Category Archive: Mindset Mostly

Mar 03

Morning Cup of Coffee: Move Forward

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

Morning cup of coffee, with a side of mindset.

The original Starbucks icon mug from the original Starbucks.  The crown jewel in my collection.  I have two :-)

The original Starbucks icon mug from the original Starbucks. The crown jewel in my collection. I have two 🙂











Stop trying to find something to worry about, or be unhappy about! I’m not preaching the, “Be happy, be positive, never think bad thoughts” mantra. I’m preaching the, “You’re specifically seeking out something you can be unhappy about, and you need to stop it” mantra.

Here’s an example. I had a gentleman in one of my classes not too long ago. He said, “You know, back in 1990, I made a choice to opt out of this program, and instead, go over to that one.” He asked, “Do you think that was a mistake? Did I mess up?”

My response was, “To be completely honest, it doesn’t matter. It was an irrevocable decision. You cannot go back to 1990 and change your mind, and you can’t do anything about the choice you made back then, today.”

He pressed, “But did I make a mistake?”

I continued to say, “It doesn’t matter. The decision was made. The die was cast. What if you did make a mistake? Can you go back and change it? Can you do anything today to change it? ”

“No, ……”

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I’m not kidding, it went all like this for most of the day. Not continually, but every time he talked to me, he started by asking this question. At one point he even said, “Since you’re not giving me an answer, that tells me I DID make a bad choice.”

I never said any such thing. He was creating a problem.

Now, I ask YOU, just like I did him.
Why are you obsessing about “this”?
Why do you want to know if you “messed up” at some point in the past?
You are here.
At this moment.
Make your decisions from here and look forward.

Your past brought you here, yes. Some bad decisions may have been made, yes. What of it?

He, and I would argue, you, want to know if you made a mistake solely so that you can beat yourself up over it. So you can feel “bad”. So you can be miserable because you “messed up”.

STOP it.

That is all <3

Enjoy your coffee. Enjoy your day – this day, this moment, this decision.

Feb 29

Morning Cup of Coffee: Monday is About GSD

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & FIT


This is my mug for Monday.

– I have a ton to do before my flight at 1700 this afternoon.
– Flying today.
– Teaching tomorrow.
– Conducting webinars Wednesday and Thursday.
– Prepping for a 3-week international trip without Internet.



Monday’s can be like this. Right? A little overwhelming. It’s super easy to get thrown around from one thing to another if we don’t have a plan.


You can drive the day, or the day can drive you.

That’s easy to fix. Get a plan!!   Here’s how.

First thing this morning – right after coffee –

  1. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish this week. Keep that list by your computer so as you think of things, you can add them.  You don’t need to stress about the list. You’re not going to accomplish it all at once. Bit by bit. Step by step. Just like everything else.
  2. Prioritize the list – actually write down numbers.
  3. Turn off the cellular service on your phone (you will still receive phone calls and texts that don’t contain photos).  Log out of email, and ANY/ALL computer programs and apps that you’re not using in task #1.
  4. Set a timer for 45 minutes and get to work.

When the timer goes off, stretch, take a short walk, close your eyes or whatever, for 10 minutes and then switch to a new activity for 45 minutes.

Every two hours, check and respond to emails for 15-30 minutes. Set a timer! The time goes by quickly.

Email is NOT an emergency! No, not even “business” e-mail. Neither are most phone calls. We just act like they are.

We don’t need instantaneous alerts when someone else posts a Twitter update, Periscope broadcast, FB post nor Snapchat. That’s someone else doing something – this is about you (and me!) getting something done. The social realm will exist without us for a few hours while we focus. I promise.

Truthfully, unless you’re managing an active chat room or call center, responding to email every couple of hours and checking social media only periodically is sufficient.

We frequently have all these programs open. Things are popping up on the screen, things are “dinging” at us – there are so many distractions, and it’s nearly impossible to concentrate. We fall into the “this will be quick” trap, and get off course.

I’m drinking this coffee, putting my head and getting to work.

A quick 15 minute metabolic workout is on MY list of priorities. It’s not an “only if I find the time” item, for me.  What’s your personal #1 tip for getting stuff done?


Feb 25

Morning Cup of Coffee: Saying, “No” to the Noise

Handcrafted by Sunset Hill Stoneware in Wisconsin. Given to me as a gift.

Handcrafted by Sunset Hill Stoneware in Wisconsin. Given to me as a gift.

