Mapping Out 2018 Goals

Now that Christmas has passed, it’s time for me to sit down and review my goals list for 2017, as well as compile a new goals list for 2018. I have been writing out yearly goals for over 20 years, and firmly believe that this habit has been instrumental in helping me to attain some of my biggest aspirations.

These aren’t New Year’s resolutions, they’re intentions, dreams, carrots which I hang in front of me and keep in my line of sight throughout the year. They encompass business strategies, personal goals, career development, finances, home environment, love relationships, friends, family, and health.

If you aren’t already in the habit of writing out goals for the year, I encourage you to do so. When you define what it is you want in your life, you manifest powerful energy which helps to bring those wishes to fruition. Make sure to write your goals in a notebook or binder, rather than typing them on a computer or smart phone. The mechanical act of putting pen to paper triggers areas of the brain responsible for creativity and thinking, and forces us to slow down and digest what it is we are writing.

At then end of the year, you can scan your list to see what you accomplished and what might need to be modified and put on the next list. In a typical year, I check off about 80% of my goals.

Don’t be afraid to dream big and use your imagination! The sky’s the limit!

Hot Logic Mini Review…These Make GREAT Holiday Gifts!

Here’s another review of the Hot Logic Mini, which is an ingenious product! It comes in six great colors, and can be plugged into any electrical source. You can even use this while traveling in your car!

Go to to order, and make sure to enter my discount code STACEYNAITO for 20% off your order!

The Magic Of Kundalini Yoga

I fell into kundalini yoga quite by accident earlier this year, when I decided to sign up for a class at a local yoga studio which was listed on ClassPass. From the first class, I was deeply moved, intrigued, and interested in continuing the practice. I hadn’t been aware of the fact that kundalini yoga is considered to be the most powerful and spiritual form of yoga, but I am grateful that it is now a part of my life. Kundalini yoga also complements my daily meditation practice.

How is kundalini yoga different from other forms of yoga? While it can be VERY physical, kundalini yoga is incredibly spiritual and meditative. You will spend a decent amount of time in “easy pose”, which is a standard pose for meditation. Kundalini yoga consists of chants, repetitive movements, and coordinated breathing techniques which are all designed to increase consciousness and activate the body’s energy centers. Because this type of yoga targets energy blockages, sessions can be emotional, intense, sacred, and filled with a sense of connectedness to everyone.

An article by James McCrae states that the objective of kundalini yoga is “decentralized and selfless – help people actualize their Higher Self”. The practice of kundalini yoga has been around since approximately 1,000 B.C. – 500 B.C. during the time in which the Upanishads were written. Kundalini, or “coiled snake”, refers to the energy of creation which sits at the base of the spine, and which can be activated and made to move up the spine and throughout the entire body. It was brought to the western world in the late 1960’s by Yogi Bhajan.

Kundalini yoga can be regarded as the fast track to spiritual enlightenment, and can bring about immense positive changes to one’s life. It increases awareness, brings a sense of well-being, and also creates a stillness and calmness which help to deflect the stresses of the modern world.

Two Breaths

Regular meditation practice has shaped my life for the past eleven years, and I honor and value all it has bestowed upon me in terms of balance, harmony, calmness and peace. When I began practicing meditation on a consistent basis, I was at a low point in my life as a result of a long-term relationship which had suddenly terminated. As fate would have it, I met a wonderful person who became my meditation teacher, my spiritual guide, and my dear friend. He invited me to become part of a local meditation group which met one to two times per week, and I gladly accepted. Within a couple of months, I began to learn how to sit in silence, let thoughts and feelings go, and focus on being completely in the moment. I quickly realized what a gift it was to fall into awareness during these sessions.

After my meditation teacher passed away in April of 2014, I went through a rough period in which I was so grief-stricken by his death that I was paralyzed, unable to meditate for several months. When I returned to meditation practice, it was alone, without the comfort of a group, but I was able to quickly fall into awareness during my sessions.

