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About six months ago, I started running regularly. Why? Because I was ten pounds overweight, lethargic, and addicted to carbs, wine, and sweets. I felt like crap…not just physically but also mentally. AND, I felt like a total hypocrite. I coach my clients on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and exercise and I’ve always been one to walk my talk. It was time to get moving. 

Honestly, it wasn’t that difficult to get started. I knew what kind of results I’d get if I could motivate myself to run at least three days a week and I wanted those results so damn bad that nothing was going to stop me. About three months into my new running routine, the novelty started wearing off. I’d dropped the ten pounds and was craving nourishing foods. I’d accomplished what I’d set out to do. So my mind started veering off track. “You got what you wanted…so we don’t have to do this anymore, right?”, said the little voice in my mind. 

As a therapist, I know how psychology works. If you can continue a habit for at least six months, it becomes a hardwired part of your life. I want healthy habits to always be the standard in my life, so I knew I couldn’t give in to that voice that was persuading me to revert back to old habits. I kept going; I kept feeling good. And then it happened….

It got cold. It got dark. The six a.m. runs that rewarded me with seeing the sunrise disappeared and I found myself cold and in the dark, in what felt like, the middle of the night. Now, my alarm goes off at six and I lay in bed coming up with all sorts of reasons to not run. “It’s too cold. It’s too dark. It really isn’t safe to be out there alone. I could trip and get hurt. I could catch a cold being out there. My bed feels too good to leave it. I’ll do it tomorrow, or later, or next week. Who gives a shit about running anyway?” 

But you know what? I KEEP FREAKING RUNNING. Know why? Because I can either have REASONS (aka. lame ass excuses) or RESULTS. After I run, I feel alive, powerful, accomplished, healthy, and I feel like I’m living like the person I want to be. When I don’t, those feelings of hypocrisy resurface and I feel lazy, tired, and demotivated. I no longer run to lose weight or curb cravings. I run because I know it makes me better…at everything. And it pushes me to break the habit of giving in to immediate gratification (excuses) in favor of practicing habits that will help me reach my full potential and live the life I want. 

So here’s what you need to take away from all this: you have to choose between REASONS or RESULTS. You can’t have both. If you choose to have reasons, that’s fine, but you can’t complain when you don’t get what you truly want in life. If you choose results, that’s fine, but you have to commit to showing up and doing the work even when you don’t feel like it. Before you choose though, you should know that the only way to become the best version of yourself and live the life you imagine is to eliminate all excuses. It doesn’t matter what your goal is. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach it in order to get where you want to be. 

Now, I want to hear from you. Tell me about a result you wanted for yourself and what excuses you had to eliminate in order to achieve your goal. What did you learn from that experience and what advice would you give to others who are getting sucked into lots of “reasons”?

If you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it with a friend. It might be just what they need to get going on making their dreams a reality. 

Nicole C. Iacovoni, Founder & Executive Clinician, received her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from The University of Denver. Utilizing scientific based techniques, she is masterful at helping clients navigate and address family transitions, mood management, relationship issues, life trajectory, and general self care concerns. She also provides financial management coaching to help clients break down the psychological and emotional barriers to maximizing their earning potential, managing money effectively, and building true wealth. Nicole has dedicated her career to building a wellness center where clients generate positive change, enhance esteem, overcome obstacles, and create a peaceful, well-balanced life course. Her vision has resulted in a multifaceted therapeutic setting that provides complete clinical services, including counseling and psychiatry, health and wealth coaching, and yoga instruction.

Today we're obsessed with secrets.  The secrets to weight loss, good parenting, and how to be happy and free.  Sure, success tips are helpful and an interest in learning more is an asset, but from what I’ve drawn from my experience is that these “secrets” lie within yourself, not a magazine article, blog, or the newest self-help book.  

Working in the health and wellness field, I see a lot of people during stressful times in their lives.  The process of healing (mentally and physically) has always intrigued me, and let’s face it, success is just a product of being able to heal yourself really well on a regular basis.  From what I’ve heard from patients and clients, it seems as if a lot of us have been conditioned to believe that success (whatever that means to you- making six figures or simply not losing your patience with your kid for one day) requires risk and sacrifice.  Risk and sacrifice are often associated with uncomfortable feelings, which I believe is at the center of why we get stuck in mediocre.  

Awareness is a powerful thing.  Being aware means giving something attention without judgement or denial.  Awareness can also be a scary place.  However,  the fear is necessary in order to be successful, as long as you act on it in a productive way.  I've sat with people when they've had those “aha moments” and what I usually see is some satisfaction coupled with a good dose of fear.  That’s because once you get to this point, you know you're at a fork in the road.  You can stay with what’s comfortable (and obviously not working for you), or you can take the other route.  The other route is harder and riskier.  It's also more exciting, liberating, and is the way to joy, freedom, and complete fulfillment.  

