Provision #298: Top 10 Wellness Pathways

Laser Provision

Read on for the Top Ten Wellness Pathways that can assist you to reach optimal physical well-being. In the past few months, I’ve written about each of these in considerable detail. This Provision summarizes the whole collection.

LifeTrek Provision

Before we move on next week to the subject of wealth, I want to summarize the ground we’ve covered in the past twelve weeks regarding the subject of health. Although there will be a lot more material regarding these topics in my upcoming book, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life,” we’ve now covered most of the territory.

1. Get Hooked on Health. We can all learn how to be healthier than we are by taking a genuine interest in the growing body of knowledge regarding health and wellness. Although it has long been known that various medical conditions were food dependent, it was less than 100 years ago that scientists started to unravel the mystery of exactly how foods contributed to health and wellness. The first vitamin, thiamine, was identified and isolated by Cashmir Funk in 1916. Since that time, scientists have identified a wide variety of essential nutritional factors including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes, probiotics, carotenoids, isoflavones, and fiber.

Even exercise was not understood 100 years ago to be as critical to health and wellness as we understand today. There is nothing more important that we can do for health and wellness than to move our body for at least 30 minutes a day in moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise. Self-care and relaxation techniques for the management of stress were virtually unknown. Today, all this has changed. By getting hooked on health, we can learn to enjoy and practice the things that work.

2. Play Attention. The growing body of knowledge notwithstanding, there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for health and wellness. Even the near-universal prescription for exercise needs to be tailor-made for each person’s abilities and physical condition. The only way to get it right is to treat your life as a grand, three-dimensional, multimedia science experiment. Through active trial and correction, we can increase our awareness of the things that work and do not work for us. I like to think of this as playing attention games, since the research and development process never ends. If health and wellness take a life-long commitment, then we may as well enjoy the process!

3. Get Support. Every researcher will tell you the importance of working within a community of interest. Scholars call this the academy. It’s important for both the inspiration and integrity of the process. Knowing that other people share your interest, monitor your progress, and test your results can get you going and keep you honest. But support goes far beyond the people in your environment. It touches on all the systems and structures that go into your life and work. When you get them all lined up, it becomes easier, much easier, to develop and stay on track with the strategies that make for health and wellness.

4. Make a Choice. At this point in the series, I stepped back and asked myself a very simple question: “How many readers had made any changes in the past month to promote their health and wellness?” How many had started to learn more about the growing body of knowledge, to design and conduct a few of their own personal research and development projects, or to modify their environment in order to get more support? One thing was clear about the answer: unless you chose to do any of these things, they probably didn’t happen. Our choices make a difference. They can redeem even the worst of situations and advance even the most impossible of causes. Whether it’s your own personal health and wellness or global peace with justice, the trek always starts with the first, nervous step. So make a choice! Take the plunge! Come on in, the water’s fine!

5. Get Happy. Were you surprised to learn that happier people are healthier people? Perhaps you think it goes the other way around, that healthier people are happier people. But this is not a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Health derives from happiness far more often than happiness derives from health. It behooves us, therefore, to learn how to be happy, to keep our hearts light, and to manage the inevitable stress of life. I, for one, try to minimize my daily dose of news and current events. It helps to avoid television and radio. I also make sure that I do at least one thing I really love to do, every day. Finally, I relax my mind and body through massage, stretching, and breathwork. Taken together, these techniques keep me smiling and well.

6. Break the Stalemate. Many people want to get with the program for health and wellness, but something always interferes. An impulse or an emergency may distract them. A lack of progress or immediate gratification may discourage them. A bad environment or inadequate resources may hinder them. Do any of these sound familiar? Then I urged you to consider a rather odd-sounding strategy to break the stalemate: set out to do the opposite of what you want, as extremely as you can possibly imagine. Ironically, this paradoxical intention may be exactly what you need to get back on course.

7. Stop Weighting. The epidemic of increasing body weight around the globe has many negative consequences on health and wellness. It contributes to a wide range of diseases and conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, which would otherwise be minor players in the human family. It behooves us, then, to keep our body mass as small as possible. Staying well hydrated, appreciating our food, and exercising daily are three simple but effective weight-loss and weight-control techniques.

8. Start Exercising. It took two Provisions to cover the four basic types of exercise: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Our flesh and spirit need all four on a weekly basis. Endurance comes from aerobic exercise such as walking, running, biking, or swimming. If you’re sweating and breathing hard for an extended period of time, you’re building endurance. Strength comes from weight lifting. Whether you use machines, free weights, or cans of soup, it’s good to lift weights two or three times a week. Flexibility comes from daily stretching. Mixes of dynamic and static stretches, which never cause pain, form a complete routine. Balance comes from strength and coordination. The more you practice the less klutzy you will be.

9. Supplement Your Life. If proper hydration, nutrition, and exercise can help us experience health and wellness, proper supplementation can take that experience to even more optimal levels. Nutritional supplements are an important part, but only a part, of our supplementation options. We can also supplement our environment with additions, modifications, and eliminations that will summon our full powers of creativity, inspiration, and love. This goes back to our conversation about support, systems, and structures that make for health and wellness. Properly targeted, high quality, just-in-time interventions can easily make the difference between success and failure.

10. Sleep Well. No discussion of health and wellness would be complete without focusing on an activity that should take up approximately one third of our lives: sleeping. Competitive athletes understand the importance of sleep to their athletic performance. It’s while we sleep that our minds and bodies build strength. It’s also while we sleep that our creative imagination comes to the fore. Unfortunately, too many people suffer from sleep deprivation, either from insufficient or poor quality sleep. We need about seven and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. If you’re not getting that much sleep, then pay attention to the time immediately before and after you sleep, the quality of your mattress, the light and sound in your bedroom, the allergens in your environment, the relaxing power of breath, as well as the boundaries that you set for family and friends. That way you will truly discover the treasures of sleep.

Properly applied, these ten strategies for health and wellness can make anyone feel better. If you want to apply them in your life with the assistance of a LifeTrek coach, just give us a call at 757-345-3452. We’ll be happy to talk with you free of charge.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


It sounds like your year is off to a great start, and I couldn’t be happier for you. You deserve it! You are doing good work, and it’s exciting to see your book taking shape weekly. It is amazing how our lives can go in different directions after what we think are “setbacks.” Best wishes for continued happiness and success.


I am the new guy in the AvantGo neighborhood! I am from Mexico City and I think LifeTrek is such a great source of healthy, wealthy tips. Congratulations! Keep on the track!


My wife, a writer and writing teacher, emails a newsletter to 400+ each month. She can only send 50 emails at a time, apparently because of a limitation with our ISP. You send out email to thousands each week. I told her I would ask you how to do it. (Ed. Note: This takes more than a short reply. For her size list, tell your wife to check out http://www.ListBuilder.com or call me for a month of coaching. In that time, she too will be ready for thousands!)


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #297: Sleep Well

Laser Provision


Do you want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise? Then you’re going to need to get adequate sleep. It’s that important. If you regularly get less than six hours or more than nine hours of sleep a day, then you’re headed for trouble. This Provision reviews the literature and makes specific suggestions on how you can get better sleep.

LifeTrek Provision


Do any of these sound familiar?

* You’re so busy that you don’t have time for sleep. In fact, four hours is about the norm. There’s just too much to do! Sleep, it appears, is both a luxury and a waste of time.

* You have trouble getting to sleep. Sometimes you know what’s getting in the way, your brain can’t stop thinking about a project at work or your heart is worrying about some situation, but often there’s nothing specific. You’ve tried counting or reading, and it doesn’t help. You still lie there, tossing and turning.

* You have trouble staying asleep. And this is not about a weak bladder! Every hour or two you wake up and stare at the ceiling. Eventually, you give up and get up. But the clock says two in the morning. You know it’s affecting your energy and sensitivity throughout the day, but it goes on this way, night after night.

* You haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep since your first child was born. First, there was the feeding and the changing, but then your child wanted to sleep in your bed. You tried to say no, and even tried letting your child scream it out on occasion, but it was just easier to go with the flow. Now, however, you’re the one who sleeps like a baby • interruptions and all.

