Need an energy burst? Check out the quotes below from Carly, Cheenuj and Jaime who just completed a 12 week Live on Purpose goal-setting class that I teach and see what you observe...
Carly: "I ran a 5K (3.1miles) in less that 30 minutes! I met my goal and now know that I can do anything! In training for this goal over the course of 12 weeks I noticed times where stress knocked me down...but I got back up! I am now happier than ever!"
Cheenuj: "I exceeded my goal of squatting 300 pounds and hit 305 pounds. I almost achieved my second goal of running 2 miles in under 13 minutes. I am at 95% of that goal with a current time of 13:30. I will get it yet! I am so proud to have kept pushing myself to become stronger both mentally and physically and to never quit. I am more confident now than I have ever been and feel like a whole new person, a different man! I accomplished this through determination, hard work, commitment and discipline. I learned over 12 weeks to break down the barriers even when you are at your lowest to show how strong you are and how nothing can stop you!"
Jaime: "I DID IT!!!!!!! I got 40 workouts in 12 weeks on a goal of 36. I fell behind and was discouraged for awhile but then I kicked myself into gear. I was not going to let myself fail. I time-managed better and made myself do it! I feel great!"
So what did you notice? After watching the Seinfeld episode on exclamation marks last night, I sure noticed a lot of exclamation marks!!!!!! But hey, Carly, Cheenuj and Jaime are excited and rightfully so. They met their goals! I also noticed:
- They took the time to plan and set a goal that mattered to them. The goals where a challenge but achievable with hard work.
- The goal had a start date and end date.
- At least 3 days a week they tracked their goal as to what was going well, what wasn't and how they could adjust.
- They kicked their own butts! They got knocked around but they got up and fought for their goal. They won the battle of excuses and instead made results.
- They feel great! They are confident and happy and ready for more.
I don't know about you, but I want to be around people like this! They are zesty and engaged in life. They are living on purpose and are gaining energy from it. They don't whine about how fat or tired they are or how they will workout later or tomorrow or never because blah, blah, blah this or that is happening to them. Guess what? That all did happen to them...and they learned that is a draining, no results way to live. So they adjusted, kept their eyes on their goal and got results as Cheenuj said "through determination, hard work, commitment and discipline."
Are you sick of not getting results physically, mentally or with God?
- Set a goal! Create a start date and an end date.
- Track your goal so you can note your progress but also the mental vomit of your excuses that hold you back. Once you see this, you can make war on them, defeat them and earn your victory. Yes!
- Work hard. Hard work pays off. Repeat 1,000 times.
So how about it? Got goal? Hop on the energy train with Carly, Cheenuj and Jaime and set one that matters to you and glorifies God. Life is so precious and short.
Need Help? Pray! Hire a trainer. Encourage a friend to join you. Talk to a mentor. Kick you own butt or let me kick it through reading my two books Just Get it Over With-A 12-Week Jumpstart to Great Health and Hall of Fame Habits-Staying Fit Though the Generations" at www.janebirr.com. Go make it happen Champ! Energize your world!
Let's just jump right in to a great story. I witnessed greatness this weekend. A friend of mine, Jenni, went from living her whole life in a wheelchair due to a bad draw of cerebral palsy and spina bifida to training hard and then walking 12 steps at graduation to receive her diploma from UW-Green Bay two years ago to gritting it out and walking one mile in four hours and 32 minutes at the very inspiring myTeam Triumph event for people with disabilities this past weekend in Green Bay, Wi. What a transformation!
Jenni trained for two years for this mile. After a five month setback from surgery she came back and worked with Cassie, a wonderful trainer at the YMCA who broke the mile goal down into manageable pieces. I remember stopping by and cheering Jenni on the day she made one lap around the gym. What an accomplishment!
But race day was not one lap in a small gym. It was two laps around four huge blocks. It had screaming crowds with cameras and reporters who wanted to know Jenni's story. The gym was flat and Jenni's feet and walker slid easily. The road was banked and full of cracks and holes that seemed to reach out and grab Jenni's feet. And worst of all it was up a slight hill.
So what do you do when you hit obstacles?
