Happy on the inside

Ever since my summer birthday, I’ve been reflecting.
I’m enjoying a state of happiness that’s lasted 4 whole years without interruption.
Listen, this is a big deal, especially for me.
I’ve appeared happy to the people who’ve known me through my years, though inside, I was secretly frustrated. I’ve appeared confident through the years, but inside I felt irritated.
My daily journaling practice figured out my problem.

{I was told} I was too much. Too dramatic, too loud, too wild.  So for years I would kinda be myself, check for approval,  then edit if eyebrows were raised.

To make other people feel better around my bigness, I’d compensate by being overly pleasing, overly tolerant, and overly conscientious.

But in the last 4 years, I’ve been laughing (and crying) myself into realness.

I ask for what I want. I am dramatic, wild, and loud whenever I decide to be. I brag and invite others to brag around me so I can applaud them. I have no tolerance for gossip, whining, or hate.

Expressing my realness has set me ablaze with joy.
Won’t you try it, too?

I’ve been sharing the 50 things that’ve helped me get to this goodness, 5 at a time. Below are numbers 36-40.

Reflect.
Practice them, if you want, especially this week’s selection.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not.

Tell me how they make you feel or add to my list in the comments section.

36.  Find a VOICE you can use freely.

Be perfect.  Do better.  Turn the other cheek.  Smile.  Don’t be weird or different. This was my training.

But I am extremely imperfect in some embarrassing ways. Perfectionism was a plastic bag knotted over my face.

I’m pretty weird.  I can wear 8 different colors at the same time, and make ‘em work.

My voice is high, and I sound like I’m 12 on the phone.

I curse at home -far too much.

I can lift weights like a guy, I want to live in a houseboat at some point, jokes about farts, tits, and asses do NOT make me laugh, and prayer is how I create miracles.

I’d rather be all the things that I feel, especially when I’m creating living.

When I decided to write for magazines, I couldn’t get Michelle to spill the real deal. Maybe it would hurt folks. Maybe she wasn’t so nice.

I had to find another Voice to take my pen.

For a few years, I let SUMMYR write for me.

Summyr was my pseudonym. I used HER name for my published articles in online mags because she let me say things Michelle would be judged for saying.

summyr doesn’t have my ego or my fear of exposing the truths michelle swallowed.
she’s got nothing to tarnish or lose.

 

Find your VOICE and speak your truth. It will give you peace.

 

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.  

–Dr. Suess

37. Discover what turns you on and off

❥ and Likes 🔥 I’m coming for ya..

Niagara Falls–seriously {have you seen it from Canada?}, paws of dogs, brownies that glisten, really great acting like in THE FIGHTER and DOUBT, Christmas lights all year, the smell of lilacs, espresso freddo from Greece, lifting weights like a dude, dancing like a goddess, RuPaul, headstands, imaging headstands without using my hands, reading other people’s lives, over-coming, ecstatic positions most women love, telling the truth, trustworthy friends, a spotlight, Barbra Streisand, bossa nova, listening, my journal.

Disses 🌪 Not going near…

too much cardio, finding a man to make you whole, professional complainers, taking advice from folks who haven’t done sh*t, indecision, phobias toward any kind of human being, sneezers who don’t cover their mouths or farters who don’t leave the room or say excuse me – you really make me sick!, fast yoga, playas {not talking about beaches}, listening or talking to people who are not listening, beige.

I wanna diss meat.  Working on it, but i LOve pork ribs.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

 –Dr. Suess

38.  Have a WiLD tomato 

I am untidy and unabashedly blemished.

Michelle Bernard

I like to use my hands to Write, imagine, Listen, and Declare every morning. For the last 4 years straight, I start the day by drinking inspiration and spilling introspection. I journal (and drink cold coffee in my goblet).

My free-writing style of journaling is raw and WiLD.

WiLD is an acronym for Writing to imagine, Listen, and Declare.

On the days when I can’t sit for my usual 40 minutes of WiLD journaling , I pare down to a sizable portion and dump out my feelings, describe my future, talk myself through a goal, or wade through my ideas to come to a decision.

For 25 minutes, I write WiLD.

I call those untamed  journaling chunks the WiLD Tomato.

Francesco Cirillo, is the creator of The Pomodoro Technique, a timed writing technique to increase focus and minimize distraction. An activity is chunked into a 25-minute block for total immersion. He used a kitchen timer shaped like a pomodoro tomato to keep time. Tomato is a nod to Pomodoro.

I even use my tomato timer.

Getting WiLD has given me life.

I’m gonna be sharing more deets about the WiLD tomato, the WiLD cherry (10-minute journaling blocks), and the POSSIBILITY journal in my new book, beyond words.

 

Should be on Amazon next month.

So happy.

 

39. Keep a POSSIBILITY journal to fire up your energy so you can be magical

Your imagination can penetrate your reality.

That’s why I imagine my future once a week with my journal.

I started doing this in 2002. Eric Butterworth, of Unity Church, talked about writing the whole day the morning of the day.

That same year I wrote my potential day in detail for 3 weeks in a row, and, like wow, I got to experience pretty close to the experience I projected.

I’ve always imagined my future using visualization, starting way back in the kid zone.

Both techniques work, but doing the WiLD writing and the visualization has brought my life to a whole new high.  

