Conquer Your Life By Fixing Your Sleep

Sleep is monumentally important in achieving any health goal, and yet it’s one of the least talked about topics.

Talking about sleep isn’t as sexy as doing squats to get those #bootygains, probably because most people realize they don’t prioritize their sleep as much as they should.

If you’re working hard in the gym and not seeing the scale budge in the direction you want it to, it could be your sleep that’s the problem, especially if you know you already locked down your nutrition.

Not only does bad sleep keep you from gaining muscle, but it can also make you fat (this article from RFS explains it well).

Life gets in the way: school assignments keeping you up late, health issues of you or a loved one, work that you need to finish so you decide to stay up all night…

However, for a lot of people, it’s not just one-off problems that keep them from sleep.

After awhile, getting bad sleep turns into a habit.

There’s conflicting science on whether you can “catch up” on sleep during the weekends, but whether or not it’s true, we all know it’s better for your daily productivity and happiness to get quality, consistent sleep every day.

Let’s break down the causes of bad sleep and then we’ll go over some ways you can fix it.

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We don’t sleep like we were designed to

There’s conflicting studies on how our ancestors used to sleep, but for the most part, we don’t sleep like other mammals. If you have a pet or you’ve ever been around other animals (except for cats, they are all wild throughout the incredibly early hours of the morning), you know that they start to wind down when the sun sets.

Most of the animal kingdom goes to sleep when the sun does and rises with it in the morning.

Humans do the opposite. We’re neurotic messes that stay up far too late binging the latest Netflix show or go out to the bar until the early hours of the morning. Then we wake up to a screaming alarm clock and have to drink so much coffee just to survive until the traditional afternoon crash where we complain how tired we are and add more coffee into our bodies.

Look, I’m all for having fun nights out. They’re a part of balance. I don’t even want to add up how many nights I went out. They’re priceless memories that are worth it every time.

That doesn’t excuse the other 6 days of bad sleep, though.

Insomnia is not found in cultures that live closer to how our ancestors did. They get quality sleep unlike a lot of Westerners.

That’s a huge factor, especially considering between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. We might claim it’s natural, but it’s obviously not. We’ve created this.

It’s not so much about the specific length of sleep, but the quality of it.

Technology and sleep issues

We’ve all heard the rants and raves about technology, so I’ll just link to articles that dive into this better than I can.

This article dives into blue lights and why it’s so detrimental to our health.

If you don’t want to read that much, the biggest takeaway is that our bodies are cued by light. From the article, “All it takes is one night of artificial light throwing off your sleep to alter CLOCK genes and, in turn, affect gene expression.”

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Low-quality snacks before bed

If you’re someone who suffers from indigestion or heartburn, you know the struggle of having heartburn keep you up.

Most people also have desert with dinner and there’s a lot of studies that show how much sugar can impact someone’s sleep. It’s the same for refined carbs, eating fast food for dinner, or anything else unhealthy before sleeping (including alcohol).

Other factors

Sleep is generally the sum of our entire lifestyle. If we’re stressed, we get bad sleep. If we eat bad food, bad sleep. If we don’t exercise, bad sleep.

My whole life, I’ve been one of those people who never got enough sleep. Ever.

Throughout high school I’d stay up on my computer until far too late then get in bed and listen to music for hours. I just never got tired at night. Then on weekends I’d sleep in until about 4 am. I’d constantly be pulling all-nighters for either school or fun.

Then in college it didn’t get much better. I’d stay up all night on my computer or out partying.

I didn’t actually start getting quality sleep until I started exercising consistently and making it a priority. That’s why I’m so big on helping people fix this. When I think of all the bad grades I had, getting on academic probation in college after my first year due to sleeping through classes, how much my work suffered through the years due to my lack of creative energy… I realize how different those could have been if I just had made sleep a priority.

The more and more people I talk to, the more I realize how many people have this issue, too.

Why it matters

Imagine a life where you’re well-rested.

You have time for the gym every day.

Your work gets your full, creative energy.

