Whether or not you're a sports fan (I know that I'm not!), there is one thing you ought to notice about those who compete professionally: their bodies reflect the lifestyle they live.
I have yet to see an overweight cyclist, or a gymnast who has no muscular tone, or a soccer player who doesn't have strong-looking legs. Anybody who devotes his or her life to training for a competition would have the body of an athlete: lean, muscular, with barely an ounce of fat on them.
Not only do they train hard on a consistent basis, they also have to eat differently than everybody else. They can't just eat whatever they want and chug down a bottle of wine every night. They also can't just stay up as late as they want to. They have to alter their entire lifestyle just so that they could compete in sports. Even if they have regular, full-time jobs doing something completely different, they still need to alter their lives so that they could compete in sports.
Now, imagine a professional cyclist riding his bike only twice a week -- for just 20 minutes each time. For the rest of the week, he does nothing else, drinks beer every night, watches movies until 2 am most nights, and snack on gummy bears every day. What would his body look like? It would probably be overweight and look sickly -- and he could kiss his days of competition good-bye!
Whatever you want to achieve in your life, you have to LIVE as if you want to get it. This means that you need to alter your ENTIRE lifestyle so that you could achieve certain goals.
My daughter has recently taken an interest in starting a musical band with her friend at church. I asked her, "What instrument do you know how to play?" She says, "A keyboard!" I tell her, "You don't know how to play a keyboard." She says, "Yes I do!" Then I explained to her that people in musical bands practice their art all the time. You can't just dab on the keys a few times, make something that sounds like music, and then think you're ready for a band.
Another time, we saw an expensive art set at B.J.s, and of course she wanted it. I told her, "You show me some serious art work, and I'll get you that." I don't want to see raggedy stick figures, sloppy coloring, and alien-looking humans. If my kids want something badly enough, they need to live as if they want it. Otherwise, I'm not going to waste money on something that they won't take seriously enough.
When I used to do online personal training, I've trained this one girl in Texas who was the sister of a college buddy. I didn't charge her anything as I wanted to test out my training method. I only asked her to do ten minutes of assigned exercises. She did MORE than I asked her to, and she even exercised when she was sick with strep -- which I didn't advise her to do. She LIVED as if she wanted to change her body, and soon enough, she dropped so much weight that even her ZUMBA instructor in Texas wanted to be a part of my training program!
When I saw her Facebook profile picture, man, did she change! She looked like she could be a personal trainer! People at her church noticed, her kids noticed, and her husband was talking about her progress at his job. All I did was give her guidance. Her dedication made things happen.
If you're struggling to achieve something, you have to ask yourself if you're LIVING as if you want something. If there is any secret to success, I'd say that it is to LIVE toward your goals, not just simply to WORK toward your goals.
What do I mean? Simply coming to my fitness class is WORK. You want to lose weight, so you come to my class, right? All you're doing is taking a particular action that would promote your goals. But here is when things go wrong: life gets busy, things come up, you get tired and forgetful, etc., etc. You would naturally put your health goals at second, third, fourth...seventh, and eighth place. Actions could be interrupted at any time. This is why you can't just simply work at something.
But when you are LIVING for a goal, then you won't just simply show up to class. You'd be reading books and magazines on nutrition, altering your meals to promote weight loss (or whatever health goal you have), and changing your schedule so that you could attend any fitness- or health-related events. This is when health becomes a LIFESTYLE, not just something that you do.
Don't just do it. LIVE it! The more you LIVE it, the closer you'd be to achieving what you want.
This applies to all areas of your life. Whether it's being a better parent, having better health, making more money, or getting better grades in school, you need to alter your lifestyle so that you could conquer your goals. Too many of us treat our goals like hobbies: we do them whenever it's convenient. Not many of us see our goals as urgent. We don't want to think that goals involve lifestyle changes. We have become so comfortable in the way that we're living that we get scared to make any changes to the way we live.
Here's a hard truth: if you're not willing to change your lifestyle, then don't expect to achieve what you want.
