MYST 115: Holiday Tips

It’s almost the holiday season here in the United States of America and that means food! Lots of food! And most will be decadently rich and calorie-laden. It is very common to add a few pounds during the holidays. However, that can be avoided. This episode will give a few simple tips to keep you focused and successful, and still allow you to enjoy yourself!

Delicious Pistachio Dessert
Delicious Pistachio Dessert

Photos via Pixabay.com by xBertrand1.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

MYST 100: Trevor’s Team

Finally! The time has come to actually help you directly, not just by creating these episodes!

Do you want to look like this?            Me, at 265 pou

Or would you rather look like this? 

 

 

MYST 98: GOYLA

I’m a nurse and we love our acronyms. Today we are talking about GOYLA and how GOYLA is one tool in your toolbox for weight loss. It may be the key to your success!

GOYLA! Right now!
GOYLA! Right now!

Photo via PickUpImage.com, by DesignCoCo.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All photos published on PickUpImage.com are licensed under Creative Commons Zero

MYST 93: Five Simple Steps

What if you could take just five simple steps and effortlessly lose up to 2.5 pounds a month? Without changing what you eat, logging your food, or increasing your activity? Would you give that a try?

Eat the right foods, but also eat the right amount!
Eat the right foods, but also eat the right amount!

Photo via PickUpImage.com

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All photos published on PickUpImage.com are licensed under Creative Commons Zero

MYST 87: What Did I Do Wrong?

Why are some people successful, and they remain so, while others reach their goals, only to slide back into defeat?

Is it avoidable?

This show will talk about what I did wrong in my weight loss journey. This story will be a familiar one for anyone who has had some measure of weight loss success, because it is very common.

Failure is not permanent. But neither is success. Success is a journey that requires constant attention.

You need to keep your hand on the rudder and the sails set properly!
You need to keep your hand on the rudder and the sails set properly!

Photo via Unsplash.com, by Patrick Fore.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero

MYST 84 Trevitorial: Diet or Exercise?

or photo-1422207175003-e5b7d45ceb7b  or Rainbow-Run-2014-018 Dave Maier

 

Which is it? Diet or Exercise?

When people hear that I once weighed 305 pounds (138kg) and was able to lose—and keep off—125 pounds (57Kg) I still get asked the same question:

“So? What’s your secret?”  As if there is a secret to successful weight loss!

I almost always get the same response to my reply: “Diet and exercise.” It is a little half-frown, a micro-step backwards, and then, “Ohhhhh.” As if that secret wasn’t good enough.

But that is it! Diet: in other words, eating the correct amount of calories and Exercise: moving more to burn more calories. Nothing else. But…there is more to it than that!

This show will focus on the three phases of weight loss, and how “diet and exercise” remains the foundation of successful weight loss even as how “D & E” habits become modified through each phase.

Nothing can stay the same and remain successful. Things always change, even how you lose weight.

And first, I want to thank one of my LoseIt friends, Mike Pfirrman. He posed a question in the LoseIt forum about this topic, and in crafting a response, I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever really addressed this specific topic. So, thank you, Mike! I hope that your question will eventually help many people, even beyond the world of LoseIt!

His question was “If weight loss happens in the kitchen, why am I reading than nine out of ten people who are formerly obese, regain all their weight over a 5 year period if they don’t exercise?”

His question actually addresses not “weight loss” but “weight maintenance”, which requires a different mindset. But I will get into that shortly.

The genesis of his question is that many people come to LoseIt as ask what exercises they need to perform in order to lose weight, and the stock answer is a variation on this: “Weight loss happens in the kitchen. Fitness happens in the gym. Focus on eating correctly, because you can’t out-exercise bad eating habits.”

And I stand by that answer. It is true. Mostly. In this show, I will dissect it more accurately, addressing each weight loss phase.

The first phase is “Early Loss.” Especially when a person has a lot of weight to lose (50 or more pounds) it is not uncommon that not only is the person overweight, but they are also under-active. And their lack of activity is partly due to low/no stamina, painful joints, shortness of breath or other weight-exacerbated conditions that already exist.

