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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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

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!”

 

 

Where Do You Want to be When Your Storm is Over?

This past week I wanted to go for a bike ride so bad! It poured down rain all week and I was unable to ride. Truthfully, not just because of the weather, but also because my work schedule was crammed too full to give me time. By the time the weekend rolled around, I was done with work and finally ready for a long Saturday morning ride.

I got up expecting the skies to be clear (according to the weather report); I discovered instead that the rain was still coming down. I stood at my front door, looking at the wind and the rain, and thought, “surely it has to be clearing up. I mean, it stormed all week long!” As I watched the deluge, I was caught in that place of horrible indecision. I wanted to go, but I also wanted to see if it would quit. The tension of not being able to decide was more effort and pain than just going for it. I couldn’t stand it anymore so I grabbed my bike, loaded it up in my truck and drove over to the trail to start my workout.

The whole way I kept thinking to myself, “I bet it will be all cleared up when I get to the trail.” As luck with have it, it was raining just as hard. I sat in my truck, experiencing more of that same indecision I had just overcome at my house. I kept thinking to myself, “Should I wait, go back home or just go for it, storm or no storm?” As I asked myself that question over and over, I heard this question rise up within my heart: “Where do you want to be when this storm is over?”

 photo rain changed

As I pondered that question, knowing that God was trying to teach me something, it was clear the storm would eventually pass. The question was not if it would pass but where I wanted to be when it finally did. I told myself that if I started immediately, I might be wet but I would also be a few miles into my ride when it cleared. I kept thinking of how bad I had wanted to ride, and how I would feel later if I just went home. I could imagine pulling into my neighborhood and all of the sudden the skies turning bright blue. I didn’t want to be home wishing I was still riding when the storm finally had stopped. No, I wanted to be 10 miles into my 20 mile ride when the sky turned that brilliant blue and the sun shined through. With that I made up my mind. Despite the wet and the cold, I went for it.

For the first 8 miles, I pedaled through the mess. I was getting mud and sand all over me! I keep thinking, “Don, you have to be careful,” and “Don’t do something stupid and hurt yourself.” After 8 miles, the rain temporarily stopped and started up again. I kept thinking of Forrest Gump and the scene of him running through all kinds of weather. Im not going to lie, I wanted to quit several times. I kept struggling with the thought that I should just wait one more day, and the weather would be perfect. But God was in the middle of teaching me something. All I could hear is “Where do you want to be when this storm is over?”

I kept going. Mile after mile, pedals spinning around and around. Finally at around 15 miles the sun finally came out. Here I was, an hour later, and it was like everything had come back to life! Birds started singing and people—previously nowhere to be found—came back out to walk the trail. I can’t describe the rush that I felt; it was like everyone else on that trail was just getting started and I had a 15 mile advantage over all of them.

You know, the real person that I had the 15 mile advantage over wasn’t the new people appearing on the trail; it was me. I was not at home, sitting on the couch when the storm ended. No, I was 15 miles ahead of myself and it was an incredible feeling. So incredible that I actually motivated myself to go another 26 miles to complete a 41 mile bike ride, the longest ride I have ever taken before.

Sometimes in life we encounter storms that seem to have no end in sight. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get going and even harder when you’re surrounded by a storm. Ask yourself, “Where do I want to be when this storm is over?” Because eventually your storm will pass and the sun and all its light will break through. It’s like the story that I heard a few years back of a single mother who wanted to get her college degree. She was surrounded by every imaginable storm you could think of. She had every reason to quit and wait until things got better. But she kept pedaling through her storm, working all kinds of hours and doing everything she could to overcome her obstacles. Eventually many of the issues she was dealing with were either solved or just went away. Instead of starting school when her storms had ceased, she was pursuing a new and wonderful career with a Masters Degree. You see, she didn’t want to be starting school when the storm was over; she wanted to be ending school and beginning her new career.

In a storm, ask yourself “Where do I want to be when this storm is over?” and then go for it!

