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.)

How to Make Resolutions That Stick

It’s a new year and a time when everyone makes a resolution or two that last about a month. A lot of these resolutions have to do with living a healthier life and being more active or eating healthier. With whatever resolution you may have, I’m here to help make it stick and actually achieve it. Here are 4 things you can do to make sure you tackle your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Set Specific GOALS

The reason why a lot of resolutions fail is because they are just resolutions. What we really should do is set year goals. Resolving to “be healthier” in 2016 is too vague and not motivating. Setting a goal to “lose 2 pounds a month for 12 months” is a better way to keep yourself accountable. There are short term progress goals, but year-long end results.

Setting a goal to “be healthier” or “go to the gym more” is easy to quit. If you go to the gym for the month of January, when work is still in holiday mode and everyone is working hard and seemingly motivated at sticking to their resolutions, it seems like there is no stopping you. But when that January kick ends, work or school starts to pick up, it’s easy to drop your vague and goal-less resolution. The beauty of being specific and creating year long goals means that it’s okay that your progress fluctuates. Using the example above, wanting to lose 2 pounds a month means 24 pounds in the year. So you know that if you only lose 1 pound in February, you know you have to make up that pound in March.

These types of goals keep you accountable and allow you to track your progress with hard numbers.

2. Write Them Down

Every year, I put a note in my phone that lists “Everything I Will Achieve in [insert year]”. Throughout the year, as I complete some of the short term and long term goals, I put a checkmark next to it. It helps me see what I’ve completed and reminds me what I must do and accomplish next. Below is a snippet of what I’ve got coming for 2016, and I encourage you do to the same.

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3. Don’t Try to Conquer the World

Keep your goals manageable – don’t set out to lose 10 pounds in 1 week. Set realistic goals that will encourage you. Attainable goals are self-motivating. When you achieve what you set out, you’ll want to continue towards your ultimate year-end goals.

Remember: Slow and steady wins the race.

4. Make them FUN – Throw a Personal/Silly One in There

The goals that you set for 2016 ultimately must be ones you can achieve and ones that will be FUN. If you’re not having fun on your way to achieving your goals then you’ll never actually complete them. Nothing you do should feel miserable. It may be difficult, but knowing what you want and working hard to get after it, all while doing it in a way that is most fun will keep you going.

Do some with a friend to keep yourself motivated and accountable, so instead of losing 10 pounds yourself or reading 1 book a month yourself, work out or read with a friend who has that same or similar goal. It’ll make it a social and fun activity to do together and will ensure you stick with it.

I also recommend having a silly/strictly fun goal for the new year. Instead of making all of your goals about fitness or weight loss or being a better friend, do something for you, too. Set out a goal to make your own Halloween costume from scratch this year, make it a goal to finally watch all of the movies on your “must see” list. While these should not make up your entire list of goals for 2016, they’re easy ones that will be fun and keep you motivated to achieve your other goals.


So good luck and have a happy, healthy and successful 2016.

 

Hiking and the Journey of Success

Hiking is a great form of exercise. It clears the mind and can also be physically challenging. But I think what is most important about hiking is the lessons we learn from it, and how we go about hiking, that can stand for and relate to many things in life.

I would say around 75% of the hikes we take are to reach a certain point or destination. And what I find so fascinating is that the goal of these hikes is generally to get half way. What I mean is that the destinations we set out to reach are only half way along the hike. We go toward some lake, mountain top, valley, etc., but that is almost always just the half way point. We go to great lengths in order to reach these destinations, and when they are reached, we temporarily forget that we must make the journey back towards where we started. Which often times means turning around and going back the exact way we came.

I think there is something profoundly sad about this. That our goals, in hiking and in life, are to reach the half way point. To reach the “pinnacle”, and forgetting the journey afterwards. We set goals that really are only just half way there. And usually, the journey back is never as exciting, because you’ve seen all of the same trees and trails before because it is exactly how you came in. We really end our hikes and our goals 50% earlier than we should. Which often leads to disappointment and leaving with a sense of being underwhelmed. We forget about the glory and the grandeur of our successes because we must push on past them and travel back into the familiar which becomes mundane.