My daughter recently showed an example of living for a goal. I gave her a challenge to read 10 books within one week and she'll get a reward. These were good-sized books (for her age) she had to read. She had to sacrifice play time and T.V. time to get these books read. She was reading while in the bathroom at night, in the car, during the day, almost at any chance she got. She hit her goal early! She wasn't just reading whenever she remembered to. She was at it everyday. The reward was just too good to not go after it. She was living her life as a reader for that week.
So, what have you've been dreaming of accomplishing? Whatever it is, it's possible! The hard thing you have to do is to make lifestyle changes. If you could do that, then your goals are yours! If not, look for something else to accomplish.
Recently, my wife and I were calculating how much we needed to earn each week to pay all of our bills. After adding up the desired monthly income for the entire year, I was surprised at how little money we needed to survive. If you folks saw the numbers, I'd almost guarantee you that you'd fall over your chairs and ask, "How can a family of four live on that amount alone???"
One time, an older guy at our church showed us some apartments, and he explained to us the benefits of owning a house rather than renting. When discussing our combined income, he asked, "Do you guys make $50,000 a year?" That was his immediate guess, and my wife and I looked at each other and smirked. After telling him what we actually made, I could tell he was rather shocked -- but he did his best to hide it. He was probably thinking, "How in the world could a family of four survive on that???"
Another time, a friend of ours was doing our taxes. After seeing the numbers, she told my wife, "I'd be absolutely terrified of doing what you guys do!"
We don't even get any government assistance. We never sought it and we don't care to seek it. We just know how to live a "succulent life."
What do I mean? Think about so-called "desert plants" such as aloes and cacti. These plants are known as "succulents" because they hold a significant amount of water in their leaves and stems. Not only could they survive with very, VERY little water, they could also THRIVE without much water. They could grow big, produce more leaves, and even produce blooms with a very minute amount of water. Also, they could survive in the poorest kind of soil. The soil you wouldn't plant your precious petunias, geraniums, or lilies in, you could plant succulents in.
These plants were designed to hold their on with very little care. I have an aloe plant in my home and I think the longest I've went without watering it was AT LEAST one month. And it showed no signs of distress. It was actually producing more leaves!
I love succulents because not only are they beautiful and low maintenance, but also because they remind me that I don't need a lot in life to survive. Succulents remind me that it's not about how much I want, but how much I need. Succulents also remind me that in this life, there is very, very little that we humans need to live.
My family has one car that is only five years old. We live in a prime location. We have a pantry full of food, a thriving garden, two healthy children, and nobody is starving. We have high-speed internet and cable. How in the world could we get all of this stuff with the income that we have? Well, we know how to live the succulent lifestyle: to do a whole lot with very little.
While on our way to Wednesday Night Bible study, we were listening on the radio about someone who made x amount of money on his main job, but yet he "had" to work two other jobs to make ends meet. My wife and I, after hearing of his income, just shook our heads. We thought, "If we made the money that he made, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves!" We'd feel rich! But you see, when you live a succulent lifestyle, you can't make $30,000 a year and live as if you were making $50,000 a year. You can't make $50,000 a year and live as if you were making $100,000 a year.
Yes, I know, you got that new job promotion. You're making a few thousand dollars more per year! Okay, go ahead and celebrate by taking all your friends out to dinner. But afterwards, live as if you didn't get that promotion. Our temptation is to increase our standards of living when the money starts rolling in -- and later, we'd find ourselves struggling yet again.
I don't know about you, but the succulent lifestyle is rather freeing. I was quite relieved to see how little we actually needed. When the needs are low, it frees your mind. The more you need, the more grief you bring into your life. The more grief you have, the less you're able to enjoy your life.
In my life, I focus on NEEDS rather than WANTS. We generally confuse the two, don't we? How many of you have gone to a restaurant and told the waiter, "Yeah, I need..." First of all, the restaurant in itself isn't even a need! So, don't go in the restaurant talking about what you need. What you do need is to eat food -- what you DON'T need is to eat at a restaurant. You WANT to eat at a restaurant.
