An Open Letter to People Struggling to Exercise

It’s hard to ignore, isn’t it?

That pulling sensation from somewhere deep inside. While the origin is unknown, this isn’t the first time that this feeling has crept up on you.

Maybe it was the game you watched. Seeing the athletes move their bodies with a sense of purpose, all towards a single objective, trigged your own desire to step into the arena.

It could’ve been that couple that ran past you, laughing with each other as they quickly changed from full-sized humans into tiny specks in the distance. You haven’t gone on a walk in awhile, and on any given day a set of stairs can leave you more winded than you care to admit. It feels like a finger thump straight to your heart.

Or perhaps it hit you as you flipped through the magazine in the checkout lane. On the cover, some “fit” model with abs for days. Page 26: lean legs and a butt that could stop a speeding bullet without so much as a flex.

Regardless of the source, the cause is the same. Your higher self, your own personal version of Jiminy Cricket, your inner voice (mind sounds like DMX, in case you were wondering), is throwing anything it can at you, trying to get you to pay attention to one thing: you’re not firing on all cylinders.

I’ve Been There Too

Back in the not too distant past, I was about as unhealthy as you could get.

Outside of organized sports until I was 12, moving around just wasn’t my thing. I took full advantage of every possible opportunity to lie down, sit in a chair or lean against a conveniently placed wall.

Exercise? Nope – it made me breath too hard. Then I’d sweat too much, which means I’d need more showers, which would cause me to run out of workout clothes, forcing me to continuously buy new ones. You can clearly see how if i kept exercising it would only lead to my financial ruin.

And eating healthy? French fries are technically a vegetable, and scientists have managed to cram every vitamin, mineral and nutrient that I need be a fully functioning human into chicken nuggets, so I didn’t need to bother with eating that green stuff.

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Does not include cash purchases or eating friends leftovers.

Lengthy gaming sessions that stretched from dusk till dawn were the norm. Food that I could buy and eat in five minutes or less became my main source of sustenance.

At 20, after years of these kinds of shenanigans, it’s no wonder that I slept horribly, was in a constant state of lethargy, had cholesterol levels over 350 and suffered from a boner that was as dependable as a narcoleptic security guard.

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Certified sex machine.

Looking to do something (pretty much anything) to turn things around, I stumbled my way into fitness thanks to a series of random events, and it sent my life in an entirely new direction.

The Benefits

You’ll probably live longer. Even if you don’t, your quality of life will undoubtedly be better when compared to doing nothing.

You’ll have less fat and more muscle, all contributing to a leaner you. Clothes will fit better.

You’ll be more resistant to random injuries and the normal wear and tear of life. Slipping on ice in the winter time is no longer an instant death sentence.

Everyday life become easier because you’re stronger and more prepared for the tasks.

Exercise can serve as a new outlet for your aggression, sadness, or simply become a way to wrangle and process your thoughts better. Empowerment is just one workout away.

You’ll have more energy and an increased sense of self-confidence, not only from your appearance changing, but from the act of pursuing a goal.

Less stress, sharper brain function and an increased sense of creativity all await you. Your sex life will be better too because you’re more aware of and connected to your body – hollaaaaaaa.

You’ll be better able to modulate your energy. Like a DJ doing their DJ thing (like Jon Snow, I know nothing), you’ll know your levels at all times, whether you’re giving a task your all, have a little more in the tank, or you’re just coasting. And you can adjust your faders – is that what they’re called? – accordingly.

Here’s the rub: it takes time & consistency for all of these benefits to come to fruition. The sooner you make peace with this fact, the smoother your ride will be.

I completely get the urge to want it all right NOW. I was there, too. I was stunned when my biceps didn’t explode through my Kmart t-shirt after my first curl, and my back didn’t grow wide enough to block out the Sun when I did my first chin up. You mean I have to come back tomorrow and do this whole exercise thing AGAIN?!

Yup.

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Do Something. Anything.

Do what you like. Yoga, running, weight lifting, break dancing or chasing ducks through the park like a crazy person. In the beginning, it really doesn’t matter.

If you’re new to exercise, pick something and get moving just to get the ball rolling. Remove as much friction as you possibly can between you and starting.

Do you need to have a solid plan when starting out? Not at all. Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good enough for the time being – you’ll learn what you need to along the way, refining your aim as you progress. Plus you’ll likely change course plenty of times as you figure out what’s important to you and what isn’t.

One of my first fitness fails was a run in the middle of winter wearing sweatpants, a hoodie, gym shoes and construction gloves because I just finished watching a Rocky montage. I slipped and bruised my tailbone and I gingerly limped my way back across campus while holding my buttcheeks in shame.

Sign Up For The Journey, Not The Destination

Some are motivated by the drive to succeed while others get pumped up when they’re trying their best not to lose. You may be someone who is motivated by outside rewards, or you forge ahead based on intrinsic factors. No matter which camp you more or less identify with, tap into your motivation style.

There’s no judgement on where you fall. This is a marathon, not a sprint. To avoid burnout, find something that you enjoy about the process outside of the end goal you’re looking to achieve. Regardless of where you want to go, the distance between point A and point Z is going to take time, and you can run yourself ragged grinding as fast as you can towards the finish line without actually enjoying anything along the way.

It’s like someone on a quest to make a million dollars. They can either become so focused on the destination that they only experience any kind of joy once they hit their goal, or they can create mini check points & rewards along the way, specific to how they roll, to keep them excited and make the road to dolla dollas far more enjoyable.

Abs Are Overrated

Last year I hired a coach and spent a few months dieting down for a photo shoot, something that I always wanted to do for the hell of it. I set the of goal of becoming leaner than I had ever been, and 20 pounds later I achieved just that.