If these scenarios sound familiar, or if you have one of many other sleep disorders, then you’re in good company. Approximately 25% of all Americans are sleep deprived, and we’re not the only ones suffering from the problem. People around the world have trouble mastering a skill that absorbs approximately one third of life.

Unfortunately, the sleep deprived are not the only ones who suffer from sleep deprivation. It affects our world in so many ways, including lost creativity, constructive conflict management, and civility. We all suffer from the problem, on many levels. In one study, getting less than six hours of sleep a night had the same negative impact on coordination, reaction time, and judgment as alcohol. In other words, driving sleep deprived can be as bad as driving drunk.

Sleep deprivation may even contribute to the current crises in international affairs, as one sleep-deprived leader after another jets across time zones to negotiate world peace. Studies have shown that people experience greater stress and take more unnecessary risks when they get too little sleep.

There are also plenty of direct health impacts for those who suffer from sleep deprivation. Recent studies correlate sleep disorders to an increased incidence of anxiety disorders and depression. Other studies correlate sleep deprivation to a weakened immune system, leaving us more susceptible to other diseases and disorders such as diabetes, cancer, and even the common cold. These studies suggest that if you think you can get by without much sleep, it’s only a matter of time before you end up paying the piper.

So how much sleep to do you need? Somewhere between 6 to 9 hours per night. Studies have shown that both too much and too little sleep correlate to bad health. It appears that seven and a half hours of sleep per night is about right for most people.

So how do you get the sleep that you need? It may require setting boundaries on the people and projects in your life. Too many demands from too many directions interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. In real life, there’s no such thing as the “super man” or “super woman” who never needs to sleep. Perhaps that’s why boundaries are so often a part of coaching conversations. If you want to do better, then you need to get adequate sleep. And if you want to get adequate sleep, then you need to set limits on the who, what, when, where, why, and how of life.

That said, here are a few strategies that you may find helpful to get a good night’s sleep.

* Pay attention to the thirty minutes immediately before and after sleep. Those who transition mindfully and gradually into and out of sleep, experience both a better quantity and quality of sleep. Those who work until they’re just too tired to go on, often find themselves dropping restlessly and unsuccessfully into bed.

* Pay attention to the quality of your mattress. Many people with sleep disorders have reported an immediate transformation upon the purchase of a high-quality mattress. Be sure to check out a variety of makes and models. There are a lot of differences between them.

* Pay attention to the light and sound of your environment. People sleep better when the room is dark and quiet. If you can’t make your room dark and quiet, then consider wearing an eye mask and ear plugs or using a machine that will generate a steady background noise.

* Pay attention to the allergens in your environment. For some people, sleeping with a feather pillow is like burying their head in a bag of ragweed. They wake up stuffy and never do get a good night’s sleep. For those with airborne allergies, a HEPA air filter for the bedroom is a great idea if you don’t have one for the whole house. Breathing cleaner air while you’re asleep not only improves the quality of sleep, it also gives your body a rest from the allergens it encounters through the day.

* Pay attention to what does and does not work for you. There’s no one right formula for transitioning into sleep. Some people enjoy reading while others enjoy meditating and still others enjoy stretching. If you’re having trouble getting to or staying asleep, experiment! Discover solutions through increased self-awareness and open-ended exploration. Remember, your health is at stake here, so be creative.

* Pay attention to the treasures of sleep. Sleep was long thought to be a time when we are most susceptible to what David Whyte has called the treasures of the night. Old people dream dreams and young people see visions when they sleep well. In one of his poems, David Whyte writes that by waking up we are responding to an invitation that comes from “another and greater night than the one from which we have just emerged.” By increasing our understanding and appreciation of sleep’s power, we become a better partner in the sleep process.

* Pay attention to your breathing. Falling asleep at night is a perfect time to take a series of relaxing breaths, perhaps following Andrew Weil’s pattern of 4 counts in through the nose, 7 counts while holding your breath, and 8 counts out through the mouth. You can do this while sitting up on the side of the bed, before you lie down, as well as after you lie down.

* Pay attention to your children. Think of sleep in their own bed as an essential life skill that needs to be taught and learned. As you read to your children, say their prayers, and rub their backs you are doing for them exactly what you need to do for yourself. Be gentle and firm. Sleep is that important both for you and for them.

There are, of course, many other techniques to improve your quantity and quality of sleep. Until you make it a priority, however, you will never figure it out. And until you figure it out, you will never be totally successful and fulfilled.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Hello, LifeTrek! I am one of your handheld receivers. I absolutely love your weekly inspiration, motivation, and wisdom. It is quite uplifting. Thank you!


I write to thank you for putting me on your newsletter list. I found this first one very stimulating, inspiring, and useful. Many thanks.


This coaching thing sounds pretty interesting. I have two questions: (1) Does insurance ever pay for coaching sessions? (2) Could someone with a BA in History, another BA in biblical Studies and a M.Div., ever get involved as or become a coach? (Ed. Note: No, insurance does not pay. Yes, your background sounds like the perfect background for a coach. It closely matches my own. Give me a call at 757-345-3452).


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #296: Supplement Your Life

Laser Provision


Many people take nutritional supplements to support their physical health, as well they should. But the concept of supplements is bigger than pills in a bottle. We can also take environmental supplements to support our ontological health, our way of being in the world. Environmental supplements may be the most important of all.

LifeTrek Provision


I remember hearing my favorite poet, David Whyte, tell the story (which he later included in his book, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity) of a time when he was completely exhausted by his work as the executive director of a nonprofit corporation. They were doing good work, which he fully supported, but there was just too much to do with too little help. Perhaps you can identify. David was in danger of burning out.

The press was so great that David was actually in danger of losing himself. I remember laughing when David told the story of walking into a meeting, late, and asking, “Has anyone seen David?” Although he got a laugh with the line, it was a very real question. Because the David he once knew, the David filled with energy and zest for life, “had disappeared under a swampy morass of stress and speed.”

Fortunately, David received assistance from a Benedictine monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast, who observed, “that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest.” “What is it, then?” David asked. “The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness. You are so tired through and through because a good half of what you do here in this organization has nothing to do with your true powers, or the place you have reached in your life. You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while.”

Do you feel exhausted? Are you in danger of burning out from too much stress? Are you in danger of rusting out from too little stress? Then perhaps it’s time to consider your energy, where it comes from, and how to optimize it. Perhaps it’s time to take environmental supplements that can improve your way of being in the world.

That was David Whyte’s conclusion after considering Brother Steindl-Rast’s advice and counsel. He couldn’t recover his wholeheartedness and, in turn, his energy without supplementing his environment to call for and welcome his full powers of creativity, inspiration, and love. Like a fish out of water, David knew that he would die if he stayed out of his natural environment much longer.

That’s why many people retain coaches: to supplement their environment so they can be more freely, fully, and easily themselves. I just returned from a two-day CoachVille Coaching Intensive where the presenter, Dave Buck, talked about “perfecting environments” as the future of coaching. Instead of assisting people to find the motivation, will power, or focus to be great, Dave talked about power of finding and structuring environments that enable us to be great just by showing up. When we’re in the right element, our natural intelligence and true genius come to the fore. And that’s when things really take off.

This goes way beyond Feng Shui, the Chinese art of selecting and positioning buildings, furniture, and objects to have positive energetic effects. This looks at structuring all our external systems and environments to have positive energetic effects. If they aren’t just right, we’ll never be our very best • no matter how hard we try.

We can learn much about environmental supplements by comparing them to nutritional supplements. Nutritional supplements, especially vitamins and minerals, optimize our health by making up for nutritional deficiencies without adding excessive calories. The modern commercial process of growing, harvesting, shipping, storing, stocking, and selling food depletes food of its inherent nutritional profile.

Few of us eat fresh, organically grown food on a daily basis. Supplementation makes up for this fact without our having to work very hard. Once we know what supplements to take, supplements which are safe and which target our own unique symptoms, conditions, and ambitions, we just swallow the pills and go on about our business. From there, our physical health improves steadily.

Good environmental supplements work the same way. If they properly target our own unique symptoms, conditions, and ambitions, then our ontological health • our way of being in the world • improves steadily. In David Whyte’s case, he had to leave the nonprofit organization and stake his claim as a poet in order to recover his wholeheartedness. Others can supplement their environments without leaving them. They can add or take things away until everything works better. And it often isn’t hard to do.