Wanna try?

TODAY, write a day-in-the-life of YOUR future.

Write every detail as if it already happened! Like a memory.

Yep, yep, I’ll be explaining this technique in beyond words, too.

Your mind doesn’t know the difference between past, present, or future. It’s taking command from the pictures you show it and the words you use most often.

Your a boss.

And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!  

—Dr. Suess

40. Date yourself. Often.

The more time you spend hanging out and laughing with yourself, the more you’ll wanna date you again.

I went to RuPaul’s Drag convention below–with myself. It aroused my inner goddess. Plus, I got ta bond with some sexy, gorgeous strangers.

I went to coffee, then to write the other day–with myself. Michelle cracked me up. We enjoyed each other’s company tremendously.

I’ve been dating myself every other week. I think I’m in love. No.

I’m sure of it. 

If you missed numbers 1-35, back to the first 5  and the second 5 and keep traveling till you get back here.

I’ll be adding numbers 41-45 in 2 weeks.

Till then, live above ordinary,
Michelle Bernard
Michelle Bernard suessism

HAPPY with RUMi

I’ve been reflecting on the pieces of HAPPY that have made me feel finally full.

If I guess, I’d say it was 2006 when I started collectingRUMi poetry.

A friend gave me the poem, The Guest House, in 2003 when I was recovering my heart from a man who wasn’t supposed to keep it. Back then I hardly understand the meaning beyond the surface. 

I wasn’t ready to know what it meant.

Now, I know.

I know RUMi.

His poetry speaks of love for the DIVINE Source, an energy that also lives within us and connects us to our lives and to others. It’s a love that cannot be ruptured. When I learned that, not intellectually but in my soul, I understood how important RUMi’s poetry was for my journey.  

I’m writing 50 things that have made me happy.
This begins number 31.

This week I’m including written and spoken words belonging to my favorite ecstatic poet.

These words give me life.

Remember you can check out the first 5 of my list of the 50 ways I found happy. Start at 1 and read from there to here.

Let each group of 5 sink in.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

31.

 

32.

33.

34.

35.

 

 

Hope these make you live!

See ya next week. Till then, live above ordinary.

I will, too.

Michelle Bernard

More Ways to HAPPY

Since my birthday 4 weeks ago, I’ve been journaling about how I rose to this feeling of happy.

 

I didn’t feel so good 8 years ago. I was frustrated, though no one knew it. I smiled all the time, but inside I wasn’t content with my life experience.

It was puzzling.

I had a great one bedroom apartment in New York city, an adorable puppy, a couple very close friends, and a job that was fulfilling.

Years of journaling showed me what was missing.

I wanted life to be linear. I believed my life was supposed to be lived like rungs on a ladder.

 

I made a dance video one afternoon. I danced my emotion out for 4 minutes and afterward I bathed in sweat and joy. The next week I did it again. After several more, I named the collection of VIDS: Celebration of Life series.

When I decided to celebrate life, every part of my life, every emotion, every experience, every day; my happy returned.

Life isn’t a ladder. It’s simply a celebration.

I’ve decided to share 5 ways that I celebrate my happy over 10 weeks of posts.

This is week 4. I’m posting 5 more ways below–numbers 16-20.

I’ll be adding 5 more next week.

As usual, let each group sink in. Read the other posts so you can see them all.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

16.   You don’t have to hurt the person you once loved.

I had the best divorce ever last year. It was great because we are still friends. We talk on the phone for hours at a time–not often, but we still share important bits from our lives with each other.

Everyone promised the divorce process would last for years, I’d probably fight over money, we’d yell and say things we’d regret… I refused all of it.

I spoke directly to my ex-husband about creating an outcome that would please us both. He agreed.

Bitterness in relationships just messes people up for the next person who gets ’em.

In the past, I’ve been hurt by so many dudes, and I’ve done the hurting.

Enough. I want my ex-husband to feel good about himself when he moves on to his next relationship.

I feel great, too.

 

17.   Oooo, I do not like when people talk negatively about other people I know.

I understand that we all need to discharge our thoughts about people and situations. We need to talk to somebody if we’re afraid or frustrated. I get it.

But it’s totally obnoxious when the people you’re dissing are people I know!

Even though I do not like it, there’s something I can learn from it.

I’m learning that it looks ugly when folks put people down. I don’t want to look ugly that way.

Also, when I’m around this sort of conversation, I don’t say anything, I say something nice or… you know what?… I think I’ll just walk away.

 

18.   I love you used to be challenging to say. I wasn’t raised with those words.

The first time I said it was to my college boyfriend at age 20, and he had to give me 3 months to get all three words out together.

Now, I’m used to them. I have so many people I give those words to. This is one of the amazing ways I celebrate my life.

 

19. You can’t lose.

I’ve noticed that bitter people are the ones who think you can lose.

Everything you experience, whether liked or not liked, matters if you’re open to learning something new or willing to evolve something you’ve learned earlier.

We just keep collecting wins. It’s called wisdom.

 

20.   I pray about everything. EVERYTHING.

And because I believe in the prayers, because I expect them to be answered, they are. Not always in the way or shape I’ve asked, but they are always answered.

That’s why I’ve seen my share of miracles.

Most of them have been BIG.

The more I notice, the more I’ll notice.