And I was happy. For like 5.6 seconds in total.

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Mainly I was just hungry and I wanted cake.

That’s the thing nobody really tells you. Once you reach your coveted destination, the victory is short-lived and before you know it your brain is already focusing the next shiny object.

I wasn’t any happier when I reached complete ab-domination, but when I started I sure thought that I would be. That’s when I realized that it’s not necessarily about the goal that you pick, but more about what your goal represents, who you become in the process and the traits that you develop along the way.

Even if you don’t completely hit your target, you’ll still learn a ton in the process. Sometimes a goal isn’t meant to be hit, but it gives you something to aim at for the time being.

As tempting as it is to try and fix inside issues with outside solutions, don’t. You’re enough as is right now. Instead of aiming to fix yourself, or thinking that you’ll be happier once you have X, adopt the mindset that you’re just making upgrades to an already awesome design.

Work from the inside out, not the other way around.

You’re Gonna Mess Up

A lot.

Years later you’ll look back on the major fails made along the way and laugh at yourself, wondering if your brain was hijacked by aliens who controlled your body, making it do silly things for their enjoyment.

It’s part of the game, so chalk it up as nothing but feedback designed to help you learn, grow, and spin your wheels less in the future.

Don’t add unnecessary pressure by locking yourself into some arbitrary deadline from the start. Chances are it’ll be unrealistic to begin with anyway. This whole exercise thing is like a giant carousel. When you inevitably goof up, fall off your intended path or things don’t go as planned, don’t flip out – the next chance to make things right is moments ago.

Ready? Take a deep breath and get ready for a wild ride. I have no idea where you’ll end up, but I promise that it will change your life if you let it.

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright

The Best Life and Training Advice I Received From a Homeless Man

The night was filled with an air of uncertainty.

Bodies were all over the place. Some were curled up on the ground sleeping. Others were on their respective corners panhandling. A select few wandered the pavement aimlessly, yelling obscenities into the night or at whomever was brave enough to get too close.

It was a scene that I was all too familiar with. I had several ways to respond.

A) Give some money (not an option with only credit cards).

B) Fake the funk and act like I’m talking on the phone.

C) Temporarily lose any sense of hearing and peripheral vision, becoming Robot Rog and walking right by without a word.

Standard protocol.

Ahead of me I hear one of the homeless men ask someone for money. He brushes him off, saying that he wishes he could help him, which prompts the homeless man to yell the wildest, most insightful response I’ve heard to anything in the history of the world.

 “Fuck a wish!”

I stayed up that night laughing with my friends at what he said, mainly because of how shocking and raw it was, but a week later I still couldn’t shake the statement, and here’s why.

Why Wishing Sucks & What To Do Instead

It’s natural to wish, to want, to desire. We all do this to some extent.

Some men and women see someone with a well-developed physique walk down the street and wish they could be like them.

Many aspiring authors read an amazing piece of writing and wish they could create something similar.

Every time I watch Bill Burr, Patrice O’Neal, Louis C.K.,or any other amazing stand-up comedian perform, I wish that I could do what they did.

Wishing, however, is a dangerous trap that we can catch ourselves in that does more harm than good.

We’re problem solvers by nature. When we wish something, our brain goes to work, searching through our mental Google database to find a way to turn that wish into a reality.

It wants us to take action.

What happens when we don’t, though?

It confuses our mind and body. It causes friction and conflict, dissonance between our desires and our behaviors. It’s like the student who knows the answer to the teacher’s question yet doesn’t get called on, despite raising their hand and waving it in the air like a psychopath.

Wishes can also serve as a false release valve, a “press in case of emergency” button. We can want something so badly that the act of wishing releases the pressure, taking it from something that could happen and turning it into an impossible task that’s outside of ourselves and our capabilities. At this point we may as well wait for a genie or Christina Aguilera to come out of a bottle, because that’s the only way what we wish is going to happen.

We can become addicted to wishing, conditioning ourselves to believe that wanting alone is just as good, if not better than, striving towards and attaining.

So, what to do instead?

Ask Better Questions

This alone leads to more productive answers, increasing the likelihood of taking better action. When you find yourself wishing, chances are you’re on the right track. Instead of letting the thread end there, take yourself deeper down the rabbit hole.

Ask yourself what are some steps that you can take to bring yourself closer to where you want to be. Don’t just keep them in your head. Write them down, big and small ideas alike. Put them in the notepad app on your phone, or tattoo them on your body like in Momento if that you’re feeling extra sassy.

As an example, for the last few months every time I saw someone with a Bane-esque looking back, I found myself wishing that I too could increase the jacktitude of my back muscles. I took my own advice and made the following list of things that I could act on.

- Do more heavy rows
– Get better at pull ups
– Do more back exercises in the higher rep ranges
– Train my upper back more frequently
– Eat more food and gain a bit more body fat while chasing muscle gains

This list got my mind going and gave me something to go off of. After using this is as a rough outline, I got out of my own head, sat down and put together a training program based on the above musings and I’m loving it more than this dog loves his owner.

Be as general or specific as you want to be, as long as you feed the wish instead of letting it float around in the realm of fantasy.

Scale Back

Don’t expect to jump right to the end goal the first time you’re attempting something. That’s similar to trying to face and defeat the final boss of a video game within 5 minutes of picking up the controller. It sounds good in theory, but in reality you’ll get smashed like a warm cookie you forgot was in your back pocket before sitting down, making you less likely to try again in the future.

Start as small as possible. Make the barrier for winning so low that you can’t help but crush it. As you rack up those wins, improve and become more confident, push yourself further away from your comfort zone in doses that you can handle. If you’re still a bit scared then that’s good –you’re right where you need to be

This isn’t meant to dampen your enthusiasm or a kind way of saying that you’re not capable, but a pre-preemptive strike to make sure that you only push forward when your experience have prepared you for it.

