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!
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5 Ways to Achieve Your Goals
Establish a clear-cut goal. This is the “what” of your aspirations. This seems very obvious, but it is a very common thing to overlook. Often, we harbor shallow ambitions about success. Instead of sitting down and thinking “what does success look like to me, personally?” we say vague things like, “I want to be successful and achieve my dreams.” That’s great, there probably isn’t a single person alive that doesn’t want to be successful, but what does that mean to you personally? What are your dreams and goals? Does successful mean you want to be able to finish a marathon or just look great at the beach? Really sit down and figure out what it is exactly you want to accomplish and stay consistent. If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get “there”.
Establish the “why”. After you have established the “what” of your aspirations, you then need to dig deeper and search for the reasons why you are working towards your goal. To keep yourself on the right track, the reasons why you are trying to achieve your goals is an important anchor for your overall success. When times get tough (as they inevitably will), having a failsafe in place for your overall aspirations is a smart thing to do. Just think about it and ask yourself, “who am I doing this for?” It could be for yourself, your family, or spouse. Or even all three. As long as you can quickly remind yourself during adversity that your goals are bigger than comfort and rest. In summary, to achieve your goals, you need to rely on the “why” you are doing it in the first place.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Don your suit of armor and invite the events and activities that make you uncomfortable. If you need to get a workout in, but you know you are going to be busy until well after the gym has closed, get up bright and early and get your workout in. It might seem impossible at first, and your brain and body will fight you every step of the way, but eventually it will become routine. If your decisions are dictated by your desire to be comfortable, you will never do extraordinary things. Start small and work your way up. Learn to Invite discomfort into your lives!
Invest in yourself. You wouldn’t expect to be great at golf without first taking lessons or investing the time in your swing. You also can’t expect to become fit, achieve perfect form, and motivate yourself from square one without a fitness professional to coach you through the process. Again, invest in yourself. You can save a lot of headache, time, and hardship by seeking out help and expert instruction. If your Planet Fitness membership is draining your bank account, and you have nothing to show for it, get off that hamster wheel and consider reinvesting the money in yourself.
Lastly, be positive. There is nothing more important than learning how to cultivate positivity in the face of adversity. Just because we are working extremely hard to stay fit and become successful, doesn’t mean that we have to adopt a stoic, long-suffering personality. We don’t have to harden up and toughen up to the point where we become negative and cynical; instead, looking towards positivity should be the long-term goal to supplement our ambitions. We should also hang around positive people. The company we keep really does either bring us down or uplift us. It is our choice to hang around with people who will help us achieve a baseline positivity from which we can learn to build from. Also, audiobooks and self-help books are a great way to frame our thoughts and mindsets in a positive way.
Two Additional Quick Tips for Achieving Success:
Give yourself at least 90 days to start seeing results in your training. The process is really gradual, so you won’t notice improvements right away; but when you do, it compounds and snowballs and you won’t want to stop.
And stop comparing yourself to others. Worry about you, be positive, and remember that most people are worrying about themselves in fitness classes. They aren’t judging you or sizing you up; relax and focus on yourself and you will love where that effort takes you.
Checkout our video version HERE
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Two Versions of the 80/20 Rule Explained
Written by Kristen and Travis Gil
This article is going to briefly explain the 80/20 rule as it pertains to both nutrition and one’s overall fitness. To start, let’s explore the nutritional side of the concept!
The principle at play here is that one should eat “clean” 80% of the time, and the other 20% can consist of anything (within reason). Now, what is meant by eating clean? This means that your diet should be high in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy carbs and any other food that isn’t processed.
To not eat clean is, you guessed it, to eat “dirty”. Eating dirty means you are hitting up the burger joint on the way home from work, or finding every excuse to taste-test your famous Philly cheese steak recipe. But come on, we all need to indulge every now and then, right? Absolutely!
If we apply the 80/20 to a standard, 7-day week: 80% of 7 is a little over 5 ½ days of clean eating. And then, essentially, the rest of the time you are allowed to eat whatever you want. That means you have multiple meals you can devote towards eating out, desserts, or high-sodium foods. Of course this all depends on any dietary restrictions you may have, as well as any existing health conditions. And while we are on the topic, it might be best to spread the 20% free-for-all throughout the week. Let’s say, eat at a restaurant for a couple of meals, once on Monday and another on Friday, and then go out to ice cream on Sunday (as an example). And of course, the rest of your energy should be devoted towards eating the proper amounts of healthy foods.