You’re able to spend quality, focused time with your family or significant other.

You’re actually able to start chipping away at those big goals you have.

See, lack of sleep becomes a good excuse. Just notice how many people around you are always saying how tired they are. Everyone’s always tired, busy, stressed, and overwhelmed.

But not you. You’re someone who wants energy back in their life so you can live a life you love. It’s cheesy-sounding, but it’s true. Having the energy to do the things you want to do extends outside just your gym gains, it bleeds into your whole life.

How to fix your bad sleep:

The most important part of this article is actually applying these things. It’s nice to say you’re going to do them, but if you even committed to one of them it would help. So many people read articles like this but don’t change a damn thing in their lives.

If you even applied one of these to your life, you would be surprised at how you feel every day.

Yes, there are some factors such as getting a better quality mattress, buying black out curtains, and so on, but I wanted to focus on factors you could do right now without having to buy anything. I’m also going to stay away from the obvious factors like starting to cut out caffeine in the afternoons. The general rule is to stop drinking it 10 hours before you plan to go to sleep.

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Start saying no

If fitness is a priority for you right now, it’s time to start saying no to things.

I have a ton of friends who want to lose that “extra 10 lbs” but they never say no to a night out. They go out every night on the weekend and even once or twice during the week. They never, ever say no even though every day they say they are tired and that they need to quit drinking.

Get up earlier

Yes, earlier. In that sleep study article I linked to above about our ancestors sleep, there was one common thread amongst tribes and how they sleep across the world: they’re up before the sun.

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Get quality time outside and get natural light in the morning

Yes, you should sit outside when possible. We weren’t designed to sit in offices under horrible lighting all day.

On top of that, actually spend quality time outside. Go camping. Actually, did you know camping can help reset your bad sleep cycles? Seriously. When a researcher sent people out camping to see how spending time outside would reset their internal clocks, he saw that it only took a few days to get it back to normal.

The researcher said he set his own internal clock by “hiking in the morning and by waking up and sleeping at the same time every day”. I’m sure your brain is already thinking of excuses, “Oh, that’s nice but I don’t live around mountains to hike.” Okay, well take a stroll around your neighborhood for 5 minutes.

Install blue-light reducing software

As a fellow technology addict, I understand how hard it is to go cold-turkey and just quit your technology completely at night.

Sure, it’s the best idea, but it’s not always realistic.

Thankfully, most new iPhones have the blue-light reducing feature built in and Flux can be installed on computers to reduce it at a certain time in the day.

Read at night, leave your phone out of your room, and get a real alarm clock

A book?! What is that archaic thing?

I know, I know. It sounds impossible to just read when there’s so many fun apps to play with, Tweets to retweet, and blogs to read… But you’d be amazed at how fast you might be able to fall asleep with reading.

When I play on my phone at night (even with turning on the blue-light reducing software), I stay up an extra two hours every single time. If I read, it’s about 30 minutes before I fall asleep.

Shut down your phone and leave it away from your bed. That way, you don’t feel a pull to use it at night.

Use something else besides your phone for an alarm clock. Get a real one. That will remove the temptation of browsing all night. If you have a technology addiction, the first few days are the hardest, but it needs to be done.

Along this line, also avoid TV at night. Too many TV and Netflix shows are so good and addictive, you’ll stay up all night watching when you should be sleeping.

Create a shut-down ritual

Technology is a problem, but so are our own brains.

I’m a big fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system (also called GTD), especially his emphasis on doing a daily brain dump to get out all those to-do’s rattling around in your head.

Every time I meet other people, I’m shocked at how seldom they write things down. HOW DO YOU REMEMBER ANYTHING?

If you’re a person that stays up late thinking about all the things they need to do the next day, you need a shut-down ritual at the end of your day.

Basically, when you decide you’re done with work (which should be at a set time every day), you sit down with a blank sheet of paper and get everything that’s been bugging you off your mind. Sometimes these are to-do’s, sometimes you just need to rant about something, sometimes it’s goals you know you need to put more effort into… Whatever it is, get it out and get it on paper.