Could an overweight person focus on exercise only and lose weight? Certainly. Will they? Unlikely. If a person has been sedentary long enough combined with bad eating habits, becoming consistently active enough to promote significant weight loss is probably not a realistic goal. I will take myself as an example. When was 305 pounds, I struggled to slowly walk a quarter mile (400m) with my dog Ozzy. By the time I reached that point, I was short of breath to the point of being lightheaded. I had no stamina. Physically, I was all I could do to walk that short distance. If someone had told me, “Trevor, the only way to lose weight is to start a P90X routine” my response would have been, “Sure. Right after I eat this container of ice cream.”

No. In that “early loss” phase, we need to focus on something that is equally hard but within the realm of physical possibility. We need to focus on finding a correct diet. And by “diet”, I mean calorie budget. Personally, I do not subscribe to the idea that any one food, food group, or macronutrient is the source of all weight problems. I know that many people have strong beliefs about this. Some promote eating paleo, some promote low fat, some promote gluten free, some suggest no artificial sweeteners, some no processed carbs, some want meal replacement shakes, and so many others.

That isn’t me. I believe that total calories is the problem, and to fix that problem you need to change your total calories consumed. So, with that in mind, and with the help of LoseIt, I found a calorie budget that worked for me. I learned to eat the correct portions (oh, yes, “portion control” is a major component) by weighing and measuring my foods. I logged everything I ate, because how else do you really know what you’ve eaten. And I ate my budget.

And in the first phase of my losing, that worked. I started losing weight and at the same time, I started making portion control and logging a daily habit. I made it part of my routine life. I made it a new habit, a good habit. All because I was focusing on only one thing, day after day.

After the losses had progressed for a few months, I moved into “Continued Loss” phase. I had dropped from 305 to under 275 in about 3 months. It was a nice steady progression and I was about 20% towards my goal. But during that time, I still needed to walk my dog every day. I didn’t do anything special related to exercise. I just walked my dog, but by the time I reached this point, I had started walking longer distances. I was walking up to a mile, sometimes twice a day.

At this point in the weight loss journey, physical activity started to become easier. I started walking more, sometimes even without Ozzy. My losses continued to accumulate. My calorie budget would slowly drop with each logged loss (about 8 calories per pound) but I was still eating the full budget and still losing weight at a fast pace (around 2 pounds a week—I was still 95 pounds from my goal.) But it is during the “Continued Loss” phase that exercise first needs to be addressed.

Remember, as you lose weight, you need fewer calories for survival, which means your budget will drop. Oh, not much at first, but over those first three months, my daily budget had dropped by about 320 calories! That will continue to work for a while, but eventually, especially when you are close to goal, that “budget only” loss plan will give you a budget that is so low as to be unsustainable and unhealthy. The only way losses will continue is by increasing activity.

During the “Continued Loss” phase, you need to gradually increase your activity. This can be simply walking longer and longer distances (as I did) or adding different activities (bicycles, swimming, weight lifting, etc.) You still need to follow your budget, but these new activities will give your losses a bit of a boost because you are now burning even more calories. And when you are close to the goal, you will need to eat those exercise calories because your base budget might be nearing that “too low” zone (below your Basal Metabolic Rate).

Okay, so in “Early Loss”—the first 20-25%, you focus on changing your eating habits, and very slowly add gentle activities.

“Continued Loss” phase keeps the budget focus but brings more exercises to the plan, enhancing your losses and at the same time, building stamina, strength and physical confidence.

The last phase is what Mike was talking about. “Maintenance” is a different aspect of weight loss, and is where most people stumble and fail. If you have solely been using calorie restriction for weight loss, by the time you are at a normal BMI, your calorie budget will be low. Very low. Again, possibly at that unsustainable level. And to continue living on such a restricted budget–continue for the rest of your life, which is how long maintenance lasts—you will probably become one of those “nine of ten” that Mike mentioned.

But if you had successfully made the transition from primarily focusing on your budget to keeping to your budget while increasing your physical activity, you will probably be that one of ten. You will have discovered that sweet spot between activity and budget and when you find that, you are on the smooth ride for success.

