easy goal setting for the skeptical mind
Attitude Adjustment, Performance & Productivity, Personal Development, Staying Healthy

Easy Goal Setting for the Skeptical Mind

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It’s a New Year! How’s that goal setting going?

You guys! We did it. A new year is upon us and thus too is an opportunity to be “resolute.” Obviously, we’re talking about resolutions and goal setting. And, although we’re not even one month into 2018, I’m already sick of the resolutions… as are many. Hell, I’m already seeing fewer numbers at the gym. As long as I can remember, I’ve hated resolutions. Maybe “hate” is a strong word… Maybe “been skeptical of” is better phraseology to describe my relationship with resolutions and the larger concept of “goal-setting.” I’ve certainly been a major skeptic of announcing my goals and there seems to be some research to back that up. If you too are a skeptic of resolutions and goal-setting then consider me an understanding ally in your skepticism.

What’s wrong with goal setting?

Don’t get me wrong; I have no problem with goal achieving but it’s the act of goal setting, planning, writing, journaling, and… (gulp)… visualizing that’s so draining. Whew! That last sentence was so exhausting to think about that it became nearly impossible to articulate just how much I dislike it. I mean visualizing? Say what you will about the hated words of “moist” or “gurgle” but I often think the worst word in our modern lexicon has to be “visualization”.

I think this all stems from the expectations that come from goal setting among us lay people in the larger population. If there is something that you feel you must do for yourself, then you don’t wait, plan, or visualize – you just do it.

  • Your diet doesn’t need to start on Monday.
  • You don’t have to finish that last pack of cigarettes before you quit smoking.
  • You honestly don’t need a new outfit to start working out.
  • You definitely don’t need a new computer to start writing that book.

If you are feeling so compelled to do THAT THING that would be “life-changing”, then when why is there so much rigmarole and waiting? Just start doing it. At least, that’s what I used to believe… and still do with caveats.

My Journey

My biggest life change came about 7.5 years ago. My wife and I were expecting our first child and there was this guy at my work that had a heart attack at the age of 33. This dude was in incredible shape (much better shape than myself) but due to life stresses and a congenital defect, he had a heart attack. Although I don’t have any congenital abnormalities myself, I couldn’t help but have some anxieties about the fact that I was tipping the scales at 280 pounds, not yet 30, not yet experiencing all the pressure life has to offer, and that if I didn’t change I might not be around for my kids. So… I just started.

Basic stuff, really – I took a dry erase marker and wrote down my weight on our bathroom mirror. “7/1/2010 – 277.8”.

Then I did some stuff. I can’t tell you exactly what I did because I didn’t write it down. It was pretty simple stuff: I ate fewer breakfast sandwiches; I ordered 4 items from Taco Bueno instead of 5; ate 5 slices of pizza instead of 8; and, did about 15 knee pushups in the morning and in the evening. When we brought our son home from the hospital 15 days later, I weighed 260.

After that, I did something the skeptic in me shakes his head at: I wrote down the date of one-week in the future, and wrote down a weight beside it… a goal weight. Without realizing it, I had written down a goal.

It was only about a pound or two but I did it again, and again, and again. I didn’t really have an “end” goal in my mind… just short term goals. I met or surpassed many of those goals but on many of them I fell well short. Hell, sometimes I went in the opposite direction and gained weight during that period of time. The point is that despite not having an “end-goal” in mind, I had the idea of progress on my mind and defined success one week at a time. Eventually, I got down to 185 pounds. I drifted back up to 220 and then back down to a relatively steady equilibrium of about 200 (plus or minus five pounds depending on the season).

The Takeaway:

I suppose the realization that hopefully my fellow skeptics can take from this is that there doesn’t necessarily have to be an end-goal in mind. Sometimes “progress” is the goal and that’s OK. We are creatures that can grow, learn, and get haircuts. Our cells die and are reborn every day. Second-to-second, we are different people. There is no finite physical state; therefore there does not have to be a finite goal we are working towards. The reality is that there is infinitude in our resolutions. The part we must wrestle with however is that with infinite long-term possibilities and variables, we must work a little harder to identify the more finite short-term accomplishments. To accomplish the next step, you might have to swallow your skepticism and write down your next step.

In the spirit of openness and honesty, I have to publicly announce that I still have goals that are written down. I practice goal-setting… I’m a goal setter. Like many, I now have goals for my health, goals for my finances, and goals for my career. I’ve even written about the importance of goal-setting for government workers! If I’m being honest, it’s still a struggle to look at those goals, repeat those goals, and (heaven forbid) visualize those goals every day because… it still just seems so silly. Sometimes I fall short of the goals and sometimes I achieve them or surpass them but the importance is that I’m always working towards them. If you too are a skeptic or are interested in the journey of what goes through a skeptic’s mind as he pursues goals, keep checking stopdoingnothing.com and maybe we can work through it together.