Ironically, nutritional supplements can illustrate this truth. Some people have pill bottles all over the place, requiring them to remember what and how much to take when. Others use those 7-day pill minders, placed in convenient locations around the house, to make things easier. It no longer requires motivation, will power, memory, or focus to take our supplements. They’re right there, in measured doses, when and where we need them.

If you already use those 7-day pill minders, then you already know the power of environmental supplementation. You can use the same technique in other areas of life. Is clutter getting you down? Are you failing to get enough sleep? Do you have a hard time controlling expenses? Is your work a bore or a chore? Just about any struggle can benefit from environmental supplementation. As with the pill minders, good environmental supplements enable us to do what we want without having to work hard. We just set them and forget them. The best ones even assist us to get back on track when we veer off course.

Here are a few other things we can learn about environmental supplements from nutritional supplements. First, each person has unique nutritional requirements, suggesting unique nutritional supplements, and it’s possible to learn what those are through self-observation and assessments. Blood tests, for example, can produce a nutritional profile and suggest an appropriate regimen. Doctors can help here, and so can coaches • especially when it comes to environmental supplements.

Second, if you don’t know your own unique nutritional requirements, it’s still possible to make good decisions about nutritional supplements by staying up with the knowledge of the day. For example, we know that it’s dangerous to take ephedra to lose weight, to take more than 4,000 IU of Vitamin A from retinol daily or even, for most people, to take supplemental iron. So too when it comes to environmental requirements. We can access and learn from a growing body of knowledge as we develop our own customized solutions.

Third, there’s no way to get everything we need in one pill a day. It would be possible to make such a pill, but it would be impossible to swallow! Besides, it’s better to take some supplements right after we eat while others are better to take on an empty stomach or right before bed. So too with environmental supplements. It takes a combination of many factors throughout the day to optimize our way of being in the world. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

Finally, it’s important to take a top quality brand of nutritional supplements with independent testing of its production facilities and batch quality. Otherwise, you may end up consuming a lot of inert powder. While the placebo effect can make this work at times, it’s better to go for the right stuff even if it costs a little more. Better to invest more money in high quality supplements than to waste less money on what amounts to little more than junk. Once again, the analogy holds up to life in general.

In my upcoming book, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Coaching & Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life,” I will explore in some detail the body of knowledge for both nutritional and environmental supplements. They can assist us to be the best we can possibly be.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Thanks for the good advice and encouragement in your Provision #293, Stop Weighting (Click). I’ve lost 20 of the 45 pounds I hope to be down before mountain climbing again this fall. It is such hard work. (Ed. Note: Losing weight is counter-intuitive in an environment of nutritional abundance. Having both a goal and a reward can provide the inspiration. Think about perfecting your environment to generate even more success.)


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #295: Succeed in Health & Life

Laser Provision


Although this Provision moves on in our series to talk about flexibility and balance, it actually goes to the core of how to succeed in life. What’s good for the body is good for the soul and for the pocketbook. In fact, what we do with our body sets the stage for everything else. Read on to learn to more about the connection between health and life.

LifeTrek Provision


If you have been reading this newsletter for any length of time, then you know that I am using the newsletter to develop my thoughts for a new book titled, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Coaching and Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life.”

After some early discussion about Benjamin Franklin as an early American role model of health, wealth, and wisdom, we began our current in-depth discussion of health. What inspires, creates, and sustains health? I have entertained, explored, and experimented with that question for the past five years.

The importance of that question came home to me again this past week, as Thomas Leonard, one of the founders and true creative geniuses of the modern coaching movement, died from a heart attack at the age of 45. Fortunately, Thomas’ legacy will live on for many years in the institutions he helped to create, most notably Coach U, the International Coach Federation, and CoachVille. Unfortunately, Thomas will no longer be able to enjoy the fruit of his labors. Why did this happen now? Why did this happen at all?

If you ask my 90-year-old uncle, he will tell you there was nothing Thomas could have done to change his destiny. More than once, I’ve heard my uncle profess his belief that the day of our death is set from the day we are born. This thought is at once comforting and disturbing. On this basis, there’s nothing we can do either to screw up or to improve our chances. Therefore, we may as well enjoy our life as long as God gives us life to enjoy.

I, for one, profess a different view. I believe that the time of our death is influenced by the time of our life. Notice the play on words. I am using “time” in two different senses. By “the time of our death”, I am speaking in chronological time • the date on the calendar. By “the time of our life”, I am speaking in ontological time • our quality of being.

If we are overweight, sleep poorly, seldom exercise, and stress out over our personal, family, and business relationships, then our life will be shorter and far less enjoyable than if we get those things right. As Thomas Leonard himself once observed, “Needs do not cease to be because they are ignored.” (The Portable Coach, 1998)

What I have discovered about health can be summarized in one sentence: If we want to be healthy, it takes endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Those attributes are not just descriptions of the four types of exercises. They are descriptions of what we need to be successful in every area of life.

* Do you want to be successful in business? It will take endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
* Do you want to be successful as a parent? It will take endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
* Do you want to be successful as an entrepreneur? It will take endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
* Do you want to be successful as an artist? It will take endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
* Do you want to be successful in an investor? It will take endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
* Do you want to be successful in love? It will take endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.

By now, you get the idea. We are talking here about four fundamental qualities of being, each of which have to be mastered if we want to be successful in life. The fact that these qualities represent four distinct classes of exercise suggests a profound insight which under girds my entire book: the body can take the lead in showing us the way to go.

Many self-help books talk about the importance of positive thinking and having the right attitude. That’s fine, as far as it goes. However, I believe it’s even more important to have positive practices and the right habits. What we do with our body not only improves our chances of being healthy, it also improves our chances of being successful in every other area of life as well. The more we know about endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance through direct physical experience • through our body • the more we will know about these critical traits, all the way around.

Unfortunately, many people end up hooked on one type of exercise to the exclusion of the others. I know runners who never lift or stretch. I know lifters who never run or balance. They just do what they do, and then wonder why they never rise to optimum levels of performance and success.

Don’t let that happen to you. Develop routines in all four areas and practice them regularly. Last week I wrote about specific strategies for endurance exercises, four days a week, and strength exercises, three days a week. Here I want to talk about flexibility and balance exercises, which are best done a little before and a lot after other exercises, once your muscles are warm and full of blood.

Stretching exercises take two forms: dynamic and static. Neither one represents tough, jerky, and painful extensions of your muscle tissue. If a stretch hurts, then you’re doing it wrong (there’s a life lesson here).

Dynamic stretches are done with easy, smooth, and pleasurable movements of the muscle tissue. Tasso Spanos, a certified muscle therapist, has developed an extensive repertoire of dynamic stretches that include funny walking steps as well as the utilization of chairs and mats for the upper body. You can get some sense of how this works by reading an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reproduced at http://www.centerforpaintreatment.com/Post-Gazette-121102.html.

Static stretches are more familiar, as you gently lean into a position until you feel a slight stretch and then hold for about 30 seconds. The reason that Spanos doesn’t like static stretches is because people often hurt themselves by pushing too hard and holding the stretch too long. Don’t do that! Yoga, with its coordination of stretching and breathing, is one way to avoid such problems. It’s easy to find yoga classes in just about every community, but you can also get tapes or books if you want to go it alone. A classic book on static stretching by Bob Anderson, simply titled Stretching, is still one of the best. I recommend it highly.

Balance exercises develop strength as well coordination. They become ever more important as we grow older, since the inner ear loses elasticity, nerves lose sensitivity, muscles lose tone, and reflexes slow. Fortunately, there are many enjoyable forms of balance exercises such as ballroom dancing and Tai Chi. There are also very simple exercises, that can be practiced just about anywhere. Trying to think through a problem at work? Don’t just sit at your desk and ponder. Stand up, next to your chair, and shift your weight from one foot to the other. Hold on to the chair if you need support. Dip down on each leg and rise back up. The more you practice, the better you will get.

In my book, these and many more exercises will be spelled out in detail. For now, it’s enough to have a sense of what they are and of how important it is to do them regularly. Positive thinking about exercise is not enough. One has to practice exercise, daily, in order to receive not only the health benefits, but also the ancillary benefits in other areas of life. Let your body be your guide and you will soon reap an abundance of health, wealth, and wisdom.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


This is truly a beneficial, life-enhancing newsletter, and I intend to read it consistently and apply the wisdom and practical knowledge LifeTrek offers. Thank you so much.


