It is all how you think

I found that when you start thinking and saying what you really want then your mind automatically shifts and pulls you in that direction. And sometimes it can be that simple, just a little twist in vocabulary that illustrates your attitude and philosophy.
Jim Rohn

I am a creator. Whatever I think always finds a way to manifest itself upon me. Positive or negative, my thoughts always control every aspect of my life.

I may be told “oh, you have no control over…” But in a sense yes I do.

When I was in high school I thought “I don’t want a bachelors degree, I want a masters degree.” Not only was I the first one in my family to ever obtain a college degree, I got my masters years before my older brother finished his degree.

I thought, “I want to live in Japan” and yet I kept on imagining how sad I would be if i got a rejection letter from the JET program. Well despite having one of the best interviews ever, the rejection letter came just as I had perceived.

If I think “I have no money” I either get a nasty tax bill or I loose payment envelopes.

Lately I have been focusing my thoughts on my up-and-coming move to San Francisco. One of the things people were always telling me was how difficult it is to find a job in SF, and how hard it would be for me. When I sought out the advice of a career councilor in the Bay Area, she basically told me that there is no hope for me to ever find a job in San Francisco while I am in Japan. My boss at my company in Japan (who is from SF) told me about how depressed a lot of the city is now that the economy is in shambles. I heard from friends who had sent out resume after resume with no luck whatsoever.

So what happend, I just keept on thinking “I have a great job in SF.” I needed a job in the Bay area so I could follow my ultimate goal of becoming a cheerleader for CheerSF. I needed a job which would pay me enough money to live and offer the flexibility I needed to be train and perform.

So last January I got a job. Not only did I get a job in the Bay area, but I got a dream job. I am a graphic designer working on Facebook applications. Not only that, my boss really sees a lot of value in me. She always is telling me “Val, you are going to be a great entrepreneur!” I have a great boss who is going to be an awesome mentor for me professionally, and I have a great team who is going to be awesome role models for me as I train to meet the physical demands of cheerleading.

Now let me tell you the best part, I got my job by thinking “I have a job!” I did not send out a single resume, nor did I respond to a single job posting. My boss contacted me and said “I want YOU” In fact, I had not even gotten around to updating my resume when she called!

The point is, what you think really does manifest to you. Like in my dance class, if I think I can do it, I hit the moves pretty well. If I think I can’t do this, then I can’t do it. It all depends on how I approach it in my mind.

The same hold true for whatever you may be doing. Your success depends 100% on what you are thinking. In language learning, I got really fluent at Japanese only after I stopped complaining at my apparent lack of progress and began thinking how good I am. I can understand quite a bit of French, and I enjoy it too. However I have heard many people in Japan tell me “I can’t speak English” time and time again. These are the people who NEVER get better. Those who simply learn to believe “I can indeed speek english” always drastically improve.

My friend Steve didn’t learn 11 languages by thinking it can’t be done. Nope, He also believes that it is possible to pick up any language. Most of his learning was done past the age of 45 too, and he is very good in all that he does.

and for me

Can I bee a cheerleader when I am around 30 years old

HECK YES! No doubt about it!!

Now to get the fire started up again and GO OUT AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Motto for 2011

This year, the year I am going to MAKE IT HAPPEN, has started off with me PUSHING forward.

Not only am I still managing to keep up with my health goals, my flexibility is just a little bit better, and my upper body strength is just a little bit stronger. Also my toe touch is just a bit higher than when I last videoed myself in November. I am improving, ever so slightly.

And that is the problem.. everything is still going slowly¥ (in my own opinion)

But I do wish for some faster improvement. So speed has become my number one concern for 2011.

Hence I have a new logo, Start Fast End Strong! I stole it from THIS awesome website which promotes 100 day challenges. Basically it is a coaching program designed to help change your life in 100 days. As soon as I get the money in the bank, I am going to try it out! I could use a coach’s push to get me through this VERY important time in my life.