Riley Ross is a writer, speaker, and host of the Y’all OK Podcast. At www.rileyevanross.com, he writes about excellence in Government, Oklahoma, and is beginning a series on the timeless concept of Moderation.

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The importance of microcommitments
Performance & Productivity, Personal Development, Staying Healthy

The Importance of Microcommitments

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Our good friend Seth Larrabee shared his story about how he has recently overcome alcoholism and several other life changes. Watch and leave a comment below.

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What To Eat In The Morning And Why
Staying Healthy

What I Eat In The Morning And Why

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The Iron Never Lies To You By Henry Rollins
Performance & Productivity, Personal Development, Staying Healthy

The Iron By Henry Rollins

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I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.

Completely.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why.

I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time.

As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me a hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.‘s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say s—t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone.

It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs.

Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

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Three Reasons To Read More Books Today
Attitude Adjustment, Personal Development, Staying Healthy

Three Reasons Why You Need To Pick Up a New Book Today

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The November 14, 2014, Inc. article, “22 Top CEOs Reveal Their Favorite Books,” shares CEO’s favorite books, but it reinforces an idea that English teachers have been saying for years, to succeed you need to read.

As an English teacher for the last 15 years I have found that reading is important for three reasons.

  1. Expands Your Horizons
  2. In our fast paced culture, where most information comes in small chunks and from people who think just like us, getting a fresh perspective is a challenge. Books provide that challenge because the content cannot be consumed in seconds. Reading takes time, time to think and feel. Even if the book is from an author we like, the story or idea is developed so that we can digest it deeply. Sometimes the idea challenges our thinking, other times it confirms our views but that gives us confidence that we are on the right track.

  3. Reduces Stress
  4. I have already mentioned the idea that books make us slow down, and slowing down helps reduce our stress. There is a joy to reading that we lose when we succumb to the hectic pace of life. Do you remember reading something and you just had to share what you just read? I have laughed out loud. I have cried because of a book. Going through these emotions, or connecting with a friend over a book brings us back to our selves, thus reducing the stress our faced-paced life can inflict on us.

  5. Spurs Action
  6. This benefit has been hinted at, too. Reading leads us to action. Yes, sometimes it is the simple action of contacting a friend to talk about the book, but many times the action enriches our lives. Books generate new ideas. Books give us courage to change aspects of our life or work and lead us to live a better life than before.

So, have you read any good books lately? Share your reading list with us in the comment section.

 

True leader, Husband, Father, Coach & Professor Hamey Bowelhower
Husband, Father, Coach & Professor Jamey Boelhower

Bio: Jamey Boelhower is a husband and a father of six, TIS, coach, and teacher for Sandy Creek high school in Nebraska. He is also an adjunct professor for CCC Hastings. You can read his regular blog “It Is All Connected” by clicking here. And you can follow him on twitter at @jdog90

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Five Reasons To Laugh More
Staying Healthy

The Five Most Important Reasons to Laugh

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Life is not always funny. But if you are looking for some great physical and emotional reasons to laugh then you are going to LOVE our list. Check it out

1. Laughter Makes Us Healthier

Laughter is a good thing. Scientists tell us that laughter, humor and joy are an important part of life. Laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases muscle flexion. It increases the circulation of antibodies in the blood stream and makes us more resistant to infection.

Laughter makes us healthier

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2. Laughter Touches Our Soul

Laughter is good for us physically, but that is just the beginning. Laughter is good for the soul. There is a holiness in laughter. Laughter brings us closer to each other – and there is something holy about people coming together. Laughter provides us a moment of grace. It occurs spontaneously and unexpectedly. It catches us by surprise and we respond with laughter. We never expect to laugh, just as we never expect grace or good fortune when it arrives. And in that grace, we are able to recognize the folly of our own pursuits.

Laughter touches our soul

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3. Laughter Keeps Things in Perspective

Laughter helps us to transcend ourselves, and I need that help. Too often I take myself far too seriously. There is a danger of taking ourselves, our beliefs and our life too seriously. Fanatics, it seems to me, see nothing as funny. Here’s a suggestion. The next time you’re in the middle of an argument, start laughing – not in a derogatory tone, but in the jovial sense of being in on a good joke. Then see if the anger begins to melt away and if you can find a more creative way to handle things. I’ve done this with my kids and it actually works. And you know what else? Now I know that when I think about doing it and don’t, that I have lost my perspective.

Laughter keeps things in perspective

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4. Laughter Helps Us Stay Positive

Laughter can be an important tool for keeping our troubles in proportion, for realizing that things aren’t always as bad as we think they are. But even when things are as bad as we think they are, laughter helps create positive emotions and helps us find a frame of mind in which we can more easily cope with the struggles of life. Laughter eases tension and sharpens our ability to concentrate. Laughter is a lot like changing a baby’s diaper. It doesn’t permanently solve any problems, but it makes things a lot more acceptable for a while.

