Doubt, Confidence, and Succeeding

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“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay

Five years ago I started training people to help them lose weight. Prior to getting the game started I had been sitting on my certification for six months. For nearly half a year I was a personal trainer to nobody. I didn’t even try to find a client to train nor did I even bother telling people I was a trainer. My confidence was non existent and I had no self-esteem regarding training. I also had some negative body image doubts that held me back. We all do. This happens to many people.

The lack of self-confidence and self-esteem in the world is devastating to goals, dreams, and action taking. Our doubts about our appearance, our ability, and our self worth hold back our true greatness. It stops us from achieving the highest of our potential. If you ever want to improve your life dramatically and take your achievement to a higher level, you need to push doubt aside and take the action.

Our fears are usually stronger than our confidence and esteem. This is why it’s so hard to take action. We think we lack the courage needed to push the envelope further, but the truth is, we are strong enough and we are courageous enough. The step forward we take will prove this.

You have to understand that failure is okay and that it happens. 2016 was a pretty big failure for me in terms of my goals. I fell hard in many areas of life and I let other things control my actions instead of owning it and grabbing the wheel. My attitude sank and my confidence was flushed down the toilet. But the fact that I notice it now is all I need to make sure I don’t let it happen again. I’m okay with my failure. I accepted it. Not that I wanted it to happen, but I knew it was possible and if I did fail, no big deal. Dust off the shirt and move forward.

Five years ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to say that. I would have felt horrible and defeated and most likely would have quit. My successes were up and down and even though I was higher in the past than I am now, I know I can get there. The journey has increased my confidence, my esteem, and my attitude. When I wrote five books in two years I was on fire. The last two years that fire was suffocated by doubt, fear, laziness, anger, and mental exhaustion. Not a big deal. Back to square one and onward from here.

One of the reasons my confidence sunk was because I put what people said and believed above my own beliefs and values. I let negative thinkers, cowards, and people who disrespected me get the best of my emotions and feelings. It was a hard hit to the face followed by another to the gut. What I should have done was thanked them for what they said and did and removed the thought from my mind for good. We often get tied down by negative people, thinking, and energy. My energy balance was broken and the results showed.

In 2017, it’s not what you think. It’s not what my family thinks or what clients say or coaches say. It’s about what I believe, what I see and feel, and where I want to go. I am in control of my life. I’m confident I can take this to the next level and I’m confident you can level your life up as well. Close your eyes and visualize what it is you want to achieve. Once you open them, get to fucking work.

Being Positive, Selfish, and Getting to Work

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September 22nd, 2016 is the last time I published a post on this site. I’ve been away too long. I fell flat on my face, bit the dust, and ran away like a scared puppy. In over five years of writing blog posts and books, I thought I wrote it all. I lost my mojo more than once and this last time it’s stayed hidden. I’m going to attempt to bring it back or just create some new mojo out of nothing. My mind has been preoccupied on other matters. I’ve been busy helping men and women lose weight and fell better at the gym. I’ve been practicing Jiu Jitsu, although I had a four week layoff due to a MRSA or Staph infection that practically crippled my left hand. And of course, I’ve been home with my two little kids who have drove me nuts and then turned me into butter.

During this past year I realized that my attitude and my mindset changed. There were plenty of hard times and my energy was exhausted early being home with my kids. I dealt with some issues that tore me apart, but I think I sowed myself back together. My positive spirit and mental attitude seemed to be lost in space. If you search back through many of my blogs or read my books you’ll see that being positive and upbeat and happy is a major part of my life. In 2016, it wasn’t that way at all. Most of the time, I simply faked it when I had to.

I’ve had trouble over the past five years with my energy and my attitude. During this time I’ve built Activate Fitness in Hackettstown into a great place to be for weight loss and to just feel awesome. I had two kids and was nearly divorced twice. Going through older posts you’ll see where my attitude went up and where it dipped. It’s just a part of our life cycle, but I’m not okay with it. Being positive is rare these days. People are afraid to be positive because so many people are tied down by negative forces that when we show positivity and happiness, they think there’s something wrong with us.

Before my children were born I was a big time fan of Floating and Meditation and when life got hard, I abandoned my practices. I see now how that was foolish and I realize even more now the awesome power of float tanks and meditation. Those two critical components of my positive mental attitude vanished overnight and left me high and dry.