Or, how many of you have cable issues and called the company saying, "Yeah, I need to know..." Cable isn't a need. While it's nice to have (we have it ourselves), we don't NEED it. So, don't call your cable company talking about what you need. You WANT cable, you don't NEED it.
If we would look at what we actually need and learn how to live without many of our wants, we could start living the succulent lifestyle. We could not just survive, but we could THRIVE with very little -- only if you're willing to learn how. You don't need to live like a pauper. You just need to know what you actually need and how to maximize on the little resources that you have.
As a fitness trainer, I could give you a total body work-out, working everything from your shoulders to your ankles, without using ANY exercise equipment. Zero! I could just show up on your doorstep with nothing else but my clothes on, and I could take you to the middle of nowhere with nothing to workout with, and I could still build up your body. Using equipment is simply a bonus for me.
So, could you also live a succulent lifestyle? Could you learn to thrive with little? Could you maximize your small resources? Just think about this: knowing how to survive with little is a basic survival skill. If you don't have that skill, then when the money runs low, you'll go into panic mode and make many desperate decisions.
Go out and get yourself a succulent plant. Let it serve as a reminder to work with what you got and to make it count!
If you want to know discouragement, try teaching your children at home!
Teaching math to my children was perhaps the second biggest source of discouragement for me (teaching reading was perhaps number one on the list). Teaching basic addition wasn't easy! The hardest part about teaching addition was explaining when to carry a number. And don't even get me started on teaching subtraction!
Due to discouragement, I failed to be consistent in teaching them. I would teach them math for a few days, then take a long break from teaching it. Guess what? Once we started on math again, they would pretty much forget what I've taught them. And I'll be thinking, "Are you freaking kidding me??? You forgot how to do this basic problem that quickly???"
But finally, I had to just get past the discouragement and be consistent with the math lessons. Soon enough, my kids started to "get it." My daughter in particular quickly progressed from basic math to doing long division and converting mixed fractions -- all before the fourth grade. My son, while behind his sister, started to progress from basic math to more advance math.
Now just think if I just let discouragement keep me down. My kids would still be struggling with math to this day. I always had trouble with math when I was a kid and I don't want my kids having the same trouble as I had with math. Determination won out, and I'm proud to give my kids math assignments that they could complete on their own without my help.
When committing to anything, the one thing you need to conquer is discouragement. You will be discouraged several times before you start seeing positive progress. As long as you could get past the discouragement obstacles, you will start seeing favorable results.
Some of you know that my wife and I are big-time gardeners. But starting out was FULL of discouragement. Years ago, I started growing cantaloupe plants, but they died before producing fruit. I grew a pepper plant and it grew a pepper! Then it got eaten by what I think was a horned worm. We bought a tomato plant from the farmer's market that had tomatoes on it -- but the tomatoes started rotting out.
Then we purchased a vertical gardening tower and we grew these HUGE, beautiful squash plants -- and they got sick. I had to pull them out.
Trying again, we purchased another vertical gardening tower, and this time, after all the failed experiences we had, we started seeing good results. We started growing lots of food and even gave some food away! Finally, we started seeing good results!
When tempted to give up because of discouragement, don't do it. You never know what's on the other side if you keep pressing on!
I think about people who want to give up a bad habit. They stopped cold turkey for a few days and feel great -- until they got weak and gave in to their habits. Well, they try again, giving up cold turkey. They succeed for a few days, but then they fall back to their old habits.
After many of these failures, they decide to give up trying altogether. They think they'll be doomed to suffer from those bad habits. But they fail to understand that success comes after many discouraging road blocks. If you fail and give up, then you'd never know what you could have accomplished. But if you get past the discouragements and keep pressing on, then you could see the gold at the end of the rainbow.