Visit the other posts if you missed the first 15, and I’ll have more for you next week.

Till then,

Live above ordinary.

Michelle Bernard

the next 5: from one happy lady

I’m sounding two trumpets.

One, because I turned 50 last month, and one because I finally made it to experience daily happiness.

I haven’t felt this fulfilled since I was a kid.

I’m sharing the 50 things that helped me get to this goodness.

Check out the 50 ways I found HAPPY, 5 each week. 

This is week 3. Visit the first 5  and the second 5.

I’ll be adding 5 more next week.

Let each group sink in. Read the other posts so you can see them all.
Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think or add to my list in the comments section.

 

11. If IT lights you up, it’s your purpose.

I don’t mind the discomfort of staying in shape. My hands tingle when I lift heavy weights. I don’t wear workout gloves. I could care less about the callouses. The pain of getting stronger and tighter is worth it.

It lights me up.

I don’t mind sweating. I don’t care if my hair gets frizzy and wild, as long as I’m fit, flexible, and able to dance into bliss. Dancing lights me up.

Training others to get strong lights me up. Writing lights me up. Being an artist lights me up.

I refuse to pursue any profession, any goal, any job, any relationship —-  that doesn’t light my fire.

Passion is all.

Passion is YOUR PURPOSE.

12. Remember your childhood passion.

I played school, changed my voice to speak for all my dolls, wrote short stories about large families filled with love, journaled, daydreamed about big city living, did mini-performances for anyone who would watch, smiled all the time.

In the last twenty years my greatest joys came from teaching large fitness classes, recording audio and dance video for my business, living in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, coordinating a Theatre program for high school  students with special needs, and all the things I was born to do.

What were you born to do?

Ask your child Self. Then do it.

It will take you to a deeper happiness than I can speak of.

13. Okay, I have to say it–stay away from prepared  food in a box as often as you can.

I know it’s convenient. It’s ready-to-eat, as long as you have a microwave thingy.  The marketers know it too.

But look at it.  It’s fake, processed, and probably addictive. It might claim to be healthy, but food that spoils is the healthy food. Prepared food in boxes is usually timeless. Doesn’t that scare you?

as often as you can, save boxed and canned foods (that claim to be “easy” because they’re already cooked for you) for famine.

14. If you like something other people call CORNY, like it anyway.

I wear lipstick and green eye shadow when I workout. If I’m gonna sweat so much my hair frizzes and I can squeeze liquid me out of my top when I’m finished, I wanna look good doing those mad-crazy workouts.

If anyone thinks it’s weird, odd, vain, wack, ridiculous—whatever.

After I watch a movie, I like to debrief. It’s best done at a coffee shop or a bar. I want to talk about the story, characters, ending, my feelings. Everything.

If it’s odd, weird, too much—whatever.

Like what you like. Out loud.

15. Listen to your own wisdom.

Be veh-wee, veh-wee quiet.

Spend time alone every week. I use my journal for this. Every morning at 6:30, I’m alone but not totally. With my journal, I can hear my Interior Voice. It’s a guide.

We have become inundated and ADDICTED to the phone and it’s 24/7 news updates from CNN, Huff Post, Instagram, Kanye and Kim.

How can we trust ourselves if we continue to absorb the barrage of advice and subliminal messaging coming from under our fingertips?

You have a lot to teach yourself. Turn off the NOISE. Put your phone in a drawer. Stuff the remote control between the cushions. Take out your earbuds. Listen to yourself.

You are wiser than you realize.

Tune in to your own wisdom. 

 

See ya next week.

Till then, live above ordinary.

Michelle Bernard

5 more ways to HAPPY

I’ve been journaling about my year-end goals. I’m wrapping up two books: one on fitness and one on journaling.

This has been a milestone year, my 50th as of last week, and I am happier than I was when I hit 40.

Last week I started to share the way I rose to this feeling.

I haven’t always felt happy, which probably comes as a huge surprise to the many folks who’ve known me. 

I’ve been in search for answers most of my adult life. Okay, let me just say it outright–I’ve looked for validation most of my life.

That’s not something people openly admit about themselves, but I believe being honest about who and where you are means you’ll also be aware when you find what you seek.

My search led me to live in several cities since I left Iowa 23 years ago. I looked for myself in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, then back to New York.

I’ve performed for Universal Studios, sang in Japan over a summer, become a certified yoga instructor before it was popular, won 2 bodybuilding shows, taught Theatre Arts to children with special needs using the curriculum I created, wrote a book, Lean Happy Healthy You… But it was only recently that I stumbled upon HAPPY.

Falling is a good way make somebody look up.

I’ll be sharing the 50 ways I found HAPPY over the next 10 weeks. 

This is week 2. Visit the first 5  in last week’s post.

Below are 5 more things that have made me happy at 50.

Remember, I’ll be adding 5 each week over the next 10 weeks.

Let each group of 5 sink in. Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think and add to my list in the comments section.

6. Listen to something inspiring every day.

I Youtube inspiring stuff when I shower in the morning and again as I fall asleep. (Youtube is now a verb). One of my favorite YouTube channels is YouAreCreators created by Justin Perry.

It features short seminars, books on”tape”, and commentary by Justin.