I am all about more exercise, less TV. But I do believe there is some great information on television. For example, yesterday morning I watched Meet the Press and then followed that with “Coming to America”. I often use TV as a mind release, but I am working on finding other ways of letting go.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #294: Work It Out

Laser Provision


Want to stay healthy and fit? Then fill the number one prescription for health and wellness: exercise. This Provision suggests how you can find the motivation and the time, and then it describes some specific techniques for getting started with endurance and strength exercises. It’s not hard to work out working out.

LifeTrek Provision


People are sometimes surprised to learn that I do not watch television except for an occasional special event. They also wonder how I manage to exercise as much as I do even as I maintain an active professional life. Guess what? There’s a connection here!

According to the A.C. Nielsen Company, the average American watches almost four hours of television per day. According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, “lack of time” is the number one reason people give for not exercising at least 30 minutes per day. In addition, the U.S. Surgeon General reports that only 28% of Americans exercise regularly. That’s the bad news. The good news is that 59% of Americans say they would like to be more physically active.

Perhaps that’s because they’ve heard or intuitively know about the essential link between exercise and health. Simply put, if exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it. In study after study, a regular exercise routine has been shown to lower the risk of virtually every chronic disease and disability. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis are three of the best established, but it also lowers the risk of certain kinds of cancer, depression, and premature death.

In my case, I trade television time for exercise time. Others may choose to make other trade offs. However you figure it out, you can rest assured that a regular exercise routine will not only make you live a longer, healthier life; it will also make you happier. I enjoy how it gets me away from interruptions and gets me in touch with my own rhythms. No email, phones, pagers, alarms, or commercials to interfere with the strong, steady beat of life.

There are four basic types of exercise, all four of which need to be practiced on a regular basis in order to support and sustain health. This week we’ll focus on endurance and strength exercises; next week we’ll focus on flexibility and balance exercises.

If you exercise daily, you may want to do four days of endurance exercises and three days of strength exercises every week. Flexibility and balance exercises can be done daily, as bookends around the endurance and strength exercises. 90 minutes is an ideal length of time to warm up, exercise, and cool down, although it can certainly be done in 60. There’s nothing better than being able to exercise without any time pressure.

Nevertheless, even 10 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all, and studies have shown that three 10-minute periods of exercise per day generate the same health benefits as one 30-minute period. The point is to get moving, working, stretching, and balancing even if you have to squeeze it in around the edges.

Endurance exercises build the circulatory, respiratory, and, for high-impact exercises (such as running), the skeletal systems. Any exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing for an extended time period is an endurance exercise and the more vigorous the better. If you haven’t been used to doing such exercise, then be sure to start with a complete physical examination by a licensed healthcare professional. Although endurance exercises greatly reduce the risk of disease and disability overall, they slightly increase the risk of a cardiovascular event while performing the exercise. That’s why you want to understand your limits before you start any exercise program.

Assuming that you have no specific physical limitations, other than perhaps being overweight and out of shape, endurance exercises will do more to burn calories than any other exercise. And the longer you exercise the more fat calories you burn. That’s because your body has enough energy in the blood, in the form of glycogen, to get you through the first 30 minutes of exercise. After that, your body has to create its own energy by converting fat into glycogen.

So what’s a good way to start? There’s no better exercise than walking, and most people can do it without any instruction. Purchase a good set of shoes at a local running store, with salespeople who know how to fit not only your foot but also your stride, and start walking. Keep track of time rather than distance. Don’t worry if you can only walk for five minutes at first. That’s a fine place to start. It may take many months, but work up to where you can walk for 45 minutes, without stopping, and then start to think about pace. Power walking, above 4 miles or 6.5 kilometers an hour, can provide all the cardiovascular benefits you will ever need.

Many people find that it helps to have an exercise buddy. More than once, knowing that someone was waiting for me has helped me to get out the door. But you also need your own, internal reason for working out. Many times, it will be you and you alone. To share in the beauty of nature, to feel the movement of your body, to relieve stress and find inspiration, all these and more are yours for the walking • or any other endurance exercise you may enjoy doing. When you are done, cool down with stretching and balance exercises such as I will discuss next week.

Strength exercises build the muscular and skeletal systems. All the walking in the world is not going to build muscle mass and tone, which declines naturally and steadily as we age. The only antidote is strength exercises, such as weight lifting or isometric exercises. Without resistance training, there is no way to maintain let alone to increase our strength. Resistance training also helps to prevent injury.

To begin, it helps but is not essential to have a set of weights. If necessary, you can fashion your own weights from cans of soup and buckets of sand. Fortunately, a set of weights is not very expensive and much more convenient. Be sure to lift slowly and cleanly, with no jerking, gritting your teeth, or holding your breath. If you’re straining that hard to lift the weight, then you’re trying to lift too much. Heavy weight lifting increases the strain on the heart and can be dangerous, particularly if you have no one spotting you.

Light weight lifting is a better way to go. Done slowly, as slowly as 15 seconds per repetition, light weight lifting can produce significant gains in muscle mass, tone, and strength. Be sure to exercise the upper body, the abdomen, and the legs. Devise a circuit of exercises including arm raises, squats or chair stands, bicep curls, sit ups, tricep extensions, knee flexions, and leg raises. You can visit http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exercise/strength04.html to learn how to do these exercises.

Don’t worry if you have to start with a very light weight or no weight at all. Over time, your strength will increase. Keeping a record of your lifting not only documents your progress, it also lets you know where to begin the next time you lift. If you want to be healthy and fit, there’s no other way: you simply have to work it out.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


For a good discussion of the relative merits of slow and fast lifting, you may be interested in checking out http://www.cbass.com/Slowfast(2).htm.


I have been to your site. It’s really a good one. I wish that you’ll send me more sites related to you. And thanks for making me a subscriber. (Ed. Note: Keep reading Provisions for related sites.)


Thank you for your great advice & guidance. You are so right in saying that one must have fun in whatever one does. Here in South Africa, I am a regular weight trainer & have fun in participating in other training programs, such as aqua aerobics, cycling & swimming. You get a complete body workout. You also get much fitter. Keep the good work up & keep us alive the fun way.


Thanks so much for your weekly Provisions. I really enjoy them. A tool I use to help manage my life is a software program called Life Balance. I think it’s a fresh coaching-oriented approach to to-do lists and calendars. Because I like Life Trek and I like Life Balance, I thought you might find the product interesting and possibly helpful for some clients. Here are their links:http://www.llamagraphics.com and for coaches: http://www.llamagraphics.com/coach/index.html. (Ed. Note: Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out.)


Great Provision! This is one that I am going to print out and put in my bring-up file for November. I hope that I am at my goal weight and that I will be working on maintaining my goal weight. I particularly liked the chopstick mention. I use this method, and it continues to make me mindful and thankful for my food.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #293: Stop Weighting

Laser Provision


Stop weighting. Stop weighting down your body with extra pounds or kilograms and stop weighting down your mind with impossible strategies for losing weight and keeping it off. This Provision describes a better way with no gimmicks and no guilt. It really is possible make sustaining a healthy weight both enjoyable and successful.

LifeTrek Provision


I will never forget how good it felt to lose 65 pounds in six and a half months during 1998. At the start of the year, I was among the 120 million Americans who are either overweight or obese. By the end of the year, I was in the best shape of my life and had run my first sub-four hour marathon. It was a heady and exhilarating time.

Probably the most memorable moment was when I went back to my doctor’s office, 65 pounds lighter than when he last saw me. “What did you do?” he exclaimed with genuine surprise. “I just did what you told me to do,” I replied in all sincerity. For years, he had talked to me about the importance of eating better, exercising more, and stressing less. In 1998, I did just that. And it worked. “No one does what I tell them to do!” he remarked with a wry smile as he sent me on my way to face the next challenge: keeping it off.

That has proven to be a more difficult challenge than I first anticipated. After I left the doctor’s office, I remember driving to a teashop with tears in my eyes and a sense of exultation. “I will never be fat again,” I told myself, “I don’t have the desire to eat like I used to eat and if I just keep running I’m sure weight control will never be a problem again.” Au contraire!

