Why set Goals

Find Your WHY And You’ll Find Your Way

A common goal for many people is to lose weight. In fact, if you use Google search, how to lose weight is in the top 3 most popular questions.  With a multi-million dollar weight-loss industry out there and a worldwide obesity epidemic, it’s clear that just setting a goal to lose weight isn’t enough. Even if you do lose the weight, it often comes right back on after you’ve reached the goal.  What if there was a deeper reason why you want the weight off far beyond what the scales say? Your most powerful motivation source is YOU, so connecting to what makes YOU tick could be the key.

There is a saying by Friedrich Nietzsche – “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Anthony Robbins then took this quote and reworded it to the catchy ‘Find your WHY and you’ll find your WAY’. Your WHY is connected to your values, which reflect what is really important to you.  It’s the fire in your belly, your mojo, your core motivation that connects you to the goal on an emotional level. 

Researchers like Deci and Ryan, founders of Self-determination theory, have shown that if you find your own reasons why a goal is important to you, and are emotionally connected to this goal, you are more likely to achieve it.  

Your WHY needs to come from within you (the geeky science term is ‘self-determined intrinsic motivation’ and an even better, but similar form of motivation is ‘Intrinsic motivation’).  Weight loss maybe what you want, but to stick to a weight-loss plan you need a deeper reason than  getting into size 8 jeans.

Here are some examples of WHY’s around weight loss that have an emotional connection to the goal:

  • I want to have more energy so I can play with my kids
  • I want to live pain free so I can live my life feeling well
  • I want to love myself again so I can be at my best
  • I want to live a long life so I can be here for my grandchildren
  • I want to feel happy again 
  • I want to buy the clothes that make me feel comfortable 
  • I want to bounce out of bed in the morning and look forward to the day

Your core reason for WHY you want to reach your goal is unique to you, but it must connect with you on an emotional level.

What’s your WHY for achieving your goal that you have an emotional connection with?

Don’t Drink Your Calories

When we’re thirsty, most of us have a huge range of beverages to choose from, but many of these are doing a lot more than quenching our thirst. What regular drinkers of sweetened beverages may not realise is they are adding to their daily energy (or calorie) intake.

Australians are drinking a lot of sugar in the form of sweetened beverages. In fact, it’s the largest source of sugars in the Australian diet. What may seem like an innocent couple of cans of soft drink a day can lead to weight gain, type II diabetes and tooth decay.  Take a look at the table below to see how many teaspoons of sugar are in some popular sugary drinks.  And fruit juice isn’t exempt from the list. What we traditionally have perceived as a health drink is actually a glass of fructose, with the sugar levels just as high as a soft drink.


Sugar in Drinks

We use the term ‘empty calories’ when referring to the calories in sugary drinks.  This means that the body and brain don’t register the body is full after drinking hundreds of calories, so you end up consuming more calories than you may have if you didn’t drink the ‘empty calories’.  This may be because of the hormone ghrelin, which is in the stomach and tells the brain when you’re hungry. The catch is, it only works with solid food, not liquids.  Our bodies are not designed to drink calories.

What about sugar alternatives in diet drinks?  You would think they’d be fine if you’re just talking calories, but studies are starting to show a link between artificially sweetened drinks and weight gain.  This could be because the sweet taste of these drinks stimulates the appetite for other sweet food so may lead to people eating more food high in sugar and calories.  Although the jury is still out on artificially sweetened beverages, there’s enough association to assume they are not the healthier alternative.

What should you drink when you’re thirsty?  Water will always come up trumps.  Water not only doesn’t affect your waistline, it helps lift your energy levels, focus, mood, it hydrates every cell of your body and is even good for sore muscles.  A good idea is to buy a good water bottle and carry it everywhere with you so you have it on-hand.

If you’re not convinced, here’s another great article on the benefits of giving up sugary drinks.




