Doing things in an efficient way is important. None of us want to waste time on a task. As we pointed out in last month’s blog post, our time is extremely valuable!
But in this age of life-hacks and shortcuts, we often substitute hard work for convenience.
To further accentuate this point, Navy Seal and Ultra-Athlete David Goggins says this in his book Can’t Hurt Me:
As David stresses over and over in his book, the process and struggle of learning, failing, and spending time bettering yourself is much more important than any easy-button outcome.
We should look to move beyond the life hack and instead embrace the challenges that come our way.
Sure, if you can do something quicker without sacrificing the quality of your work, then do so. Sometimes just focusing on a task deeply is all it takes to halve the completion time of a task.
But for things like fitness, groundbreaking professional work, or even mastery of a skill, there is no such thing as a shortcut or life-hack that will make you instantaneously achieve your goals.
Yes, there are things you can speed up through deep focus, but sometimes you should remember that all good things take time.
If you want to master more skills, learn more, be healthier, become a better person, and achieve more within your life, you need to move beyond the life-hack.
To master anything requires ample time. We need time to make mistakes, learn from them, alter our perception, smooth out the nuances of our craft, receive and integrate constructive feedback, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Robert Greene wrote a book on mastery. In it he says this about this about the subject:
This is eloquently put, and it accurately describes the spirit of our times. Because we expect so much in so little time, we rarely devote the time necessary to achieve a deep set of skills.
But this does not mean that if we work on something 12 hours a day, we can shortcut our way towards mastery.
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000 hours rule--that is, it takes about 10,000 hours of marketing, writing, playing basketball, or whatever, to truly master a skill.
The science behind the concept is iffy, but assuming there is some truth to it, it really does takes a long time to get good at something.
There is no program that can accelerate your learning and your success a hundredfold. There is only good, old-fashioned work combined with a lot of drive and focus. There are no considerable shortcuts to take!
This could be applied to not only artistry or professional work, but also fitness as well. So often the emphasis is placed on achieving a six pack in 6 weeks, or losing 50 pounds in a month via a juice cleanse.
What is lost by taking shortcuts is the discipline, the patience, the toughness, resolve, and skill that is required for successfully maintaining physical wellbeing.
And it’s no mystery why so many diets and fitness fads never work.
When you look to find shortcuts for fitness and weight loss, you are skipping the grueling months of hard work. Without the discipline to keep the weight off, you will gain it back. Without the consistency and persistence of going to regular workouts, you will quickly lose interest.
Think long term when it comes to fitness and achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Yes, deadlifting 600 pounds is an amazing goal to have, but getting constantly injured and losing progress because you are trying to leapfrog the required time for strength is a recipe for failure.
Take your time! It’s funny if you think about it, but you actually save time if you take your time. This is contrasted with wasting time trying to take shortcuts. Sometimes you have to slow down in order to speed up.
Finding a shortcut through town is one thing, but when it comes to your life and potential, there are are no substitutions for the fundamentals of hard work.
Practice these and keep the message of this blog post to heart. And remember, you are only short-changing yourself if you take shortcuts!
Gear up for Summer with These Simple Changes to Your Diet
Living a healthier lifestyle does not have to mean making major changes or depriving yourself of the things you love. Bigger does not always mean better, especially when it comes to your health. Too many changes at once can seem overwhelming, unattainable and you may feel tempted to revert to old habits. It’s about making small, simple changes that are manageable and maintaining those changes until it eventually becomes a habit.
Here are some easy tips that can help you achieve a healthier you for the fast approaching summer.
Planning your meals ahead of time is one of the easiest ways to help stay on track from week to week. Packing lunches for the week saves time in the morning, especially if you are always on the go.
Put a few chicken breasts or pulled pork in the crockpot on Sunday and use the meat to create different meals throughout the week. This also goes for snacks – pre-cutting fruits and vegetables or setting out protein packed snacks the night before, such as non-fat Greek yogurt, will decrease mindless eating and will help keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Looking for a simple crockpot recipe for a protein packed lunch? Try Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Cilantro Lime Quinoa!
Let’s not forget the most important meal of the day – breakfast. Easy, grab & go options for breakfast will set you up for success in the morning and keep you on track until lunch time. Veggie Egg White Muffins are super quick and simple to meal prep. Overnight oats or nutrient dense smoothies are also easy to prep ahead and take little to no time. Traditional hard-boiled eggs is another simple food to prep ahead and can be added to any meal or snack to get a little extra protein.
It is important to stay hydrated, especially now that the warmer months will soon be upon us. Hotter temperatures cause you to sweat at a higher rate, which results in water loss.