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know how much I love my coffee?  I started drinking it when I was a teen:  at that point with half a cup of cream and a couple of sugars.  No wonder I liked it, right?  When I worked as a 911 dispatcher on the midnight shift, we drank coffee by the pot – not the cup!  Over the years, I’ve cut back.  It’s now typically two a day with just a little bit of cream (or a hint of Bailey’s) and no sugar.  Now I love strong coffee.
 But….this post isn’t really about my love of coffee.  
I have a huge Starbucks icon (that’s the only kind I like) mug collection but, I don’t collect just generic cups.  Well, let me correct that, too. I didn’t collect anything but my icons.  Recently several friends (and even clients) have given me special cups that mean a great deal to me, so it does appear that I AM collecting cups.  
But…this post isn’t really about my collection of coffee cups.  
It’s about my first cup of coffee each day.  It’s about sharing that cup of coffee with you.  
For a very long time, I’ve gotten up in the morning and reserved the first 20-30 minutes just for me. That’s my quiet time – time to prepare and plan for the day. To set my intention.  Time to sit and actually enjoy my coffee. I will get up at 430 or 5 JUST to have this time instead of jumping out of bed and running around like a crazy (crazier?).
Each day, I want to talk to you as I drink my coffee; to share how I’m starting the day. Sometimes they’ll be short conversations. Sometimes a little longer. Sometimes a post I saw, a picture, or maybe something from a class I’m taking.  Sometimes a blog I wrote.  They won’t be perfect.  It is my first cup of coffee!!  You don’t have to drink coffee to be here, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t 🙂
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Today’s cup was given to me by one of my biggest customers, The US Forest Service. It was handmade by Sunset Hill Stoneware in Wisconsin.
Today’s musings were triggered when my friend Paul shared this link of the US Women’s gymnastics team
“Amazing” doesn’t begin to describe these ladies. Wow.
While phenomenal, I’m not just interested in their physical abilities though.  It’s the mindset required for building a champion that fascinates me. The dedication to meeting a goal they’ve set for themselves. The hours (and hours, and hours) that go into getting better at “this”, accomplishing “this”, becoming the best at “this” – no matter what. And the absolute determination to say, “no”, unapologetically, to the outside noises in order to say, “yes” to their passion.
How amazing would life be if WE did this?  If we trained to “gold medal in life”!!!
If we refused to accept the limits placed on us – by ourselves!!!!!!  If we refused to stay small just because it’s comfortable.  Although I would argue that it really isn’t comfortable at all – it’s just habit.  It’s routine.  We let change scare us even though we hate where we are.  For example, I stayed in the classroom over lunch, a few months ago.  One of the men in my class stayed too and we started chatting.  He told me how much he hated his job.  He hates his co-workers and his boss.  He hates his house.  He hates getting up in the morning.  He’s under so much stress that he feels it is “killing him”.  He, literally, feels like he is going to die because of these things.
I told him what anybody else would have.  “You need to do something about it.  You can’t live like that.  You need to change something.”
BUT that’s very easy to say.  The problem with all of the “rah rah – just do it” “think positively” “you got this” and “don’t let anything hold you back” campaigns is that they stop there.  They tell you to just change something……
How to hell does that even happen?
Change can be incredibly intimidating, daunting, and difficult.  We feel trapped.  We feel we have not choice.  We’re not living life – we’re at the mercy of it.  We hate it but we feel like there’s nothing we can do about it.
That’s not true, but I know the feeling very well.  Contrary to the campaigns, there IS something very real holding you back.
You.  Me.  Us.
We can’t just decide to be different tomorrow.  Just like these gymnasts didn’t wake up one morning and run into the Olympic arena.  They had to work their asses off for the privilege to even be there – to even be given an opportunity to try!!!!
We have to start where we are.  That’s not just a saying.  It’s a fact!  Every one of these ladies have progressed to where they are today – they didn’t start there.
But we have to be willing to start.
Listen, we ALL have responsibilities.  We all have things we must do.  But is driving ourselves to an early grave, being stressed every single day, and hating every moment of life really the way you want to live?
It doesn’t have to be that way.  I’ve changed my life.  I’m still doing it.  I’ve seen other people do it.  I’m helping some do it right now.  Are our lives “perfect”?  Hell, no.  But they are pretty damn amazing.
This is it.  No dress rehearsal.  No do over.
We can’t change everything in one day.  We can’t “magically” wake up tomorrow and have everything be exactly as we envision it in our dreams, but we can…….we absolutely, positively, CAN do one thing – take one step at a time – that will change our lives.

Feb 06

Is “it” Worth it? Only You Can Say.

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


Mindset Matters
I talk (a LOT) about mindset​ – specifically about how it impacts our health and fitness. I frequently say, “mindset matters most” and that it impacts all areas of our life. I truly believe that!! That’s why I’ve taken the time, and spent a good deal of money, to get certified in both Levels I and II with the Mindset Performance Institute.
People tune out and hear, “think positive….blah…blah….blah” even though that is not what I’m saying.
Well, here’s today’s mindset example. In my “regular job”, I am an instructor. I teach retirement, benefits, supervisory, and leadership classes. I also get a good deal of work providing consulting services on these topics to individuals/businesses.
I just completed a retirement consultation. I talk about mindset there too. I’m telling you – I believe in this!!! “Planning, financially, for retirement is important but money canNOT be the only thing that drives your life decisions. Quality of life is a factor too.”
So this lady wants to “retire as soon as she possible can” because she “hates her boss” and doesn’t “really enjoy the work she is currently doing.” She’s not interested in lookingScreen Shot 2016-02-06 at 3.20.28 PM for a different job. She is not interested in sitting down and talking to the supervisor, nor in letting him know how she feels. She just wants to “get out. Right now!”
Okay. I understand that feeling. I’ve worked in a few hostile work environments (actually learned a TON in those jobs…) and I haven’t always loved my supervisor, nor the work I was doing. I’ve had weeks when I just wanted to quit and I am NOT a big believer in trading life just for a means to pay the bills, but…
I’m also not a big believer in forgetting about the long term implications of decisions made in haste. From a health and fitness perspective, these are the times that I “don’t feel like exercising” so I just don’t bother…for days, or weeks, or months. The times I am eating for emotional reasons rather than hunger, and I think it’s okay to eat the entire pizza plus have a brownie for dessert, with ice cream, and a gallon of soda to wash it all down. The times I think, “who cares?” Even though, I know full well that I will care tomorrow – but I’m making decisions today. Screw it.  The times when I “have to” lose weight in the next few weeks so I’ll just go on a crash diet, take this fat burner, or starve myself for a little while.  Never mind “health” – who has time for that?  
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You know….those kind of decisions.
So, she’s in the mood to make one of those decisions. If this woman retires now, with a penalty for not being fully qualified, she’d receive $2,423 / month.
If she (a) looks for another job within her agency, even a lower paying job and/or (b) learns how to focus on the things she can control vs the things she can’t [like her boss] and she works for just one more year, her pension will be $4,771.46 / month.
At 58, three different life expectancy calculators show her living for another 26 years!!! She’s actually contemplating giving up $297,114.48 over her lifetime because she doesn’t “feel like dealing” with her supervisor. He’s not physically abusive. He’s not emotionally berating her. She just “doesn’t like him”.
The health decision has no less of a dramatic impact!! By making the decision, day-after-day that I don’t like eating healthy and I don’t like exercising, I’m giving up my health. I’m giving up my mobility. I’m giving up an ability to enjoy my older years.  I’m sacrificing my long term for what (doesn’t even…..) makes me happy today.  