If it’s something that’s really, really bugging you, create a plan on how you’re going to tackle it.

I know this sounds simple, but it’s one of the best things I started doing.

Instead of tossing and turning all night where my mind keeps me up trying to solve problems, I now get it out of my brain before I get in bed.

Also, SERIOUSLY stop checking your emails and messages into the night. Unless you’re on some kind of last-minute work crunch, stay away. I’ve spent too many nights dealing with heavy emotional texts or messages from my boss with to-do’s and it wrecks my sleep every time.

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Create a night time routine

With children, most parents create a night time routine. For example, brushing teeth, reading, and turning on a night light.

Yet as adults we’re just expected to be able to lie down and go right to sleep? Nope.

I’ve found that by starting a night time routine, I am able to actually get ready to sleep. It’s telling my body that it’s bedtime.

Everyone is different, but if you’re looking for a plan, mine is: shut down electronics. Get out a good book. Make some relaxing tea. Take my ZMA supplement. Put on my lavender moisturizer. Brush teeth. Get in bed and read until I fall sleep.

Switch careers/jobs

JACKIE DID YOU JUST SUGGEST PEOPLE QUIT THEIR JOBS IF THEIR BOSS IS UNREASONABLE AND DEMANDING AND EXPECTING TO HEAR FROM YOU AT MIDNIGHT?! Uh, yes. Yes I did. If your job seriously is taking that big of a toll on you, it’s time to think about an entire lifestyle change.

Recently, I went out to San Francisco and got a taste of that life for two weeks. I stayed up until about 9 pm working and was in the office every morning at 7 am. I haven’t been that much of a sleep-deprived and emotional mess in a long time. It was to the point where even a family member said I looked like death when I got home.

Sure, that kind of work could transform my entire life, get me to network with powerful people, and obviously could fill my bank account, but it simply wasn’t worth it.

My priority is my health. Yours might be different.

I had too many family members and friends suffer from not taking care of their health and some paid the ultimate price for it.

This got a little heavier than I intended when I started to write this, but the work you do every day plays one of the biggest roles in your overall happiness and health.

A lot of sleep problems come from having a lack of purpose in life, too. We use technology to distract ourselves from our overwhelming lack of purpose or feeling a daunting feeling about not pursuing our deeper goals. That’s another post for another time.

(Also, if you have a spouse that won’t support you quitting your job so you can regain some sanity, it’s time for therapy and then divorce. Okay, rant done.)

Sleep is the by-product of your entire life.

When you feel at peace, it’s much easier to sleep. When you don’t, it’s hard to sleep.

Take care of yourself first, and watch it start to fall into place.

 

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Countdown to Strength Review

When you talk to most people about their fitness goals, it usually falls into two categories: gaining muscle or losing fat.

That’s how I’ve always trained, too.

That’s why when Jim Stoppani released this challenge for people to see how much you could increase your strength, I immediately signed up. The goal of this program is to increase the max rep for your squat, bench, and deadlift.

After taking a few months off lifting, I thought this would be the perfect kick back into the routine.

Countdown to Strength is the official program on Jim’s site. (Shortcut to Strength – another popular Jim program – is a slightly different program, but it has the same goals.)

The overview

Countdown to Strength is a 5 week program.

The breakdown is like this:

Week 1: 5×5 lifts
Week 2: 4×4 lifts
Week 3: 3×3 lifts
Week 4: 2×2 lifts
Week 5: 1 RM

For this program, you workout 5 days/week. Thankfully, you aren’t just doing the big lifts over and over, you’re also adding in other lifts every day to add to your overall strength.

Nutrition

For this program, I just continued to eat around my maintenance for the first 4 weeks and then cut carbs down to under 100g’s in the last week.

Jim gives you a Dieting 101 article so you can create your own plan depending on your goals (aka if you want to gain muscle, lose fat, or maintain).

Results of Countdown to Strength

Of course, most people just want to know if something worked or not. So, yes this program totally works.

