Reaching the Top

IMG-20170702-WA0013I recently hiked in Arches National Park in Utah. It was 102-degree Fahrenheit with only 7% humidity. An energy sucking, dry heat unlike what many people are used to experiencing.

One highlight of this trip was the climb to Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch.

As the sun pounded down it drained both energy and spirits. Having visited the Arch before, the vision of arriving at that magnificent mark fueled my trek. My Brazilian friend, Pacall, was visiting the National Park for the first time. He’d seen pictures of the Arch and wanted to see it in person.

Arriving at the top of the trail and beholding the beautiful Delicate Arch made the journal worth it – both in seeing the massive Arch and in defeating the brutal conditions required to do so.

Success in our personal lives and careers also takes a vision of what the “Top” of the journal will look like and a passion for getting there. While challenges and obstacles may line our path – an eye single to reaching the top will drive our ability to overcome.

Close your eyes – envision YOU succeeding and reaching the top.

Now open your eyes and take the first steps forward to making it happen!

 

(In full disclose – this is a picture of me and Pacall, but at another arch, not Delicate Arch. But I think it’s a cool pic. Haha)  

 

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The Daily Choices We Make

Choose joy everydayThe daily choices we make are what add up to a lifetime of true joy and happiness.

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” – Henri Nouwen

Wishing you a successful, prosperous, and joy-filled day!

DJ

 

5 Lessons Learned from Working Out

5-lessons-learned-from-working-outOne year ago I started working out at the gym. A first for me… ever. I’m proud to say I’ve stuck with it all year.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

Results Take Longer Than Expected

My first three months I focused on eating healthy eating, cardio and strength training. Initial results came fast, then became more difficult. The next nine months were a battle, but I stuck with it. I learned to measure success differently, beyond just weight loss. I measured success by lifting heavier weights, by doing more repetitions, and increasing cardio endurance.

Changing how I measured success enabled me to continue to see results.

It’s Still Not Easy

Waking up at 6 am is both a habit and a struggle. I often wake up sore and fatigued. I thought that would pass. It doesn’t. In the beginning, I was sore beyond imagination. Now it’s a good sore, but it’s soreness nonetheless. Furthermore, I’ve dealt with various injuries: plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and a sore shoulder rotator cuff. Muscles heal, injuries pass, but new ones arise.

Bottom line, it’s still not easy.

“Easy” was never the goal.

It’s a Journey, not a Destination

Every fitness goal achieved come with a deep sense of accomplishment. Which is not the same as feeling like I’ve “arrived”. There is almost more to achieve. While I focus on reaching milestones, I learned to enjoy the journal.

The destination is merely another level, that leads to a curve in the road and another challenge to conquer.

Support is Crucial

Surrounding myself with supportive people has been extremely beneficial. Alienate yourself from detractors and negative people.

Some days I couldn’t have done it without great friends and family cheering me on!

It all Depends on You

Yes, this seems contradictory to the Support point. While support is vital, your success is 100% dependent on you – your attitude, your drive, and your efforts.

It’s all on you!

– DJ

So What. Now What?

so-what-now-whatDriving into work last week I heard this quote from one of the local college football coaches.

So What. Now What?

Seems like a fitting phrase for many aspects of life – personal, professional, political. Life throws us curve balls (yes, I switched sports analogies). Things don’t always go as planned. More accurately, things rarely go as planned.

It’s not what happened (whether recent or past). It’s about what we do next that will determine our success.

Easy to say. Not always easy to do.

The past can only hold you back if you’re still clinging to it.

Happiness

Happiness.pngHappiness is a choice. That’s a difficult concept to embrace when struggling to find it. It’s not a destination, though, but a state-of-being achievement along the journey. Some people seem to be blessed with a natural disposition for happiness. Others have to work at it. Levels of happiness ebb and flow even throughout a single day.

While psychology says we shouldn’t let other people determine our happiness, it sure seems like they can bring it down at times. Contrarily, we have the opportunity to make someone’s day. A simple act often brings more happiness than we realize – a smile, an encouraging word, a kind gesture.

