Anyone looking for an inspirational boost needs only to spend a bit of time with Heidi Michaels.
The Katonah-based life and sports-performance coach will have you fired up and tackling whatever needs done, whether it’s clearing out the clutter, starting a fitness program or even changing careers.
In a playful twist on this issue’s “boobs and butts” theme, we checked back in with Michaels – who was part of the team WAG assembled for a makeover project in 2011 – for some tips on finally getting our butts in gear.
Her company, after all, carries the tagline “Now’s the Time,” so who better to get us motivated?
“I think everyone who comes to me is stalled,” Michaels says. “I think that people who need a kick in the butt, it’s finding the courage in taking that next step.”
But don’t expect Michaels to be counting the number of push-ups or jumping jacks you do.
“I don’t work them out,” she says of her clients, who are served through individual coaching and group workshops. “I get them energized and get (them) moving.”
It all comes down to motivational words and heart-to-heart conversations.
Michaels’ keywords include direction, balance and focus. It sounds simple but as we all know, it’s not, which is why Michaels is a proponent of starting small.
Don’t sit and stew over having 20 or 30 pounds to lose. Focus on eating healthy today. Otherwise, Michaels says, it’s easy to lose perspective.
“We tend to do that,” she says. “It gets to be all or nothing.”
Since change can be intimidating, she urges taking things in steps.
Michaels suggests setting three small goals – one physical, one nutritional and one mental – each day.
“Just change your snack,” she says. Opt for an apple instead of a candy bar. “You can do that.”
The simplest step can start the process.
“Change the little things and it will lead to big results,” Michaels says.
In the way you might save quarters in a glass jar, soon you see tangible results of progress, she adds.
Michaels herself is not one to stand still. Having been certified as a life coach, she is continuing her own education with a yearlong leadership program.
“They tell you after you go in it’s life changing, but holy cow,” she says of what has been motivating her.
She has been involved in a number of projects, ones designed to make an impact on the community.
“I really enjoy growing my edges,” she says, with work devoted to raising awareness of childhood sexual abuse and a project to bring comfort in the wake of the Newtown shootings.
Michaels spreads the word many ways, from the motivational work with members of the John Jay High School wrestling team to the tactics she shares with the local resident overwhelmed by a home renovation “just so encompassing she can’t find the time to exercise.”
Michaels knew just what to say: “There’s kind of ‘take a breath’” advice.
But don’t expect Michaels to baby a client. She is encouraging but firm, making you see things for what they are.
“Change the ‘I can’ts’ to ‘I don’t want to,’” she says. “You can do it. You’re choosing not to.”
Be accountable for what you want to achieve.
“It’s just a thought, an idea, until you take action,” she says. When it’s a secret, “No one knows about it. You’re safe.”
Michaels has heard all the excuses – working late, family member being ill, too tired, etc.
“Life is always happening and life offers a lot of distractions. I’m someone that doesn’t let it stop me.”
And she won’t let a client get away with it, either.
“I don’t care,” she says. “There are no excuses. …We buy into our own excuses. We buy those excuses from each other and ourselves.”
That includes the excuses people make to deny their own needs and desires. Pausing for a cup of tea or to read a magazine, for example, is not being selfish.
“We’ve got to let go of that guilt about that,” she says. “It really is important to regroup. …It is centering. I think it is really important that we take the time to center ourselves.”
And though life these days is often lived at a breakneck pace, there are ways to cope.
“Sometimes you have to slow down to get motivated,” she says. “It’s taking a step back. Slow down long enough to take an assessment of where you are at.”
And never forget the power of positive thinking, however clichéd that might sound.
“When you tell yourself you can’t do something, guess what? You probably can’t,” she says. “Get the ‘can’t’ out of your vocabulary. It’s a showstopper.”
It’s all about “knowing what your values are and living according to them,” she says.
Michaels admits even she sometimes fails to stay on track, but she takes responsibility.
“I’m guilty of these things, yeah,” she says. “I put it off until tomorrow, but I’m aware of those things. I’m making the choices.”
And in the end, what matters is the choice to make a change, to keep yourself “challenged, awake and aware.”
“When you do it, you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, it feels so good. Why didn’t I do it sooner?’”
For more on Heidi Michaels and a schedule of her upcoming workshops, visit heidimichaels.com.