When you watch the video below you will see that Jenni persisted. She persisted past the hour time limit. Past all the kids races. Past dinner time. One step...then another...then another. She could have stopped after one lap of a 1/2 mile which she completed in two hours and thirty two minutes. But she persisted...one...step...at...a...time. The sun set. The crowds were gone. Jenni hurt, big time. She had a choice. Quit or persist? She chose to persist.
Then, just like in Rocky, a group of school kids and teachers from St. Bernard's school found out what she was doing and joined in to cheer her on. Her "angels" in red encouraged her. Her rock, Robyn, kept her focused. Jenni turned the last corner. The end was in sight! A lady in a truck played Chariots of Fire and lit up the night with her headlights. The kids grabbed the finish line banner which was down now for hours. Then with one final push she did it! Jenni crossed the line and met her goal of walking one mile! 4:32.00. Just like a marathon. The little crowd went wild! Tears abounded. The national founder of myTeam Triumph, Ron Robb, put a champions medal around Jenni's neck. Victory!
I caught up with Jenni three days later to sit and process this great achievement.
Jane: Jenni, how do you go from not walking to walking 12 steps to walking one mile?
Jenni: Believe me, you need a whole herd of people to be with you. Without my 'angels' I would have probably given up after the first hill and said, "Ok, too hard, not happening."
Jane: You could have stopped after 2 1/2 hours when you crossed the half mile mark to the wild cheers of the many fans. But you kept going. Why?
Jenni: I came to walk 1 mile, not a 1/2 mile.
Jane: Ok, I admit it...I snuck out after that point and ran home for an hour to get some pizza. I was hungry! When I came back you were at the 3/4 mile mark and hurting big time mentally and physically. How did you persist?
Jenni: I was struggling. So my friend Katie pulled out my post on Facebook which said, "Today is the day the Triumph mile has come. I have worked so hard and for so long. I will walk a mile today with the help of my 'angels' and prove to everybody that you can do anything no matter what challenges lie before you." Hearing that snapped me from negative to positive. Yes, I was in physical pain and the road kept pulling me sideways and that uphill really got to me but my brain was beating me up more. Enough. I just focused on Robyn who stood 20 steps ahead of me and broke my goal down to 10-20 steps at a time. Instead of thinking of the pain, I started thinking of the finish line.
Jane: At one point, I was worried you were going to quit.
Jenni: Yes, that last 1/4 mile I was not someone you would want to be with. I had to grit that out. Alone, I would probably have stopped. That is why, whatever your goal, you need healthy people around you. Because believe me you will fall and you will crash. And that is when you really need your people.
Jane: Jenni, you did it. You crossed the finish line and met your goal!
Jenni: My emotions went bonkers. Then Ron from myTeam Triumph, placed a medal around my neck so professionally. It meant that I actually did succeed. This wasn't a dream. Now I have a memento that tells me I did this.
Jane: You made me cry again.
Jenni: I know! Ha Ha!
Jane: What would you say to people who don't train for their goal because they are too tired or some other excuse?
Jenni: I would slap them aside the head! Then I would say go for your goals no matter how big or how small because you can achieve so much if you
- believe in yourself
- want your goal bad enough
- put the hard work in to achieve it and
- have a good gang of people to back you up.
Jane: Great advice from a true Champion. How do you feel?
Jenni: I am overjoyed. I did it!
Live on Purpose
Check out Jenni's tear-jerking race video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8FXJC990PI
Are you stuck? Jenni learned to set goals from my class and book called, Just Get it Over With-A 12-Week Jumpstart to Great Health. Check it out and Hall of Fame Habits at www.janebirr.com.
As my husband Tim and I drove home from the cottage last weekend we made our 2015 "Playlist" for the rest of the year. How fun! It seems like when we write things down and post them on the refrigerator we get after it. I can't wait!
Here is our Top 20 Playlist and my personal one below. What is on yours? I would love some new ideas!