What I mean is that we should not get so caught up on the successes and achievements of any single endeavor, that we forget about the journey, to it and thereafter. Turning around to go home should not be the mentality that we take when we hike or when we reach any goal we set out to achieve. In love and in life we must appreciate the hardships and troubles along the way in order to appreciate and enjoy the success of achievement even more. And we also must appreciate the journey to come after. You still have a few miles to go after you reach that mountaintop. While they will be down hill, they will still be trying and difficult times. Your perspective will change and you will be tired from the journey there, but you cannot become apathetic. Because you’re only half way there. And it’s time to work hard and enjoy the rest of the way.

Each new day is one to reach a new peak, a new destination, a new goal. But when we’ve reached that goal, there is still so much more to go until you can say that you have achieved it. Times will get hard, and it is always good to remember what it felt like to succeed and to reach that hilltop, but longing for the beauty of the past distracts from the beauty of the future. It leads to unhappiness and a loss of hope.

Set goals that will last a lifetime so that you’re constantly striving toward something, constantly climbing upward. So that when you reach that beautiful lake, that is where you will stay and live forever, instead of turning around, longing for the past with your head down, watching one foot step in front of the other and forgetting to look around you to see the wonder of the journey to come.

Why you shouldn’t care what people think

Here’s an important lesson that I try and and live by that I want to share with everyone. I truly believe in this and it is extremely important that everyone feel the same.

One of the keys to life is that we shouldn’t care about what others think of us. We often get caught up in thinking about what we may look like to other people if we do certain things, wear certain things, or act a certain way. While there are social and cultural norms that most of us should abide by, we often times give control of ourselves and our lives to other people, which is absolutely ridiculous. We are all here to live our own life, why should we let others dictate how we live it?

Not caring about what people think can help your life in a few ways.

1. It allows you to live the life you want and to have FUN

If we constantly try to please other people or do what we think others will like instead of acting and living the way we want to, we will not be able to unleash our full potential because we will always be held back by other peoples opinions.

2. It enables you to learn about your true self

Constantly caring about how your personality or style or whatever will be viewed by other people instead of doing it because you want to will only hide and suppress your own being and personality to be just another square living the same boring life everyone else is and you wont be able to flourish.

3. People tend to actually like it

I’ve found that when you don’t care what others think of you it is actually attractive and pleasing to others. Now, take this with a grain of salt here because I don’t mean well go walk around naked or swear in public because you don’t care, again I refer back to the social norm thing. But much else that you may do, be it dance silly in public, etc., people laugh and enjoy it. It is an envious character trait to not care about others opinions and often times those close to you will adopt your ways and you can create true and very meaningful relationships from it.


All I am trying to say here really is to just be yourselfIt’s extremely weird to think that it could be any other way, really. What’s the point of living if your aren’t going to live your own life and instead constantly worry about how other people view you or what other people think of you. Who cares? If you want to say something silly, say it. If you want to run around in the rain with others around, do it. Does that other person’s opinion really matter? For one thing, you’ll probably never see that stranger ever again in your life, and for another, if you do, what’s it to you?

So don’t hold back. Embrace your weirdness and live your own life and don’t care about what people think. When you are able to fully embrace this mentality you will be able to far outperform and exceed the average. Because everyone is anything BUT average, however we are taught to act like we are all the same and to worry about what others think and how we will be perceived, because we must mimic and act like all of the successful people in order to be successful and blah blah BLAH. Forget all that nonsense and LIVE.

“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.

Excuse me, do you know who I am?

There’s something funny about power in the workplace. Our boss’s boss, all the way up to the CEO of a company; they all carry some sort of perceived power. You’ll always get a little flutter when they walk by, or sit up straighter when they walk around your corner of the office.

This is because, naturally, you want to look good in front of the CEO. She’s a powerful person who has a lot of say and can conceivably fire you in an instant. People respect her, people are afraid of her, and she has worked long and hard to get to where she is.

But what is fascinating to me, is that the second that CEO walks out of the office after work, she’s just another person on her commute home. Walking through crowded sidewalks, sitting on the train, going about her normal business.

You may pass some extremely powerful people in your daily life, but you’d never know it.