Dec 20

What Could a Blog Challenge Possibly Have to do with Health?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

blog challenge


Last week I finished a 30 day blog challenge.  When I initially saw the announcement, I thought, “Isn’t it odd to start a challenge in the middle of November?”  Yes!  In fact, Bradley Will,  creator of Learn to Blog, who hosted the challenge, even said, “I know it’s a crazy time of the year to start a new project, but let’s do it anyway.”


You know I can’t resist those words!  I’m always “in” whatever follows, “I know it’s crazy…but let’s do it anyway.”


To be honest, I loved that the challenge happened at this time of the year when so many people start to shut down.  People give up on any goals or aspirations beginning November 1st.  Exercise decreases.  Food consumption increases.  Projects are hurriedly finished “before the holidays”, and nothing new is begun.  What this means, is that many just write off an entire two months of life!


People go into, “I’ll just wait until January 1st” mode.  That was certainly not the case for the 244 bloggers in this challenge who, collectively, had written 3,414 blogs by the time I stopped counting.


For me, this challenge wasn’t just about writing.  In fact, writing had very little to do with it.  For me, this was about:

  • Setting, working on, and completing a goal through habit change.
  • Finding time for something I truly wanted to do.
  • Sticking to a commitment I made to myself (even “at this time of the year”), and
  • The friendships and fellowship of being around others trying to accomplish a similar goal.


We’ve talked about the fact – many times – that I can find a lesson for health and fitness in just about everything.  I’m a teacher and I like to relate everything back to something people already understand.  As such, every single thing I worked on, and was reminded of, in the 30-day blog challenge related to health!  Let me explain.


I was reminded that

I will not do anything if I don’t see value in it.  

Neither will you.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 1.51.43 PM

Unless we first determine why…

why we want to write, why we want to start a business, why we want to lose weight/fat, why we want to gain muscle, why we want to eat better

….our, very intimately personal why, nothing is going to change.  Not for long, anyway.


Oh sure, we might do whatever it is for a little while.  Invariably, though, when the going gets tough – and it always does – unless we have a very good reason for wanting to keep the commitment, we’re not going to.  That shiny, new thing is going to be the first thing to go!


With the blog challenge:  Finding the time to write every day, through the holidays, while traveling, and while surrounded by family, wasn’t easy.  I had to – no, let me rephrase that – IF I wanted to achieve my goal, I had to, excuse myself occasionally in order to keep the commitment to myself.  Bradley was a great coach, but I was the one who had to show up every day.  I had to inspire myself first.  I had to be willing to put in the time writing, even if not one other person read the blog.  I had to write for myself.


With health:  I’m not going to give up family time and miss out on important events in my life just to go to the gym, nor would I recommend you do.  But – IF I want to achieve my goal of being more healthy, getting stronger, being fit, and getting some exercise, I have to make time for it.  Whether other people think I should make this a priority or not.  Whether it’s convenient or not.  Taking care of me is absolutely critical if I hope to take care of anybody else.  I have to workout for myself.

The food pushers are going to continually push food.  That’s a fact.  They think I should “eat this and that and something else” because “I’ll only live once” and “what’s the big deal?”  If I have set a goal to eat healthier, I have to be willing to turn some things down.  Unapologetically.  I have to eat for myself.


I was reminded that

It’s best if I focus on the things that provide the biggest impact, and let this idea of perfection go.   

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Worrying about the little stuff – which widgets to load on my website, obsessing over what font is prettiest, or scrolling through page themes for a few hours  – do not move me even one step closer to my goal.


With the blog challenge:  Some of the things I wrote this month took time.  Sometimes I wasn’t able to write until late at night or super early in the morning.  I wrote in the truck, at Starbucks, and sitting on a staircase with my granddaughter sitting beside me.  Sometimes  I was in a rush.

…so, yes, sometimes there were typos and grammatical errors.  Sometimes my comma usage was off.  Does that bother me?

To be honest – yes.  Yes, it does.  Do I go back and fix things later when I notice errors?  Yes, I do.  But, I’m learning not to let perfection cripple me.  If I don’t do anything until it’s perfect, I’m not going to do anything.  If I worry about what other people might think, or say, I’m not going to do anything.

