How To Lose Weight In 5 Easy Steps

In the past few weeks at my gym, Activate Fitness in Hackettstown, I have helped several people lose over ten pounds. One woman lost seven pounds in her first week and another was down ten in two weeks time. It makes me happy to see our members getting the results they signed up for. During the past four years our members have lost well over two thousand pounds and the numbers keep going up. During this time I have seen what works, what doesn’t work, why someone gets results, why others don’t and much more. It’s safe for me to guarantee our members results, as long as they follow the plan, because it works.

Here’s that plan. Read on to learn how to lose weight in five easy steps.

STEP ONE: Decide your goal and decide why you want that goal.

The first thing everyone needs to do when it comes to losing weight is to make a goal. Having a goal set gives you something to work towards. It helps you stay motivated and on track for the results you desire. Setting a goal is simple. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and sit down and think about why you are deciding to start an exercise program to lose weight. When you have a good reason, write down your goal on the paper. Underneath it write why you set that goal.

For example: “I want to lose 15 pounds by 11/2/15. I’m doing this for my health and to be there for my kids.”

Perfect.

STEP TWO: Find an exercise and nutrition program.

When I started to get back into shape I went out there into the gym with no plan and no idea what I was doing. I knew how to do some lifts but I had no idea what an effective exercise program was and especially had no idea about nutrition. That’s why it took me nearly a year and a half to lose only ten pounds. Then, I found a program on-line sold by a professional and I went to work. Following the plan I lost about fifty pounds over the course of the next six or seven months. If you do not understand exercise and nutrition, find a pro. They will save you so much time and emotional energy.

^AND.. I’m not just saying this because it’s my job.. I walk the walk. I have a great coach for my new exercise program through Jiu Jitsu and I have spent several thousands working with other professionals over the past few years.

STEP THREE: Schedule Your Workouts

We schedule doctor appointments, driver’s license renewals, interviews, grocery shopping trips, and nearly everything we do. Our kids have schedules for school, sports, and other activities. The same needs to happen for your fitness journey. If you don’t schedule workouts and MAKE (not find) the time to train, you will find an excuse to skip the workout or something will come up and you will miss the opportunity for your workout. Get your calendar and schedule the days you WILL workout. Then, go and workout.

STEP FOUR: All Things Nutrition

Nutrition is the golden nugget of your successful weight loss journey. That being said, it’s important to treat it as such. Remove weight loss and fitness from the picture, the food you eat makes you who you are. We have one life to live and the food we consume will determine if it’s full of dis-ease or vitality. Get your nutrition right for the sake of your well being.

Now, go shopping and you should even schedule time to go shopping and to prep your meals. When you go shopping buy wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, other seafoods, and tons of water. Avoid buying premade meals, packaged microwavable meals, frozen dinners, bagged and dehydrated foods, cereals, and other foods with added sugar. When we consume good wholesome food we won’t overeat and we will get the important nutrients we need for a healthy life.

Decide before the day starts what you are going to eat. When we do this we avoid falling off track and having to resort to meals that are not healthy or in-line with our goals. A day of eating shouldn’t look like a King’s feast. It should look like the leftovers handed down to the beggar. We’re so accustomed to eating massive meals and eating two or three of them a day. The truth of how your body works is that it doesn’t need all that stuff. The more our digestive system is allowed to digest our food, the easier it is for our digestive to digest our food, the better our results will be.

Have a day once a week where you enjoy life, beer, wings, pizza, and whatever you want but stay focused 95% of the week.

STEP FIVE: Keep a journal

Why? Because, it helps. Of course it does. When you record your meals and the days you workout you can keep track of what you are doing and judge your results based on what you’ve done. It’s always the person who doesn’t get results who doesn’t keep track of what they’re doing. When I ask people who tell me they haven’t lost weight what they’re eating and how much they’re working out, they don’t have an answer and neither do I, except “Keep a journal.”

If you write down all your meals, how much you sleep, your water intake, and your workouts and after two weeks you haven’t lost weight, barring any unknown medical reasons, you can go directly to your notebook and see WHY and WHAT is the reason. Maybe you’re eating too much, not sleeping enough, not drinking enough water, or skipping too many workouts. When you find the reason, you adjust and move forward. This is how you get successful results in little time.

