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Monday, August 22, 2016

Caring Enough to Fail

Having 3 kids, a wife with long work hours, long commutes, and many other 'things' coming at me proved problematic for living a healthy lifestyle. Or so I thought in January 2016.

On the surface, there was no way I could fit an hour of 'gym time' at night. By the time Anne Marie got home, I was exhausted!

But Looking back, i realized I was giving up before I even started. Why not? I believed I would fail if I tried. I had no hope!

Of course, the person with no hope of succeeding isn't even going to try. But, the only sure way to fail is to not try.

I was making excuses. I was content enough with being discontent, I didn't 'care enough' to fail.

"Care enough to fail." - Seth Godin

I believed my work would be of poor quality because I had no time. But isn't poor quality better than nothing?

How long must we starve our goals in anticipation of the perfect solution? And what good is the perfect solution if it is never executed?

For we won't know the perfect solution until the solution was acted upon. Until it is said and done, do we really know what will work?

Stop starving goals

Instead, feed your goals with small somethings until you find significant success.

It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be something. Start with one worse habit turned into one better habit.

One increasingly optimized event after another as you progress along your journey to your goals.

2 is an optimization of 1, even when the eventual goal is 100. If you can't find your way from 1 to 2, how do you expect to go from 1 to 100?

Stop holding out for the perfect solution, and start solving. As you move, you'll learn better ways.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Drinking from Dangerous Wells

Most of us know drinking salt water is bad. (And for those who don't, the salt dehydrates you more than the water hydrates.)

But in many aspects, we continue drinking from the dangerous wells of life and wonder why we aren't being satisfied.

One aspect is weight loss.

Dangerous Wells

Junk food is a dangerous well.

When you drink (or in the case, eat) from the dangerous well of junk food, you are selling your self short term. Stop forfeiting your future for fleeting fixations!

You are trading what you want most for what you want now. The junk food looks good now, but the dangerous well of junk food will leave you with less then whence you arrived. It looks good now but it always looks better before than it feels afterward. You know this.

Struggle

I know it's tough. I struggle too. But the only way we get tough is by getting tough. Declaring no to dangerous wells toughens you so you can fixate your gaze on your goals. Stop compromising on your goals, stop selling

yourself short term 'solutions'. They 'solve' nothing. These dangerous wells are devoid of 'well'ness. Seek instead the wells which bring you toward your goals. They are worth the walk.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Juggling Better Balls, Churning Better Butter

In January I wrote about Doing Less to Do More.

I look back and wonder how I managed so many different hobbies and how little effort I put into each one of them. I was juggling!

The interesting thing I found out about jugging, nothing stays in your hand long enough to grow, change, or evolve you. Everything is always in the air. You don't have time to dedicate to the ball in your hand. Another ball, another hobby, another facebook group or post, another video game or youtube video is falling fast towards you.

And you just can't have the falling 'thing' drop. No no no! You can't have that, can you? I remember so many times I'd drop all my important things. I'd forsake critical things for one distracting ball descending, because it was shiny.

What shiny balls are you chasing? What hobbies are you so fixated on, you drop your other balls in your life?

Oh wow I went somewhere with that. That message was for me 10 years ago and I missed it for 9 of them. How many years are you willing to miss it?

Change

Of course, my life also changed from last year, from 10 years ago. I'm not the person I used to be because I became a better person. Tell yourself now. You don't have to stay where you are. You are not stuck. You can drop those shiny distractions I'm representing as balls in this particular analogy. At least for a little while to get a grip on the balls you need to focus on and get them back to where they need to be. You can't juggle ten balls when you struggle with two.

But yeah, this year different. The situation has changed. The environment has changed. We live in a house twice as far from work, so there's a longer commute. Anne Marie works downtown Houston, so she can't get home until after 7:30 on a normal day. God forbid she's overworked which is almost daily and sometimes not even being able to see the kids goodnight.