That is what I was able to do. Through my losing phases, I increased my activity, which remained almost exclusively walking, to the point where walking 7 miles was nothing. One day (May 10, 2012) I walked over 42000 steps with a 44 pound (20Kg) backpack. That was 18.5 miles (29.6Km), in only 6.5 hours. Yes, I was tired, but not exhausted. I walked 18.5 miles when a year earlier, I couldn’t walk ¼ mile.

My maintenance continued successfully because I kept walking. When I was on the job at the hospital, I added 50-70 flights of stairs a day, to add to my activity. I still ate my budget, and logged all my foods, but now the focus was more on activity (because the food aspect had become a good habit.)

Oh, you noticed I said “my maintenance continued successfully…” using the past tense? Yes, that is correct. My maintenance period ended, and it ended for the same reason Mike’s “nine out of ten” failed. My activity came to a grinding halt. About a year ago, my knees failed to the point where walking any distance was incredibly painful. I was back to that ¼ mile limit, not because I was short of breath, but because my knees, both “bone on bone” would feel like small blast furnaces had been implanted under my knee caps. I could still—had to—walk at the clinical sites, but no stairs, ever. And I only tolerated the walking because I had a cane, strong anti-inflammatories during the day, and strong narcotic pain killers for after work.

And the weight came back. At my peak loss, I was down to 175, and for about 2 years I fluctuated between 175 and 185, which I considered my success zone. And then in the summer of 2014, that ended, and the weight began adding up. I’m now at 205, twenty pounds over the upper border of my success zone. All because I couldn’t drop my budget low enough, and enhanced by the fact that my walking was negligible.

Now that I am fully one month after knee replacements, I foresee a return to my success zone again. It will take until March or April 2016, but I will get back. I now know how to get there, and know what it takes to stay there.

If you are in any of the three phases of weight management, I hope these ideas are helpful. Leave a message in the show notes or use my Speakpipe message system to leave me a 90 second voice mail!

Some links (but not all) within these show notes may be Affiliate Links, meaning that I may receive a small commission when readers click on them and then purchase something. This does not increase your cost at all, but it does help me cover some of the cost associated with this podcast. Thanks!

Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

MYST 82 Trevitorial: How to Fail Faster and Easier

Six Essential Techniques to Guarantee Failure at Anything You Attempt!

Success? Sure, we all want success. Or at least we think we do. But so many people seem afraid of success that they self-sabotage their plans, which inevitably brings about the failure that so consumed their lives with worry.

If you are going to worry about failing, and think only how bad it will feel to not achieve your goals, I guess we need to make sure that you are able to achieve your absolute and abject failure as quickly and painlessly as possible. That way you will have more time to worry about your next doomed plan.

I’ll steal from David Letterman, counting backward from the least likely to bring catastrophic failure to the one that is sure to end your plans, but unlike Mr. Letterman, I was able to refine my list to the top six essential techniques.

Number 6 Set a Goal which is Too Aggressive or Based on Fantasy

People who embark on a weight loss journey often want to reach their goal as fast as possible, so they vow to eat only 500 calories a day until they lose their 150 pounds. Or they announce “I will only eat foods that begin with the letter X Y or Z.” Or “I will only eat food that is orange.” That will not work. Trying to lose that aggressively will give you rapid losses—for a few days—and then your feelings of starvation will creep up and urge you to “have just one piece of bread” and soon all your previously controlled dietary needs will crash upon you and you will regain everything that you lost, and then a few more pounds. And you will say to yourself: “See? I know it wouldn’t work.”

Maybe you have a physical goal: I will walk the Appalachian Trail, but I will be the first person to walk the entire 2160 miles backwards so that I can become famous! You’ll be famous. In your own mind, because before you get to the first camp shelter you will have fallen, hit your head on a rock and hopefully knocked some sense into you.  Or your Appalachian Trail goal could be a little more realistic: Hike the entire length but setting a new speed record (hiking it in less than 46 ½ days. Is that doable? Maybe. But I’ll explain more in…

Number 5 Skip the Legwork

So you want to hike the AT fast? If you don’t practice, hiking in all conditions, in all terrains, and have huge mental, physical and emotional stamina, you won’t succeed. You will burn out and fail. And you will realize that everyone who said “It can’t be done” was right all along.

