to be very difficult to stay on the healthy path.

So you want to align the external forces in your life to point you in the direction of your goals. When you do that, you almost don’t even need inner motivation. Life will move you forward naturally.

I like to call these external forces STRUCTURES.

So what happened to me on Saturday that I “lost control” of my eating choices?

I didn’t have strong structures to support me. There was no lack of structures, of course. But they were pushing me in the direction of overeating:

  • Peer structures: All around me people were eating and drinking to excess.
  • Financial structures: There was no extra cost for eating more, and no savings for eating less.
  • Linguistic structures: Phrases like “get your money’s worth” and “all you can eat” created a positive connotation for over-consumption.

Now before I make too big a deal about this, let me acknowledge that, yes, it was just one day. I don’t eat like that every day. But that’s the point.

Why don’t I eat like that every day? Partly because of my values and beliefs, yes.

But another big reason (maybe even BIGGER reason according to Bucky Fuller) is because of the structures I’ve consciously chosen to support a healthier way of life.

Here are some examples:

  • I only keep healthy foods in the house. This makes it harder to eat unhealthy because it means an extra trip out to go get the junk food.
  • I have several standard meals I love to eat that are also very healthy. I don’t have to struggle with the question “What am I going to eat?” at every meal. It’s easy to make a healthy choice.
  • I often use a “100 Days” structure where I commit to some habit or way of living for 100 days and I blog about it. It makes my goals public, so people will see me whenever I “cheat.” I can’t hide.
  • I often seek support from a coach or mentor. This is someone who can help me through the challenging times when my choices seem murky or confusing.
  • I follow proven programs and strategies (whether it’s an exercise program, dietary guidelines, or a deliberate stress-reducing practice like meditation). It’s a simple matter of following the steps, which takes a lot of the anxiety and doubt out of the experience.

Can you see how all of these structures support me in my goal to eat healthy? And how much more difficult it would be without them?

Here are some questions for you to consider:

  1. What are your favorite structures that support you in living the way you want to live?
  2. What structures tend to steer you off track and away from your goal?
  3. Where in your life are you stalled and not making the progress you want to be making?
  4. Where in your life do you feel out of control?

Email me your answers to these questions and I would be happy to suggest structures that will support you in pursuing your goals with greater ease and flow.

©2012 Curtis G. Schmitt


20 Questions for the New Year!

December 17, 2011

Yes, it’s that time again! Time to reflect on what you’ve learned this past year and create a vision for the coming year.

Every year I send these questions to my list, it’s by far the most popular email all year. If these questions are new to you, I encourage you to carve out an hour or two to sit quietly, maybe late at night with a glass of wine, or early one morning with a cup of tea or coffee, and use these questions as an invitation to insight.

Of course, you could do this any time of year, but because of the way the calendar is, there’s a mood of reflection and possibility, a subtle feeling of endings and new beginnings. It’s in the air, so use it.

Most importantly, have fun. If any one question gets you stuck or feeling stressed, skip it. Come back to it at another time and you might find you’re more open to answers.

But don’t run from a challenge either. Give the answers some space to surface.

You might want to keep your answers to yourself or share them with close friends. It can be fun to hear from others about what they learned in 2011, and what they want to create in 2012.

And as a special gift to you to celebrate new beginnings and new creations, I’m offering a free strategy session with me to the first 10 people who register here:

http://www.turnontolife.com/giftsession-newyear.html

Ready to get started? Great! Here are your…

20 Questions for the New Year

  1. Most valuable lesson from 2011?
  2. How will you apply that lesson in 2012?
  3. If you could go back to the beginning of 2011 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
  4. If the future you from the end of 2012 were to come back in time now to give you a piece of advice for next year, what would it be?
  5. How will you apply the advice from questions 3 and 4 in 2012?
  6. Who are the people who had the greatest positive impact on your life in 2011?
  7. Who are the people YOU had the greatest positive impact on in 2011?
  8. Who are the people you intend to have a powerful positive impact on in 2012?
  9. What was your greatest experience in 2011?
  10. What would you like your greatest experience in 2012 to be?
  11. What unexpected gifts or blessings did you receive in 2011?
  12. Where did you push your comfort zone in 2011?
  13. Where will you push your comfort zone in 2012?
  14. If you were to receive the “2011 Personal
  15. Achievement Award,” what would it be for?
  16. If you were to start a quest and change the world in some way in 2012, what would that look like?
What’s one of your greatest strengths and how will you use it in 2012?
  17. What’s one of your most challenging weaknesses and how will you get help overcoming it in 2012?
  18. Top 3 goals for 2012?
  19. For each of your 2012 goals, what benchmark would you like to reach in the next month?
  20. What structures will you put into place in 2012 to make sure you follow through on your plans and reach your benchmarks? Who will you ask for support from in 2012?