For more information on fitness, nutrition, and getting results contact me below:

How To Make It Easier To Accept Change In Your Life

Must of us fear change. We have routines set up to juggle our schedules, our hobbies, responsibilities, and obligations. We work, enjoy play, free time, and time with family. During the days that pass we set up our routines so that they’re nearly identical every week. Placed in the comfort zone of familiarity, this routine becomes hard to break and often creates stress when something new comes along. How many people have felt uneasy about joining a gym and starting a new fitness journey? The whole process is a dramatic change to our daily routine and often the stress of just thinking about creates fear which keeps us motionless in action. Accepting change is harder said than done, but one way to avoid failure and positive transformation is by allowing the change to happen naturally. When a new diet and workout begins, the change is a sudden jolt to our daily routine. Before we weren’t buying organic eggs at the farm that requires a detour on the way home from work. We weren’t taking that one hour of relaxing free time for gym time, it was spent reading, fishing, writing, or watching a favorite television show. The people who become successful in their fitness (or any new journey) are the people who accept the change and understand the reasons behind the new tasks and routine.

Accept change into your life by being present with each new task of your routine. Try writing out your current routine. To the minute or every 5 minutes or whatever allows you to realize exactly how your time is spent. Then once the old routine is written down, write what your new routine will look like. What changes are being made? What areas will cause stress? What can you remove from your current routine to make the new one easier to roll into? Answer these simple questions and do this simple exercise and you’ll find it much easier to accept change.

Your Complete Guide To Your First Time In A Float Tank

Floating is one of those things that when you talk about it or mention it to people who’ve never done it before, you get weird faces or questions like:
“Will I get claustrophobic?” “Do they clean the water?” “Why do you go in there?” “Is it expensive?”

Floating has been around for over 50 years but recently it has gained some attention as more and more float tank centers are opening. Personally, I’ve been floating for about two years now and it has made a tremendous change in my life. I first went into the tank after hearing Joe Rogan talk about it on his podcast. I also got quite into finding out why Rogan thought so highly of it, so I did some research and found it’s good for helping injuries heal and reducing stress. After a knee injury I decided it was time to give it a go. From that first time I have been hooked and I try to get one in whenever my schedule allows it.

I-sopod_Flotation_Tank

I’m not going to tell you why you should try out the float tank in this post. If you want to know why (or more about them in general) you can read these posts I wrote below:

5 Reasons Why Float Therapy Will Change Your Life

My Isolation Tank Experience

3 Relaxing Ways to Attract More Happiness In Your Life

An Experience in The Tank

In this post I will go over the complete guide to your first time in the float tank.

If you’re ready to make an appointment or you already have one set up, here’s the few simple things you need to know.

1. Don’t TRY to get anything out of it.

Trying to get a result from laying in a tank is counterproductive of it’s true benefits. The tank is designed to eliminate any of the sensory input we deal with on a constant basis. We are always using our hearing, our sight, our touch, our sense of smell and nowadays we are bombarded with overloaded sensory input. We have phones, music, co-workers, children, cars, driving, billboards, televisions, and much more always begging for our attention. The most beneficial part of floating in a float tank is all of that is completely eliminated for the duration of time you choose to float. The sensory deprivation you experience is like a renewal of the mind. A resetting of your senses and a cleansing of  your stresses. For this, do not try to get anything out it. Just be.

It’s hard for many of us to stop what we’re doing and listen to our thoughts and be alone in complete serenity with our minds. The float tank will open your mind to many things we don’t recognize in our subconscious mind.

2. Don’t Be Over Hydrated.

If you’re going to float for an hour or more, make sure you’re not loaded with water that will make you want to urinate. This can totally distract you from experiencing the awesome benefits and bliss inside the tank. There are toilets in every float room. Use it right before you go in.

3. Eliminate Use of Electronics Prior

For about an hour before you go to the float center, try to avoid stuffing your face in your phone or computer and begin the relaxation process. The overloaded stress from electronics can make it harder to relax when it comes time to float.

4. Don’t Listen to Music

Many float centers offer the option to listen to meditation music or other forms of relaxing music. For the first time, do not do it. The experience you get in the tank will be like nothing you’ve ever been through. Adding music to it the first time can distract you from allowing the brain waves to settle in the appropriate levels.