We all know water is essential for many important processes in the body. Having a reusable water bottle on hand will make drinking water more convenient. You will be more likely to consume more water if it is always within reach.
More consumption of water throughout the day will increase your sense of fullness and decrease overeating at meal times.
Sugary beverages, such as fruit juice and soda, are full of empty calories and will only leave you bloated and not feeling your best. Don’t drink your calories, and limit sugary beverages if you can.
Add fresh fruit and herbs, such as lemon and mint, to your water bottle for a refreshing and flavorful substitute. If it is the carbonation you are missing, opt for a natural flavored seltzer. Fresh fruit and herbs are also great when making cocktails at home to add flavor and sweetness without all the sugary calories. Replacing syrupy cocktail mixers with flavored seltzer or kombucha will also help cut down on the sugar.
The key to a balanced and wholesome meal: make half of your plate vegetables! Put vegetables as the main star of your dish, or add vegetables to meals you wouldn’t normally such as an omelet or on your favorite sandwich.
One of the simplest meals to prepare if you are lacking on the vegetable front for the week is a lean-meat burger or veggie burger, instead of using a bun, put the burger on top of veggies and greens. Incorporating veggies in each meal will not only add color for a more appealing dish but will also fill you up and decrease the chances of going back for seconds or indulging in dessert.
All good things come to those who wait. Be patient and trust the process. Incorporate these healthful tips to a better you and these changes will become a part of your daily routine before you know it.
Summer never looked so good on you ?
What are some of your best tricks to stay on track and prepare for summer? Comment and share below!
Time is Your Most Valuable Asset
Author H. Jackson Brown Jr. said that we all have the same amount of hours per day as Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Helen Keller had. And it’s true!
Our excuses for not having enough time are laughable when compared to individuals who have achieved an immense amount within the same parameters. Yet, it’s so easy to grow complacent and convince ourselves that we’re far too busy to achieve just as much as other individuals!
Most of the time, if we would just minimize our daily distractions, focus, turn off the email and social media for a few hours a day, and get to work, we would have more time than we knew what to do with.
Because time is your most precious resource, minimizing the ‘time-wasters’ in your life is absolutely essential.
Let’s look at some of the most prominent things we do that wastes our time.
Social media marketing is a great tool for growing your business, spreading your message, and growing a community around your vision. But spending too much time on your social media feeds can quickly become a problem.
I think we all subscribe to the sentiment that social media in excess is a waste of time. And yes, it can be an absolutely powerful tool for communication and connection, but so many of us wonder where our days go despite habits of checking our social media profiles a few times every hour.
Now don’t get me wrong, I too can get caught up scrolling through a news feed here and there. However, allowing social media to consume your life can be a tad bit overboard. In fact, most people don’t even know that they’re doing it!
If we tally up our daily time spent on social media, we might be shocked. This resource says that on average, 142 minutes a day is spent on social media sites.
Because it’s easy to fall victim to autopilot and the internet’s many clickable distractions, we have to limit ourselves from spending too much time online. Try unplugging for 24 hours. It can be quite invigorating, and I promise, you’re going to survive without it!
Forcing ourselves to not habitually check social media means that we have extra time to hit daily workouts. It also means we can spend time on those projects we never seem to have the energy for. And cultivating discipline towards time management contributes to productivity and less procrastination.
We need to approach our daily tasks with a focused mind. If not, we are bound to spend twice the amount of time on a task than necessary.
Instead of drifting through a workweek, we need to make every minute count. Instead of multitasking and taking our attention to a hundred different places in any given day, we can focus on 2-3 tasks instead.
Now, we all know the dangers of procrastination. As the information on that webpage shows, breaking down a task into smaller sections and putting aside interruptions is key for keeping ourselves focused on what we need to accomplish.
So, instead of avoiding work because it is difficult or makes us uncomfortable, we can learn to break down a formidable task into smaller sections and then force ourselves to finish, no matter what.
You can also try reverse engineering a task to save time. This means you can find the solution to your problem first, that you can determine from the outcome how to tackle a problem and figure out the process. Sometimes working backwards can save you a lot of time!
These strategies for saving time are not easy to practice though! It takes a lot of vigilance and self-accountability to make sure you are forcing yourself to focus. This is also where having team members, friends, mentors, family members, significant others, personal trainers, can keep you on track.
In that sense, consider setting up a system where the important people in your life are also keeping you accountable for the things you want to accomplish. There is strength in numbers!
Also, consider a “will do list”. It will help hold you accountable and at the end of the day when you review. And plus, it’s a great feeling to cross each individual item off your list!
