Tag Archives: life change

Why Wait: Setting Realistic Intents for 2014 to Increase Your Success


As December draws to a close people begin looking towards the year ahead and making their resolutions. At Intent, we encourage people to think a little deeper, to set their goals based on the desires of their soul. As you are creating your list of intents for 2014 there are several things to consider. Often times people set goals that are unrealistic and when they realize that they won’t be able to reach that expectation they give up entirely. Don’t let that happen to you,especially if you are setting intents related to your health and fitness. Create goals that challenge you, but that you know you can reach so that it motivates you to keep going.

To help you start off 2014 in a healthier way, and maintain that change throughout the year, we talked to our friends at Sports Club/LA on how to set Intents that are realistic for your personality and lifestyle to help you create permanent change. Follow these tips when making your 2014 New Year Intent lists.

  1. Avoid Specific Numbers and Go for Overall Change – The most popular “resolution” on lists this year will be “Lose x amount of pounds.” Stop right there. There have been several studies that show your weight number does not necessarily correlate to your overall health, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. If you start playing a numbers game then you already set yourself up for unnecessary pressure. Instead create an intent similar to “I intend to create a healthier lifestyle for myself.” It’s more general, but it leads to more lasting change. It means not only are you going to work out, but take into account your nutrition and spiritual health as well. When you begin to think broader about your overall health, you don’t tie yourself to a treadmill trying to sweat it out into a new pair of jeans. You begin making small changes in several aspects of your life to make you a happier person in general. Challenge yourself to think deeper, not heavier.
  2. Choose Smarter Nutrition Over Fad Diets – Your eating habits can account for up to 80% of your overall weight loss, so beginning to change your nutrition needs to be taken seriously. If you start automatically on January 1 (or tomorrow) on a fad diet that cuts out all of the foods that you’ve been used to eating, you won’t last very long. Instead it is about baby steps and making small, gradual changes so that you build making healthy choices into your routine instead of something you torture yourself to do for a few weeks – because then the results will be temporary as well. Look at improving your nutrition for good as your gateway to a healthier you! “What we choose to put in our mouth is the most intimate experience we’ll have, therefore it’s important that food be looked at with the intent of supporting and nourishing the body,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood. “Foods that the body recognizes, i.e. fresh vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and some grains should round out a person’s diet in moderate portion sizes. Weight loss is then just side effect of a truly nourished body. “
  3. Plan Challenging Routines that Don’t Ever Extend Yourself – The likelihood of you being able to go from couch to a 7-days a week work out regimen and sustain it is very unlikely. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead set a more realistic goal of 2-3 days a week to begin. This way if something comes up and you can’t make it one day you are still getting in a regular routine. Or start a regular class to get your feet wet – some place that will hold you accountable without overwhelming your schedule. As Karen also explains, creating a life change is about baby steps. “To make a complete life-change, taking baby steps and “leaning” into a new way of being is key. This enables us to pave a new foundation and build from there. It must begin with nutrition, and include an active life-style with focus on self care, rest, and stress management. When all of these wheels are working in harmony, the body and its relationship to food and the outside world begins to make sustainable change.”

Look over your list of 2014 intents and check them with these tips. If your current intents feel too numbers based or too specific, take a minute to think deeper – why are you setting that intent? Why is that something you desire? When you can answer those questions,  that is your true intent and focusing on that more encompassing goal will be more fulfilling than checking off a simple box. Setting an overall intent can allow you to make smaller goals, to create a plan of baby steps to reach it. Realize that creating true change in your life takes time and don’t rush it – allow yourself the patience to get there at the pace that is right for you.

Have you started your 2014 Intent list? We’d love to hear them so share in the comments below!

How Awareness and Positivity Will Lead You to Lasting Wellness

photo remix: Yoga woman on exercise ball - flickr_enthusiast_rocks_Nilmarie_Yoga-001Whenever you start a new diet or weight loss program there is one important question to ask yourself: why? Don’t stop yourself at the simple answer “Oh, I want to lose a few pounds to fit in those new jeans” or “I don’t want to feel self-conscious in a bathing suit.” Dig deeper. Many people begin the journey to permanent weight loss and overall wellness because they feel that being healthier will make them happier. While being healthier does give you more energy and confidence, you can’t expect it to cure all of your unhappiness. In fact, in Deepak Chopra’s new book “What Are You Hungry For?” he argues that tending to your personal and emotional wellbeing as you begin your weight loss program is absolutely key to making the changes stick.