Embrace The Suck

You know that sinking feeling you get in the depths of your stomach when you’re trying something new, different and out of your norm? I won’t promise that it will go away, but I will promise that you’ll get better at handling it the more you take action.

Expect to be weaker than you want to be on certain exercises.

Expect for your writing to be a bit lame when compared to the ideal in your head.

Expect to have a few less than spectacular days as far as eating goes as you begin to get your diet together.

It might not be the absolute worst feeling in the world, but no matter what your goals are, there’s no way around this step. You have to be willing to go to that dark and sometimes terrifying place where the gap between the current you and where you want to be is larger than Godzilla’s pants (if he wore them).

This is the same place Frodo goes when he puts on the One Ring, the place of doubt any hero goes as he sets off on his quest – and that’s ok.

You will stumble, you will feel like you messed up and you will want to call it quits at some point.

Do not let this stop you. Be kind and forgiving of yourself as you move forward, always remembering this: where you are is just that, a starting point, not where you’re destined to end up.

Feedback is your homie

Aim for progress in ways that are measurable, apply specifically to your situation, and get you excited to continue moving forward. Keeping it as fun as possible along the way (here are training and dietary ways to funify your life) helps, too.

Let both your experience and results guide you. If you need to stay at a certain level while you figure out your next move, then so be it. Don’t limit yourself to what you’ve always done – be open trying new techniques, tactics and experimenting with different ways of thinking as you move forward.

Speaking of thinking differently, my friend and fellow trainer David Dellanave has based his entire business on helping people break out of the typical strength training mold. To find out more, check out his free book detailing how he does just that while getting you to trust yourself more in the process.

Act

All of this is useless without action. We’re either going to wish, dream and hope that the things we want will magically appear in our lives, or we’re going to decide to work for them.

Below is one of my online training clients after he decided to stop wishing and start taking tangible steps towards his goal.

After all the planning, plotting and pontificating is done, action is the only thing that can save you. Always has been and always will be.

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As my friend and mentor Alan Aragon so eloquently put it, a life spent chasing dreams that never come true is better than a life spent running away from dreams that could have.

20+ Ways to Live a More Positive, Fulfilling and Happy Life

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I don’t have anywhere near all the answers, but here are a few lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life that’ve helped me live a more positive and fulfilling life.

Note: For those who have seen some of this, the new stuff starts at #14.

1) Be the hero of your own story.

Whatever mistakes you’ve made up until now are off the table – the only thing that matters from this point on is how you move forward starting today.

Imagine you’re the main character in a video game, or you’re playing the starring role in the supremely megafantastic movie called YOUR LIFE – act accordingly.

What would they do? What choices would they make?

Don’t wait around or expect anyone else to create your own success or happiness – that’s entirely yours to make.

The princess is in another castle and nobody is gonna save her but you (high five if you get this reference).

“Be your own hero, it’s cheaper than a movie ticket.” – Douglas Horton

Action step: Watch your favorite movie montage, video game scene or TV moment. Find out what drew you to it (was it the character’s intensity, confidence, charisma? What about their ability to handle a tough situation or stand up for themselves?) then apply it to your own life in any situation that you can.

2) Fail often. Fail better.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

Action step: Pick back up (or start) something that failure, or fear of it, kept you from pursuing.

3) Empty your mind

Whether your goal is to look like Hugh JACKEDman or simply get rid of the extra fluff that has taken up residence on your body, odds are you’re holding on to some beliefs that do nothing more than hold you back.

It could be “knowing” that you have to eat x amount of meals a day, or “knowing” that if you eat certain foods you’ll never get the body that you want.

Open yourself to different possibilities. There are no absolutes, only options…and options are great because that means cake, and cake is AWESOME!

Action step: Identify at least one idea/belief that does nothing but hold you back or hinder your progress. Once you’ve done that, write down ways that you can act that run counter to those ideas. Give it time and do this for several weeks, taking note of any changes, positive or negative, that’ve occured.

Example: I must eat every 2 hours, despite it being a chore and my lifestyle beginning to suffer.
Action: For a month, increase the length of time between your meals and see how you respond.

4) Build momentum

Whatever your goal is, do whatever you have to do to get it, then do everything in your power to keep from losing it.

Unless of course you’re in a negative momentum spiral, then please feel free to stomp both feet into the ground Flinstone style to stop and get yourself on the right path.

Action step:  Identify one thing , small or large, that you really want to accomplish. Decide on a first step then do it, no matter what. If you want to write a book but haven’t written anything since you came up with the idea, shut off your phone, go to a place where you can write and sit there until you’ve made headway on the project. This could be on the weekend or you may even have to call in sick from work.

Extreme? Yup, but the “OH HELL YEAH!” feeling you get from finally making progress far outweighs any monetary or time sacrifice you made to make it happen.

After this, keep going on a daily, or at the very least weekly, basis. It doesn’t matter how small, just DO NOT lose the momentum you’ve gained. Small progression is better than no progression.

5) Do the simple things every day

Smile and laugh everyday.

Be positive and act positively as often as you can.

Pass up as many opportunities as possible to be a downer, asshat or general negative vibe bringer.

Action step: This one is easy – start with smiling and laughing and see where it takes you. Even if you don’ feel like it, this is one of those instances where faking it until you make it works wonders.

6) Death, defeat and life domination

36,816,413 minutes

840 months.

70 years.

The average life expectancy.

One of these days we’re going to die – and who knows then? This is the most empowering thing you will ever hear.

How many days, months or years have passed by without us having really lived them?

Doesn’t matter. Starting today, begin the process of doing more of what you love and what makes you happy vs what sucks and what drains you.