Overall: 

20 lbs added to squat
50 lbs added to bench (but started out with a shoulder issue, so keep that in mind)
54 lbs added to deadlifts

To be fair, I think I was much stronger in the beginning than the first numbers reflected, I just had some mental blocks about pushing myself since I don’t typically train for just strength.

Before and after:

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Wonder Woman – Gal Gadot Workout (And A Bonus Amazons Workout)

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Ah, Wonder Woman.

The movie that changed the lives of millions.

Every time I think of the scene of Wonder Woman putting on the crown from Antiope and marching into No Man’s Land… My body feels something very real.

I’m currently reading Women Who Run With The Wolves, and in it the author discusses the idea of the Wild Woman archetype. It’s something inside every woman that we’ve lost touch with through the years.

It’s a lot deeper than just a woman out in nature. It’s the basis of who we are when we’re allowed to get in touch with our deepest feelings.

“The archetype of the Wild Woman and all that stands behind her is a patroness to all painters, writers, sculptors, dancers, thinkers, prayermakers, seekers, finders–for they are all busy with the work of invention, and that is the instinctive nature’s main occupation. As in all art, she resides in the guts, not in the head. She can track and run and summon and repel. She can sense, camouflage, and love deeply. She is intuitive, typical, and normative. She is utterly essential to women’s mental and soul health.” – Women who Run With The Wolves

This is something I believe Wonder Woman touches on. That gut feeling. That story that we all feel within our bones but we’re unable to articulate. The reason we feel restless most days.

I’ve seen a lot of movies with women kicking ass. They’re tough, they can shoot guns really well, they are great with stunts… but Wonder Woman was something different in a way I’ve never seen in film.

While you read through this article, feel free to listen to the theme music. (Warning: It will make you want to run around and start jumping on top of every piece of furniture in your home.)

If you’ve followed any of my character workouts, you know I like to break these workouts down into different parts:

  1. What the actor said about getting in shape for the role
  2. My take on the workout (I worked as a personal trainer for years, so I combine that knowledge with what the actor said… also because finding the actual workouts always seems impossible)
  3. The diet
  4. The mentality behind their characters, so you can use it to become mentally stronger
  5. The gear you’d need if you wanted to become the superhero

Gal Gadot’s Workout

If you want to cut right to the chase, this is what her trainer said about the workout and here are two women going through that workout so you can see how it worked.

Gal worked out for six hours a day for six months. But keep in mind, that also included sword training, horseback riding, and other skills she needed for the movie. So although 6 hours sounds intimidating, you could easily do it in less.

Overall, it looks like a lot of high-intensity whole-body training. Every exercise had about 6-to-8 weight training and metabolic exercises.

Each day, you could pick between the following (but be sure to balance each exercise out throughout the week):

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Burpees
  • Bear crawls
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tricep dips
  • Calf raises
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Overhead press
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Goblet squat
  • Hanging leg raise
  • Bent-over rows
  • Bench press
  • Rope crunches
  • Pull ups (substitute with lat pulldowns if you can’t do them)
  • Overhead squat
  • Crab walk
  • Burpee broad jump

Gal said she works out with two minutes of exercise and two minutes of rest. (Be sure to warm up, too! Gal warmed up with rows, mainly to keep herself safe so there were no injuries before filming.)

So, theoretically, it would look like:

Monday: Squats, mountain climbers, overhead squat, tricep dips, planks

Tuesday: Bear crawls, burpees, tricep dips, overhead press, hanging leg raise, burpee broad jump

Wednesday: Bent-over rows, calf raises, donkey kicks, lat pulldowns (or pull ups if you can do them)

Thursday: Deadlifts, planks, goblet squat, rope crunches, crab walk

Friday: Push-ups, Romanian deadlifts, hanging leg raise, bench press

Then add more exercises as you become stronger. It’s up to you if you want to do things in circuits or one at a time. Doing them in circuits increases your endurance and usually helps with weight loss (depending on your diet), or do them in sets.