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Movement Snacks

Most of us think we need to sweat it out at the gym or go for a long run to be active and if we miss those opportunities due to our busy lives, we beat ourselves up.  What counts as exercise has been institutionalised to the point that if it’s not a dedicated chunk of time in a dedicated place, it doesn’t count. There are a lot of ‘should’s’ going on – I should exercise, I should go to the gym.  It’s these ‘should’s’ that can set us up to fail, over and over again.  Sound familiar?

At Ritualize, we want to challenge the notion of what being active is and change how we view exercise.

What’s important is you find something you enjoy, not something you ‘should’ be doing.  The research is showing that if you enjoy your choice of activity, you are more likely to stick with the healthy behaviour over the long-term.  

A great way to rewire your brain around what counts as exercise is to discover what we call Movement Snacks.  If you don’t like exercise or are simply too busy to get to a gym class, you will be surprised how active you can be throughout the day.  Some suggested Movement Snacks are:

  • Housework (it counts!)
  • Meet for a coffee and a walk rather than sit in a cafe
  • 30 second on the stop sprint
  • Gardening
  • Running around with the kids
  • Squat while brushing your teeth
  • Have a walking meeting rather than in a boardroom
  • Walk while you talk on the phone
  • Park the car in the furthest car park from the shops
  • Ritualize ZUU workout at home

Of course, if you love your gym classes or your runs, keep doing it. I love to run because it makes me feel good, but if you are someone who doesn’t like it, don’t do it.  Choose something you actually enjoy.

I love this approach to how we think about physical activity because it allows those who think they are not active to discover they either are or they can be.

Think about what Movement Snacks can be incorporated into your daily life and make them count.

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6 motivational quotes for inspiration

If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on..

It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts in your head are telling you “this is too difficult”, “you’re not strong enough for this”, “what’s the point”, “I don’t have the time”, “I’m too old

Instead of letting these negative thoughts cloud your mindset, find quotes that inspire you. Jonathan Fader, psychologist and motivation expert says the message that someone else believes you can achieve what you want to achieve can be a powerful incentive to try harder. “There’s a little bit of implicit coaching that’s happening when you’re reading [motivational quotes]. It’s building that self-efficacy in that kind of dialogue that you’re having with yourself,” Fader says

Here are some of our favourites:

“It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs” – Jillian Michaels, Well-known American Personal Trainer, author and presenter.

“Little by little, a little becomes a lot” – Tanzanian Proverb and a bit of a mantra of ours here at Ritualize. Think of change as small steps you repeat over time to that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

“Become a priority in your life” – Lori Bregman – Author of  The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula’s Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth

When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “Why me?”, say “Try me!” – John Assaraf, spiritual entrepreneur, philanthropist and teacher.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Never quit” — Michael Jordan

Do you have a favourite quote? We’d love to read them, so share them with us in the comments below!

Thinking about your why can also be a motivation to reach your goals. 

Reprogram your genes
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5 Steps to Reprogram Your Genes

There are fixed, heritable genes (such as skin and eye colour) and there are genes that can be influenced daily according to our lifestyle. These genes are continually directing the production of proteins that control how your body functions at every second of the day. Genes turn on or off (sometimes at a rapid rate) only in response to signals they receive from the surrounding environment – signals that you provide based on the food you eat, the exercise you do (or don’t do!), your quality of sleep, sun exposure and so on. Genes are like light switches that turn on and off and influence every element of body function. So, you are in the driver’s seat to take control of your genes expression. Here are some tips for you:

  1. Awareness Start thinking about your everyday lifestyle and how your genes may be responding to it. Each day your genes will respond positively or negatively depending on how you are living your life.
  1. Exercise – The activity level of skeletal muscle modulates a range of genes that produce dramatic molecular changes, and keep us healthy (Neufer & Booth, 2005). Even one single vigorous workout can set off a chain reaction of health benefits through activation of key genes. Exercise can suppress the expression of genes that contribute to chronic diseases, whilst up-regulating healthy gene expression almost immediately. So, next time you’re sweating it out in a workout, know you are having a positive effect on your genes. It may be the motivation you need to go that extra mile!
  1. Nutrition Studies have shown that different intakes of food can affect your gene expression through a process called methylation. Methylation reactions are critical for many bodily functions and need significant amounts of methyl groups from food to function optimally. We have known for many years that certain foods which are high in B vitamins help with methylation, such as cooked vegetables (especially green vegetables & beets), unprocessed meats and quinoa – but we also need other foods to make up a healthy, balanced diet.