Tell the people close to you that you love ‘em.

Reach out to and old friend you haven’t talked to in awhile and see what’s up.

Start surrounding yourself with those who say “why not?” instead of only asking “why?”

Write down a list of big dreams and little dreams, no matter how lame they may seem, and start pursuing them ALL like a damn cheetah with a rocketpack attached to it.

One day you will wake up and there won’t be anymore time to do the things you’ve always wanted – do it now.

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright

Action step: Whenever you screw up, take a step back and laugh. Seriously, laugh. Did you die? If you’re reading this then you’re still in the game. Revel in this fact and get back to being awesome because you never know when your time will come.

7) Find inspiration daily

Whatever you’re doing, a mega dose of inspiration can help keep you going, take it to the next level or transform it into something wild & completely different.

So find that inspiration.

The best part? It’s everywhere.

Read a book by your favorite author.

Get out and explore nature (watch out for rabid wildebeests).

Listen to a dope podcast or some awesome music.

Find someone who is doing great things and thank them, because if they can do it then it’s within your own powers of awesomeness to do it as well.

Do this and do it daily; first thing in the morning so that you set the awesome tone for your day.

Make yourself aware of what’s possible in this world and be surprised at how it starts to change your own life.“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Action step: Do one of the above things on a daily basis, preferably first thing in the morning, or create your own inspirational ritual. For some it’s horseback riding and jigsaw puzzles, and for others it’s daily meditation.

8) Learn from your past, then let go

Spaceships don’t have rear-view mirrors for a reason (ok, several reasons).Treat your past experiences as the best teacher of all, but once you’re done, you’re done. Don’t look back and expect to learn something new from constantly analyzing or “re-taking” that same class over and over and over again.The same issues tend to keep popping up in life until the lesson is learned. If that’s happening, learn it once and for all and stop the cycle so you can moonwalk forward into the rest of your life.

“Going over your past is like sitting in a crap film and watching it over and over and over and over again expecting the ending to change, when it’s not. It’s not going to.” – Jules Murphy Wyman

Action step: Identify a moment from your past that’s still haunting you. Set aside some time to really analyze why it’s bothering you and extract as many possible positive takeaways or lessons that you can (there is always something, no matter how it may seem). Use those to improve your life from that point forward and put the past to rest.

This could range from anything to diet mishaps to romantic relationship mistakes.

 9) Stop hiding

Be your unabashed self in all the best ways that you can. Take your own strengths and superpowers and amplify them.

By not doing it, you’re not only robbing the world of your awesomeness, but you’ll never be able to step out and realize your full potential.Don’t try to be someone else – they’ll always be better at it than you could ever dream of being. Life is way too short to be a half-ass version of something that’s already out there.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

Action step: Seriously, you’re theshit.com*, so start by surrounding yourself with people with whom you can really be yourself with, online or in person. Gain confidence from these interactions. Sneak bits and pieces that you feel comfortable with into your daily life. Identify what’s awesome about you (asking friends or those close to you can help if you don’t have the slightest clue) and start amplifying it.

*Disclaimer: Don’t go to that site haha. I can’t imagine anything good coming from it.

10) Be kind

Never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind gesture, sympathetic word or a listening ear – all of which are easy to give and cost you nothing. You never know what someone right next to you is going through, and if it will be the difference between a craptastic day and one filled with a little sunshine and hope.

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver

Action step: Be giving with your time, knowledge, money, kindness, connections or influence when you can. Give in such a way that the person who receives it can’t possibly return the favor.

 11) Be grateful

Practice gratitude daily.Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to chill and write down a small list of the things that made you smile, laugh, or that you’re glad are a part of your life. There’s ALWAYS something to be grateful about, especially when you look down at that list and realize that a lot of people out there have it worse off than you do and could use a few of those things.

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark

Action step: Make that list! I’ll know if you don’t ;)

12) Be positive and believe in yourself

Being an optimist won’t solve all your problems, but what’s the alternative? There isn’t much sense in being anything else.

If you’re constantly filling your head with negative thoughts, odds are they’ll lead you straight towards negative actions, self-doubt and increase the general suckitude of life by 10384398%.Suck City isn’t a cool place to live at all.

Think of each setback as a challenge to see the positive, spin the situation back around, making it better than it was before.

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

Action step: From now until the day you die, work on developing a positive mindset via positive thoughts and actions, and chase the defeatist and negative mindset out of your brain and life. Never say “it is what it is”.

13) Tell safety to suck it

Playing it safe is the riskiest thing that you can do.Do what everyone else does and your results will the same as theirs – average. And you’re better than average.

Be bold. Be yourself. Take a chance.

What’s the absolute worst that can happen? Death. Let’s be real though: what you want to do isn’t going to even come close to killing you, even though it may feel like it at times.

Use this to your advantage and run towards necessary risk instead of away from it. No failure is too large to recover from. No setback is too great to power through like a champ. Nothing hurts more than a death by 1,000 small cuts, letting each day that passes mark another day that you didn’t move closer, even if only a small way, towards your dreams.

“The world is full of people who want to play it safe, people who have tremendous potential but never use it. Somewhere deep inside them, they know that they could do more in life, be more, and have more — if only they were willing to take a few risks.” – George Foreman

Action step: Do something epic. Do something heroic. Do something awesome. Whatever you wanna call it, DO NOT settle for mediocrity. Do things that make the world better for you having been here.

Here are some resources to help:

The Flinch by Julien Smith

How To Be Legendary by Johnny B. Truant
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

14) Be present (thanks to reader Jordan Ayres)

With the humongous list of things to do and more ways to distract ourselves than ever, it’s easy to lose site of what’s important – RIGHT NOW; not sulking about the past or worrying about the future. The most important thing that we can get ourselves and others is our undivided attention.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau

Action step: Be actively involved with what you’re doing. When you’re with friends/family, turn of your cell phone or leave it in the car if you have the habit of constantly checking it like you’re Superman on call (guilty as charged). Focus on one task while minimizing all other distraction that pull you away from it.