In many ways, I feel even more spread thin than before! But the time I do have, that time, I've found how to make it more meaningful. What I'm saying is, while I still only have two hands to juggle, I found better balls.

While I still have little butter to spread and too much bread around me to spread it on. My butter is richer. My butter is creamier. My butter is healthier and more nutritious. And I'm picking up better bread. Someone needs to hear this.

It's not that you need less bread. There will never be less bread in life, not in this age. We have an plenty of bread showering us from the sky. We are drowning in content we consume continuously!

It's not about the bread. It's about your butter.

We all only have a limited amount of time on this Earth. I can tell you right now for a fact, you'll be dead a lot longer than you will be alive. So your butter. the thing you give your attention to matters,. What butter are you churning? What balls are you juggling?

Monday, August 15, 2016

On the 7th day

I love when blogs inspire creative juice within me. Stuff unconnected yet link magically from the wisdom of others. A shout out to Pfit blog which inspired this post.

Even God rested on the 7th day.

And I don't think he needed to rest. I think he did it to remind us we needed to rest.

You see, God wasn't done on day 6. He still did stuff on day 8 and he's still doing stuff today. I think he wanted to model a strategy for us. One that WORKS.

It's like gardening which I found I'm horrible at (but that's a different story). I think we can agree working 1 day and resting 6, the weeds will overtake the garden.

But what if you tend to your garden 14 days in a row? 21? 28? How much better, how much faster will your garden grow? Where do the diminishing returns start to kick in?

Another thing I realize is God didn't just rest on the 7th day. He sat back and relaxed each evening too. "It was good" He saw.

I imagine after a good day of work, he proceeded to take an Epsom salt bath in the golden garden tub in the sky with a crisp glass of Shiraz at his side and some Christopher Tin in the background.

He could of worked all day and all night, 28 days straight. He could of snapped his finger and had it done in under a second.

But he stopped after seeing a good job done each day for 6 days. Then on the seventh, he set it aside, made it holy, and rested.

So many I work with get discouraged falling off the wagon after 2 weeks of hard work at weight loss. I mean, sometimes I have to talk them from leaping off a dietary ledge into the bustling traffic of junk food.

My heart goes out to them. Here they are, doing so well, SO well. And after 2 weeks, they are crushed, ready to quit after 1 bad day. 1 bad day!

Sidewalk Analogy

Picture walking down the sidewalk. Now, Look down as you walk and do you notice something? Every 10 or so fee, there's a thin strip of wood.

There's a reason there's a strip of wood after every 10 feet or so of side walk. The world moves! It cracks, breaks, and crumbles daily!

Likewise the world cracks, breaks, and crumbles plans! Sometimes, those plans are yours.

But when you stumble over life's cracks on the sidewalk of life, remember the reliable strip of wood in front of you! It prevents the destruction of the world from continuing to destroy your entire path. It'll prevent your entire plan from being destroyed too.

So take that rest every 7th day. Place that reliable strip of wood down in your plans. Make a day of rest, a day you can unwind a little bit. A day you can ease off your restrictions for a minute before picking your mantle back up again. I'm not saying to eat the whole cake. I'm not saying to eat the whole pizza.

I'm saying, if you looking to lose 1 pound a week, go for a calorie deficit of 600 for 6 days. On your 7th day don't aim for a calorie deficit. That's still 3600 calories for the week.

And stop focusing on the crumbled sections of sidewalk you tripped on. Push past the best you can. Overcome obstacles when they appear.

But there's no use in worrying about them. They're already at your back. You have a reliable thin strip of wood in just a few more feet. And You got a whole new section of sidewalk in front of you that needs your focus.

If your focus on the crumbled sidewalk behind you, you're gonna keep tripping on things.

So head forward. Because you have a goal. You got somewhere to be.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wasting Motivation?

Motivation won't get you far if you don't have direction.

Imagine your foot planted, pedal to the medal, tachometer redlining, in the fast lane of a super highway ... but, your car is in park.

How far do you go? And how long can your survive like that without blowing your motor?