 

7. Feel your sucky feelings fully.

I’m talking about the feelings we’d rather avoid.  Don’t wait, don’t wear the mask, don’t expect your negative feelings to go away by themselves.  Dissing your feelings invites regret and stokes resentment, the two skills complainers have mastered.

I feel my feelings in my journal every morning. I scribble them in anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, and overwhelm until I can write myself some sort of solution. In my journal I ask: What is this awful feeling showing me about my choices, my life, my goal, or my action?

Every emotion is valid. The sucky ones can take us to places we fear, but those places could show answers we’ve searched for all this time.

8. Read so you can practice visualizing.

One of the things I love about reading fiction is I get to escape into somebody else’s life, live in their body, their house, their relationships. As a kid I’d pretend to be different characters through my Barbie dolls, my Cher doll, and my Marie from the Donny and Marie doll set. Yep, my characters were singers most of the time. But I’d also play teacher and mama every day up till sixth grade.

I would shape-shift to become whoever I visualized. When I read fiction, I do the same thing.

The practice of visualizing becomes useful for changing any circumstance you’ve grown out of and want to shed, or used to embody any persona you aspire to become. Practice seeing beyond what’s right in front of you by reading more fiction. Plus, it’ll get you off your phone for an hour.

9. Direct deposit your savings and retirement funds.

It’s absolutely true that money burns a hole in your pocket. If you tend to slip your hand into your jeans to retrieve a $10 bill, but end up tickling a thigh, you might want to try directly depositing your goal-money into accounts.

To me, money is like handling brownies or white cheddar cheese Pirate’s Booty or Ritz crackers. If they’re in my house, I’m gonna eat em. And by eat em, I mean eat till there isn’t anymore left. So, I do not have those items in my house. I leave them at the store until I want one

I’d rather keep my cash in the bank and let online banking distribute my funds. Before you know, your savings and retirement accounts are hefty and you’ve lost weight from not carrying around wads of cash (that keeps disappearing anyway).

 

10. Look lovingly at yourself.

Use a mirror.

I like to smile when I look in a mirror, otherwise I look pretty grim. My thinking face does weird stuff to my mouth and forehead. Ugh.

The mirror is a good place to connect with yourself. I’m aware people don’t like to look at their reflection or can’t do it without thinking horrible thoughts about what they think they see.

Try looking, smiling, and saying what Louise Hay used to say: I love you. I really love you.

Do it right now. I dare you. 

5 more ways to HAPPY next week.

Till then, live above ordinary. I will, too.

Michelle Bernard

50 ways to discover your HAPPY

Michelle Bernard

this is 50

and, boy, do I feel better than ever.

I’m happier now.

Happy came for me toward the end of my 40s. Bam!

I’ve figured out a few things. Big things and little things.

Some of this stuff I’ve always known but needed a bit more evidence before I trusted it.

Some stuff is simply new to my awareness.

Below are the 50 things that have made me happy at 50.

You don’t have to read them all at once. I’m not posting them all at once.

I’ll be adding 5 each week over the next 10 weeks.

Let each group of 5 sink in. Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me know what you think in the comments below.

1. Tell the truth.

Perhaps you’re thinking, duh, but people lie all the time. They say YES to things that feel like NO WAY.

I used to accept subpar treatment from a friend or a partner, because I didn’t want the relationship to break-up. I used to say YES to doing stuff I couldn’t stand doing.
Today, I surround myself with amazing friends. I admire all of them, which is important to me.
Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, I would say NO to opportunities I wanted by avoiding them because I was scared, thought I wasn’t ready, or believed I wasn’t good enough.

What if telling the truth about ourselves makes us available to receive the life we really want? 

2. Leave food on your plate.

I used to eat until there was nothing left on my plate or in the pot on the stove.

There are so many strategies to help over-eaters: chew 600 times before you swallow, don’t eat over the sink or, in my case, the stove, only eat when you’re hungry. Rubbish.

As a fitness professional who had a real eating-too-much disorder, I couldn’t honestly tell my clients to do something I believed was impossible to maintain (except for the not-eating-over-the-sink one…  I still do that!).

But learning to leave a few uneaten morsels on my plate then saying I’m finished has trained my mind to be comfortable with abundance. You see, I had a scarcity mentality; a belief that if I didn’t finish ALL the food, I’d miss out on something.

I’ve trained my mind to believe there’s plenty. Now, I’m not anxious when I eat.

If we all ate less in general, we’d not only lose weight, we’d help eradicate the food shortage around the world. 

 

 

3. Laughing and smiling often works miracles on your health.

 Yep, there is  research to justify this, but I’m not writing a research paper.  I’m writing from my experience. I’m the lab test, so take my word or try it out yourself.
When I teach an exercise class, I make everyone laugh their heads off. It creates community. It makes exercising seem like an event, not a chore. It takes the sting out of muscle pain. It’s entertaining to me.
Centenarians, the folks who live past 100, site laughter as one of the reasons for their long, healthy lives.

If I go one day without laughing, I must be in the wrong environment, around the wrong people, or doing something that sucks.

It doesn’t happen much anymore. 

4. Tell every human customer service provider who creates a pleasant experience for you that you appreciate their help.

I know it’s their job, but some folks are super awesome at doing it. It’s not an easy-breezy effort for customer service people who’ve had to suffer all the hostile folks before you called or stepped up to the counter.