Of course we are going to stress about the future. We are always going to be anxious about something. It’s perfectly normal to worry about finances or our health. It’s also just as normal to fixate on past mistakes as a sort of prophetic look into the future.
I used to have severe anxiety stressing over the future, and to this day, it is personally the hardest thing not to get caught up in. Always feeling like you’re not doing enough is a very common element of being an entrepreneur, so I have my hands full with that on a daily basis!
Not such a great way to spend your life though, when you think about it. Nor is it a productive use of time!
Again, we want to maximize the hours of our life. This means that when we go to bed, we get deep, restorative sleep. If we are up late into the night, worrying about the future and unable to relax, then your work will suffer. This will then start a vicious cycle!
So, this doesn’t mean that we should just wish away our worries. That too is a waste of time!
The point is to actively pay attention to the time you spend worrying. Often time all you need to do is ask yourself: “Am I really being productive right now? Am I wasting precious time I’ll never get back?”
When considering our anxieties about the future, we need to look no further than the padre of positive thinking, Napoleon Hill. In his famous book, Think and Grow Rich, Hill points out this brilliant insight:
This idea is alarming when applied to our worries about the future. It is not only a waste of time, but it is also harmful because our thoughts have the power to dictate the way we perceive and interact with the world.
Minimize this worry means we have more time to use to enrich our lives, and to learn to positively perceive the world (and even teach others to do the same!).
Easier said than done for those with severe anxiety of course! But if you can help it, quit wasting your time by worrying about the future!
Very briefly, when considering our fixations on the past, you need to remember there really is no point crying over spilt milk. No matter how commonplace that sounds, it is essential for maximizing the amount of time you have at your disposal.
If worrying about the future does not make sense after you have analyzed all the time you spend doing so, then by extension, why would regretting the past do any good as well?
Instead, of worrying and wasting our time fragmenting our attention in a thousand different places every day, let’s see what we can do with the time we have NOW, in the present moment, fully focused and ready to take the world by storm...in a good way of course!
We should follow these steps to ensure our time is being used to its maximum potential:
Track and then limit your social media usage every day. If you are using it to boost your influence, to market, or as a means for social outreach, then yes, you should spend a little time every day on each platform. But the next time you reach the end of your day wondering where the time went, look to social media first.
Recruit accountability partners. Whomever you decide to recruit, make sure they are holding you accountable to your weekly goals. This takes a bit of honesty and courage to openly admit to others the areas that you get distracted, but with their help, and your own rock solid resolve, you’d be surprised how much time you really have every day.
Keep focused and stay the course. The next time you are tempted to split up a task into a multiple day endeavor, see if you can actually finish it within one. Don’t underestimate your ability to get ‘in the zone’ and do some really good work in one attempt. This saves up a lot of time where you have to work yourself into a state of focus throughout a multiple-day timeframe.
Try to focus on the present moment. Worrying about the future and fixating on the past is inevitable. But to actively seek to minimize the time we spend in those states is a always a good use of energy. To be sure, where we can do the most good is in the present moment, where we can look to become as engaged as possible.
Don’t waste time complaining! You might have falling into the habit of complaining about every little thing that comes your way. This a form of avoidance. Instead, actively fixing the problems that come your way is much more productive than passively complaining about them.
Plan accordingly and practice self-reflection: If you find yourself not getting as much done as you want during the day, spending the time to self-reflect on your day and measure the effectiveness of how you spent your time is essential for saving time.
So, with this information at your fingertips, the choice is yours to invest your time wisely!
Sometimes in our culture, positivity gets a bad rap. Somewhere along the way we started equating positivity with naiveté, as if the only way to be perceived as intelligent, experienced, or successful, is to be a cynical or pessimistic person.
Here’s the thing though: That type of thinking is complete nonsense!
In fact, success and happiness are not mutually exclusive. What if I told you that positivity could be the wellspring from which all of your strength lies. That despite modern perceptions of positivity, it is actually far more likely you’ll get ahead if you cultivate optimistic habits in your life.
So you can either let someone else tell you the type of story you need to write for yourself--from a place of cynicism and negativity--or you can draw from the words of author Ryan Holiday when he says:
“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”
In this way, we can choose frame our decisions, outlook, and overall disposition from a place of positivity. It is wholeheartedly our choice!
Now, it is a fact that human beings have learned to looked at the world through negativity biases for millenia now. And this tendency towards negativity has a lot to do with the anatomy of our brains--which will process a negative input much quicker than a positive one due to the part of the brain called the amygdala (that famous fight-or-flight area).
But if we know that we’re hard-wired to be negative, we can fight against it.
The more we know this fact about ourselves and pay attention to our tendency towards negativity, the more we can stop and deliberately work to turn our thoughts positive.