I went to hear a speaker yesterday at our Jiu Jitsu school. His name is Cornell Thomas and he lit the fire under my ass again. One of the best things he said during the hour or so speech was this “Never let doubt stop your do.” and I realized that in 2016, my doubt crushed my do. His energy was great and obviously I borrowed some as I feel different today, but it will be a long road back to where I once was. In the past, I could write through a stream of consciousness up to five thousand words about being positive and happy without taking a piss break. Now, my attention is good for maybe thirty seconds. When I wrote five books, it came easy. It came naturally. The work was fun and it didn’t seem like it took a lot of effort. Today, writing is draining. But I know why.

I need to take a break from certain things in my day to day routine. I need to be selfish and spend more time improving myself so that I can recharge my important energy. I need to stop stressing over working and writing and get on the ground and roll with my kids. Instead of answering the twenty emails I get each day, go to the movies and relax. Instead of being at the gym at five o’clock in the morning, sleep in and get important rest. And that’s another thing, a totally different topic, but something that pisses me off. People wear getting up early as a badge of honor. For the past five years I’ve been getting up super early, most days at four, and while many people claim great benefits from rising early, I think it’s not the best option, for me and my happiness. Many awesome people come to train at my gym at Five O’clock every single day and they love it. For me, it’s crushing. I need sleep and I operate ten times better when I sleep, if not a hundred times better. If you have to wake up early to workout, make sure you get to sleep earlier than normal and do your best to make it the best quality sleep you can.

Remember, living life activated takes work. It takes a lot of work and for many people, like me in 2016, that work feels like it’s not worth it, but at the end of the year when you come up short in your goals and you feel like I felt (exhausted, angry, tired, lazy) you’ll see that the work needed to be fully activated, to be awake and alive, is most definitely worth it.

Stay positive they say… I say live activated.

Facing Reality

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Do you want to be happy and live the best life you can possibly live? You’re going to have to live in the truth of who you are and face reality. This means you’re going to have to take off your mask and stop hiding behind gimmicks and lies. Facing reality is needed for our success and well being. Take a stand now and face reality, face the truth, and be honest.

If we ever want to achieve our goals we’re going to have to understand the fact and face the reality that it is going to be hard. Some people don’t want to hear this. When I talk about weight loss and training, some people want to assume it’s going to be easy. They want to lose all of their extra weight, yesterday. They expect dieting to be easy. They expect the workouts to get easier. The expect the inches to fall off overnight. Then, when it comes to the work involved, they see it’s not easy.  Cooking healthy food takes time, waking up early for your workout is hard, and drinking enough water makes you need to use the bathroom nine times more than you used to, it’s hard.

We must face this reality and know what lies ahead of us. A great motivational speaker Les Brown once said “You’ve got to develop an appreciation for something that’s crucial if you want it, that it’s not going to be easy.” If I asked the men and women in the gym who lost over fifteen pounds in thirty days if it was easy what do you think they’d say? Hell no it wasn’t easy. It took discipline and commitment. It took energy and sacrifice.

The problem is many of us don’t want to face this reality. We want the Hollywood way. The commercial media way. The glitz, the glamour, and the convenience. I see young guys opening gyms and wondering why they’re not “crushing it” overnight. That’s because, it’s hard.

Facing reality is a shortcut to success. We must be critical of our goals and beliefs and look at what it’s actually going to take. Can we accomplish our goal with what we have, or are we going to need more? Can you really reach a goal of a strict pull-up if you’re not doing the work needed to be done to get there? No way.

It’s hard to talk about the difficulty you’re going to face when you want to reach a goal. Many people don’t expect it to be that hard. Many people do not want to hear that’s it’s going to be hard. It’s easier to sell someone a pill and tell them it’s going to help them lose ten pounds than it is to tell them losing weight is going to require discipline, energy, effort, planning, sacrifice, and redundancy. We don’t want to bleed, sweat, or cry.

Face reality today and understand it’s going to be hard and that you can do it, because you can do it. Remove the limitations you’ve set in your mind and see the true strength within you. Don’t allow yourself to go by without having the hard conversations and the difficult thoughts. There are many parts of life we choose to ignore or not be honest about. This is disaster and failure waiting in the background. Be honest with where you are, be honest with what you need to get the job done, and then be honest about doing it.

Yes, You Can

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Do you want to lose weight?

You can lose weight.

Do you want to earn more money?

You can earn more money.

Whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life is within your ability of doing so. You can travel the world. You can get season tickets to your favorite team’s games. You can quit your job and start that business you have been dreaming of. You can sell your house and scale down if that is what you want.

Whatever you want.. you can do, get, see, and live.

There is only one thing stopping you from achieving your wildest dreams and that is your own fear while not having a positive belief in yourself. Many people struggle with overcoming their fear. Napoleon Hill, author of the world’s most successful and highest selling self help book ever Think and Grow Rich, never published Outwitting the Devil while he was alive. He was afraid of criticism and thought he would get a negative response and ruin himself. It’s one of my favorite books.

In High School, I never tried to join the wrestling team. I wanted to, my friends wanted me to, and I enjoyed watching it. My fear of failure, fear of effort, fear of hard work, and fear of people laughing at me prevented me from ever trying. Today I practice Jiu Jitsu and had I wrestled, I’d be much better.

Our minds are our best friends and our greatest enemies. Our mind is capable of conceiving dreams, ideas, goals, solutions, and more. It is also capable of breeding in fear in reasons of why those dreams are stupid, why those ideas will never work, why those goals are outlandish, and how those solutions will result in failure.

But, you can make the right choice, every time. As a coach I have met my share of angry and bitter people. You can smell the anger and bitterness when they walk in the door. Each time I try to engage in positive and encouraging conversation, but those people are hard to crack. They’re stuck in their ways, stuck in their beliefs, and have something deep inside that is bothering them. They’re choosing to keep it in. Instead of accepting whatever trouble it may be, they stoke it with wood and feed their fire. They’re choosing to let it burn. I see this in people throughout life. Instead of choosing to find a solution and doing the work to overcome whatever roadblocks they face, they sit and dwell in fear and negative attitudes.

Most of the time, they don’t believe they can change, they don’t believe they can be happy, they don’t believe their life can be better. And so, they stay stuck and hold it in. Eventually this will manifest as dis-ease, wrinkles, grey hair, weight gain, depression, divorce, loneliness, and more. All because they think they can’t. The truth is, you can.

Ask for help, seek advice from a friend, a family member, or a professional. Notice what troubles your mind and then run towards that trouble and fix it. Accept the past for what it is and concentrate on making today better. Do your workout, write your story, eat your healthy food, go see that friend, make the changes you need to and don’t worry about failure or criticism or change. You can live your best life and you can live the activated life. Do it now.

Failure

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As a coach I see people fail all the time. I see people fail to stay on track with their goals. I see people fail to seek the support of those around them who are willing to help. I see people fail to give it time. I see people join my gym with the goals and dreams of getting in shape. They sign up for a twenty one day program and they come once. They fail to return.

I see people join in transformation challenges who start with a bang, only to fizzle out within a week or two, or when something throws them off schedule. I see motivation in their eyes and willingness to try, but something stops them dead in their tracks and they never (or at least from what I see and know) get into the shape they wanted when they started.

But is this really failure? In my opinion, failure consists of quitting your efforts to try. If you get a result that isn’t what you expected it’s not failure but rather a lesson that we must use to help us change something that didn’t work. In business and personal endeavors unrelated to my gym I have gotten poor results many times and failed.

In the past few years I self-published five books. My first book Becoming Awake and Alive sold one copy on Amazon. My second book The Essential Essays of Activate Fitness sold zero. My third book On Living Your Best Life sold one copy on Lulu or Amazon, I can’t remember. My fourth book The 15 Principles of Fat Loss Success has sold zero on Amazon. The latest of my five, Your Life Activated has also sold zero on Amazon or any other on-line store it is in.

At my gym and with friends and family, I probably sold ten books total. I took this to mean I failed. What happened since is that I stopped marketing them. I stopped writing about them, talking about them, and mentioning them. I accepted defeat (AKA I quit).

A few years ago I started a new training program for small groups of three or four people. These groups were strictly off limits to others not a part of the group. It started off okay and I filled my slots of three people. As time went on, it didn’t work. People went into my normal groups or they quit and then I stopped trying. I accepted defeat. I quit.

Quitting is the only way we can fail. Had I not given up trying to sell my books, I might have sold the stock I have in my possession. Had I not given up trying to sell spots in my small group private training classes, they would probably be booked. But I let my emotions and feelings get the best of me and accepted failure.