At the beginning of this year, I encountered another difficult life challenge, and instead of shying away from my meditation practice, I decided to sit daily. One tool which kept me accountable with daily meditation practice was a phone app called Insight Timer, which I still use. It is no longer a struggle for me to sit daily in meditation, and I have noticed profound changes in my demeanor and my general outlook on life.

In an effort to fortify my spiritual practice, I added kundalini yoga, and have noticed even more profound changes in my energy and my physiology, especially in my breathing. A few days ago, I had noticed that my respiratory rate had become much slower, so I decided to assess it while I practiced relaxation breathing. I was astonished when I discovered that I am now able to slow down my breathing to two respirations per minute. The breaths which I take during meditative and relaxation sessions are very slow, with a pause at the end of both the inhalation and exhalation phases.

Most people are so accustomed to shallow respirations in their daily lives that they assume that 12 to 14 respirations per minute is considered acceptable. As a physician, I regularly encounter a respiratory rate in that range, and am trained to consider that normal. However, in my spiritual practice, I know that in order to take 12 to 14 breaths per minute, the breaths tend to be quite shallow.

Modern society keeps us on the hamster wheel and fosters anxiety, but it is vital to step off the wheel, slow down, and allow the trappings of daily life to fall away so that we can truly let go. If you find yourself constantly wound up, try slowing down your breathing on a consistent basis. It has beneficial effects on your mood and blood pressure, and decreases muscle tension.

Afraid You’ll Succeed?

This is a reposted article which I wrote a while back.

Have you ever considered the possibility that you are standing in your own way when it comes to achieving success in your life? Yes, you heard me right. You might not have even known that there was such a thing as a fear of success, and if not, you probably aren’t aware of how a fear of success can sabotage your efforts at getting ahead and put you on a short course to failure.

Though we may crave success deeply and feel driven to set specific goals to get us there, we may cripple ourselves by harboring a feeling that we don’t deserve to have success, or we may question our own abilities. Self-defeating thoughts like, “What if I fail?”, or “Maybe I don’t deserve to be successful” may fester in one’s mind. However, some people entertain an even more frightening thought which is “What if I succeed?” and may be so paralyzed by that fear that they talk themselves out of pursuing a goal which gives them purpose, joy and passion. Suddenly, the lure of success sours in the face of one’s own fears.

The fear of success is more powerful than the fear of failure because the former can trap individuals into established patterns which are comfortable and which prevent the movement and growth necessary to achieve success. The road to success, after all, is unpredictable and forces people out of their comfort zones. It demands tireless efforts which at times may be stalled by roadblocks, and those obstacles may stack up or appear at critical times when the temptation to give up is immense. As daunting as such challenges are in the pursuit of success, they must be overcome if the goal is to be attained.

A fear of success can manifest as procrastination, whereupon projects may be put on hold and excuses made about why there is no time to complete them. Feelings of guilt may take hold if you happen to attain a certain level of success which eludes your peers, friends or family. You may worry that success will in some ways change you and your environment. Though you may lament your current situation and crave big changes that would serve as markers of success, you might find the idea of all those changes incredibly distressing.

The road to success is also often a lonely one in which you may feel lost, perhaps because others may not understand your journey, or because you may be traveling in uncharted waters with no one to lead the way or guide you. There may be haters who try to derail you from your master plan, which is usually a good sign since it is an indication that you are doing something which is perceived as a threat to your competition. You might also think that once you become successful, somehow that success won’t be sustainable and that the proverbial coach will turn back into a pumpkin.

Success will usually put a spotlight on you and you will get attention. Some of you may believe that the attention is great, but when all eyes are on you, scrutinizing every move you make, you may find that it is incredibly distressing. Success comes with responsibilities which may frighten and intimidate you, and you may feel incredible pressure to prove your worth as a result of that boost in visibility. Contrast that with being ensconced in a comfortable pattern which provides a predictable environment, and you can see why so many people chicken out and drop their big goals. Once you achieve your goal and become a success, the goal you were chasing after becomes irrelevant because the beast has been vanquished. The taste of victory may be sweet, but life may lose its meaning and purpose in the aftermath of such an accomplishment.