Legwork is all the preparation needed for any endeavor. If you want to start a podcast, you should listen to many different shows for examples of what works and what doesn’t. Then find someone to help you learn the secrets. (Meron Bareket was my teacher with his Podcast Starter Kit.) Can you do it on whim, and completely alone. Yes, certainly. And iTunes has hundreds or thousands of shows where the creator made a couple shows and then quit. They worked themselves into failure.

If you want to lose weight, you actually need literal leg work—get off your butt and move! You can count all the calories you want, and eat all the gluten-free, GMO-free, fat-free food you want, but if you are not burning more calories than you eat—because you are moving more than you used to move—you will do nothing but fail at weight loss.

If your goal is to become CEO of your company and you currently work in the mail room, you need a plan on how to move up. It won’t just happen because you carry the mail to someone in a corner office. You can read all the self-help books you can find, you can combine The Secret with Think and Grow Rich and How to Win Friends and Influence People, but if you don’t actually implement any of those strategies, you might as well have simply continued to read your Spiderman comic books. (Maybe a magic spider will bite you and transform you!)

No, without a plan followed by action, you will certainly succeed in finding fast failure. This is very similar to…

Number 4 No Skin in the Game

Part of planning and preparing usually requires a buy-in. A commitment. You may need to take some classes to learn needed skills, which is a commitment of time and effort. And you still have no guarantee of succeeding even if you graduate at the top of your class!

If you want to create podcast, you will need some basic tools and while some are free, some have one time or recurring fees. A website host may want payment for twelve or more months up front. And you still need to build a website. Can you do that on your own? Maybe, if you have the skill to create a good website. But you may need to hire someone to do it for you.

Maybe your goal is to fund your retirement by winning the lottery. You need to buy the ticket first, and you know that almost certainly, you will not win. That money will be gone. Forever.

But you need to have emotional skin in the game, too. You need to be mentally ready for the project, and be prepared for the inevitable assault of negative thinking from friends, relatives, coworkers and yourself. When you make a commitment, you need to tell people about it so that you have some external accountability. And that can be risky and intimidating. I mean, what if you fail? Then that person, or those people, will know that you failed. That will crush you, right?

But you know the old saying “No pain, no gain?” It’s true. Having skin in the game increases your chances of success, but also shows you exactly how much you have to lose when that failure happens.  And when will that failure happen?

Number 3 Never Set a Deadline

This is a really powerful idea. You should give it a try.

Create a goal. Make some plans. But very carefully never commit yourself to a deadline. See, when you do that, you avoid absolute and definitive failure because you can always tell your accountability partners that you are “working on it.” And as long as you are still working on it, there is still a chance—however slim—that you will finish as planned.

Deadlines increase the pressure for you. That pressure can be destructive. We are all trying to have a less complicated life, trying to reduce our stress. Why purposely add self-imposed stress in the form of an artificial deadline? It seems to be counter-productive because we all know that focus and creativity stem from an inner calm, right?

And besides, if the project is based on your idea and goals, it should not matter if you reach your goal in a week or a year or a decade. It is all under your control. When you reach the finish line should not matter. Finishing is more important than meeting an artificial deadline, so why worry about it? It will happen when it happens.

Of course, the much greater likelihood is that without the stress that is induced by a deadline, you will stop working on your project and will never achieve the desired outcome. But that’s okay, with this technique you can still have a crushing defeat and still save face. You are “working on it.” But you could also…

Number 2 Let Someone Else Define Your Success

This is when you let someone—anyone—tell you what success looks like. Maybe you let magazines tell you what success should look like. You compare your body shape to that of the models in those magazines on sale at the grocery store checkouts (because we all know those photos are never photoshopped.) See? Now you know exactly how you must look to be successful in weight loss. Or you can go to your local gym and compare your outrageously absent washboard abs with that guy working on those free weights. You know, that guy who looks like he could bench press your car? Yes. He is showing you what you need to do to be successful.

When you sign up for a marathon, you can research to find the record times posted in the past. You can see who is running in the elite pack. You know that they will set the definition of success. And not only set it, but set it with an objective measurement: time!