I had to remember:  Good may be the enemy of great but perfect is the enemy of good.


With exercise:  There is positively no reason for me to know everything about every kind of exercise before I start working out.  There are a gazillion theories out there and even more opinions about which is best.  I could spend my time getting the perfect program, shopping for just the right outfit, worrying about whether I should eat before or after I work out, whether fasted cardio is best, or if Smith machine squats are better or worse than squats in the rack.  I could study nutrition for the next six months and seek out experts’ opinions on Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, and Counting Macros.


I could spend my time starting to exercise.  I could change one meal at a time, one nutritional habit at a time, and be happy that I’ve made some progress.  I could do what I can with what I have available (time, energy, and money).


I could decide that something done is better than nothing done perfectly.


I was reminded that

When I surround myself with people who hold me to my greatness  and I invest in myself, great things happen.  

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I had a Facebook conversation with several friends the other day.  “Most people who don’t know me that well, would never guess that I’m quite shy. If we have to assign labels, I’m definitely an introvert. Most of the time, I keep to myself. 


Not a new concept.  Years ago, when I studied Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I read about personal growth from dependency, through independence, and then interdependence.  It’s a theory that there is only so much each of us can achieve within a vacuum:  only so high you can rise, completely alone.


But a new application!  Humans are social creatures.  We thrive with connection.  Yes – even you, sitting there professing how much you hate people.   We’re hard-wired for interaction.  One of the biggest growth areas for me, over the last couple of years, has been to open myself to relationships.  Being around other people that challenge me, push me, while, at the same time, supporting me, has changed my outlook on life.


I invest time, money, a lot of sweat equity, and occasionally tears in myself.


There are two reasons that:

  • I worked so hard on my Master’s, three years ago.
  • Got four new certifications, two years ago.
  • I joined Jill Coleman’s Best of You program last year.
  • I currently work with Jordan Syatt for physical strength coaching.
  • I participate in several habit change coaching forums.
  • I did the blogging challenge.  The challenge didn’t cost me anything, financially, but I did volunteer to count blogs for the full 30 days.  My cost was several hours of time.
  • Even though I have a cram-packed schedule, I attend one of the Fitness Summits or other workshops, every year.
  • I’m doing the Mindset Mentorship next year.


Reason 1:  Having some skin in the game.  I heard the concept explained, in those words, from Jill Coleman.  I heard about it, scientifically researched, from Dan Ariely in a course on irrational behavior that I took through Duke University.



If you have nothing personally invested, you personally have nothing to lose.  That makes it incredibly easy to quit.  To fail.

Being vested in something (be that coaching, personal training, a gym membership, workshop, or developmental opportunity) – or making something yourself (like an Ikea bookcase) increases your chance of being more likely to keep “it”.


Reason 2:  I push myself, but only to a certain point.

The people I choose to surround myself with:  friends, family, coaches know what I’m capable of.  They don’t allow me to give up on myself.  They don’t accept my personal excuses, and they don’t let me stop at “good” when they know, with just a little more, I can get to “great”.  They refuse to allow me to just sit back and marinate in the status quo.



With the blog challenge:  There were some people, in the group, who make their money blogging.  Having those expert resources which we could turn to, at any time, for questions, concerns, or tips, was invaluable.  It also provided reassurance, support, and a safe environment where we could try new things.  Each of the blog challengers got to a point, during the month, where we wrote a personal blog.  Some of us made a video or two.  It was uncomfortable.  Putting yourself out there is like that  can be scary.  I felt quite vulnerable – more than once.  Knowing that others were doing the same thing, and that we had a support system to fall back on, made all the difference!


Being with people who are trying to accomplish the same thing you are:  be that a 26.2 mile ruck, a fitness competition, degree program, starting a new business, a blog challenge, or anything else, changes things!  It creates an esprit de corps that always pushes me beyond my comfortable limit.


With a healthy lifestyle:  Trying to change lifestyle habits, especially if you’ve failed in the past, can be daunting.  Remember that it’s helpful if you invest in yourself.  Get some skin in the game!


At the same time, surround yourself with people who hold you to your greatness.  There is little doubt that your friends and family love you.  They (usually) try to support your goals but, they may not have ever struggled with what you’re going through.  They may want to help, but they don’t know how to.

To be honest, they might also coddle you.  Precisely because your friends and family love you, they don’t like for you to be uncomfortable, they don’t like for you to struggle.  Going through tough stuff – which needs to be done when you’re making any kind of change – is uncomfortable!  As you grumble to family and friends, they may feel badly for you and just tell you to give up.  “If you’re so unhappy….why are you doing this?”


Here’s what a blog challenge taught me about health:

You will not do anything, for long, if I don’t see personal value in it.

It’s best if you focus on the things that provide the biggest impact, and let this idea of perfection go.   Do what you can, when you can, with what you have.

Invest in yourself.

Surround yourself with people who hold you to your greatness.

Dec 15

The Voice in my Head is a Liar

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.


My sister hates it when I do this but, yes, another video and
yes, again, without makeup





(a) My 90-minute yoga class is the only time I stop long enough to clear my head. I’m actually quiet.  I can actually think.  There are no competing  requirements.  It’s me.  My practice.  My thoughts.