Not only do I have to get ready for cheering, I have to get ready for my dream career and setting my entire life to where I need to go to MAKE IT HAPPEN. I am NOT going to make it happen by slowly idling… I have to START each day FAST and END each day strong.

One of the things I am doing is 100 designs in 100 days. I am going to finish 100 design projects (web pages, logos, advertisements, graphics, illustrations, etc) in 100 days.

And I am already done with 7 projects.

I even took a picture of my AWESOME cheer shoes

So if anybody in the SF Bay area is looking for an enthusiastic, sassy, cheering graphic designer, drop me a line!!

New Years Resolution to loose weight?– how to MAKE IT HAPPEN

The tradition of making New Years Resolutions began nearly 4000 years ago with some ancient Babylonian thinking “now might be a good time about time to return this hammer to Laqip.” But I am sure, like that shovel that was in my dad’s garage for many years, the tools probably never made it back to their original owner. Little did they know, the ancient Babylonians would be setting up a timeless system of yearly demonstrating the ability of human failure.

According to psychologist, a whopping 78% of New Years Resolutions are doomed to failure.

You would think that within 4000 years of human history, we would have figured out how to make our resolutions work for us, instead of leading to failure (bring with it all the psychological stress related to not accomplishing your goal).

So why do we continue making New Years Resolutions when we have a 78% chance that they will fail. Call it the newness of the new year or the feeling of getting a chance to start over again. However soon after the ball has dropped, and the confetti has been cleaned up, the motivation to do something new with your life soon dies down. Thus we return to old, comfortable habits.

Now this is particularly true with resolutions dealing with health and fitness. This also happens to be an area where I have some knowhow.

As someone who has lost nearly 70 pounds (in 7 years, 20 or them within the last year) and has gotten a lot more fit than where she was last year at this time, I think I have a thing or two to contribute.

Weight loss and fitness do go hand-in-hand, and you CAN achieve both as I have.

However there is a wrong way of going at it, and most people take this wrong way.

If you goal is to simply “loose 20 pounds” you will fall into the 78% of failures. I don’t care how often you do sit ups, starve yourself and step on the scale, your 20 pounds will NOT come off. Even if you make a SMART goal (which I think ARE really awesome) there is still a rather good chance that you will not meet your weight goals.

In order to loose weight or get fit, you really should not say “I am going to loose 20 pounds” or “I am going to get fit.” Even if you do work out, you will find it boring. I have a friend from college who works out and hates every second of it. I ask him, “why are you working out if you hate it so much?” to which he grudgingly responds “I need to stay fit, and it sucks.”

Whereas I have another friend from college who always runs 10 miles to and from work, and just yesterday happily treaded through 4 miles of Colorado snow on her way home from work. Knowing her, she LOVED ever second of it, because she loves running for the sake of running and she has passion for the sport of marathon.

Ever since I have known her she has always been in top-notch condition. I seriously doubt she said “I want to get fit” or “I want to loose 20 pounds.” Like me, she has a sport she is passionate about and going for it because she loves it.

As for me, loosing weight was NEVER a goal for me, yet I lost 20 pounds in 2010. Getting fit was never a goal for me, yet I am the most fit I have ever been in my entire life. It was my LOVE for cheer (and the PCA) that drove me!

Here is the REAL secret to loosing weight or getting fit. It is not some fad diet or fad exercise. In fact, I believe you shouldn’t even focus on you weight, or getting fit. The real secret is LOVE. You need to FALL IN LOVE with an activity which in turn will cause you to loose weight or get fit.

I fell in love with cheerleading of all sports. Once I learned about the PCA and the fact that there are other adults who love this sport too, there was NO STOPPING ME (In fact, that was my song, Can’t Stop Me Now by Queen)! From that day forward every step I took, every kilo I ran, every weight I lifted, every minute I spent stretching was all for my love of the sport. Knowing that I COULD INDEED start cheerleading at nearly 30 years old made me push myself even more. I lost nearly 20 pounds as a result. I now have a 122 kilo (270 pound) leg press, and I am able to do full men’s style pushups for the first time in my life.