The human body is a weight-gaining machine. From the days when feast and famine were common occurrences, the human body learned how to find, consume, and store every available calorie. When food was plentiful, the body gained weight with rapidity and ease. It learned how to turn a scant 3,500 excess calories into a pound of fat. When food was scarce, the body lost weight both slowly and reluctantly. It learned how to ratchet down its metabolism in order to make losing weight an increasingly difficult thing to do. So we humans evolved.

Unfortunately, what worked well in our hunter-gatherer days does not work as well in the information age. When food is always plentiful, the body always gains weight. That’s what it’s designed to do. Hence, the old joke of being on a “see food” diet: “When we see food, we eat it!” That’s not something about which to feel guilty. That’s something to recognize and deal with, now that we live in an age of uncommon abundance.

By the end of the year 2000, two years after my initial weight loss, I had gained back about 20 pounds. Since that time, I have stayed more or less constant at about 45 pounds below my former self. Losing the weight and keeping it off, as many of my clients remind me, is a much more difficult challenge than losing the weight in the first place. A weight-loss program becomes self-reinforcing once the weight starts coming off. It’s fun to see your waist shrinking and your muscles growing.

But what happens once you reach your goal? Then, more than ever, it becomes important to stay attentive to that which brought you to the dance in the first place. Mindlessness will always result in weight gain. Remember, that’s how we’re wired. But mindfulness can produce different outcomes. It can short-circuit our natural wiring through a variety of tricks, interests, and activities. Here are three strategies that have worked for me over the past several years. They enable me to eat better, exercise more, and stress less year in and year out.

(1) Stay Hydrated. I don’t know of a more important single strategy to avoid overeating than to stay hydrated. Water is the one-and-only hydration superstar. All other beverages either add calories or promote dehydration through the addition of caffeine or other diuretics. There may be times when adding calories and other nutrients is appropriate, such as during a race, but most of the time we can tame our hunger pangs without adding calories by drinking plenty of pure, filtered water. How much? Aim to drink one gallon per day, all before dinner. If you feel hungry, drink two to four cups of water and wait ten minutes. If you still feel hungry, it will be easier to eat moderately.

An easy trick, if you don’t mind getting cold, is to drink ice water instead of room temperature water. Drinking one gallon of ice water per day for a year is the equivalent of burning 35,000 calories or ten pounds. How so? Because it takes that much energy to warm 365 gallons of ice water up to body temperature. Regardless of the temperature, drinking a gallon of filtered water a day is a great way to short-circuit our natural wiring to see food and eat.

(2) Appreciate Food. How’s that for a counterintuitive suggestion? “Of course I appreciate my food,” I can hear you saying, “Why do you think I eat so much!” In my experience, we eat less when we appreciate food more. When we reduce the distractions and focus on our food, when we slow down and enjoy every bite, when we eat and drink what we truly love, we naturally tend to eat better. How often do you eat while driving a car, working at your desk, or cooking a meal? How often do you eat while rushing to an appointment, watching television, or reading a book? How often do you eat when you’re not hungry or to the point feeling stuffed? Such habits contribute not only to our widening waistlines but also to our deepening distress.

What I like about this approach is that it doesn’t get you into a diet mentality in order to maintain optimal weight. It also allows plenty of room for error. From meal to meal and day to day, without any sense of deprivation, the invitation to appreciate food remains as a positive alternative to our collective bad habits. Rush through this meal and we can slow down at the next. Eat at our desk this afternoon and we can go for a walk tomorrow. Finish our plate, as well as what’s left in the serving dishes, tonight and we can leave food on our plate tomorrow night. Instead of beating ourselves up about what we should do, appreciating food awakens our desire to eat better. And desire is the precondition to change and growth.

This may sound silly, but as an example, I can remember getting ready to eat two soft-boiled eggs on toast. Just before I put the first bite in my mouth I set the fork down and looked, really looked, at those eggs. I thought about the chicken and the people who made it possible for me to eat these treats. I felt deep gratitude. From there on out every bit was slower and more enjoyable. Or again, right now one of my clients and I are eating our meals with chopsticks as a way to slow down and look at our food more carefully. It’s simple, but it makes a difference.

(3) Enjoy Exercise. Let’s be clear about two incontrovertible facts. First, there’s no way to be healthy without regular exercise, including aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching, and relaxation practices. Second, there’s no way that regular exercise alone can maintain health. All the exercise in the world cannot overcome bad eating habits or cigarette smoking, to mention only two examples. If we want to be healthy and well, then we need to engage in a long-term program that takes into account every system of the body, mind, and spirit.

That said, a complete program takes time to develop and it only emerges for those people who come to enjoy the process of putting such a program together. A complete program does not exist in a book, even if the title says, “complete program.” A complete program is what emerges in your life from reading such books, having conversations, and trying on different strategies. You’ve heard it said, “Only the tough survive?” Well, don’t believe it. Only the fun survives! Eventually, even the toughest lose their mettle. But those who find something to enjoy about exercise, and every other health strategy, are the ones who best survive the difficulties of life.

Different people will discover different things to enjoy about exercise. Some enjoy the camaraderie while others enjoy the competition, the sensation, the fitness, or the progress. The secret is to find your joy on the road to perfect health. When that happens you will stop weighting yourself down with excuses, obstacles, and excess baggage. You will instead live free with the knowledge of the best things life has to offer.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Can you please feature the pros and cons of drinking tea (as well as interesting facts) in your future issues? If you already did, can you please send me the issue to this email? (Wellness Pathway #104, http://www.lifetrekcoaching.com/health/ht011216.htm, talked about the health benefits of Rooibos Tea. Next week, I’ll include more information on Green and Black tea as well.)


I continue to enjoy LifeTrek and liked the last one. It reminded me of the story that Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “Make a decision. If it is correct, fine. If it is incorrect, change it.” Sort of sums it up.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #292: Take (Any) Action

Laser Provision


Health and wellness are not just good ideas to write about and admire. They are the fruit of the attitudes and actions that people plant in their everyday lives. It’s of course better to plant good seeds. But if you’ve given up on that, for whatever reason, then plant something else. Better to take action, any action, than no action at all.

LifeTrek Provision


Before we move on, next week, to some very practical strategies for maintaining optimal health as we age, I want to write a bit more about one other pre-condition for success. In the past five weeks, we highlighted five important strategies for getting ourselves hooked on health:

— Play Attention. Attention games are critical to figuring out what things work, and don’t work, for us. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for optimal health, neither will our unique health imprint appear as if by magic. It takes active experimentation • hypothesis, perception and reflection — in order to call it into being. The sooner we take up the project of playing attention games, the sooner our health will improve.

— Get Interested. Of course, you’re not going to start playing attention games unless you get interested in health in the first place. Too many people take a fatalistic view: “I’ve always had high cholesterol. It runs in the family. And there’s nothing I can do.” Even many physicians harbor this attitude. But once you get interested in health you’ll discover a vast array of prospective strategies to experiment and play with.

— Get Support. It probably came as no surprise when I wrote about the importance of getting support for optimal health. Health is not a solo adventure! It takes adequate systems and resources in order to stay interested and engaged over time. Once your environment is so oriented and equipped, it becomes much easier to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

— It’s Up To Us. Guess who determines whether any of this happens at all? It’s really up to us. No one can force us to play attention games, get interested, or get support in order to optimize our health (or to do anything else for that matter). Our choices make a difference. They cannot guarantee success, but they can make success more or less likely. It’s a question of responsibility and it’s not hard to improve your chances.

— Get Happy. Lest this all sound far too difficult, heavy, and burdensome, I reminded us last week that attention, interest, support, and responsibility can really be a lot of fun. It’s about shifting gears from the things our consumer society says are fun to the things we know, in our hearts, to be fun. Our flesh and spirit have the wisdom to know the difference, if we but take the time to listen. Different people will have different interests and desires, but when they come from the heart • when they are authentic and genuine • they will be nothing but joy.

Of course, these strategies have no value unless they are taken up and practiced. Health and wellness are not just good ideas to write about and admire. They are the fruit of specific attitudes and actions, which people plant in their everyday lives. Have you planted any new seeds of health and wellness since the start of this series? If not, why not? What are you resisting?

