THE iKiFit BLOG

Join iKiFit founder, Kim Macrae for snippets about education, life choices and self empowerment that encourage us to be the best version of ourselves - Every Single Day! (Click below to hear iKi Crews Every Single Day excerpt. Full version for sale on iTunes).

Life Coach and working mum Amy shares her experiences of how iKi helps her meet the challenges of juggling children, partner and career, while striving to be a happy, healthy strong role model. And staying sane!.

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Let's lead by good example

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

 

Let’s Lead by Good Example

Working with children and teachers as I do, I’m optimistic about the future. Although there are those who struggle and it can be easy - as it always has been - to find fault, most of the young people of today are vibrant, engaged and positive.

Australia recently set a world record for the longest continuous economic boom in history - 29 years and counting. I believe it’s a fair bet that the next 29 years will be more challenging, as that’s how business cycles work. There are growing signs of turbulence ahead, and as the younger generations will bear the brunt of those times, we need to address some of the issues that will potentially make the challenges for them even greater.

I’m going to highlight just two things that were discussed in separate articles in the Sydney Morning Herald recently: -

One, by Jordan Baker, headlined ‘Coddled Children Too Fragile’ warns about the threat posed not only to children but to the rest of society by parental ‘over protection’ in the middle classes of the English-speaking world. The article is inspired by author Johnathon Haidt’s bestseller “The Coddling of the American Mind” in which he says “Coddling is the determined effort of adults to deprive kids of feedback from their own experience and replace it with lectures”

He went on to explain… “When you deprive children of unsupervised play, you make them vulnerable to anxiety and depression because they fail to develop basic skills of self -regulation and interaction that will help them be successful in life”

In the same edition, Tim Soutphommasanes’ article titled “Leaders can heal but, right now, all is not well” he laments the poor example children are being set by the ‘market’ as well as by many of our leaders. “Everything now replicates the market. People’s worth is measured by their monetary value, or by the quasi-market value of social popularity.”

“And then there’s the gap between our professed ideals and lived reality. In schools and universities, we teach young people about their responsibilities to societies and the world, only to let them down through our collective failure to meet those responsibilities.”

“We teach them about public virtues, only for them to see sectional self-interest prevail. We encourage them to be democratic citizens and to use their voice, only to frown when they protest.”

Like most of us, I’ve been horrified – and angered – by the selfish greed, exposed over recent years by many of our major businesses and institutions, along with government and community leaders.

We Aussies pride ourselves on being easy going most of the time but will step up when danger calls. I believe that time is now. I believe we must insist our institutions put people and community before profit. I believe we must insist our leaders lead by positive, community building example rather that playing the fear card for power, and then using office to feather their own nest. And I believe we must refocus on ‘old’ values of strengthening our children by not only teaching them to accept responsibility for the consequences of their choices but on remembering the value of leading by good example. And doing it.

There is a Chinese proverb we would do well to heed:- If we want prosperity next year, grow grain, If we want it in 10 years, grow trees, if we want it in 20 years and beyond, invest our time, our energy and good example - in our children.

There is room for hope. As a society we are increasingly recognising the importance of early education and are investing in it. The industry is full of dedicated, well trained educators. Teachers who understand that key to teaching resilience is setting high expectations and giving children the tools to achieve them: by teaching them to take responsibility for their choices and the consequences that result. They lead by good example.

Let's hold ourselves and the rest of our society to the same standards.

 


Celebrate our Strengths

Thursday, June 20, 2019

 

 Who do you listen to?

Mark twain said, “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.”

I’ve been conducting iKiFit Team Building Workshops for a while now and am surprised at the number of people who don’t realise that we all experience negative thoughts. Recently, a mature, professional and competent lady who is retraining as a teacher was overwhelmed when she learned she wasn’t alone in having a ‘negative voice’ in her head.

In the workshops we discuss how we learn, leading to the understanding that we're designed to learn by recognising where we’re ‘failing’ and correcting the mistakes. As one of the most important elements of daily life is ‘fitting in’ to our group and community, we are designed to mentally compare ourselves to our peers, our neighbours, our family and of course, the people we see in the media.