While no one can claim to be happy constantly, Deepak advocates that being in tune and aware of your body and emotional state allows you to better fill its needs. “It’s an infallible kind of radar,” Deepak says, “Awareness allows you to sort out what you’re doing, how you feel, what you fear, hope and wish for – indeed everything in your life.”

You are living an unaware life when you unconsciously follow habits and rote behavior without question. Do you often let others take charge of your life or feel emotionally trapped by those around you? Isolating yourself and cutting off your connections to close friends and family can be another sign that you are out of tune with your body and need to increase your awareness to make permanent change.

You can help gain awareness by including a yoga practice or meditation in your diet and exercise plan. “Peaceful practices such as yoga or meditation to help build a refreshed sense of self,” explains Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood. “This is the glue that seals in the new lifestyle as the body begins to change physically, resulting in a new stream of motivation.

Being aware and working to keep a positive attitude will inevitably help keep you motivated as you progress towards your goal, and push you over hurdles or plateaus you reach along the way.

“Making any change is very emotional, so if you are starting this change from a negative, pessimistic place or allow yourself to go to that negative place, you won’t succeed.” Ginger Mallory of Sports Club/LA says. “However, if you vow to remain positive no matter what challenges may come with making this change, you will succeed! Your state of mind going into this will absolutely make or break you.”

But how do you find that awareness and keep that positive attitude? If you feel yourself slipping try these tips from Deepak.

  • Remember that you are both loved and loveable
  • Appreciate where you are – Even if you are just starting out, recognize the power in making the decision to make a change versus where you were before you took the first step.
  • Feel good about who you are – You are more than your shape or waist size. Remember that you are a worthy person and this process is only to make you healthier, not to change you in any way because you’re amazing the way you are.
  • Maintain loving and supportive relationships – Support will be key in this process. Stay close to those who inspire you, push you to be better and support you on the days when you can’t get to that place of positivity by yourself. Let them help hold you up.
  • Experience a deeper connection with a higher form of love – It doesn’t mean you have to prescribe to any specific religion, but connecting with a force or faith bigger than yourself can help you channel frustrations and negative feelings that arise out of your system. It can help buoy you during this transition and be another force to propel you forward.

This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club/LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today. 

photo by: adria.richards

How A Celeb Photographer Found Yoga and Never Looked Back

It’s no secret that yoga is a popular pastime among celebrities and socialites. Being mindful and living a healthy lifestyle has perhaps never been so celebrated as it is today. But what about when a big shot photographer – who has captured the likes of Andy Warhol, Billy Idol, and The Rolling Stones – turns away from his glamorous life in pursuit of a very different path?

Check it out in the latest episode of URBAN YOGIS on The Chopra Well.

Michael Halsband made his entry into the art world at the height of rock’n’roll photography. The list of people and bands he has photographed, collaborated with, and even traveled with is remarkable. The beauty and richness of celebrity life captured Michael’s imagination and aesthetic sensibility, and that passion comes across in his exquisite photographs. But glamor fades and stars age, and Michael began to look around ask himself, “What now?”

In URBAN YOGIS Michael describes an encounter with Coldplay’s Chris Martin – the result of which convinced him to make a radical shift in his life. Michael began practicing yoga with Ashtanga yoga instructor Eddie Stern and never looked back. By quieting his mind and working on strength and flexibility, Michael could feel himself changing, inside and out. Others in his life commented on the transformation, as well. And even his photography took a turn.

Boiled down to its essence, the photograph became, for Michael, a candid, honest representation of humanity. No screaming fans. No fancy sets. No elaborate poses. Just an 8×10 camera and an unadorned face on the other side of the lens. Simplicity, purity and truth to echo the spirit of his yoga practice.

We’re reminded of something Deepak Chopra says in many of The Chopra Well’s videos. Liberated from all our masks and pretensions and egos, he says, all that is left is consciousness. It’s a common theme – separating the wheat from the chaff, determining what is truly meaningful and what is superfluous (or just bonus!). Deepak believes the most basic question in human experience is, “Who am I?” and from this derives the rest of religious and esoteric musings. And as one of the oldest forms of spiritual practice, according to archaeological evidence, yoga has been the perfect vehicle for Michael to explore that essential question.

Consider your own beliefs, practices, and passions. What is the defining thread? What is essential, for you?

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more inspiring yoga stories, every Monday on URBAN YOGIS!

What Yoga Can Do for Cancer Survivors, Inner-City Youth, and YOU!

Yoga changes lives. We see it again and again. People suffering from illness, struggling with self-esteem or weight or imbalance, looking for purpose and avenues to change the world… Every story in its distinct way reflects the transformative power of yoga. And, of course, human beings’ own capacity to change and thrive.