Because CEO’s and people in powerful positions in companies (aside from massive ones in which a CEO status brings some sort of fame or familiarity like good ol’ Mark Z.) are just people. The second they step out of the office building all power is lost. They’re in charge of hundreds of people from 9-5, and once they set foot in the outdoors, they have all of the same problems as we do, take the same train home, go to the gym, and all feel tired after a long day like we do.

This is an important thing to remember for both people new to the workforce, and for the CEOs out there.

For the newly minted college graduates: remember that your bosses, the VPs, and the CEOs are all just people. Not terrible overlords who sniff and scoff at everything their employees do, just looking for reasons to fire everyone. Strike up a conversation about life, about things that you enjoy, because they too (while it may not seem like it to you or the CEO) have lives and care about things outside of work.

For the CEOs: remember that the power you carry in the office ends precisely there. And when you’re in the office, be as approachable as you would to your employees as you would to the other parents at your kid’s soccer game. And when you’re not in the office, realize that to everyone else on the subway, you’re just one more person heading home after a long day.

It’s easy for us to get into our own heads and worry about what to say, and it’s also easy for us to assume other people know about our lives who actually have no idea about who we are or what we do. It’s great to feel important, but it’s more important to feel connected to yourself and those around you.

No matter who you are or what you do, embodying a sense of community and humility is what will bring people together to act towards a common goal, and to inspire greatness in yourself and those around you.

Let’s work towards greater unity, in the workplace and in the world, because at the end of the day we’re all taking the same train home

 

 

What I need for success

HATE self help books that say: “Do these X Number of Things and You Will be Successful!”. There is no one path to success, and NO ONE can tell you what to do in order to be successful.

However – there are things, habits, and tips that people have that can help you kick start or get you to understand and recognize things that you as an individual need in order to be successful in your own way. Everyone has a different definition of success and everyone has their own right to one. But here are my 5 things that I keep in mind and I do in order to help guide my success and help me live a better life. These things are by no means prescriptive, but I hope there are takeaways here that you can learn from and possibly implement in order to help guide your own success.

1. Sleep

I know what my body needs when it comes to sleep. Over a life of sleeping a lot and sleeping a little, in order to get through the day with enough energy to keep focused and tackle whatever life throws at me, I need at least 8.5 hours of sleep. AND, if I’m not in bed a half hour before I want to fall asleep, I won’t get the actual amount of hours I set out for myself.

Knowing what your body needs when it comes to sleep is the most important thing you can do for yourself. If you don’t sleep enough – or even too much – this can have harmful effects on your day. You won’t feel focused, you may skip some activity because you’re too tired, and it can cause a lot of harmful affects on the body.

Regulating sleep is also very important in how energized you feel. This means going to bed and waking up at fairly consistent times each day. So if I want 8.5 hours and go to bed at 10:30pm every work night, but then on the weekends don’t go to bed until 2am but still get 8.5 hours of sleep, this messes up your cycle and it will make for very rude awakenings on Monday morning.

This isn’t to say you can’t have a late night and have fun on the weekends – just be wary of your sleep cycle throughout the week and weekend. It’ll also help you hate Mondays a little less.

2. Go to the Gym

It’s probably clear from the title of this blog, and my first post, that I like going to the gym. But I truly believe that exercising is the key to unlocking all of life’s possible successes. Now by this I don’t mean playing basketball with your friends once a week. While this is GREAT and I strongly encourage activity that is dynamic and fun, I am talking about going to the gym to sweat, to grind, and connect with your body by yourself. Giving yourself time to listen to the machine that is your body and to become one with it in an animalistic, primal way.

In order for myself to feel successful and to feel my best to promote the most success, I know I need to go to the gym at least 4 times a week. This allows me to lift the way I want to lift, give my body enough rest, and put me in a place at which I feel best. It’s also a realistic number. Anyone can say they want to go to the gym 6 days a week, but this will only leave you feeling like you have failed. If you set out to accomplish a number like going 2 times a week, complete it don’t skip any days, and exceed it by maybe going even 3 or 4. That’s ideal. Then, you can reassess your target amount of days and move forward.

I tell everyone to go to the gym. It keeps you young, it can be incredibly existential, philosophical, and enlightening. But only if you make it that way. Don’t dread going to the gym. Look forward to going and making yourself better. (And, at least, it’s one day down and one less to go to reach your target gym days.)

