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It’s Quite Simple, but Not Necessarily Easy—Take Charge and Change Your Life

by Lisa on April 23, 2012

Remember the old days when TVs didn’t have remotes? I remember when we first got a cable box that sat on top of the TV–it had a dial, and you had to get up to change it. I’m not sure when remotes appeared, but I sure don’t know anyone without one now! How torturous would it be to actually have to get up to change the channel?

Sometimes I wonder why my clients respond to having to change their habits with the same kind of groan and dread as they might have at the thought of a life without remote controls (and probably microwaves….you mean, I have to actually boil water on the stove?). But then, I get it too. Once we’ve established a certain amount of convenience, it’s difficult to go back on that (note: I don’t have a microwave–and occasionally it’s an inconvenience, but mostly it’s no big deal).

Lifestyle change is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It requires determination, motivation, and effort. There are no real shortcuts and no free lunches. Once you admit that, your life isn’t easier, but your plan for each day is more straightforward. 


In addition to conjuring up the motivation and determination (and positive attitude) for changing, it’s also important to determine the best way to change. This came up recently with a client/friend—because we’ve taken several months to meet certain milestones, and inch our (her) way towards a better lifestyle little bits at a time. Sometimes, people can jump in and change big things all at once, but it depends on the person and the situation. Everyone is different—there’s pushing and pulling, successes and failures, and adjusting along the way. I probably have too much emotional attachment and investment in this process, but maybe that’s necessary too—maybe I do have to want it more than my clients. Otherwise, I might give up when things are a little blah and seem like they’re going nowhere fast (but I try to see the ebb and flow of change, and keep things going during the low points).

I love big fast successes. But they’re few and far between. Life is long (usually), and it’s slow. It’s a process (right J?), and that’s not always satisfying in the moment. But it’s life. The alternatives (backsliding, quitting, going into denial…or even death)…well, they aren’t good in the short- or long-term.

The moral of the story? Consistency and steady effort really does win the race. Being positive about it just improves the likelihood that it will work, and it makes it more pleasant too.

Sometimes, my mantra has been, “Effortless Ease.”

Last week, in yoga, the instructor was talking about the balance of “Effort and Ease,” and this hit me pretty hard. Maybe instead of passive acceptance of all my wishes being granted in life, I need to be determined and focused and put in some effort. Hmmm. I probably also need to get off the fence about things, and invest fully in something. My mom helped me figure that one out:

You HAVE to jump in with both feet no matter what you do …You can’t have the joy without the risk. And really, {if you didn’t} that {wouldn’t be} living the life WE want to live” (edited to remove the parts that are too personal)

I also thought the following quote was a funny snap back to reality (or about the ridiculousness of trying to control reality or the future):

Every day we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss” – Paulo Coelho

News/Notes: We had snow days all around here today, including my mom’s place of employment, so it was great to have an unexpected coffee date. We definitely solved some of life’s challenges today. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Tomorrow morning is my training session with the fitness competition judge (no, I’m not getting into that kind of thing—I’d love to look like a bikini competitor, but there’s not a cell in my body that wants to actually be in a competition). I’ll let you know if I can walk afterward! True story: I’ve been working in fitness since 1997 (I guess, I mean, that’s when I went to college and studied exercise science)—with the Air Force, personal clients, wellness clients, in gyms, in homes, in corporate settings….and I’ve never actually had a training session for myself. I’m trying not to think about it–is it going to be annoying to have someone tell me what to do? Or will I like the fact that I don’t have to think, but just follow instructions?

Have you ever hired a personal trainer? 

Do you feel like you have a positive outlook on evolution toward a better lifestyle (or are you impatient for results)?

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  • http://www.cottercrunch.com lindsay cotter

    so true! in fact, we ended up getting rid of our TV way back just to create better habits. SOmetimes you have to sacrifice comfort.

  • http://merigoesround.com/ meri

    I’m a routine person so I know for me I have to make something a committed change to stick with it, but after a few days, I’m in the new routine. It can be a positive or a negative thing.

  • http://fitapproach.com/ Alyse

    So true! You’ve really got to be in it for the long haul, and not give up because change doesn’t happen overnight – AKA as fast as we’d like it to. 

    We don’t have a microwave, and while I sometimes long for the ease of heating up leftovers when it’s late and I’m tired, I mostly don’t even miss it. 