15) Treat money like a tool

Wads of flimsy, funny looking cash. Computer generated codes that tell us that those numbers in our online banking accounts are real. It’s wild how much meaning and emotion we attach to money. If I drop a penny, I won’t even blink, but if a $100 bill blows out my hand I might chase it through the streets until the end of time.

At the end of the day, money is just a means to an end. Nothing more.

If you’re grinding and struggling to make ends meet and buried under piles of debt, that’s pretty stressful. Once you have your basic needs met though, more money only makes you happier up to a certain point.

If you chase the dollar for no other reason than to make more of it, you’ll eventually slip and fall in a puddle of weaksauce and unhappiness.

“I can live without money, but I can’t live without love.” – Judy Garland

Action Step: Instead of buying more things, use it to create as many amazing experiences as you can for yourself and those you love. Happiness will surely follow.

16) Grow

Surround yourself with friends and people that are better than you in areas that you want to improve in. Learn from them, let them push you out of your comfort zone and it’s only a matter of time before you level up as well.

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” – William Butler Yeats

Action Step: Reach out to people that you want to learn from within your network or outside of it. Pay it forward and be ready to reciprocate when someone reaches out to you in the same way.

17) Quit the internet

Just kidding! But seriously.

The internet is one helluva drug, especially when you throw Facebook likes, retweets and all other forms of social media into the mix. It can, and will, consume more time then you’ll ever want to publicly admit., taking a large chunk of your emotions along for the ride.

On the flip side, I’ve made a ton of very good friends thanks to the power of the interwebz,  amazing people I otherwise would have never known. I’ve traveled to Ireland, released a product and will be hanging out with one of my favorite authors soon because of it.

Here’s how to maximize the good while minimizing the bad.

“Our brains are not wired to be made happy by the internet. Saying the web is important to your life is like saying that television is important. It might be social, sure, but it’s still media. It can help connect but it also divides in a very fundamental way.” – Julien Smith

Action Step: Use social media/the net to connect – and then take it offline as soon as possible. Talk with them on the phone. Send hilarious videos back and forth (hi, Kellie Davis). Video chat with them on Skype. Meet with them in the flesh whenever possible. Take it beyond the text.

18) Stomp out comparison

Think you’re strong (or good at anything)? Go on Youtube and prepare to be knocked down a few levels.

Someone will always be “better” than you at something, but it doesn’t matter. Be inspired by them, using it to push yourself further, and nothing more. If they can do it, it’s within your power as well while also applying your own unique spin on it.

DON’T compare your haves to their haves. It only leads a negative mindset. Rock your individual talents like a boss and let what makes you unique shine.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Action Step: Use that to light a fire under your own buttcheeks and to do things in your own unique way. You’re the only person you need to compare yourself to. Strive to make yourself just 0.001% more awesome than you were yesterday, and you’ve won in a big bad way.

19) Hug it out. Forgive quickly (thanks to Marianne Kane)

If you’re angry at someone or something, get over it – fast.

Either change the situation, change your outlook on the situation, or change yourself.

If you can the other person can talk it out and get over it together, even better. That ensuing feeling of relief and “ahhhhhhhh”ness feels amazing. Wrongs have been righted and balance has once again been restored to the force. It’s like make-up sex for your soul.

Regardless, let go of whatever anger or resentment you’re holding within yourself. If you don’t, you’re doing far more harm to yourself than anyone else ever could.

Forgiveness is for you, first and foremost.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Nelson Mandela

20) Be yourself

We all have something within us that no one else can duplicate.

Embrace it and let the confidence that you feel positively spread into other areas of your life.

The world needs more people who have come alive instead of wondering if they can.

“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.” – Vincent Van Gogh

21) Rise

Sometimes you don’t win.
Sometimes things don’t turn out as planned.
Sometimes you don’t end up with who you want to be with.
Sometime you just don’t have feel like continuing on anymore.

So, what do you do?

Rise.

There’s a lesson to be learned in everything, and sometimes that lesson is to engage in the beautiful comeback. To refuse to be defeated and come back better than you were before.

“Why do we fall, sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.” – Alfred Pennyworth

22) Be the hero of someone’s story (thanks to Lou Schuler)

Husband. Wife. Friend. Employee. Writer.

We all have different roles that we play in the lives of people we love and care about. Our actions and how well we play our part has a direct influence on their life, so we better get in there and give our best performance. Wow them with how much you care in the capacity that you’re in.

Difficult? Yep. Worthwhile? Definitely.

Never underestimate your ability to be a positive influence on someone else.

23) Explore (thanks to Jen Sinkler)

We all have an itch inside, reminding us that we should be doing more with our brief time on this planet.

Most will ignore it for many reasons. Others will follow their curiosity and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Which sounds more fun?

You don’t have to make grand changes right off the bat. It could be as simple as trying new foods that you’ve been too scared to dig in to, or traveling to different part of your country. Gain confidence from these mini explorations. You owe it to yourself to explore and scratch away at the self-imposed boundaries of your own life, interests and passions and see where they take you.

And one day if your adventures take you far from your comfort zone, the possibility of what lies ahead scaring and exciting you at the same time, then you know you’re on the right path. Push forward.

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” -Alan Keightley

What ways do YOU bring positivity and happiness to your own life?

I want to have this as a resource for people going forward, so please add your ways in the comment section below and I’ll update this post with your suggestions. All props and recognition going to you.
Shakelton

Free Zombie Survival Workout!