If you are starting a blog or podcast, site visits and downloads are the measurement of success. Make sure you know who the leaders in your niche are, and how many people are on their email list and of course, make sure you know their monthly income. Those are objective data points that will help you know when you are successful, because if they can do it, everyone can, right?

When you let other people define your success, you are making it easy to move down the path to failure. So grab those magazines! Look at those models! And get working (but don’t set a deadline).

Or you could…

Number 1 Don’t Even Start

This is by far the easiest technique to guarantee not reaching your life’s goals, and making your dreams into your reality. It is the easiest and most efficient step to take to making your life so much simpler.

Just ignore your dreams. Live the life you have. It is easier. Safer. You will not lose anything. There is no risk. You will not lose face in front of family and friends. You will not miss any deadlines.

If you do not try, you cannot lose! It is the perfect “no lose” situation, and if you really want to make your life simpler and less stressful, just keep everything the way it is. Make “Living the Status Quo Life” your life’s motto.

You can achieve total failure before you even start. Now THAT is being efficient!

There we have it. My six essential techniques that you can immediately use, in every part of your life, to help you maximize the speed of your failure, thus giving you more time to try something else.

 

Of course, if you want to avoid failure, simply do the opposite!

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Some links (but not all) within these show notes may be Affiliate Links, meaning that I may receive a small commission when readers click on them and then purchase something. This does not increase your cost at all, but it does help me cover some of the cost associated with this podcast. Thanks!

Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

MYST 78 Listener Question: I’m Stuck!

We’ve all had it happen to us. We have a goal. It might be to lose 50 pounds, write a book, or start a podcast. We are full of energy, excitement and make steady–sometimes spectacular–progress.

And then suddenly, we get stuck!

No matter what we do, we are unable to move toward our goal. We might eve lose some of the successes that we created.

In the world of weight loss, that is called a “plateau”. Authors call it “writer’s block.” It’s real. It can be devastating and demoralizing.

And it happens to everyone.

Since it will happen to everyone at some point, we need to have a plan in place to deal with it, even to use it to help us rise to greater successes.

One of our Varsity Squad members, (and another LoseIt user, like me) Theresa, sent me an email asking for advice and help. Her question is directly related to her weight loss journey,  but my answer will apply to everyone who has been working long and hard toward an important goal.

Stop.

Take a breath.

Let your mind and body wander. Try to find some way of destressing. Go for a walk on the beach. Plant some flowers. Take your dog for a walk. Go bowling.

Photo by Benjamin Faust via StockSnap

Let your mind and body recharge, re-energize your motivation battery, and then return to your journey, renewed and ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

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As mentioned in this episode, LoseIt is my (as well as Varsity Squad members Theresa, Charles, Lace and Dan) recommended weight loss method. Get Lose It! Premium because it works.
Get Lose It!

Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

Some links (but not all) within these show notes may be Affiliate Links, meaning that I may receive a small commission when readers click on them and then purchase something. This does not increase your cost at all, but it does help me cover some of the cost associated with this podcast. Thanks!

MYST 75 Trevitorial: Become Your Best Self, Starting NOW!

So what does the title mean? Are you your best right now? How many listeners believe they are their best self, right now?

Let’s change the question: How many here believe they are better than they were a year ago? That’s a better question. But we still aren’t our best yet. Why?

Part of it is the fact that most people continue to improve, at least in some facets of their lives, almost until the end. So by a technical definition, you cannot be your best until you are no longer improving.

But that’s a technicality. Let’s agree than “Best” is an illusory concept, and that what we really mean is “Be All You Can Be”—no, that was taken by the US Army. How about “Become What You Want to Be.” I like that last one.

“Become What You Want to Be”.

What would it take for you to believe—no, more than believe, to KNOW—that you are your best?  In other words, what do you want to be? If you cannot honestly answer that question, then my work is done. It’s hard to become something if you don’t know what that something is.

Take a few seconds to visualize what your life would look like if you actually became the person you want to be.

What did you see? More importantly, how did that make you feel?

Let me tell you a quick story before we move into the actual work part of the “workshop.”

In 2005 I was unhappy. I had a position with an insurance company, performing a job that I didn’t really enjoy, one that seemed to be a quagmire of stagnation. I had no self-control. I ate too much. And I weighed in excess of 295 pounds. On a flight with my wife, I actually could not get the seat belt to latch across my belly. And I was too proud to ask for a seat-belt extension, so I flew unsecured. I was willing to risk my life due to my pride.