  • http://www.1970kikiproject.wordpress.com/ cathy@1970kikiproject

    have fun this a.m., lisa! ok, work hard, too…but enjoy your personal training session!
    i worked with a pt for a brief spell (couple months) about 7-8 years ago. nice guy, but as you make reference to, i do not like being told what to do (also ran with a coached running club for less than a year…same feeling). but a time-session will just be enlightening!
    weird weather! we had PREDICTIONS for snow but we did not get any – whew. so glad you took the opp to go out and get together with your mom – meant to be with that snow day!

  • Gina (Candid RD)

    While I may be the person who is impatient for results, I always like it when my clients are slow and steady when it comes to change.  I have had a couple clients in the past who have “changed” overnight, drastically….and inevitably they are the ones who end up failing (for lack of a better word) in the end.  I think lifestyle changes NEED to take time, no matter how little or lot of time you have (Does that make sense?)/  You don’t become unhealthy, lazy, etc. overnight, and you can’t make changes that will make you healthier and more active overnight either…in my opinion.
    Great post Lisa!

  • http://www.FabFit50s.com/ Kathleen

    I would hire a trainer if I saw someone who I felt positive would give me a good workout, and who showed had a few tricks up their sleeve that I don’t. For instance, I used to train bodybuilder style–that is, straight sets, very heavy weight. But I’d look at trainers who had their clients do fast-paced workouts full of supersets, using exercises I didn’t use, and felt they’d be interesting to book a few sessions with. (I am training that way now, so no need any more.)

    I’ve always considered myself a work in progress. I see it takes time to make substantial changes, so I’ve learned to build more time into the process these days (versus 20 years ago). Still, I am impatient, but I try to temper it.

  • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

    This is such a great post!  This really resonates with me, ” Consistency and steady effort really does win the race.”  I recently made a significant career change and some of my younger friends ask how they can do it to – and I have to remind them that it took 20+ years of hard work, serious networking, and self-exploration to ready myself for this next phase.   We don’t get everything when we want it. It requires hard work, patience and a vision. 

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes with the personal trainer!  I used one years ago – it was love/hate! LOL

  • http://www.pickyeatingrd.com/ Allison @ PickyEatingRD

    About 2 months ago I hired a PT. It is actually someone that I knew and respected. He specializes in martial arts, something far outside of my training comfort zone. I could not be happier with my decision. While it is slightly painful to be paying someone (being a PT myself) he is having me do things I never would have done on my own. There are a few things I struggle with; He wants me to track calories  burned during my workouts while I tend to just workout and ignore what I burn. But, I promised myself if I was going to do pay someone I was going to “do it their way” for at least the first 12 weeks. I have 1 month left of holding up my promise and then I’ll prob ditch the calorie tracking but stick with his training style.

  • http://anediblemosaic.com/ Faith

    Great post…sometimes it’s easy to forget about the long-term and this is a fantastic reminder.  Changes (even small ones) that we make today are building a better tomorrow.

    Yay for snow days!!  :)

  • http://twitter.com/CupcakeKaleChip Brianne

    I am impatient, but I am working on my outlook.  And no, I’ve never hired a personal trainer.  I wish it were in the budget – I’d love to have someone show me new exercises and ways to challenge my body.

  • http://www.cottercrunch.com lindsay cotter

    oh can’t wait for the before and after pics, even though i think you look great now! and i gotta make these donut holes. I have tons of coconut flour just sitting here.

  • Carrie

    Not sure what classifies someone as a personal trainer?  I consider “you” and Joey as mine and I so lucky I didn’t have to hire you.  The information out there is overwhelming for me and I am so grateful that when I have a question, I have an information source that I can rely on being factual!  Boy is my family lucky!  To me that’s personal and I am being trained :-)

  • http://caitplusate.com/ Caitlin

    Comparing life to a TV with no remote is really interesting – and TRUE! I’ve never thought of it that way. I’m gonna tuck that away in my mind next time I’m speaking w/someone that needs a little motivating – thanks Lisa :)

    As for a training session, wow I have not been into fitness nearly as long as you (since ’09), but I also have never had an individual training session. I’m honestly not sure if I’d want one. I love group fitness classes but an individual session might move too slowly for me whereas classes are just get in, and dive in.

  • http://www.the-new-healthy.com/ Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

    You are SO right. It really is all about consistency in the long run. So many things will happen over the course of a lifetime that may throw us off track – but it’s so important to get back on track as soon as possible in order to keep things consistent. I think that’s it wonderful that you’re emotionally invested into your client’s journeys. I’m certain it helps them to see how much you care!

    Also, can’t wait to read about your first training session…heading over there now. :)

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