No amount of motivation will help you if you are not willing to take a step in a direction. Without direction, motivation is wasted.

So, get out of park. Shift goals into gear and start moving toward them.

It's scary. I know. I feel you. But what is more scary? Taking taking step, or remaining where you are?

Terror

You see, taking the step might seem terrifying, but it's the anticipation we really fear. That's why there's so much build up in scary movies.

Alfred Hitchcock said "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

Many of us are so scared to 'fail' we never try in the first place.

We aren't machines. We aren't perfect. We won't always get it right the first time and that's beautiful.

Usually 'failure' isn't nearly as bad as we fear it will be. But 'Not Taking a Step' is.

So again, what is more scary, what do you fear more? Taking a step or remaining the same?

Taking the step takes you out of your comfort zone. But then again, nothing grows in the comfort zone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Cup Before You

Imagine a cup front of you. It's a nice cup, 20 oz container with a catchy logo on on it. As you come close to it, you notice it is filled with dirt.

As hard as you try, you just can not seem to empty the cup. Perhaps it is bolted down.

Now as you ponder this cup, a stream of muddy water begins to flow from above and down into the cup, filling it up to the brim. Now it's overflowing.

You hear the question behind you, "How do you clean the cup?".

Monday, August 08, 2016

What We Repeatedly Do

"We are what we repeatedly do" - Aristotle

But what do you repeatedly do? What are your habits?

And... How are those habits working out for you?

Do you have a habit of eating junk food? I did! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were my willpower's cryptonite.

I would see them lying about my mother in law's house and I could tell myself no... But with each hour there... My head would keep turning toward them.

And she wonders why I never want to bring the kids over. Woman has chocolate everywhere!

Out Of Gas!

Well, Eventually the fuel that powered my willpower would run out and the gravity of my addictions would draw me closer and closer.

I'd feel the urges. Taste it on my tongue from across the room. Feel my skin warm in anticipation of the sugar rush. Can anyone testify on this with me?

It's painful repeatedly resisting the temptations of treats! Of course, it doesn't help having your kid plop down next to you with a handful of Andes mints.

But each week, I grew stronger. You'll grow stronger too. And the weeks you think you fail, you're still progressing.

Remember, change is immediate but the results are not. Instead, results are inevitable if you persist through the change.

Don't allow a bad day destroy your week. Don't let a bad week destroy your month. It breaks my heart how many people just give up after they stumble and fall.

That was me for 10 years. It doesn't have to be that way.

There's a better way.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Not Immediate, Inevitable

It was Spring 2014 and I was carting my 9 month old son through a Half Priced Books in his favorite stroller. I we there to scour obscure RPG supplements to breathe more life into my campaign. I sat sprawled, books circling me as people walked past toward more popular genres.

A plastic motorcycle flies by, missing my head, followed by a mischievous cackle. I smirk, grab the toy, and return it to John as I mine the tome for literary nuggets of golden inspiration.

But there was no gold that day and John was ever increasingly demanding for my attention from his buggy. The anxiety was also creeping back into my mind as my mouth dried from dehydration. I needed a cigarette.

Returning the books to shelves in no order, I cart John outside, 25 feet from the entrance to the edge of a covered area. I then proceed to pace 10 more feet away, deftly producing cigarette and lit lighter in motion. By 9 feet, I was already devouring my first drag.

Not Immediate

I turned and glanced at John who curiously considering me with cherubic cheeks. Then, as cigarette smoke filled the space between us, he let loose a moan of discomfort and frustration. In response, I took another drag.

After 10 year of trying to quit, I knew I was shackled to this flaming stick of tobacco between my fingers. It is was it is.

I took another drag and glanced back. John, restrained in his black stroller, delivers another glance of disapproval. He reached his short, stubby infant hands up to the air expecting I would drop everything to run over and embrace him. At least, that was my interpretation. But first, I needed to finish my cigarette.

I bring the cigarette back to my lips. Smoking in front of my 9 month old boy, who does that? What is wrong with me? The weight of guilt pressed down upon me.