Tim and Janie 2015 Top 20 Playlist
1. Shooting contest at clay pigeon course
2. Watch full moon rise at Point Beach July 2
3. Fish and snorkel Rowley's Bay.
4. Golf with Louise and Dave 1, 2 ,3
5. Ride a Catamaran with Lars
6. 20 Water Towers and 100 Bibles to Uganda
7. Fish w Matt and Linda on Lake Winnebago
8. Tubing, Superman and skiing with Shan and Em
9. Monopoly and Pizza Hut w Shan and Em
10. Complete Kay Arthur Bible study on Covenant
11. Host Healthy Marriage discussion dinner w friends
12. Worship time together. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
13. June 21: See sunrise and sunset fishing
14. Golf or eat or pray with Joyce and Lee
15. Cottage Triathlon against Tim. Beat Tim!
16. Tom and Barb on Fox River in Tim's boat
17. Game Night w Tim. Best of 10 various games
18. Watch Perseid Meteor shower Aug 11-13 4am
19. Fall after football overnight date night.
20. Ballroom dance Jenni and Joe's wedding.
I love it! Here's my top 20 Playlist for 2015
1. Teach fitness classes again. Done!
2. Memorize Canon in D on my violin. Done!
3. Walleye guide w Paul and John. Fun and Done!
4. Paint Winter Sassy monkey. Done! Paint two more.
5. Gratitude letter to ____ and ____
6. Shoot that elusive grouse!
7. Recite main points of each book of the Bible. OT Done! NT
8. Surf Sheboygan w Shan, Em or Terese
9. Enter Point Beach photo contest
10. Ride a horse w Judy.
11. Musky fish w John
12. Host a wine and canvas night here w friends w Theresa lead.
13. Jesus days 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (1 done! Loved it)
14. Read 20 books 11111 11111 11111 11111 (11 in!)
15. Shan and Em to Adventure Park ropes course, climb wall.
16. Get trained to give out cup at communion
17. Measure and track eating for 30 days on myfitnesspal
18. 1600 miles, 100 wts, 350 stretch, 52 high intensity
19. 52x to weekday mass at Abbey
20. Play day w Julie, Cathy and Brenda.
This puts a smile on my face! Let me know your ideas and let's go for it!
As I read a stack of summaries from participants who just completed a 12-week "Live on Purpose"
goal setting class that I teach, one statement really jumped out at me. Fatima was so proud of
herself, and rightly so, for moving from a couch potato in week one to running and walking 5 miles
several days a week by week 12. What an energizing accomplishment that had her exclaim, "I feel
so much stronger and happier!" Great job!
But then came the show-stopper for me. See if you recognize yourself in this comment. She said, "I eat healthy most days, but once I start eating junk I CANNOT STOP!!!" I cannot stop.
You know the drill. We do so well...and then a trigger hits.Maybe it is a stressful family or work situation, or we get cranky low onsleep, or our hormones go wild or we just think, "Hey, I deserve this!" Whatever the case, you know thenext step...we get lost in ice cream, chips, wine, cookie dough, peeps...youname it! How self-defeating.
But there is hope! Fatima's "I CANNOT STOP" flashed me back to a comment in the book The Meaning of Life by Victor Frankl that I read as a young teen. Victor observed as a starving Jewish prisoner in the horrors of the concentration camps that some people, even though they were literally starving to death, gave part of the only food they would get for the day, a piece of moldy bread, to those who needed it more. Please reread that.
Now let's contrast that to our level of stress and our follow-up action of stuffing ourselves with junk and screaming, "I CANNOT STOP!!!" You know what, we can stop. Let's get a grip.Victor Frankl shows us that even in the most stressful of situations, we do have choices.
But as a recent cookie dough overload taught me, the pull of food (or drink or whatever your vice) is very powerful. Lost in that moment, I did not think I could stop or even want to . So what do you do? May I suggest three quick options:
1. Run! Get up and get away from the temptation. (Better yet, don't buy it in the first place.) Leave the room like Joseph in the Old Testament when a married woman was throwing herself on him. He ran. Temptation is so powerful...get away from it!
2. Face it.Remember Victor Frankl's observations and know you do have the power of choice in the moment. Or like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings when his worst fear came to attack him. He stopped running, faced it and yelled out, "Go back to the shadows. "YOU SHALL NOTPASS." If he can take on a monster and win,we can surely take on a potato chip.