As is suggested by the best-selling book The Secret, there’s a lot of good that can come from actively focusing your thoughts on a positive outcome, instead of dwelling on the negatives that occur.
“There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstances of your life can change!” - Rhonda Byrne (The Secret)
Instead of letting the negatives take over your brain and override your decision-making process, confidence, and ambitions, you can drastically improve the quality of your life by balancing the negatives with the far more powerful positives!
If we let our natural tendency towards negativity take over our brains, we run the risk of never really striving for greater things.
Embarrassment is a negative emotion; failure has very negative connotations that can prevent us from even trying in the first place; fear is a very negative sensation. The list goes on!
When considering how negativity prevents us from knowing our full potential, there’s an apt quote to remember:
“Someone once told me the definition of hell; on your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.”
Because we are often chronically self-critical and many of us suffer from impostor syndrome, we all run the risk of continually meeting the person we could have become in life. We need to prevent this from happening by actively cultivating positivity in our professional and personal lives.
Here are a few simple tips for doing so.
To truly practice positivity in your life, there are many things you can do. Some of the most crucial are the following:
1. Frame negative emotions like fear, failure, embarrassment, and stress, in a positive way. This means that if we are afraid about a particular life decision, it’s more than likely just our brain activating its self-defense system. That’s all. Remember that if you are nervous, it just means that you care. So, if you can learn to welcome uncomfortable feelings as a necessary step towards succeeding, than you will ultimately be a much more positive person.
2. Acknowledge and recognize others. There’s nothing like a little gratitude and praise to help your team members, friends, or spouse, feel a positive emotion. And through this habit you can start to experience life in a much more positive light because. Focus on the positives and you’ll become positive.
3. Remember the words of Napoleon Hill: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Your failures do not define you but are actually blessings in disguise.
4. Don’t let others bring you down. By standing on guard and choosing to be positive, even when everyone surrounding you is not, you are actively expressing a desire for positivity. Often times you can lead by example, and those around you will look to you for leadership and guidance.
With all of this said, you don’t have to embrace negativity to be a successful person. You don’t have to substitute being nice with working hard. And you can have a positive outlook on life and be wildly more successful than those who don’t care for others’ wellbeing.
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The Reality of Impostor Syndrome: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/real-women/201809/the-reality-imposter-syndrome
Are You Afraid of Success?
A fear of success might sound counterintuitive, but it’s very common, and it doesn’t have to consume your life.
It’s simple. A lot of us are qualified, capable, and driven enough to keep learning and furthering our skills, but a fear of the unknown paralyzes us whenever opportunities present themselves.
Maybe your reasons for not starting a business or pursuing a career path that interests you are completely justified though.
It could be that you have worked really hard at striking a healthy balance between work and time with family, and a new position threatens to take that away from you.
Or maybe you are just unsure of the next move to make. That’s pretty normal after all.
This is where you need to be really honest with yourself and ask the hard questions like:
Is my decision not to pursue my passion in [insert job title here] the result of fear in one of its many forms?
Am I willing to be miserable in the known versus momentarily terrified in the unknown?
Am I afraid that this position will show me how little I actually know about my profession?
Am I afraid of working hard? I mean, to be successful one has to work hard after all.
The point is this: be extremely honest with yourself and ask the questions that you need to ask to break yourself out of self-deception mode.
Oh yeah, and one more thing...quit trying to control what you can’t control, already!
Don’t Stress About What You Can’t Control
First of all, let’s assume your passion in life is something that you can’t really control. You have interests and passions that were cultivated by myriad genetic and environmental factors, and you couldn’t turn those interests off if you wanted to (why would you want to!?)
In that sense, why fight them? Why purposefully move away from what you love to do? Why not follow that stream and see where it takes you?
Yes, financial reasons. Yes, circumstances and responsibilities and family and friends...those are all extremely valid things to consider.
But let’s say you have decided you’re miserable where you’re at. You are financially stable enough and ready to move. Yet you are too terrified to surrender to the unknown because it makes you uncomfortable...it’s something that you can’t control.
My advice is to let yourself relinquish control. Stop trying to have a neat explanation and answer to every little outcome and just follow your passion. Use your passion as an example, a guiding light that you can lean on whenever you’re terrified and life throws obstacles your way.
Once you’re ready and have the means, there’s no excuse. It takes practice and courage on a continual basis, but you’ll eventually get comfortable with not being in control.
Beating Impostor Syndrome
Impostor syndrome is that voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough for a promotion or position. Or that at any moment someone is going to stand up at a meeting and point to you, loudly proclaiming that you have been pretending to work since day one and that you don’t belong with the organization.