That’s okay. Someday, I will lose weight.

In 2006, I needed knee surgery due to obesity. I was told I needed to lose weight. I will. Someday.

In 2007, we adopted our little pug, Ozzy. It was difficult for me to walk him to the dog park, because it was three blocks away. I needed my inhaler to breather better. That’s okay. Someday.

But finally, I had my wakeup call. I was an ER nurse, and I cared for a patient who was my age, and my size, admitted for a heart attack. At the time, I was 45. I couldn’t walk the length of a hallway without breaking a sweat and a flight of stairs are nearly impossible. I could not work on the code team, because I couldn’t get up the stairs fast enough.

Suddenly, I realized that someday needed to become today, or I might next on that gurney. What had changed? I finally had a reason that made me act. That reason was fear, and while it is a negative motivator, it made me change.

On July 28, 2008, I asked my wife for help. With her help, we started to change our lives. We ate differently. We walked more. And we did that together.

On January 20, 2012, I weighed 199 pounds. I slowly dropped to a low of 180 pounds. As of today, I weigh 201 pounds.

Before and After with Subtitles

What happened? I got scared. But I made a decision. And I asked for help. And I never quit. I am becoming who I wanted to be.

Not everyone wants to, or needs to lose weight. But everyone has that thing, that one gleaming dream, that image of who they really are. You probably have it carefully stored in a box, hidden deep inside your spirit. Maybe you look at it in secret on occasion. And you probably all think, “Someday….someday” and then you carefully rewrap your dream and return it to storage.

We need some roadmaps. These are just like the maps you use when on vacation, but instead a roadmap for your life. When you go on vacation, you know where you are starting, and the destination, and also how the route you will take.

It is probably rare that people hop in their car and just drive somewhere. We want to know where we are going and when we will arrive. That’s just how it is.

This room is filled with people who have accomplished great things, achieved high levels of education. And I am confident that there are more than a couple in here who think, “But someday, I’ll become what or who I want to be.”

So….what path will you take to arrive at your “Better You?” Take a sheet of paper. Divide it into four quadrants. At the center of the page, write today’s date.

In the upper left quadrant, add the label “Lifetime”. In the upper right, “Three Years”. Lower left, “One Year”. Lower right, “Three Months.” Now here is your first short assignment.

Open that secret storeroom! Throw the doors wide open. For the next five minutes, don’t look at those dreams, goals, and aspiration and think “Someday” but instead just think “Yes!” Write down every goal, dream and hope you really, really want.

And yes, be unrealistic! Let your mind wander down paths that you thought were long overgrown. Write your goals—your descriptions of “Your Best You” in the quadrants that you believe to be the most accurate time frame.

Don’t judge. Don’t justify. Don’t list in order of importance or likelihood. Just write down all your dreams. How do you feel about what you wrote down?

Did anything that you wrote scare you? Did you write down something that made you feel a little queasy in your stomach or think “I’m crazy for even writing this?” Yes?  That is awesome! Anything that scares you is something to truly consider as being a worthy goal.

All right we now have a list of dreams and goals, our adult wish list to send to Santa. Excellent! You have the beginning of your life’s roadmap. You now can see what your “Better You” will look like, and will do. We know where you want to be, not “Someday”, but in 3 months, 1 year, 3 years. That’s wonderful!

But here is the next assignment. Which are the goals that need our greatest focus? Because as much as we want it all, we usually can’t do everything. Not all at once, at least.

Here is your second assignment. Look at the descriptions of your “Better You.” You know that you cannot tackle all of those goals. Rather than prioritizing each, which can sometimes be very difficult, let’s make it very simple.

In each quadrant, circle the one item that will have the greatest positive affect on your life. The goals you circle do not need to be related to each other. It’s hard to do many things. But we can always do that one thing. So, you have one minute to identify your top four Priorities. Go!

How do you feel right now? Scared? Empowered? Bold? I am asking you to put yourself out beyond where you live right now. That can be frightening. You never learned how to ride a two-wheeler by keeping the training wheels on, right?