Tell them they’re awesome when they treat you like you’re special. 

It’ll make you feel good, too.

 

5. Ask questions.

Like a 4 year-old, ask why, ask how.

Find out if what “they” are telling you is true, healthy or valid for you.

Question things you hear from the FDA, pharmaceutical claims, and from people offering advice about things they’ve never experienced themselves.

Trust yourself and trust your body.

Check back next Friday for 5 more ways to discover happy.

Till then, live above ordinary.

Michelle Bernard

@my birthday party

You need a nap.

Michelle Bernard: You need a nap — Live above ordinary from Michelle Bernard on Vimeo.

It’s quite apparent that taking the nap has rejuvenated my energy.

I used to think napping was a waste of my day. I thought it was for slackers. Then I noticed how my energy dips at 3 o’clock most days. Instead of fighting droopy eyelids or getting frustrated because I keep spacing out when I’m writing, I set my echo dot or a timer on the iPad and snooze.

 

The naps help my muscles repair, cleanse my emotional palette, reboot my mind, and restore the day back to 1.

 

 

a kind of power

Still mind, firm grip, clear intention. 
All part of the art.

The abs and back lock. I curl the bar with steel plates collared on.

One more. No, I can get two.

I don’t care about callouses. I don’t even care about the difficulty of breathing. I care about the rep. The next rep. Clean. In perfect form, the hardest kind.

In the mirror I look like I might explode. And I might–one day. But it’s all worth it today.

The pain lasts a few seconds after I set the bar down. So much satisfaction and only a blip of pain to get it. Delayed pain will hit late on the next day, usually between my shoulder blades, in my glutes, or the side of my quads. Why don’t my hamstrings hurt much? Maybe I oughtta address that.

I sweat hard when I go heavy. That’s how I reach the thrill. Sweat makes the muscles glisten. I need to shine. It’s part of the art.

Who would have believed I would play with Dumbbells?

It’s nothing like playing with dolls, or coloring in books, or dancing to record albums. That was me then.

Dumbbells, barbells, plates, cables…

This is me now. Power.

Not better, but power in it’s own way.

Michelle Bernard strong and calmIt’s a rock hard determination kind of power. This is how I’ve come to own myself, how I have chosen to rise above the opinions others had about who I was to become–others who saw me in the past as shy, wearing dresses, with plump legs and squishy cheeks, and never sweating.

She’ll be a smiling church girl when she grows up. She’ll eat cornbread and fried chicken and green beans from a can.

She’ll bake pies and banana breads–splurge on foot longs–sip diet cokes at the bowling alley on Saturday nights and her double helping of fried mushrooms.

Or she might be a hippy with a big booty, no she’ll be fat or what we call a (very) big girl when she grows up.

Because that’s who I used to be.

But now I play with fitness toys and health books and I do push ups and chins and press a stack of weights over my head. I Vitamix green stuff with protein. I live the art of movement.

Still mind, firm grip, clear intention.

It’s all part of the art.

Michelle Bernard eyes above ordinary

live above ordinary

21 Days to Your Summer Body

Did someBODY say SUMMER?

Summer officially starts in less than 21 days, folks. Let’s make sure we feel confident, strong, and satisfied in those denim cut-off shorts and that white tank top.
It’s the perfect time of the year to begin losing weight, and I wanna help. For the next 21 days Imma be sharing simple steps that’ll walk you into a healthy lifestyle for Summer and (if you continue ’em) beyond. Summer officially starts in less than 21 days, folks. Let's make sure we feel confident, strong, and satisfied in those denim cut-off shorts and that white tank top. Click To Tweet

Do you wanna lose some weight? Maybe 5 or 10 pounds? Maybe a bit more?

Okay.
Once we decide we’re ready to lose weight, we want it to happen as soon as possible.

Weight-loss goals are reached by setting up and repeating lifestyle habits.

The repetition of new lifestyle habits may feel slightly unfamiliar and not always comfortable. Ne’er fret.
It gets easier.
But I want you to know upfront: It does not take 21 days to change a habit.

It takes about 21 days to set up a new habit.

I believe it takes 70-90 days to CHANGE an old habit into a new one.
That’s 9-12 weeks.
This is not bad news. Good things take time to take root.
Remember, if you have a goal to elevate your health and lose excess body-fat, get stronger, and raise your level of natural energy; you’ve chosen goals that are gifts.
Of course, you want to achieve these goals as soon as possible! And you deserve to achieve them.
Give yourself a few weeks, 21 days, to set yourself on course to receive these gifts.

Check-in every day for easy steps to create your summer body. You’ll learn the habits that will gift you a summer body and also gift you an ongoing lifestyle of health and leanness.

DAY 1

Find a place to workout.

You need a gym, studio, basement, back yard… Use that membership you bought January 3rd.

Advance-schedule your workout days and times.

Advance-schedule specifically means ➪ pick the same days and times every week.

 

 

Automating your workout schedule will make it feel like a responsibility, not a luxury. Responsibility simply means RESPONSE ABILITY.  Respond to your health and fitness. You can do that each week.

Aim for 4-6 workouts a week if fat-loss is your goal. If you’re a new exerciser, advance-schedule 3 workouts per week.
That’s all for today, folks. Except one more thang: if you advance-scheduled Saturday as a workout day—go workout tomorrow!

