All About That App

This week I’m sharing apps that I use that have been beneficial in habit formation and my overall wellbeing. Most of them are free with upgrade potential and all are available via iTunes. I don’t know about Android compatibility, unfortunately.

  1. Momentum: this is a habit tracker. Well, you can track anything in it, but I use it for three specific habits: meditation, writing, and movement. It’s free for up to 3 habits, upgrading gives you an unlimited amount of items to track. What I particularly love about this app is the reminders. I have it set to remind me at 8 PM if I haven’t done my three habits. It actually saved me last night as I’d forgotten to get my movement quota in.
  2. Calm: this is my meditation app. I only use it as a timer which is free. The guided meditations are a paid upgrade. What I like about it is that you can set a theme which has background noise (I like rain). This is beneficial for those of us auditorially hyperactive as it masks life noises such as dryer buzzers, cars driving past with loud music, or the neighbor’s dog barking incessantly.
  3. MyFlo: a friend of mine just introduced me to this app, which is menstrual cycle tracker. This was $1.99 and it’s been totally worth the cost. It was designed by a fellow health coach and the insights have been really interesting, even for someone who studies hormone balance. One of the neat functions is that you can add your partner to it so that he is alerted to how you’re doing. If you have a super supportive partner, this could be really nice. Did you know that ALL women once they hit 35 are considered to be perimenopausal? I didn’t.
  4. Fitocracy: this one is a free fitness app with an accompanying website. I use both. It’s just a great way to track what, specifically, you are doing for exercise and it assigns points, kind of like a video game, which is nice if you’re a gold star collector. I’m still tickled when I level up and it’s neat that it notifies you when you’ve hit a PR. It’s also social so you can do challenges with your friends if you’re into that sort of thing.
  5. Spotify: Okay, this really isn’t habit related, but I REQUIRE music for many things. You can use it for free (with ads) but I highly recommend upgrading.
  6. Mint: Cleaning up my financial house has been something I’ve been working on diligently since last August and I could NOT do that without a budget and financial tracker. I check in every single morning which helps me stay in integrity with my spending and keeps me from burying my head in the sand when it gets tight.
  7. Thyme: this is a free timer, designed for cooking. It has 5 timers you can run simultaneously which is nice when batch cooking.
  8. Ibotta/Ebates: cash back on stuff you’re going to buy anyway? Yes, please.
  9. OurGroceries: I’ve been using this one for years, including when I had an Android phone so I know it’s available on that platform. It’s a grocery list that can be synced to the website AND it can be shared with family members, which is nice. Two things I’ve learned not to do is shop hungry or shop without a list.
  10. Evernote: I use this for many things including writing, to do lists, and saving articles/recipes. It’s a very useful tool. They’ve changed the pay structure for this recently so now you can use it on two devices for free. I’ve yet to max out the allowable storage per month – you’re allowed to store a certain amount each month new, not in total – which is better than some other cloud storage services.

That’s all for now. Have a great week, everyone!

On Deciding

I Am Decisive

Last week I posted about appreciation and I intend, going forward, to do a weekly appreciation post. But for this week, I want to talk about my Achille’s Heel: deciding.

I’ve talked about the fact that I’m a Questioner with Rebel tendencies in various places over the past year or so. (If you want to find out where you fall in the 4 Tendencies, something I highly recommend as knowing this is extremely helpful when it comes to habits, change, and just knowing how you handle internal and external expectations, go here. It’s a free quiz and very insightful.) How that appears is like this: I have a VERY hard time deciding on things that matter (trivial things like what to wear I don’t struggle with) and I do NOT like being told what or how to do things unless I ask for that guidance. There is, however, no guarantee that I’ll take your advice, though, because I’m a Questioner and I have to weigh that against all of the other info.

In other words, it is often a mess and I struggle. HARD. I’m told it’s very tedious to watch as well. Fortunately, the people closest to me have already figured out that me struggling is part of the process and that the best thing they can do is just be present for me. And I LOVE them for it.

This past fall I started using the mantra “I am decisive” while meditating. I am one of those people who find it easiest to focus my brain on specific words while meditating because otherwise I’m just quietly daydreaming. I struggled with meditation for a few years before I realized that mantras work best for the way my mind works so I embraced it. As soon as I started using this particular mantra, something clicked. For a short time, I stopped dragging my feet and ruminating and just started making decisions, understanding that just because I decided something didn’t mean I couldn’t change my mind.

Wait, I can change my mind?! I’m allowed to do that?!

This past week I got sick of the struggle. On Wednesday, I decided to start deciding again. I started with deciding that meditation is in my best interest. So Thursday morning, I meditated while the coffee was brewing. Thursday I decided that writing daily is in my best interest. So Friday morning, I meditated while my coffee was brewing, then made my first cup of coffee and did a single page AKA Morning Pages in my journal. Friday night I decided that daily movement (in some form) is in my best interest, so I got up early to meditate, write, and get a workout in before my day started yesterday.

What I’ve come to realize and accept is that for me, deciding is a muscle. For best results, I have to exercise it daily. And for a Questioner, deciding is THE biggest hurdle to clear when it comes to success. Because once we’ve decided something is in our best interest, there isn’t much that can stop us. While consistency gets all the attention, and it is VERY important, deciding daily is what KEEPS me consistent.

Have you taken Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies Quiz? If you’re struggling with consistency, I invite you to do so and post in the comments where you fall and what you’re struggling with. I’ll respond with my best suggestions.

Happy Sunday!

What Does Integrity Have To Do With Commitment?