If you’re reading this you’re alive (for now), but I can’t promise that this will remain the case for long.

I don’t know how to say this delicately, so I’ll just spit it out: MAAAAAAAAAAAAN THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING EVENTUALLY AND IF YOU AREN’T READY TO STOMP ‘EM DEAD, THEY WILL EAT THE FACES OF YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES!

*straightens tie* I’m glad  I got that out of the way.

I care about ya too much to let you face this world of survival horror unprepared, so here’s a workout from my first product, the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Workout. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercise, make sure the click on the name – I’ve provided you with some rather splendid videos demonstrating the form.

Ready for action? Of course you are!

Z

Workout Set A – Barbell Front Squats
Set Up: Perform 5 sets of front squats, resting 2-3 minutes between sets.

A) Barbell Front Squats – 5×5
After your last set of front squats, rest 2-4 minutes and proceed to Workout Set B.

Workout Set B – Bilateral Leg Training
Set Up: Perform B1 and B2 alternately, resting 60 seconds between them. Perform a total of 2 sets per exercise.

B1) Barbell Romanian Deadlift – 2×8
B2) Dumbbell Goblet Squat – 2×20

After your last set, rest 5 minutes and proceed to workout set C.

Workout Set C – Density Circuit
Set Up: Perform exercises C1-C4 sequentially, in a circuit fashion. This is a density circuit performed for time.
Perform as many rounds as you can in the allotted time.

Weeks One and Two: 15 minutes
Weeks Three and Four: 20 minutes

C1) Pushups (lower for 3 seconds, explode up) – 5 reps
C2) Inverted Row – 5 reps
C3) Side Plank Rotations – 10 reps each side
C4) 1 Arm Dumbbell Row – 5 reps each arm

Rest as needed between exercises and rounds, but keep in mind, you’re being timed; the density is the name of the game, so get as much work done in that time period as you can. Every time you perform this workout, try to do more work than the previous attempt.

For the full 12 week, zombie slaying program, today is the last day to pick it up for 50% off, so move that index finger and….

Click here to purchase the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Workout!

All proceeds go towards making sure I don’t end up homeless, ending up in your kitchen eating all of your food, sleeping in your guest room and creating awkward moments for you and your family – thank you for your support!

20+ Ways to Live a More Positive, Fulfilling and Happy Life

shackleton

I don’t have anywhere near all the answers, but here are a few lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life that’ve helped me live a more positive and fulfilling life.

1) Be the hero of your own story.

Whatever mistakes you’ve made up until now are off the table – the only thing that matters from this point on is how you move forward starting today.

Imagine you’re the main character in a video game, or you’re playing the starring role in the supremely megafantastic movie called YOUR LIFE – act accordingly.

What would they do? What choices would they make?

Don’t wait around or expect anyone else to create your own success or happiness – that’s entirely yours to make.

The princess is in another castle and nobody is gonna save her but you (high five if you get this reference).

“Be your own hero, it’s cheaper than a movie ticket.” – Douglas Horton

Action step: Watch your favorite movie montage, video game scene or TV moment. Find out what drew you to it (was it the character’s intensity, confidence, charisma? What about their ability to handle a tough situation or stand up for themselves?) then apply it to your own life in any situation that you can.

2) Fail often. Fail better.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

Action step: Pick back up (or start) something that failure, or fear of it, kept you from pursuing.

3) Empty your mind

Whether your goal is to look like Hugh JACKEDman or simply get rid of the extra fluff that has taken up residence on your body, odds are you’re holding on to some beliefs that do nothing more than hold you back.

It could be “knowing” that you have to eat x amount of meals a day, or “knowing” that if you eat certain foods you’ll never get the body that you want.

Open yourself to different possibilities. There are no absolutes, only options…and options are great because that means cake, and cake is AWESOME!

Action step: Identify at least one idea/belief that does nothing but hold you back or hinder your progress. Once you’ve done that, write down ways that you can act that run counter to those ideas. Give it time and do this for several weeks, taking note of any changes, positive or negative, that’ve occured.

Example: I must eat every 2 hours, despite it being a chore and my lifestyle beginning to suffer.
Action: For a month, increase the length of time between your meals and see how you respond.

4) Build momentum

Whatever your goal is, do whatever you have to do to get it, then do everything in your power to keep from losing it.

Unless of course you’re in a negative momentum spiral, then please feel free to stomp both feet into the ground Flinstone style to stop and get yourself on the right path.

Action step:  Identify one thing , small or large, that you really want to accomplish. Decide on a first step then do it, no matter what. If you want to write a book but haven’t written anything since you came up with the idea, shut off your phone, go to a place where you can write and sit there until you’ve made headway on the project. This could be on the weekend or you may even have to call in sick from work.

Extreme? Yup, but the “OH HELL YEAH!” feeling you get from finally making progress far outweighs any monetary or time sacrifice you made to make it happen.

After this, keep going on a daily, or at the very least weekly, basis. It doesn’t matter how small, just DO NOT lose the momentum you’ve gained. Small progression is better than no progression.

5) Do the simple things every day

Smile and laugh everyday.

Be positive and act positively as often as you can.

Pass up as many opportunities as possible to be a downer, asshat or general negative vibe bringer.

Action step: This one is easy – start with smiling and laughing and see where it takes you. Even if you don’ feel like it, this is one of those instances where faking it until you make it works wonders.

6) Death, defeat and life domination

36,816,413 minutes

840 months.

70 years.

The average life expectancy.

One of these days we’re going to die – and who knows then? This is the most empowering thing you will ever hear.

How many days, months or years have passed by without us having really lived them?

Doesn’t matter. Starting today, begin the process of doing more of what you love and what makes you happy vs what sucks and what drains you.