 5. Avoid Caffeine Before Hand

Try not to have any coffee within a few hours of your float. “Caffeine may increase heart rate, body temperature, blood flow to the skin & extremities, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, stomach acid secretion and production of urine (diuretic).” (http://www.uhs.umich.edu/caffeine)

We don’t want this. We want our body to be as relaxed as possible.

6. Avoid Eating Anything Before Hand

Having food in your stomach before you begin your float can alter your experience. When the body is busy digesting food, the mind is busy and far from the relaxed state we want to be in. Going in a tank in the fasted state can decrease brain activity and help you get much more out of your first float.

7. Do not Shave Anything Before Going to Float

For at least two days prior to floating, make sure you do not shave any part of your body before going in. The high salt content with sting and will definitely affect your float in a negative way.

8. Be prepared to cover your scrapes and cuts.

If you have any scrapes, cracked fingers, or abrasions, call your float center and ask if they supply q-tips and Vaseline. Again, the high salt content will burn and sting and will keep your mind occupied and away from the benefits of floating.

9. Go For 60 Minutes Minimum

90 minutes is a REM cycle in your brain. It can take about 40 minutes in the tank for your brain to stop producing Alpha waves which are what we experience on a constant basis except for sleep, depending on how relaxed you were prior to going in. This means it’s possible that the first 40 minutes of a float you are completely aware of everything and not in the Theta and more relaxing brain wave state. Anything under 60 minutes and I believe you are not getting the majority of benefits a float has on your mind and body. After your first float at 60 minutes, never go less than 90.

10. Enjoy Your Solitude

This is why we go float. To be completely alone and uninterrupted by anything outside of our minds. How often are you able to simply unplug from life and be completely alone? Not often, so enjoy the time you have by yourself and completely relax yourself. Don’t fuss over deadlines or schedules or where you are supposed to be the next hour. Just BE.

“Don’t try to be good, don’t try to be a meditator, don’t try to be spiritual, enlightened, or perfect. Hold nothing. Just be.” – Unknown

Floating has the power to change your life from the very first time you experience what’s inside. You can open a whole new part of your mind that you didn’t know existed and you can rejuvenate your mind and body and enjoy the easiest form of meditation known. Since I started floating two years ago, my entire mentality has changed. My life has dramatically improved and my mind works better than ever. My energy levels have increased with my improved diet and exercise, my knee injury is gone, and my peacefulness which evaded my life for years has come back and made life more enjoyable. If you have any questions, shoot me a message below and I can help you get the most out of your next float. Comment below about your favorite experience in the tank!

10 Quotes to Inspire You!

When I first started getting things rolling in a positive direction I turned to books. It was within the pages of some of the finest books written that I was motivated and inspired into massive action, responsibility for myself, and a determined attitude.

Several quotes have stuck with me through the ups and downs of life and I often find myself going back to them when in need of a boost. Sometimes I feel like quitting and giving up in the middle of the road to success. Sometimes I feel like dropping the bar and not going one more rep. Sometimes, the start- whether it’s training, coaching, or writing- is hard and I feel like not moving forward.

And when that happens, like many of you, I turn to books, audio, youtube videos, and other inspirational material, because without it, I’d quit and never look back. Inspiration and motivation isn’t something you read or watch once and you’re done, motivated for the rest of time. It’s something you chase after daily. It can come from the look on your daughter’s face, a self help book, or a mission you have set forth on in life.

I find quotes from various outlets such as classic books, videos, and speeches help inspire me to keep trying, to not quit, and to keep moving my ass forward towards my goals, dreams, and deadlines. Below are 10 of the best I have ever read and how they may help you…

1. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” 
― Stephen King

It always hard to start something new. We have a huge fear of failure, a fear of the unknown, and a fear that we just can’t handle it. Stephen King’s quote shows you that the scariest moment comes first, after that.. it usually gets a little less frightening.

2. “Everything is out there waiting for you. All you have to do is walk up and declare yourself in. No need for permission. You just need courage to say, “Include me”. Providing you have the energy to pull it off you can do what you like. And the Universal Law, being impartial, will be only too delighted to deliver.” 
- Stuart Wilde

It’s true. You don’t need permission to do anything you want to do with your life. I didn’t ask anybody for permission to become a trainer and I didn’t ask anyone in town if it was okay if I opened a gym. I just did it. It was waiting for me with a big fat warm hug.