Our subconscious is constantly calculating how we measure up - and endeavoring to adjust accordingly. The “problem” with this is that we all have that built in “nag” which is giving us feedback on how well we’re doing. Or not. We can be our own worst critic. While this is an important survival feature, it can become overwhelming. And then there are those people in our lives who say they're ‘just trying to help’ by pointing out our many failings.

To make matters even more difficult, we're bombarded with images of “perfect” people; - celebrities, sports stars, models. It’s easy to overlook that they have dieticians, physios, plastic surgeons, personal trainers, P.R managers and stylists to help them appear their best. Then their images are photo-shopped and filtered to hide normal human “flaws” like cellulite and wrinkles.

It can be hard to maintain a positive self- image in the face of that kind of competition. If we’re not alert, we start beating up on ourselves. Just realising that this is the way we’re built is an important first step in managing it. Knowledge is power. From there it’s a matter of developing ways of keeping our thoughts in balance.

The mature lady I mentioned had taught herself to imagine "grabbing hold of the negative thought and twisting it 180 degrees into a positive". Some people use a 'mindfullness' method of 'choosing rooms'. When they feel themselves being drawn into a negative place, they visualise themselves walking out of a dark room and into a place of light and laughter.

In the iKiFit Safe Respectful Learner workshops we come up with, - or get someone to help us create, - a Power Name. While this can be challenging, as we live in a culture where peer pressure can be strongly against seeming to be “up yourself”, particularly for teenagers, it can change a bad day into a great day. Or turn around a life.

So, if you find yourself negatively affected by that voice in your head, remember: it’s not just you. We’re all in the same boat. We all feel bad about ourselves sometimes. Examining our life is worthwhile but remember to be fair to yourself. None of us are perfect but we all have our good points and it's healthy to remind ourselves what they are.

Take a moment to listen to the ‘good guy’ on your shoulder.

Give yourself a smiley face today.

 


Reach the Skies via Blessings in Disguise

Thursday, June 13, 2019

 

 We've all heard the phrase 'a blessing in disguise' and are familiar with stories of people overcoming huge difficulties or amazing odds to achieve great things. And we all have our own stories of challenges overcome and understand that the more difficult the struggle, the sweeter the rewards.

Those blessings in disguise can take the form of ‘afflictions', ‘misfortunes' or accidents, that, with the benefit of hindsight or thoughtful perspective we come to recognise as positives - as they have helped develop our talents, build our strengths, or put us in the ‘right place at the right time’.

I was a normal farm boy growing up but when, in my late teens, I 'discovered' TaeKwon Do and found my path in life as an instructor and teacher  I also learned to my horror that I had degenerative arthritis in both hips. This wasn't great news for practicing TaeKwonDo, which requires super flexibility, particularly in the hip joints.

There were times I became discouraged, depressed and angry- Why me?- by the pain and stiffness. I had to do a lot of extra work, stretching and conditioning to be able do things others found easy.

After some years, however, I recognised this as my own blessing in disguise. My "problem" had forced me to discipline myself, -something I hadn't done before - and the extra work I had to do made up for a lack of athletic talent, as well as helped overcome a natural inclination to be lazy.

Another affliction that I've been blessed with is a spectacular intolerance of certain foods. Eating them has unpleasant results better not gone into here. There were times I felt I was missing out, but viewed from another angle it's a real blessing, as having stopped eating those foods has resulted in eating better overall. Outcome, better health.

Years ago my wife was forced out of a job, which seemed at the time to be the end of the world. Now she is SO grateful it happened as it provided the impetus - and opportunity - to find her true path.

Now, when life throws up challenge or thing don’t go as planned we’ve learned to look for the opportunity, the blessing in disguise, the silver lining in the dark cloud. It’s just a matter of perspective.

Have a great week

 


Stoke your internal fires this Winter

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

 

Stoke your internal fires this winter

Winter is here. The days are getting shorter and the cold months loom. It’s time for cosy fires and snuggling up, but winter can be a gloomy time and with no relief in sight from the drought, for many farmers and businesses the future looks bleak. So, while it may not be an option to lift our spirits with an overseas holiday or a new outfit, there are some great, free, old-fashioned ways to boost our mood.