Laughter helps us stay positive

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5. Laughter Is Loving

If I am able to laugh with you in my mistakes as well as with you in yours, it suggests we are all flawed and imperfect. Embracing good natured humor, we find the humility to see the foolishness of trying to be perfect and the gift of enjoying the smiles and laughter of love.

Laughter is loving

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Children laugh on average 200 times a day and adults only 26 times a day. How many times a day do you experience the rich joy of laughter? If we want to be happier, healthier, and more productive we seriously need to make time to laugh. Because when we laugh, when we really laugh, deep from the belly… we feel alive! Start looking for more reasons to laugh today.
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Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee, the Sex Minister, is an international author, award winning speaker and accomplished group facilitator and trainer.She has committed her vocational journey to the non-profit sector and ministry where she is an advocate for diverse populations, particularly the marginalized and voiceless in our society. Barbara has an MBA in Leadership Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. She is an ordained interfaith minister who has led pilgrimages to the Five Holy Peaks of Taoism in China. Barbara, a resident of Grand Haven, was a presenter at TEDxMuskegon 2013. Her books include Sacred Sex: Replacing the Marriage Ethic with a Sexual Ethic and Tension in the Tank: Embracing Interfaith Mysticism Without Leaving the Church. More information is available at thesexminister.com or barbaraleeauthor.com

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Overcoming Fear
Personal Development, Staying Healthy

Richard Branson Lessons: Fear, Resistance, Procrastination

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What You Better Learn from Richard Branson about Overcoming Fear, Resistance, and Procrastination

Richard Branson sure is a cool dude. And he’s done some incredible stuff in his life.

He’s also had some stupid, massive failures.

Have you ever heard of Virgin Cola? Their bottles were called “The Pammy” because they were shaped like Pamela Anderson.
Really, Richard? You are the same guy that started Virgin Airlines?
How about Virgin Brides? Yikes. (Yes, that’s him in the picture dressed up as a bride.)

Richard Branson as a Virgin Bride
Richard Branson as a Virgin Bride

It’s easy to laugh at when he swung and missed, though we all know he’s the man. And a big reason is that he doesn’t let a few whiffs stop him from going balls in the next time. And the next time. And the next time.
How can you have the same go-for-it attitude that he does? Simple. The next time you want to make a change in your life—want to start something new—you Experiment.

Why Experiment?

Simple: we procrastinate because we don’t want to mess up. We are afraid of not being perfect.
(Want to know the psychological reasons why you procrastinate? Watch the video here.)

See, the purpose of an experiment is to learn. The great thing about it is that the only way you fail in an Experiment is not to conduct it. Because I don’t know about you, but I learn best by doing. There is no substitute for experience.
When someone learns to fly, he reads. Then he Experiments in a flight simulator. Then he Experiments by flying with someone else. Then he is ready to go solo.

Our brain gets freaked out when we want to make a change or try something new—especially if it’s something big.
When you want to make a change, how can you break that change down into the smallest experiment you can?
If you decide you want to run your first marathon, you might then become paralyzed with fear: Do I have the right shoes? Do I run before or after work? Am I ready to commit to running five times a week for the next fifteen weeks?
You don’t have to answer any of these questions. All you have to do is perform an Experiment this next week. Try two Experiments: run once, for 15 minutes before work, and run again for 15 minutes after work. See which one fits best in your schedule. See if you need better shoes. Is it easier to commit to running almost every day for the next four months, or twice over the next week?

This concept works so well that I’ve written a whole book about it, which has become a #1 bestseller in both the Creativity and Business Leadership Training categories. It is a modern business fable, where a business owner—who wants to make changes in his personal and work life—meets a coach, who walks him through these changes through a variety of Experiments.

Take the next project you have. Is it a book? Starting a business? Getting healthy? What is the tiniest step you can take? Do that step. Then evaluate; what worked? What didn’t? What is your next step from there?
What do you think Richard Branson’s next Experiment will be? Virgin Butter? Virgin Flypaper?
Doesn’t really matter, because he’s still the coolest guy in the world. And he’s going to keep Experimenting until he dies. And his Experiments change the world.

Will yours?


Sharp-Dressed Michael Anderson
Sharp-Dressed Michael Anderson
R. Michael Anderson, M.B.A., M.A., is a global speaker, radio show host, and author who specializes in leading businesspeople to happier lives. In fact, his new book, The Experiment, has reached the #1 Bestselling spot on Amazon in the Self-Help -> Creativity and the Business -> Leadership Training categories.
If you are stressed, overwhelmed, or burned out, visit ExperimentToday.com NOW to start reclaiming your life!

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