3. “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
- Lao Tzu

So slow down and give up the rat race of the rush through life. Before I read this in the Tao Te Ching I was always rushing and I let being late get to my nerves and it caused a lot of unwanted and unneeded stress. Once I realized it’s easier to be more present and allow what will happen to simply just happen, my life became a lot easier. Hurrying is just as bad as worrying. Let it go.

4. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
― Eckhart Tolle

Much like letting go of the rush, worrying about the future does us no good. Yes, it is important to set goals and make plans, but once those pieces are written it’s time to let it be and enjoy this special moment.

5. “There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.”
- Tony Robbins

Sometimes our results don’t meet our goals or our expectations. It doesn’t matter, because we can do one simple thing to change it… try again.

6. “So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
― Hunter S. Thompson

Taking risks is the only way to move forward. Sitting safely in your comfortable seat of existence will not create the change or results you are seeking. Taking action, risks, making plans, and committing to your goals will help bring to you all that you wish for. I was close to closing Activate Fitness at one point. I wanted to give up the struggle of trying to build a successful gym because I had no free time to do the things I wanted to do, then, I read Hunter’s quote and it recharged my desire, my determination, my why, and helped me push through my self pity towards higher ground.

7. “Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”
― Napoleon Hill

I had no experience training people when I started Activate Fitness. I wanted to wait and wait and learn more and more before I took action on actually training someone. I read this quote and let it sink it, almost completely ignoring it, until my wife said to me “You’re not really a trainer until you train someone.” and that was all it took to face my fear of finally train someone.

8. “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
– Bill Cosby

Without that desire I don’t think I’d be doing this still.

9. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss

It was like Dr. Seuss was telling me I was good enough and that I could build a gym, write a blog, and go wherever I wanted to in life. Like the Stuart Wilde quote above, nobody can tell you whether what you want is right or wrong. You don’t need to listen.. do you and do it well.

10. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston Churchill

Shit hits the fan sometimes and it truly sucks. Failing isn’t fun and often we feel disappointment and embarrassment when we fail. Not letting that failure crush your desire is extremely important and when I was preparing myself for business I read this quote and made sure it stuck closely in my mind. I’m as enthusiastic today about training and my gym as I ever was… even though I’ve failed and nearly quit.

I come back to these 10 quotes whenever I need to be kicked in the ass because they inspire me to be my best. What are some of your favorite quotes that inspire you? Post them below.. and share!

 

Dealing with Fear.

Most of my life, fear has kept me from doing more. Knowing I haven’t come close to what I am capable of, as a result of feeding my fears, has left me angry for accepting it and not being “man” enough to fight them. For over a year I kept this blog in the dark along with a new Facebook page, fearing nobody would read it, when in reality, that doesn’t matter.

As a child I had a fear for everything- from riding a bike with no hands to talking to girls. Recently this year I’ve had a fear of public speaking. I have wanted to get up on stage or in front of others and share my story, like I did to a small crowd in June, but fear of not having a worthy topic has held me back, even when those in attendance told me it was good.

Fear has kept many words off of this site and a true story in the shadows for so long. In the past two years I have thrown away over a hundred fifty thousand words on four different blogs, quit on 10 different goals, stopped dead in my tracks halfway through 2 different eBooks, and cancelled several events at my gym- all because of fear.

The other day I was meditating and listening to a guided tape when I came across a wise man, who in my meditation was seen as an old Chinese sage and I was to ask him- “What is stopping me?” and as I listened to my thoughts the only thing that came after a brief moment was- “You fear success.”

Definitely.

If I didn’t fear success, I would have two eBooks, 4 different blogs with 100′s of posts, my goals would’ve been met and life would be greatly different.

Needless to say, dealing with fear is on the front of the list for 2014 goals.

One day at a time.

So in 2014 the first thing I am doing to fight my fear of success is holding a seminar at my gym where I’ll tell my story, talk about goal setting and motivation, and stand in front of several people.. public speaking.. for free.

Stepping outside of my comfort zone is something that I will be doing more of this year. I’m joining the local toastmasters, I’ll be making videos, and I’ll be writing my true life story for everyone to see..

