October 3rd, 2017

“We are being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher”

Eyes droop,

Lips purse,

Feet begin to tap with discontent. 

Impatience sets in,

As if eagerly awaiting a loved ones return. 

But they groan and they mumble,

For what will only take a minute. 

What is really so important,

That they must anger over such a small delay?

Their safety, health, well being – intact. 

Yet somehow tempers break like shattered glass.

“Thank you for your patience”

An unexpected jolt of inertia. 

Eyes brighten,

Lips part in conversation,
Feet now tap to the beat of the tune.

Suddenly they are relieved. 

Kindness is Not Conditional

It’s frustrating when you’re not thanked for holding a door open. It’s annoying when people snap back at something innocent you say.

It’s unsettling when people do not reciprocate kindness.

But we must remember that we never know what kind of day someone had or is having. Maybe things in someone’s life are really tough right now. Maybe someone just lost someone they love.

You never know.

So if you’re being polite and kind, and it’s met with nastiness or rudeness, this is not the time to bite back. In fact, it’s a time when you should be even kinder. Because whether or not someone is going through a hard time in their life, it doesn’t matter. We need to always be focusing on how we can make other people’s day and life better, not blaming other people for their lack of kindness.

“But it’s everyone’s responsibility to be kind, not just mine! Having a bad day doesn’t give them the right to act that way.”

While we should all be kind, polite, and well mannered, we need to take accountability and ownership of ourselves and our own actions, instead of focusing on how everyone else should act.

And if you yourself are having a bad day, try to project kindness even still, because putting a smile on someone else’s face when you’re down might just put a smile on your own face.

We all can improve ourselves and be better to one another, so let’s start from within. Kindness is contagious, so focusing on being nicer to those around us regardless of its reciprocation, will spread joy and even more acts of kindness organically. Leading to a happier, more united life within ourselves and all who surround us.

When the Gym Isn’t Just a Task

I’ve written posts on will power and the importance of lifting, and I live I life that prioritizes health and physical fitness over many other things.

But I often find myself in conversation about dedication and how disciplined I am about lifting weights and going to the gym, and people tend to say:

“Man I wish I could be that good about going to the gym”… or something to that effect.

See the gym is much more to me than something to do to keep myself in shape. That’s actually one of the last reasons why I go so regularly.

The gym for me is an outlet. It’s an escape. One where I can blast music, let my stress go, and listen to – and connect with – my body.

For these reasons (and also that it’s good for me) I keep it close to the top of my priority list.

But what people see on the outside, though, is someone who finds time to go to the gym more times during the week than not, to keep themselves in shape. And this is something that seems to be envied by a lot of people.

But when the gym is more than just something you do to stay in shape, it isn’t always a good thing, or something that should be envied.

Because when I miss a workout, I’m missing much more than just an hour of mindless sweat and fatigue. Missing a workout means missing time that I need with myself, and it can make me stressed, anxious, upset, and angry.

When someone goes to the gym with the sole intention of it being good for you and something you should do on a somewhat frequent basis, it’s easy for those people to skip a workout to do something else, like grab a few drinks with friends instead. It’s easy because there aren’t many other elements tied to the workout, like the therapeutic effect, the self-competitive effect, among others.

See these people have actually subconsciously mastered the idea of moderation and balance. An idea that doesn’t come easy for some, including me.

No matter what your reasons are for going to the gym, it’s important for us to always remember that a life of balance will ultimately give us more joy than one with unequal weights.

Sometimes we must recognize when it’s okay to take a step back and enjoy the things around you and experience all that we can to help us live a stronger, healthier, and happier life.

But priorities are priorities for a reason, so we must help each other understand what’s important to each of us so we don’t feel like balance is a difficult thing.

And if you surround yourself with people who truly care about you, they will understand and work with you to have balanced relationships and friendships that will only grow stronger as time goes on, while also allowing you to attain the personal goals you set out for yourself. 

It’s Flag Day, Live a Little!

Are your ‘cheat days’ more like plain old excuses?

There’s no denying that I love talking to people about their goals and interests when it comes to living a strong, happy, and healthy life.

But because of this, I often see individuals deviate from what they know they should be doing to lead them to their goals, and instead fall into this trap that has become widely socially acceptable, making it even easier to fall into.

“I have goals to lose weight, build strength, and to feel better about myself overall”….”Oh come on, it’s the weekend! Calories don’t count!”

It’s easy to find ways to procrastinate and instead do what’s less difficult, but this sort of mentality needs to be eradicated in order for true progress to occur.

There will always be an event, a holiday, a weekend, a celebration, where we can make up excuses to cheat on our diets or skip our workouts.

Getting into the habit of making fewer excuses due to some perceived good reason or alternative will not only accelerate our progress helping us reach our goals quicker, but they’ll also quickly build a good habit of sticking to our diet and exercise program which will flourish into healthy lifestyle habits for as long as we live.

We will more frequently choose to forego the dessert and go to the gym after we realize how easy it is to simply not put food that’s bad for us into our mouths (or at least less of it), and get our butts in the gym even for a half hour.

And all of this isn’t necessarily our own individual faults – as I mentioned before it’s a problem that our society has accepted, joked at, and therefore welcomed.

I don’t think I’ve ever come across a situation where someone has said:

“We’re celebrating, eat whatever you want, it doesn’t matter!” 