Paradoxically, it is often the smartest, most talented people who suffer from impostor syndrome.
This doesn’t meant that you aren’t capable or talented if you don’t suffer from impostor syndrome though! Chances are you have learned the self-confidence and perspective needed to quiet the harmful inner-monologue that often runs rampant with negativity.
But for those who are still having a hard time quieting the self-doubt, just recognize it and understand that you hold yourself to a very high standard. This makes you better at your job but also means you are harsh towards yourself.
Keep the intensity that makes you such a hard worker, but at the same time, go easy on yourself and trust that you’re qualified to do what you do. A lot of people are faking it until they make it anyways! Cut yourself some slack.
And speaking of hard work. You really do need to work hard to be successful. And if the prospect of working intensely scares you, that is a very real reason why you are afraid to succeed. Because success often equates to hard work.
Hard Work: Get Used to It!
Yes, even your favorite activity in the world will feel like work. That quote about finding what you love to do and never working a day in your life is a nice sentiment, but not quite correct.
And that’s completely fine!
But telling yourself that one day you’ll find the time to get around to writing that novel or owning your own business is just you avoiding what you could have already started yesterday (most likely at least!).
Most people are just afraid of working hard. Don't’ be that person!
When it comes to your future, you need to invest the time and effort into it, whenever you have the free time to give (which is more often than you might be aware).
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There is almost nothing more important than defining a game plan for your fitness regimen, especially at the advent of a new year.
You need a roadmap, an outline, or frame of reference to fall back on. You will want to have clear-cut benchmarks to welcome in 2019; and by extension, you need to have goals to maintain focus.
But before anything is drawn up, questions need to be posed. More specifically, if you are buying a program online, having a personal trainer design a tailor-made schedule for you, or you are flying solo, you should first determine what your fitness goals are.
Let’s look a little further into determining specific fitness goals.
Determining just what exactly your fitness goals are can be a difficult question to answer. Most of us offer vague answers about wanting to become stronger and healthier. That much is obvious! But if pressed any further, we find it very difficult to articulate specific fitness goals. To alleviate the challenge of specificity, start broad and then narrow your objective.
Let’s say that you want to have healthier lungs this year. Your diet is good, your exercise regimen has been consistent, but you have slacked on cardiovascular conditioning. Logically, your next fitness goal is to strengthen your heart and lungs.
You have just determined a goal. Better lungs? Check! Stronger heart? Check!
You saw room for improvement, and so, you prioritized more cardio. Now, after determining your general goal, you need to narrow it enough to be effective.
If you tell yourself something general like, “I am going to run frequently for stronger lungs,” you are not establishing a fitness failsafe for yourself.
You might buy some great shoes, plan out your route, get up earlier before work, the whole nine yards. Eventually though, if your plan is not specific enough, you will probably grow bored and quit. A day, a week, a month later? If your goal is not focused, you are probably not challenged or stimulated enough to cultivate the necessary motivation to continue running regularly.
Narrowing it Down!
What if you tried to run a faster mile every week? Even more specifically, let’s say you wanted to run an 8-minute mile. That’s very doable! And now you have a target to hit, which means you are strengthening your lungs with more purpose, more oomph.
Yes, cardiovascular health is extremely important on its own, but without specific goals, it is hard to stay motivated. Training for an 8-minute mile--or dare I say, a marathon--can keep you effectively engaged.
And even better, this model can be repeated for other aspects of your fitness lifestyle: if you want to fit fit into smaller-sized clothes, that’s a very specific goal you can achieve with a healthier diet. Just telling yourself you will eat healthier is an absolutely great thing to tell yourself. Confidence is key! But will you follow through if you don’t have a specific goal in mind? Probably not.
With all of that in mind, being realistic about your goals is extremely important as well.
Most of us want six pack abs and chiseled features. That’s a specific objective and very important! Sometimes being too specific can be detrimental though. Instead, we should try to find a sweet spot between general and very focused goals.
If you want six pack abs, that’s a very admirable goal. Go get it done! But before you take the six pack plunge, assess how realistic the undertaking will be for you. If after you have assessed how realistic the goal and effort, you still think you can stay focused enough, then there is nothing stopping you.
But keep in mind that six packs are the product of low body fat percentage, just training your abs to death won’t give you the results you are looking for. A balanced diet and consistent workout regimen will get you closer to the desired six pack look than isolating the abs or focusing on abdominal work.
Just be realistic and find the sweet spot between being specificity and generality.