Recent research from the University of Science and Technology in Norway has shed light on the gene, expressing effects of certain types of diet. “We have found that a diet with 65% carbohydrates, which often is what the average Norwegian eats in some meals, causes a number of classes of genes to work overtime,” says Berit Johansen, a professor of biology at NTNU.

This has significant implications for people who follow recommended dietary guidelines and eat a diet that has 55-65% calories from carbohydrate.

“Genes that are involved in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer respond to diet, and are up-regulated, or activated, by a carbohydrate-rich diet,” says Johansen.

The researchers concluded that both high and very low carbohydrate diets were wrong, but carbs should be capped at 40% calories.  “A healthy diet shouldn’t be made up of more than one-third carbohydrates (up to 40 percent of calories) in each meal, otherwise we stimulate our genes to initiate the activity that creates inflammation in the body.”


The Ritualize 80/20 food pyramid will give you a great balanced diet that is lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat and protein than traditional government guidelines. Eat plenty of fresh, locally grown vegetables and a moderate amount of fruit, as well as grass fed, free range meat and chicken, sustainable fish, legumes, nuts and seeds and drink plenty of water. Most of your fat should come from extra virgin olive oil and avocado, with moderate amounts of coconut oil, dairy and other animal fats as well as minimal amounts of processed fats and commercial vegetable oils. The big key is to avoid processed foods and eat mostly stuff that has been alive. Home cooking is always the best, but for the time poor, there are more and healthier choices in supermarkets and grocery shops for a quick, easy meal.

  1. Stress – we have known for many years that chronic stress can have detrimental effects on your health, and we now know the biochemical pathways behind such negative effects. Even negative thoughts can stimulate the production of genes that increase our chances of chronic disease, but we need to understand the ‘Goldilocks effect’ of stress – we need a certain amount of stress to stimulate us and help us to adapt. This process is known as ‘hormesis’ and enables us to develop stress resistance. Just like an athlete can either under-train or over-train, we can get too little or too much stress. Athletes optimise their training by paying close attention to volume, intensity and duration, and so should we. During a period of prolonged and more intense stress, our recovery needs to be optimal – just like an athlete.
  1. Psychosocial – a number of other areas are emerging that can affect gene expression. We know that being socially isolated or rejected can up-regulate genes involved in dangerous metabolic inflammation, but being socially connected can have a positive effect on our wellbeing. Meditation has recently been found to suppress inflammatory genes and can even increase grey matter density and the practice of gratitude can enhance your mood and wellbeing. Doing a daily gratitude ritual, practising a few 1-minute meditations throughout the day and taking time to connect socially will pay huge dividends over time.

The bottom line is that a range of interacting lifestyle behaviours affects our gene expression and our overall health. Eating well will give you the energy to exercise and exercising regularly will help you to manage stress and enhance your focus, as will regular 1-minute meditations and a daily gratitude ritual. This will put you in the right frame of mind to cultivate social relationships, which will make you more positive – a very positive lifestyle loop!


Not a runner? Six reasons to enter a fun run anyway

Spring is when we see a flurry of fun runs and walks of short and long distances take place around the country and if you’ve ever watched a Fun Run you’ll have noticed the buzz, the pride and yes – sense of well-earned celebration as people cross the finish line. (See below for a list of events you can still sign up for over Spring).