Successful people have many things in common, and they have nothing to do with race, age, or socioeconomic status.  I’ve heard many times that becoming successful has to do with luck or how privileged you were growing up.  For those who honestly earn their joyful lives, it's not because of random acts or luck.  It's in how they react to feedback, their perceptions, and their ability to productively deal with failure, because failure is inevitable.  The good news is you don’t have to let it control your outcome; you just have to embrace it and use it for what it’s good for-growth.   

To understand why we react the way we do to success and failure, we must first understand our physiological response to these events and how we're taught to respond to them.  According to Susan Babbel, Ph.D., M.F.T., a Somatic Psychology expert, the way we react to success is extremely complex and based on many physiological and psychological factors.  She notes that the excitement of success can feel very similar to the anxiety of experiencing failure or even post-traumatic events.  Our heart rate goes up, breath rate goes up, we get sweaty, and there is a surge of adrenaline.  This is exactly the point where some of us bail and some of us push on.  I'm truly grateful to be there with clients when they decide to push on.  I see the fear, but  also the excitement of finally facing those fears.  Sometimes all it takes is an extended hand and someone to say “walk with me and you'll be okay.”

There are three things I believe to be crucial first steps towards being able to direct yourself towards true success.  They are all based upon the ability to identify signals from your body and mind and use them as a guide.  We tend to get stuck in our minds and paralyzed by the anxiety of “what might happen,” but the saying “listen to your gut” has some validity to it. 

Try getting started with these easy and simple ways towards creating a flawless navigation system for the fast track to that effortless joy we all want.  

1. Practice identifying the signals from your body- this happens in many forms such as meditation or quiet time, listening to music, yoga, exercise, or any other spiritual ritual that allows you to check out from external distraction.  Take notes in a journal about what you're experiencing.  What does it feel like in your physical body?  When is it most challenging to manage these feelings?  What are your thoughts associated with these feelings?

2. Set boundaries and say “no”- overwhelm is a biggie for pulling away from potential success.  If we think we can be super-mom or super-dad and do it all, overwhelm will eventually sink in.  This will be challenging if you're a people-pleaser and get uncomfortable when you're not tending to others.  Start small by making a list of daily activities or chores you can ditch without totally freaking out.  I can let the laundry go for a few days, but if the dishes sit, I freak out.  By dropping some of the load, you'll decrease the anxiety of overwhelm and make room for growth and joy.

3. Become an expert at putting yourself out there and letting go- This will be harder for all you planners and analytical folks.  I found this step to be the hardest because I grew up with an anxious family.  When someone got upset, something bad happened.  I always felt the need to develop control over the outcome so I wouldn’t have to worry about “what might happen.”  In reality, the “what if's” usually don't happen, but the pathways to fear get created nonetheless.  It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there because you risk criticism.  Criticsm is bound to happen, so they key is to coach yourself on how to accept that it regardless of how good of a job you do.  Try to look at it as feedback or information.  It says more about the person giving it than it does about you, so don’t take it too personally.  Ask yourself what you could do better next time and give yourself a pat on the back for taking the risk in the first place!

I love to see people thrive by changing nutrition and lifestyle habits.  Like the research points out, how we react to success and failure is very complex.  It may be helpful to seek professional guidance as you work through things and that’s okay.  The best decision you can make is to take that first step and dive right in.  Once you experience the feeling of optimal health, you won’t ever want to go back!  

When you're ready to dive in and end the cycle of self-sabotage so you can become truly successful and content, consider meeting with me for a FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION. I'd love to hear about your dreams and create a concrete action plan for how we can make them reality. You can schedule a consultation with me HERE. 

Shawn Clavelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Vermont. She earned her certification in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is also a Certified Yoga Instructor at Willow Tree Wellness & Counseling. Shawn’s vast clinical experience and knowledge of the healthcare system makes her proficient at helping others design their own treatment plan through structured goal setting and continuous evaluation of progress. Using a holistic approach with a focus on nutrition and fitness, she helps uncover the obstacles to good health and provides simple options for making better lifestyle choices.


You’ve heard it a million times.  “THIS is the year I will lose those last few pounds and keep it off!  THIS time I will stick to it, have more willpower, and follow through.”  So, millions of people this time of year will scour the bookstores and internet for the highest rated, trendiest eating guides hot off the press with promises of enduring success.  The before and after pictures you see are regular people, just like you.  You say to yourself: this will work.  THIS is my answer.


Wake up call!  THIS is not the answer and if you do lose the weight, more often than not you will gain it back and possibly more.  Alas, transforming your body takes some creative insight, humility, patience, and let’s face it, the courage to address the source of the imbalance that is showing up in your body as extra weight, fatigue, lack of motivation, depression, pain, and more.   


Making a transformation can be overwhelming and scary.  Finding a starting point is key so begin by following these 5 easy steps to get you off on the right foot.  You may not lose twenty pounds in the first month, but creating a solid foundation is more important than rapid weight loss at the beginning.  Think of it as giving your body a mental and physical tune-up before a long trip so that when temptation hits, you will be more likely to stick with the changes you’ve implemented.  