In summation, there is no one more qualified to keep you dialed-in than a personal trainer. When it comes to investing in yourself, you don’t want to take any chances. Especially if you are lost and having trouble determining what your fitness goals are, having an expert guide you and ask the right questions can make all of the difference.
Hire a personal trainer to make a routine, program, and give dietary advice. And remember to be realistic and specific with your goals. Stick to them and you’ll be so glad you did!
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It seems suspicious that New Year's resolutions never really pan out. We make well-laid plans to become new and improved people, but often our motivation bottoms out by the middle of February. What goes wrong? Why do our best intentions often fall short when implemented? There could be many different answers to these questions, but for the most part, the biggest two are these:
(1) We try to do everything ourselves, without help, and without a viable strategy for achieving our goals.
(2) We base our decisions on a New Year’s resolution instead of a strongly-held conviction or desire.
Be it quitting cigarettes, cutting out soda, or joining a gym and achieving your dream body, waiting until New Years to start acting on a fitness plan is a recipe for failure. Because so often we only try due to social pressures and an obligation to adhere to the typical resolution experience, we aren’t really wanting to change our lives. Instead, we are just going through the motions.
In response, one should get a jump on the process by joining the gym a month or two before New Years to beat the rush, as well as hire a personal trainer to make a strategic program for achieving your fitness goals.
Don’t go through the usual routine of loading up on calorie-dense foods during the holiday JUST because you are extremely sure you are going to stick to your fitness goals once the New Year hits. It is best not to take that chance!
It is much too easy to grow complacent and lose all motivation; having a personal trainer can help you get an early jumpstart on achieving your fitness goals before the New Years crowd. But first, it is important to motivate yourself enough to take the initiative.
Plain and simple, the holidays are the perfect time to get a jumpstart on your new diet and fitness program. It is a true test to pit yourself against tempting treats during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just think of how motivated you will be if you successfully stopped yourself from eating like you normally would around the holidays. And even if you fail, you still tried; that puts you at a much more positive position than going into the New Year’s cold instead of warmed-up.
Therein lies a huge part of successfully strategizing to achieve your health goals. 9 times out of 10, the motivation has to come from within yourself. And if you can successfully start your journey, without putting it off for another day, you will be that much more motivated to continue. Much more so than if you had waited until the New Years out of obligation, only to probably fall off the wagon just like the majority of gym-goers. And much more motivated to hire a personal trainer who will help you along the way.
By playing the long game, by setting ourselves up for success over hoping for the best when the New Year comes around, one can be considerably successful over the opposite position.
- Start small by getting yourself acclimated to changing your lifestyle. Don’t go “all-in” right away because you will run the risk of burning yourself out.
- Motivate yourself. Don’t let others influence your decisions completely. A desire for change has to come from deep inside you.
- Start early, get a jump on the Resolutioners by joining a gym and getting a personal trainer.
- Lastly, ditch the resolutions for good. You don’t need them anyways!
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The Path to Success is Rarely Linear
We all have hopes and aspirations; to be human is to strive for something. However large or small the feat, we are spurred by action to achieve our subjective successes. Unfortunately, though, a lot of us assume that our life will be a linear progression towards the realization of our dreams. We put in a ton of work, effort, and elbow grease, but sometimes the results are rather lackluster.
Disappointment can lead to discouragement, hopelessness, and frustration so palpable that dreams are abandoned for the safety net of settling for something with less risk and emotional recoil. And yes, no matter how much you deserve to succeed, no matter how much of your life you invested into a passion project, yourself, or your business, sometimes success is just not in the books at the moment.
But does this reality have to seem so bleak? Of course not! It might seem like it at the time, but these hardships are actually a blessing in disguise. We are meant to get a little lost, and we are definitely not forced to follow a linear trajectory to the fulfillment of our goals.
Can we take our losses in stride and actually use them in positive ways to strengthen our resolve and put us even closer to success? Yes, we most certainly can!
The reasons for why this is so important will be discussed below. Let's explore them!
When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take it
The baseball great Yogi Berra supposedly said this. But his humorous directional advice is actually really relevant in this context. If we see a fork in the road, don’t be paralyzed by the burden of choice: make a decision, commit to it, and understand that it might just be a detour in the grand scheme.
If the path doesn’t amount to much, that’s quite alright; plenty can be learned from taking the scenic route. And some have even found that the ‘wrong turns’ they made along the way actually altered the shape of the long-term goals. In this context, in the grand scheme of things, there are no ‘wrong turns’, just the inevitable detours along the way.
Now, if this sounds sort of cheesy and abstract, it kind of is, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of the principle. Hypothetically, most of us think that our dreams and goals are dangling in the distance, so close but so far away. We can see them, we can taste them, but the more we walk towards them they start to fade like a mirage. We run, we scream, we throw up our fists in aggravation, but the image fades every time. That’s alright!