Following is an idea I was given years ago that I’ve come to appreciate more, the more I do it.
Thanks Beth Shea for emailing this:
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past; brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie from “Simple Truth”

In our busy everyday lives it can be all too easy to focus on the negatives. In fact, because we learn most of our lessons by making mistakes:- "Oh, I got that wrong, I need to do it this way next time" it can be easy to slip into an habitually negative mindset. And how many of us have had the experience of completing a task, only to have a colleague or a family member glance at our efforts and point out the faults, neglecting to mention, let alone praise, some of the good points?

This has certainly happened to me and I must admit I've been guilty of it too!
Yes, we were "just trying to help" But if we stopped to think about it, could we have done it better?

There is so much pressure in our 1st World, social-media-connected lives and we are continually encouraged to “have it all” The perfect body, life, job, house, holiday, car, family etc etc etc. It can be SO easy to feel inadequate and then focus on the things we DON’T have.

It’s worth making a habit of reminding ourselves that we are all human, with flaws, faults and failings. And then reminding ourselves of all the things we DO have. Like so many things, being grateful is a mindset that takes practice, but the benefits are immense, infinitely renewable and have nothing but positive side effects.

The more we do it, the better we get and the better we feel.
Let's take a moment to think of something we are grateful for. Now let’s think of a person we're grateful to havein our lives! Why not go and say something nice, or send a text? Go on, just do it.

Thanks for reading.

 

 


Find a win-win way.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

 

Change is challenging. Look for the win-win solution

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be aware of the climate change ‘debate’. You’ll have noticed it has become a divisive issue, with a dedicated tribe of die-hard deniers, a passionate collective of the completely convinced and a growing group who just wish we would find middle ground and move forward.

Disclosure; I move between the second and third groups

There is much smoke and noise, claims and counter claims, cover ups and conflicts of interest. It’s become highly emotional – to the extent that powerful points are being overlooked and friendships frayed.

I’d like to suggest a moment of calm and highlight an idea that’s being overlooked in the fire and fury.

To start, I’ll mention that one of the many strengths of Australia has been our ability to lead the world with progressive ideas. Historically we’ve been prepared to discuss issues in depth and ultimately come to the right decision. Yep, we can be slow at times, but we get there.

The fundamental issue is whether climate change is happening and if so, what is it’s cause. The ‘denialist’ position is that climate change isn’t ‘real’ or that, OK, maybe it is, but it’s NOT caused by humans. The argument then goes that because “we didn’t do it” we shouldn’t have to do anything about it.

Consider this: If you’ve taken any notice at all over the past 10 years, you’ll recognise that much of the environment IS different – and the weather IS changing. No matter who or what is causing it.

It IS impacting our farms, our rivers and it WILL impact everyone eventually. So, let’s forget the blame game and discuss opportunities – because there are plenty.

And here’s a thing – the positives in looking at new ways of doing things can far outweigh the negatives. Yes, there will be costs but there will be benefits as well.

In the 70s, there was a big ‘oil shock’ and fuel prices went up. Initially there was panic and predictions of doom. But the innovations that resulted from the recognition of the need for change created whole new technologies, new jobs, new industries. LOTS of great things came of it.

Change is challenging and it’s normal to resist it at first. We all have our comfort zones. But history shows that it makes us stronger and results in more opportunities and options.

On the other hand, we have our world to lose if it IS true - no matter who or what causes it- and we don’t adapt. We need to manage that risk. We have so many great new things to learn and we’ll be doing something positive instead of dithering, fighting and whinging.

Let’s find the win-win.

 


The 3 Rs - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience.

Friday, May 17, 2019

 


An article called 'Parents Behaving Badly' in 'Good Weekend' (SMH) April 20th says "unreasonable expectations and bullying from parents is the number one issue facing school Principals"

High school Principal Karen Terry, 54, links this development to a pervasive "happy-ology" - a belief children must be happy all the time. "They don't want their children to feel any sense of discomfort or distress," she says. Another exasperated principal recently wrote a pleading note to parents at a middle class suburban school in Melbourne "It has become more and more apparent to me that we are raising some of the most fragile children ever" the note read. "It seems that many parents simply will not allow their children to experience any kind of challenge, setback, discomfort, sanction, or to take responsibility for their actions"

At the same time these parents are demanding that schools teach their children to be able to excel at any task they attempt and question every exam or assessment mark that isn't an A+

The Principal mentioned above went on to say, "Parents, I implore you, please, let us do our job. We are professional educators who know how to deal with and develop young people. Every time you needlessly second guess us, question minutia, (tiny details) or simply refuse to support the school, it actively damages your children.