Here are a few ways together we can fight fear in 2014:

1. Meditate

Find a quiet place during a time where you have an hour to simply relax and work on meditating. Follow your breathing and don’t worry about your thoughts. Your mind will be going 150 miles an hour and for now that’s okay. As you practice and begin to let go of your thoughts you’ll relax and clear your mind, relieve stress, and feel better. Once you finish with your daily meditation session, think about your fears and what you can do to tackle them. As you calm yourself through meditation you will see that your fears are just a circumstance your mind and ego is creating.

2. Do it anyway.

I have to credit my friend Paul Reddick for this. He mentioned this one day and ever since that moment I have been finding the strength to say whatever and do it anyway. Once I realized how powerful that was I acted on several goals and set dates for events and wrote on this blog. If it wasn’t for that one post when he talked about accepting the fear and doing it anyway I would not be writing this post. Take your fear and picture 1 thing you can do to overcome it. Then do it. Even if you’re afraid to.

3. Don’t worry about the outcome. It doesn’t matter.

Okay maybe if you have a fear of heights the outcome of falling matters, but if you fear starting a business in 2014 because you’re afraid you’ll fail you need to let that go and see #2. Failure is a part of the process and to everyone, failure is different. I opened a warehouse gym this year and still feel my business failed. It’s perspective and it doesn’t matter. What matters is you still trying, living the moment, and feeling happy.

4. Take small steps.

For example, I want to do some speaking events about my story. I’m starting small with 10 people at my gym for free. After this event I will look back over my performance and see what I can change, what I did good, and how those in attendance react to the event. I’ll do the work needed to improve it and go to step 2. Doing it again. When you break down overcoming your fear into different steps it will allow you to see the work that needs to be done and as you realize it’s not too much for you to handle you’ll be more willing to act.

“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.” ― Earl Nightingale

And the results don’t matter. The time will pass just like it does now. Whether you try or not is up to you. Either you succeed or fail and there is nothing stopping you from trying again, and again if you have to. Fear has done a lot to my life that hasn’t been productive because I allowed the time to pass with no action, instead, going into my shell. Dealing with our fear is one of our most important journey’s in life. Crush it and stand proud or scour and hide. Either way, the world keeps turning.

7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Setting Goals For 2014

You have one year from today to write the best story of your life. Through all the events and situations you have been through in life I am sure you have some very amazing stories inside your mind right now. But, the story that has to be written before the end of 2014 can only take place from now until next December.

What is it going to say?

What are you going to do in 2014 to make sure your story is a best seller?

Ahead of us is another year and right now many people are setting goals that they plan on accomplishing before next Christmas. For some writing the goals is easier written than done and we have all been in the position of failure. Every year we decide on a few things we’d like to get done and the New Year is always the best place to start, but most of our goals become failures once again.  Why?

We ask ourselves the wrong the questions.

When many people set goals for their life they set them based on WHAT they want and not WHY they want them. Setting goals based on outcomes whether mentally, emotionally or physically is one way to create failure. Here are 7 goal setting questions you should ask yourself to make your story  of 2014 a best seller:

1. In my life, what is one thing that has caused me the most stress?

Stress kills. Everyone knows that but we continue to walk around with vast amounts of stress on our shoulders and slowly this destroys our ambition and go-getter attitude that drives us for the first few weeks of the new year. The stress of achieving a goal can become very overwhelming if it is far beyond our reach or if it is one that takes up too much of our time. Time we really wish could be spent doing something else. If your goals create the most stress in your life, maybe it’s time to edit them.

2. What will setting this goal create in my life?

When I set a goal to write a book I never realized how much time it would take away from my life. Often I find myself stressed out and angry when I’m doing something else because in the back of my mind, I “NEED” to achieve this goal. That goal went against my entire philosophy of living. It drove me to periods of negative thoughts and a stressed induced frustration to the point I almost scraped it and lost much more than it’ll bring my life. That goal nearly ruined everything I worked so hard for. That doesn’t mean I’ll never achieve it, but the way it was written was wrong for me, right now, so changes have been made.

When setting a goal ask yourself what the actions needed to be taken will create for your life. Will it force you away from the gym and push your diet out the window because you lack the time? If it creates a high amount of stress, is that something you are prepared to handle?