If you’re not an avid runner, you may wonder how the words FUN and RUN could possible go together but for most people you talk to after their first run – they just want to do it again and again. It’s not just about the running. Here are a few reasons why you should consider signing up:

1. You don’t have to run!

Many fun runs have a variety of distance options, some going down to just a couple of kilometres where you have the option to jog or walk if you can’t keep going. Worried you might look silly if you can’t finish? If you can’t continue – stop. Nobody will think any less of you and in fact, you’ll find that many people you meet on the day will be new to running events and are there, just like you, to see how far they can push themselves.

2. It’s social

Research tells us if we exercise with others (we call them ‘accountability partners’) we are more likely to achieve our goals. You’ll also be spending quality time together, you will inspire each other and be more motivated to see it through.

3. It’s fun!

They don’t call it a fun run for no reason.  The atmosphere and energy at fun runs can be amazing. Many organisers have music playing, entertainment and someone with motivating words blaring over a loudspeaker.  People even run in fancy dress and others push prams. It’s a wonderful experience, whether you’re a long-time runner or not.

4. It’s motivating

Most of us need goals to keep us motivated and fun runs are a great goal to have. Most fun runs give the option of getting sponsored to raise money for charity, so not only are you motivated to get fit and healthy, you are also motivated to support a worthy cause. Motivation has been shown to increase when you have a purpose or a ‘why’ behind it. Read our article Find Your Why to find out more about this.

5. You’ll get fit

Whether you’ve signed up for the 5k, 10k, ½ marathon or even a marathon, you’ll want to train and the more train, the fitter you’ll get. The fitter you are, the better you will feel.  

6. You will feel great afterwards

Crossing that finishing line with hundreds of other people simply feels great. Not only have you achieved your goal, but you have helped raise money for charity and are a part of a huge group of people all there for the same reason.

Upcoming fun runs across Australia


Run for your Lifeline, 4 Nov, Canberra

Grapest 5km Run, 2 Dec, Lake George


Homesglen Run for Change, 24 Oct, Chelsea

City2Sea, Sun 12 Nov, Melbourne

Carmans Womens’ Fun Run, Dec 3, St Kilda


Climb ‘n Dine stair climb, Sydney


Run in the Dark, 15 Nov; Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney


Glenelg Classic, 12 Nov, Glenelg

Grapest 5km Run, 18 Nov, Langhorne Creek


Walk for Prems, Sun 29 Oct, Hobart

Beach to  Bay, Strahan, Sat 4 November


Color Run, 5 Nov, Perth

Triathlon Pink & Fun Run, 12 Nov, Perth

Images: © Anita Welsh Photography for Hobart Fun Run

Ice Ice baby – 4 days of cold exposure

Cold emersion and mindset has shown to influence the sympathetic nervous system and immune system, once believed to be systems that could not be voluntarily influenced.

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Exercise for Maximum Reward in Minimum Time

No time for a full high-intensity workout? Try introducing a few Movement Snacks, to begin with so that you see the benefit it has on your energy levels, concentration and mood.

This week we’re going to talk about HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. HIIT is on the rise and for very good reasons – firstly, traditional endurance training is known being shown to be bad for our health when performed excessively (more on that in the next blog), and HIIT training has been shown to improve many of the same things as traditional endurance training, with some extra benefits – and all in a fraction of the time. HIIT has been shown to:

  • increase aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • reduce blood pressure
  • increase mitochondrial biogenesis (the ‘powerhouses’ of your cells)
  • improve cardiovascular health
  • enhance insulin sensitivity, protecting against diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease
  • improve cholesterol profiles
  • reduce abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass
  • burn more calories in less time than traditional workouts

HIIT involves repeated bouts of high-intensity effort followed by varied recovery times. The intense work periods may range anywhere from 10 seconds to 8 minutes long and are usually performed at high intensity (see below for more detail). The recovery period usually lasts for less time than the work periods and are either total rest or low-intensity exercise (see below) and the workout continues with the alternating work and relief periods, usually taking anywhere from 8 to 60 minutes.