DAY 2

Weigh yourself today.

Don’t get too attached to the scale, though. I don’t advise you to weigh yourself again till June 21st.

Does that feel like holding your breath? It might if you’re as addicted to weighing yourself as you are to breathing.

You don’t have to check to see if the seed has sprouted roots, just water it and give it plenty of sun.  It will grow.

Take every step in these next 21 days, and you will see your meaningful goal become reality.

Now, set a meaningful goal to achieve in 4 weeks or by July 4th weekend.

Your goal needs to answer these questions.

How do you want to feel in 4 weeks?

Pick 2-3 words.
In case you’re blank, here’s some help:
focused
confident
disciplined
determined
sexy
strong
devoted
gorgeous
athletic
powerful
motivated
decisive
Use one of these or choose your own.

What will be different about your body in 4 weeks? Describe how your legs will look, how your abs will look, how your clothes will fit.

How will you know you’ve reached your meaningful goal?

There are many ways to answer this question.

Think about the comments you might get like “Daisy, are you doing something different? You look younger.”

And, “Bella, you have so much energy. Are you working out more?”

You could also describe a piece of clothing you will wear in 4 weeks.
White skinny jeans,
a form-fitting back dress,
a tank with spaghetti straps.

Remember, do not weigh yourself again until day 21. Let your clothes give you information about your progress for a couple weeks. They’ll get looser.

Review DAY 1.
By now you should have your workouts scheduled for the week. To save energy, keep your workout schedule the same every week so that it becomes an expectation not a luxury.
See ya tomorrow.

DAY 3

Cultivate what you wish to create on the inside, and live like you expect to see it reflected on the outside.

What if you could look and feel the way you imagine?

Write a 6-month fitness, health, and body vision today.

With a consistent workout schedule of 4-6 days a week and a healthy eating plan, you can completely elevate your health and lose excess fat. I believe it takes 6-9 months to give birth to a new experience of your body.  I was certainly able to lose my first 20 pounds in 9 months ☞ 20 pounds that stayed lost because I become a person who practiced the habits of being 20 pounds leaner.
In my thirties, when I started lifting weights, I changed my body again in a span of 6 months doing 5 workouts a week for no more than 60-75 minutes each workout.

During both of those transformations, I also read more library books than usual, received more work oppportunities, and accomplished other personal goals.

In other words, the tenacity and focus I used to remain consistent and  devoted to my health and body goal fed into every area of my life.

Now, write your 6-month body, fitness, and health vision today.

How will you look in 6 months?

Describe your energy level, activities, doctor’s reports, size, outfits you will wear, and the way you expect to feel.

Try this to describe your 6-month vision :

Find pictures that represent the way you’d like to see yourself in 6 months.

Make a private PINTEREST board.

Select pins that represent your fitness, health, and body vision.  Include pins of body parts like abs and arms, quotes you believe in, workout outfits you’ll wear, daily outfits you’ll wear, a trip you’ll take, and meals you’ll eat.

Day 4

Now you have two goals. You have a short-run goal and a big picture goal.

After July 4, set short-term goals every 8-12 weeks and keep setting big picture goals every 6 months.

Look at your goal every day.  Look at your vision every day.

Look at your Pinterest board and play make believe. 

make believe: Michelle Bernard

Make believe you are living your vision —— while showering, during cardio, before bed, or whenever you have time to dream.

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
                                                                                                                     Muhammad Ali

Day 5

Find the perfect water bottle.

You can tell whether your bottle contains BPA or not by looking at the bottom of it–#2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene), #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene), or #5 PP (polypropylene) means your bottle is fine. A #1 is recommended for one-time use. Unfortunately, some of the fun, colorful bottles so pervasive on the market today often contain polycarbonate plastics. You can identify them by the #7 recycling symbol. (quoted from the article link below)

Find a water bottle without a PBA lining.

You need to drink 50 percent of your body weight in water ounces per day.

Don’t weigh yourself again. Use your weight from two days ago.
Back away from that scale! I gotcha.
Certainly fruits and vegetables contain water, so eat a fruit every day along with 3 or more vegetables.  This counts towards getting your water, too.
Also, drink 100% coconut water. Try this one. It’s sensational.

Day 6

Add more green to your life.

I call it a GREEN MUSTACHE, instead of smoothie. 

A smoothie is usually stocked with fruits. For most of us, smoothies add extra sugar calories to a day of already eating a majority of high sugar meals. Michelle Bernard green mustache

A GREEN MUSTACHE is stocked with green and other colorful veggies! Try parsley, cucumber, celery, kale or spinach (fresh or frozen) and blend with lemon rind and pulp, lime, ginger, and/or carrots or beets.

Pick 3-6 veggie ingredients and add one fruit or two fruit halves like one banana or half a pear and a handful of blueberries. Blend with water and ice.

Sometimes I use half unsweetened almond milk and half water. I always add a scoop of whey or hemp protein. 

Drink a GREEN MUSTACHE once a day 5-7 days a week!

DAY 7

Remember to Advance-Schedule this week’s workouts. Re-view DAY 1.

Add a strength training workout to your weekly schedule.

