Ascent: Being There ... Supporting Your Personal Evolution One Step at a Time

Summertime, and the Creatin' Ain't Easy

June 2010

So you started out with a great aspiration. You had a lot of excitement (and maybe a little reluctance) at the time you decided to achieve something new and creative, or decided to get your life into a better place.

You were going to write a book. Get in shape. Get healthier. Make new personal connections.

And now — if you’re like most people — it’s a few months later and you’re wondering:

Where did that aspiration go ?

Losing focus and energy after making a commitment is absolutely normal. Here are a few major reasons why:

Be Fit: Lifetime Fitness as an Aspiration

Summer’s here — that time of year when fitness is in your face.

Cyclists and runners hug the white line of so many roads. At the pool, the lanes are clogged with swimmers doing laps.

So much motivation going on all around us… but what if you’re not feeling motivated? What if you’re feeling stuck in our own inertia, preferring the sofa cushions to the yoga mat or the running trail.

It’s not just the average, everyday person who feels this way. As a trainer I assure you even athletes can lose momentum. Including me. Still, staying active is essential to health and wellbeing.

Simple fact: Increasing heart-and-respiration rate cleanses the stress hormones from our blood-system and releases the hormones that give us a natural sense of deep peace and wellbeing.

It’s this inner sense of buoyancy that brings a positive, can-do spirit. ( Can we ever have too much of that? ) This means, if you’re pursuing any aspiration you’d be smart to adopt a fitness plan as part of your overall strategy.

Don’t let a sluggish, “kinda tired,” “I’ll get to it later” feeling dictate your actions. Feeling motivated is great — if it happens — but don’t wait for the feeling. The fact is, once you choose to start you’ll soon feel motivated.

Do this:

  1. Make a conscious commitment (or re-commitment) to doing something every day towards better fitness. Begin with a short period, even if you’ve been accustomed to working out. Then increase your workout period by just 15-minutes every other week.
  2. Pick something you love… or even just like. If you like to run, but don’t feel motivated, start fast-walking. If you’re a swimmer, play around in the water. Cyclist — just bike for fun. Sometimes it’s our resistance to “intensity” that steals motivation.
    Lighten up. Let your heart rate come up slowly… then, ease into a lite workout.
  3. Build a support network to help and encourage you to stay on track. Find a couple of friends who will meet you at the gym or the pool or on the trail. Workout buddies give you extra motivation and make the time more enjoyable.
  4. Increase your workouts slowly. Keep a journal or diary of your daily workouts. A simple record of what you’re doing will help you see your progress. It will also help you see how you’re moving towards your aspiration of better fitness.

Whether you’re in a “summer slump” or you’re eager to get started — make lifetime fitness your aspiration. I guarantee you’ll see a difference in body, mind, and spirit.

Cindy Carlyle is a fitness trainer, yoga instructor, physical therapist. She has raced in four Ironman events and is an avid kayaker.

  • If you’re an adult and alive on this planet, you have lots of things shouting for your attention. It’s easy to let lesser priorities and urgent abcxyz's crowd out what you know is important.
  • It’s tempting to let negative voices take over. You may find yourself caught in negative self-talk about your progress, and start telling yourself, “I am so far behind or off-track I might as well give up.” You may be mired in negative thinking about your character or abilities and be carrying on a self-ambush: “I never follow through, I’m a weak person” or “I’m not capable or creative enough to pull this off.”
  • It’s tempting to compare yourself to other people — suspecting they’re “ahead” of you. It’s also tempting to compare yourself to where you imagined you would be “by now.” Comparison is always a mistake. It makes you imagine you’re “doing worse” in relation to others. It steals focus and energy from the work you could be doing right now… if you weren’t busy discouraging and depressing yourself !