For the past two months, I’ve been doing a deep dive into my personal habits and thought processes in an attempt to finally come home to myself. Some of that has involved listening to podcasts, reading books, and renewing my involvement in some coaching groups I’m part of. The rest has been forcing myself to really sit with the gunk that was being dredged up and writing about it.

One podcast that really kicked me in the shins was Elizabeth DiAlto’s interview with Nancy Levin back in August. There’s an entire section where they talk specifically about integrity and how NOT being your word is the primary source of suffering in our lives. I swear I heard the screech of the needle across the record. This felt both extremely accurate and incredibly painful simultaneously.

Because it’s true. I can’t SAY I’m doing X but then go do Y. I can’t say I’m trying to pay down my debt and then spend frivolously on high end food stuffs. I can’t say I’m trying to lose this last 10% body fat and then have an entire week of birthday nutritional debauchery (which I did).

When you say one thing then do another, it creates a loop of hiding and shame. It perpetuates the internal dialogue of “I’m not good enough.” It is definitely the definition of misery.

Something I’d seen years ago but was recently reintroduced to was the concept of having a list of 20 things that I eat. Sometimes, a list is the best way to keep yourself on track. When I sat down to write my list, I discovered how hard it was to come up with 20 things. When I’m committed, the list of things I eat is quite small, though it adjusts seasonally. Does that mean I’ve been absolutely perfect? Not in the least. What it means though, is that I’m conscious of my decisions. I know exactly why I’m choosing this over that. I make the best possible decision in each moment, regardless of perfection (because life isn’t perfect) and then move on. Mom’s Chicken Soup wasn’t available on the hot bar so I had to settle for the Chicken Chowder with Yuca and Corn? It was clean enough, so that’s what I went with and then moved on with my life.

Something else I was introduced to a couple years ago is Pearson’s Law. Essentially it says that anything you measure, grows. Want to get stronger? Track the amount of weight you use. Want to get faster? Track your times. Want to get healthier? Track the days where you (honestly and sincerely) did the best you could nutritionally. I have 3 habits I track: move, write, and meditate. That’s it. The days that I do all three are consistently excellent for me (and not surprisingly, my nutrition game is strong those days too – when I feel awesome, I eat awesome). I don’t specify the specifics because I don’t care HOW I do those things, just that I do them. The how doesn’t matter, especially when you’re getting started. What matters is how many days you can string along.

Commitment, though, is what keeps you going when life hands you a set of circumstances outside of your control. Because that’s what life does. This is where being your word (integrity) saves you from misery. My commitment to my health removes the appeal of caramel corn…

Your turn: What commitments are you really struggling with right now? What do you get out of not acting with integrity? Hint: there is always a payoff, whether positive or negative (e.g. by choosing to stay in an ill-suited marriage, I got to be angry). Comment below or shoot me an email: barbara@whathealthcoacheseat. I’d love to hear from you.

How MLM Fits (Or Doesn’t) Into My Practice

Pampered Chef
Tupperware
Mary Kay
Avon
Beauty Counter
Lularoe
Life’s Abundance
Young Living
Beachbody
doTerra

MLM businesses are extremely popular these days and for, I’m sure, good reason. It’s actually been suggested to me that in order to succeed in building a thriving health coaching practice, I need to sign on with an MLM company due to supposed passive income possibilities and the marketing training and support.

Perhaps this is true. For some, it likely is. Some (but not all) of the above mentioned companies are excellent to work with. I’ve been approached by women on the Beachbody, Life’s Abundance, and Beauty Counter teams and each of them thoroughly love the support, the products, and the extra income. I can’t argue with that, at all. And I’m not going to. This isn’t a rant against MLM at all.

I’ve thought about this long and hard. For me, I see it as a conflict of interest.

If I’m going to preach bioindividuality, I cannot, in good conscious, try to sell anyone on specific supplements or essential oils or skin care, etc. If I know anything it’s that just because it works for me does not, at all, mean that it’ll work for you.

I also have zero interest in what I see as growing elitism in the Paleo community. I may subscribe to many of the tenants of the Paleo lifestyle, but I sure as hell am not going to push products that cost the same as a week’s worth of groceries just because they are better for you.

Here’s the thing: there are no quick fixes. You cannot undo years of unhealthy habits in a 20 day challenge. You cannot undo years of unhealthy habits by taking specific supplements. You cannot undo years of unhealthy habits with an expensive serum.

I’ve had many women with PCOS ask me about supplementation and what I use. I always hesitate. I hesitate because my type of PCOS may not be the same as yours, making what I take a waste of money for you. I hesitate because I’m still doing a bit experimentation there myself and I don’t have all the answers. I hesitate because there are laws that I have to consider that vary by state – if you live in certain states, I cannot legally even suggest supplements. All I can do is point you towards the research and let you decide for yourself.

It is for these reasons that I see, for my practice, MLM as a conflict of interest. While I know better than to say “never,” I don’t see MLM as having a place within my practice at this time. I would far rather focus on the behaviors that created the issues you want to correct than pushing products promising the world.

Remember, consistency is the secret sauce on the success burger. If you decide to try something, give it 90 days or more before you decide it doesn’t work. The idea that it takes only 30 days to create/replace a habit is a fallacy that’s been repeated ad nauseum by the publishing industry because a) we all want a quick fix and b) because it sells books/programs. I’ll point you to James Clear on this point because he’s done the research, I’m just repeating it. 30 days is just long enough for you to begin to see results (depending on the habit), so keep going.

Thoughts? Questions? Comment below or send me an email: barbara@whathealthcoacheseat.com – I’d love to hear from you.