This includes body weight training like yoga or Pilates, push ups, dips, and squats w/o weights. It also includes using free weights, kettlebells, machines, bands and tubes, the Bosu, and the TRX.  Classes like Soul Cycle, CrossFit, and Barre have a strength building component.

Increasing muscle density makes your bones stronger, raises your metabolism, and can improve your posture.

I love strength training because of these reasons, plus it makes me feel like a warrior.  

I advance-schedule 4 strength training workouts every week.

How many strength training workouts are you advance-scheduling?

DAY 8

Start a daily journal.

Write about your experience losing weight, working out, and eating. Write your feelings. Write your challenges. Write your successes. Write your progress.

Write for 20- 30 minutes in the morning or before bed.

Re-write your meaningful goal in detail every week. Re-write your long-run vision every week.

Keep your imagination occupied.

DAY 9

Surely you’ve advance-scheduled your workouts this week!

Also, re-view the first 8 days today.

Stretch and relax for at least 10 minutes after each of your workouts.

Stretch your large muscles: your quads ☞ stand and balance. use your R hand and fold your R ankle behind you. repeat on the L leg.

Stretch your hamstrings and back.

 Child’s pose to stretch the back.Forward bend stretches the hamstrings.

 

Tight muscles limit your range of motion and can hinder agility. Stretching after each workout will help prevent injury and reduces the tendency to exacerbate a mild injury.

 

DAY 10

Good morning. I bet you’re feeling great! You’ve been working out 4-6 times each week, so your body is beginning to change.

Your appetite has probably changed, too. It’s likely you’re craving healthier foods, and loving those green mustaches.

To keep your portions small, use smaller plates. Make sure they are lovely plates. My favorite plates are the Asian-style sushi and noodle plates.

High sugar foods like pasta are usually served on a family-size platter. I don’t know about you, but even with my years of training and awareness, I could easily finish a family-sized platter of gnocchi.

So, if I want pasta and clams for example, I serve it in my wine goblet. It ends up being less than a cup of cooked pasta, which I feel no guilt about eating. I just love it.
I eat my morning oatmeal in a wine goblet.

Beautiful plates make food feel beautiful. That’s how it ought to feel when we eat.

DAY 11

Listen to your thoughts when you eat.

Would you believe that paying attention to your thoughts while eating can help you eat less, eat healthier, and digest easier?

But just as important, listening to your thoughts while eating points you toward what you’re really craving.

Sometimes just a few bites of cake will do, especially when what you really crave is a sweet conversation or alone time in a sweet-smelling flower garden.
Perhaps you’ll realize you don’t want an extra slice of pizza; you’d be more fulfilled with a staycation so you can paint canvases and go to the museum.

Listen to your thoughts while you eat for a week.
Write your observations in your journal.

DAY 12

Turn the world OFF 30 minutes before going to bed.

Do this so you can get the 6-9 hours of sleep your body needs to rejuvenate cells, reboot your mind, relax your nervous system, and dream.

Blue lights, computer screens, and Law and Order in the background can interrupt your biorhythms making you tired the next day. Restless nights can also make you gain weight. If you keep waking up with a mind full of thoughts, be sure you also have a body full of cortisol. And when you have too much unneeded cortisol, your belly gets fatter.

So, turn off the world 30 minutes before you turn off all the lights.

TV, Facebook, InstaG, email, text ☞ OFF YOU GO. Let your mind stop grinding.

Tomorrow I’ll share the mental massage, a way you can point the mind at your goals and intentions.

DAY 13

Give your mind a mental massage before bed or in the morning.

I prefer my mental massage before bed during the 30 minutes when I’ve shut off my gadgets.
Mental massages can be as short as 5 minutes and long as 30.
Sit or lie still and close your eyes. (I like to make hot tea and sit on my bed.)
With your eyes closed, take three slow breaths. Set an intention.
An intention is a desire that you are willing to allow into your life experience.

Last night my intention was: LET ME LEARN MORE ABOUT MYSELF THROUGH TEACHING. AND LET ME CONTINUE TO SHARE WHAT I LEARN.

Monday night my intention was: I RELEASE ATTACHMENT TO PERFECTION. MAY I BE POSITIVELY IMPACTFUL.

You can also intend a short phrase or single word like: I’M FREE, LET GO, EASY, LOVE, and THANK YOU.

Repeat your intention 3-5 times then breathe in silence. After 5-30 minutes say THANK YOU or YES or IT IS DONE.

I’d like to know how you sleep after the mental massage.
Leave a comment below!

DAY 14

Is your conversation about food and exercise optimistic or annoying?

Have you ever been around those constantly complaining dieters?
Have you spent time with exercisers who have contempt for exercise?
Or those people who tell anyone who will listen how tired they are, how hard losing weight is, how deprived they feel?
I can’t have that…
Oh no, I’m not supposed to eat…
Ugh! I wish I could just take a pill…!
Exercise and healthy eating has helped them manage their weight, reduce joint pain, and sleep better yet they complain about it.
I hope this is not you. I hope this will never be you.

Being able to eat healthy food is a blessing.

Being able to move, climb stairs, walk without swollen ankles, carry groceries for blocks, bend over without getting stuck bent over, and all the other benefits like reduced susceptibility to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer IS A GIFT.

I hope you are grateful for what your body can do. I hope you feel blessed to access real, natural, clean food and water.