Now for the next step. And this is the big one! Let’s tackle your “Game Changer!”

How many of you are Green Bay Packers (NFL football) fans? Good, me too! I live in Green Bay; it is a city law. Almost.

Remember the Packer’s “Game Changer” of last season? The Packers are in Miami, trailing by 4 points. They are on the 15 yard line with 30 seconds left in the game and no time outs. Aaron Rogers needs to spike the ball to stop the clock and give them a chance to plan their final plays. He steps up to the line and spikes it….but not really. Rookie Davante Adams runs down the sideline towards the goal line and Rodgers throws him a quick pass as he get pushed out of bounds at the 3 yard line, stopping the clock. On the next play, Aaron Rodgers throws a touchdown pass to the tight end Andrew Quarless to win the game.

That one play changed the outcome of that game. It was as if the first 59 and a half minutes didn’t exist. What is YOUR Game Changer?

Look at your four circled goals. Which of those will have the greatest and most immediate positive affect on your life, if it was already achieved RIGHT NOW? Take a second sheet and choose your Game Changer. If you are not sure which will have the greatest and most immediate positive affect, simply write the circled Three Month Goal in the center of the page.

What is the next step? This one will take more time. We cannot do it all here right now, but we can start. Knowing what you want is easy. Achieving it takes the right effort.

I wanted to lose a lot of weight. I did not focus on one hundred pounds (my initial ultimate goal.) I focused on my next meal. Then my next day. I looked at a series of small successes, which I was able to build into my final goal. You need to identify the steps that need to be taken to achieve each of these life goals. We need to be SMART as we do this.

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Achievable
  • R = Results Based
  • T = Time limited

When we create our action plan, we need to me as concrete as possible. If your one year goal is to “publish a cookbook”, your action step will not be “make progress every day.” That is not specific. Nor measurable. Nor results-based, or time limited. It is achievable, but that is only one piece of the puzzle.

No, instead I would list “Write 500 words a day, every morning before going to the office.” You’d be surprised how quickly you can write five hundred words when you set a goal like that.

For a more detailed discussion of SMART goals, listen to MYST episode 67 or http://makeyoursomedaytoday.com/Smart

What benchmarks need to be met to reach your goal? Start listing the first steps that you must do in order to start making progress toward your Game Changer. Be specific! This will take longer, and some steps will have substeps. We are actually creating a mind map for our goals. This will stretch your comfort zone a bit, but humor me. This works!

When you have all steps listed (and you may need to complete this at home) attach a due date to each so that you commit to completing this. My students need due dates, right? So do we.

Okay, we have done a lot today, and I know that you will finish this assignment. You chose to spend your free time here. You want to become your best self. You are motivated to work toward the goals you find important.  I believe in you. I know you can succeed!

On the MYST main web page will be the podcast logo and to the right of that logo you will see a box that reads “The Varsity Squad.” Click on it, and it will bring you to an application form. I only need your first name and email address. That will bring you up from Trevor’s Team to the Varsity Squad. When you do that, I will send you digital copies of the documents that we have been using, as well as an added SMART GOAL worksheet for personal or team use.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

Some links (but not all) within these show notes may be Affiliate Links, meaning that I may receive a small commission when readers click on them and then purchase something. This does not increase your cost at all, but it does help me cover some of the cost associated with this podcast. Thanks!

MYST 71 Trevitorial: Is Your Goal Achievable?

Paddling to nowhere w URL

The opening segment is from MYST 67 Trevitorial: Are Your Goals Dumb?

NPR and their podcast TED Radio Hour can be found here. The specific show that I referenced in this Trevitorial is from November 26, 2014, and it is entitled “To The Edge”. It–and all of the other episodes–are fascinating!

Challenging goals are important. Impossible goals are damaging to the person’s spirit. It is a fine balance, but it can be found.

As mentioned in this episode, LoseIt is my recommended weight loss method. Get Lose It! Premium because it works.
Get Lose It!

Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

Some links (but not all) within these show notes may be Affiliate Links, meaning that I may receive a small commission when readers click on them and then purchase something. This does not increase your cost at all, but it does help me cover some of the cost associated with this podcast. Thanks!