Category Archives: Fitness

How Will You Triumph Next Year?

3-1/2 minutes to read

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ∞ Albert Einstein

Now’s the time to commit to your goals for the New Year. It’s daunting. The blank sheet of paper in front of you screams unlimited possibilities. At the same time it reminds you of all the New Year’s resolutions that lasted less than a week. So what do you do? How do you choose? If you try to go for everything you’ll end up achieving nothing.

How Will You Triumph Next Year?

Overcoming Years of Broken Resolutions

A study two years ago showed that over 40% of Americans make New Years resolutions. Yet, just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. The average person makes the same New Year’s resolution ten times yet still doesn’t achieve it. With such a high failure rate it’s tempting not to bother setting objectives for next year.

If you give up you’ll accomplish one thing for sure. Change will be impossible. Then again, you’ll have to accept poorer physical fitness, inadequate finances, and lower quality relationships. And this assumes you’re not forced to make a transition such as going from military to civilian life or finding a new job. The reality is, even if you don’t want to change, life forces you to.

You can intentionally work on making your life better or on accepting the status quo.

Insuring You’ll Grow Next Year

While there aren’t any guarantees, the way you plan your goals increases the likelihood you’ll reach them. Here are four steps to take:

  1. Write down your goals. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, studied goal setting and found you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.
  2. Make sure your goals align with your life purpose. Having a purpose for your life makes you happier and healthier. If your goals and purpose are out of sync you’ll negate one or both.
  3. Have a compelling why for each goal. Write it down too. Review it every day. Keeping your why uppermost in your mind gives you the motivation to change.
  4. Visualize attaining your goals. Your mind is so powerful if you spend five to ten minutes a day visualizing your life it as if you have already met your goals. Frank Niles, writes,

“According to research using brain imagery, visualization works because neurons in our brains, those electrically excitable cells that transmit information, interpret imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to ‘perform’ the movement. This creates a new neural pathway -- clusters of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors -- that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined. All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity, yet it achieves a similar result.”

How I’ll Help You

You may have noticed I reorganized my blog into six categories:

  • Transitions
  • Fitness
  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Resilience
  • Soul

I’m committed to helping you with these areas of your life. Is losing weight your priority? Do you need to get out of debt? Are you focused on building your marriage? How about nourishing your spiritual growth? You’ll find practical suggestions and food for thought here. And I’ll be posting more of the same as well as new tools that will help you stay on track and achieve your goals.

If you have a different challenge let me know and I will refer you to someone who will help you.

Let’s work together to make this year your best one ever!

What is your top priority for next year? Please comment below.

Fit to be an Entrepreneur

When I started my business in 1986 I was always on the look out for the secret to success. I don't remember who it was but somebody told me the key was to “stay in the game.” The person meant you should have enough money to last through the start up phase, but in the 26 years since I have found that staying in the game requires more than money. It requires being fit. Just like in the military, an entrepreneur must be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. I call this the Three Pillars of Fitness.

Fit to Be an Entrepreneur - 3 Pillars of Fitness

Think of it this way: if you are mentally and physically fit you are standing on two legs. That works fine during normal times, but if life gets very turbulent you will get knocked down. A two-legged structure is inherently unstable. Now think about a tripod. Once its three legs are properly spread it is extremely difficult to push it over. The platform supported by the legs may on occasion not be quite level, but its three legs are the utmost in stability. The same is true for us. Click on each heading for more about each leg.

Physical Fitness

As service members, we had to periodically pass a physical readiness test so staying physically fit was a part of our job. It may seem that once we are out of the military we need not worry about this anymore. But stamina is a crucial aspect of being successful in business. While we may not be going on long hikes or wearing body armor to do our work, we will be working long hours. Proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep are the keys.

I recommend having a fitness program to keep on track. I use The President’s Challenge, which is the latest program from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. If you are interested in joining my Three Pillars of Fitness group let me know. One of the benefits of the group is I will pay for the medals you earn.

Mental Fitness

Business is mentally and emotionally demanding. You will deal with a lot of new issues and challenges. Failure will become part of your everyday existence. But just like physical training gives us greater stamina, so too can we train for the mental rigors of entrepreneurship. When I was ten years old I started reading biographies of famous, successful people and I have continued to do so for over four decades. There are many fantastic motivational trainers such as Zig Ziglar and sales trainers such as Tommy Hopkins. Over twenty years ago at Tommy’s Boot Camp I learned one of his mantras that I developed as follows: I never see failure as failure, but as the information I need to go on to succeed.

Mental fitness requires that we continually seek out the information we need to achieve success. We must challenge our assumptions. Remember, the definition of insanity is to repeatedly try the same thing while expecting a different result. A friend of mine recently introduced me to Michael Hyatt and I have found his ideas to be very stimulating. The good news it that there are numerous resources, including podcasts and recorded books many of which are free, on the Internet to help us get and stay mentally fit.

