Keep Pedaling

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As I was on my morning bike ride, I came across this sign. I’ve seen it thousands of times during my lifetime, but today it was speaking to my heart. As I was training for my next triathlon, I was praying about getting through a current rough patch of life. Nothing serious, but aggravating none the less.

As I saw this sign God reminded me that any trouble we experience has a limited lifespan. In short, it will eventually end. Like the road project in your city that may seem like it will never end, it will eventually end. The question God asked me within my heart was this “What will you do during that portion of “Road Work”? “Complain, Doubt, Quit? Or will you keep pedaling”?

I answered that I would keep pedaling because it would eventually end, and I want to enter the “Good Section” of road right on time and not a minute behind. No matter what you are going through today, Keep Pedaling. Happy 4th everyone.

Keep Paddling!!!

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Sometimes life can become challenging! Sometimes things just come up without little or no notice at all. Sometimes life can be like a White Water Rafting Trip!

Many years ago I joined several other men on a trip to attend a Promise Keepers event in Indianapolis Indiana. On the way, we stopped in Tennessee to go White Water Rafting on the Ocoee River. I had never been before and like everyone else I was excited about doing something adventurous with some of my best friends.

The River Guide told us everything we needed to know before we entered the water. He explained how we would sit on the raft and he even gave us a detail of each section or the river and more importantly the rapids we would face together.

OcoeeMapRapids named ….Broken Nose, Flipper and Tablesaw easily cause your imagination to start seeing scenes from some Hollywood movie of people being tossed into a raging river!

The map showed all the rapids in succession, with the worst rapid at the very end. That rapid was called “Hell’s Hole”. Our guide made that one seem like some people didn’t make it out on his last trip down. Believe me he had our attention as he trained and entertained us.

The one thing I really remember that he kept saying again and again was “Whatever you do, Keep Paddling!” “When the water gets rough, don’t stop paddling or we will get sucked into the rapid and we could get turned over.”

I can still hear him saying those words even now.

If life can be like a river, where calm water can quickly become a rough series of rapids, then maybe we need to navigate life like we would navigate a challenging river? Just like that journey on the Ocoee River, when things start to get rough, that’s probably the time to paddle harder and it’s definitely the time to Keep Paddling Through. Sadly we have all seen someone who quit paddling along the way of life. The succession of rapids eventually caused them to quit and just accept was happening to them. Their stories can range from a failed marriage, a failed business to a dream career path that was eventually given up on.

I have heard it said that “Life can happen to us or we can happen to life, That you can ride the waves or the waves can ride you.” 

At the Ocoee River they name their rapids with names that describe the experience of going through them. What are the rapids we encounter on the river of life and how can do more than survive them, how can we paddle through them and master them?

  • Rapids of Delay. This set of rapids just tries to make you think it is never ever going to happen. You were hoping that the house would sell in 90 days, but now it has been two years. Will you give up on selling your current home and building that dream home one day, or will you keep the dream alive? It could be that you are dreaming of having a child one day and it’s now been 10 years with no signs of hope. Will you keep the dream alive despite the delay? Ask yourself if it’s worth it, if it’s worth the delay and if it is worth it then you must Keep Paddling despite the delay.
  • Rapids of Detour. This set of rapids takes you in a direction that you did not want to go. You were set on a career in sports but an injury ended that path and started a brand new one. You had a desire for something in life, but you were moved in another direction that seems to be taking you away from your dream, not towards it! Detours happen and they ultimately are either God’s hand directing us to a new dream that were not aware of yet, or they are a test on the way to the original dream. Either way, the best way to move forward and away from the point of the detour is to Keep Paddling. Who knows, your detour today may be saving you from a really bad decision but at the same time it actually delivers you to the dream you originally had in the first place. Just because you don’t get the dream today, doesn’t mean that you will not get it tomorrow.
  • Rapids of Discouragement. These rapids just try to wear you down over time. To get through these rapids we need to remind ourselves that they will not last forever. If we Keep Paddling, they will eventually end and the water will become like glass once again. We also need others to help us fight through and master these rapids. Like my trip on the Ocoee River, you can not go down the river alone. Like that trip, there are times that you can’t paddle and you will need someone to paddle for you. Likewise, you will need to paddle when someone else just can’t. The way we get through the Rapids of Discouragement, is to Keep Paddling and Keep Paddling With Others!