As a result, I am thinest I have been in years, and I am the strongest I have been in years. This was never my initial intent. My initial intent was, and still is, to become a fast and strong cheerleader, and cheer in the PCA.

So if you are wanting to loose weight or get fit this year, I recommend you really rethink your goals. Find an activity, something deep down inside of you that you have always wanted to do, and just GO FOR IT. It doesn’t matter WHAT the activity is. It could be to run a marathon, swim a kilo, or run a triathlon. It could be something totally crazy, like adult cheerleading.

It doesn’t matter what activity you decide to do, it just has to be something you LOVE to do. Every time you are training (running, lifting etc), just think about your activity. I mean, I run 5K three times a week with a big smile on my face. I am smiling and thinking about cheer with every weight I lift! Just do it because you love it! Challenge yourself to get better because you love it. Instead of calorie counting or stepping on the scale, think only about getting better in the sport you have learned to love.

If you do that, the weight WILL shed off, and the fitness will come. What you will get as a result is so much more rewarding than seeing a number on a scale. I can’t even put into words how my push to become a cheerleader has changed my life in the last 6 months. Not only am I a healthy weight, I have also developed a lot of healthy habits. Furthermore I am so much happier in my everyday life. I don’t get upset or angry over small things anymore. I keep on smiling, and I can’t stop. My relationships with my friends and clients have become so much better. Overall I am so much better in every manner of my life due to the pursuit of my dream to cheer.

In closing, I hope that you too will decide to make a smart New Years Resolution to take up a sport or activity that you have always wanted to do. It doesn’t matter how bad you may think yourself to be. Trust me, I am NOT the most experienced cheerleader by far. However if you keep on pushing yourself, keep at it, you will get better Then you will know that this year, you managed to not only keep your resolution but changed your life for the better.

So go out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN because you LOVE IT!!

YEAH!! I DID IT!!!

ALL RIGHT!!!

So today thanks to Mrs. Koshida, Mr. Akiyama, Yoshi and Yoko, I was able to sell the last 4 of my postcards!! In total, I made $90 from world wide donations and 22,540 yen in Japan. With the exchange rate, this brings it up to around $360!

I have never once in my life raised this much money for a charity, and it feels AWESOME! My original goal was $250… so to manage to collect $360 from all the kind people out there in the world who chipped in and gave their part really makes me feel humble. I am really really humbled by everybody and their extreme kindness and support, which made this simple little fun fundraising idea effective.

After the donation is made, I will write a formal thank you letter to everybody and post it on this blog :)

The bake-sale didn’t bring in too much money, mostly because 1) I was feeling a little under the weather, and nobody wanted cookies from a sick person, and 2) I was so happy that I was so successful with the postcards, I felt like just giving out my cookies at a thank you. I was already happy with what I had received… and all my cookies vanished today at the International Friendship association’s party!

But I think In the spring I will try another bake-sale with a variety of cookies. Something around Valentines day perhaps?

Back to cheerleading

So my next goal. I learned today that the International Friendship Association here in town will be holding a party on March 1st to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. They will be having international music and dances. Well I was asked to play Irish music, like always (hopefully I can find some friends to play with me). I though this would be the perfect venue to perform some cheer for all my friends here in Japan. So I will also be performing a cheer dance/chant at the event. Granted I will be alone, but it will give me something to shoot for for the next few months. Plus it may help me with my toe touch (which is getting better, slowly and surely). So now I have a new goal for the next few months… and I guess I need to practice practice practice!

Wow! Awesome!!

Wow! This is cool!!
So RobDiVo, the really cool tumbler whose awesome video I posted a few days ago, he subscribed to my videos on youtube o_O I don’t know if he will watch my videos or not, but I am really thrilled to have a professional competitive all-star cheerleader follow little old me! Granted my cheer/dance skill is at a beginner youth camp level, is is a great gester of him to do such a thing.

Ok, so I will embed is latest training video…
I want everybody to catch what he says after every set.

one more one more one more.