Spiritual Fitness

When our physical stamina is running low and our mental toughness has taken its twenty-fifth hit that day, nothing will get us through except our spirit. For some of us we will look to religion, having faith that G-d will show us the way through. Others will use meditation or other physical techniques that have a profound impact on the spirit. Still, others will grab their iPods and plug into music that recharges their souls. My point is not to suggest that you must use any particular method, only that like with physical and mental fitness, you train your spirit for the demands of entrepreneurship. Just like we have to work out at least three times a week to stay in shape, we have to have a regular plan to exercise our spirits.

I will return to this topic periodically, expanding on a particular pillar and giving resources for its development. In the meantime let me know if you found this subject valuable and what your thoughts are about it.

The 3 To-Dos that Guarantee Daily Success

3 minutes to read

Success means different things to different people. Therein lies its challenge. Unlimited possibilities make choosing difficult. What if you settle on the wrong definition of success? Years will be wasted pursuing the wrong option. Fortunately certain basic elements to a successful life will help you narrow the alternatives while propelling you toward your objective.

The 3 To-Dos that Guarantee Daily Success

Daily Action

Even if success for you means winning the lottery, it won’t happen useless you take consistent action. You’ll have to find lotteries to play, buy tickets, and check results. But assuming your plan relies on a more assured path to success, daily action is even more crucial.

Hard work directed to achieving your goals is the only route to success. If you want to spend your days lounging on the beach you’re going to need to amass enough wealth to do so or work daily on suppressing your desires. Artists must consistently pursue their art. Entrepreneurs must constantly be serving their clients.

Energy and Focus Are Key

Sustainable performance requires stamina. Dissipate your energy pursuing things that don’t lead to success and you’ll have nothing left for the to-dos that count. So before you do anything else you have to decide what you want. Without a target to focus on you’ll get lost.

Once you know where you’re going, you have to have the gas to get you there. Continuous performance must be supported with physical, mental, and spiritual energy. Run short of any of these and your journey will end.

The 3 Essential To-Dos

Creating a routine is the best route to consistent behavior. The power of habit requires a lower expenditure of energy, leaving you more to deal with the creative challenges you’ll face striving for your goals. Make these three tasks part of your daily regimen:

  1. Plan your day the night before. Write down your to-dos with your goals in front of you. This helps to insure your work is meaningful. The benefits of planning the night before are:
    • Knowing what tasks you face the next day allows your brain to work on them while you sleep;
    • You won’t waste time in the morning figuring out what needs to be done;
    • There’s less of a chance you’ll get distracted by a tempting diversion that isn’t going to get you to your goals.
  2. Recharge you mental and spiritual batteries before taking on the challenges of the day. Such prayer has three aspects:
    • Express gratitude for what you have in your life. Family, friends, rewards received, and trials to overcome, all should inspire thankfulness.
    • Affirm the person you seek to become. Identify the one or two qualities obstructing your success. Find or create a declaration to instill them in yourself. For example, if you lack self-assurance, proclaim you are confident and why.
    • Reiterate your commitment to the G-d. Nobody achieves success alone. By stating your desire for a relationship you align yourself with the infinite power of the universe.
  3. Counterintuitively, exercise increases your energy level. In or out of the gym, moderate or heavy, get your body moving. Outdoors you can enjoy fresh air (even in Los Angeles). Work out at least 20 minutes in addition to warming up and cooling down.

Whether you aspire to world-class achievements or have your eye on more modest success, make these three to-dos part of your daily routine. The focus and energy they give you will propel you forward like nothing else.

What daily to-dos drive you to success? Please comment below.

How to Stop Working Too Much

Friends I haven’t seen in a long time usually ask what it’s like being in the Navy. Amid stories about Okinawa and an aircraft carrier, how my wife and daughter handle military life comes up. You know how tough families have it. At times my daughter didn’t see me for a week. I was out of the house before she woke up and didn't get home until after she went to bed. Of course, you don’t have to be in the military to be absorbed by work.

How to Stop Working Too Much?

Despite Surveys, Americans Work Too Much

A recent article in carried the sub-headline, “A New National Study Finds Americans Work Reasonable Hours and Get Enough Sleep, Even if We Often Think Otherwise.” Based on the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey, the article said, “The average full-time work week comes out at just a bit shy of 42 hours.”

Call me skeptical. But the data gathered is based on people’s recollections of how they spent the previous day. Do you remember the precise amount of time you spent sleeping, grooming, preparing meals and snacks, eating and drinking, driving to work, and working at your main job yesterday? Me either. The Internet and cell phones make us more productive. But they allow work to intrude into other activities. I suspect this didn't get factored in. The survey probably underreports work time by at least 10% to 20%.

