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.

 

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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!

Can You Know TOO Much?

Now that I’ve finished Jim Stoppani’s Superman program (final blog post, thoughts, review coming!), I’ve been looking at the rest of the year.

I know most people in the fitness industry spend time focusing on bulking during the winter months, so they don’t have to stay lean, I’ve been looking at what I want to do.

Bulking is easy. You lift incredibly heavy and you eat everything in sight. Especially if you’re fine with dirty bulking.

However, I’ve been on a mission to detox.

My body, my mind, my spirit. It all needs a good cleanse.

Elliott Hulse had a great video on this recently, about information constipation. Essentially, the keeping of information without letting it flow out of you.

This can be in many forms: learning without sharing, keeping too many books, too many bookmarked websites, and so on.

I dig it because that’s something I’ve been feeling recently. Even with this site and my multiple creative endeavors.

It’s not that I’m doing too many things, it’s that I’m not letting the information flow at a fast enough rate.

Simply put: I know too much. I’ve read too much. I’ve learned too much.

And in that learning, everything has had a hard time formulating into thoughts.

Pumping out content for this blog should be so easy. Fitness has been my life for years. I’ve learned so so so much about it. I’ve put my body through trial and error and although I still have a long way to go, there’s still something to be said for all that knowledge.

Yet, for quite some time I’ve struggled with taking all of that knowledge, compressing it into something to share, and getting it out there. I now understand that it’s because I am keeping too much coming in.

This is also where I believe negative people who know “everything” online come from. They’re so constipated with mental information, but they create nothing, so they hate everyone who can break past it and create something.

My only focus right now is moving to California. That’s it. There’s nothing else that is as important as that. I’ve got to get out of Denver.

What has come with that is laser focus. The ability to see what is helping me achieve that goal and what’s getting me away from that goal.

Learning more is not the answer. Keeping more books is not the answer. Sharing what I know will absolutely get me closer to my goal.

If you’re feeling stuck too, start by giving more away. Sometimes this means sharing knowledge, sometimes this means literally giving your things away, or just start by consuming less.

This election cycle here in America has everyone in a complete emotional and mental messy state, and I can tell it’s making people across the country exhausted and burned out. Taking a break from the 24/7 fear-mongering will do wonders for your brain. (Still vote, though.)

Why Entrepreneurs Should Have A Personal Trainer

Everyone knows that working out is good for your mind., but not enough people have talked about why exercise is so essential to entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Anyone who is a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk (myself included) knows he made the plunge and hired a personal trainer (Mike Vacanti and then Jordan Syatt). He’s mentioned quite a few times on his #AskGaryVee show on YouTube that taking charge of his health was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

It’s not secret that starting your own venture is exhausting.

Even after working as a personal trainer for three years, when I finally finished school and jumped all-in on being a freelance copywriter, I worked so long and hard and completely forgot everything I learned about health.

I totally get it.

It’s easy to put in 17 hour days and barely sleep in order to “finish that one last project”, although spoilers: the to-do list never really ends when you’re doing your own thing.

Any time spent away from building your business seems to be completely selfish and you convince yourself that if you take any time off it will all crumble to the ground. 24/7 hustle seems to be the only way to make it happen.

However, I’m here to tell you that the times I stopped, took care of myself, and then went back into my business full force yielded better results than the times I skipped any self care.

Watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s journey to getting healthier reminded me how many entrepreneurs and freelancers need to hear that message.

Working out and taking care of yourself will add to your business instead of subtracting from it.

Being able to approach a business, client, or customer problem with a fresh, focused mind is a million times better than trying to force out a solution of an exhausted mind.

It starts slow at first.

You start skipping workouts. You don’t walk much any longer except to client meetings and your car.

You start to order delivery or get fast food instead of cooking anything.

You drink more coffee and energy drinks than ever before.

You never leave the slouched-over position of sitting and hammering away at your laptop.

Your eye starts to develop a twitch from so much computer screen time.

Eventually, it’s a year or years later and you get a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and wonder what the hell happened because that zombie-looking face staring back at you can’t be your face.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and preach about work-life balance because I still don’t quite know how to do that, but I’ve learned that caring about your health matters.

The more you exercise and eat right, the more energy you’ll have throughout the day to get things done.

Here are some things you can do to get your health back through the stressful period of starting your venture:

1. Know your business will survive for the 30 to 60 minutes you’re gone.

Yes, you can make the time to exercise and stretch. I know it’s hard to believe, but trust me. Even if you only work on your side-hustle in the early morning or the late nights, you can find the time to take care of yourself.

It wasn’t until I was years into my business that someone I admired in my industry told me, “If your business can’t survive without you being gone for a few hours, you’re building a business wrong.”