(b) It’s 105 degrees in the studio and I work HARD for the entire time!! When I walk out, I am (absolutely, without question) a hot mess!!



(c) I assume you don’t follow this page because I’m a super model. Sorry, not sorry. I’m a real person and this is what I really look like – most of the time and on most days. I preach self-acceptance regardless of our body shape, height, weight or anything else. If I only talked to you when I had my hair and make-up professionally done, I would be a fraud.

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Mindset Matters

(d) I have received several messages about mindset, over the last few days. I am thrilled!!!!!!!! Most of the messages want to know “how to fix mindset” or “how to be more positive” and while I’ve responded to those messages, individually, I also wanted to address it here.


There will be LOTS more coming out about this as I start my internship in January. I couldn’t be more excited.




In the meantime, to reiterate something my friend Paul said this morning, a mindset shift starts by questioning the status quo. Not just believing the first thought that pops into your head but determining whether that thought, that story, is actually true.


For example.  My alarm went off to get ready for class this morning and I thought, “I can’t go. I have too much to do. I’ll just go later or tomorrow.”

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Questioning the story:

Is it true that I “can’t” go or am I just thinking that because IF I go, I need to stop what I’m doing right now. I need to send this report within the next 5 minutes, as is. I need to finish this blog or put it on hold. I’m going to have to race over there….and I don’t feel like it?


The truth is, I had worked on the report for two hours already, it was done, although my perfection-seeking self wanted at least another 30 minutes to tweek.


The truth is, I can’t really go to the evening class because I have a webinar tonight. I can’t go tomorrow because they do not have a mid morning class on Wednesday. Thursday I’m flying. Friday I’m teaching. Saturday I’m flying. Sunday I’m flying and I’ll be gone for a week.


The truth is: I was feeding myself a line. That means it’s time to be accountable! I could go or not but I was responsible for the outcome. I sent the report, changed, and got to yoga 5 minutes later than I normally do but still 5 minutes before class started.


The truth about this video is:

I could have taken the time to come home, take a shower, eat, put on make up, write a script, practice, and reshoot the video but the emotion wouldn’t be the same. The authenticity of an open, honest, and completely vulnerable post would have lost something.


Dec 14

Self-Compassion is Required if you Plan to Care for Others

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T. 
This time of the year can be challenging for me, and based on past experience, I know that’s true.  It’s not because I have more commitments due to the holidays.  Though, that is frequently true, as well.  It’s not because I have less time.  It’s actually because I have more.
Let me explain.
It’s been really nice to be off the road for a few weeks but, to be completely honest, I find that I  accomplish more when I’m in my routine.  MY routine is traveling, teaching, and working from 0530 – 2300.  Without a schedule, or any type of deadlines, I tend to just flitter about and I actually accomplish very little.
You might think my schedule sounds crazy because yours might be very different than mine.  The fact is, when we’re thrown off our normal routine – whatever is typical for us – it can be difficult to get our footing.
 That’s when I find that I put things off until the last minute.
I create false deadlines to motivate myself.
I try to “make myself” do things even though I don’t feel like it.
This approach doesn’t work so well and I’m trying to do less of it this year.
I’m trying to focus on showing myself some kindness.
 I haven’t yet found the time to update my 2016 handbooks, make all of the travel arrangements I need to, update contracts, re-do my website, or a dozen other things.
BUT, I’ve accomplished some.
I’ve actually taken time to relax.  A “task” that typically stresses me out, to be honest.  It seems like such a luxury.  I’ve volunteered for a bunch of new things and really stepped outside of my comfort zone with a few of these projects.  Rather than stressing out, each evening, about what didn’t get done, I reflect on what I have accomplished.
Regardless of whether it was – a lot or a little – there’s always something.  I pat myself on the back.  I’m showing myself some kindness.
We have such a hard time with that, don’t we?  I mean, we really struggle sometimes.
We do amazing things for the people we love.  Not so much as a second thought.  We put them first.  We even put strangers before ourselves.   We come last – if at all.  Otherwise we feel guilty.  We feel like we’re not good parents.  We’re not a good spouse.  We’re not good roommates or friends.
We’re simply not good people.  We’re selfish.
I know the feeling.  Trust me!  I am better than ANYONE at heaping guilt on myself.
It’s exhausting.  It’s frustrating.  And it’s bullshit.
What if I told you that if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not doing a good job taking care of anyone else, either.
 You don’t take time to eat, because you’re busy getting dinner ready for everybody else; and then there are the dishes, the laundry, the clients…  
===> Best case, you’re tired and unfocused.  Worst case, you’re h-angry, miserable, and lose your patience with family and friends.  The very people you’re trying to help.
You don’t take time to exercise, because you have so much other stuff to do.
===> Best case, you’re tired and feel a little blah.  Worst case, you become
de-conditioned, start to gain weight, don’t feel your best, and/or get incredibly depressed.
You don’t take time to just sit for five minutes, be quiet and breathe.
===> There’s just a worst case for for this one.  You’re exhausted.  You’re frustrated.  You’re depressed.  Sure, you folded the laundry, did the dishes, sat out everything for tomorrow, completed that big project you volunteered for at work (because no one can do it even half as well as you can….been there.  Done that).  You did all of the things you were “supposed to”!  You are super woman.  But; rather than being able to enjoy the company of your family, you start to resent them.  You can’t wait for it to all be over so that you can just sink into bed.
Let me ask you this.  What if you didn’t fold the laundry?  What if the dishes sat until tomorrow night?
What if you took 30 minutes for yourself?  Would the world, as you know it, end?  Doubtful.
More likely, you’d feel better.  You’d be more positive.  You’d have more energy to do some of those other things.
One thing that can make a huge difference is taking the time to workout.  For your body, but also for your mind.  For your emotion.  For your mental health.  It doesn’t have to be in a gym.  It doesn’t have to be lifting weights.  It doesn’t have to be “a program”.  It has to be something you enjoy where you move your body, you elevate your heart rate a little bit, and you receive some endorphins in that blood stream of yours!
I know when we get tired, bored, have too much to do, or too much unmotivated time on our hands, it’s incredibly easy for “luxuries” like working out, to be the first to go.  We exercise only IF we can fit it in.  Sadly, we can rarely fit it in.  When we’ll do it only after everything else is done, we’re not going to do it.  Period.  End of story.
I think we’re looking at it in the wrong way.
Exercise isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish; it’s required.
Mandatory.  Necessary.  Like food, water, and air……
Don’t believe me?  Think of a time when you were actually (able) to eat well, to exercise, to take care of yourself.  How did you feel?  How much different more energy did you have for taking care of everybody (and everything) else?
So, it sounds great.  You believe me.  Now, how do you ensure you keep the commitment to yourself?
One way is to insist on it.  I mean, if f you don’t, you can’t really get upset that others don’t think about it.
Here’s a somewhat silly, real example.  When I get up in the morning, I like to take 20 or 30 minutes and ease into my day.  I sip a cup of coffee.  I may read.  I think about my intention for the day.  Even on workdays, I add in this time by getting up earlier.  My family knows I’m going to do this.  I was at my daughter’s a few months ago, enjoying my morning.  My 8 year old grandson was downstairs with me – he was also reading.  His 4 year old brother decided to get up early and came downstairs.  I said, “Good morning, Blake” and gave him a hug.  Hayden immediately said, “Blake, this is gramma’s quiet time.  We need to play quietly until she finishes her coffee.”
No big deal.  No drama.  It’s just something I’ve established as a norm.  They get it.
Another way is to purposely plan for it.
 As I’m setting my intention for the day, I look at my schedule.
  • When will I have time to workout today?  Even if it’s only 15 – 20 minutes.  When?
  • I immediately pull out my phone and set an alarm for 20-30 minutes before my workout.
  • When that alarm goes off, no matter if I’m “in the middle of something” or whatever (and this is why I set it 20-30 minutes ahead of time) I wrap that up, and I get ready to work out.