I took another drag. No! I stopped half way. Why am I doing this? Don't I want to see him all grown up? Don't I want to see him have his own family?

His namesake, my father, died when I was two. My stepfather died of lung cancer. I saw what it did to him with my own eyes. Do I want my baby to see that?

Do I want that? Because with each drag I move one more step closer to that reality! No I will not allow this no more.

I took another drag. But how? I tried for 10 years. Doesn't matter. I'll find a way. I dropped the cigarette and snuffed it out with my shoe.

Inevitable

That's the moment I proclaimed emancipation from cigarettes. I began looking into ways to kick the habit. Later that week, I purchased my first "Vape Pen" from a tattooed guy named Tommy. He ran a VapeShop from his garage somewhere in a run down neighborhood in La Porte. I smoked two more cigarettes that night.

Later that week I ran out of smokes and I wanted to have a cigarette so bad but instead I clinged to my vape pen. It wasn't easy. But the results were inevitable. I haven't bought a pack of smokes since.

After 3 months of vaping, I finally got down to 0 mg. I wasn't interested in blowing clouds all day.

It's been 2 years since I quit smoking. I wasn't easy and the result weren't immediate. But it was inevitable.

"Change is immediate, but results are not. Instead, results are inevitable if you persist through the change."

- Justin

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Recording Meals

I've recorded my meals for over a year now. Yeah, it sucks in the beginning but it gets kinda interesting for a week or two when you get a few meals saved.

It's not glamorous.

But the results are. It's not immediate, but it's inevitable as long as you keep the faith.

Some Weeks

I recorded my meals for over a year now. The thing is, I haven't recorded 52 weeks worth of meals. Not even close.

What I did was log my meals until I found a few I enjoyed which also helped me reach my goals.

Once a had a few days worth of nutritious meals, I'd get nutritiously repetitive and schedule my nutritious days. I didn't need to log them. I knew they were already healthy.

That way, I only needed to focus on the other days of the week. And even if they weren't perfect, I knew I could trust the days I already scheduled to be nutritious.

There were even weeks I don't log any of my meals because I know what I'm eating will help me lose weight. It's not glamorous but it's an awesome and liberating feeling.

Freeing!

Other Weeks

There were also weeks I didn't log any of my meals and I would drift off course. Every once in a while, I would get complacent.

Sometimes I lose interest in the existing recipes and be ready for something new. Other times I'd "fall off the wagon."

But once I realized this, all I needed to do was start logging what I ate again until I found a few more meals which fit my goals.

I now have weeks worth of meals I can rely on which I enjoy and help me reach my goal.

In The End

It's not immediate, but it's inevitable. And it's not a diet of deprivation.

I can eat desert. I can eat carbohydrates. I can even fall off the wagon.

Cause I have weeks worth of meals I can rely on which I enjoy and help me reach my goal.

I have that from recording meals

  • It help you stay on track
  • It helps you save money cause you know what you need to buy at the grocer.
  • It helps save you time, and stress. I highly, highly recommend it.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Chapter 5

Do you start reading a book at Chapter 5?

Chapter 5 may be where the hero wins but without Chapters 1-4, Chapter 5 loses context.

Chapters 1-4

The shining sword the hero used to slay the dragon. You know, the weapon he found in Chapter 4. That's the reward for overcoming his final obstacle. The one which enabled him to face the dragon in the first face.

The sturdy shield which saves his life during the epic battle. You know, the gift he received in Chapter 3. That's from saving another's life with the skills he learned in Chapter 2.

The tome the hero reads which exposed the dragon's greatest weakness. You know, the book he discovered in Chapter 2. That's from relentlessly scouring the streets, seeking until the right information was revealed.

The scared child afraid of the vile dragon. You know, the boy from Chapter 1.

That was the hero.

Chapter 5

You see chapter 5 is great. It the great victory. But Chapter 5 would have never happened without Chapters 1 - 4.

Why do you expect your journey to be different?