It is this very power we aim to capture on our new show, URBAN YOGIS, launching October 8 on The Chopra Well. Beautifully shot, inspiring, and heartfelt – the series delves into the lives of cancer survivors, inner-city youth dealing with violence in their communities, recovering addicts, artists, youth in detention facilities, and more. Interspersed with these stories of yoga transformation, episodes feature interviews between yoga instructor Eddie Stern and comedian Russell Brand, Grammy-nominated musician Moby, and “yogi” businessman Russell Simmons. (Didn’t know these guys were die-hard yogis? Yeah, they’re pretty cool.)

Over 20 million people in the United States have practiced yoga. Who knows how many lives have been changed by the practice – but we expect many. Yoga has been known in the West since at least the mid 19th century, practiced widely since the 1960s. That’s potentially a lot of lives changed over the years. It’s hard to pinpoint, but there is something magical that happens on that mat, in the breath and flow of movement. Something softens, something opens. A little grace emerges to offset intensity, gratitude to offset pain. It’s worth a try if you’ve never been to a yoga class. Even for the skeptics out there… You never know how an experience might change you, right?

Check out the above trailer for URBAN YOGIS; we hope it inspires you. The show launches on Monday October 8, and we hope you’ll be there to witness these incredible stories of transformation and share your own in the comments section below the videos!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and never cease to be inspired!

Temporarily Out Of Balance: Going Through A Phase

In the process of becoming, we can become out of balance temporarily, but know it is only a phase and will pass.

We are all almost always in the process of learning something new, developing an underused ability or talent, or toning down an overused one. Some of us are involved in learning how to speak up for ourselves, while others are learning how to be more considerate. In the process of becoming, we are always developing and fine tuning one or the other of our many qualities, and it is a natural part of this process that things tend to get out of balance. This may be upsetting to us, or the people around us, but we can trust that it’s a normal part of the work of self-development.

For example, we may go through a phase of needing to learn how to say no, as part of learning to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. During this time, we might say no to just about everything, as a way of practicing and exploring this ability. Like a child who learns a new word, we want to try out this new avenue of expression and empowerment as much as we can because it is new and exciting for us and we want to explore it fully. In this way, we are mastering a new skill, and eventually, as we integrate it into our overall identity, it will resume its position as one part of our balanced life.

In this process, we are overcompensating for a quality that was suppressed in our life, and the swinging of the pendulum from under-use to overuse serves to bring that quality into balance. Understanding what’s happening is a useful tool that helps us to be patient with the process. In the end, the pendulum settles comfortably in the center, restoring balance inside and out.

Behind Every “No” There is A Big “Yes”

I hope this finds you well and thriving. This week, I’ve been amazed at how many questions like these I am getting: Why don’t I trust myself? Why do I keep doing the same thing over and over again? Why can’t I lose these 20 pounds? Why can’t I speak my truth to my loved ones? Why can’t I manifest my soulmate? Why can’t I set healthy boundaries? Why can’t I save money? Why won’t I leave an abusive relationship? Why won’t others hear what I’m saying? Why do I always have conflict in my life? Why can’t I feel anything but negative feelings or nothing at all? Why, why, why?

These are all questions that are rooted in the shadow. These questions linger throughout the years as we fight against our limitations, walls and blocks that prevent us from real lifelong change. These questions, although prevalent for some, go unanswered for many either because they think they’ve already figured it out and that hasn’t helped so they succumb to resignation or they’re too scared of what they will find out. Why? Because they may have to give up their big shadow excuse and actually take a new kind of responsibility for their lives. This terror that prevents us from feeling powerful and strong is the same terror that we experienced as children. This terror that will have us drown in the endless pit of denial is the same terror that will suck all the joy, happiness and success that we deserve out of life.

When we are driven by our shadows, it is because we are out of balance. We are only living in the darkness and not the light. As I reiterate in every single one of my books, there has to be an equal share of negative and positive. There is no darkness without light. There is no fear without courage. There is no unworthiness without worthiness. There is no misery without happiness. There is no anger without love. There is no resentment without compassion. There is no resignation without a world of possibility.

Behind every no, every rejection, and every loss, there is a big yes, a big love and a big win waiting for you. But you may be too lazy, stuck or resigned to find it. Just take a moment, close your eyes and ask yourself honestly: Are you living in balance? Do you accept all of your feelings? Are you an equal opportunity human being or are you a one-sided, narrow-minded, biased person?