Have fun with these questions! I plan to answer them over the next two weeks and then share my answers with some friends on New Year’s Eve.

And I’d love to hear from you, too. I invite you to share your answers with me or just let me know how you enjoyed this experience of reflection and creation.

And remember to claim your gift strategy session:

http://www.turnontolife.com/giftsession-newyear.html 

Enjoy the rest of 2011, and make 2012 your best year yet!

Peace & Passion,
Curtis
203-659-6636


Control Your Eating During the Holidays

November 23, 2011

Many people struggle with weight issues around the holidays. Face it, there are all kinds of parties and big family dinners and stuff, and it can be really challenging to make healthy choices.

As a way of saying “Thank you!” to all of my loyal readers and clients I’ve posted two tracks from my popular “Control Your Eating & Achieve Your Ideal Weight” CD to help you prepare for those situations where you may be tempted to over-indulge. Listen to them for free:

Step 2 of 6:

Step 3 of 6:

And remember to apply what you learn ASAP. If only there were some event or holiday you could practice this stuff at where you typically eat too much and then feel bad about it the next day…

Oh well. And by the way, happy Thanksgiving!  🙂

Peace & Passion,
Curtis


Miracles, All Miracles

September 6, 2011

This line from A Course in Miracles has fascinated me since I first encountered it:

Each decision that you make is one between a grievance and a miracle.

That statement is quite confrontational when you really look at it. There’s no middle ground. Kind of like life’s version of “love me or leave me.” Now, whether or not that’s true that there’s no middle ground, I’m not here to debate. What I’m interested in most is the degree of insight this perspective provides on the choices we make—specifically, how conscious and intentional are those choices, and how do they combine to create our own personal versions of heaven and hell?

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
—Milton, Paradise Lost

Let’s begin by drilling down into what this “miracle or grievance” idea is saying.

Essentially, it’s saying that in each moment, you are choosing whether to appreciate life for what it is OR resent it for what it’s not.

But what of moments that blend things we appreciate with things we resent? Does appreciating those moments mean we must resign ourselves to accepting things we don’t like? If so, then how do we grow, learn, and progress?

Acceptance is very simply a gracious acknowledgement of what is. It does not mean resigning, condoning, or endorsing. And until you can acknowledge a situation as it is, your power to change it is handicapped.

When you don’t accept something, you’re denying what is, and denial does not lead to change or growth. When you deny what is, you stop perceiving the world. You’re like the child with his fingers in his ears, repeating, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.” This limits your options and your ability to respond and create change. The ability to perceive a situation—especially the parts of the situation you want to change—gives you the most power to influence the situation and create the very change you want. Only through acceptance can we harness our real personal power to create and take action.
Peaceful Productivity Now, p. 61

But as valuable as it is to learn acceptance as a precursor to effective change, that’s not even the most important part of this conversation. There’s another reason why consciousness and intentionality of choice is so fundamental that it means the difference between experiencing life as heaven or hell.

Our choices are how we consciously interact with the world. We interact with the world in many unconscious ways, too. But if we are able to rise above the level of instinct and reaction in any given moment, it is only because we’ve evolved the ability to choose.

The most direct way we can participate in and converse with life is through the choices we make. How conscious and effective our choices are determines the quality of that conversation.
Peaceful Productivity Now, p. 72

Is your conversation with life a miraculous collaboration, or is it a grievance-filled argument?

Now, here’s where things gets tricky.

Let’s say you just happen to be choosing a grievance in some given moment. A coworker stole your idea and presented it to the boss. You find a fresh dent in your car in the parking lot at the supermarket. Your best friend forgets your birthday. Et cetera.

You feel betrayed, pissed, hurt. That’s what NOW is for you—one big honking grievance.