There are a number of things you can do to maintain your enthusiasm and focus while carving a path to success:

Keep sight of your goals and purpose – Not only is it important to write down specific goals so that you have a blueprint of how you will achieve success, it is also essential to review those goals regularly to make sure that you stay on track and remember the purpose which drives your efforts. I recommend reviewing your master goals list at least once a week.

Gain knowledge – If you sense that your knowledge base is lagging, invest in educational pursuits which will add credibility and push you towards your goals faster. For example, talk to experts in the field you are trying to excel in, read books on pertinent subjects and take courses. Remember that your heroes can eventually become your rivals if you learn from them and pattern your behavior after them.

Become inspired by the people who believe in you – Chances are that you have people around you (spouse, family members, coworkers, fans) who completely believe in you, are inspired by you, and want to see you succeed. Though you may feel pressure to succeed and a sense of obligation as a result of this, you can focus on the enthusiasm which they have for you and allow it to wash over you and motivate you.

Keep a gratitude journal – It can be so easy to complain about one’s situation and play the victim when things aren’t going as planned, but such behavior only does harm when trying to stay motivated in achieving goals. Shift the focus instead onto all the wonderful things, people and other blessings you have in your life and allow them to fortify your resolve to move forward.

My Website Has Been Revamped and Updated!

Hey folks! My main website,, has a new look and greater functionality for 2017. Three of my websites were consolidated into a fantastic main site which enables you to navigate through Fitness and Nutrition Plans, Contest Prep Services, Fitness Products for sale through affiliates, Hormone Balance Consultations, Autographed 8×10’s, a Gallery full of updated professional images, Bio, and my Blog.

Check it out!

Right Hand Rings

Pictured above is a Diamond Vintage-Inspired Engagement Ring (1/2 ct. t.w.) in 14k White Gold. This is the ring I wear now.

The trend in right hand rings has increased in popularity over the last fifteen years, because women are embracing it as a way to celebrate their independence and honor themselves. Similar to promise rings, which are also often worn on the right ring finger, right hand rings symbolize a dedication to a goal, a celebration of one’s strength, or an expression of one’s personality.

Though most of the women who opt to purchase right hand rings for themselves are single, a growing number of married woman are purchasing right hand rings for themselves. Right hand rings enable women to proudly display their power and freedom. One advertising campaign uses the slogan,

“Your left hand is a symbol of loyalty. Your right hand is a symbol of freedom.”

I’ve been married, and I have been engaged, so I still regard the left ring finger as sacred. As a matter of fact, I RARELY wear rings on my left ring finger out of respect for my strong belief that the left ring finger is reserved for the bond between two people. However, I have no intention of waiting for a left hand ring to alight once again upon that digit, and it turns out that many women feel the same way, and are purchasing right hand rings, even married ladies.

I had bought a right hand ring back in 2012, but I wasn’t in love with the design, and because I was so resentful of the non-committal man I was with at the time, I didn’t really want to wear it. When it was stolen in 2013, I figured it was meant to be.

Then in early February of this year, I was struck with a sudden urge to get a new right hand ring. It was time to honor myself. I wanted a design which reflected my personality, my taste, and was hoping to find something I absolutely loved, something that made me happy every time I looked at it. I selected a ring which did exactly that, the one that is pictured here on my blog. And it was on sale, for a price which could not be beaten, so I bought it. Little did I know I bought the ring on the crest of a huge breakup, so in a very cosmic way, it was perfect timing.

Exactly one month after I bought my right hand ring, I was completely broadsided by a sudden breakup, the third breakup by the same person in the span of six years. He was planning to move back in. He told me that he was finally ready to make an effort. It was all a lie.

To be honest, I was relieved that I didn’t have to explain my purchase to this guy who I am sure would have berated me for it. It was ridiculous of me to be so apprehensive to reveal my new bauble to someone who let me pay for everything (dinners, trips, gifts, etc.), yet felt he had the right to direct me on how to spend MY money. He never, ever took care of me, but expected me to acquiesce to his every need, and also knew that I would always rescue his pathetic ass.