Perhaps you have heard the expression, “That which you resist, persists.” You may have some intuitive sense of how this works. By definition, resistance is “a force that opposes or slows down another force.” Unfortunately, and as most of us have experienced (just ask the parents of teenagers), directing your energy in this way often provokes a showdown rather than an actual resolution to the problem. Resistance can even add fuel to the fire, and make matters worse, as forces rise to meet each other.

This is as true in the political realm as it is in the personal. Just look at what’s happening between the United States and Iraq. As each side resists the other, the problem not only persists, but it grows in both scope and intensity. Resistance generates a spiral of violence, which may expend itself in a great conflagration before too long.

In the personal realm, just look at the five responses to death and dying identified by Elizabeth K•bler-Ross. Four of the five are resistance responses. (1) We can deny the reality. “This can’t be happening!” (2) We can scapegoat the reality. “You did this!” (3) We can bargain with the reality. “Save me and I’ll be good!” (4) We can despair of the reality. “How depressing!” People who never move beyond these four resistance responses have a hard time learning from and preparing for the experience of death and dying. Only people who (5) accept the reality can move through the experience with any semblance of dignity and design.

Ironically, we see the same phenomena when it comes to health and wellness. Some people resist change by denying the reality. They either don’t know, or don’t want to know, the truth about their health. “I’m afraid to go to the dentist!” Others scapegoat the reality, blaming their metabolism, spouse, upbringing, family history, or anything else that will let them off the hook. “The men in our family always die young!” Still others bargain with the reality, earning the right to ignore some areas by over responding in others. “I’m just too busy taking care of the kids to take care of myself!”

Despairing of the reality of health and wellness may be the most common of all resistance responses. Most people have tried, at least on occasion, to improve their health and wellness through eating better, exercising more, or reducing stress. They may have tried, for example, to lose weight, to quit smoking, or to control their diabetes. But if they don’t succeed, they may become so discouraged and depressed as to give up entirely. “I just can’t do it. There’s no hope. There’s no way.”

Do any of these factors sound familiar? Are you feeling resistance around issues related to health and wellness? If so, it may help to learn another lesson from holocaust survivor and logotherapist, Viktor Frankl. When Frankl worked with people who had irrational fears about doing something, he would often employ a technique called “paradoxical intention.” He would ask people, in all seriousness but with unmistakable humor, to stop resisting their fears and to plan to act them out.

If people were afraid of public speaking, for example, instead of trying to speak without fear he would ask them to plan to have the most fear possible while giving a speech. Paradoxically, by intending to produce the result they feared, they would actually deflate their anxiety and achieve new levels of personal mastery.

“Paradoxical intention” works with irrational fears because it breaks the cycle of resistance and persistence. I am intrigued by the possibility that it can work just as well for health and wellness. If we resist implementing one or more of the five strategies summarized above, perhaps we can plan to do the opposite in order to get ourselves back on track. Instead of playing attention games, for example, we could plan to notice absolutely nothing about what we eat, drink, or do throughout the day.

Sound laughable and crazy? Therein lays the key to its power. It’s easy to be mindless and distracted throughout the day. But planning to do so is an oxymoron. It creates enough cognitive dissonance to break the spell of defeat. What an interesting way to sneak up on health and wellness. Instead of battling the enemy head on, we can use “paradoxical intention” as one more action at our disposal.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


That “USDA Organic” standard of 95% seems to leave a hole big enough to drive a truck through. What can the other 5% be • pesticide, hormone, etc.? I’m not sure that your readers should take comfort from a “USDA Organic” label. (Ed. Note: The “USDA Organic” label is an improvement over no standard, which resulted in some manufacturers putting “organic” on a product with only one organic ingredient. Organic fruits and vegetables are just that, 100% organic.)


Regarding your message about being happy, I thought you would like this quote from John Adams: “Griefs upon griefs! Disappointments upon disappointments. What then? This is a gay, merry world notwithstanding.”


I love to read your weekly issues. In every article, I learn something new. I wish you success with inspiring exercise. Keep up the good work.


Thanks for following your joy. Have you reflected how God uses our joy when the world so often seduces by appealing to illusions of joy? I think there is some role for “should” in terms of God’s will. Not the guilt inducing kind of should, but the invitation to enlightenment. (Ed. Note: I prefer to speak about finding true joy rather than about what we should do. You are right about the distractions of the world. Nevertheless, true joy still abounds.)


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #291: Get Happy

Laser Provision


If we want to get and stay healthy then we have to find ways to make the experience enjoyable and fun. Knowing what we “should” do usually isn’t enough to create and sustain radical action. Instead, we have to focus on our personal interests, attitudes, and values in order to create our own unique path to health.

LifeTrek Provision


Last Sunday I had the privilege of running the tenth annual Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Florida. The course winds it way through most of the Disney theme parks, resorts, and attractions including Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and MGM Studios. Along the way we saw just about every Disney character imaginable, enjoyed fireworks and music, and benefited from a well-run race with plenty of volunteers, spectators, and portable toilets. Combined with the wonderful weather for running, it was easy to have a great time.

I mention this because my finish time was not a particularly great time. It was, indeed, one of my slower races in recent years. Perhaps the early start time (we had to be up at 2:00 AM) or the fact that I had just spent 3 days “doing Orlando” with my family or a recent but minor foot injury all conspired to undercut my endurance.

Even though my finish time was not a great time, I nevertheless had a great time from start to finish. And this Provision is all about that distinction. Once you get that distinction, once you figure out how to enjoy the experience regardless of the outcome, you will have no trouble creating and sustaining the conditions that make for health. Until you figure that out, it will always be a struggle.

This truth came home to me later in the day while chatting online with my daughter. “I’m proud of you for keeping up with your running,” she wrote, as though it represented a great sacrifice, commitment, and accomplishment. All I could think of was how much fun I’d had, how good it makes me feel, and how running connects me to life. I thought about the health benefits of running, about the before and after in terms of my weight and my cardiovascular health, and I quipped back that the pleasure was all mine.

It’s hard to say exactly how I developed this attitude and perspective, but it clearly holds the secret to sustained health and happiness. Through willpower, most people can do just about anything for limited periods. We can, for example, cut back on calories, force ourselves to exercise, bite our tongues, and read self-improvement books in order to lose weight, get in shape, keep the peace, and learn new strategies for life. But if these activities stem solely from willpower, they may never surface in the first place and, when they do surface, they won’t last long.

More than one person has contacted LifeTrek for coaching because they can’t seem to motivate themselves to get going or to keep going. They know what they “should” do, but it looks too difficult • taking too much time, energy, or discipline. Some contact us who have never managed to get with the program. Others do so when they fall off the wagon, after having accomplished a particularly challenging personal goal. They want to learn not only how to get back on track, but how to stay on track for life.

When we work with people around issues related to motivation, the first step is to throw out the word “should.” “Should” fails to motivate, unless it comes from the other end of a gun. With enough force, “should” can make a person do just about anything. Once the force lets up or disappears, however, so does the motivation.

Instead of “should,” we like to focus on “interest” and “desire.” If we can find something interesting and desirable, it’s usually possible to overcome just about any amount of inertia. “Interest” and “desire” have the ability, per Newton’s first law of motion, to move an object at rest and to change the course of an object in motion. Whether you’re standing still or heading in the wrong direction, “interest” and “desire” hold the key to making things right.

What’s interesting to you? What’s your heart’s desire? One of the assessment tools that we use to assist people to get at these fundamental questions, the PIAV, employs six broad categories of interest derived from the studies of human typology by Eduard Spranger and others in the early part of the twentieth century.

— Social: These people love people. They are most interested in doing things that connect them with others, whether as friends or in some form of service.
— Individualistic: These people love power. They are most interested in doing things that set them apart, especially as leaders and decision-makers.
— Traditional: These people love principles. They are most interested in doing things by the book, which may be either a religious or a secular system for living.
— Theoretical: These people love philosophy. They are most interested in doing things that contribute to their intellectual knowledge base and pursuit of truth.
— Utilitarian: These people love productivity. They are most interested in doing things that work, often to procure money, security, and success.
— Aesthetic: These people love proportion. They are most interested in doing things that inspire a sense of beauty, form, and harmony.

