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

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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.



When is Now the Best Time to Take Action?

May 14, 2011

What’s the most important thing in your life or business you don’t like and want to change?

What if I told you that I could bring you back in time to exactly one year ago so that you could make that change and work on it for a whole year, so that instead of waking up this morning still tolerating this thing you don’t like, it would all be different…it would all be better…would you take me up on that offer?

If yes, then make that change today. Focus on it, get help, take each step one by one. If it’s a habit, condition it each day.

Listen, the next year of your life will pass by no matter what you do. You could spend it making this change or not. But wouldn’t it just be wonderful to wake up exactly one year from today and be transformed?

Now is always the best time to take action because it’s the only time you can take action. The past is a memory, the future a dream. Now is real.

Take action now.

(Note: Thanks to Anthony Robbins for introducing me to the very playful and powerful question, “When is now the best time to take action?”)


If you’re not sure how to make some change in your life, or even if you’re not clear on what the change is, I can help.

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 goals
  • A 3-stage plan for achieving them
  • An understanding of any hidden challenges that may be slowing you down or sabotaging your progress
  • Increased energy and motivation to make it all happen

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.



Hope & Fear (1/5): Commit to Change

November 15, 2008

On November 4, 66 million people in the United States voted for change and hope when they elected Barack Obama as President. At the same time we are experiencing changes in our economy which leave many people afraid and uncertain.

It’s a strange mix, if you ask me. So much hope, so much fear. But whether you are hopeful or fearful (or bouncing between the two), one thing is certain: NOW is the time for action.

“This is our moment. This is our time — to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth — that out of many, we are one.”
Barack Obama, from his victory speech

Do you want the world to be a better place? Do you want to see some positive changes? Okay, so how much are you willing to participate in that change?

“What can I do, Curtis? I’m just one person.”

To quote Gandhi, BE the change you wish to see in the world. Start with yourself. Start with your own goals. Start with your own happiness and peace of mind. What change do you want to make in YOUR life?

It’s my strong belief that each and every person can and will make their greatest positive impact on the world by becoming:

  1. More peaceful inside yourself
  2. More passionate for what you do
  3. More productive in how you do it

By making YOUR OWN life better, you make the world better. So if you could change something about your life in the next year, something that would bring you more peace or more happiness, what would you choose? Give yourself a 30 second time limit and make a list…

If you’re curious, here are my answers (in no particular order):

  • I’d grow my business to serve 100 times as many people as I do now
  • I’d create an amazing relationship with a woman I loved
  • I’d spend more quality time with my friends and family

What’s on your list? Seriously, before you continue reading, take 30 seconds to make a list of the changes you’d like to make in your life in the next year…

Look at your list. Is there any doubt in your mind that the world would be a better place if you achieved these things? Any doubt that if you were happier and more peaceful that you could make a bigger and better contribution to the people in your life?

You’re helping no one by being stressed or fearful. You’re helping no one by being unhappy or disillusioned. On the other hand when you feel happy, peaceful, passionate, and productive, you treat people more kindly, you’re more generous, you inspire others, and you solve problems and overcome challenges much more quickly.

At this moment in time, the world needs more people like THAT.

This coming week, I’m running a free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind — You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.”

You’ll learn the art of Peaceful Productivity — how to make the most effective and productive choices peacefully, especially in times of change and uncertainty. No matter how uncertain things are, you can feel peaceful inside. No matter how many obstacles you face, you can continue to make progress in your life.

Peaceful Productivity holds the key to both. Learn more and sign up:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

This is the first in a daily series of five posts on how to respond to this mixture of hope and fear in the world today. Here’s the full list:

  1. Commit to Change
  2. Keep Your Job and Prosper (for busy professionals)
  3. Grow Your Business in a Bad Economy (for entrepreneurs)
  4. Avoid Layoffs and Down-sizing (for business owners & executives)
  5. Shape Your Child’s Future (for working parents)

Procrastination: 3 Different Types

September 16, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on the first of 3 different types of procrastination:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

Procrastination: 3 Different Types

Procrastination is one of the most common productivity challenges. Some people struggle with it often across all areas of their lives, others infrequently in only particular areas of their lives. But most of us have experienced it at one time or another.

The word itself does little in the way of helping us identify a solution. It simply describes a phenomenon: The act of putting off something you could do now for later.

But there are several reasons why a person might do such a thing. And different solutions depending on the reason.

I’ve created 3 categories to help my clients understand procrastination and what to do about it:

  1. Chore procrastination
  2. Dream procrastination
  3. Type 3 procrastination (descriptive name, right?)

Chore procrastination is when a person puts off a task that holds little or no intrinsic appeal, but the outcome of the task is valued.

Dream procrastination is when a person puts off a task related to a big goal or dream.

Type 3 procrastination is a catch-all category for procrastination that doesn’t involve a dream or a chore. Typically, this type requires a closer look to understand what it’s really about.

These are generalizations. Often a person’s own brand of procrastination blends the three. But before you can overcome your procrastination, identify which type or types it is.

Is what you’re procrastinating simply a chore, or is it related to some big goal or dream you’re pursuing?