Too many people think doing things once is enough. nope! you have to do it time and time and time again!!

anyway, I have to get some things done before jazz dance tonight (like practice some chants)

here is a video I made for you on goal! now just go out there and make it happen!!

How to REALLY make your goals happen!

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. ~Les Brown

We all have been told that we HAVE to set goals in order to successful o in life. Set goals set goals set goals. When I a was in middle school and high school, I was often preached to about the power of goals, and what they can do for you life.

Well, as anybody who has ever made a new years resolution knows, setting goals and actually making them happen are two completely different things

I have plenty of examples of where I have not accomplished my goal. Let us take cheerleading for example. It was always something I kind of found to be cute. When I was a little kid I would go to high school football games and I knew I wanted to be 1) in the marching band. 2) a cheerleader.

Well, when I was in High school, Marching band was the way to go for me. now I LOVE marching band, and I always will! It was my saving grace, especially at my University.
But my dream to cheer was still always on that back burner.

Then when I was about 20, I kind of realized, maybe I could do it. It kind of got me moving a bit. It got me walking. But my general hatred I had for myself and my body took the best of me. Therefore I was unable to even get started.

Now, I am making it happen. I know how to set and follow goals and make them happen. and I will share that with you now.

1) make your dreams big and your goals small

Anybody who has been reading my blog KNOWS I am a big dreamer! I mean, I am shooting for the moon here, literally. If you know where I am now, you would understand. And yes, I think about this dream now every waking moment. You can not stop thinking about your over-all dream. Keep it in your mind 24-7.

Dreams are important, but as I said, dreams are NOT goals. The purpose of a dream is to push you to fulfill your goals every single day! Your goals need to be your baby steps! In fact, I think daily goals are much more effective than long-tearm goals.

So keep your goals bit sized, and manageable, and keep your dreams large and uncontrollable!

2) SMART goals

SMART goals are the way to go! A SMART goal is:

S Specific: The more details you have the better! For example:

bad goal: Today I am going to exercise.

Specific goal: Today I am going to do my sit up, push ups, planks, leg lifts and bicycles. Then I am going to do 5 sets of 10 reps of curls, lateral lifts and dead lifts with my free weights. Then I am going to practice dance and chants for an hours. Then I am going to flex..

M Manageable: Don’t bight off more than you can chew! You don’t want to do beginner french by reading Victor Hugo.

A Attainable: Is this a goal you can really somehow get done.

R Realistic: If you goal is to jump out of an airplane without a parachute, and live… you may have to think again

T Timely: THE MOST important part of a SMART goal. SET a time, and make the time SHORT! You are more likely to follow realistic DAILY and WEEKLY goals than monthly goals that may be a bit too much for you. In fact, I am a big fan of the Daily goal!! I think that is really how your dreams are MADE. Even hourly goals are great.

3) Make your goals Performance based, NOT results based.

This is what i have to do with my stretching. So I want to do a dance split and a center split. This are some goals I have. But If I think “my goal is to be able to do a center split” I am NOT going to do it.

here is a better goal: “My goal for today is to do dynamic leg kicks, dynamic lunges, hurdlers, butterflies, and wall stretches.” I know if I do these stretches everyday, I will one day be able to do a center split. SO if i focus on these performance aspects, i will get results. If i focus only on results, I will get nothing.

OK, so here is the run-down of how to MAKE your dreams come true

1) Dream Big, Goal Small!
2) Make SMART goals!
3) Performance over results.

If you do these three little simple things, you dreams WILL come true!!!

I guess I am glad to know that there are some crazy people in my old high school. This was taken last year! Yeah! Go Wolves! But he should really learn the same moves as the cheerleaders. Then he would be awesome. That is why the cheerleaders are better than the football players.

Ahhh this brings back memories…. and now that I think about it, i could have probably cheered.

BUT the BAND and the BEER SONG will always rule my University… MUCH more spirit :P

BUT now looking back to the Past, when I have everything lined up for the future!!! San Francisco is looking really sweet about now!

Crawling up, inch by inch!

