Who Is Coaching You?


The weekend before last, I attended the Florida State vs. North Carolina State football game in Tallahassee. Being a huge FSU fan, I wanted to attend this game not as much for who we were playing, but for who we were honoring. This was the game that FSU had selected to honor legendary coach Bobby Bowden. Coach Bowden is recognized as the winningest coach in college football and the architect of Florida State’s current success. Growing up and playing football in North Florida, I have always admired Coach Bowden as a man of integrity. I never played football for Coach Bowden, but I consider him to be one of my coaches. How can someone whom I have only met a few times in my life be considered one of my coaches?

Unlike sports teams that might recruit or draft a player, we select the coaches that we want to be coached by. For this edition of 365to50, I want to talk about the importance of selecting a good coach.

First, what is coaching?

Coaching is “unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance.  It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”  “The art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another.”

Here are five things to do!

1. SELECT YOUR COACH:  Ask yourself this question right now: if you could select anyone to coach you in life, in marriage, or finances, who would it be? Who would you like to have in your living room once a week, or sitting across from you at a Starbucks for coffee. For me, I have at least 5 people I have selected as coaches. Always remember that even your best coach will have flaws, and at times they will let you down. Most likely, a complete change in character would eliminate them from your list, but remember that everyone is human and outside of Jesus, your #1 coach, all others will have flaws.

2. FIND THEIR VOICE: If they are living, it’s very easy to do this. You can find their voice so many different ways: from watching them on television to sitting down with them in person. Get their books, attend their meetings, listen to anything that they have recorded. You can even gather with other people who are being influenced by his or her teaching. If they have passed away you will need to acquire everything that you can, both recorded and in print.

3. ASK QUESTIONS: Start asking questions to uncover the secret that made them into the type of person you wanted to be coached by. I have had questions like, “If Charles Spurgeon was alive today and he could understand our current culture, what would he say about this?” It’s amazing how you can teach yourself and help the voices of the past coach you through questions. If the person you would like to coach you is still alive, ask them!

4. MAKE CHOICES: All the information is naught unless you actually take action! Make a plan, centered around your goals, that includes everything that you are learning and gaining from your time with your coaches.

5. PASS IT ON: If you grow and become who you are supposed to be, there will be people who will want you to coach them. Find others to whom you can pass on all the coaching secrets that were passed on to you. Write things down so that even the future generations will have somewhere to go to receive from your coaching.

Who coaches you? Or who do you coach? Comment below! Don’t forget to follow 365to50 on Facebook and me on Twitter at @DonLNewman.




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!

From last place to first place! Are you a “Silky Sullivan?”


Most people have never heard of Silky Sullivan. Silky Sullivan was a famous racehorse who was known for always coming from behind to win. One time he was 41 lengths behind and charged back to actually win the race. He was a very a popular horse and people loved to come and watch him make those charges from behind to win or at least place. We all like to watch an underdog come from behind to win. The reason is because we can all relate to feeling behind. We watch because when they come back, so do we, at least for the moment.

This past Sunday my daughter Brittnee and I competed in our third triathlon, held at Daytona Beach. My biggest goal was just to finish the event in under 2 hours. I finished my first triathlon last year in 2:35:45. To get under 2 hours I would have to stay very close to all of my goal times for each of the three events.Endless Summer Picture


The first event was an open water swim in the Atlantic Ocean. We were to swim 600 yards down the shoreline. I figured that I could do that in about 17 minutes, which would put me on course for coming in just under 2 hours. The swim was not anything like I had planned. It was the hardest swim I have ever had. I was so disappointed when I came out of the water and they gave me my current time of 28 minutes. I was 11 minutes behind and exhausted. I was way behind where I thought I would be at that point. If I was going to get in under 2 hours I would have to make up a lot of time. I had a decision to make!

“I made up my mind at that very moment that I would do everything possible to make up that lost time and still try to finish in under 2 hours”

After I had finished my swim, I hurried into the transition area. I quickly got on my bike and headed out. I didn’t go crazy, I just did a little bit more than I usually do. When I got off the bike, I ran down the beach, again just lengthening my stride a little here and a little there. All of the little things made a huge difference. They all added up to me finishing in 1:57:21. I had hit my goal despite being behind after the swim. Not only did I come in under 2 hours, I also placed 2nd in my division. What an incredible feeling it was to have come from behind to hit my goal and get a medal.

To come from last to first you need to EAT!

  •  EFFORT! To come from behind and make up for lost time you will have to do a little bit more than you would normally do. But, its just a little bit! Just add 15 minutes to something you are already doing and you have added over 90 hours in a year!
  • ATTITUDE! You have to want to win! There has to be a desire that is in you that says “I can come from behind and still win this thing.” Even if just beating your best time or effort. “Improvement is always a win!”
  • TENACITY! Here is true saying! “Sometimes you have to survive today so you can win tomorrow.” That means you don’t quit when you’re behind.  You tell yourself “I will hang in here, even in last place, because I won’t be in last place at the Finish Line!”



Three keys to become successful in life now!

I didn’t get the chance to post on blog earlier this week as I am preparing for my next Triathlon to be held next Sunday, July 14th, in Daytona Beach. I am getting closer and closer to my 50th birthday and with each day I learn more about change. Here are a few things I have learned.

