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The Shrinking Family

The Shrinking Family

A good news story

Today’s title reminds me of one of those stupid Rick Moranis movies… “Honey, I shrunk the family”. Oh well.

As you may or may not know, I work on a television show here in Australia called 9AM on the Ten Network. It screens nationally every weekday morning from 9 – 11 am. I am the resident on-air fitness bloke and I do my best to cover a broad range of subject matter which will be of value and interest to as many people as possible. A few months ago my producer (the lovely Becky Zack) came up with the notion of doing a family fitness make-over, with the idea being that I would work with a family which was in need of a little shaping up. Or perhaps a lot of shaping up. I would spend time with them and create an overall strategy to change their diet, their lifestyle habits, their exercise habits, their thinking, their pantry contents and of course, their bodies. One of my trainers and I would also work with them in the gym, taking them through numerous workouts and I would give them unlimited access to my centre and facilities outside of their set training times.

The Bulte family wins…. me!

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    Well, it happened. Families were asked to write in to the show and state their case as to why they were the clan most in need of some Craig love, some body renovating and some lifestyle overhauling. We had letters and emails from hundreds of families from all over the country but the decision makers finally settled on the Bulte family from Victoria. And what a great bunch they are; Darryl and Kerry (the folks), Guy (17) Jenelle (15), Monique (14) and Makayla (11). While Guy and Makayla were fit and trim, the other four were in need of a little… modifying.

    I’ve done things similar to this concept before and I gotta say, it’s kind of a high-risk exercise from a credibility point of view. Especially on national television. What happens if I give them the education, the motivation, the support and all the resources but they simply don’t do it? What happens if we give the concept a whole heap of publicity and then they throw in the towel after two weeks? What if their attitude sucks? What if they leave the gym after each workout and head straight for the golden arches? Well fortunately for all of us, they didn’t. They have been perfect students and their report cards have been amazing.

    Considering surgery

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      Kerry, Darryl, Jenelle and Monique all needed to lose weight, with Jenelle needing to drop the most. At 109 kilos (240lbs), fifteen year-old Jenelle’s weight was a major health concern. So much so that the week before they entered the competition, she had attended an information evening on gastric bypass surgery. With the support of her concerned parents, she was seriously considering the surgical option, having tried unsuccessfully to lose weight many times before. Well, I’m sure glad she didn’t have that operation and now, so is she.

      In the ten weeks that I’ve been working with the Bulte family they have managed to completely turn their lives around. Different diet, different habits different mindset and different bodies.

      A peek at their progress so far:

      Darryl (bottom right) – minus 20 kgs (44 lbs)
      Kerry (bottom left) – minus 9 kgs (20 lbs)
      Jenelle (white shirt) – minus 16 kgs (35 lbs) – no surgery for this girl!
      Monique (top right) – minus 11 kgs (24 lbs)

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      Total weight loss: 56 kgs (123 lbs)

      How great is that? Every day I get asked about the secret to the Bulte family’s amazing transformation and when I say that they have simply done what I asked them to do (eat less, move more and be consistent), my response is often met with disappointment. No, it’s not an exciting strategy but it’s an effective one! It’s seems that the enquirer is usually hoping for some miracle, quick-fix secret to come from my lips. Sorry Dude, no magic here. Just some sweat, some hard work and some great attitudes.

      Change your psychology to change your physiology

      While the physical transformations have been great, what has impressed me the most is their collective mindset. These guys are in the zone. Get your head in shape and your body will follow. Even Jenelle who “just couldn’t lose weight” has it falling off her. Not because all of a sudden she has any more ability, but because her thinking and her attitude have totally changed. As I have said squillions of times, getting in shape and staying that way is more about our head than it is about our body.

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      The future

      We know that ten weeks ain’t a lifetime but our family is well on their way. While I’m very proud of them for what they’ve done in ten weeks, I’m much more interested in what they do over the next ten years. My official commitment with the family finishes in a couple of weeks but I have decided to continue working with young Jenelle indefinitely. I believe she could lose the best part of 45 kgs (100 lbs) and I’m going to help her get there. I’ll keep you updated on their progress.

      Well done, Bulte family.

      More by this author

      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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      Last Updated on September 16, 2019

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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      • (1) Research
      • (2) Deciding the topic
      • (3) Creating the outline
      • (4) Drafting the content
      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
      • (6) Revision
      • (7) etc.

      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

      2. Change Your Environment

      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

      6. Get a Buddy

      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

      Reality check:

      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

      More About Procrastination

      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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