You become aware you’re feeling this way, and you think, “I should find the miracle. I shouldn’t be focusing on the grievance.”

Hm. Do you see what just happened? Look for it…

That thought was another grievance. You made yourself wrong for feeling betrayed, pissed, or hurt. Making yourself wrong doesn’t get you to miracles. So where do you go when you’ve chosen a grievance? You don’t go anywhere. Stay with the grievance because…

The grievance is the miracle.

WTF?

Both miracle and grievance are perspectives; they are mental concepts we layer on top of our experiences. In other words, a miracle and a grievance are simply different interpretations of an experience.

Therefore, even an experience of intense physical or emotional pain can be interpreted as a miracle, just as an experience of tremendous good fortune can be experienced as a grievance.

But let’s avoid platitudes and address directly the burning question on your mind: What is the miracle of intense pain?

Very simply put: Depth of feeling. Pain is a strong feeling that wakes us up from the numbness of ego. In other words, pain snaps us back to the present. Any intense feeling can do this, including feelings like love, joy, and gratitude. But if we were to live in a space of love 100% of the time, we would certainly go numb to it. That is how our bodies and brains are built. We need contrasting experiences.

So grievance provides contrast. That is its miracle. Because life is contrast. Light does not exist without dark, nor does hot without cold, trust without betrayal, or connection without separation.

The miracle of grievance is that miracles could not exist without grievances. And yet, if even grievances can be interpreted as miracles in this way, then yet another interpretation is possible: It’s all miracles.

What a beautiful paradox…

I invite you to share your grievances and miracles.


Conscious living means conscious choosing

Read Peaceful Productivity Now and learn how to:

  • Respond consciously and intentionally to life, no matter how it shows up
  • Recognize the gifts and miracles that surround you in every moment
  • Connect to your “Big Yes” in life so that your choices become filled with even more meaning and passion
  • Transcend the “lie of time management”
  • And much more…

Click here to start experiencing the miracle of Peaceful Productivity NOW!



Time Management is a Lie

August 25, 2011

We see and hear the words “time management” everywhere we go. But time management is a misnomer. To be blunt, it’s total B.S.

Time management would tell us that our productivity is measured by the results we get in a given time period. But if that’s true, how is it that a salesperson, for example, can make the same exact number of sales on two different days (the same amount of results in the same amount of time), yet feel extremely productive one day and totally unproductive the next?

The answer is only found when we stop believing the lie of so-called “time management.”

What exactly is the lie of time management? The lie is that we can increase our productivity by shortening the time it takes to produce a specific result. There are two flaws in this logic.

First, time is not a variable in the equation of productivity. You can choose to do something in a way that takes less clock time than the alternative, but time did not change; your choice changed. You chose a different process, and the duration of that process was less.

If you’re not quite understanding this important distinction, then think of a clock like a ruler. You can cut an object shorter in length, but the ruler did not change. Those whose job it is to make things smaller don’t focus on “ruler management,” do they? Choice, not time, is the relevant variable.

Second, this traditional objective understanding of productivity, though useful in evaluating the efficiency of assembly lines, doesn’t address your subjective feeling of productivity.

Validate this from your own experience: Think of a specific time when you were very busy and felt frustrated because you “didn’t have the time” to focus on what you really wanted to do. All of the results of that busy-ness didn’t make you feel productive, did they? Now think back to a time when you finally followed through on something important that you’d wanted to do for several weeks or even months. That one result made you feel very productive, didn’t it?

How is that possible? Many results = not productive. One result = productive. That doesn’t make sense in the traditional paradigm of “time management.”

In my experience helping people with their productivity challenges, I’ve never found the time-centered concept of productivity to describe accurately anyone’s actual experience of productivity. When a concept does not fit actual experience, it’s time for a new concept. So let’s redefine productivity to make it more meaningful and useful to us.

PRODUCTIVITY: The feeling you get from making progress on the things that are most important to you

Results by themselves never create a feeling of productivity. It’s your relationship to those results—how important they are to you—that determines how productive you feel. When you feel unproductive, it’s not that you didn’t produce results, it’s that you didn’t produce the results that were most important to you.

This begs a question that many people under the spell of “time management” forget to ask themselves: “What’s important to me?”