  1. Legacy! How your descendants can make you become successful now! You need to think about your legacy now. What do you want your great grand children to say about you. You need to think about it now because they will talk about you one day. What do you want them to say? DO you want them to say “My Great Grandmother was a great woman of prayer” or “My Great Grandfather told the most amazing stories and he wrote them down for everyone to read. Thinking of your legacy now will make you live a successful life because no one wants their descendants to not value their ancestors.
  2. Accountability! How doing anything to make you follow through will help you become successful. I would like to know that I could do this on my own. I mean, lose weight, write a book and grow closer to God, but I need help. I need help and you need help. Write down what you want to do this year or before next Summer. Then I want you to go to whoever you trust and ask them to help you. Give them the right to coach you and even correct you when you get off track. My daughter Brittnee has told me not to eat something so many times I have lost count. She has a way of making me feel guilty when I have not done what I was supposed to do. While it is not fun, it has worked. I have lost almost 50 lbs and I am getting ready to run my third triathlon. While I am behind where I wanted to be with my book, I am miles ahead of where I would have been with no help. If you want to change and become successful, you’re going to need help. Ask for it and let it work for you a more successful future.
  3. Sowing good seed! We will always reap what we sow! I can tell you hands down that the most successful people I know are always sowing into someone else life. Whether it is encouragement or love or finances or even wisdom, they are giving their best for others and it is coming back. Zig Ziglar always said ” You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want”. I agree with that phrase and if you will work to help others you will not be able to stop success from coming to you. Give and it shall be given to you!

Try to do these three things this week and watch what happens to your life.

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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God’s Stop Sign: Two Ways to Stop Worry and Negative Thoughts!

Question! Have you recently had to battle negative or discouraging thoughts in your mind?

Live Periscope event coming in late March or early April of 2016. Read at the bottom of this article for details.

If you have, you’re not alone. Recently and in the past, I have had a few battles with negative thoughts of my own. Many times these thoughts come out of nowhere. You may know the kind of thoughts that I am talking about. Those thoughts that begin as you look at a problem or issue and before long you’re on the road of fear or worry. The thoughts begin with one single thought and then as your mind begins to turn it over, you begin to lose altitude, you begin to lose your joy. It something how your thoughts can go from being random to being filled with seeds of worry and fear. You may even find yourself beginning to get angry at someone, maybe even God Himself. Many times if these thoughts go unchecked, you will find yourself later in a pit of negativity that can quickly drain your soul of hope, life and energy. The question is, how do we stop those thoughts before they become an attitude or a mindset? How do we replace them with positive life giving thoughts?



A few years back I was riding my bicycle on one of my longer rides. During that ride, I was having my own battle with my inner thought life. I can’t remember how it started, but before long I was in full-blown worry. It seemed the longer I rode, the more I was worrying about a situation that now I can no longer even remember. What is so crazy about worry is that probably 99% of what we worry about never comes to pass. It’s like paying interest on a loan we never take out. Well as I battling those negative thoughts that I can no longer remember I came up to the intersection pictured below.



When you look at the picture what do you see? While the stop sign really sticks out, I want to take you through the progression of what I saw and how it taught me two things that would help me overcome the negative thoughts I was having.

First key: I could see that the road ended straight ahead. It was obvious that all the signs were there to keep me from continuing my current journey. If I would have kept going straight, I would have hit a tree or a stump, in short I would have been hurt. I needed to STOP!

 It doesn’t matter how you got on the road of negative thoughts, it just matters that you get off and get off as quickly as possible.”

Second Key: In order to actually get off the road of negative thoughts, you have to slow them down before you can totally stop and replace them. It is almost impossible to shift negative thinking in an instant. If you try to do that you may find yourself in a endless inner battle of trying not to think at all, which you will lose at every time. It will take time!


How to Stop!


I stop them by talking out loud to myself. Not just any kind of talk, but talk that is in the direction that I want to turn my thinking toward. Self-talk that is almost always completely contrary to what I am currently thinking. I may quote a truth from the Bible or just say the opposite of what is being said in my mind. Sometimes I even have to lecture myself.

Why do I do this? I do this because I win the battle of my thoughts, not with other thoughts, but with spoken words. My mind can’t think when my voice is speaking, it has to listen. Great spoken words are the brakes to endless negative thinking.

Words override thoughts every time! Try it the next time your battling a thought that is taking you down the road of worry and doubt. Find a promise or scripture in God’s word and speak it out loud to yourself. While the worry may not go completely away, the endless thoughts that were feeding it will be hard to find while you are talking.

How to Turn!


I begin new positive thoughts by choosing which direction to go. Look at the picture above. Turning to the left represented my positive past: those memories and reflections of past wonderful things that God had blessed my life with. Turning to the right represented my hopeful future, or things that I could look forward to and even dream about as a child of God. It was my choice! I could go left or right, but in terms of turning my thoughts, both ways would give me better thoughts to think on then the ones I was battling.

I literally chose left and with that I began to shift my thinking to a time where I could remember some huge victories that God brought in my life. I also found myself thinking of a wonderful vacation that I had that same year with my family. Then, I actually found myself not struggling with the worry that I had dealt with earlier, I actually started to smile. A smile is nothing more that just a stream of good and wonderful thoughts that have found a way to sneak outside!

All of us will have to deal with problems and issues where we need to think about it and work through it. It is important that we see the difference between sorting through an issue for a solution and choosing to just worry. Learn the difference and when your thoughts are getting out of control, learn how to stop them and replace them by things that are better to think about.

I love what God has said in his word about our thoughts. One of my favorite scriptures is taken from Philippians 4: 8-9: It really sums everything up.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

If you are battling a negative thought life, I want you to know that you can do this! You can break the cycle with God’s help! Please feel free to message me or post a comment if you would like for me to pray for you. I look forward to hearing your comments and praying for you as you overcome and win the battle!


Coach Don.

I will be doing a live Periscope event during the month of late March or early April on this very subject of how you overcome negative thinking. If you have periscope app on your computer or phone and can follow me for that event, I would love to know. Please email me a comment if you would like to know the date of that event and how to follow me. Please leave your email address so I can email you directly.


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!