If it’s neither, or you’re not sure, look closer at what the result will be if you completed the task you were procrastinating. What will that result be (describe it in as much detail as you can)? Why is that result important? Is that result related to one of your big goals or dreams?

Your answers may lead you to the conclusion that the result is not important to you. In which case you need to ask yourself why this task is on your to-do list at all. (I’ve written more about this subject in a previous post.)

If you try to overcome your procrastination before you identify what type or types it is, you’re likely to fail and frustrate yourself. Once you know the type, you can get to the business of solving it.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

To learn more about identifying the 3 different types of procrastination and how exactly you can solve each, register for a powerful and fun teleclass at http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html


Can Procrastination Be Good?

September 8, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on how procrastination can actually be a good thing.

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

The GOOD Kind of Procrastination

Many people come to me wanting help overcoming their procrastination. My first question to them is this:

Is it the good kind of procrastination or the bad kind?

“Curtis, what in the world is the GOOD kind of procrastination?”

I’m happy you asked. 🙂

There are different reasons for procrastination. Some are fear based, and those are the ones that I help my clients overcome.

But procrastination can also be a signpost that your actions and your values are out of sync. In other words, procrastination can reveal that you’ve committed to something that isn’t important to you.

For example, for years and years I pursued music. I put together bands, I wrote and recorded songs, I took guitar lessons. It was my “dream” to be a successful musician, and everyone around me knew it.

Yet I procrastinated 90% of the time. Why?

What I ultimately learned was that years earlier I’d created an identity for myself as a musician. I fell in love with the IDEA of playing music. But my heart wasn’t in it. I rarely enjoyed it, and it was always a struggle for me.

Procrastination was a warning sign that I’d made a choice that didn’t serve me. It was like a blinking red warning light that something was out of whack in my life.

When I finally stopped pursuing music, it was such a relief. I felt like I’d been released from prison–my own prison that I’d created out of an expectation I had for myself.

So before you try to “overcome” your procrastination, take a look at where it’s coming from.

Understanding Procrastination

If you find yourself procrastinating (especially if it’s ongoing procrastination), ask yourself these questions:

1. What specifically am I procrastinating?

This may seem obvious, but often it’s not. “I procrastinate my work.” Okay, so what kinds of work, exactly? Be specific.

2. Why am I procrastinating?

Don’t settle for the first answer that comes to you, especially if it doesn’t contain an insight. Keep asking yourself (lovingly, not like an interrogator) until you learn something about the source of your procrastination.

3. What choice will serve me the most?

Remember my music example? If I’d asked this question and been open to an honest answer, I would have seen much sooner how music wasn’t serving me.

Trying to overcome your procrastination without first understanding where it’s coming from can make you feel worse by adding layers of guilt on top of a choice that isn’t serving you in the first place.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

I’ve identified 3 different types of procrastination. Each type has a different solution. If you try to overcome one type of procrastination with the wrong kind of solution, you’ll fail and frustrate yourself.

To find out more about this powerful teleclass, and to learn how to identify and overcome the different types of procrastination, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html


The REAL Reason to Plan

August 20, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on the purpose of planning:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

The REAL Reason to Plan

There’s a saying, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. So then, why plan?

Most people think the purpose of planning is to achieve the specific results that you’re planning for. And that seems to make a lot of sense. If you want a certain result, you create a plan to get it. So that must be why you plan, right?

But hasn’t it been your experience that no matter how carefully you plan for something, your actual path to your goal is at least a little different than your plan?

If that’s true, if things rarely go exactly according to plan, then that can’t be the purpose of planning. Think of that as the motivation for planning—the result you want is what motivates you to plan, but it’s not the purpose. So what is the purpose?

The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens—when something new comes up—you can refer to that plan to help you make the best choice possible.

The real value and advantage to having a plan is that it gives you the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and unexpected events.

For example, you create a plan for the week. It includes all of your appointments and top priorities and tasks for the week. At 11 AM on Tuesday, your boss tells you to drop everything to prepare a report for her by the end of the day. Dealing with that task now becomes your new top priority.

Because you already had a plan for the week, you can make informed and intelligent choices quickly about what to postpone, what to reschedule, and what to delegate so that you can deal with your changing priorities. Your plan empowers you to deal with those changes.

Imagine you didn’t have a plan for the week and your boss gave you that task. You’d be trying to juggle all of your existing appointments and priorities and tasks in your head as you dealt with this new emergency.

At best you’d feel stressed out. That new task would create a ripple effect in your brain as you tried to mentally make all of those adjustments.

At worst, your brain would shut down, mentally dropping everything but the new task. You’d start missing appointments, missing deadlines. Where’s the power in that?

Understand that time is fixed—we all have 24 hours a day, no more and no less. Your power is not in how much time you have. Your power is in how effectively you choose to use your time. And planning enhances your power to choose by giving you the context you need to figure out what to do when things change.

So let me repeat: The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens, you have the information you need to make the best choices possible.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Productive Planning: From Stress to Success

Learn a 6-step process that will make you an expert at completing your top priorities…no matter what else is thrown at you during your day. To find out more about this powerful teleclass, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/productive_planning.html