(Circuit means you do one exercise, pause for a few seconds, then go right into the next exercise and when you’re done you start at the first exercise again. Sets means you do something like deadlift, then wait about 30-60 seconds, then deadlift again for about three sets.)

The Amazons Workout

Between all of the characters, the Amazons are a little more #swole than Wonder Woman herself. Now, to be fair, Wonder Woman is an actual super hero. She’s given superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek gods.

Also, to keep it real, Gal Gadot would have needed a lot, a lot, a lot of time to get as big as the other women on set (spoilers: not everyone in the movie industry is on steroids, even though that’s the common narrative that people say because it makes them feel better for not working out).

Don’t get me wrong. Gal is in incredible shape, but you can see a lot of the Amazon women had been training for years before they were in the movie. They’re #swolegoals for me.

Overall, the women trained for about four months together. (That video breaks down a good overall idea how their workouts looked. ALSO WARNER BROTHERS PLEASE LET ME COME WORKOUT WITH ALL OF YOU FOR THE NEXT ONE. They’ll never see this but COULD YOU IMAGINE? Okay, nerd moment over.)

A few of the actresses who are fellow Amazonians in the film talked about their past experiences in the fitness world. (The workouts are toward the end.) A lot of them were professional athletes, cops, and fighters before they came on set, which gave them an advantage.

To look like the Amazons vs. Gal Gadot in the movie, you’d train in a completely different style. If you want that look, your best bet is Crossfit or Olympic/powerlifting-style training. Basically, lots of heavy weights and lots of food. You’d follow something much closer to the Emily Blunt – Edge of Tomorrow workout I posted or Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size.

The Diet

When sites break down food for actresses, it always kills me. They almost never take into account someone’s height or muscle mass.

Gal Gadot is 5’10” and every website pegs her around 128 lbs. There’s just no. way. she’s only 128 lbs for this role. It creates an unrealistic expectation for women when they step on the scale. Gal herself said she gained about 17 lbs for this role, so she was closer to 145, so keep that in your mind.

Gal also said she focused on three main things: meals based on green veggies and protein, drinking 1 gallon of water each day, and reminding herself that food is fuel.

I love this approach.

Before you eat something, really analyze how something is going to make you feel.

Those cookies are not going to make you feel well in a few hours no matter how good they sound in the moment (I’m writing this while I’m on a cookie hangover and feeling horrible today, so it’s more of a personal reminder).

Food IS fuel. It’s the basis of everything. Start eating healthy and then have a day of binging and see how you feel the next day.

The water tip is genius, too. Most people do not drink as much water as they should. Period. I thought I drank a lot of water until I started measuring and realized it’s barely even 1/3 of a gallon.

If you want a run-down on different diets from the Amazon warriors: here’s a good overview. Basically, lots of protein, don’t be scared of fats (seriously, ladies, fats are just fine), and timing carbs around workouts.

The Mentality

Wonder Woman is an extremely complex character while at the same time being an extremely simple character. This is going to dive into the complexity of our world, and if you’re just here for the workout and diet, you don’t need to read any further. However, if you’re like me and you love to dive into the complexity of embodying a character you want to workout like and become, keep reading.

To get into Wonder Woman’s state of mind, you have to pursue truth, honesty, love, justice, and compassion before anything else. There’s a reason she struck such a cord with so many people: because we see these values as something lacking around us and within us.

This sounds like an easy idea, but to apply it at every given moment is not always easy. For example, in the movie we see her in a state of panic when she sees men injured from battle, a horse struggling to get through mud while is owner whips him hard (something she struggles to understand), and a mother and baby crying.

She’s overwhelmed.

This is so far from the world she came from where everyone took care of one another.

Look, I’ll keep this from getting too political, but it is politics/greed/fear/anger/etc that has made the world the one she wouldn’t recognize compared to her home. She loves everyone who is struggling and shares that love with the world and those around her. You can’t love Wonder Woman and consider her a role model without at least attempting to embody the traits she believes in the most.