Tell the people close to you that you love ‘em.

Reach out to and old friend you haven’t talked to in awhile and see what’s up.

Start surrounding yourself with those who say “why not?” instead of only asking “why?”

Write down a list of big dreams and little dreams, no matter how lame they may seem, and start pursuing them ALL like a damn cheetah with a rocketpack attached to it.

One day you will wake up and there won’t be anymore time to do the things you’ve always wanted – do it now.

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright

Action step: Whenever you screw up, take a step back and laugh. Seriously, laugh. Did you die? If you’re reading this then you’re still in the game. Revel in this fact and get back to being awesome because you never know when your time will come.

7) Find inspiration daily

Whatever you’re doing, a mega dose of inspiration can help keep you going, take it to the next level or transform it into something wild & completely different.

So find that inspiration.

The best part? It’s everywhere.

Read a book by your favorite author.

Get out and explore nature (watch out for rabid wildebeests).

Listen to a dope podcast or some awesome music.

Find someone who is doing great things and thank them, because if they can do it then it’s within your own powers of awesomeness to do it as well.

Do this and do it daily; first thing in the morning so that you set the awesome tone for your day.

Make yourself aware of what’s possible in this world and be surprised at how it starts to change your own life.“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Action step: Do one of the above things on a daily basis, preferably first thing in the morning, or create your own inspirational ritual. For some it’s horseback riding and jigsaw puzzles, and for others it’s daily meditation.

8) Learn from your past, then let go

Spaceships don’t have rear-view mirrors for a reason (ok, several reasons).Treat your past experiences as the best teacher of all, but once you’re done, you’re done. Don’t look back and expect to learn something new from constantly analyzing or “re-taking” that same class over and over and over again.The same issues tend to keep popping up in life until the lesson is learned. If that’s happening, learn it once and for all and stop the cycle so you can moonwalk forward into the rest of your life.

“Going over your past is like sitting in a crap film and watching it over and over and over and over again expecting the ending to change, when it’s not. It’s not going to.” – Jules Murphy Wyman

Action step: Identify a moment from your past that’s still haunting you. Set aside some time to really analyze why it’s bothering you and extract as many possible positive takeaways or lessons that you can (there is always something, no matter how it may seem). Use those to improve your life from that point forward and put the past to rest.

This could range from anything to diet mishaps to romantic relationship mistakes.

 9) Stop hiding

Be your unabashed self in all the best ways that you can. Take your own strengths and superpowers and amplify them.

By not doing it, you’re not only robbing the world of your awesomeness, but you’ll never be able to step out and realize your full potential.Don’t try to be someone else – they’ll always be better at it than you could ever dream of being. Life is way too short to be a half-ass version of something that’s already out there.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

Action step: Seriously, you’re theshit.com*, so start by surrounding yourself with people with whom you can really be yourself with, online or in person. Gain confidence from these interactions. Sneak bits and pieces that you feel comfortable with into your daily life. Identify what’s awesome about you (asking friends or those close to you can help if you don’t have the slightest clue) and start amplifying it.

*Disclaimer: Don’t go to that site haha. I can’t imagine anything good coming from it.

10) Be kind

Never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind gesture, sympathetic word or a listening ear – all of which are easy to give and cost you nothing. You never know what someone right next to you is going through, and if it will be the difference between a craptastic day and one filled with a little sunshine and hope.

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver

Action step: Be giving with your time, knowledge, money, kindness, connections or influence when you can. Give in such a way that the person who receives it can’t possibly return the favor.

 11) Be grateful

Practice gratitude daily.Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to chill and write down a small list of the things that made you smile, laugh, or that you’re glad are a part of your life. There’s ALWAYS something to be grateful about, especially when you look down at that list and realize that a lot of people out there have it worse off than you do and could use a few of those things.

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark

Action step: Make that list! I’ll know if you don’t ;)

12) Be positive and believe in yourself

Being an optimist won’t solve all your problems, but what’s the alternative? There isn’t much sense in being anything else.

If you’re constantly filling your head with negative thoughts, odds are they’ll lead you straight towards negative actions, self-doubt and increase the general suckitude of life by 10384398%.Suck City isn’t a cool place to live at all.

Think of each setback as a challenge to see the positive, spin the situation back around, making it better than it was before.

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

Action step: From now until the day you die, work on developing a positive mindset via positive thoughts and actions, and chase the defeatist and negative mindset out of your brain and life. Never say “it is what it is”.

13) Tell safety to suck it

Playing it safe is the riskiest thing that you can do.Do what everyone else does and your results will the same as theirs – average. And you’re better than average.

Be bold. Be yourself. Take a chance.

What’s the absolute worst that can happen? Death. Let’s be real though: what you want to do isn’t going to even come close to killing you, even though it may feel like it at times.

Use this to your advantage and run towards necessary risk instead of away from it. No failure is too large to recover from. No setback is too great to power through like a champ. Nothing hurts more than a death by 1,000 small cuts, letting each day that passes mark another day that you didn’t move closer, even if only a small way, towards your dreams.

“The world is full of people who want to play it safe, people who have tremendous potential but never use it. Somewhere deep inside them, they know that they could do more in life, be more, and have more — if only they were willing to take a few risks.” – George Foreman

Action step: Do something epic. Do something heroic. Do something awesome. Whatever you wanna call it, DO NOT settle for mediocrity. Do things that make the world better for you having been here.