What are you going to go for? Leave me a comment below! Don’t forget to “Like” the 365to50 Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter!

Choosing to “Live in Vision”

Many of you may have already seen the clip of the speech given by Coach Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts after their victory last Sunday. It was one of the most inspiring speeches that I have ever heard by a head football coach. ( I have included a link to the video at the bottom of this page if you have not seen this speech.)

As you watch this clip, I want you to think about what it means to be “Living in Vision.”  For Coach Pagano, it’s a choice to believe, and see himself, in a future that he wants to see himself in.

Currently, Coach Pagano is fighting leukemia. His circumstances are very clear.  Without remission, the leukemia will eventually take his life and keep him from enjoying one of the things he wants to do the most: to dance with both of his daughters when they eventually get married. He and his team are aware of the circumstances. In fact, many of the members of his team have shaved their heads to hold a bond of support with their coach.
More than just shaving their heads, the team has taken a stance to live while believing in something that is contrary to their current circumstances, or at least the ones predicted for them this season. They, together as a team, are believing that they will win the Superbowl! They also are believing that their coach will live to one day dance at his daughter’s weddings.
In my quest to change my life before I turn 50, I am having to make the choice to really “Live In Vision,” and not just in my current circumstances. I recently found myself battling thoughts which suggested, despite my desire to change in the three areas I’ve discussed, that like most people I would mostly just talk about it and not really change very much at all. I have decided, and I have to keep deciding, to “Live in Vision.”

What is vision? A vision is something that we choose to see, an inner image of a preferred future.

It’s not easy to live in vision, but the rewards of it can be substantial. Even with that in mind, we can struggle to believe for something different then our current experience.  Whether it is our fear of failure, or the pain of being let down, we many times decide to accept “what is” instead of “what could be,” because vision can sometimes hurt.

The struggle is this: what is current is guaranteed, but that which “could be” is not. And anytime we choose to believe in something that is not current, we run the risk of being disappointed and let down. I know I struggle with my own ability to live in vision instead of living in my current circumstances. It is not easy for any of us, and it’s surely not easy for Coach Pagano. While our choice of vision could something simple—like the difference between living in a better house than the one we are living in now, perhaps—Coach Pagano’s vision is the difference between life and death.

There is risk involved when we choose to live in vision.

Coach Pagano is risking the fact that, despite his determination to “Live In Vision,” he could be very let down in the end and lose his battle to dance with his daughters.

Coach Pagano’s team, the Indianapolis Colts, are risking the fact that they could end up watching the Superbowl on T.V. instead of the sidelines.

Despite all those risks, Coach Pagano is still choosing to see his life different in the future. You see, Coach Pagano is choosing to see a preferred future, not the one he is currently facing.

Its not hype! Its not living in a make-believe world, where you don’t recognize the truth of the circumstances which are staring you in the face. It’s simply choosing to believe that the end of the book can be different than the the current chapter you’re reading—and as long as there are more chapters to read, it can still change! Listen, whatever you do today, don’t put the book down thinking that you know how it is all going to end. Choose to “Live in Vision,” and your vision may very well rewrite the ending to your own story. We have a choice! Let’s live in vision.

As I continue riding my bike, writing my book, and talking to God about everything, I have a vision of something different for my 50th birthday. As an update, I have completed two triathlons and I am currently working out to enter a bike race in the very near future. I have also written over 3,000 words for my first book. I am finally making progress on this book which I have talked about for so long. I don’t know if it was the election, or just some of the changes in my life, but either way my prayer life is really getting interesting.  I will soon share more on the actual changes in my life in the three key areas I am working on.

Today, dig down deep and find the passion that Coach Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts are living out. Just like Coach and his team, we can rewrite the ending to our story, but first we must learn to “Live in Vision.”

One Weekend Can Change Everything!

It’s amazing how one weekend can change everything.