Awareness without action is worthless.
~~Phil McGraw

Awareness! I have learned that you can NOT DO ANYTHING without awareness! If I was unaware of my body slowly getting stronger through my running, I would have not set out on the road to follow my very long running dream of cheering. If I was not aware of the fact that I CAN do it, I would never have started.

If you are not aware that you are in a bad situation, you can not get out. If you are not aware of what you are doing wrong, you can not fix it. If you are not aware of how awesome you truly are (and I mean ALL of you) you will continue to loath in self-pity.

Awareness is incredibly important for you follow your goals. You need to be aware of your goal, aware of what it takes for you to get there and aware of where you are at!

But Awareness is just the first step. After Awareness, you NEED to take action to get there!

So here is my situation. I feel like I am at the very bottom of Challenger Deep. My goal of Cheering for CheerSF is well beyond the summet of Mt. Everest.

I am aware of where I am, and I am aware of where my goal is.

What I do is just pump myself up inch by inch by inch by inch and just GO FOR IT despite all odds! I am taking action and moving myself everyday towards getting this goal, and I know I will make it if I just KEEP ON GOING!! That is how you accomplish ANYTHING. You find out where you are, you find out where you need to go and you just GO FOR IT and don’t ever stop!

So today I went to the city gym and went around all the machines doing a minimum of 3 sets of 15 revs of all the machines. I also worked the barbell machine and got some great lifting in. I was sweating burning as I was pumping myself up and getting just a little bit more stronger. I guess I was there for almost 2 hours!

And what was I thinking durring this great workout… “Wow, I look really sharp in black and red!”

Yeah! that’s what I am talking about!

And now it is time for me to continue pumping.. I have some flexing and dancing I want to get done… Along with pushups and sit ups and other ab workouts!

It is time for YOU to continue pumping it up!! So I will leave you with this great song to help you along the way as YOU inch towards YOUR GOAL! GOOD LUCK and KEEP ON INCHING towards your goal!!

OR better yet!! Just watch PULP FICTION again

after work… your tired..

Most people know the feeling… coming home from work feeling exhausted. You just want to lounge around, surf the net, watch TV, play on facebook.

Yeah I know that feeling very well.
I didn’t really get home until 9:00 PM. I was sleepy, and worn out after a hard days work.

But I still managed to get 90 min of working out in! 45 min of flexing, 45 min of strength training!

How did I do it.

Well I make sure I have some good music playing, and then I watched a few videos of the PCA, and that gave me enough motivation to push.

So yes, always always keep your goal in site… and if you are tired, then you need to constantly remind yourself of your goal. Post picture of your goal around the wall, watch videos, do whatever… just keep it with you 24 hours a day and you will find a way to make it

good workout today

Diet report: I did it on twitter so i could remember! here it is again
Breakfast: 1 slice of toast, tiny bowl of granola and a banana
Lunch: salad, egg sandwich and a soy bar. and a cup of coffee with cream and no sugar
dinner: i finished off my pumpkin soup, and had a banana. Now it is time to beging working out!
lotta veggies!!

Work out:
45 min of flexibility, plus I worked on some of the yoga moves i learned!!
45 min of strength training including the abs and arms. I managed to increase my planking to 1min 45 seconds! yeah! even though I was tired, i did it!!! I also hit my arms pretty welll

Good luck with your goals too!!

Dont stop believing

Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.
~~Mary Kay Ash

In whatever you endeavor to do in life, true success is rooted in your ability to believe in yourself. To often, we limit ourselves by believing that we are unable to do this or to do that. We tell ourselves, “I wish I could..” “I would love to be able to… but …”

Why are we constantly limiting ourselves like this?

I have discovered that the human body and human mind are absolutely amazing ability to grow and become strong. Personally I have become so much stronger physically and mentally, and it is all rooted in my strong belief that I can get my body in shape to meet the physical demands of cheerleading. Mentally, I have been on a natural high everyday! I am so much happier just knowing and believing without any doubt whatsoever that I truly possess the ability to fulfill my dreams, no matter how impossible they may appear to be at face value.