And is met with a response of anything other than:

“Haha! You’re right!”

We all help each other deviate from our own best interests and goals, because we know we are doing the same from the influence of ourselves and others, so we pass that behavior on to those around us.

And while on occasion splurging is absolutely fine, and even encouraged from time to time, I see excuses of “Oh just this once” made far more often than just this once. 

Becoming the strongest, happiest, and healthiest you can be is hard. It is extremely difficult work that takes a lot of time, dedication, and focus.

Our goals we set for ourselves and our lives inside and out of the gym sometimes take years – lifetimes – to fully accomplish. But what gets them done is working relentlessly without excuse to make what you want for yourself happen.

Excuses are distractions and signs of faintness of heart – they tell us that whatever we’re making an excuse for isn’t that important and that there’s time for it later.

But living a strong, healthy, and happy life is ongoing and always evolving, which is why now is more important than ever to start your journey, without excuse, because you can’t get this time back, so make it the best and most affective you can, now.

We don’t always have to be 100% true to our diets 100% of the time, but you can build a diet that will get you to your goal while eating foods that are fun and taste good, and allow you to deviate slightly on occasion.

What we DO always have to be 100% true to is ourselves and understanding when we’re making an easy excuse and when we should harness our will power to reach our goals we have in fitness and in life with ease.

Digital Double Vision

It seems like ever since the introduction of smartphones, we’ve become obsessed with pictures. Seemingly to “capture moments so they last forever”. Every chance we get – every concert, event, and gathering we snap up as many pictures we can. At the time it seems like the smart idea, so that you’ll have those pictures and memories to look back on. But how many of us actually look back at every single picture we take? 

I’ve found that when I’m at a particular event, I have this double vision – looking through my phone screen to see what is actually bigger, brighter, and clearer behind it if I just put the phone down. 

Because sometimes what’s more important than being able to remember a moment, is to actually experience the moment so that the memory is engrained in your mind from your own immersion in the moment instead of spending the whole time trying to get the focus and lighting just right through a screen.

I’m not saying that taking pictures or videos on our smartphones is bad, in fact I love doing it. But what I am challenging us to do is to be more mindful of the frequency of those captured moments, and whether or not the actual moment itself is worth experiencing more than something you probably won’t look back on after you take them and share a few on social media. 

Don’t feel like you have to take pictures and videos of everything. Because if you do you’ll spend all of your time with digital double vision instead of using the gift of sight and all other senses to create a memory that’s much richer than anything a cell phone could capture.

If you focus on immersing yourself  in and experiencing moments instead of trying to document them, you might find yourself living a stronger, healthier, and happier life because of it. 

[YouTube] Sticking to Your Priorities

New video out on YouTube now! Just some quick thoughts on being able to communicate to others your priorities and what makes you happy, in an effort to make yourself and those you care about less stressed, stronger, healthier, and ultimately happier.

Having Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach

There’s a saying I always think of when I take too much food in a buffet line: “My eyes were bigger than my stomach”. And it seems like no matter how many times I’m in this situation and I say this to myself, I have a hard time learning to take less food. 

One of the more recent times I was in a buffet line I thought about this pretty hard. I took my plate and I quickly glanced down the line to see exactly what it was that looked good to me to help me scoop out proper proportions so that I knew I would finish everything I put on my plate, and get a little bit of everything. 

This saying, though, really started to mean a lot more to me as time went on. Because I think many people, myself included, often find themselves constantly seeking out new opportunities and grabbing for each one right as they come. Not realizing the amount of work involved later, or failing to taking into account other opportunities that may come our way in just a short amount of time, and sometimes they are ones that we may actually want more. 

When we take too much food and put it on our plate, we don’t leave room for the unknown that is ahead. We’re hungry, opportunists, and in the excitement of the moment when our salivary glands are pumping, reason subsides and impulse takes over.  

Sometimes we get lucky – what happens to fall on our plate at the beginning of the line ends up being the thing we want most and most of, and we don’t even take some items later down the line and instead just focus on that one main dish. But most of the time, we forget about all of the sides. The smaller, more manageable portioned foods that come in more variety, which too are very tasty. 

So when we sit back down at the table, we’re left with huge plate fulls of entrees with very little on the side.

So we start eating ravenously and with passion on something that seemed so exciting all but a few minutes ago, but then we’re left with a whole other piece of steak that we didn’t finish since we took too much at the start. 

All of this time and space we used to fill up our stomachs with this seemingly amazing food is soon not even finished and we’re left with half eaten portions, with nothing else to pick at. 

And it’s those side dishes we don’t make enough room for that often times compliment and make the main dish taste even better. 

We need to remember that there are times where spontaneity and impulse should be encouraged and cherished. There are times when it’s great to take everything on at the risk of not finishing it later. But we must also remember that a quick glance at what might be ahead can help us take on and pursue smaller, more manageable projects/tasks that still lead to the same larger goal of being satisfied and successful in our own way.  

We can always get seconds if we want more, so we should always plan on finishing our firsts. And when we go back for more we’ll be even more informed and careful about what it is we really want the next time around. Or we may find out that we’re full enough as is. 

All to say that with food and with life’s opportunities and ventures, a careful and rational assessment of what may come to help choose, realize and take on what is most important to us, will help us live a stronger, healthier, and ultimately happier and more satisfied life. (And stomach.)