3. Call for help.Phone a friend, go for a walk. Do something else. Cry out to God! Jesus came to break the power of sin and death. He cares for us. He doesn't want us lost in the bondage of out of control eating or drinking dragging us down. He surely will be there for us to win these battles when we surrender to Him and give Him glory.
"I CANNOT STOP!" Not true! You can. We all have temptations and choices each day not only in our eating and drinking butin all areas of our lives. What would you at your best do? What choice glorifies God?Here's to victory, superstar! Choose well.
Four weeks before Christmas, I thought it would be fun to learn how to play Christmas Canon in D on my violin by the zesty Tran Siberian Orchestra.
One problem: my career as a violinist from 4th to 7th grade consisted of random seven minute practice sessions, never understanding sharps and flats and earning the orchestras second last chair of the second section. Thank goodness for Ellen.
Flash forward 35 years. Playing Christmas Canon in D can't be too much harder than Mary had a Little Lamb can it?
So I went on You Tube and watched the Tran Siberian Orchestra play the song. I downloaded the sheet music and put Canon in D on my ipod so I would have a guide to play along to. I dusted off my violin, cracked my knuckles, pressed play and off I went!
That's when disaster hit. It was too hard! I sounded awful. I was so lost and didn't have any idea what I was doing. My beta fish Louise started getting very agitated in her bowl and my husband Tim suddenly bolted out the door for an unexpected football meeting. I couldn't even stand myself! Soon the music was off, the bad violin was back in its case and eating a pile of M&M's was starting to sound like a great idea.
How about You?
I know you can relate. You want to be in better shape and lose some weight. How hard can it be? The people on the infomercials are all smiling. Even their sweat looks pretty dripping down their sculpted abs. I bet they don't even stink! So you buy the stuff or join the gym, put your best smiley on, press play and...and...THIS IS REALLY HARD! You are lost. You are not having fun. You look at your watch and the warm-up isn't even over yet. Where are those M&Ms again?
Many of us think of an excuse and quit at this point. Why bother? We bury our dreams, say to ourselves that it wasn't really that important anyway and move on...but at what cost?
Hold on. There is another way. Few take this path. It is hard and full of obstacles....but those who do and stick it out usually shout, "That was so worth it!"
My path was to hire Steve. He is a violin master. We chatted and got to know one another. Then he had me play Christmas Canon in D for a few minutes. Soon Steve's eyes were bulging like Louise in her fish bowl when she is hungry. He yelled out "STOP!"
Then Steve gave it to me straight. "Jane," he said, "You are in great shape and I am not. You know what it takes to get in great shape and stay in shape and you practice that day in and day out even when you don't feel like it. I do not and it is obvious. Look at me!"
"But I am a great violinist and you are not. I know what it takes to get in great violin shape and do that day in and day out. You do not. You think you can just skip all the steps that lead to being great and jump right in and play Christmas Canon in D. Well, you can not. So I am going to tell and show you the drills you need to do. They are not exciting. But they are necessary. After your drills are done, then you can advance to playing these first 10 notes of Canon in D over and over at least 20 times a day before moving on to the next 10 notes."
Steve went on to say, "You will listen to me and you might do that for a few days and you will start to get good. Then you will get full of yourself, skip the drills and the necessary hard work, move right into playing the song and only stay average. Then you will realize what you have done, eat some humble pie, and come back to me and be ready to do it right."
And that is just what happened!
Each one of us can dream all we want about being in great shape or a having a great marriage or friends or a growing relationship with God that transforms us to the person we were meant to be. But that doesn't just happen because we want it to. Great anything takes hard work and persistence over time.
Repeat 1000 times: Hard work pays off...Hard work pays off! It takes the daily drills, over and over and over... like putting the phone down and greeting your spouse or child when they come home day after day after day.
It takes getting out of our comfort zone and finding people who are good at what we want to be good at and humbly letting them teach us.
It means turning off the internet or putting the wine glass down and getting a workout in even though the couch calls...day after day after day.
It means getting up early everyday to read the Bible and leaving your excuses in bed.