I also believe that it is equally important to believe in the abilities of other people, especially if they don’t believe in you. Take, for example, my coworkers who are avidly refusing to believe in my cheer dream. Well, they can believe what they want, but I am not going to tell them there is no way they can accomplish their dreams. They are good people, and I believe that if they follow their dream and push push push, they can accomplish their goals.
I want them to follow their dreams as much as I am following my own. Even if they wont believe in me, I will continue to cheer them on. And this invitation is open to anybody and everybody.

Let me just share with you some examples of people who never stopped believing.
Just today I learned that my friend Joyce was selected as a model for H.Naoto
And here she is. She was one of only a few people selected to model, and I do believe this was her first time (I am not certain though)

What about my father. A few years ago he suffered a massive heart attack. The nurses at the hospital told my mother that my father suffered what they call a “widow maker” heart attack. It was so big he should have died that day. But my father, being as cool as he is, DROVE HIMSELF to the hospital and checked himself in while suffering a heart attack that could have killed an elephant! That still floors me even today (and my dad is healthier today).

And one more store about believe. Do you know the story of Morris Goodman, the miracle man. His story is amazing beyond belief! When he was 35 years old, he crashed his prop plane and broke his neck and crushed his spine. Every major muscle in his body was destroyed, and the only thing he could do is blink his eye. He couldn’t perform any bodily function (breath, eat) and the doctors said he as basically dead. But he still had the ability to think. It was through is beliefs in his ability, his courage and his faith in god, he was able to learn to breath again. He progressed millimeter by millimeter, and pushed himself everyday. Despite the doctors telling him that his goals were impossible, he was able to walk out of the hospital on his own two feet by christmas of that year!

So I would like to leave you with one of my favorite songs of all time. Don’t Stop Believing!

FOCUS

Focus.

Focus, and focus hard.

That is the secret of accomplishing your goals.

You have to see it in your head all the time

You have to feel it with all your heart

You have to be so focused that you already feel it to be be true!

You must turn your “I want to” or “I’m going to” into “I am”

and that kind of focus will see you though.

That is how I have achieved all my goals so far, and that is how I plan to join the PCA
I focus on it all the time. I not only focus on the goal, but I focus on the ultimate reason. To help people. I don’t stop at “I am going to make it!”

I put it in this perspective:
(this was what I was thinking during my killer plank today)
I must hold on
I must focus
I must get STRONG
I must get stronger so that the team is stronger
If I get better, the team is better
If the team is stronger and better, the more money they can collect.
The more money they collect, the more people with HIV/Aids and other terminal illness they can help

and that is how I focus to push myself through my daily training.

I am also more focused at doing a better job at work. Since I am a designer/illustrator, I illustrated a nice little poster for my blog. I made it all rainbowish because that is what the PCA is all about, Equal rights for LGBT people and breaking though stereotypes. I value what they fight for, and I value the Pride of the PCA. SO I had to make this poster like this


Dream2Cheer by ~jyoshikousei16 on deviantART

I still think it is Cute how ME and my dear dear friend Yukari are cheering like that :)

I kind of like the bright colors of the rainbow. I normally work in pastels, so bold colors were a great change! Oh, it looks better on my personal design page

Anyway, reports for today
Workout:
a lot of stretching in the morning, followed by some weight training and ab workouts. I even do week 3 day 2 of the 100 pushup plan and week 2 day 2 of the sit up plan! Ending it off with a 90 second plank was great! I made it! At night I ran my 5-6K!

Diet:
Breakfast: carrot soup and eggs (there was nothing else in the kitchen)
Lunch: toast and granola (for my running) I also snacked on a peach and cantaloupe throughout the day
Dinner: carrot soup and a slice of salmon!
Desert: Ok, Tomoko had to get me a birthday cake. She found a nice little cake with a macaron on top!!! I love macarons!!! Tomoko knows I am training, so it was a small piece of cake.
I also had 1 chocolate Brazilian nut (because it was a gift :/ i tell people to stop giving me chocolate all the time.. but….)

Focus and determination, stronger than ever!