3. Will these goals truly bring me happiness?

Trick question.  See–> http://michaelcorona.com/3-relaxing-ways-to-attract-more-happiness-to-your-life/

4. Do these goals align with what I value most?

As a full time employee, gym owner, strength coach, and writer I value time the most. Time with my family. Time writing. Time training myself and others. Time to create progress at my job.

Many of 2013′s goals for me were based on my ego and did not align with my values. I “failed” to accomplish more than half of my goals because I threw them out. Many were taking away from my family and creating a vice grip strangle on my life.

What do you value? Find that out first, then set your goals and align them with your values.

5.  If I only had the 12 months of 2014 to live, would these goals matter?

Would they?

Are they something so important to your life and values that you need to get them done? Most of us set our goals based on the ego belief thinking we’ll always be around until we’re old and grey. For some that just doesn’t happen. We never know. Are your 2014 goals so important you’d need to get them done if you only had 12 months to live?

6. Who am I helping by setting this goal besides myself?

There are plenty of people in your life and if you’re a goal setter and achiever there are plenty of people in your life who can use help from someone just like you.

Are you willing to help them and if so, what does your goal do for them?

7. In 2013, how did you feel about yourself and how did you make others feel?

Did you make the people closest to you feel happy about their lives and proud of who you are? What is the status of your relationship, is your significant other happy with you? If you own a business, how do your clients feel about the business and who you are? What about your boss and co-workers?

Through the mountain of goals you set in 2013, how do you feel right here and right now?

Make the most of 2014 by being smarter and clearer about WHY you want to set the goals you plan to set. 

All of these questions are important to ask yourself when setting goals. They will help you achieve more and fail at less or even help you slim down your list or add volume to it if you find more time and room for action. In 2013, I went overboard and nearly sunk the ship. That isn’t happening in 2014 and a few simple, honest, and easy changes will be made. The most important part of them will be the help and worth my goals bring to other people.

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Minimalism and The Ego

Recently I have taken a liking in the Art of Minimalism. Minimalism can simply be defined as Simplicity. To have less, use less, do less, and be more self sufficient is the goal of most in the minimalist movement that has been increasing in the past few years. The entire concept behind Minimalism as a lifestyle is very intriguing as the benefits seem much like something I’d enjoy more of in life.

Minimalism has been to shown to make people happier overall in the life by reducing stress. Such things as a dirty sink or even a mess of leaves in the yard can visually create unwanted and harmful stress. Less debt, concrete values, good for the environment, and a better sense of freedom are all simple benefits of minimalist actions.

One thing I haven’t heard much of before this year was living as simple as possible and we can all thank mass media and government influence for the way of our being in a consumer and consumption based society. This day and age it’s extremely hard to talk to someone about living with a minimalism belief. This is where our ego comes into play and to define ego and what I mean by saying “ego” we will view the word, for this blog posts purpose, as the need of self importance.

When you are deciding if you should buy a home or rent an apartment, your ego usually controls the conversation. When you decide on buying the home with the two car garage and spend $20,000 more instead of buying the one without the $20,000 garage, is the working of the ego. In reality, you don’t need the garage. You want it because your best friend, relative, co-worker, or gym buddy has one or you’ve been told by society that it creates “status” (self importance). This is ego.

Buying an iPhone 5 instead of keeping the out of date iPhone 3 that works perfectly normal is our conscious mind conforming to the societal ways that have been built on the consumption of resources at breakneck speeds for maximum profits.

Minimalism comes in somewhere between the subconscious and the conscious and it usually doesn’t happen until you seek the true being of your inner self. Fasting, meditation, yoga, listening to audiobooks or reading, as well as silently sitting without doing can help start you on the path to the inner self.  We all know this and we all feel it.  Did you ever feel like you wasted too much food or if your Super and Extra-Powerful purchase wasn’t exactly needed?

Our culture is designed around the “need” for more when in reality we actually do not “need” anything but food, water, shelter, and love and most of us can get that from the land we live on but through time and the maximization of profits pushed by propaganda, we have been lied to so we can lose ourselves in the tick-tock culture of work and egotism.