Sometimes I go to the gym, sometimes I go to my basement, sometimes I go to yoga, sometimes I go for a walk, but I DO keep that appointment – as stringently as I would if the appointment was with a client or my doctor.

I’m showing myself some kindness.
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Kindness & Self-Compassion Get you some!!

You need to remember to do the same.
Every day.  Every season.
But it’s especially important at this time of the year.
The holidays.  Family, friends, food – or the lack of all of those things – can be very stressful.  The tumultuous time when one year is ending and the new one hasn’t yet begun.
Show yourself some kindness.
You’re so very worth it.

Dec 14

A Morning of Service and Why I Do It.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.



Saturday was the annual Wreaths Across America event.  The crowd may have been larger than normal, here in DC, (I saw 70,000 reported as the “official number”) as it was warmer than years past, with just a little fog hanging in the air.


The organization lists its mission as, “Remember, Honor, Teach.”  It is solely responsible for coordinating wreath laying ceremonies at Veterans’ cemeteries, not only in all 50 States but internationally as well.  Sadly, not every grave (not even every stone at Arlington – although you may see that reported, and I used to think that was the case too) gets a wreathe, and not every cemetery has volunteers.

Photo by Fox 26, Houston

Photo by Fox 26, Houston



But, what a huge undertaking!  And one that couldn’t be accomplished without thousands of volunteers!  Individual wreath sponsors, corporate donors, professional truck drivers, police escorts, people to lay the wreaths, and people to help pick them up once the holidays have passed.


This is my 4th year volunteering with the organization.  To see the pictures, videos, and news stories is one thing.  To be there and participate:  at any cemetery, big or small, is something different altogether.  I do this because it’s something I believe in.  That we should honor and remember the men and women who died for our country:  who served, and continue to serve, to keep us safe.  What a small price that I should pay for such a huge sacrifice.


It’s personal for me.

When your child has to have their blood type written on their pack, things get real.

When your child has to write their blood type on their pack, it tends to change your perspective.



My husband has served in the US military (USMC/USAF) for more than 20 years.  My son has more than a decade in the Army National Guard.  My daughter in law was in the Army.  My daughter was in the Air Force, and the Air Force Reserve.  Countless friends and other family members have also served.






The wreaths are from Maine – as am I.  Smelling the balsam and handling the wreaths bring back fond memories.  The escort, at Arlington, includes Maine State Police – where I worked as a dispatcher for almost 10 years.  Many of the truckers are from Maine – my husband and I know people involved in the process from the start:  we like to be at the finish to help complete the task.



Two years of volunteering specifically stick out in my memory.


Veterans Cemetary Boulder City, Nevada

Veterans’ Cemetary
Boulder City, Nevada


My first year was in Boulder City, Nevada.  I laid wreaths with a friend whose brother, a Marine, was killed in Iraq; and a friend whose husband, a Soldier, was deployed at the time.  To be with those women, in that place, at that time was incredibly emotional.









