Where Have I Been?

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written something for myself, in fact, my last post I wrote for Mind & Matter Fitness was on February 28th.

That’s quite an anger-inducing amount of time.

Now I haven’t been silent due to lack of caring about this website or my thoughts, ideas, and motivations. I’ve been silent because I was experiencing one of the busiest times of my life to date.

From personal training at a big-box gym, to a promotion at my day job, to writing for The Well Path, (latest post HERE), to exploring new business ventures (more to come on that soon), things were hectic.

Now without complaining too much, I’ll get right into why this post to me is so important. I was really busy. I couldn’t even make time for my family and friends due to my schedule, and it was drastically affecting my mood, behaviors, and outlook on my life. And it wasn’t for the better. I’ve written about the choice to be happy, but as I got busier and busier this choice became harder and harder.

It really showed me how negativity can be so incredibly toxic. While laugher is contagious, negativity is infectious. It takes over you and it can spiral out of control.

It also opened my eyes to the importance of maintaining a list (even a mental one, at best) of my priorities. This list should serve as a means of asking yourself, what are the top 2 things I want to accomplish in the next month, 3 months, year, and what are the steps, people, and things I need in and out of my life to get there? And even though during this time, the activities I was pursuing kept me busy and felt like they were helping me to get where I need to go, I found that the tradeoff of doing too much and not thinking about my priorities outside of my jobs was not an advantageous one for my mental health and happiness.

Having priorities is extremely important to goal attainment, however priorities cannot exist in silos. While I was very busy and seemingly working towards what I ultimately want for myself and my career, other priorities like my own workouts, my friends, and my family, got put on the back-burner. This led to a feeling of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction. Our priorities must work synergistically. Because just like a well oiled machine, if one piece is malfunctioning, the entire system suffers and does not perform at maximum capacity or ability.

There’s a reason why we have priorities. And there’s a reason why they are priorities in the first place. They are the most important things in your life. And if you aren’t working to satisfy or accomplish those priorities as a whole, then they either aren’t actually priorities, or your life is not in balance, and you are choosing to put those priorities on hold which can lead to unhappiness and a sense of stagnation.

No matter how full our lives feel, or how much other people may tell you what you’re doing is right, it is extremely important to align priories with actions. If we aren’t working towards goals we set out for ourselves but also are not giving the proper time to the things we truly care about, it won’t take long before you start to feel unsatisfied and unhappy.

We need to always be working towards something. Striving to attain what it is we want. For those that already have the fire within them know that any activity not working for the vision is a distraction. For those that are in a smolder, waiting for a gust of oxygen to invigorate you into a flame, be honest with yourself and make an assessment of your activities and how they align to your goals and priorities. Are you doing everything you can to make you happy? Are there people, jobs, physical things in your life or in your way that are setting you back? More importantly, are there people or things in your life that must remain in your life in order for you to truly be happy and who will encourage you to accomplish your goals?

It is often more important to think not about what you can give up in order to accomplish your goals, but what you must keep in your life. I made the mistake of only thinking about what I could give up (personal time and sleep), and not what I needed (time with friends and family) in order to remain happy and help me accomplish my goals.

So when thinking about your priorities and setting and accomplishing your next goal, try to spend as much time (if not more) thinking about what you need to keep versus what you have to give away. This will allow you to make smart decisions about the true sacrifices you are willing to take, and who or what in the end will help you to achieve more.

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.

“What do you do for a living?”

Not long ago I heard someone ask the question, “What do you do for a living?” For some reason this struck me as extremely intriguing and provoked some deep thought into the question.

Typically, when people ask this question, they really mean, “What’s your job?” or “What is your career?” and I find that there is a major flaw in the way 99% of people answer this question. A common answer may be, “Well I work in advertising” or, “I am in Sales for a major corporation”. However there really should be deeper meaning into this very question. What DO we do for a living? I sure as hell know it’s not work.

We often connote the word “living” for, “occupation”, or even what is your means for being able to live and do things. However living is what all humans do. We are all blessed to have an opportunity at life and should all have a better answer to this question. If not, just take the question more literally for a moment while I explain. Everyone must work. Well – most of us have to work in order to make money and to do things we like to do and to be able to sustain ourselves. That’s just how the world is.  But when someone asks you this question, “What do you do for a living?” our answers should really be more profound than the obvious [insert your job title here] answer we all give.

Personally, what I do for a living is spend time with people who make me a stronger person. Physically and mentally. I spend my life exercising, laughing, and trying as hard as I possibly can to choose happiness and to be a happier and healthier person. What I do for a living is live for others, to better the lives of those around me and those I care about.

It is very upsetting that when you meet someone for the first time, or you are on an interview, or just chatting it up with an old friend, that we ask “What do you do for a living?” and immediately just talk about our jobs. Because our jobs and the money we make enable us to earn a living, but not a life. And it is that life that is more important, how we use the time we have here that is more meaningful, than any occupation on the planet. Our jobs come from some sort of passion that we have towards what we do. So when someone asks a doctor the question, they can answer, “I save lives and help those in need”. That is so much more powerful than just saying “I’m a doctor”.

So I urge everyone to think about how you yourself would answer this question. Because when someone asks this to you, don’t take it to mean, “what you do to make money?” Pretend that what they are asking “what gives you life?” “What motivates you and what are your passions?” The conversations you have will be more meaningful, and you will find out a lot more about a person, and yourself, if you answer this way. And of course, when they ask, “what’s your career/job?”, answer it simply and directly.