Keep Paddling

Coach Don

What if you knew that………..

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What if you knew that….

  • Your best job or a new promotion was just around the corner.
  • You were finally going to be able to lose weight and get into better shape.
  • The breakthrough you have prayed for has already begun and you are about to see it take place.
  • Your about to experience joy so deep that its actually going to make you laugh out loud.
  • Your about to receive a sum money that you were never expecting or counting on.
  • You are about to find your one true love after searching for many years.

Its amazing how much time we spend imagining what will go wrong in our lives instead of what will go right. Just Imagine if we spent the same amount time imagining what will go “Right” as we do on what will go wrong. The Bible talks a lot about our thoughts and words and how they either lead us into life or death. Into the life we want to live or into the death or destruction of the life we are meant to live.

If you could imagine your future into existence what would you choose to imagine? 

Here are three things you should do to change your thinking to think about the right things.

  1. Read the Bible. God’s word is full of what God thinks about you and your future. Just read Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. God thinks great thoughts about you and you can read them everyday.
  2. Write it down. Take 10 minutes today and write down all the wonderful things you would like to become or do. Have a positive goal sheet and revisit it often. While it doesn’t mean everything on it will become reality, it does mean that your life will be heading into the right direction. Write it down and revisit it often. Make changes as goals and dreams change over time.
  3. Talk to yourself. What are you currently saying to yourself? Is it something that you would say to your best friend or to someone you really believe in and admire? You need to be your own greatest cheerleader! Do you know how you can overcome a negative thought that you can’t stop thinking about? Talk out loud to yourself! Your tongue will overrule your mind every single time. Even if it takes several times you can win this battle when you speak positive life giving words to yourself. Your mind has to listen when you speak!

Choose today to start thinking great and mighty thoughts about yourself. God does, and He is always right!

Coach Don

Patience! A powerful key to real success

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In life we often look for the keys that will ultimately help us to succeed. Sometimes they are hidden and sometimes they are right before us in plain view. Things like….

  • Commitment
  • Desire
  • Consistency
  • Hard Work
  • Integrity
  • Humility

These stand out as needful and being necessary components if we are going to develop a life that is meaningful and successful. While there is no one that is perfect in obtaining all of these  virtues listed above, they clearly should be the targets we are all shooting for.

While the list stands out as items we should all work on, there are also a few that get overlooked. Many times they get overlooked simply because they don’t give us the same feeling as words like Passion, Drive and Commitment.

One of those overlooked and sometimes hidden keys is Patience. See, even now, as I even say it, it does not bring a feeling of being a true building block to providing me the ability to slay dragons and conquer worlds. While we all know that everyone really needs to work on being more patient, It may not be clear as to how patience is really a key to success?

First let’s look at what Patience really means. Patience is best described as the ability to remain calm and not become annoyed when dealing with problems or with difficult people. It can also be described as an ability to wait on something a long time without losing your cool and becoming upset.

Three reasons patience is a key to victory in life.

  1. Learning patience and becoming more patient makes us better people. We do all kinds of things to improve ourselves and make our life better. We work out, we read great books, we learn new skills and all of that helps us to develop into a better person. Did you ever think of learning to be patient as something that would greatly change your own life? In James 1:4 it states But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  What is it that happens when someone grows in the gift of patience? They become more like the one who created it in the first place, they become more like God. Can you imagine lacking nothing!  
  2. Learning patience increases your level of commitment. The world is full of people that can stay committed to something worthwhile for a few days. Growing in patience increases your ability to stay committed longer. While there are times no one should “Patiently Endure” something, there are a lot more times when a little more patience with a person or process would have yielded more desirable results than just bailing out.
  3. Learning Patience is really the key to longterm success. Many times we feel that difficult situations become more than we can bear or carry. God promises that he will never give us more than we can bear with his help. So that means in most cases when it comes to overcoming in life “It’s not about the Weight, it’s about the WAIT!  Just ask yourself this question? How many people ultimately succeeded in life because they simply would not quit. Think of people like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and even C.S. Lewis. Each of them had a journey that was difficult but not impossible. They simply had what I like to call “Active Waiting.” The journey to eventual success was not too heavy for them to lift, but they had to have patience. It took a long time to get there. Every great journey is going to try your patience and when you succeed, you will find that your patience has actually grown more simply because it had to. Most great mountains are not conquered by the strong, but rather by the patient.