If any of this strikes a resonant note, spend the next month doing these things:

Renew your commitment. Remember how energized you were when you made the decision to pay into your own life. Go back to that. The energy of re-commitment is still inside you, and it’s a great spiritual “touch-stone.” Revisit your commitment daily — morning, noon, and at bedtime. Just doing that much helps keep the energy of commitment stoked.

“Script” a response to the negative voices. Tell yourself, out loud if necessary, “I can make solid commitments and see things through.” Then take stock of a little thing known as reality. Often, a sense of “failure” or “set back” comes from not taking reality into account fully when we start something. The fact is, life will always present us with obstacles and distractions. Count on this as a bedrock truth, and then…

Approach your aspiration with adjusted expectations. Divide your big aspiration into small, manageable pieces of time, and create a plan that allows you to work with smaller pieces of the whole. It’s better to accomplish 30 minutes of time spent working on your aspiration than it is to plan, say, a half-day and kick yourself for not pulling it off.

Remember, the energy generated by a dream needs to be managed into the constraints of real time and other duties.

Meet with your “support team.” You may need to remind your family and friends — even yourself, if you live alone —, “Having time and space to work on my goals isn’t a luxury. It’s a need.”

If you do these things regularly — even daily — you’ll be building the inner foundations that will support your outer efforts, whatever your aspiration may be.

Just remember: An aspiration is the “inner guide” that leads us on the path to self-realization and fulfillment. The thing is, we are bushwhacking every step of the way — creating the path to our own individual destiny. This requires not only hard work, but bravery.

If you’re on the path… if you’re working toward your aspiration… we at Ascent salute all your efforts and your courage.

It’s Your Life. Be there.


The Adirondack
"Creative Getaway"

The 2010 Adirondack Writing Summit, coming this August, will feature bestselling author-speakers, and individual writer coaching... all in the heart of the forever wild Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

The Summit is designed to give writers a "creative getaway" while receiving intensive, individual support while they write. It features two 5-day sessions, August 15 - 20 and 21 - 26, or a 10-day session for writers seeking in-depth coaching.

All this, along with gourmet dining and Adirondack-style accommodations at one of the Adirondack's most celebrated destinations, The Woods Inn.

For information go to: — or keep reading.

The Summit is led by Ascent's founder and bestselling author, David Hazard. David is a true son of the Adirondacks, with family roots five generations deep. He is also a publishing consultant and writing coach, with 31 years of experience in preparing writers to publish. David has authored over 30 books, and helped launch the careers of more than 200 authors.

Coaches will also include: Geoff and Janet Benge, Florida-based authors whose "Heroes of History" and "Heroes of Faith" youth series have topped 1 million in sales.

Among the featured authors are:
  • Kate Braestrup, New York Times-bestselling author of Here If You Need Me. Kate is a Unitarian chaplain with the Maine Forestry Service, and an interview with her can be heard at NPR's "Speaking of Faith" archives.
  • Jeff VanVonderen, co-host of A&E's award-winning TV program "Intervention" and the author of four top-selling books.
  • Hart Seely is an award-winning reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard. His humor and satire have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, National Lampoon, and on National Public Radio. He is the editor of Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld and coeditor of O Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto.
  • Ruth Thaler-Carter, is a nationally published freelance writer and author of Freelancing 101: Launching Your Editorial Business, and Get Paid to Write: Getting Started as a Freelance Writer. Ruth will offer guidance on the use of social-networking media and websites.
  • Jason Wright, author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Christmas Jars, and The Wednesday Letters. He is also a political commentator whose editorials have appeared in newspapers nationwide.

Get inspired.
Get coaching support.

Join other aspiring writers at The Adirondack Writing Summit, for a 5- or 10-day "creative getaway" in August — and enjoy one of the most beautiful, natural, vacation settings in the United States !

Use this link for more information and to register for the 2010 Adirondack Writing Summit:

You can also call David Hazard directly for information about the Summit, at (540) 454-4495, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST.

Use this link for information on accommodations at The Woods Inn: Or call (315) 357-5711.