When people fail in the gym, it’s not because they can’t do it. It’s because they accept not trying again. When you don’t lose weight there is probably only one or two things that went wrong that can easily be changed. The problem is, most people accept quitting as an option and therefore, they experience failure.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power inside to keep trying. We have the resources available all around us to get the help we deserve and to make it work this time. You have the desire for success. You have the desire to live activated. You have the desire to feel the best you have ever felt. You have the strength to face poor results and learn from them and fight back. The question is, will you do it?

“The easiest thing to do for most people when facing an obstacle is to quit. With this mentality most people die without ever reaching their full potential in any aspect of life.

You must understand your worth, and your desire to succeed must remain strong even on your toughest of days.

Keep showing up, celebrate your small goals achieved along the way, and stay dedicated when motivation fails.

It’s worth it.”

- Tom Deblass

The Limits We Set

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Have you ever looked at some task in front of you and thought, there’s no way I can make this work? Yes, you have and so have I. Have you ever set a goal and then erased it because you felt like there was no way you’d ever be able to achieve it? Yes, you have and so have I. This is us setting limits on what we believe is possible and impossible. Some people look at the schedule of my gym and say there is no way they can do five o’clock in the morning. I agree. If they say that it means they think it and if they think it and say it, they’ll most likely believe it and when that happens, they’re right.

Setting limits is nothing new. We used to set limits when we were kids. One of my biggest limitations as a kid was my belief that I couldn’t ride my bike with no hands. I would try and fail. Try and fail. One day I tried and I failed. I landed chin first onto a curb and split my chin open. I walked home crying and bleeding. The cut required a few stitches. From that moment forward I never tried to ride my bike with no hands again. I set a limiting belief that riding with no hands on my bike would result in smashing the ground. The same thing happens to us in every area of life.

One example I see clearly is the limiting belief that “I can’t lose weight.” I see people begin a fitness routine and everything goes well until they step on a scale. Their weight doesn’t drop by five or ten pounds and they get discouraged. Immediately they believe that they can’t lose weight. I even hear them utter those words. Well, when you say it and believe it, it’s probably going to happen. Instead of believing you can’t lose weight and saying so, you need to ask better questions and seek better answers. A question like “What didn’t I do that I can do better?” is a perfect example of a growth oriented question. Asking that question will show you where you need to improve and in doing so, you’ll eliminate the limiting belief.

We often set limits on what we can do based on fear or laziness. When someone tells me they can’t lose weight and they end up quitting because of discouragement it’s because they’re afraid of failing. There may have been numerous times in their life where they tried very hard to get results but something was off and therefore they failed. That failure hurts and to experience it again can be devastating. This is why many people quit. They don’t want to feel the sadness of failing. Setting a limit on what’s possible in your mind can keep you trapped for a very long time. I know people who have spent many years stuck in the same routine of life because of the limits they set, never getting anywhere beyond “the same old same old.”

If you want to live your best life, a life fully activated and in control, you must work on crushing the limits you consciously and subconsciously set in your mind. Limiting beliefs will keep your ship anchored in the same bay it’s been in and the only way to sail the seas is to release that anchor of limit and become the captain of your life.

The Examined Life

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It started back in 2011 when I truly began to examine my life. I opened a brand new book called The Secret and dove in. Immediately I was enthralled by the book and devoured every word in less than a few days. This moment would open a new world to me and little did I know that learning, reading, and self-examination would become a huge part of my life. Each day there are a few things I must do and learning is one of them. Whether I watch a video, read some of a book, or get my hands dirty, learning is at the forefront of who I am.

The examined life is a life where we do not settle for what is told to us, instead we seek the truth for ourselves. For a few years I spent a lot of time seeking for the truth from things such as mastermind groups, books, videos, movies, and more. What I failed to see is that the examined life starts and ends within. Mostly everything we need to know can be discovered from ourselves, in our mind. While books and groups are an invaluable way to learn and discover, the truth will come from within. I wonder if this is why meditation is a huge part of life for many people? In meditation you focus on nothing, try to at least, but what often happens (to me) is the examination of thought, emotion, and feeling.

For me, self-examination is a way to consciously realize who I am and why I am the way I am. I wonder what makes my mind tick. I’m fulfilled when I can sit quietly and seek answers through what my mind is telling me. I also enjoy looking into the actions I take and figuring out how I can get better. How can I become a better husband? A better father? How can I increase my endurance for Jiu-Jitsu and my energy levels for everyday life activities? What makes my mind focus on the past problems instead of enjoying the present moment?

Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it will be shown or given to you. The only way to truly discover who we are is to examine the little things that make up our large days. What kind of worker are you? What kind of lover? What kind of father or mother, sister or brother are you? What makes you angry and how can you overcome that? What do I want for my life, my family’s life, in the next five years?

The best thing we can do to understand this is… write. If you go through many of my blog posts you’ll discover a sort of journal. Every post I write is a reminder to myself. Eat better, sleep more, train harder, be a better father, find out why I get angry and why I cycle through emotions, and more. Writing down our thoughts, feelings, and emotions for different situations in our life is the best way to improve our actions and understand what makes us act the way we do.

“The life unexamined life is not worth living” according to Socrates and in my opinion, I agree.

 

Jiu Jitsu

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Last summer, in late July or early August, I embarked on a new journey. I entered into a brand new world to me but a world with a storied and celebrated history. I enter a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school for the first time. Nervously I sat waiting in my car, afraid of what I was getting into. As a gym owner, I thought I knew how people felt when they first came to our gym. The nerves, the anxiety, the fear. Problem was, I had no clue how they felt, until I put myself in their shoes. As I sat in the parking lot I anxiously went over all possible scenarios of what I believed was going to occur.

Jiu-Jitsu is at the root of it, a self-defense martial art. For a long time it has also been used in combat sports and in tournaments of it’s own kind. Millions of people throughout the world are participating daily in Jiu-Jitsu practice. The sport, the art, was popularized by the historic Gracie family in Brazil. Hence the reason it is vastly known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, there are other types (Jujutsu) and it originated in Japan from the basics of Judo ground fighting. Jujutsu itself is said to have been created in Japan as an art in close combat against an armed person when one is unarmed.

Throughout the world you can find Jiu Jitsu schools where men and women and even children of all types are practicing daily. Some come to learn, some come to sweat, some to lose weight, while others come to fight. For me, the reason I chose to start Jiu Jitsu was to find an outlet for my primal energy and a way to silence, or in the least tame, my monkey mind. Being an owner of a gym, in which I train the majority of the members, is hard on my energy outlet. People come every day to learn and to exercise so they can feel better. However, this left me drained. Add into it the fact that I am a stay at home father to two very young children, my mind felt like mud and I needed some valuable me time. After talking to a few people I knew about the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there was no question I had to try.

Since that first day I have fallen in love with the martial art. It is hard. It is physical and it takes a lot of patience. One reason I fell quickly in love with the art is the fact that it is a lifelong adventure. There is no black belt in a few years. For me, it will take closer to fifteen or twenty until I get there. The person I have become after only one year of training is a light year away from where I was when I started. My mindset has improved. I am stronger. I am in better shape and my skills have increased greatly. Jiu Jitsu has given me a way to see that I am not at my best and the journey to living my best life and being fully activated will continue until I pass from this lifetime. There will always be room for improvement, whether it’s on the mat, in my business, as a husband or as a father. As the great Tony Robbins would say, “we either grow, or die”. I chose this journey to grow.

5 Things I Learned So Far From Being a Stay At Home Dad

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In the morning when I get home from the early classes at Activate Fitness I rush to make shakes for my wife and I. With the sound of foot steps and ice being crushed and blended for our morning smoothie, the little critters begin to stir. Our neurologically impaired cats tip and tumble their way to their food bowl and begin begging for breakfast. The other little critters yell for Mommy or a show. They want to sit and watch Bo on the Go or Care Bears or some other stupid children toon show. But we have to go. I run a mid morning class at the gym, and they come with. It’s a dash to get out of the house early enough to make it to the gym so I can get my personal workout done before the next wave of awesome Activators rolls through. Some days I get half a workout done, and I’m cool with that. Once the members come in and class begins it’s often a fight to get my kids to sit in their gated area away from swinging kettlebells and flying jump ropes. But they listen and usually it’s only because I promise them Turkey Bacon Jerky or a lollipop.

In between the mid morning class and the evening classes at Activate Fitness, it’s home for us and the insanity ensues. Being a stay at home dad has changed my life and while it’s for better there are times when it’s been for the worse as I’ve had to battle with emotions and feelings about getting the job done and handling the constant need for attention. Here are five things I have learned in my time staying home with my two silly fun kids.