Why is HIIT Training so Popular?

HIIT training can easily be modified for people of all fitness levels and special conditions, such as overweight and diabetes. HIIT workouts can be performed on all exercise modes, including various forms such as resistance training (using weights or bodyweight), traditional cardio training (cycling, swimming, running etc.) or a combination of all of them.

HIIT workouts give you a much better ‘bang for your buck’ because they tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout. This critical post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which means that you continue to burn extra calories for a couple of hours as your body restores itself to pre-exercise levels. Now, that’s good news!

HIIT also leads to much quicker metabolic adaptations, which are driven by upregulated gene expression in response to the intense work. What does that mean? Basically, the body realises that it needs to ‘up its game’ and responds accordingly. So if you do long duration steady state runs, your body will respond appropriately. Up the intensity, and the body ups its’ response.

Practical Guidelines for HIIT?

Before you do a HIIT program, consider the duration, intensity, and frequency of the work intervals and the length of the recovery intervals. If you know your max heart rate, ≥ 80% is your desired target, or use a ‘perceived exertion’ of between 7 and 9 on a 10-point scale. Using the talk test as your guide, that range of 7 to 9 goes from ‘it’s difficult to carry on this conversation’ to ‘I can’t talk right now’! The interval should either be rest (for shorter workouts), or 40-50% of your estimated maximal heart rate (around 3 to 5 out of 10) for longer work periods. This would be a physical activity that felt very comfortable, in order to help you recover and prepare for your next work interval.

The relationship of the work and recovery interval is important. Many studies use a specific ratio of exercise to recovery to improve the different energy systems of the body. For example, a ratio of 1:1 might be a 3-minute hard work (or high intensity) bout followed by a 3-minute recovery (or low intensity) bout. These 1:1 interval workouts often range about 3, 4, or 5 minutes followed by an equal time in recovery.

Another popular HIIT training protocol is called the “spring interval training method”. With this type of program, the exerciser does about 30 seconds of ‘sprint or near full-out effort’, which is followed by 3 to 4.5 minutes of recovery. This combination of exercise can be repeated 3 to 5 times. These higher intensity work efforts need to be shorter bouts but can increase up to 60 seconds as you get fitter.

One of our favourite ways to do HIIT workouts at Ritualize is ZUU HIITS – these a variety of bodyweight exercises that we program in a certain sequence (targeting different muscle groups) so that you keep the intensity high without having to stop due to muscle fatigue. Check out Ritualize for these ZUU exercises and try using a work: rest ratio of 20:15 seconds (for beginners), increasing up to 30:10 work: rest for 12 exercises for advanced. That will give you a supercharged 8-minute workout (shown at Ritualize.com under the exercise section) that targets all of your muscles (including ones you didn’t know you had), has a high cardiovascular load (as it’s anaerobic), uses strength throughout range of motion, and increases mobility – no other workout that we know of does this!

How Many Times a Week Can You do a HIIT Workout?

HIIT workouts are more exhaustive then steady state endurance workouts. Therefore, a longer recovery period is often needed. Perhaps start with one HIIT training workout a week, with your other workouts being steady state workouts. As you feel ready for more challenge, add a second HIIT workout a week, making sure you spread the HIIT workouts throughout the week.

A Word of caution!

If you have been living a sedentary lifestyles or haven’t been exercising regularly, make sure you get a check-up before starting HIIT training. A family history of heart disease, cigarette smoking, hypertension, diabetes (or pre-diabetes), abnormal cholesterol levels and obesity will increase the risks.

Prior to beginning HIIT training, it’s a good idea to create a base fitness level by doing some more traditional steady state exercise such as running or only reaching about 60-70% of your maximum intensity during the work periods. Safety in participation should always be a primary priority, and you should focus more on finding your own optimal training intensity, rather than trying to keep up with others.

It’s a good idea to go through the Pre-exercise screening questionnaire on the link below – especially if you are over 40 or haven’t been exercising regularly!