We all know that the great majority of parents are fair and reasonable and support their children's teachers and schools. We also know schools and teachers don't always get it right or don't communicate as effectively as they could...they are humans working in an imperfect world like the rest of us. But we also know there is a growing group of people who shrilly complain whenever they or their children aren't treated as the best and fairest all of the time.

There are two points I feel we should regularly remind ourselves of:

Firstly, Australia is not a perfect country;- there are many things we could do better - but we are still a healthier, better educated, safer and more equal country than most. It's up to us all to work on, and discuss the things that matter to us, positively, calmly and fairly.

Secondly, -and I'll illustrate this with a proverb; "the most successful people are usually those who have failed the most" No matter how good we - or our children - think we are, or how we feel we should be treated, we all have to learn to take responsibility for the consequences of our choices or actions. Falling and getting back up makes us tougher, making mistakes and learning from them makes us wiser, admitting we have been disrespectful or unfair and making amends makes us more caring, decent, happier people.

Protecting our children from scrapes, poor results following lack of effort or the consequences of inappropriate behaviour, ultimately affects everyone.

And abiding by the 'referee's' decision - whether it's on the sporting field, the road, at work or school - and getting on with the game of life makes it safer, fairer and more fun for everyone.

Let's remind ourselves to be reasonable, responsible and respectful.

 


"Positives" even better than Chocolate

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

 

Hand out “Positives” like chocolate.

Although Easter is over for another year there are lots of ways we can feel good without chocolate.

I’d like to start this week’s column with a heart-felt ‘thank you’ for the positive feedback. We all like to feel we are appreciated. Which brings me to the theme this week:- Positive comments go a loooong way.

One reader wrote to say she loves the positive slant I try to impart and went on to say: “I recently read a book called “How full is your Bucket?” by Rath and Clifton. It’s based on the bucket and dipper theory:-

“In a nutshell, we all have invisible buckets and dippers. Every day we each have hundreds of interactions with other people. When it is a positive interaction initiated by you, you are putting a drop into the other persons bucket - and also your own bucket because it makes you feel good as well. Negative interactions do the opposite and take from buckets”

“I taught this to my 9-year old, and he regularly comes home and tells me how he put a drop in someone's bucket today. I firmly believe it is 'the' most effective way to teach school aged children empathy. A teacher I recently told felt this knowledge was gold and she would use it in her classroom. Needless to say, my life has improved greatly since I and my family members have made the bucket and dipper theory part of our lives”

Here are several interesting facts to reinforce the massage:

Scientists have identified receptors in our nervous systems that respond positively to some of the chemicals in chocolate. That’s one of the reasons chocolate makes us feel so good.

Positive feelings boost our immune systems, improve our energy, our appetites and help us sleep, not to mention encourage us to spread the good cheer.

So, as a follow on from Easter, dish out positive comments, smiles and hugs in place of chocky eggs. It's so easy, costs nothing and comes back with interest. A smile, a kind word, a helping hand.

Have a great Term 2 --and dish it out with a ladle.

 


Eat for Size

Thursday, April 11, 2019

  Eat for size.

It used to be that wanting to lose weight, eat healthier and/or whatever, signalled the start of a challenging journey. Apart from the discipline required to make positive changes in the face of temptation from every direction, there was the little issue of a million “Miracle Diets” to choose from.

Created or touted by someone famous, beautiful or both, many of them were crazy, dangerous, impossible or all of the above. The authors as well as the ideas!

Fortunately, while there are still radical and controversial ‘diets’ doing the rounds, as well as ongoing debates about carbs versus protein, the relative merits or dangers of fats and sugars and more, there is a lot of agreement about the fundamentals of good nutrition.

So, I’m not going to go into details but give an outline of the things most food scientists, dieticians and healthy people agree on.

To make it more interesting I’ve included a couple of fascinating facts at the end to illustrate the first and last points.