How many things could you have accomplished had you not gotten discouraged? How far could you have traveled? How much weight could you have lost? How many bad habits could you have broken? Discouragement is there to remind you WHAT IS, instead of showing you what COULD BE. That is, discouragement tells you that you've failed, but it doesn't tell you what could happen if you keep trying.
When you commit to something, STICK TO IT if you truly see the potential in whatever it is you're committing to. Whether it's a business plan or a diet plan, if you see the potential, then stick with it. If you get discouraged along the way, just shake it off and keep going. You'll be discouraged before you be encouraged. Even if you get encouraged first, the encouragement won't last. The discouragement moments will come and you'd be faced with giving up or pressing on.
Whatever you commit to, give it time to show its true potential. Don't give up right away. Stick around. If you hang in there, you just might be pleasantly surprised at the end.
How do you add value to your home? With necessary renovations, repairs, and any additions that the general buyer would want such as a garage, a fence for the backyard, etc. Having a neat landscape would be icing on the cake. The purpose of increasing the value of your home is to make a nice profit from it should you decide to sell it -- or at the very least be reimbursed for everything that you've spent on the house.
Of course, you have certain home owners that do crazy things to decrease the value of their homes, such as painting them crazy colors, adding funky-looking wall paper, and making additions that seem to make no real sense. On top of that, having a poor landscape, not making any repairs, and making no renovations (you know, like a kitchen that hasn't been updated since 1974). All of these things decrease the value of your home to the point where not only would you NOT make a profit on your home, but you would actually LOSE money. If you've spent $100,000 on your home, you may only get half of that back.
Now think about adding or losing value in our personal lives. Everyday, we make choices that would either add value to us or take away value from us. Think about how you spend your typical day. Are you doing things that would make improvements to your character, or are you doing things that would make you LESS of who you are?
Whenever I have down time on the job, my natural inclination is to go on Facebook and veg out. But then I realized that doing this isn't adding any value to my life. Or when I'm at home and I have nothing to do, I would turn the T.V. on (or go on Facebook, too!). Again, this adds no value to my life. Instead of vegging out in front of the tube, I could be learning a new language, something that actually adds value to my life!
When you're in the car, you want to listen to some music. While I believe music is important for relaxation, you could be listening to something that would BETTER improve your character such as listening to a language CD, or a personal development CD, or just mediating and reflecting on life.
If you're not happy with the kind of person you are, then ask yourself how much time are you spending doing things that add value to your life. If all you do is go to work, watch T.V., and go to sleep, then you're not adding any value to your life.
You know, when I step back and look at the amount of time that I waste, man, it would shame me to death! I could easily waste 10 minutes just sitting on the couch staring into space. What could I have done in 10 minutes? I could have read a few pages in a book, or do some cleaning, or, in my field, do some exercises. Instead, I just wasted 10 minutes in a zombie state of mind!
Sleep is one my top weaknesses. I LOVE sleep! Even if I get up absolutely refreshed, if it's still dark outside, I'll go back to sleep -- then wake up miserable because I've slept too much. I've been doing this for years, and you'd think I'd learn my lesson by now! Nope, I continue to do it, not understanding that nobody needs too much sleep. Your body just needs enough to restore itself. So, by sleeping for an extra two or three hours, I've just wasted the opportunity to use those hours to make some personal improvements.
Don't get to the point in your life where you think you're perfect. Don't get to the point where you don't think you need any improvements. Want a little test to show that you need to make some improvements? If you....
Then you need to make some improvements! Just imagine what kind of person you'd be if you're always doing something that makes you better and better. Think about how much you'd boost your self-esteem. Think about the opportunities that would present themselves to you. Think about all the places you could go in life if you would only be willing to do something everyday that adds value to your life.
So, before you cut that T.V. on, or before you run around looking for Pokémon, or before you decide to sleep in for an extra 10 minutes, think about what valuable thing you could do instead. Don't dread the things that add value. Dread the things that don't add value, because the more you engage in non-valuable activities, the less valuable you would be. In this world, we need more people that ADD value, not take away value.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.