Wonder Woman is ready at any given moment to give everything for the sake of helping someone.

When Steve lies to his bosses, she’s complexed. There is no lying where she comes from. They say what they feel and believe. Although he is a spy and uses it for the greater good, as you go throughout your life, simply think about the times you want to use a white lie to make something easier instead of speaking your truth.

Wonder Woman never backs down from a fight. She will always stand in her truth, no matter the consequences. She walks onto No Man’s Land because she sees no other option. It’s what she must do.

You can use the Wonder Woman mentality in your every day life.

Every day you can choose love over fear.

Every day you can get yourself to the gym because it’s what you must do.

Granted, going to the gym doesn’t feel as life-and-death as saving the world, but it’s also important.

The Gear

The Lasso of Truth. Unfortunately this isn’t something you can buy at the corner store (could you IMAGINE if there was a real lasso of truth?). However, it’s something you can mentally create by learning how to tell when people are lying. An interesting fact about the lasso is that it only breaks when Wonder Woman won’t accept the truth she’s been told. Accepting the truth when you’re told it is important when it comes to embodying everything Wonder Woman stands for.

Bracelets – Technically called the Bracelets of Submission, these bracelets are used to absorb incoming attacks, which is why she can use them to deflect bullets and anything else that intends to harm her. According to Wikipedia, “They were an original creation by William Moulton Marston as an allegory for his philosophy on loving submission and the emotional control associated with it in order to balance out the strength of the human ego.” Meaning, you have the power inside of you to absorb any attacks that come your way. (Okay, it can’t stop bullets, but emotional/verbal attacks aimed at you.)

Tiara – In the movie, the tiara is given to her by her aunt, Antiope. Diana only puts it on before walking into No Man’s Land. Meaning, she only puts it on when she’s ready to embrace who she really is and to pursue her mission in life. There are a million ways you could apply this lesson to your own life, but if you truly want joy, you must find your purpose and pursue it relentlessly.

 

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(Generic disclaimer: *As always with any fitness program, talk to your doctor first / see a trainer / it’s not my fault if you hurt yourself / please don’t sue me / you assume all risk / etc etc. Also, if any exercise ever hurts in a bad way, stop doing it immediately.)

What superhero workout do you want to see next? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list!

Focus on the Big Wins to Dominate Fitness and Life

 

There are two ways to succeed with your fitness goals.

  1. Focus on every single little detail.
  2. Focus on the one or two most important factors and let the rest take care of itself.

The concept of the Big Wins was first introduced to me by Ramit Sethi and it’s one of the best approaches to every area of life I’ve ever come across.

Let’s look at two different people who are trying to lose weight.

Sarah wants to lose weight after having her two kids. She tracks every single calorie she eats, every single rep she does, makes sure she weighs all of her food… She quickly burns out from living such a rigid live and falls off the wagon. Then, like clockwork, she’s back on her schedule and falling off again two weeks later. She’s completely stressed and her fitness goals make her feel guilty instead of inspired.

Rebecca wants to lose some weight after she realized she put on extra weight while finishing her Master’s degree. She tracks her food for a week to get a ballpark of where she is. She writes out an average daily diet to carry with her so she knows if she’s generally on track or not. She doesn’t stress too much when she has extra food but she makes sure to get in every workout throughout the week and get enough sleep at night. She knows she could lose the weight faster if she tracked every little detail, but she’s inspired by her goals and can see the weight coming off. She doesn’t start and stop again because she’s not stressing herself out.

These are simple examples, but these are completely different approaches to goals that yield completely different results.

The purpose of the Big Wins is to identify the main areas that bring the biggest results and make sure you do them. It frees you from having to focus on the little details that drive you crazy.

Now, if you are competing in a fitness competition, it’s important to focus on the little details as well. In that case, you could use the Big Wins in the other areas of your life: relationships, finances, career, etc.

With fitness, the biggest pillars to your success are:

  • Working out most days of the week
  • Having a general idea of your current calorie intake
  • Getting enough sleep

That’s it.