You may be thinking, “Of course I know what’s important to me.” But do you? Do you really know what’s most important to you? Do you know why it’s so important? And maybe most sobering of all, can you explain—if it is indeed so important to you—why you so often choose to focus on things that are less important?

Anytime you feel busy, but not productive, you’re neglecting what’s most important to you and focusing on what isn’t. This all too common “busy, not productive” feeling is a natural consequence of focusing on how much you can do and how fast you can do it.

So instead of trying to “manage time,” focus on making more effective choices:

  1. Identify what’s most important to you, and then…
  2. Choose as often as possible to focus on what’s most important to you, while you…
  3. Work to understand and overcome the obstacles that prevent or distract you from focusing on what’s most important to you.

Each of these steps can be challenging; they are skills that must be developed. But the good news is, they are just skills—learnable skills that you can master.

And yes, on a balance sheet or annual report, objective results matter. But in your personal experience of life, your relationship to the results you produce, not simply the results themselves, determines how productive you feel. When you understand that difference, and you learn to view productivity as a feeling, you open yourself to real and lasting solutions to your so-called “time management” problems.

(Adapted from Peaceful Productivity Now by Curtis G. Schmitt.)


Want to master the process of making powerful and effective choices?

Click here to download a free 10-page excerpt from Peaceful Productivity Now: The Busy Person’s Guide to Getting Things Done & Loving Life.

In just the first 10 pages, you’ll discover:

  • The source of your personal power
  • The most useful and effective way to understand time
  • The two different “types” of time, and why one causes stress but the other doesn’t
  • What you’re actually managing when you think you’re “managing time”
  • And, most importantly, how to once and for all solve your “time-related” problems

You can continue to scapegoat “time” as the source of your stress, or you can learn how to…

Transform Stressful Productivity into PEACEFUL Productivity NOW!



Should You Spend Money to Achieve Your Goals?

August 11, 2011

This is the first in a series of “Biggest Blunders” articles I’m posting about avoiding key mistakes when it comes to getting what you want and achieving your biggest goals. To begin the series, I’m going to make a shocking statement:

Don’t spend your money on coaching!

You heard me right…

Mistake #1: Buying coaching

This may strike you as odd—with me being a coach and all. But that’s what qualifies me to make such a statement.

As someone who has coached very successful entrepreneurs, busy professionals, writers & filmmakers, and stay-at-home moms, I can tell you that I wouldn’t spend a dime on coaching.

BUT… here’s a list of things I would personally (and very happily) spend my money on:

  • Doubling my business in 6 months
  • Attracting a wonderful woman into my life as my romantic partner
  • Getting “6-pack abs”
  • Simplifying my life to eliminate physical and mental clutter
  • Learning how to achieve deeper and deeper states of meditation and quiet my mind
  • Taking my favorite hobbies (like yoga) to the next level
  • Learning how to cook nutritious and delicious food that’s easy to prepare

You probably have a similar list of the kinds of results that you want in your life. And some of those goals are probably important enough for you to spend money on so you can achieve them, right?

Well, here’s my expert advice:

Never spend money on coaching—spend money on getting results.

Better yet, spend money getting the results that are most important to you so you can make your life richer and more rewarding.

Coaching is not bad. But the kind of coaching you get can be, especially when you haven’t first figured out what’s most important to you.

Done right and with a clear objective, coaching is still the most reliable and efficient way to help people achieve greater results.

Don’t believe me? Ask those who are the very best in their field how important coaching is to their success. Every super-successful athlete or business person or super-mom has key people in their lives—oftentimes, coaches—who help them break through obstacles and achieve incredible things. Sometimes it’s a parent or spouse…sometimes it’s a mentor…or sometimes it’s a “success partner” they hired (a tutor, a coach, a trainer, etc.).

But here’s the key distinction: These successful achievers aren’t paying money for coaching. They’re paying for results! And if they don’t get what they want, they move on very quickly and find someone else who can deliver results.

When we get clear on the results we want—and have a coach that understands his/her role in helping us achieve our goals—what can happen?