1. I have more Patience than I thought.

Screaming kids, spilled milk, carpet stains, nap fighting, and kids not listening on a consistent basis is nerve racking and mind blowing. Some days I feel like mush and brain fucked but I realize that I have more patience than I ever thought I do. While it can get crazy and completely overwhelming, it’s just spilled milk. I’d rather see spilled milk than baby shit on the walls.

2. Tend Your Field

As a business owner and someone who enjoys books and writing, I find it extremely difficult to get the job done. There are too many days that go in a row where I don’t write or read with total concentration. This used to infuriate me until I heard a man named Earl Nightingale talk about “tending our field” and doing the best we can. What he means is that in this moment we have a field that needs to be taken care of. It could be driving to the store or giving your children a bath. That moment is the field of life that you’re in and your purpose at that moment is to take care of that field to the best of your ability. So when I am home and I’m stressed out about setting up consultations at the gym and my kids are telling me they’re hungry, my field isn’t booking a consultation. It’s sitting down and feeding my children a healthy meal and being present with them. This is by far the hardest struggle I face each day but recently after a talk I heard by my mentor, I’ve been working on stopping and smelling the roses.

3. Each Day Is A New Day

Kids have much to teach us, especially about letting things go. Each day is a new day for my kids and they act like it. They don’t concern themselves with yesterday’s matters or tomorrow’s worries. They just be. Part of me tries hard to let it be and I think that’s the problem. Trying to let it be and actually letting it be are different. I believe there is no trying, it’s just being. This lesson is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my kids. Circumstances arise each day and being like water and going with the flow is a lot easier on the mind and creates less stress than trying to plug the holes and mend the dam.

4. Their Eyes Are On You

And they want me to put my eyes on them, they want you to see them. Kids watch our every move and listen to everything we say. They create their personalities based off of what ours are like. Kids only want love and approval from their parents and each day they want to learn something new about life. They spill milk and they look at us to see how someone should react. They build a fort out of sheets and toys and look at us for approval of a job well done. They look at the problem they face and look at us to see if they have the ability to find the solution or for advice on how to solve the problem. Kids are watching every move we make and every move they make they are watching us to see if we notice. Stop and take it in.

5. Time Management

I believe there is a need for three to five things to be done daily to help my business grow. I believe they can be tackled in an hour or two. The rest of the time is spent wasted and by being constrained with time because of tending to the needs of children, I’ve learned that with focused effort the work needed to be done can be done quickly. There is a lot of time spent wasted when we don’t concentrate on the vital tasks that need action. Many people create useless meetings, useless reports, useless filing, and instead of doing the three to five things that create progress, they waste time that could be spent building relationships, loving family, or taking care of our self. It’s amazing what can be and how fast when you have kids running around.

10 Ways to Lead A Positive Life

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When I looked around and saw all that I had and created, I wasn’t as happy as I should have been. In a moment of awakening I realized my mindset had drifted too far into the negative side of things. As a coach, I speak with enthusiasm for fitness, for nutrition, and living your life activated. But behind closed doors and the walls I built around myself, the truth was very different. While I did the movements and the training and I ate kind of well, I was far from being a positive person. My negative attitude was slowly crushing everything I worked hard for and everything I loved. I caught myself thinking outside of the person within and I drifted too far away from my center. With this negative attitude the help people needed in which they came to me for, couldn’t be done. I was faking it.

Luckily I realized there was a simple solution to “snap out of it” and recently I’ve been turning it around. What happened was that I stopped doing all of the things I knew needed to be done, the things I would do as I taught and helped and motivated others. I stopped doing exactly what I was telling others to do. This happens to many people, especially coaches and trainers. We often spend so much time helping other people that we forget to take care of ourselves. Our lives are non-stop action towards helping other people became fit, healthy, and happy. It’s easy for us to drift off into la-la land and forget about putting our own masks on first. When we do this, everything crashes.

Here are 10 Ways you can lead a positive life and keep from drifting too far and into the negative realm of thoughts and feelings.

1. Be Grateful

For the little things, for things we tend to overlook and often don’t truly appreciate. Be grateful that you are capable of reading this. Be grateful that you are alive and well. Even when things seem tough, there is something to be grateful for. Show it. Write it down. Tell someone you’re grateful for them. Gratitude is a powerful thing that can change your life. Appreciate it’s power and keep a gratitude journal to document the things in life you’re grateful for. Do it daily.