If Patience is a real key to success, then the question has to be this. How does one actually obtain and grow in the gift of patience?

  • Submit your life to God. One of the nine fruits of the Spirit is Patience. Our ability to be patient comes from God Himself.
  • View things from another person’s point of view. You will have more patience for people when you take this view.
  • Work to eliminate hurry from your life. Jesus was busy but he was never in a hurry. Many times our lack of patience comes from the busyness of our generation. Take time to think of nothing at all.
  • Allow Trials to be your Teachers! In Romans 5:3, The Message, the passage states– “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”

May we all grow in Patience

Coach Don

How to pick your battles? The real secret to setting and achieving goals!

 

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Over time I have discovered that setting and achieving goals is not a to do list, but rather a personal decision to enter into a battle. That’s right, I said battle. Most of the times those battles I am talking about are solely with myself and my own will, but there are times it involves others or outside obstacles.

Today, if you have things in your life that you want to change, you will have to decide between doing something or doing nothing. That decision alone will be your very first battle on the way to your victory.

If setting and achieving goals is like going to war or entering a battle, then the question we must all ask is “How do I choose my battles or how do I plan my attack? Here are some points to consider in helping you to decide what you should attack first. I call it the LAP Method.

LIST

List everything that you want or need to do.  Your battle plan has to begin as a list and for some people the courage to even write the list is the very first battle. Think of this list as your “Declaration of Independence” or your “Articles of War.” Research consistently proves over and over again that those who write their goals down have a much greater chance of achieving them.

ASK

Ask great questions. Every great General will ask lots of questions before they enter into a battle. Once you have declared your goals you will need to ask questions to develop your battle plan. Here are just a few questions you should ask…

  • Are your goals achievable? Simple question to ask yourself to make sure they are really achievable. No one goes to battle without first counting the cost and making sure they can win. Fighting for your marriage or life is different from trying to become the center for the Orlando Magic. Some battles you are going to engage in no matter what the outcome is.
  • Is there one goal or “Battle” you must choose first? “Sometimes it’s not about you choosing the battle simply because the battle is choosing you.” Is there a battle that you must fight first before you can engage in other campaigns? I remember when I was trying to get hired a State Trooper and the only thing blocking me was my weight. I had to lose several pounds or I was not going to get hired. That goal easily became my first battle.
  • Which goal are you most passionate about? Sometimes it is easy to pick your first battle because there is one clear objective that matters most. You might think it would be fun to travel or learn a new language, but if your heart burns for starting a ministry for homeless people then you can easily choose your first battle. You will always battle harder and longer for something that you really want and desire.
  • Are there any similarities in any of your goals? Look to see if you can group any into a common category. If you want to lose weight, start an exercise program, then you can move them all into one campaign titled “Getting Healthy”. After you have put them into groups you will need to ask yourself which group is most important? Once you know that answer then you will need to develop your battle plan.
  • Are there any “Hidden Snipers”? It could be the food in your refrigerator or the late night show you watch every night that keeps you from being able to get up early to write or train. No matter what it is, it just keeps causing you to fail. If there are any, get rid of them and eliminate them!

PLAN & PROCEED

Start with a plan and then start your plan. Once you have a list of what is most important, whether that is one single goal or a category, it’s time to think like a General. It’s time to look at the objective and make a plan of attack and then it’s time to attack. Here are three keys on how to make a plan that will move you forward.

  1. Start with the easiest objective first. If your goal is to get healthy and run a marathon then you should maybe start with just buying your running shoes. Win the border battles before you try to attack the center of the city.
  2. Measure your progress. General’s have maps to track the progress of any battle. You see them on almost every movie that involves a war. You should make your own map so that you can map your progress and see the results as they happen.
  3. Move from strength to strength. Win one city and then win the next. Break your goals into smaller goals that you can win and secure.
  4. Celebrate every step of success. It is important that you stay in the battle for what you want. Celebration is a big key to keeping yourself motivated.

If you know it’s time to go to war and start taking territory that belongs to your dreams and destiny, I encourage you to begin with your own list, your own declaration of war. Go ahead and make the choice and watch what God can do when you get fully committed to moving forward.

Blessings,

Coach Don Newman

The 365 Day Journey Begins Again!