3. Eat

This is something that everyone knows, but often doesn’t understand why this is so critical for your life, and for your overall success. Eating regularly and routinely, like going to the gym, keeps your body in line with itself and regulates your entire system. Eating right also gives you more energy throughout the day, will improve your sleep patterns, and keep your mind sharp and focused. If you don’t know what you should be eating and are curious if you are eating right, talk to someone who can help. If you sleep a lot but still don’t feel energized of focused, or you aren’t reaching your fitness goals, chances are you aren’t eating right, so again, talk to someone.

I am the last person to tell you that you should become a health nut and only eat foods people ate in the cave-man era, that stuff just isn’t practical anymore and it can be expensive and extremely time consuming. Instead, I really believe in the idea of eating foods you like to eat, that will give you the nutrition your body needs yet doesn’t make you throw up at the sight of another cup of broccoli after eating it at every meal for a week. “Everything in moderation” is an idea that is set up to fail. It is an immediate excuse to splurge here and there on things you know you shouldn’t be eating. You can still eat a lot, and a lot of tasty food, while also eating healthy. You need to find out what healthy foods you like and what combinations of foods taste the best and focus on making those the center of your diet. Knowing what your body needs and making sure you are putting that in your body, as well as some sweets or guilty foods you can’t live without (the occasional Yodel, for me), you will feel great and great about yourself. And, because you’re exercising at least twice a week and even though you know you shouldn’t, go ahead and eat that extra piece of cake at your friends birthday party, too. Don’t be lame.

4. Be nice

Here’s another piece of wisdom I’d like to share with the world. This is one of the most important lessons anyone, at any age, can, and should learn. The goal here is to be nice to everyone and every thing. Your neighbors, your co-workers, the planet, everything. NOW. This doesn’t mean becoming a pushover and people pleaser just for the sake of it. This will only leave you frustrated and angry at everyone and everything which is the exact opposite of what we want here.

What I try to do is to be positive and nice 24/7, while still communicating frustration and discontent. This means always approaching a situation positively and nicely, however when something makes you angry, or is unfair, or is wrong, you must express your feelings. Communicating frustration and discontent does not translate into being mean. It simply means you need to know when someone has crossed a line and still express it in a nice and “friendly” way.

You will win more friends, colleagues, and people who will do you favors this way. I cannot stress how important this is in life.

5. Do something you’re scared to do

This is often the point I need to explain most when talking about these points to people. And it’s for good reason. Because who wants to do something that they are scared of? But this is the most important piece of advice I can give.

I find that doing something you’re scared to do is crucial in discovering yourself, your passions, getting the most of life and becoming successful. What I mean by doing something you’re scared to do is: once a month you should force yourself to do something that you are nervous doing, something that forces you to step out of your shell and expose yourself and feel vulnerable. Whether it is singing in front of a group of people, or asking someone on a date but you’re afraid they’ll say no – do it. Just once a month.

What this does for the mind cannot be understated. Tackling your fears, even just little ones that make you nervous, opens your mind up to what you are missing out by over thinking. We can’t constantly disappoint ourselves by not doing the things that make us nervous that we know we want to do. It will lead to regret and sadness. Exposing yourself and becoming vulnerable boosts your confidence and ability to become the best version of yourself.

The high of doing something you’ve always wanted but were too scared to do cannot be replicated by anything else. Feeling good about yourself and not caring about what other people think, understanding that people aren’t out to judge and make fun of you, accepting possible rejection are all lessons you need to learn through experience. It’s the only way you can learn these lessons.

So go ahead and ask that person out. Make the first move. Go ahead and perform your talent to a live audience. You’ll only find yourself wanting to do it all again and you’ll be even better at it than the last time.

 


 

Again, my goal here is not to tell people what they need to do in order to succeed and if you don’t do them you’re a failure. Just try these things out for a little while. Use some, use none, use all – these are things that I’ve learned to be instrumental in feeling successful and to form the best version of myself. We’ll all have days or weeks where we can’t do it all. But jumping back into the routine as soon as you know you will have the time, do it.

I encourage everyone to think about what they need to feel successful, and what will help you achieve your measure of success. I hope that my list has either brought new things to your attention or that it has helped you recognize the importance in creating a routine to feel better about yourself and striving to live by it every day.