The fitness world is a billion dollar industry that tries to convince people that it’s somehow more complicated than that, and it’s not.

Sure, there’s a million ways to approach each of those pillars (counting macros, Crossfit, paleo, and so on), but the basics stay the same.

When you keep your pillars consistent, that’s when you can focus on mixing it up.

If you skip 50% of your workouts, no program in the world (good or bad) will get you in shape.

If you only sleep a few hours a night, your results will suffer.

If you don’t have a diet that supports your goals, you can work out hard every day in the gym but you won’t see the results you want.

Being consistent with the Big Wins will change everything.

Now that doesn’t mean you have to change them all overnight if you’re just starting. You can simply pick one area and build the habit before moving on to the next one.

In other areas of your life, the Big Win approach looks like this:

  • With your career, you focus on meeting the right people who can get you in a position you want. You’re active when it comes to knowing if you’re in the right career at all and you rarely end up in a position or job you don’t want.
  • With your finances, you automate as much as possible: your savings, paying down debt, your 401K, etc., and you focus on bringing in more than worrying about buying a latte every few days. That means you are prepped for your conversation with your boss asking for a raise and maybe you even start a side hustle to bring in extra money.
  • With your relationship, you make sure you find the right partner in the first place. A lot of relationship stress comes from trying to make it work with someone who you shouldn’t be with at all. Once you do that, you focus on the big things that make them happy. Maybe that’s spending quality time together, maybe it’s putting your phone away when you talk to them, maybe that means a date night out… Identify the big wins and be consistent.
  • With your productivity, that means every day making a list of the three biggest things you could do to progress in life and doing them. It doesn’t mean a million tactics to become more productive, it just means getting the essential things done.
  • With your home, that means you declutter and only have the things around you that make you happy. Finally organizing a whole bunch of stuff you don’t even want in the first place makes no sense. Then, you focus on cleaning the “Hot Spots” – the areas where you’re around the most often.

Of course, with all of these once you master the Big Wins you can focus on the little details. You can tweak your productivity system, you can invest your money in the stock market, you can try different approaches at your job, but no little tactic will get the same results as focusing on the biggest pillars.

None of this is sexy.

Tactics, hacks, new equipment/gear… all of that feels sexier.

Focusing on getting enough sleep doesn’t feel as fun as getting a new pair of running shoes. Setting up a new productivity system at work instead of having that uncomfortable feeling of asking your boss for a raise seems sexier. Hooking up with someone new sounds way more fun than doing the work and thinking about what you need in a relationship.

I totally, totally get it.

Believe me, I am a tactic addict.

I probably have thousands of bookmarks of websites with little hacks here and there, most of which I’ve tried. Even with all of that testing, nothing beats focusing on the big pillars.

Take some time this week to sit and think about your big pillars in your life. What are the essential things that hold your life together? Are you giving them the right amount of focus? If not, what do you want to focus on first?

Focus on the big wins and watch how it all comes together.

 

Best Goal Setting Tips to Dominate 2018

2018 is going to be a big year. I’m beyond excited and although I’ve covered goal setting on this blog before, I thought I’d share some of my favorite resources and articles for goal setting so you can get a find the right approach for you.

 

How to Plan and Dominate 2016

If You Don’t Believe In Setting Goals, It’s Because You Don’t Know How To Do It

What’s Your 20 Mile March? – from artofmanliness.com

Establishing Goals for Life – from artofmanliness.com

Truth Behind Your Goals (Career Building Habits) – Elliott Hulse video

5 Simple Steps to Staying Focused on Your Goals – from earlytorise.com

Stop Multi-Tasking and You May Reach Your Goals – from John Doe Bodybuilding

Fighting Mediocrity: Mindset and Goal Setting – from average2alpha.com

Use This 7-Column Goals Planner gSheet to Achieve Your Passions

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Goal Setting

 

Do you have a favorite blog for goal setting? I’d LOVE to read it! Leave a link in the comments!