Three years ago I made a decision to change my life by working on changing three specific areas in my life before I turned 50. I blogged during that year and named my blog 365to50. Since then I have repeated some of the principals I learned, but not the entire plan for an entire year. I just turned 52 last weekend and have decided that it is time to revisit the 365 Day Plan. It was a memorable journey and it changed the course of my life in several areas. One of the biggest areas was in the area of learning to become healthy through participating in Triathlons with my daughter Brittnee. We just completed our fifth event on Saturday.

Triathlon

Here are the areas that changed in my life by doing this for a full year before I turned 50.

  • I started competing in Triathlons with my daughter Brittnee. We just competed in our 5th Triathlon yesterday.
  • I finally got started on my first book. Although I didn’t finish it that year, I finally did start it. I am now over halfway with finishing it!
  • I started reading more books, great books that could change my life and make me a better person.
  • Most of all I learned the secret of having a full year to achieve life changing goals. There is a secret to making goals for one full year and I will be sharing some of the things I am learning from that process this year.

The 365 plan is simple but not easy. It is built around identifying the key areas you want o change in and spending a full year planning and tracking those changes. Because this principle is so powerful, I have decided to do it once again.  I also have decided to start blogging again while I am moving through this year. Since I am wanting to continue this blog, I am changing the name from 365to50 to 365toChange. It’s not about turning 50 anymore but now it’s about changing my life over the next year, one day at a time. I have a new saying for this year and for this journey.

“Change a day and you can change a year, Change a year and you can change your life”

Here is what I am planning to do in the next year before I turn 53 years old next September.

  1. I am going to finish my first book before the end of this year and start my second book by February 2016. My goal is to have one book published and my second manuscript finished before I turn 53 next September.
  2. Lose Weight! I am determined to not give up the fight to win this battle. My goal is to lose around 1 to 1.5 lbs per week over the next 365 days. That would move me from being 282 to being about 215lbs. This goal also includes goals for Healthy Eating, Regular Exercise and Better Sleeping Habits.
  3. Work on developing a new outlet for ministry that I feel called to develop. One where I would deepen my own ability to encourage and coach others as I define what this will look like and how it will function.
  4. Read and review 12 books that I find to be impactful and life changing. My goal is to share what I learn from them for anyone wanting to change their own life.
  5. Deepen my relationship with God! I am looking specifically to deepen my ability in Spirit led prayer. This month I am specifically praying for Law Enforcement Officers. As the year continues I want to grow in my ability to follow God’s leading in prayer.

While these are the 5 areas that I will be focused on during the next year, there are other areas I also plan to grow in over the next 365 days. Those areas include my Marriage, Career, Family and Finances. For this blog I will be sharing everything I learn as I continue this journey for the next 365 days. I encourage everyone to follow along and please provide feedback. Your feedback will not only help me but others that will be reading my blog.

NEXT WEEK: I will answer the question I most often hear from people that I am coaching for life change. The most often ask “I want to change a lot of things in my life, which ones do I work on first?”

Blessings,

Coach Don

A great reason to write and publish a book!

Have you ever considered the impact that your own writing or journaling would have upon your own family and your future generations? I often think about the impact of my own writing and the future impact of the book that I am working to complete now. in fact, while working on my book recently, I looked over at my young granddaughter and began to wonder. What will she think about my book when she’s older? Will she pass it to her grandchildren to read? Will future generations talk about what I have written the same way I love talking about my ancestors book?

The book my ancestor, Dr. Charles Wesley Pope, wrote is a family treasure that reminds me to keep pressing forward on my book. As I think about his book and its impact on me, I realize the books that each of us are writing will create eternal ripples destined to effect generations to come.

1. Our books and writings will let our future family know who we are through what we have written. Think of the people you have come to know only through the books or music they wrote.

2. Our books and writings will pass our faith and what we hold dear to those we will never meet in this lifetime. A book gives us the chance to pass the baton of our experience well beyond our years.

3. Our books and writings will inspire our grandchildren, and even great grandchildren, perhaps causing them to dream a little bigger. Some will even dream of being just like us, another author passing on their faith to the world and continued generations.

I encourage you to consider writing something and for you that are brave enough to take the challenge, I encourage you to write and publish your own book. What has God done for you or showed you that you really want your descendants to know about. You are the only one that can write it. Maybe your own book will be on the shelves of descendants all over the world. I know John Wesley’s is, what about yours?