Now, this is just one of the facets of the 80/20 rule, but there is another that is just as important. Basically, when it comes to one’s overall level of fitness, 80% of your total results will come from diet alone. This means that your diet can make or break your overall fitness goals. The other 20%? That has to do with working out/proper rest and recovery. So, the means for achieving your fitness goals largely hinge on the quality of your diet. Don't waste a great workout!
The problem though is just how difficult it can be to stringently follow a structured diet on one’s own. It is not impossible by any means, but the best intentions of following the 80/20 rule can quickly become derailed. Soon, the 80/20 guideline can begin to look more like a 50/50 rule. Heads = ice cream. Tails = celery.
Avoiding these types of slip-ups are certainly tough. And it is definitely much easier when one has a helping hand when trying to follow a diet or nutrition program.
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To answer the question posed in the title, maybe! Standing desks are most likely healthier for you than conventional desks. Because, let’s face it: unless one has a manual labor job or an active occupation, we sit quite a bit during our lives.
For those who have an office job, the amount of time spent sitting can be upwards of forty hours a week, excluding the time it takes to commute to work, after-work leisure activities, or when we are stuck with Santa-duty at the office Christmas party--the point is that we could use a little more standing time in our lives, all of us.
According to the research: “Sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.” And a logical way to combat these increased risks is to do everything in one’s power to stand up a few times an hour. In short, standing at your work desk is a much better alternative than sitting all day.
Actually...it’s more complicated than that. According to a study done in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 74 people were fitted and measured for the amounts of oxygen they consumed while doing various activities. The most relevant of these activities were the measured effect on energy expenditure while standing or sitting. And the results were well...not very noticeable. In the study, those who stood at their desk only burned 8 calories more per hour than those who sat. Nothing to write home about at all. There’s more though, fortunately!
There’s evidence to suggest (but not completely prove) in the aforementioned study that standing over prolonged periods may help fight hypertension, as well as the previously listed risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but this is just an educated guess at this point. There haven’t been enough studies to prove the efficacy of a standing desk. And just recently, CNN deflated all the standing-desk hype with their claim that they are largely unnecessary. Walking and movement should be stressed over anything. Staying still in a different form doesn’t solve anything, according to the research.
So, should I get one or not?
Try it out. If it motivates you to do some stretches or calf raises while you are checking emails, it seems like a no-brainer to purchase a standing desk. If you find your back pain is lessened because you aren’t hunched over in your chair for multiple hours a day, then buy the desk! Here is a handy-dandy guide for doing so: Buying Guide. If not, try and take a short walk every hour or two while working; your overall health will improve immensely.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Unfortunately, a lot of exercise programs are just that – giving a “broad strokes” approach without taking the individual’s specific needs into account. This is a trend I also noticed in workplace wellness programs. It’s not enough to just get people away from their desks and moving. The trainer and client should have specific goals in mind. Does the client want to increase productivity? Reduce workplace injuries? Cut down on sick time? All of the above?
The corporate world needs a more in-depth and personalized approach. Enter Work Force Strong.
Work Force Strong (WFS) is a corporate wellness program designed to increase employee productivity, prevent workplace injuries, and introduce healthy alternatives to companies and government agencies. The program is individually tailored to give your company a competitive edge, while also giving employees the opportunity to meet fitness and mobility goals.
We place great emphasis on injury prevention as we feel other wellness programs downplay this aspect or leave it out altogether. Meanwhile, New York has emerged as one of the states with the highest average total workers’ compensation claim costs. The more employers I work with, the more I learn that most of them believe workplace injuries only occur in dangerous environments.
The truth is injuries can happen anywhere. That’s why a proactive approach is so important. The health and well-being of a company depends heavily on the health and well-being of its employees. WFS sets out to identify threats before they occur and offer the corrective measures.
Prior to initial training sessions, our team will first evaluate each participant through a Functional Movement Screen. This will help us identify functional limitations and asymmetries that may lead to injury or chronic pain in the long term. Once this is determined for each participant, our trainers will provide a personalized exercise program aimed to restore mechanically sound movement patterns. All of this is delivered in one-hour training sessions either on-site or at a Fitness Artist location. Goals will be reassessed at the mid-point of the program. We will also bring in a registered dietitian for nutritional coaching. She will present information and tips on basic nutrition, healthy food options, and create custom meal plans (upon request).
We’re focused on changing your employees’ lives for the better. We know you want to see benefits. The success of a company depends greatly on the health and well-being of its people. That’s exactly why we’re dedicated to customizing what we offer based on your employees’ particular needs.