Seven’s a good number so here are seven sensible eating habits to keep your body well fuelled:

Eat regularly *

Drink plenty of water

Always eat breakfast

Eat fresh and unprocessed foods as often as you can

Eat different varieties, types and colours of food

Eat in moderation, keeping fast food and sweets, cakes, biscuits and salty, fried snacks as occasional treats

Enjoy eating**

*First. Eat regularly – a long term European study involving hundreds of thousands of people from 1949 to the present, suggests that eating at least 2 regular meals every day will add 13.9 Years to your life span. Yep, you read that right, almost 14 extra years! Just for regular meals.

**Last. Enjoy eating. Sounds silly you say. What it means is: learn to do the things above and eating becomes much more enjoyable: Delicious, guilt free and health giving.

And further to the point: Who remembers ‘The French Diet’?

It’s the stunningly simple idea of doing all the things above with the added ingredient of sharing regular sit-down family meals, with conversation, home cooked fresh food and moderate serves.

Finally, I’d like to take an extra bite and add another point about becoming and remaining our own ideal, healthy weight: It’s as simple as budgeting. If we eat more food than we need to sustain our energy output, we’ll put on weight.

So, here’s point number eight. Move the right amount for how much we eat. Or eat the right amount for how much we move.

As the ferret thingy says on the TV add.

Simples.

Have a healthy week

 


Make your bed

Thursday, April 04, 2019

 

Start your day in a definite way.

I was intrigued by the headline above and was hooked after reading the first paragraph.

Writer Jenee Osterheldt had this to say:

“I made my bed this morning. And that’s rare. Unfortunately. As I straightened out the blankets, tucked the sheets just so and fluffed my pillows, I shook off last nights’ sleep and my constant resistance to being a morning person. This tiny task had a big benefit: It woke me up to the day, to the possibilities ahead”

Jenee went on to say she was inspired by a speech given to a graduating class at the University of Texas by US Navy Seal Admiral William H McRaven, who said, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and will encourage you to do another and another. By the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”

He continues “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never do the big things right. And If by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made - that you made - and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better”

It resonated strongly with me because, like the writer Jenee, I had gotten out of the habit. Now I’m practising it again and it’s energising. Just like doing some exercise, it gives me a physical and mental boost. No matter what else happens in the day, I’ve achieved something positive. And one good thing leads to another.

What was it our parents said? – “Tidy your room” The great thing is – make your bed and you’re already half way there.

If you want to change the world, start where you spend almost one third of your life – your bed. Make it happen.

Have a great week.

 

 


Secularism is fairest for everyone.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

 

Secularize

Did you know that Australia is what’s called a “secular democracy” which means that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law as regards their beliefs – as well as regards their rights and obligations?

To secularize means to ensure the laws we all live under don’t favour one religions’ beliefs over those of another. Secularism promotes freedom OF belief as well as freedom FROM belief. Secularism protects churches at the same time as protecting those who have no interest in churches.

Religion, spiritual values and beliefs are important to our health as individuals and social beings, but history shows that being ruled by religious leaders can be as horrible as being ruled by dictators or tyrants. When those who don’t agree with the rulers are persecuted, tortured, murdered. History also shows that dreadful things can happen when the state persecutes a religious or church group.

Let’s not forget the Inquisition or the Holocaust.

So, what is the point of saying this?

It’s to remind us of the value of what we have as Australians: Imperfect as our political system is, it’s among the best in the world. Our right to have a say in our government -without being persecuted for it.

It’s to remind us of the rule that our government not favour one religion or belief system over another – particularly if it means that one group of peoples’ reasonable rights or opportunities are overlooked or disrespected.

It’s because religion (as well as some ‘ideologies’) can be intolerant of ideas or practises that really should not be anyone’s business but our own. Laws are meant primarily to protect us from others, more from than from ourselves.

I’m a great fan of a guide used by Rotary Clubs called ‘The 4 Way Test’ that they apply to discussions and then to the decision. It’s not hard to see how relevant it is to many of the challenges we face:

The 4 Way Test

  • 1.Is it the TRUTH?
  • 2.Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • 3.Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  • 4.Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

It can be difficult to find the balanced, fair answer when there are conflicting views and interests. But using a test like the one above can make it easier, particularly when we start from a place of respecting other peoples’ beliefs, - even when they are quite different to our own.