Do you see yourself in one or more of these categories of interest? If so, you may have discovered the key to creating and sustaining health. For the social person the key may be finding the right partners and groups. For the individualistic person the key may be finding a way to excel. For the traditional person the key may be finding a proven practice by which to live. For the theoretical person the key may be finding the latest research in the field. For the utilitarian person the key may be finding a way to measure and document the results. For the aesthetic person the key may be finding the right setting or sequence.

Any one of these keys, as well as any combination, has the power to get you going and to keep you going. Once you recognize what makes you tick and turns you on, it becomes much easier to set things up for success. Of course, you may have to take radical action in order to make it so, but the action itself becomes easier when you understand what you’re doing.

If you’re a social person, then you may need to change or realign your relationships if you want to live a healthier life. If you’re an individualistic person, then you may need to get out of the things at which you are good but not great. If you’re an aesthetic person, then you may need to redo your surroundings or even move to a new location before you’ll find the motivation to live healthy.

These are just three of the many radical actions that become possible when we give our interests and desire the room they deserve. Living from the place of “should” may seem like the noble and right thing to do. But it’s usually counterproductive and inhibiting. People go through their entire lives with the sense of having never measured up and really lived. No wonder we end up with so many health problems!

The only way to turn this around is to get happy; and the only way to get happy is to do the things we truly value. Running marathons may not be for you. It is for me. And I’ve learned how to have a great time even when I don’t have a great time. The secret is in the journey and doing the things we love. What do you love? Your body knows the answer; all you have to do is recognize the signs.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Today’s message caught my eye • my favorite book of all time was A Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. Thanks for exposing him to more folks. (Ed. Note: Readers may want to scroll down to the bookstore section below to order a copy.)


I enjoy reading Provisions every Sunday. If you haven’t already read it, you would enjoy the new biography of Viktor Frankl written by Haddon Klingberg, Jr. titled “When Life Calls Out to Us.” (Ed. Note: I was not familiar with this book. Thanks for the referral. Readers can scroll down to the bookstore section of this Provision for a link to purchase the book through Amazon.)


Hope your year is off to a good start. I have enjoyed reading your material. You make some very good points. In terms of economic and physical health, I saw a quote that is very true: “What you do when you don’t have to will determine what you will be when you can’t help it.”


Great article on Benjamin Franklin • truly a remarkable individual


I am struck by the quality and reality of your coaching series. I am 75 and am enjoying life and will not retire. I enjoy sharing with anyone that wants to honestly apply positive thinking and a special relationship with Jesus Christ for a healthy, happy, satisfying way thru life.


I unsubscribed from your mailing list because your indispensable information has transformed me into a different, better-grown individual on this planet earth. I don’t have to mention further about your site’s vital contributions for they are already implied. Please continue your generosity services to uplift and rebuild the many people’s point of view in their lives. Thank you for everything and I promise that I will never forget that once I’ve been a member of your program and I’m very proud of it. I have a mission to fulfill… and that is…same with yours. Let’s go for it!


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #290: It’s Up To Us

Laser Provision


It’s not rocket science, but this Provision draws the connection between the choices we make and the health we enjoy. Too often, we adopt a passive, unassertive, victim mentality when it comes to health. The doctors know best when bad things happen to us. But that mentality will only get us in trouble. Our choices make the difference.

LifeTrek Provision


If there’s a secret to creating and sustaining health, it’s the simple notion that our choices make a difference. What we eat and drink, whether and how we exercise, as well as when and if we orient ourselves around health are not accidents. They are choices. And they’re really up to us.

This truth has come home to me on many occasions and in many ways over the course of a lifetime. You are perhaps familiar, for example, with the story of Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the horrors of Auschwitz and other Nazi prison camps for three grim years. Why did Frankl survive while so many others perished, including virtually his entire family? He suggests that it had something to do with the choices he made.

Frankly frequently writes in his autobiography about the importance of the will to live, of humor, and of curiosity. People who lost these attributes, which required a measure of detachment from the unspeakable realities of their everyday life, did not survive.

Frankl also writes about the importance of choice. Apart from the luck of the draw, which was very real, Frankl notes that those who survived the death camps were those who made the inner decision to retain their human freedom and dignity. “Everything can be taken from a person,” Frankl notes, “but one thing: the last of the human freedoms • to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there were always choices to make.”

If Frankl had choices to make, and if those choices made the difference between life and death, how much more do we have choices to make? Our relationship to health is really up to us.

I remember visiting a friend in the hospital whose body was rejecting a new kidney. Twenty years earlier, he had gone through the same procedure, only to have his body reject the kidney transplant almost instantly and mercilessly. His immune system was just too tough. Now, in spite of all the medical advances in anti-rejection drugs, his body was doing it again. After two rounds of rejection, the doctors gave him little to no hope of going home with a functioning kidney. The kidney, they assumed was already damaged past the point of no return.

When I walked into the hospital room, my friend was despairing. After talking about the situation, I asked a simple question. “Have you prayed for the kidney to work?” To my surprise, the answer was no. “I’ve always felt that praying for myself was both selfish and inappropriate.” “What if one of your daughters was lying in this bed?” I asked. “Would you have trouble praying for her?” “No, I would not have trouble praying for her.” “Then what’s the difference?” I asked again.

My friend saw through the conundrum to a place of inner decision. At that very moment, with me still in the room, he not only prayed for the kidney to work but he took control of his own health and healing. What the doctors were doing was obviously not working. After a lifetime of kidney disease, my friend knew as much about his disease and his treatment options as anyone did. Therefore, he literally began directing traffic, telling the doctors what medications he wanted, in what dosages. He also kept on praying.

Since the transplant had already failed in the doctors’ eyes, they agreed to go along with my friend’s instructions. After all, they had nothing left to lose. Guess what happened? The kidney stabilized and even recovered its functionality. My friend walked out of that hospital a healthy man, all because he made different, more positive choices about his relationship to health and healing.

These stories of Frankl in the concentration camp and my friend in the hospital illustrate the power of choice. We are not victims of circumstance. As a marathon runner, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many races with a wheelchair division. I’ve even had the opportunity to talk with some of the wheelers and to listen to their stories. Invariably they hark back to a moment of decision. They could have chosen to shrivel up and die. As paraplegics, they had every reason to feel sorry for themselves. Instead, they chose life.

So too with Benjamin Franklin. As one of seventeen children with no more than two years of formal education and no inherited wealth, he could easily have remained, like his father, an obscure candle maker. Instead, he came to epitomize the ideals of material success, moral regeneration, and social progress. What made the difference? His choices. He chose to read and learn from the masters of his day. He chose to venture out and do something different. He chose to live by a strong set of virtues and values. He chose to experiment with his world, his body, and his life.

The ability to choose does not immediately nor even necessarily produce the conditions we desire. Frankl chose life but he was still in a death camp. My friend chose health but it was a long road, in some respects more than twenty years, before he got it right. Wheelers choose to compete but the training is arduous, especially at first. Ben Franklin chose to make something of himself with great effort, discipline, and not a few setbacks.

Our health and healing is no less a matter of choice for us than it is for anyone else. We too have the power to influence the condition and quality of life. Do we accept that responsibility? Increasing our awareness of the things that make for health, paying attention to what works and does not work for us, and surrounding ourselves with supportive systems and relationships will not happen by accident. They don’t just fall into our lap. The odds are even worse than winning the lottery.

But a simple decision, to take responsibility for these things, changes the odds from a long-shot to quite likely. We can influence whether or not the universe works for us or against. I believe in the power of life to pull us forward rather than backward. I believe that there is a Spirit in life that is on the side of goodness, peace, and joy. That’s why I sign LifeTrek Provisions this way each week! But I also believe that our choices make a difference as to whether or not we take full of advantage of that Spirit.

This applies to health as well as to every other desirable aspect of life. Whether we walk out of that hospital room with more or less health, apart from the luck of the draw, has a lot to do with our choices. The more passive we are in relationship to our health, the less health we will enjoy. The more we learn about health, and the more we choose to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, the more health we will experience and exude.