Often, we just need to approach the goal from a different angle. We need to embrace the non-linear path by moving lateral moves.
Take the Scenic Route: Don’t be Afraid to go Sideways
As this heading implies, sometimes a lateral move is necessary to break through a plateau or to get back on the right track to success. And let’s face it: those sideways ventures can become some of the most life-changing and rewarding moments of one’s life.
With sideways moves, what first looked like an obstacle, actually becomes the perfect time to learn valuable lessons and to improve your overall resolve and character. Plus, it can get you out of your comfort zone. All one has to do is change their perceptions about what a detour in life can do for gaining experience and the necessary skills or resources needed to propel past whatever obstacle is in the way. And even sometimes you can skip the obstacle altogether and explore other routes as they present themselves.
Also, think about it this way: if you have a problem to tackle, you can try approaching it head-on. You can keep working at it, determination is a very important skill to cultivate after all. Or you can instead go around the obstacle that stands in your path and explore a new route. You can then approach whatever challenge that you are hung up on from a different angle. And often, what seemed scary and intimidating from the front, usually doesn’t look so bad from other vantage points.
But the biggest lesson to learn from all of this is that there are many options and pathways that will lead to your goals. Not always will they be linear: they will snake this way and that, deviate, bifurcate, twist, turn, tilt, and sometimes look as convoluted as a labyrinth. That’s just a part of the wonderful ride. Don’t be afraid to explore as many as you can. Even if that means backtracking a bit.
And yes, sometimes moving backwards is the only way forwards!
Take Your Losses in Stride: How to ‘Fail’ Productively While You Backtrack
There’s a reason why the word ‘fail’ is surrounded in quotes. When it comes to striving for greatness or trying to achieve goals, there is no such thing as ‘failing’. Any attempt, no matter how small or large is an automatic win. What you essentially did was you generated the courage, energy, or desire to achieve something that is important to you, and you put forth an honest effort. If you fell short of the mark, that’s completely fine. All that matters are that you tried and will try again.
While on your path in life, you will have to backtrack. You will run into dead-ends that require you to turn around and retrace your steps. Sometimes this can hurt. What looked like the right path was something else entirely. But you undoubtedly learned something along the way. Does it make sense to throw the whole experience away, to essentially chalk up your time spent as just a gigantic waste of time just because you failed? Absolutely not.
Instead of throwing away valuable opportunities, we can fail productively. We can take whatever path we walked, and whatever struggles we encountered on that path, and apply it to our lives in a productive manner. And maybe the next fork in the road that we take will be the right one. We can learn to recognize true paths from those that just appear to be the right directions to take. And most of all, we can learn to trust in the journey itself. No one said it would be easy. And like that well-worn statement of old says, “nothing worth having comes easy.”
If we can stay vigilant on our journey, be curious and not afraid to explore sideways, forwards, and backwards, we will find success in its many forms.
Action Steps and Reminders:
1. Success does not always follow a linear path: We will inevitably run into roadblocks and detours. Don’t let this derail your overall plans. Stay consistent and learn from your struggles whenever possible.
2. When you come to a fork in the road, take it: Understand you will have choices to make; instead of stressing or stalling out, make a choice, see where the path takes you, and make the necessary navigational moves.
3. Moving sideways is always an option: You can take the scenic route by going sideways; sometimes all your mind needs to solve a problem or to move past a plateau is a fresh perspective. A sideways direction can help with that.
4. Backtracking is completely fine: Forward progress is a myth more often than not. Remember, there is no such thing as failure, as long as you keep trying. Learn from your failures by failing productively. And do your best to reorient how you perceive failures in general. Human beings function on a trial-and-error basis; that’s just how we learn. We shouldn’t feel ashamed for trying and missing the mark. At least we tried.
[This blog post was partially inspired by The Obstacle is the Way, which was written by Ryan Holiday. Check it out for more concepts and ideas like those that were discussed.]
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Work Force Strong (by Fitness Artist) Fully Endorses the New Army Combat Fitness Test
We as a country are of the elite in military strength and prowess. To maintain our position in the global military ranks, we understand the considerable efforts placed on holding our troops to the highest physical standard; our Armed Forces are the backbone of our nation after all.
And with the announcement that the Army is changing their Army Physical Fitness Test to develop a more accurate representation of strength and fitness, Fitness Artist was very excited to hear the news. The bar has certainly been raised with the introduction of the Army Combat Fitness Test in 2020.
The strongest military in the world is about to become that much stronger!