Sometimes we must search for the polar opposite. We don’t just take a momentary glance into our shadows and then turn away. This must be our mission. Our shadows are there to guide us and teach us the balance we are looking to achieve. Our shadows are there to help us find compassion, kindness, and reverence not just for others but for ourselves. This is the task of all the world’s great gurus and saints — to go inside to find the lack of love and then the love that will heal all and return us to wholeness.

Now is your time! Take it on! Don’t spend another year wallowing in the same old shadow pit! Come out! Come out! We need you – all of you, the whole you, the necessary you, the hot, sexy, delicious and joyful you. It is there you will bask in the glory of being a whole, healed human being.

Transformational Action Steps

1. If you haven’t read it yet, start with The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. And if you have, then read or re-read The Shadow Effect book.

2. Watch The Shadow Effect movie.

3. Take The Shadow Effect Online Workshop.

4. Experience the creme-de-la-creme — The Shadow Process Retreat, widely considered to be the gold standard of transformational work. Don’t miss it.

With love and blessings,
Debbie Ford

How to Turn Negative Habits Into Positive Ones, Part 3

Acting Nice, Know-It-All & the Always Late Game


In my last two posts I talked about the unproductive games we play in our lives and how they keep us from getting the love and happiness we all want.

For most of us, playing one game or another has been a life-long habit and it will take awareness and practice to overcome and replace them with more productive ones. Below I am listing several more games and ways to change them. Please feel free to add what you observe about your own habits in the comment section. Sharing them will help other people to identify their own.

The Being Late Game – Running late every once in a while is part of our hectic lifestyle and, if you live in LA, it is in part due to an overly congested city. There are people, however, who are always late. I had a client once who was at least 30, if not 60, min. late to each of our appointments. After first addressing the issue several times and then charging for the unused time, I finally had to  end the coaching relationship because it became utterly unproductive.
The being late game is a subtle way of dominating others by constantly letting them wait for you. If this is a pattern in your life, be honest with yourself: Is it really due to the circumstances? Can you see the pattern in this? To really change this habit you need to see for yourself the importance of being on time. Then, you will be able to follow through with it. Otherwise, you may lose a few friends or business partners.

Acting Nice – I talked about this game before and I am putting it up here again. It’s an easy one to miss because, truly, what can be so bad about acting nice, right?
Acting nice is a way of not being honest with yourself and others. It’s putting on a smile when what you really want is to punch. It’s skirting around the issue without ever getting to the point.
It probably started in childhood: “Be nice,” your mother may have told you, “be a good girl.” Observe yourself, do you look the other way when people misbehave? Do you avoid conflict at all cost? Are people walking all over you? Learning to speak up and to tell it like it is can be very hard if you never learned how to do so. A great way to practice this is by role playing specific situations with a person that knows you and can help you to express yourself. Give it a try. As with everything, it will get easier with practice!

Know-It-All – Are you one of those people who always have to have the last word? Or, do you know that some people don’t want to talk to you anymore because they can’t ever get their point across?
Not being able to express themselves can leave others exhausted and frustrated; they will feel isolated, misunderstood and, ultimately, avoid your company.
Give people some room to express their own opinions. Hold your tongue even if you think you do know it better and remember, there are many different ways of looking at things. Your way does not have to be the only one.

Related posts:

How to Turn Negative Habits Into Positive Ones #1

How to Turn Negative Habits Into Positive Ones #2

7 Tips for Positive Communications

How to Turn Negative Habits Into Positive Ones #2

The world is changing all around us at an amazing pace. The internet has made it possible for almost everyone to tune into the global consciousness and, in my belief, this is creating an enormous spiritual shift as well. There is a big craving for personal enlightenment and well being.

On the business level more people than ever are going out on their own, creating enterprises that reflect their inner most values, designed to make a real contribution to the world.  Entrepreneurship affects the business world in an interesting way, transforming it from competing and fighting for money to collaborating and sharing money.

While all this is happening, each one of us is called to step up to the plate and turn into the incredible human being we really are. In part this has to do with cleaning up our act, developing new patterns of behavior and letting go of old, negative thoughts and belief structures.

In my last post I talked about three unproductive life habits (Pessimism, Misleading and Complaining) and how to change them into more positive ones. Today’s post is about quitting, trying to be superwoman and spoiling the game.

Superwoman – For the longest time women believed we had to behave like men to make it in the business world. While this has led to advancement in the work force, it has also isolated us and created a sense of competition among women that is not healthy for the feminine spirit.
If you have a hard time asking for help and engage in the ‘I can do it all myself’ attitude, it may be time for you to give in a little and allow others to be there for you, too. Collaboration is a feminine trait and spending (quality) time with other women keeps us happy and strong.

