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.

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Diet Tip #2

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I now have lost over 41 pounds since I started my diet on Dec 14th. For me the Paleo, low carb way of eating has been the best thing I have ever discovered for losing weight. I believe I am converted to the Paleo way of life. I don’t miss bread, sugar, dairy or fast food.

There are all kinds of diets you can choose from, some healthy and some crazy. I am focusing some of these tips over the next few months on little things that I am learning in my own process. That brings me to tip #2

Diet Tip #2 Deny By Serving

Last week I had my sales team over for an annual dinner we have to celebrate this past year in sales. When I do these dinners I make sure that my team, which is fairly large, has plenty of food to eat. This year I had a caterer provide us with a great BBQ meal. On top of that we had a huge selection of cheeses and fruit to snack on before the meal. All together it was a wonderful meal for everyone but a potential trap for me. You see in the past I would really go overboard with the food while trying to be the best host possible. This year I found a secret to maintaining my discipline while at the same time being a great host.

The secret I found was this; Don’t choose to deny yourself, choose to serve others. Really, as hard as that may seem possible, the more I focused on others having a good time, the less I focused on me. In fact I served ribs to people and even poured wine for some, all the while not having any for myself. The whole night I only ate a chicken breast and some green beans with a small salad. I stayed right on my program  the entire night and felt fabulous the next morning when I woke up.

The next time you have or you’re at an event that you feel might cause you to stumble, choose to be the person that is serving everyone else. It’s amazing how it gives you a different perspective on everything and the power to say no to yourself.

Have a great weekend!

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.

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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

0to50: What I Learned From the This Past Year!

Today, as I awake to the reality that I am now 50 years old, I am reflecting on what I have really learned this last year. It was over a year ago, as I was getting ready to turn 49 years old, that I decided to have a year fully directed at changing my life in three areas.

The first area was to lose weight. I was almost 300 lbs when I turned 49. Today I am a very healthy 248!

The second goal was to write my first book. Last year I started with an undeveloped idea in my head. Today I have a book in the making as I have defined the characters, the timeline and most of the plot lines. My book idea is alive and growing every day!

The third and last area was to deepen my relationship with God. No doubt about it, this past year has brought me closer to God. While you can’t measure being close to God like you can losing weight or writing a book, there are key signs like hunger and dependency. I am more hungry for and dependant on God than ever before.

I am so thankful for the progress that I have made this last year in not just those three areas but other areas of my life. While I learned a lot from this last year, I think the main thing I learned was the power of living life on purpose. Here are some of those insights.

  1. Living life on purpose brings lifelong change. I have lived life on purpose, and I have also let life happen to me “as it may”, and now I see the difference between the two. I started last year with three goals in mind. Defining and setting those goals helped me to direct every decision that I made this last year. In essence, my life now has a road map, a compass, and a vehicle for movement. I have changed because I had a plan to change.
  2. Living life on purpose brings wisdom and understanding. I can look back and see that during this past year, I learned more about life and myself than any other year. Living on purpose brought that. Psalm 90:12 says it best: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I numbered 365 of them and it caused me to gain wisdom and understanding.
  3. Living life on purpose brings more purpose.  Living life on purpose last year has filled me with more purpose for this upcoming year. I don’t know exactly why getting control of your life fills you with more vision, but it does. I have a greater vision for my life today then I did when I started this 365 days ago. Purpose begets more purpose!

This is not the end of 365to50 but really the beginning. Next week I will post my new goals for the New Year! A very good friend of mine shared with me that today is Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of a new year according to God’s calendar. He called this “the year of open doors to new opportunities.” I believe that and I am ready to define and set my course for my next 365 days until! I encourage you to do the same and watch what happens when you live life on purpose. Meet me back here next week, and let’s do it together!

Taking Life In! Finding balance between living and growing.

As I get closer to the end of my 365to50 journey, I have learned so many life lessons. One of the biggest is that even when you are working on a great goal, you have to stop and take life in. The hardest thing hasn’t been the 40 mile bike rides or 6 a.m. swimming sessions, it has been finding that delicate balance between working for the future and living in the present. How do I share time between my goals of being in shape and becoming an author with family dinners? If we stop growing, we give up the person we are supposed to become, but we must be people who achieve their goals without losing what’s important.

