A Belief

It all starts with a belief in yourself. You know right from wrong. You know what you should do. You have felt the queezy feeling in your stomach when you bail on an opportunity to exercise…after all, it was a hard day and you earned that doughnut, pop, or adult beverage, right?
I’m guilty too…I’ve made more excuses than I care to remember or repeat.
But not today! Today we move. Today there is one reason for our decisions. The reason is a belief…a belief that when the sun sets WE WILL BE BETTER!

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Small Wins Add Up

I venture a guess that you want to live a full and successful life. The question is: How do you accomplish what can seem to be an overwhelmingly daunting task?  I don’t claim to have the answer, but maybe this story will help you get started.

I awoke this morning feeling a little tired. I knew I had things to do and places to be so I powered through the groggy feeling and headed to the bathroom. Before I washed my face and brushed my teeth, I danced. Nothing special– just a little jig in front of the mirror to make myself smile. After I achieved that smile I cleaned away the sweaters from my teeth and the sleep boogers from my eyes.

Then I jumped in the car and headed out to meet my boss. He was picking me up and driving us to the airport to fly back to Spokane where we would prepare for another week of growth at work. As we cruised down Interstate 5, small talk and laughs filled the car. The Seahawks were playing in Seattle so we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport.  We had planned for heavy traffic–but we planned wrong. There was not much traffic, which meant that even after checking in and making it through TSA security we arrived at our gate two hours before takeoff.

With two hours to kill, we had two options: #1. Get frustrated that we didn’t time our arrival closer to takeoff. Or #2. Enjoy the extra time we had by finding a way to entertain ourselves. With smiles on our faces, we decided on option #2.  We laughed, joked, jumped over airport chairs, and simply enjoyed ourselves. The time flew by and before we knew it we were boarding the plane and heading for home. 

I arrived home and unpacked my bag. I sat for a moment contemplating my next move. Should I take a nap or turn on the TV and zone out or find something fun to do?  (If you are still reading, you can probably guess which choice I went with!)  I decided to throw on a wind breaker and head for the golf course.

It was only about 90 minutes until sunset, but I knew I could get through nine holes. I started my solo trek along the course. Hole 1 consisted of a drive, a chip, a putt, and a putt. It made for a nice par on hole 1. Holes 2-8 were somewhat similar with a few shanks and duffs mixed in. All in all, I was still smiling and happy to be where I was. As I approached the ninth tee box I was feeling good. I was alive, healthy and exercising. I teed up the ball and pulled out the big dog (driver) to attack a 288 yard par four. My back swing was slow and steady. Pausing at the peak of my swing I began to pull the driver back to the dimpled ball with increasing force. PING! The ball took off like a rocket high into the air. As it reached its peak high in the pink sky, the corners of my mouth begin to turn upward. As the ball fell back below the horizon it landed softly on the short, lush grass of the green. I noticed that the golf pro was parking the last of the golf carts in the garage at the clubhouse, which was the backdrop of the ninth hole. He watched my shot come to rest four feet from the hole. I replaced the big dog and headed for the green. As I approached my ball, I noticed that the pro had parked the last cart and had closed the garage. I removed my putter from my bag, pulled the pin, and addressed the ball. Calming my nerves, I tapped in for an eagle. (A score two strokes below par.) I pulled the ball from the cup, replaced the flag stick, and swung my bag over my shoulder. “Not too bad,” I said aloud. As I left the course, the pro said, “Nice shot back there.” 

“Thanks. I made the eagle, so that was nice.”, I replied. 

“I know. I was watching you from the clubhouse. Well played.”, he said.

Chuckling a little I said, “Not a bad way to enjoy a Sunday sunset.” He and I headed out on our separate ways.

When I arrived home I reflected on the day and the small wins that I was able to accomplish:

#1.  I woke up and I got to dance.

#2.  I had the luxury of hot running water so I was able to clean myself and prepare for the day.

#3.  I arrived on time for my flight and once again enjoyed the thrill of flying in an airplane.

#4.  I shared jokes with my boss on the ride to the airport and we enjoyed each others’ company.

#5.  I got to golf, which is something that brings me joy and piece of mind and is a fun way to exercise.

#6.  I played the game well.

#7.  I appreciated that the golf pro acknowledged my play.

#8.  I finished golfing in time to see a beautiful sunset.

#9.  I got home safely.

#10.  I am able to share my successes of the day with you with the hope that you can gain something from them.

In short, I can’t tell you what it means to live a full and successful life. I do know that it looks a little different for each one of us. I also know that it takes a lot of small wins to get there, and I for one, think that the small wins add up to the biggest win of all…a smile and a satisfied soul.

I wish you the best in your endeavors and I trust that you will find a way to move forward in your journey of living active.

Made vs Make

You are a product of our surroundings. No doubt about it. IMHO, you have the ability to impact our surroundings just as much as they impact us. In order to get the most out of life you must make your surroundings work for you. In other words, make your life, do not be made by life.
Example: you are on the road traveling, it’s been a long day and you are tired. You are staying in a hotel and the beds are comfy, the cable and wireless internet are yours for the using, and the hotel fitness room makes ‘subpar’ look first class. What do you do?
Are you going to be made by your surroundings? Kick off your shoes, use every towel in the bathroom (one for your right arm, one for the left, two for the legs, three for the torso, couple of wash cloths for the under carriage), lay down, log into Facebook, crank up the newest tv show and call it a night…
VS.
Are you going to make your surroundings? Create a wild new workout in the fitness center. Run backward on the treadmill through the commercials and then jump-turn and increase incline (to face the tv) when your show comes back on. Move so fast between random sets that you think you might honk (throw up), and then walk outside to cool your body. Once you regain your composure find a door way and mix in some pull ups and abs before returning to the fitness palace. Just when you want to quit, rep out another 30 crunches stand up check yourself out (you’re earned it). As you shower up, you might think to yourself something like, ‘I feel good, I make this look good.’ You’re right, you do.
Rest up, tomorrow we make it even better.
People are made by their surroundings each day. People are made by things outside of their control, and it becomes easy to find external scapegoats for their lack of growth or success.
People, make the choice to make who they are. Make any hardship or challenge an opportunity for growth and development of your mind, body, and soul. Self improvement means making the surroundings you find yourself in yours to manipulate and utilize. Cause if you don’t, who will?
You make the difference.