Yesterday, with a HUGE smile on my face, I memorized and played Christmas Canon in D for my 92-year old parents. They loved it! I loved it! Even Louise the fish loved it! And I know my instructor Steve would love it because I did what it takes to earn it. Hard work indeed pays off.
What are you willing to work hard and pay the price for? Is it worth the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat that are bound to happen along the way? If so, as Green Bay Packer MVP Aaron Rodgers would say, "Let's get after it!" I know when it is all said and done you will shout, "That was so worth it!"
Live on Purpose
Sickof stuck? Check out Jane's books "Just Get it Over With" and "Hall of Fame Habits" at www.janebirr.com
“That’s it, I Quit!”
I teach a goal-setting course based on my book, "Just Get it Over With-A 12-Week Jumpstart to Great Health." We all pick a goal that matters to us and then go about achieving it through the ups and downs of life. Recently we were in week 7. As we went around the room, I asked "How's it going? Are you rising toward your goal or stuck in a plateau or falling?"
As is typical, my students and I were in various stages. Some of us were surging and riding high from focusing on our goal and making time for it and loving the energy, confidence and results that are the reward from giving an effort we were proud of. I love times like that, don't you?
Others were stuck. They weren't going forward but weren't going backward either. Kind of like when the Green Bay Packers run several sets of plays and don't gain any yards. It is frustrating for the team and boring for the fans to watch. Going to get a hotdog seems like the best idea to relieve the stress of this stalemate stage. But for players and coaches, that is not an option. Quitting is an option but a bad option. Another bad option is running the same set of plays over and over that are not working. Thank goodness for time-outs and half-times to regroup, look at where you are and where you want to be and form some new strategies. If Plan A and Plan B is not working, how can we learn and adjust and form Plan C?
How about you? Think of your goal. Are you running the same plays over and over again and its not working? Like wanting to lose weight and making great choices all day or all week and then blowing it at night or on the weekend? Or maybe you are stuck in the same patterns of draining arguments with your spouse or kids. Do you want to keep running those same plays?
Yes, it easier to stay with habits we know, but as they say, "No guts, no glory." Punting or getting sacked over and over yields a big L. W's are much more memorable. How about researching and risking some new habits? What is worth fighting for to you? Most people say family and friends. Some say faith or health or a career. What is important to you? Do you want to continue to stay distracted in this busy, got a million things to do world and lose or do you want to zero in, live on purpose and risk, change, grow and win for some goals that matter?
We are either rising, stuck in a plateau or going down. In our week 7 class, a student said she had crashed. Nothing was working. So I asked her, "What is your goal?" She stumbled and fumbled and finally said, "Well, I don't know. I forgot." Everyone immediately looked up, turned their head and stared at her. The obvious reply was, "Well, how can reach your goal if you don't even know what it is?"
Unfortunately, that happens a lot. Is it happening to you right now? We can set a goal and get all fired up about this new picture for our lives. Maybe a big health or relationship challenge wakes us up and we say, "Now is my time! I am so going to really change!" But it is not a part of us yet. We have all of our old habits that like a weed, choke out our new goal unless with great intention and purpose we clearly define it, focus on it, track it, and then work for it with daily persistence and effort and get ourselves surrounded by healthy people doing the same.
Maybe we focus for a little bit on our worthwhile goal such as a daily two-mile walk or reading a chapter of the Bible or a weekly connection time with our spouse. We mean well...but then life hits with stress triggers like crying kids, whining co-workers, relationship lows, cold days, a hole in our favorite jeans, nagging injuries, not feeling like it or just wanting to watch TV. We can forget our goal and with it why it mattered to us and the impact it has on our loved ones in the first place and take the slow spiral back to where we started. "My goal? I forgot it." How sad.
I could go off now and list a million strategies on how to overcome this. But honestly, do we ever really listen when people tell us what to do? We may listen, but then right after that all our excuses why we can't puke out. You know what to do. So do I. Who are you? Why are you here? What do you love to do? Are you going to fight for your goal today or not? Some do, most don't. Will you?
Live on Purpose
Great News! Jane's book, "Hall of Fame Habits-Staying Fit Through the Generations" is now an e-book on Amazon and Nook!