Looking back at the purchase of my home I can see it was nothing more than a “need” for status and a “Hey, look at me! I’m a homeowner!”  Recently I’ve closely been looking around at the “stuff” in my life and realize most of it needs to go because I do not need it to make myself happy. It’s pointless garbage fed to me through society brainwashing and corporate propaganda. Unfortunately I have consumed the resources needed for the home but as time moves forward action will be taken to make it more self sufficient and less “needy” of the commercialization around us all.

Minimalism is the future of this world and whether we choose to see it or ignore it is up to ourselves. As our kids grow and have kids and the bloodlines of our species continue there will come a time when the human industrialized system will not sustain their livelihoods and the skills of minimalism and self sufficiency will be in high demand.

Happiness today is judged by the new car or the “one up” we hold against our relatives or neighbors. Bigger houses to fit more stuff and more powerful cars to carry around that stuff or to get us from here to there to get back there and maybe have a minute to catch our breath. It never works to make us happier or healthier. We eat antidepressant medication like they’re Tic-Tacs or Skittles because the way of our being is not sufficient to the true “Art of Being”. This desire for more and more has found it’s way to our plates and the calorie content is increasing waistlines from kids as young as 1 to men and women in their 90′s. 6,000 calories a day is normal when we really only need 2,000. Profits are skyrocketing and we’re getting angrier and sadder every minute of every day.

Our ego has been fed from the profit spoon of corporate America and they know they have us by our “balls”. It’s a game that will not go on forever and it’s deadly. Minimalism can be the answer many of us are seeking.  If you had to grab a bag from your home right now and walk out into the fray for 3 or 4 days, would you be able to survive? Many people will say no, or they may lie and say yes, but with the fork of profit being fed us, most have forgotten what it takes to maintain a little self control and independence.

Living with a minimalist lifestyle can save you many long hours of hated work, save you serious coin, and increase your happiness almost overnight. It doesn’t take much besides simply starting. One way to start is by looking around your home and seeing what useless possessions you may have that you can donate or sell. When my car was taken from me and labeled abandoned I let it go without a fight. I could have easily went and recovered all the things inside or even the vehicle itself, but something told me to just let it go. Everything I owned went with it. Walking away from the things I have now is not possible as there are financial and family commitments but it’s starting with useless crap going and a reassessment of everything from the cars to the land we live on.

The money wasted on material possessions to feel a glimpse of happiness has left me determined to change it all. Less is better and self sufficiency is the goal. A minimalist lifestyle will take serious work to recover from a propaganda influenced life but each step towards the goal is a victory and one step closer to crushing the strong egotistic views that I’ve been spoon fed for years.

It also doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul of everything we have in life. It can start with water or a garden in the backyard. It can start with buying less useless garbage while having a simple home decor. The truth is minimalism is a key to happiness and can help create less stress in our lives. The best place to start is in your home and by working on getting rid of the clutter one room at a time. Freeing up your schedule can be another great place to start. Meditation and releasing stress to feel and see your true being is a great way to control the ego and help you work towards a minimalist lifestyle. One day at a time.

5 Ways to Pick Yourself Up and Move Forward

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There are often times in life where we can feel down about our circumstances and there are some people who may have fallen into a deep pit and hit rock bottom, fueled with depression and grief or sadness and anger. Sometimes when we’re in those situations it feels like the world is against us and nothing is going our way.

I’ve been in a situation like this on numerous occasions. For three years of my life I was essentially homeless.  Yes I had a roof over my head here and there but I didn’t have an address. My mail was lost in space, I didn’t sleep on a bed with a comfortable blanket and soft pillows, and I never knew exactly how long I’d be able to crash wherever I crashed.

To say the least, I was totally depressed and very angry at the world. Questions such as “How did this happen?” or “Why me?” often filled my mind and this created a very dangerous “Poor Me” attitude.

Left in the dust by the real world there wasn’t much hope for anything good in my life, until I learned how to fix the mess I put myself in. Below are 5 things you can do in any situation where you feel you’re down on your luck or in a place that doesn’t make you happy. Know that you are in complete control of every aspect of your life. Looking back I see this as truth and that simple statement would have saved me many years of wasting time and my life away.

1. Talk to the Universe

You can call it “God” or Buddha, Allah, or whatever fits your beliefs but there is indeed a higher power in our lives. Whether it be a “God Force” or an Inner Spirit that our day to day life seems to shut out from the conscious mind, there is a power out there that can help you get out of a horrible situation and make progress in your life.

