Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Exploring Creativity

I'm fascinated by what makes us creative. What motivates us to change things, create something new and improved? How do we become more creative at work, at play and in life? If we apply that creativity to everything we do - what happens? Does it increase our happiness and sense of fulfillment?

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition or a joke) or an original physical object (such as an invention, a literary work or a painting).

Creativity is something you produce which in turn creates value. Do you create more when you're incentivized? What are those incentives? What motivates you to create something? A pay check? The impact it might have on the world? 

Do you use your right brain, creative more conceptual side of your mind to solve problems or do you find yourself stuck in left brain mode, doing things out of habit?

For fun, google "creativity" images. Look at all of the colorful images that pop up. Does that spark something for you? If not, what sparks your creativity? What gets those juices flowing?

Friday, September 18, 2015

How to lose 37 years of bad habits

I love cycling: the beauty of a exploring the world by your own two legs, feeling the wind in your face, sprinting against good competition, the friends I've made and the community I've built fills me up. What's not to love?

One thing: wearing skin tight spandex. I don't mind exposing my arms and legs, but when it comes to wrestling my big-boned frame into a super tight skin suit, I get bashful.  I've always had a tummy - like wearing an inner tube around my middle - and I've always been self-conscious of it.

Let's be honest - I've struggled with weight all my life. As it turns out, I really like food. But what I didn't learn when I was younger, were the right types of food to eat.

Over the years I'll get to a breaking point and want to shed some pounds, only to try cutting myself off from all sweets, processed foods, and interior-grocery store aisles binges cold turkey. It'll last for a short time and then BAM! I'm right back to where I started, discouraged by not making in progress and succumb to eating more junk food.

I can make cookies at home and resist them, right? WRONG! At least it makes me feel better temporarily, right?

What I've discovered, as well as hundreds of thousands of other people trying to lose weight, is how difficult it is to change old habits. It doesn't have to be about eating. It can be about smoking, drinking, compulsions - whatever. If you've programmed your body and mind into doing one thing over and over, well, it can be hard, if not impossible to alter that behavior.

Needless to say, I knew I needed help. I knew that in order to really lose some weight, I was going to need to change things up. I will say it's not like I have a ton of weight to lose. My body fat is around 22%, which is slightly below average. But I'm not happy with where it is right now.

My boss has a saying: "What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

I'm an action taker. Once I'm ready to do something, I will dive into whatever it is. But this time, I want lasting results. I want long term change. I didn't want to find myself two months later in the middle of the grocery store binging on chocolate bars and ice cream.

So I signed up for a year long nutrition program: Precision Nutrition. Jennie Reed turned me onto the program years ago. And several years ago I bought a couple of their cook books, which jump started some weight loss. But I also started bonking a lot on rides and the next thing I knew, was back to my old habits.

But this time is different.

This time I have a support network of coaches, mentors and community backing my progress. And I am committed (and coughed up $1500!) and am held accountable, everyday with daily checkins and weekly measuring assessments.

I work on one lesson at a time, one workout at a time and one new habit at a time.

We started slow - with just taking a five minute action a day that had nothing to do with food. They were priming me for real change: to get ready to form new habits.

Then we moved onto eating slowly and mindfully and to only 80% full. I started noticing results immediately. And now we've moved onto eating more lean proteins and vegetables.

I've lost 4 kilos in two months and it feels amazing. My clothes fit well, I'm not ashamed to ride in tight fitting spandex and I'm making lasting lifestyle habits. And so far - I've avoided the middle aisles at the grocery store.

I know I'm human and know I'll slip occasionally. But I also know I can fall right back into my new habits and be okay. It's empowering and the simple act of change is starting to trickle into other areas of my life... like writing, creative thinking, starting new habits, etc.

As I continue on this year long journey, I'll continue to update you on my progress. I figure checking in here is also a part of my accountability.

What are you trying to change? And if you have changed something, what advice would you give to others who struggle with change?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I'm sorry, but sorry doesn't cut it.

Seeing someone respond to a death of a loved one with "I'm sorry" doesn't cut it.

I'm sorry.

What does that mean?

Why does our culture roll over grief and death with an, "I'm sorry" response?

The definition of saying I'm sorry according to Google: Feeling or expressing sympathy, pity, or regret.

Urban Dictionary's definition: A phrase carelessly thrown about by people who want to lessen their guilt. Does not actually show that they care about the person they hurt.

A friend recently posted about the sudden death of their climbing partner and nearly every response said, I'm sorry.

Let's change this rhetoric. If someone you know loses someone, express yourself in a more thoughtful, caring way. It will go a lot further than a careless, "I'm sorry."