A Cost-Effective Strategy for Fostering Fitness and Preventing Injuries
Our troops are the finest representations and extensions of our country’s ideals: bravery, honor, specialized training, enterprise, power, discipline, and physicality, to name a few. Because we are the best of the best, it is imperative that we start testing that way. The Army Combat Fitness Test certainly is a huge step in the right direction.
Army Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, says that the new test will “reduce attrition and it will reduce musculoskeletal injuries and actually save, in the long run, the Army a heck of a lot of money.” And he is absolutely correct to state that money will be saved through a more robust, modernized testing standard for fitness.
But the exceptional fitness accomplishments of our Armed Forces can always be improved. There are many facets of fitness that need specialized attention. Most nuances in functional movements, injury prevention, and training lie outside of the purview of fitness tests.
That’s where we come in!
You Might Want Some Backup; Try our Human Performance Programming!
Because the new Army Combat Fitness Test will be more difficult, more resources will be expended, and more training will need to be implemented for your targeted test results in recruits.
The new test is also far more strenuous than the current system; some strategic backup will be needed. We know we can be a difference-maker in whatever capacity our team and program is utilized. Our Work Force Strong Program (WFS) can be the necessary guiding force for those who are training to pass this more difficult test.
As one of the quickest growing names attached to the vertical market for both private and public sector injury prevention, Fitness Artist’s WFS Program is the product of thousands of hours of development and implementation. We know our stuff; we will do everything in our power to keep our troops as healthy and strong as we can.
There is nothing more important to us than making a positive difference wherever we can. And at the very least, we thought it was important to extend our hand as a way of saying that we fully endorse the new ACFT.
Reach out to me, Travis Gil, and let’s discuss this in more detail.
We first heard about the amazing news from the Army News Service on July 9th, 2018. The article is titled, “Army Combat Fitness Test set to become new PT test of record in late 2020” and was written by, Sean Kimmons.
Rethinking the Company Gym
Maybe it is time to rethink the company gym. Despite the good intentions of the business owner, CEO, or individual taking the initiative to increase workplace wellness, dropping thousands of dollars on gym equipment for employees is...well...most of the time just a huge waste of money.
Now, don’t get me wrong, a gym anywhere is a good thing. And mostly, we can assume that employers are genuinely concerned for the welfare of their employees; it is also true that a happy worker is indeed a productive worker.
While most employers have great intentions when creating their companies gym, others are just looking to check off a box for legal or positive PR reasons. Yes, opening a gym can provide positive press for a corporate entity--the money spent can then be written off as a measurable donation for workplace wellbeing even though, for the most part, the equipment gathers cobwebs.
This all begs the questions though: why aren't employees using this new “state of the art” gym and why drop the money on something that isn’t guaranteed to work? It seems too big a financial risk to undertake for meagre results. And think about this: when spending the money on expensive gym equipment, what happens when employees aren’t motivated to change, get injured on the job because an on-site fitness expert was never hired? The answer: unproductive workers, expensive legal liabilities, workers’ compensation claims, and missed time.
Injuries are bound to happen when there is no one correcting form or keeping a watchful eye. And without a reliable fitness expert, who will be there to direct workouts or motivate employees to really workout instead of falling asleep at the treadmill? No one.
That’s the tradeoff for most company gyms. Yes, for the few who actually do utilize the equipment, they can experience very positive, morale-boosting results. What if you could get those great results while spending a fraction of the price? What if these results can be replicated with just an open space, a fitness professional, a mat, some resistance bands, and their own body weight? All it takes is for willing employees to show up and apply themselves, and the same sort of benefits can be obtained. These benefits range from better attention and focus during a shift to the collective reduction of absenteeism and sick-leave. We’ve found that the success rate of the program significantly increases when an investment is made in firing a Human Performance Professional and team to spearhead various Injury Prevention techniques, workouts, provide some excitement, and motivate those who have already spent a lot of energy working their jobs. With this dynamic you skip the expensive gym equipment and get a personalized, highly-varied solution.
To review, the people need to come first; and often, corporate and company gyms don’t offer the one-on-one experience that many people need to stay properly engaged. So, instead of wasting money on expensive equipment, consider contacting us about our program, Work Force Strong.
We can guarantee that your money will be spent wisely and effectively at a fraction of the cost it would take to invest in expensive equipment. Trust us, it will resonate much more to your employees if you extend financial resources to their personal wellbeing. And this in turn will save you more money. For injury prevention, higher productivity, reduced healthcare costs and workers’ compensation claims, get in touch with a Work Force Strong team member today!
Work Force Strong: www.wfstrong.com
Fitness Artist: www.fitness-artist.com
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