For almost a year of my life when I got my second chance I spoke to the Universe and asked for help. I had no idea what was out there I just felt inside that there was something that would listen and if it would help me, I’d die trying. Many new age thinkers call this manifestation and the Law of Attraction.

I can tell you for sure, the Law of Attraction, or just talking to myself to help my situation worked wonders. It’s the base of everything I have and the act of talking to myself, the universe, or the god forces helped manifest exactly what I was looking for.

Most likely it was the redundant nature of my thoughts that helped create an action plan in the subconscious and as time went on my actions drifted in the direction of those exact thoughts. I credit much of my successes to this one step. Every day for almost a year I did this simple step and still to this day I use the power of whatever it may be to help bring things, moments, joy, and purpose into my life.

2. Make a Plan and Write it Down

Much of the success from developing a business out of thin air came from writing down my goals and the actions I needed to take to get things rolling.

When I was lost in space and needed a major shift in my life, I started writing down notes of what I wanted and where I wanted to go and this helped keep everything organized and on schedule.

In a situation where you feel lost and without a clue of how to take the first step or what direction to go in, using a pad and pen will help you clear your thoughts and get the right actions planned out and ready for execution. Whether it’s a diet and exercise program or if it’s a budget, writing it down is one of the most important pieces of advice you’ll ever get.

3. Forgive Yourself

This should actually be the FIRST thing you do.

Forgiving yourself is a very powerful tool that can change the game. It’s no surprise that Alcoholics Anonymous uses forgiving yourself in one of their 12 steps, as well as forgiving other people or asking for forgiveness. Making amends with the past will clear your mind and allow you to breath deeply and take those difficult steps forward.

Without forgiveness you will always feel a powerful resistance on your shoulders. The fear of the vulnerability it creates holds many of us back from truly forgiving others or ourselves.

The regrets we live with create an anger inside and a sadness that may lay deep within our subconscious minds and the power of these regrets and emotions can stop your progress dead in it’s tracks. Everything may be going well and changes are occurring but you truly won’t feel you’ve taken steps in the right direction until you forgive yourself for anything that you hold onto.

The situation I got myself into was nearly life and death and at times I felt I could never make it right and that there would never be happiness in my life, until the day I forgave my actions and the consequences they created.

Forgive yourself and immediately you will move forward and pick yourself up.

4. Accept the Situation and Embrace it

When life crashes down around you and you’re left with destruction, pain, anger, and sadness it’s tough to forgive yourself for creating the mess you’re in or the unwanted situation you may be faced with, but accepting the way it is right here and right now is extremely important to picking yourself up and moving forward.

When you accept the world you’re living in and accept the consequences of your actions you will be headed in the right direction. Accepting yourself and the situation is much different then forgiving yourself.

Once you forgive yourself it feels like the monkey is off your back but you’re still faced with the moment you’re in. Accepting it and fully embracing the act of moving forward will help you stand tall against the hard times that will come as you work to get your life back on track.

5. Look up, Get Up, and NEVER GIVE UP!

Down in the pits of rock bottom is like being stuck between a hard place and a rock and the thoughts of making it right can seem very overwhelming but Look up and Stand up, and commit to the work that needs to be done and never ever give up. There will be times when the road less traveled to creating a better future will be very hard and intense to the point you will feel like giving up. You will feel at times that everything you have done to get better has been a waste of time and things may not work out the way you want, but do not give up.

You looked up and you stood up. You’re standing tall and to many people that feels like too much to even begin to consider, but you took action and made the right choices. The ego and our society will work it’s hardest to crush you where you walk but you need to stand tough and fight the good fight. Never quit.

When I lost everything I ever owned in my life and I came into a situation that created my second chance I had no idea what would happen and where I would go. Those 6 years have been the toughest challenges of my life. There were times where I did quit something I was working on and there have been moments where I thought about quitting but kept moving forward and right now things are on the right path. Once you pick yourself up and make the effort to move forward to the goodness we all want, you will see how the hard work you put in works out in the end. But the journey never ends and with that you can take these 5 ideas and use them for the rest of your journey. Keep your head up and feet moving.