Here are some resources to help:

The Flinch by Julien Smith

How To Be Legendary by Johnny B. Truant
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

14) Be present (thanks to reader Jordan Ayres)

With the humongous list of things to do and more ways to distract ourselves than ever, it’s easy to lose site of what’s important – RIGHT NOW; not sulking about the past or worrying about the future. The most important thing that we can get ourselves and others is our undivided attention.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau

Action step: Be actively involved with what you’re doing. When you’re with friends/family, turn of your cell phone or leave it in the car if you have the habit of constantly checking it like you’re Superman on call (guilty as charged). Focus on one task while minimizing all other distraction that pull you away from it.

15) Treat money like a tool

Wads of flimsy, funny looking cash. Computer generated codes that tell us that those numbers in our online banking accounts are real. It’s wild how much meaning and emotion we attach to money. If I drop a penny, I won’t even blink, but if a $100 bill blows out my hand I might chase it through the streets until the end of time.

At the end of the day, money is just a means to an end. Nothing more.

If you’re grinding and struggling to make ends meet and buried under piles of debt, that’s pretty stressful. Once you have your basic needs met though, more money only makes you happier up to a certain point.

If you chase the dollar for no other reason than to make more of it, you’ll eventually slip and fall in a puddle of weaksauce and unhappiness.

“I can live without money, but I can’t live without love.” – Judy Garland

Action Step: Instead of buying more things, use it to create as many amazing experiences as you can for yourself and those you love. Happiness will surely follow.

16) Grow

Surround yourself with friends and people that are better than you in areas that you want to improve in. Learn from them, let them push you out of your comfort zone and it’s only a matter of time before you level up as well.

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” – William Butler Yeats

Action Step: Reach out to people that you want to learn from within your network or outside of it. Pay it forward and be ready to reciprocate when someone reaches out to you in the same way.

17) Quit the internet

Just kidding! But seriously.

The internet is one helluva drug, especially when you throw Facebook likes, retweets and all other forms of social media into the mix. It can, and will, consume more time then you’ll ever want to publicly admit., taking a large chunk of your emotions along for the ride.

On the flip side, I’ve made a ton of very good friends thanks to the power of the interwebz,  amazing people I otherwise would have never known. I’ve traveled to Ireland, released a product and will be hanging out with one of my favorite authors soon because of it.

Here’s how to maximize the good while minimizing the bad.

“Our brains are not wired to be made happy by the internet. Saying the web is important to your life is like saying that television is important. It might be social, sure, but it’s still media. It can help connect but it also divides in a very fundamental way.” – Julien Smith

Action Step: Use social media/the net to connect – and then take it offline as soon as possible. Talk with them on the phone. Send hilarious videos back and forth (hi, Kellie Davis). Video chat with them on Skype. Meet with them in the flesh whenever possible. Take it beyond the text.

18) Stomp out comparison

Think you’re strong (or good at anything)? Go on Youtube and prepare to be knocked down a few levels.

Someone will always be “better” than you at something, but it doesn’t matter. Be inspired by them, using it to push yourself further, and nothing more. If they can do it, it’s within your power as well while also applying your own unique spin on it.

DON’T compare your haves to their haves. It only leads a negative mindset. Rock your individual talents like a boss and let what makes you unique shine.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Action Step: Use that to light a fire under your own buttcheeks and to do things in your own unique way. You’re the only person you need to compare yourself to. Strive to make yourself just 0.001% more awesome than you were yesterday, and you’ve won in a big bad way.

19) Hug it out. Forgive quickly (thanks to Marianne Kane)

If you’re angry at someone or something, get over it – fast.

Either change the situation, change your outlook on the situation, or change yourself.

If you can the other person can talk it out and get over it together, even better. That ensuing feeling of relief and “ahhhhhhhh”ness feels amazing. Wrongs have been righted and balance has once again been restored to the force. It’s like make-up sex for your soul.

Regardless, let go of whatever anger or resentment you’re holding within yourself. If you don’t, you’re doing far more harm to yourself than anyone else ever could.

Forgiveness is for you, first and foremost.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Nelson Mandela

20) Be yourself

We all have something within us that no one else can duplicate.

Embrace it and let the confidence that you feel positively spread into other areas of your life.

The world needs more people who have come alive instead of wondering if they can.

“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.” – Vincent Van Gogh

21) Rise

Sometimes you don’t win.
Sometimes things don’t turn out as planned.
Sometimes you don’t end up with who you want to be with.
Sometime you just don’t have feel like continuing on anymore.

So, what do you do?

Rise.

There’s a lesson to be learned in everything, and sometimes that lesson is to engage in the beautiful comeback. To refuse to be defeated and come back better than you were before.

“Why do we fall, sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.” – Alfred Pennyworth

22) Be the hero of someone’s story (thanks to Lou Schuler)

Husband. Wife. Friend. Employee. Writer.

We all have different roles that we play in the lives of people we love and care about. Our actions and how well we play our part has a direct influence on their life, so we better get in there and give our best performance. Wow them with how much you care in the capacity that you’re in.

Difficult? Yep. Worthwhile? Definitely.

Never underestimate your ability to be a positive influence on someone else.

23) Explore (thanks to Jen Sinkler)

We all have an itch inside, reminding us that we should be doing more with our brief time on this planet.

Most will ignore it for many reasons. Others will follow their curiosity and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Which sounds more fun?

You don’t have to make grand changes right off the bat. It could be as simple as trying new foods that you’ve been too scared to dig in to, or traveling to different part of your country. Gain confidence from these mini explorations. You owe it to yourself to explore and scratch away at the self-imposed boundaries of your own life, interests and passions and see where they take you.

And one day if your adventures take you far from your comfort zone, the possibility of what lies ahead scaring and exciting you at the same time, then you know you’re on the right path. Push forward.

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” -Alan Keightley

What ways do YOU bring positivity and happiness to your own life?

I want to have this as a resource for people going forward, so please add your ways in the comment section below and I’ll update this post with your suggestions. All props and recognition going to you.