Here are some examples of results my one-on-one coaching clients wanted in their lives—and got:

  • A business coaching client of mine is an entrepreneur who wanted $10,000 in new sales in 90 days. Instead, he sold $14,000 in contracts in that time!
  • A life coaching client wanted to lose 30 lbs in one year. He lost 32 lbs in just 9 months—achieving his lowest weight in 10 years—and he’s kept it off!
  • Another business coaching client wanted more customers. Together, we more than doubled her clientele (from 80 to 195 clients)!
  • And another life coaching client wanted to eliminate her $15,000 debt. In just two years, she was not only debt-free but she’d saved an additional $20,000!

For these people, it was easy to make the decision to hire a coach…once they were clear on the results they wanted. Clarity made it easy to choose coaching as the best path to their goal—beyond their goal, in fact!

Coaching is the “how,” not the “what.”

People who aren’t clear on the “what” hire a coach too soon, and then get discouraged or disillusioned. Many even jump to the mistaken conclusion that “coaching is useless.” And then when they do get clear on what they want, they miss out on success because they don’t hire a coach who can guide them to their goal.

So knowing how important a coach can be to your success, are you ready to spend your money on coaching?

No! That was a trick question! Remember, you do not spend money on coaching. You spend money on getting results!

As long as you remember that one rule, you’re ready to move on and ask yourself two important questions:

  1. What results do I want?
  2. What are those results worth to me?

If the results you want are worth paying for, then start looking for a coach. I guarantee there’s a coach out there who has a track record of helping people just like you get the results you want!

Got it? Good.  🙂


What do you want, and how important is it to you?

If you’re not clear on the answer to that question, or if you are clear and want to find out how to get results faster and easier than you think is possible, then it’s time to get AMP’d!

Contact me for a free Action|Momentum|Power Strategy Session. By the end of this 30-minute session you’ll have:

  • A clear, written description of your top goal/results
  • A 3-stage plan for achieving them
  • A new awareness of the hidden challenges that slow you down or sabotage your progress
  • A deep understanding of why your goals are important to you, so you can always generate the energy and motivation needed for success

These sessions are first-come first-served, so don’t wait. Click here to schedule your Strategy Session right now, and make your most important goal a reality.



What It Means to Be Rich (A tribute to Uncle Eddie)

May 16, 2011

This weekend I attended the funeral of my uncle, Edward Minicozzi. But before I tell you that story, let me first tell you this story.

I remember really liking Uncle Eddie ever since I was little, but I’d always been a little intimidated by him. He seemed larger than life. My uncle and aunt had a very nice house with lots of nice stuff; to be blunt they were the wealthiest people in our extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. They weren’t uber-rich by any scale, and my parents certainly weren’t poor, but the difference was enough that a child would notice.

As I grew older, I started to understand why he was so successful: He worked hard and he treated people well. If that’s not a formula for success, I don’t know what is. And this weekend, I got to see just how successful he really was.

My personal experience with my uncle was that he was generous—I only asked him for a few favors over the years and he’d say yes without hesitation—but until arriving at his wake yesterday, I had NO IDEA just how generous he was.

The line of people waiting to enter the funeral home stretched around the corner and down the street. Half a dozen fire stations sent trucks to hang a huge American flag from their ladders in his honor. There were five viewings over three days, and each was just as crowded as the previous one. It’s estimated that 2000 people showed up to pay their respects and say goodbye. (2000 people is the size of the student body at the college I went to.) And everyone I talked to or overheard talking about him had some story of generosity or kindness to share.

That’s when I realized what it means to be truly rich, truly wealthy.

To put it simply, I’m inspired. His obituary is amazing. The list of groups and causes that he gave time, energy, money, and heart to reads like a directory of charitable organizations. He did not keep this part of his life a secret, but he didn’t brag about it either. He acted in generous ways because that’s who he was, and those who were paying attention learned valuable lessons in contribution (as his three sons can attest). I wish I’d paid more attention.

My experience this weekend has made me take a good look at what I have to give and how I can give more, how I can be more like this amazing man. The priest at the funeral mass said that maybe he seemed larger than life to some of us because our view of life is too small. Uncle Eddie saw a much bigger version of life, full of possibility.

I share this for those of you who would like to be inspired to see life full of possibility, to be inspired to play a bigger game, to be inspired to become as “rich” as my Uncle Eddie.

Here’s his online obituary:
http://oysterbayfuneralhome.com/online-obituary/80814