Last week my wife Tracee and I joined our best friends, Jeff and Linda Welker, in Chicago for the wedding of their youngest daughter Kaleigh to her fiancee Bill. One thing that stood out to me as I watched the wedding was how each moment counted. Each individual moment in that evening would never happen again; they were, in a sense, eternal. The procession, the presenting of the bride, the vows, the toast, the special dance Jeff had with his daughter and the tossing of the bouquet. All these moments were once-in-a-lifetime. That’s why we pay photographers thousands of dollars to capture them—because we know they’ll never happen again.

So how do I find the balance between achieving my goals of losing weight and writing a book, and still making the most of every moment? Here is what I believe helps me keep my priorities while still becoming a skinny author who loves God.

1. Have long-term goals. When you are in such a hurry to get somewhere, you feel the pressure to cut out everything else except for that which takes you to your goal. I set my goals almost a year ago. This allowed me time to live regular life while making small steps toward my goals. Small steps really do matter! I didn’t have to exclude my family from my life so that I could go after my goals. I had long-term goals, and small steps allowed me to keep the balance between being a husband and father, while becoming a triathlete and an author. What are your long-term goals, and what are your small steps?

2. Be Present for the Eternal Moments of Life. What are the eternal moments of life? These are moments you would choose above achieving your goals if you only had one month to live. I would choose to laugh with my wife and family during dinner instead of writing a best-selling novel if I had 30 days to live, but I wouldn’t choose surfing facebook over writing my first book if I had only 30 days. Yesterday I came home from a hard day at work to find my family having a cannonball splash contest in the pool. Everyone wanted me to join. I had a lot to do and a bike ride planned, but I was in my swimsuit within 3 minutes and made the biggest and best cannonball splash of the evening. My granddaughter laughed at me as I became a kid again, jumping into a carefree pool full of water and eternal moments. Do you recognize eternal moments when they pop up?

3. Cut Out the Stuff That Does Not Matter. What are you giving your time to that doesn’t 1) produce eternal moments, or 2) lead to achieving the goals that God has for you? Come on, don’t hold back! Have you been on any extended lunches with other people who you wouldn’t spend the last 30 days of your life with? There’s nothing wrong with having lunch with friends, but what would happen if you only did that 2 days a week and spent the other 3 eating at your desk and working on your goals? Maybe you need to trade some of your television for reading, studying, writing, whatever. Are you willing to cut out or limit things you wouldn’t do if you only had 30 days to live?

You will only get one chance to live your life and achieve your goals. I love the picture above of Jeff dancing with his daughter Kaleigh. He got both things right. He had a goal that he had to achieve as a father and a provider, but he was also present and living in the moment.

The good news is that you, too, can have both! You can achieve your goals and grow into the person you are supposed to become. Leave me a comment below and let me know how you plan to do that this week!

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Six keys to weight loss and reaching your weight goal!

Since starting the 365to50 challenge I have lost almost 40 pounds. I had determined not to do any fad diets as I really wanted to take a full year to try and find what would help me not only lose the weight but also to keep it off. When I started this process I weighed around 298 lbs. Today I am around 260 lbs and I really feel that I will be near 220 lbs by my 50th birthday in September. Here are the 6 key things that have really helped me. They are simple steps to long term results. If you are looking to lose weight, I really hope one of them helps you on your journey!

1. Having a long term goal.  This really helped me tremendously as it took me awhile to get started. I never became discouraged because I still had a long time to accomplish my overall goal of losing weight and experiencing better health.

2. Tracking my calories on the “Lose it App“. Being able to see what I was eating and making the type of good choices that really count have made a huge difference. There is a big difference between a hamburger that is 400 calories and one that is 1200 calories!

3. Going to bed hungry. I was taught this saying by my friend Joe Christiano, “Go to be hungry and you will wake up lean”. This one thing, when I do it, makes an incredible difference. Remember you really lose weight at night!

4. Get a decent nights sleep. Back to what I said in last point, You lose weight at night. Some say sleeping is just as important as exercise and I would agree.

5. Find a type of exercise that you really enjoy. For me the key is bike ridding. I really love ridding my bike so I am more prone to do it. If your exercise is hated you will only do it long enough to lose a little weight. Find one that you like and challenge yourself with longer periods or harder workouts. For it to work you really need to like doing it just on its own.

6. Find someone to keep you accountable and to also encourage you. My daughter Brittnee is not only my daughter she is also my coach. She helps me to schedule my workouts and also helps me to eat right. I have an agreement with her if I don’t do what I have agreed to, that I will owe her $5. She calls it her Cancun Fund. I have Paid her about $45 so far. We started this because I would rather suffer the pain of $5 now rather than the pain of regret in September when I had missed my goal.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and please let me know how this blog or post is helping you in your journey!