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.

Father’s Day! Neck Ties and Tea Cups

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This weekend we will once again honor our fathers on Fathers Day. Like many of you, I will hear expressions of love from my own children, while also reaching out to my own dad. It is a wonderful day full of love and admiration.

Recently, as I was getting dressed for a wedding and working on a new necktie I bought for the occasion, I had this thought about neckties. Some people believe neckties were created to torture modern man (and I tend to agree with that as well). I also had this thought: perhaps God created neckties. Not to torture everyone who doesn’t want to wear a tie, but rather to be a rite of passage between a father and a son. I still remember my dad teaching me how to tie my first necktie, as well as the first time that I taught my son. A lot can go on while a father teaches his son how to dress up and look his best.

It really is more than just learning how to tie a knot; it’s about becoming something. Just like a necktie, I believe God may have created little tea cups to help fathers develop a rite of passage with their daughters. As they are drawn to the floor to sip imaginary tea with their princess, they are teaching much more than just how to hold a tea cup. They are conveying a thousand meaningful messages without even knowing it. In these moments, children are more than just taught—they are truly being fathered.

Fathering is more than just bringing about the conception of a child. It’s really about teaching the child to know who they are and who they can become. Each one of these moments holds a special time in which worth, love and value are transferred from father to child.

The heart of fathering truly comes from the idea and desire that life should continue beyond our own lives. To have your name or your character live on through the lives of your Children is the desire of every father, including our Heavenly Father.

Like neckties and tea cups, our Father God also creates things in our life that require his involvement and time. Each time we interact with God in regards to our life, our job or our marriage, he is not only teaching us how to do it, he is teaching us who we are and who we can become.

As I work with authors that are fathers, I encourage them to write for their children, both natural and spiritual. I do this because I believe every great message of influence begins with a simple desire to influence those whom God has given us to father. It just happens that sometimes those messages are also meant for thousands of others who are just like the children you love and lead.

On this special weekend, as we celebrate Fathers Day, I would like to wish every father a very special day. May God touch you and minister to you in a very personal and meaningful way. I pray that no matter what your past experience has been as a father, you will experience the joy and significance of being the kind of father who parents many into their future destiny.

I would also like to pray for everyone who has lost a father, or never known what it was like to have a father in the first place. It’s not a cliché to say that God is a “father to the fatherless”; it is his actual word and promise. While He may not teach you how to tie a necktie or how to sip tea like a princess, he will teach you much, much more. He will show you how special you really are, and will become the father you may have never had. In him you will find more then you ever may have lost. He is not a substitute—he is the original father of us all.

Happy Fathers Day!

Article originally written for Xulon Press Publishing Company.

Diet Tip #1

 

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I have now lost over 36 pounds since I started my diet on Dec 14th. I started this journey at 286 pounds and now I am approaching 249 pounds. This is the most successful I have ever been on getting a hold on being healthy and losing weight. I am learning a lot about obtaining real victory in this area of my life. It’s been a battle I have fought for years! I will be sharing some things I am learning from my experience over the next few months as I head to my goal of being 205 pounds.

Tip #1

Quit trying to start when it’s most convenient

I started my journey two weeks before Christmas on December 14th. I had everything from Christmas Parties to College Football Game Cookouts on the calendar before me. Everything told me to wait until the holidays were over but something said if you don’t start now everything from Pro Football Games to Valentine’s Day will keep you skipping until you are back to this time next year.

We choose convenience when we should choose commitment.

I would love to tell you how I got the strength to make the choice to start then but I really can’t. All I can tell you is that I made the choice and it actually gave me strength as I won the wrestling match with my own will.

Now flash forward to January 27th and I feel invincible. Bring on the Super Bowl, Valentines Day, Daytona 500 and all the other events that would wreck me. You see when I made that choice and won that first battle it gave me strength and that strength was multiplied again as I won again. Nothing makes you as strong as one victory! It leads to other victories.

Diet tip #1 is quit trying to choose when it’s most convenient. If you’re going on a cruise this week it might make the most sense to wait until you’re back home, but if you get the strength to just say no to all the bad stuff and eat leaner while you’re floating in the sea, when you get home you will have a head start to really get into it and win this battle for good.

Champions don’t wait for the battle to be convenient

I will be praying for you today!

Coach Don

 

What are you looking forward to?

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As you look at other people throughout the day, try to notice those that either look happy or content. Now, if you dare, and if you feel comfortable, ask one or two of them what are you looking forward to today? You might even phrase it as “What are you looking forward to this year or in life in general?”

In almost every instance, you will find the most content individuals will have something that they are looking forward to, either that day or somewhere in their future. What is it about having a positive future vision that causes us to be happy in our current situation?

My favorite verse is 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. This verse makes the point that God has thoughts that He thinks about us and those thoughts are focused on a hope and a future. So what is it about having something hopeful to look forward to you that has the power to change who we are today?