Last weekend I saw both my favorite college football team, Florida State, and my favorite Nascar driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., fall out of the top 10 for each sport. This was supposed to be the year that FSU competed for a national championship again. This was also beginning to look like the best opportunity for Dale Jr to take home the coveted Sprint Championship. Incredibly, after one mind-numbing wreck at Talladega and a devastating loss for FSU to North Carolina State, it seemed that all of the time, the effort, and the dream was gone. In essence, both FSU and Dale Jr. have now lost their chance at winning their championships.

Everything changed. In one. short. weekend.

Yes, one weekend can change everything! As I thought about how that weekend had changed my hopes of national championships, my daughter Brittnee reminded me how one weekend in August had changed everything for me personally. She was referring to the weekend that we competed in our first sprint triathlon. Here I am, 2 months later, getting ready to compete in my second triathlon tomorrow. I have already scheduled a 30 mile bike race in November and another 5k after that. All of this change occurred because of one weekend. Because I committed to and competed in my first triathlon, I have found my whole life has totally been changed for the better.

Many times we fail to realize how just one weekend—or even just one day—can change a whole year or more of our life.

What are you planning to do this weekend? Maybe this is the first weekend that you go back to church. Maybe this is the first weekend that you go online and look at going back to college or a trade school. For someone else, this might be the weekend that they spend all their time focusing on their spouse and family. Me, I am going to go to Amelia Island and competing in my second triathlon. I hope to get a better time than the first time I got in August. I hope to be closer to my goal weight. I’m excited because I know that this weekend is going to change me.

Its true-a weekend can change everything!

Let’s Get Specific!

It’s the first week of my 365to50 challenge, and I have already had to battle some challenges and setbacks. When I examine the obstacles which keep me from pursuing my goals, I usually don’t see Mt. Everest-sized giants blocking my vision and making my goal impossible. Instead, I see the normal, and sometimes necessary, day-to-day distractions and obligations which tend to my drain my inspiration and sap my energy. Things like my commitments at work and at home. Little things, like having to wait on hold for an hour to get a billing error corrected. It’s not the inconvenience of the call which keeps me from working out, or from working on my manuscript, it’s just that somehow obstacles like these derail you and bring you back to that place of decision again.

This is why setting goals is so important…

A goal is a target toward which you can direct your efforts.

Without a goal, we all are liable to start moving in the wrong direction and lose focus, thus wasting time and effort.  One of the most important elements of a goal is that it is specific. Many times when we make goals, we make them too general; at times they can even be vague or unclear.

The Important Stuff:

1. Be Specific.

2. Write Them Down.

3. Create Start Dates and Deadlines.

4. Make Your Goals Achievable but Also Challenging.

5. Measure and Track Your Progress.

6. Reward Yourself Along the Way.

So that you can follow my progress, I will be sharing my starting goals with you today, as well as my results each week during this process. I will continue to unveil my step-by-step plan over the next weeks and months, but I do know two specific things about my journey right now: where I am starting, and where I want to end.

When you consider your own goals, where are you starting? Where do you want to end up? In the popular board game “Monopoly”, everyone starts at GO. It’s your time to GO! It’s your time to move forward and make changes. God gives us the ability to be the captains of our destiny. We can’t do it without His wind, His guidance, and His protection, but we have to choose to raise our sails when the wind is blowing and we have to chart a course.

 My Starting Place.

 I am 49 years old.

I am currently 276lbs and overweight.

I currently have two book ideas which I have harbored for years, but I have never written more than a page or two.

I have a very good relationship with God, but there is more, much more.

I have a great career that I enjoy as the manager of a sales department for a growing, successful company, and as a pastor. I know that I can become better at both.

 

My Ending Place.

I will be 50 years old

I will weigh a healthy 205lbs. I will have competed in several triathlons and bike races.

I will have one manuscript complete, ready to be published and available for Christmas.

I will have developed a deeper and more satisfying friendship and relationship with God.

I will have completed some form of intensive and professional training to become a better manager, coach, and leader.

I will be walking and living out the call of God on my life as a pastor and His servant.