To be honest, too, the smaller cemetery was nice.  It had a little less pomp and circumstance:  more work merely for the sake of remembering and less for the accolades or newspaper photos as we sometimes see in DC.  A few friends texted us asking that we specifically seek out their family member’s stones.  We stayed until the last wreath was laid.


Veterans Cemetery Arlington, VA

Veterans’ Cemetery
Arlington, VA

My first year at Arlington was also memorable.  Wow!  There were so many people!  I checked in, on Facebook, and almost immediately received a text from my young nephew.  He had graduated from one of our military academies a few years prior, and was serving in the Army.  He wrote, “What section are you in?  I know a guy who’s there.”


I didn’t think too much about it.  My son deployed to Iraq when he was 18/19 – for the first time.  My husband has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  My daughter was in Afghanistan.  One way I kept my sanity while they were gone, is by denying the danger.  Not consciously blocking it out but, subconsciously, refusing to remember that people were fighting and dying.  That probably sounds ridiculous – and maybe it is – but that’s how my brain decided to get me through….


So, when I received my nephew’s text, I just thought he meant he knew someone who was also laying wreaths.

That’s not what he meant.




One of the men he went to college with was IN this cemetery.  Permanently.  My children know people who will never leave here; as does my husband.  It was overwhelming.  That truth.  That honest realization.  I immediately broke down in tears.  It’s making me cry now.

I laid a wreath on Lt Williamson’s grave – both that year and the next.  I didn’t get to the Lt’s stone this year.  Not yet.  I will go there when we pick up wreaths.  My nephew shared it with his family who could not be in Virginia.  It meant a great deal to them.

THAT is my biggest reason for providing this service.  That is why I lay wreaths even though the cemetery is packed with people, and it can become quite a “commercial event”.  That is why I will come back and help pick wreaths up:  an event that is attended by far, far fewer people, and not covered in the news.  Regardless of how cold it may be; regardless of whether the sun is shining, it’s snowing, or rain is falling.  I do it, because it makes a difference – to them, but also to me.

Dec 11

Is Mindset just a Bunch of Touchy Feely Crap?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
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Do you ever wonder why my triad is
Mindset Mostly * Nutritional Habits * Movement
in that order?
Do you brush it off and think, bah, this is all that “touchy feely crap.”
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That might work for other people, but….
– I want a program!
– I need someone to kick my butt – or I need to get with the program and kick my own.
– I just need to get serious.
– I need more willpower.
– Diet and exercise are where it’s at – not mindset.
I want to share three separate messages with you, that I have received over the past 5 days, to illustrate why I will always believe mindset is the most important piece – for all of us.  
1. This guy is an over-the-road trucker.
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Not a lot of time to do anything but sit, and drive. The traditional “just eat better” and/or “just get to the gym a few times a week” doesn’t cut it with this lifestyle. It’s not reasonable.  It’s not going to work.  It’s not something he’s going to do.
I prescribe to “do what you can, when you can, with what you have.”
Under that precept, he carries a kettle bell in his truck and had been using it consistently until some old aches and pains started coming back with the cold weather.  
With the pain, the cold, and the early darkness, he stopped exercising.  He got depressed and frustrated.  Because of that, he stopped eating the way he had been.  That made him more depressed and frustrated.  He gained back several of the pounds he had lost.
—   Sound familiar?   —
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that winter is coming.  It is getting dark.  It is getting cold.  We have no control over those things.  We do have aches and pains – they are worse in the winter.  We have no control over that.  BUT we can control the way we eat.  We can control our nutritional choices.  We can do what is within our sphere of influence for this one meal, this one choice, on this one day.  We can try to add in some movement (no matter how limited) each day.
2. This girl is a figure competitor.  
Her diet and exercise is a little more “serious” than a typical healthy person’s.  She is routinely on point with both!  Last weekend, though, she sent me a message apologizing.  She had gone to a friends wedding and had too much to eat and drink.  She was horrified at “messing up” and asked if she needed to do extra exercise rather than taking a day of rest as her program prescribed.    

You may not be a competitor but what about eating something you “shouldn’t” have and then feeling guilty?