As with Frankl, my friend, the wheelers, and Franklin, our choices will not always make health easy or automatic. But our choices can improve our chances. Our choices can make life both more responsive and more responsible. As someone who often coaches people around issues related to health, healing, and wellness, I can testify to the power of choice. Choose health. It can make all the difference in the world.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


I’m enjoying your newsletters. I wonder if it would make sense to compare the accretion of health, which comes from good health habits, with the benefits of compound interest. I think that people that have been particularly focused on dollars as a yardstick of success might be able to relate to that way of thinking about health. I saw a piece earlier today • an excerpt from the Finish Rich Workbook • that talks about the value of saving a dollar a day. It claims that at 10% interest it will compound to $1 million in 56 years. It seems to me that good health is like that. A little extra effort every day will add several years to the average life. How many people at the end of their lives would pay a million dollars for a few more years? (Ed. Note: A perfect analogy that fits in well with this week’s Provision. Thanks for moving the conversation forward.)


Your newsletters have been providing me with interesting insights and inspiration for almost 7 months now. Thank you! I was inspired to write in response to this week’s message because of the contrast between my agreement with your statement, “You’re probably not saying to yourself right now, “What a surprise! …” and my reaction to the Wellness Pathway (“Brush your teeth”) which was exactly “WOW, What a surprise!” Who would have thought that there was any connection at all between brushing our teeth and strokes! Thank you and keep up the excellent work. (Ed. Note: Thanks for the encouragement and the recognition.)


I saw an article in today’s WSJ about a personal “owner’s manual” being used by some executives and it made me think of you. I think the owner’s manual is a great idea and could work for family members as well as on-the-job. Self-assessment can be a good thing. I wanted to make sure you saw the article. I enjoy getting the Life Trek Provision each week. Thanks for writing it.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #289: Get Support

Laser Provision


Some people can seemingly be healthy no matter what. Their awareness of and attention to the things that create and sustain health rise above just about any fray. Most people, however, require supportive systems and relationships. This isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s just plain smart to make things as easy as possible.

LifeTrek Provision


Before I start in on the subject of this week’s Provision, and since we took off last week with a simple New Year’s greeting, I want to recap what we’ve been considering for the past several weeks. The overarching focus for what will become the first section of my new book, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Coaching and Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life,” has been the question of creating and sustaining health.

Doing that is of great importance both to us as individuals and to the companies for which we work. The cost of illness and disease can be measured not only in terms of how it compromises our quality of life but also in terms of lost productivity. Cigarette smoking and obesity alone account for about $300 billion a year in health costs and lost productivity in the United States according to the U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, those costs are rising rather than falling.

In so many ways, the old adage, “if you have your health, you have everything,” is profoundly true. Health is much more fundamental and basic than wealth. Wealth without health is of little value, while health without wealth is of great value, when it comes to quality of life and productivity. With good health, you can pick up the pieces from just about any loss. With bad health, life becomes much more difficult and precarious.

On a certain level, we all know this intuitively. You’re probably not saying to yourself right now, “What a surprise! I didn’t know that health was so very important and yet so often compromised.” The difference between feeling good and feeling bad is understood, both from our own experience and from the experience of others. It therefore behooves us to figure out how to create and sustain health. In many respects, health is our most important life work.

Yet many people find their health deteriorating rather than improving as time goes on. We typically assume that this is a normal part of aging. “Who doesn’t get sick and die?” But that assumption deserves to be challenged. If Lance Armstrong can go from his deathbed with testicular cancer that had metastasized throughout his body to a four-time winner of the Tour de France, so too can we go from whatever we’re struggling with now to a more vibrant condition of health and wellness. Studies show that positive steps make a difference, regardless of our age. Our turnaround may not be as dramatic as Lance’s, but it can be just as significant.

So how do we find the motivation to get with the program? We start by making the shift described by Dave Buck as the shift from motivation to inspiration. As long as we’re trying to find motivation, we’re operating from the “could-a, would-a, should-a” economy. We’re looking for a reason to do the right thing. “I know that I should do such-and-such, but I don’t do it. Occasionally I may get started, but before too long I give up the effort. So now I don’t even try.”

Sound familiar? It’s not uncommon for people to hire a professional coach to assist them with such motivation problems. And, in fact, coaching does have something to do with motivation. But the problem is not solved until people shift from motivation to inspiration. It’s at that point, when people become profoundly curious and passionately consumed with the opportunities to change and grow into healthier people, that they no longer need a coach for motivation. Instead, they surround themselves with systems and relationships that inspire and develop health from the inside out.

That’s why I wrote, in the waning weeks of last year, that awareness and attention are important tools in the process of creating health. Instead of looking outside ourselves for the answer, we can use our awareness and attention to figure out the answer for ourselves. We can conduct experiments to learn what does and does not work for us. We can be inspired by the opportunities to make mistakes and improve.

Tim Gallwey describes this inspirational process as innate learning through trail and correction (rather than trial and error). It derives from the near-universal human learning project: learning to walk. Without any instruction or lessons on how it should be done, we get ourselves up and moving. When we fall down, we pick ourselves up and move again until eventually we have it mastered. Interestingly enough, when we fall down people do not criticize or condemn us. There is no talk of error. Instead, people cheer and applaud our efforts, knowing that in time we will figure out the secret of walking for ourselves.

How good and pleasant if would be if this was the experience in every human learning project! No error. No pressure. Just applause through the process of trial and correction until we get it figured out. And then more applause. From this supportive context, most people would attempt and master many more things, including their own health and well-being, than they do in the face of continual advice and pressure. “Do this and don’t do that” eventually becomes noisy interference that does more harm than good.

If you are surrounded by such noisy interference, if you are swimming with sharks, then it may be time to make some changes in the systems and relationships that support you. While there are those rare individuals who can work effectively with their awareness and attention regardless of what’s going on around them, most people require a supportive environment in order to be successful over time.

For example, if you want to stop smoking, then it probably doesn’t help to have cigarettes lying around the house. Getting rid of the cigarettes may be one of the experiments you conduct. If your experiment works, then keeping your house a cigarette-free zone may be a support system that enables you to be successful over time without your having to exercise great discipline and effort. If someone else brings cigarettes into your cigarette-free zone, then it may be time to set a boundary around this relationship. You inform the person of your boundary • no cigarettes in the house • and you request their cooperation. If they refuse to respect your boundary, then you may need to find alternative strategies, such as creating a cigarette-free zone within your home or even leaving the relationship, for the sake of your own health and well-being.

This example illustrates the power of both systems and relationships to support and interfere with our success and fulfillment. Unless you are someone who enjoys getting things done the hard way, through sheer willpower, you will want to pay close attention to the systems and relationships in your life. Are they moving you forward or setting you back? Are they encouraging or discouraging your innate learning process? Are they making it easier or harder for you to be the best you can possibly be?

Ask yourself those questions around every system and relationship in life and work. Here are several more examples:

* Are the food and drink in your house exactly what you want to promote health? If not, it may be time to pack up the offending items and donate them to a local food pantry. Then make sure they don’t come back in the house.
* Is your office or workspace exactly what you want to promote health? If not, it may be time to start reorganizing or redecorating. There’s nothing better than going to work when everything is picture perfect.
* Are your friends and family exactly what you want to promote health? If not, it may be time to hook up with people who share your interests. Staying is active is easier when you have people to stay active with.

I hope these examples will get you thinking. The point is not to focus on whether you like the ideas or how practical they may be for you. The point is to recognize that if you want to create and sustain health, you will probably need to design (or redesign) your environment in order to make it as supportive and as health-friendly as possible. Think about how you can do that. It may mean the difference between failure and success.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


Do you have more to say about filtered water? I am thinking about buying a whole house water filter. Thanks. (Ed. Note: You will want a particle and carbon-block filter for your house plus an extra filter, such as reverse osmosis, for drinking and cooking. Visit http://www.kinetico.com for a good selection of water filtration options.)


Hi there. Love your newsletter. You are awesome. Pleased to count you as a colleague. How is the book coming? As I said in the proposal review, “You’ve got a killer book here, with meaningful advice sure to make an impact.” Keep up the great work. (Ed. Note: Thanks for the encouragement.)


Happy New Year to you all. May it be safe, healthy, prosperous, and joyful!


Dear folks at LifeTrek: Happy New Year for a successful year filled with peace and love.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services