2. Release Your Expectations

There was a time in the recent past that I allowed my expectations to overcome my reality. I expected things from myself and from other people that were not possible or aligned with an activated life. I let my growing expectations create a false sense of failure and it bred my negative attitude to newer heights. Once I released those expectations, things settled down and got easier. Things became fun again and it opened my heart and mind to positive energy that created a greater sense of happiness and joy. Let go of what you expect from others first and then work on your own.

3. Have a Dump Day

Pick a day of the week where you simply don’t do anything but what you want and recharge your batteries. There are days where I let go of everything I’m “supposed” to do and do nothing, like watch Netflix shows for hours on end. Some days it’s simply relaxing and reading or hanging out with the kids and family. We have action packed lives where we go from one thing to the next without breathing. Stop and dump everything off your shoulders and relax. Make this time. It won’t just appear.

4. Exercise

This is without question one of the most important ways you can lead a positive life. In fact, without exercise, I think it would be pretty hard to live a fully activated and positive life. Exercise has the ability to make you feel better, more than any anti-depressant drug out on the market today. A quick ten minute workout is enough to create change in your mind and in your body. If you currently do not workout, start now by doing some simple exercise like walking. The release of positive feel good hormones in your body can lift your spirits when you’re down and crush the negative thinking that might be going on inside.

5. Remove Negative People From Your Life

I recently went through my Facebook news feed and unfollowed many people. The only reason I did so was that the majority of their posts were negative and a waste of mental energy. Before removing people from social media, I did so in “real life”. I do not have any room for people who are negative and those who bring nothing good to my life. It created a lot of space and thinned my social network but it’s for the best. I often see people at functions or getaways who are nothing but negative. They drown their lives in drinks and parties or by staying angry at whatever it is that affected their lives. Removing the negative people has helped me feel stronger and happier and leaves no room for people to bring you down. Some situations you encounter a negative person and they start bringing you down and what I do is change the subject or remove myself from the conversation. It’s unnecessary and not productive to my happiness. Do not be ashamed or upset or worried about their feelings when removing negative people, just do it.

6. Fill Your Mind With Positive Material

Lately to keep my positive attitude boosted I’ve been listening to audiotapes from Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. These books and tapes are keeping my mind set on success, opportunity, positive thinking, and the abundance that surrounds me. While many people are focused on the presidential elections and suffocated from the media filled nonsense that is trying to create tension and a doom and gloom feeling, I remain optimistic and positive about my life and the lives of people just like you. The more you fill your mind with negative bullshit, the darker your life is going to seem.

7. Accept Fear and Have Courage

Fear can be overwhelming to the point where you don’t take any action and have the courage to lead a positive life, which will make things harder then they should be. Or, fear can be used as a tool to overcome obstacles and create the motivation and courage to take action. When we accept fear as something that will always be within us, we can make the changes needed and by accepting fear we can realize that they negativity surrounding our fears does not have to consume our life.

8. Understand That Happiness is a Choice

You either make yourself happy or you don’t. Objects do not. Circumstances do not. While things can help, real happiness will always be a choice. Recently I was stuck in a stage of unhappiness. I had a lot of great things going for me. Family was good, business was good, and my personal lifestyle was good.. but I wasn’t happy. Why? I kept telling myself I was unhappy and the truth is, I was bullshitting myself. Happiness is always a choice. We can be happy with our life situations, or we can decide to not be happy. If you want to lead a positive life, choose happiness.

9. Keep on The Path of Growth

I read somewhere once “We’re either growing, or dying.” and that has stuck with me since. When we purposefully work on improving our lives, we grow and with growth comes opportunities and success. When we don’t work on growing ourselves personally and professionally, we wither away with the lack of direction and purpose. People often do not read books or listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I’m consistently working on learning something new every day. By working on our growth, we feel more awake and alive. Pick up a book or listen to a podcast. Make time each day to grow. Flowers always need sun.

10. Dream Bigger

Feel like life is stale or boring? Ever feel like things aren’t the way you hoped or imagined? Chances are you’re playing small and not dreaming big enough about what you want from life. One of the greatest things we can do for a positive and happy, and fulfilled, life is to work hard towards accomplishing big things. When I started out training people I dreamed of the day I’d have my own gym. Now that I have a gym, I’m dreaming big about the next step in our growth. Dream big, and then dream bigger.