Tag Archives forhealth and wellness

Can you really systemize success?

Here's some change.

You want change? I've got your change right here, buddy.

I’ve spent the last five years of my life working in an aspect of what you might call the “self-help” industry and all of my entire professional career in the area of helping others.  What might surprise you is that I’m not a particularly big fan of some of the concepts presented in the industry.

I do believe that there’s a system to “success.”  What I also believe is that a lot of people simply don’t want to work that system.  This is why so many people I’ve met spend so much time in an endless cycle of “motivation/demotivation,” even myself. There are about a million cliches or quotes I can pull out of thousands of different books or presentations – which is why it’s so easy for many of us to become addicted to the IDEA of success rather than the pursuit of the concept.

In the end, the concept of motivation itself is really quite empty.  A certain speaker I know calls it “getting ready to get ready,” but I tend to see it more as a black and white issue.  You either will or you won’t.  You do or you don’t.

The “how” really comes into play when you focus on necessity and speed.  I believe that ANY system can be successful, but it just is a matter of whether you want to be on a track to immediate results or a slow trek up a big mountain.  I prefer speed – I talk fast, I think fast and I move fast.  You might not.  The system still doesn’t change.

So what is it?

Step One:  Change Something Immediately

You already know at least one thing about whatever it is you’re trying to change.  In all likelihood, you probably have spent some time dancing around the idea or even doing a little research.  For example, the first major step in losing 80 pounds in the past two years began with an immediate change.  At every meal, I swapped out one item on the plate for a healthier alternative.  I know it wasn’t the radical plan that some might have hoped, but it was an immediate change.  It required triggering a thought process to begin whenever I looked at a plate or a wrapper.  It also forced preparation AROUND that change which were all implemented immediately without getting stuck in a planning cycle.  Cheeseburgers and fries would become cheeseburgers and apples.  Steak and potatoes would become steak and vegetables.  This small change was the path to the first 20 pounds off with virtually no thought or planning.  That came next…

Hot Fuzz - "The Greater Good"Step Two:  Commit WITH benchmarks.

After the immediate change, it’s now time to begin the planning (notice how it’s NOT before).  “I want to lose weight” is typically not the way we think about goals, even if it’s what we’re SAYING to others in embarrassment or frustration.  In our minds, we’re really thinking “I want to lose 20 pounds” and then building that mountain up higher and higher to allow ourselves some flexibility to get off the goal.  Being successful requires daily action that leads into a greater good.  For example, if you’re going to win Village of the Year like they do every year in Sandford, rather than being some crusty juggling living statue, you’d better make sure that you have your preparation done every day.

If you’re a rigorous planner, this can come down to daily action (which I feel works best).  If not, a weekly outline will do just fine to keep you on track.  Either way, you then have the map you will follow.  You should also have VISUAL reminders to this in common places, whether it’s hanging on your wall, bathroom mirror, refrigerator door or wherever else.

Step Three:  Research the Options

Most people try to do this step first, because we’re interested in the “how” before the “what.”  Using this model, you’ve already started making immediate changes, you’ve locked in on the goal and now you can begin figuring out the plan.  This gives you research some actual purpose as opposed to simple brainstorming.  You’re now trying to fit the details to your pre-existing plan rather than trying to come out of the gate completely planned without knowing WHAT you’re trying to do.  There is never just one solution to the problem.  You don’t have to be gluten-free to lose weight, but it helps.  You can be on an all cheeseburger diet and it’ll work if you’re watching the calories you take in.  Don’t believe me on that cheeseburger diet?  Meet Don Gorske.  Remember that bit I said above about how ANY plan can work if you’re persistent enough?  Well…there you go.  I don’t recommend or endorse this, because most of us become fatties from eating Big Macs.  I’M JUST SAYIN’….

Step Four:  Compare and Lock In

Once you’ve limited down the decisions to the options that seem to fit the action best, you now will need to decide.  If you’re a perpetual tester, that’s fine too – try a little bit of everything.  I used multiple diet plans throughout my process because I get bored or complacent when focused on one thing for too long.  It doesn’t matter which option you choose, it just matters that it fits.

Step Five:  Rinse, Repeat and Fail a Few Times

Inevitably, you’re going to be outside of perfect conditions for your goal and have a fresh set of circumstances.  This can still be alleviated by repeating steps 1-4.  For example, in our diet example, there were times that I would travel for extensive periods of time.  Schedules go off whack.  Healthy options are harder and harder to find, but they’re always there if you care about it enough.  You now must have a new “road routine” to meet this that starts at the same place you began your original goal.  A sample example:

Step One:  I immediately commit to not eating any meat-based dish at a hotel restaurant that doesn’t include chicken or fish.

Step Two:  I will continue on the weight loss path I set by maintaining exercise and diet planning.

Step Three:  I will look up travel, professional or business sites to find out what others are doing.  I will look up what can be packed and what I might need to get on the ground.  I will research the room service menu when I arrive to determine what might be an option there.  I will exhaust all possibilities because I overanalyze everything.

Step Four:  I set the meal plan for the extent of travel.

I know this was pretty “health-specific,” but this same system applies to ANY significant life change – whether it’s more money, learning something new or it’s moving past a fear.


Finding a Voice

If you follow me on Facebook or any of my other social sites, you know that the last few months have been an amazing trial for me.  The actual illness itself was actually the beginning of a far more difficult journey of recovery.

I’ve watched a wide variety of illness in family members and friends throughout my life.  It literally defined certain members of my family.  However, I can’t say that I fully understood it until I began the challenge myself.

At the end of January, I was probably the strongest I’ve ever been in my life.  I had completed month one of the Insanity 60-day challenge and was heading into a recovery week before starting month two.  I was at a lower weight than I have ever been in my adult life.  I was feeling good every day, speaking on a regular basis and wondering where I could find more time for personal ventures.

Then I noticed that I was starting to come down with a fever…

Here we stand in May, months after all of that happened and I have been trying to find my voice since I’m still not able to consistently use my own (and still won’t for a minimum of two more months).  I also had more forced rest, which typically means “thinking time,” to face the state of what my life has become.

I’ve always loved the art of writing.  I also take immense pride in the craft of creation.  But ever since my youth, I’ve also mastered the art of building “half of a sandcastle” and walking away or forgetting.  I have a million great ideas and spend a lot of time building a quarter of them and then moving on to another.  It’s especially ironic given the fact that I coach hundreds of people a month on why they SHOULDN’T do this – so you can be assured that I know this from experience!

This website is a fantastic example – it was the product of a fantastic idea I had to create more direct connections with the many people that I work with or follow on a daily basis.  Instead, it became another half-built sandcastle.  Actually, this one may have been closer to 75%.  Even though it’s a pretty standard template, I still like it and I’m gonna stick with it!

So, I wanted a voice – it was just a matter of choosing one.  Here I am!