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Set Boundaries to Help You Stop Working

Juggling navy duties, civilian work, and a 2-1/2 hour daily commute the past year, I’ve learned a few simple rules to reduce my working time:

  1. When told to take on another project or task, decline it. If that’s impractical, agree to “see that it gets handled” rather than “do it myself.”
  2. Delegate or rid yourself of all tasks except those only you can do. It may not be as hard as you think. Often coworkers would love to tackle something on your to-do list because it’s more interesting than their regular duties. Other tasks can sit uncompleted and no one will notice.
  3. Take care of loose ends before leaving work or on the drive home. Normal home cell phone mode should be off (or muted if you have to respond to emergencies), especially during meals.
  4. When you get home, leave your work in the car, mentally that is. No sense tempting fate by leaving your computer where it might get stolen.
  5. If you have to work at home, have a set place and time for doing so. You can complete your tasks more quickly without interruptions.

While the 40-hour workweek is much maligned, I think it makes a lot of sense. With only 168 hours in a week, at least 49 of which should be spent sleeping, working 40 hours takes up a third of your waking hours. Wouldn’t it be nice to confine them to 9 to 5? But there’s no use pining for what once was.

Hopefully, you’re not intent on having your tombstone read, “Worked Massive Numbers of Hours.” (If you are, please contact me immediately!) By learning to restrict your work you’ll find much more worthy words to place on it, and most likely have many more years before they have to be placed.

How many hours a week do you work? 

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below

The One Thing You Must to Do to Lose Weight

Recently I reconnected with a friend from college. Amidst long days and nights at USC’s architecture school, we often did two free weight workouts a day. Having not seen each other for almost two decades, I was gratified by his remarking how good I looked. You see, when last we got together I tipped the scale at nearly 195 lbs., close to obese for my 5’-8” height. “How did you lose weight?” he asked.

The One Thing You Must to Do to Lose Weight

By Cha già José / CC-BY-SA-2.0

During most of my adult life, a typical dinner was half a dozen sourdough rolls (often with sweet cream butter), a small salad, a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream (coffee or vanilla fudge) washed down with a liter or so of caffeine-free Coke. Breakfast and lunch were no better. Would you like to know the sad thing? As I write this I'm salivating at the thought of such a meal.

Shortly after Melanie and I got married (still weighing in the low 190s) I realized it was time to lose weight.   I had a heart-to-heart talk with myself. It went something like this:

Responsible Kevin: Well, you have a wife now, and soon probably children.

Childish Kevin: Yeah, so what?

Responsible Kevin: Do you want to be around to celebrate your golden wedding anniversary and bounce grandkids on your knees?

Childish Kevin: Isn’t that the point of getting married?

Responsible Kevin: Don’t be a smart-aleck. You think you’ll make it toting around an extra 30+ lbs?

Childish Kevin: I run three mornings a week!

Responsible Kevin: And you haven’t dropped an ounce.

Childish Kevin: Well, what do you suggest?

Responsible Kevin: How about restricting your caloric intake to an appropriate level?

Childish Kevin: And what would that be?

Responsible Kevin: 1500 calories a day.

Childish Kevin: You must be joking. A pint of Haagen-Dazs has got 1000 calories.

Responsible Kevin: Exactly. Are you getting on board or are you going to be obese for the rest of your life?

Childish Kevin: No need to nag. You’re right. I’ll get with the program, 1500 calories a day it is, except for the Sabbath.

Responsible Kevin: Deal!

And so for the next three months I ate a breakfast of two pieces of fruit and high-fiber cereal with skim milk. Lunch was usually cottage cheese, salsa, and chips. Dinner was a salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Such was my fare six days a week. Sabbath meals were elaborate and more caloric but not outrageous. Each day I gave myself a treat of some kind of chocolate, about 150 calories worth.

Nothing happened for the first week. Then, the pounds started to fall off, about two per week. Three months later I was down to the low 160s. At that point, I started an exercise program that eventually allowed me to up my daily caloric intake to 2400. That’s where it stands today. Meals still consist primarily of fruit, vegetables, high-fiber grain products, and low-calorie protein.

Maybe you

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can commit to losing weight for its own sake. I could not. It took my duty to my family to stir within me the self-discipline necessary to permanently change my eating habits.

What will motivate you to lose weight and keep it off?

Is it longevity, the image of the body you have pasted to your bathroom mirror, or desire to be there for your family? While you think about your answer to the first question ask yourself:

Am I Living to Eat or Eating to Live?

If the former, it is unlikely you will find sufficient motivation to change since food is too important a part of your identity. An attitude shift to the latter philosophy will undergird your motivation. You can still enjoy eating without making it central to your life.

So here is the thing you must do to lose weight:

Determine your proper caloric intake and don’t eat more.

Here's a website that will help you. You cannot exercise your way to weight loss. Exercising three to five times a week will give you less than a 30% caloric bump over what you can eat if you live a sedentary life.

Exercising is crucial for cardiac health and obtaining and maintaining strength and muscle tone. But trying to adopt both a better diet and exercise routine will overtask your self-discipline. You increase your chances of success if you tackle them one at a time.

Do not wait until after the holidays, START NOW! Telling yourself you will succumb to the temptations of the season undermines the self-control you intend to develop in a few weeks. Give yourself a bigger win by making a plan that allows a small indulgence as part of your new lifestyle of healthy eating.

What do you think is your biggest hurdle to a healthier diet

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