  1. Having a future hope helps us endure a current negative situation. No doubt about it, having something wonderful in your future can help you endure a current situation. If you knew that the dream job was just around the corner and you were to going to get there soon, come “Hell or High Water”, you would feel different about the job you are enduring today.
  2. Having a future hope helps us see other people differently. If we have trouble seeing our own future and our own situation ever changing, we will really struggle to believe others have the ability to change as well. The optimist not only believes that they can change and become better, but also they believe others can as well!”
  3. Having a future hope helps us to do the hard work. No doubt about it, it takes hard work to change and create a new future. Having something to look forward to in the future can inspire us to work hard and pay the price for that new future. Take the summer vacation that becomes your driving force to lose weight. No matter what it is, the vision is the fuel for the journey.

The bible states in Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. Vision for tomorrow provides power for today. Zig Ziglar used to say “Treat every day like it’s the day before vacation, and you will get more work done!” The reason that is true is because people that are getting ready to go on vacation are happy because they are looking forward to being off and being in a place that is going to be fun. The next time you have a friend or coworker that is getting ready to leave for a cruise or for a week at the beach, just ask them how they are doing?

Today you should get your calendar out and start marking some dates to look forward to. Even if you are marking dates of events that you will have to work toward or save for, just do it! Much better to fill your life with future hopes and dreams then past mistakes and current concerns. For a Christian, the future is nothing to worry about it, it is actually something to look forward to with great anticipation.

Look Forward! It will take you somewhere!

Coach Don

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

Are You A Stalled Dreamer? How you can overcome the trap of unfinished goals!

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Have you ever planned out your week by setting goals to eventually see those goals stall out or get derailed? If that sounds familiar to you then you may be part of the group that I like to call Stalled Dreamers”. To be fully honest with you, I find myself in that group more often then I would like to be.

Many times It just seems that I start each month or week out with a list of clearly written goals that looks somewhat like a list of directions on how to bake a boxed cake mix. They seem simple, clear and obtainable but somewhere I find my goals end up as a half baked cake that is missing some key ingredients. On paper it should work but something gets missed or left out along the way.

The difficulty with setting and missing goals over and over again is that you can get “Goal Fatigued”. When your journal or notepad starts looking like the same list repeated over and over again with little result you can get discouraged. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should resign from goal setting just because we have failed or fallen short of meeting our own expectations. I just think there might be a better way of seeing our goals become reality.

To really understand what is happening to our well planned goals and why they may stall out, let’s look at the places most goal setters fail.

  1. They Set Too Many Goals. Have you ever listed everything you currently wanted to change or do in your life, to only find in the end that you made very little progress except for the list? This is common for most goal setters as they have to learn which goal or goals they should concentrate on first. They miss the power of finishing one goal and that slowly eats away at the excitement of making progress. I am really bad at this that as I find myself trying to do too many things at once. In fact I am trying to read two or three books at this very moment. If you add to that the issue that when I get bored with one goal, then I am going to bounce to another goal. The more I bounce, the less I finish.
  2. Their Goals Are Too Big. You have done it again, you have gone and set your sights on the goal of trying to climb Mt Everest once again. The last time you set this goal you spent hours researching it and even marked a date on your calendar. All that work just to wake up to the knowledge that you didn’t do it. But this time will be different! You are inspired and ready to focus one of the biggest things on your lifelong bucket list. While that is probably not you, are their goals you have set that are just a little extreme or hard? The problem that we all have in goal setting is that we want to set the goal on what inspires us the most. We do that when many times what we need to do is set simpler goals that can ultimately move us closer to those bigger goals. Everyone started working out after the movie “Rocky” came out in the Seventies, but only a few continued to live the dream of being in the shape that Rocky Balboa was in. Have the big goals in mind, but plan with smaller goals that will move you closer and closer to where you want to be. “Momentum is built by one small movement repeated over and over again”. Also “Little wins can really add up into big victories”. 
  3. Their Goals Get Interrupted. Simply put this is what derails most of my personal goal setting ventures. Life is going to happen and what we do when life happens will really determine what we will eventually do with the plan we’ve made. The car breaks down and the next thing you know you have missed a week of workouts. You get the flu and now it’s been two weeks since you worked on writing your book. Clearly you must give room for the interruptions that are unavoidable and for those that really matter, like going to your daughter’s dance recital. But there are those interruptions, like looking at facebook every ten minutes or surfing the internet, that are not always necessary. You must decide which ones count and which ones don’t. Lastly if you want to get to your goal despite the interruptions you can’t or don’t want to avoid, then you must do something! Even if you only workout at home for fifteen minutes or write for only ten minutes in your book, the action will keep you from stalling out.

Happy Goal Setting

Coach Don Newman

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