—   Sound familiar?   —
Here’s my story:  At one point when I was preparing for a competition, I had to drive several hours late at night.  I was tired and kept nodding off.  I stopped at a gas station, went for a short walk, grabbed a coffee, and ate half (yes, only half) an apple to try to wake up.  The next day, when I told my coach what I had done, and why.  Her response was, “Apples are NOT on your program!!  You might as well have eaten an entire apple pie!”
I felt like crap!
As you can imagine, from that experience, this topic is emotionally charged for me.
I will never make a client feel the way that coach made me feel.  Sadly, the fact is, I don’t have to.  We do it to ourselves.
We all, competitor or not, beat ourselves up when we fail to meet our goals.  That’s a complete waste of time – it fixes nothing, but we do it.
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that she had a great time with friends and made some life-long memories.  That is nothing to feel guilty about.  That is nothing she now has to “pay for” by torturing herself with extra exercise or fewer calories.
No regrets, no guilt, no extra exercise, no decreased calories.  Today is a different day:  we’re moving forward, not back.
3. This is a young woman who has been in a gain weight / lose weight, diet / give up, spiral for several years.  
She’s “just” a regular person.  She has a job and a boyfriend.  She goes back and forth between eating well and exercising to eating like crap and giving up.  There’s no in between.
To be clear, when she speaks of binging here – it’s not a clinical, eating disorder, type of binging.  That would require professional help:  it is outside my practice and I care enough about my clients to refer them out when that’s the best answer for them.
No, what she’s talking about here, is going into the break room at work and, instead of having 2 cookies and being satisfied, having 3 or 4 cookies, a cupcake and 4 pieces of candy.
—   Sound familiar?   —
Especially at this time of the year.  There are the food pushers “you have to try one of these” and an abundant supply of goodies – everywhere.  We eat just because it’s there.
Pick.  Pick.  Pick.
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that there is always food available, and there’s always going to be food available.  That it’s okay to have some of the special treats we love but that we don’t need to eat one of everything on the table.  We don’t really need to eat everything that someone else is trying to push our way.  Rather than saying, “I can’t.  I’m on a diet.” – which you know is always followed by the, “Come on.  It’s the holidays.  One piece of fudge is not going to kill you.”  comments.  How about saying, “I’ve had so many yummy things already, I’m trying to pace myself.  I might try that later.  Thanks!”  What if, instead of walking into the break room, when you take a break, you get up and just go for a short walk?  Get some water?  Do something else…..
AND for every day that you are able to meet your goal, celebrate.  Celebrate!!  Every single day.  Every single decision.
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To be sure, these are very different people.  Different genders.  Different ages.  Different goals.  Different situations.  Yet they share the same obstacle.
None of these individuals is struggling because they don’t know what to do.  None of them
has a lack of knowledge about nutrition, exercise, or health.  Their struggle, is actually with mindset.  The “I’m not worth it; it’s not worth it; I always fail anyway, why bother; it’s harder for me than anybody else; I’m missing out; I messed up; I’m a failure……” mindset.
Here’s another example of that.
One of the ladies I’ve worked with in my private group has made tremendous progress in losing fat/weight, and getting more fit.  She was named her gym’s “member of the month”.  When I congratulated her, instead of being excited, she said, “It’s hard for me to see myself this way.  In my head, I’ll always just be the fat kid.”
Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Exactly.
We have to talk – about mindset!  Helping people change habits is a short-term answer.  If we don’t amend  what’s driving us, we can’t make lasting change.   Until we are able to look inward, truly acknowledge our internal story, face the reality that it is not that we need to do something new – but that we need to let go of something,  those old actions, behaviors and beliefs return.  Every time.
Think of it this way.  If you plant a seed in cement, even if you water it, you give it shade and sunlight; and you provide optimum care, it won’t grow.  The soil simply isn’t conductive to growth!  That soil is our mindset.  Until we change that, nothing else is going to change.
Mindset IS the most important part.  That’s always been true.  It will always be true.

Dec 09

We Can Disagree but Still be Friends

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.


I have a lot of different friends.

Different ages.
Different genders.
Different nationalities.
Different religions.
Different political beliefs.
Different socio-economic standings.
Different goals and aspirations.
Different medical issues.
Different tastes in food, clothes, hobbies, and other people.
Different jobs and education levels.
Different kinds of families.
Different body styles, hair color, height, weight, and skin color.


Not right. Not wrong.


Before and after


They know my background and I know theirs.

We don’t judge each other for it – we don’t like it, or dislike it. We don’t have to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. We don’t have to think (or say), “If I had been in that situation, this is how I would have handled it.”


We merely understand that this is/was the person’s story. This is/was what happened to them. Period.


Touring the mosque in Adana, Turkey

They (my friends – not just people I “know”) don’t try to change me. They don’t try to “save me” from myself or some belief or non-belief that we differ on. They may not accept the beliefs that I have but they accept me for who I am – beliefs and all.

I extend that very same courtesy to them.

Because we have so many differences, I don’t agree with everything they say, everything they post, every feeling they have about topic x, y, or z.

…..and, that’s okay.


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That last paragraph can be about anything but most notably of late, the big 3 heated debates have been about

Gun control,

Politics, and

If, how, or why we should wish each other well during the holiday season.

Each one of these opinions are deeply routed in a firmly held belief system. And we are different.  We were raised differently, in different environments.  We’ve been to different places, seen different things, and had different experiences.

I’m not going to change your mind. You’re not going to change mine.

…..and, that’s okay.


Do we, and should we, occasionally talk about these things?  Sure, but I don’t feel a need start a debate over everything one of my friends might say.

They’re expressing their opinion. We all have one. We all have many!!

I don’t get drawn into every troll they post on Facebook, or feel it necessary to let them know that I agree or disagree with their feelings or beliefs. I understand that this person doesn’t believe in this, and that person staunchly believes in that. I don’t agree.

……and, that’s okay.

I expect them to extend that very same courtesy to me.


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I hear you.

I am willing to accept what you say, or not.

I do, though, always accept that that is the way you feel.

You have said something that causes me to look at this a little differently, or not.

We agree or we agree to disagree.

Either way…..I’m moving on.

World peace is a phenomenal idea. I love it.


We are different.

We are not ever all “just going to get along”.   Look at your friends.  How many different beliefs and opinions are there within that very small circle?  And these are your friends!  People you have chosen to bring into your life.

We are not all going to believe in the same things – no matter how many times someone tells us that we should.

…and, that’s okay.

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