I’ve recent started following Skip Prichard. I quite enjoy the topics and insights he shares. This article gives scientifically proven methods for achieving great happiness.

http://www.skipprichard.com/10-science-backed-ways-to-be-happier-right-now/

Skip, thanks for sharing. I hope you don’t mind me passing along this great article.

3 Apps to Keep You Motivated

Motivation appsSix months ago I decided it was time. Time to get serious. Time to stop making excuses and start making real change. Time to get in shape! Yeah, that’s what everyone says in January, right!? Most people want better health, more energy and to feel a sense of accomplishment. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with it for six months now. I’ve lost 25 pounds, built muscle and increased my overall stamina.

My focus has primarily been strength training with some cardio. And, for most of the time I’ve done a pretty good job eating a healthy diet.

It hasn’t been easy, but there are a few key factors that have contributed to successfully keeping me motivated.

Having a workout buddy has been crucial. Rain or shine he picks me up at 6:15 am to head to the gym. Thursdays he’s quite chipper as those are dedicated “Shoulders day” for us. For the record, I hate shoulders day. #Ihateshouldersday

Technology has been my other secret weapon to staying consistent with both daily workouts and healthy eating. While there are countless apps available I’ve found three apps especially beneficial for staying motivated. All three apps have a free versions and are available for Android and iOS.

Make My Plate#3 Make My Plate

This beta app provides detailed meal planning, recipes, and shopping lists. Simply input the daily calories you’re targeting – including macros, and the app creates three meals, plus two snacks daily. Even if you don’t follow it religiously the app gives plenty of meal ideas, so you don’t get stuck eating plain chicken and broccoli every day.

One of my favorite features is the Restaurants sections. Make My Plate gives you suggestions and nutritional information for forty national fast food, fast casual and full-service restaurants. A perfect resource for when you’re on-the-go.

 #2 BodySpacebodyspace1-675x449.png

This app is an extension of the BodyBuilding.com website with articles, exercise tips and a supplement store. The app allowed me to pick a workout routine based on my fitness goals. It gives me a daily plan with detailed exercises including videos to ensure you use proper form while lifting to guarantee maximum results. From novice to pro that app has all the workout routines and advice you need.

#1 My Fitness Palmy_fitness_pal_logo

Now owned by Under Armour, this is my #1 app for keeping a daily food log of everything I eat. Helps me ensure I’m getting a high amount of protein, while keeping fats down and managing carbs effectively. I enter my weight on a weekly basis to visually see my progress. Yes, I even enter the cheat day calories so I know how much I’ve got to work off the next morning.

Motivational blog articles and recipes can also be found in the app. And of course, a link to buy Under Armour gear.

MyFitnessPal syncs with my FitBit to track my steps and approximate calories burned, adjusting my daily calorie intake from food. It’s pretty slick! I don’t track my workouts here, but the functionality exists.

Here’s the next six months of success!

DJ

 

How are you using technology to keep you motivated?

Learning from being a Dad

ID-100218845Being a Dad is the most challenging and gratifying part of my life. It’s a role that requires me to constantly be learning and improving. The lessons learned as a father directly impact many other areas of my life, including being a more effective leader.

As a Dad…

You adapt to different personalities

No two kids are alike. In fact, all four of my kids are unique in their likes, desires, motivations, stresses, hobbies, and more. To be effective I have to adapt in the way I interact, encourage and occasionally chastise. A strong correlation exists between my ability to adapt to each personality and how well we connect with each other.

You make the best with what you have

Almost all Dads deal with limited means – time, money and resources. Waiting until there is a surplus of these things simply isn’t an option. So you get creative, become innovative, develop patience and just find ways to make it work.

You invest in the people

Giving my kids attention is far more valuable to them than giving them money – although my two teenagers may argue this point. In the end it’s not the house, the car, or the yard that matter. It’s the people. When you invest in people, relationships flourish, expectations are exceeded and individuals accomplish far more than you ever expected.

You have to laugh

A sense of humor might be one of the single most important characteristics a Dad can have. If you’re not careful the seriousness, stresses and pressures of life will weigh you down. Sometimes you just have to laugh it off.

You laugh to lighten the mood.

You make others laugh to brighten their day.

Sometimes you laugh to keep from crying.

-DJ

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Here’s the my amazing family!

Top photo cred