It was a great punch to the gut on what I was currently doing.

2. Drink enough water (start small).

This is at least the first step you should work on. Even if you haven’t started exercising or cleaning up your diet.

There have been a few studies done at the University of Connecticut on all the different ways dehydration can change strength, cortisol, and testosterone.

I’m a big fan of starting to implement baby steps over a long period instead of just changing your life in an instant. I mean, do what works for you, but starting a small habit like drinking enough water makes adding other healthier habits easier down the line.

3. Keep workouts short and focused.

There’s no need to work out for 2+ hours. 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week is enough. For me, that seems to be enough to shake off the anxiety that building a new venture brings.

Stay focused, stay moving in the gym, and focus on workouts that work multiple parts of your body at once. That will be the fastest way to get a great workout done in a shorter amount of time. Of course, it depends on your goals, but it’s a good place to start.

4. Look into personal trainers.

You don’t need to hire one at a gym, there are also a ton of coaches who do online coaching. Sometimes online coaching is the best option so you don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time, you can adjust depending on what you need to accomplish that day.

Online coaching is a better option than just relying on yourself to be accountable, because you need to report to someone with your effort.

Here are two great posts on what to look for in an online coach: here and here.

There are a lot of skeez-buckets out there who have abs and think they’re experts. There are also PhD’s who have real ego/attitude problems because they think they’re so above everyone who are as equally a nightmare to train with.

Any decent trainer should be able to answer any questions you have, have some kind of training and clients with results, and not be an ego-maniac.

Those are the best steps to start with, and I’m writing this mainly from my perspective of how many times I’ve burned my mind and body into the ground by being a workaholic.

It’s not worth it. It hurts not only you but your business results as well.

Can You Balance Fitness and A Fun Life?

Americans are obsessed with a “balanced” life.

Recently I was browsing through the new books section at my local bookstore and almost every single self-help title was along the lines of:

  • “Work-life balance for the busy professional”
  • “How to balance it all as a mom”
  • “Work hard and have fun”
  • “How to balance it all”

While work-life balance is a great goal, the problem is that most people feel incredibly guilty all the time for not balancing everything.

They feel bad they don’t have enough time to meditate in the morning, that they skip breakfast, that they missed a night out with their friends due to a project needing to be finished, or any other guilt that sits in the back of their minds.

Everyone is stressed out. Look at any single day time television show: it’s about balance and how stressed we all are.

Sure, it’s important to make time for what matters, but understand that we’re all simply doing the best we can at any given moment.

My 27th birthday was this past Friday and instead of feeling bad about not having some “exciting” night out, I decided to finally say: Fuck it.

For years I went out with friends, whether I was in the mood for it or not, because of some idealistic reality-TV-driven standard of go big or go home. Instead, I just read some books, watched some movies, and got in some quality family time. I ate an entire pizza and tub of ice cream because fuck. it.

I don’t have time to meditate right now (that can also be read as: It’s not a priority right now), and I’m going to stop feeling bad about that. I skip breakfast often and I’m not going to feel bad about that either.

I don’t have it all balanced, and I’m going to keep trying to instill better habits but the guilt has to go. I’m done with it.

I’ve decided to stop feeling bad about not being able to balance it all.

Life is a spectrum. Sometimes you’re 100% all-in and dedicated to a goal. Sometimes everything is thrown off balance. Sometimes you just need to put in 14+ hour days on a project to hit your deadline and you miss your workouts.

Fuck. It.

You’ll catch up later.

You’ll put in extra cardio next week.

To be honest, I don’t know anyone who has it all balanced.

Even celebrities with hired help still operate in different levels of the spectrum.

If you’re feeling guilt over not having everything perfectly balanced, please take a deep breath. Right now.

Keep trying to balance everything, but if you miss something, STOP FEELING BAD.

Sometimes I’ve forced myself into the idea of “balance” and hung out with friends but the whole time I’m thinking about the work I need to stay up all night to finish.

I’m in a period of my life where I need to work harder than I ever have before and I am simply not going to feel bad about it.

When I worked at my old gym, not balancing everything was the top guilt-inducing feeling.

When a client was clearly plagued with guilt about missing a workout, bingeing over the weekend, or thoughts about not spending enough time with their family: their workout suffered every single time.

They were slower, less enthusiastic, and wanted to be done way earlier than they should have.

People walk around with these feelings all the time.

Sometimes you don’t even realize how pervasive guilt is until you stop and realize how often you beat yourself up over it.

Take a deep breath, know you’re trying your best, decide on your top three priorities, and don’t feel guilty about anything outside of those priorities.

Also, I’m going to start posting more videos on YouTube, so come subscribe: Here.