  1. Stop dieting.                                                                                                                                                   Remove the word from your vocabulary starting today.  The more restrictive you are, the more you will crave that very thing.  Instead, switch to a “way of eating.”  This will change your beliefs right off the bat about the changes you are about embark on and how successful you will be.  There is no one way of eating that will work for everyone and the only requirement to finding that way of eating is openness and curiosity about your relationship with food and how it affects you mentally, physically, and spiritually.    

  2.   Set “bigger than self” intentions.                                                                                                            Kelly McGontgal, a PhD from Stanford University, introduced the importance of these sort of intentions.  She suggests growing your intentions so they go beyond you.  For example, transform “I want to lose weight and eat healthy” to “I want to create long lean muscle and flexibility in my lower back and hips to reduce my debilitating pain which will allow me to be more patient with my family.”  Looking below the surface goal is crucial to maintaining change because we are highly motivated by our connections with others and this creates more accountability.                                                                                

  3.   Relearn how to listen to your body.                                                                                                       When we were babies, all we did was listen to our bodies.  We ate when we were hungry, slept when we were tired, and eliminated when we needed to eliminate.  Then came the bills, jobs, families, and STRESS so we began to ignore our basic needs to meet the everyday demands of life.  The best way to relearn how to listen to your body: get back to basics just like a baby.  Eat what you want, when you want, sleep when you are tired, and move when you want to move.  What?  Give in?  Yes.  Give your body what it wants and it will find it’s way back to health.  Go ahead, have a day of eating crap and lying on the couch.  That may be just what you need, but it won’t last long because crap doesn’t make you feel good and it will lose it’s appeal when you tell yourself you can have whatever, whenever.  Experiment and learn about what works best for you.  You may need to keep eating meat and dairy because you feel sluggish or depleted when you don’t or you may need to eliminate dairy because it causes you GI distress.  Decide based on your own findings in your own body, not what someone across the globe thinks will work for everyone.                                                                                                                             

  4.   Eliminate the crap.                                                                                                                                  Get rid of the artificial chemicalized “food product” filling the grocery stores today.  They do not support your body and the millions of chemical reactions that need to take place to make physiological changes.  Eat closer to nature by selecting whole foods.  If you are unfamiliar with what a whole food is, it is simply a food that contains one ingredient.  They are ingredients, nothing else added.  For foods with more than one ingredient, try to stick to the “5 ingredients or less” rule.  That being said, you don’t need to eat 100% organic, vegan, raw, or gluten-free to make progress.  Find the gray area.  It’s not about perfection.  It’s about learning what makes you feel amazing.                                

  5. Move with purpose.                                                                                                                                    While you are at it, throw out the word exercise as well!  The word exercise is not typically associated with being inspired, motivated, and energized.  Again, find the gray area.  Pick something you like to do that requires moving your body.  It may be walking, skating, skiing, swimming, weight lifting, yoga, and so on.  It’s important that you choose an activity that turns you on and lights you up.  If you hate running (like me), don’t pick that because it won’t last.  Find something you want to study and perfect.  A project.                                                                                                                                                          Last requirement: sweat.  Moving and sweating means you are detoxing and losing weight is a form of detox.  You’ve got to unlock the toxins that are hanging on for dear life in your tissues, knock them loose, and eliminate them.  Moving, in conjunction with eating nutrient dense food is the best way to do this.  


Yes, there are other things you can eventually add to your fitness routine to amp things up a bit, but START SMALL.  It’s easy to get excited and get in over your head setting yourself up for failure.  Fight the urge to see instant results.  Any lasting change takes time and patience so coming from a place of love towards yourself is so important.  Our bodies don’t like to be forced into anything so take some time to explore what yours is trying to tell you, give it what it truly wants, and celebrate small successes!  


I believe in the power of choice and we all have choices, regardless of how much money you have, what your status is, or who you know.  You can always find a starting point so think about what that means for you.  What do you want?  What does that look like and how are you going to get there?  My goal is to empower others to approach making changes in an alternative way using mindfulness, a clear vision, and a concrete action plan.  We are here to help if you need guidance or share this with a friend and start on your own!  Make 2016 your most amazing year yet!  



Become a healthier version of you with the help of WTWC Health Coach, Shawn Clavelle!


Shape up and learn strategies for long term overall health. Each week, Shawn will give information and helpful guidance on how to lose weight healthfully and cultivate a health centered lifestyle.


Discover a gentler, kinder version of The Biggest Loser Challenge to get into shape! Gain valuable insight on how to lose weight, gain muscle, increase energy, and improve overall happiness in a 4-week series program. Experience the benefits of weekly small group coaching sessions and learn how to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle for lasting change. 


You will receive grocery shopping list ideas, recipes, meal planning tips, personal email support from WT Health Coach, Shawn Clavelle, physical activity tracking sheets, free giveaways, and tasty treats!


WEDNESDAYs in OCTOBER from 5:30- 6:30 pm.


4- Class Series- $65/ pre-registration required


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