Think about this today. Is your conversation about food and exercise optimistic or annoying?

DAY 15

Yesterday you observed your conversation around food and movement.

Today, listen to your thoughts about your body. The perfect time to notice what you’re thinking is when you look in the mirror. Are you pleased? Are you disappointed? Are you impressed? Are you not looking?

We have unconscious thoughts that flood our minds when we look in the mirror at our image. Pause and listen to them. If they are negative towards you, write about those negative thoughts in your journal.
Ask yourself why you have those feelings?

Then practice WHAT IF?

Ask yourself WHAT IF…(add your personal desire regarding your body and health)?

See each of the questions in your mind.

WHAT IF I had sculpted legs?
WHAT IF my belly was flatter?
WHAT IF I loved vegetarian meals?
WHAT IF I felt comfortable seeing my body in the full-length dressing room mirror?

Ask as many WHAT IF questions to address the negative thoughts you have about your body.

 

WHAT IF is a way to make believe. The more you change your negative thoughts into WHAT IF, the more they become suggestions to your subconscious mind. The images of you embodying your WHAT IFs will help you start to believe you can become what you imagine.

 Good job, if you’ve made it to HERE. One week till SUMMER.

 

 

 

DAY 16

By today you should have advance-scheduled and completed 9-14 workouts! Congratulations. Have you advance-scheduled strength training as well as cardio and flexibility training, too? Keep your BODY of EXERCISE well-balanced.

BODY of EXERCISE = a combination of strength, cardio, flexibility, and relaxation.

I know the value of having muscle, so I advance-schedule 4 strength training sessions a week. I do 2 cardio sessions and 3 hatha yoga sessions each week. Most days I combine modalities, for example I do strength, cardio, and yoga on Thursdays.

I workout 5 times a week. I prefer to keep my workouts at 45 minutes.

Start thinking about how you’ll reward yourself for maintaining all 21 days.

List of possible rewards…

Get a massage
Buy a new workout outfit
Buy new sneakers
Take yourself out for a healthy picnic
Go to the Botanical Gardens for lunch among the flowers
Buy a rosemary plant
Get a pedicure
Buy a journal
Buy an orange bikini
Get a Vitamixer!

Every 8-12 weeks, when you’ve achieved your meaningful goal, reward yourself!

 

DAY 17

Get support.

It’s always easier to start a new goal. Most of us need help maintaining our results.

Get yourself around people who are living healthy and excited about it. Get yourself around people who can motivate you. Get around people who can teach you. Get around people who support you.

Find a tribe that shares your vibe. 

DAY 18

We are only days away from the start of summer.
Summer gives longer days, more light.
What does MORE LIGHT mean to you?

Are you available to living lighter than you’ve ever been or feeling lighter than you’ve ever felt?

This is a question that challenged my belief.

You can believe you deserve more LIGHT, more health, more love, more help, more happiness.

Choose this right now. 

Notice that when you’re open to being and feeling lighter, you become LIGHTER.

I’ll talk more about choosing LIGHT tomorrow.

DAY 19

What other ways can you become lighter?

Begin by shaking off some of your stuff.
Do you have extra stuff weighing down your fridge,
your purse,
your closet,
your car,
your desk?

Clear away the excess. 

Take 20 minutes today and throw away stuff you don’t use, don’t need, that doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t represent you or your goals, and the stuff that doesn’t matter. Choose one area from the list above to LIGHTEN. 

Then LIGHTEN up tomorrow, too. Spend another 20 minutes discarding unnecessary weight (stuff) in your personal areas.
If you want to become lighter in a big way, spend 20 minutes every day this  week. Clear away the excess.

DAY 20

Would you look at that?

Tomorrow is day 21.

You made it.
How do you feel?
Today is the perfect day to re-view the last 19 days. Scroll up and check your progress.

Today, add PINS to your Pinterest vision board.

You’re going to weigh yourself tomorrow and again on July 4th.
After that, maintain 4-6 days of exercise for at least 30 minutes (I prefer 45+). Your body will change.
Resist checking the scale every 2 hours.

Only weigh yourself every 12-20 weeks. Fit of your clothes will give you more information.

The step for today is for your mind.

Choose a healthy life.

Advance-schedule 4-6 workouts so you can move your body regularly.

Drink a green mustache 5-7 days a week.

Fill your body up with LOVE TALK.

Say thank you for the amazing things your body can do.

Write your feelings, dares, decisions, and declarations in a journal EVERY DAY.

 

Instead of feeling rushed to lose weight and eat perfectly, just choose to live healthy.

Then shift your thoughts and habits into the thoughts and habits of a person who lives healthy. 

If you want more support ☞ Lean Happy Healthy You Michelle Bernard

DAY 21

Congratulations!

You’ve got everything you need to start summer with a healthy and fit body.

Keep re-viewing the 21 steps. July 4th is a few weeks away.

Reward yourself today! What reward did you choose on DAY 16?

Set another meaningful goal for August 1. Re-view DAY 2.

Weigh yourself today and again on July 4th.

And there’s one more step for today: encourage someone else to live healthy and fit with you.

Supporting someone to achieve what you aim to achieve will help you to become more successful.

Books I recommend for more info on bod and mind.

       

Happy Summer