Quitting – Have you ever been on a team that is going full speed and all of a sudden one of the players decided to stop? It spoils the fun for everybody and it breaks trust.
I often observe that women quit when what they really need is to take a break. If you have a hard time following through on your projects, cancel appointments often and back out of commitments, take an honest look: Are you overextending yourself and setting your goals to high? If you go back on your word continuously, people will lose faith in you. Notice the pattern and make a point to follow through. This also means that you get more selective about your agreements.

Spoiling the Game – There are different ways to play this game, from seeing obstacles everywhere and being overly pessimistic to plain out sabotage. In a world where only the fittest survive, this can be a resource for some people to get their way. If you notice that you have a hard time allowing others to succeed and get overly jealous, spoiling the game may be your way of making sure nobody wins.
One of the best ways of changing this pattern is to make sure that you get what you need. Not by sabotaging others but by finding out what it is you love doing and going after it with all you’ve got. Focus on your own well-being and stop comparing yourself to others. Notice when you engage in negative or destructive thinking and consciously switch to a more positive and cooperative behavior. Make sure you have fun and don’t compromise on your goals. Set them high and meet them! You are special and unique in your own way and you can get what you need to be happy while others do the same.

Related Posts:

How to Turn Negative Habits Into Positive Ones #1

If Your Life Wants to Fall Apart, Let It

7 Tips for Positive Communications

Good books on the topic:

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind And Your Life by Martin Seligman

The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman

In the next post I am going to talk about playing the nice game, always running late and being a know-it-all. Stay tuned and as always, let me know your observations!

Photo Source: Alaskan Dude via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Personal growth should be common property

I used to work for Microsoft for 13 years, and had the privilege of working with coaches throughout my career and personal life. I remember my first coaching session back in 1996 which, by the way, has never stopped since. I had realized then, that I had gained so much benefit from it and that I wanted to share it with as many people as I could. At the beginning I brought the news of coaching to my teams, which were followed by my colleagues. People around me started calling me "that coaching guy" as it gradually became a growing part of my life.

I found myself summarizing books that I read on personal growth and business management, as I was trying to implement them into my life. Let me tell you, it was not easy at all.

Even at Microsoft, the richest company in the world, only executives can benefit from coaching (directors and above) due to the financial cost. When I left Microsoft in Jan 2006, it was clear to me that I was going to dedicate the coming years of my life into bringing coaching to the masses.
I knew the time was right, I knew that the internet would have something to do with it, and I knew that lots of people are going to benefit from it.
Three years ago, my dream was realized in the form of "Coaching Interactive"- my baby. The decision to establish Coaching Interactive, sprung from the belief that coaching and personal growth should be common property. I see our vision as bringing as many people as possible closer to growth. Our efforts and vision embrace people, wherever they are, offering each one of them various solutions and tools using high-end technology to provide simple and easy to use solutions at affordable prices.
In my opinion, the way to realize this vision is by establishing cooperation between people all over the world with mentors, coaches and coaching schools around the globe using common unifying objectives. This is an era of outstanding opportunity for synergic cooperation that will help increase and fulfill the enormous potential of coaching.
Doron Libshtein, CEO
Coaching Interactive

IMPORTANT DISCUSSION: The state of the world today, what can we do?


global-warming1The current state of the world is deeply saddening. We are dropping bombs on each other, people are starving, we are suffocating the planet; destroying our forests, poisoning our oceans and killing our wildlife. It’s just terrible. At any given moment just take a look at the headlines on cnn.com, it’s like a crazy horror movie. But this is no movie, this is our world, the world we live in.

If you are as concerned about the current state of the world as I am, then this coming weekend tune in to this discussion about what steps have to be taken as a humanity and as individuals, to facilitate positive change:

Interview on national radio in Australia
If you are in Australia, tune your radio to Triple J (find the frequency where you live) or listen live on the internet, as Belzebuub talks with presenter Dave Callan on the state of the world today and what steps have to be taken as a humanity and as individuals, to facilitate positive change.

Location: The Graveyard Shift with Dave Callan on Triple J

Time: Sunday 25 January 2008, 1:30am – 2:15am (Melbourne time)

Find out the time in your timezone

As individuals, we may think we can’t change the state of the world. But we can bring about a positive change in our own life, and in our relationships with the people in our lives. We can lead a more spiritual life, and together we can change the state of the world.

Change begins with the individual. What starts as a life change can lead to a global change. But if we do nothing, then nothing will ever change.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...