Now I wear my right hand ring proudly, without fear of being ridiculed. I didn’t know it was considered an engagement ring until I wrote this article, but here’s a thought: I’m never going to break up with myself, and this ring symbolizes my lifelong commitment to myself, my dreams and my goals.

How To Visualize Your Body Transformation Goal

Body B&AWhenever I do initial consultations with weight management patients I make sure to ask them what their ultimate weight loss goals are.  Invariably my patients will mention a friend or relative who has the physique they desire, or they will mention a time in their lives at which they considered their own bodies to be ideal for them.  At the end of the evaluation, I instruct my patients to find at least one picture of that ideal body and post it in a prominent place, either on a desk, bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or car dashboard.  The whole point is to create a visual representation of the patient’s goal so that it becomes more tangible over time.

Another tip which I give to weight management patients is to take weekly progress pics so that they can monitor the subtle changes in their bodies over an interval period of time.  What they might not see from week to week can be very dramatic when they compare their baseline photos to photos taken many weeks or months later.  Over time it becomes easier to take these progress pictures.  Trust me, I used to do it regularly myself when I was competing. These days, though, I have hit a certain rhythm in which I stay at a specific set point.

Lori HarderThe tips I have just mentioned also work EXTREMELY well for people in the midst of contest prep.  I typically advise contest prep clients to take weekly progress pictures, because they provide a great way to monitor subtle changes week by week, as well as yield information which I can use in order to make small changes in a prep plan.  

When I first began competing in 2009, I quite randomly picked a couple of images of female competitors whose physiques I really admired, printed them, and placed them on my bathroom mirror.  I saw these images daily, and was able to visualize my goal on a consistent basis.  I did not remove these images from my mirror until I moved in October of 2012, and when I did so, I moved the images to bulletin boards in our den.

What is amazing now is that I have images of myself right next to the images of the ladies I had so admired, and you know what?  I achieved my goal of attaining IFBB Pro Status and the best physique of my life, at the ripe age of 47.    These days, I no longer look at the images of these ladies as something to aspire to, but instead look at them as peers.

In summary, there are two things you can do to visualize your goal:



Visualize and make your goal materialize!

Don’t Bully Your Coach – REPOST

personal-training-clientBefore I dive into this topic, I want to make sure that everyone understands that this is meant to be general, and is not directed at anyone in particular. But because I have had numerous conversations with other coaches and trainers recently who have described behavior in their clients which I find unacceptable, I thought this was a good topic to cover in my blog.

First of all, when you hire a coach or trainer, you are hiring that person for his or her knowledge, education and experience. When you challenge fee schedules that are in place, and expect the coach to give you bargain basement pricing just because you are short on funds, or because you don’t see why you should pay that much for someone else’s time, it is insulting to the coach. In addition, coaches and trainers are trying to run businesses and have expenses which need to be covered. I recently saw a quote on Instagram which I loved: “If you think a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.” Please keep this in mind when you are selecting a coach, and have respect for what he or she offers.

If a coach is designing a customized plan for you, do not expect the plan to be ready within minutes. It takes time to create a customized plan for a client, so please be patient. Once you get your plan, please do not ask incessant questions, especially if they are presented in the middle of the night. Since I am a physician, I understand what it means to be on call all the time, but I will not put up with a 2 am text asking me whether it’s okay to substitute swing lunges with seated leg curls!

Another sure way to aggravate your coach is to be non-compliant, whiny, and intent on changing every aspect of a well designed plan. Why even hire a professional to help you if you are dead set on being a person who uses the word CAN’T all the time? If you trust, admire and respect your coach, then let your coach work his or her magic and help you to reach your goals. Otherwise, you are wasting both your time and energy and those of your coach. Allow your coach to guide you and be your motivator, and speak up if you are faltering in your efforts or if your self-confidence is flagging. Let your coach be truly that: a coach.