Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life

Posts Tagged ‘Life

Don’t Compare Yourself With Anyone

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As we strive to improve ourselves, it is tempting to compare ourselves with others. No matter how much we are failing, there will be someone else we can look at and tell ourselves that at least we are doing better than them. On the flip side, it is also true that no matter how successful we are, there will be someone else doing better.

Comparing ourselves with others is a destructive habit. It can prevent us from pushing forward when faced with failure and it can be demotivating when we are succeeding.

When you compare yourself with someone else, you are not seeing the whole truth. Everyone is different, with different motivations, advantages, backgrounds and strengths. Someone who is doing better than you at one aspect of life, may be struggling in others where you excel. A person who is failing where you are doing well, may not place the same level of importance on that particular endeavor. Whatever the differences, when you compare yourself to someone else, it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

The better approach is to look to others for inspiration and strategies. It is not only acceptable to look to others for ideas, it is required to succeed. The difference is that you need to be more concerned with the behaviors than the results. Ask yourself: What is the other person doing that contributed to their success and is this a behavior I can adopt?

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

June 11, 2014 at 7:42 am

Always Do What You Believe Is Right

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Whatever your goals are, I’m going to advise that you should do whatever it takes. However, this does not include doing things that are against the law or against your principles. Sometimes it appears that the only way to get ahead in life is to lie, cheat, steal and step on others. People who are willing to push aside ethics may have an advantage in terms of material success, but anyone who breaks the rules will ultimately be a failure regardless of how much money, power or luxury items they have.

We all know this is true. We’ve all seen examples of people who appear to have it all but yet we instinctively know them for the loser that they are. No amount of bling can cover a dark heart.

Throughout my life, I’ve been at a number of crossroads where I was given a choice between doing something I know is wrong to get a little further ahead or doing the right thing and deal with a setback. I always chose to do what I believe was the right thing. I don’t agonize over it and I don’t look back and regret it. They way I see it is that I don’t have a choice. I do what’s right no matter what the stakes are.

I’ve been accused of being self-righteous when I suggest that we always do the right thing. It’s not about “righteousness” – it’s about being able to appreciate and enjoy everything you’ve earned. If you don’t earn it the right way, you will always wonder if you could have achieved it without violating your principles.

Self doubt can be extremely difficult to deal with. We need every bit of evidence we can get to prove to ourselves that we are worthy of success. Every time you cheat your principles you are building a case against your self worth. You are providing evidence that you are a fake. On the other hand, if you take the high road and refuse to compromise on your principles, you can be proud of everything you have an earn.

I struggled for years with my principle based lifestyle. Some days, I would feel like a schmuck who was passing up on an opportunity while others did whatever they wanted to get ahead. Now that I’m older, I can look back and know I made the right choice. I appreciate all that I have and I’m proud of what I accomplished. I can raise my kids knowing that I am a worthwhile father. People who know me, respect and trust me.

Trust, respect and love are the greatest things in life. You only grow those aspect of your life by living within your principles. It take years to build trust and respect but you can lose all of it in a single day. Once you do something to violate that trust, people will question everything you’ve ever accomplished.

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

May 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

We Were Designed To Be Physical Beings

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Whether it was evolution or intelligent design, we were designed to meet the physical challenges of the natural world. The environment would push us to grow strong and be able to endure harsh conditions.

In the name of progress, we’ve become removed from the natural conditions that help shape us. The artificial environment we’ve created that compels us to avoid physical activity and exertion is incompatible with our design. As a result we all are at risk of poor health and unhappiness.

In the same way we created an artificial environment, we’ve also created treatments to keep us alive and functioning. Heart disease is no longer a definite death sentence. Diabetes is now treated so the afflicted can continue to live even though they must endure are difficult at best.

Most of the population is unaware that modern living conditions have such a disastrous effect on us as individuals and as a society. They may consider their sedentary desk jobs preferable to physically demanding work. They are unaware that they have a need for physical challenges. They may sense that something is missing from their lives but without knowing what that is, they may seek comfort from drugs or alcohol. At best, they may come to depend on the mind-numbing practice of watching TV – who can blame them.

Some find an effective way to simulate the conditions that we humans thrive in. They pursue activities such as weight training, running, biking or do something with a more direct link to the natural environment like mountain climbing, surfing or skiing. Whatever it is, they’ve figured out that they need physical challenges to be the type of being they were meant to be.

I’ve lived both the sedentary lifestyle and the physically challenging lifestyle and it became obvious to me that the life of comfort and ease is a cage that we must avoid. Down that road lies stress, unhappiness and an endless yearning for something more out of life.

While some of us have found a way to work around the conditions we live in, it’s not easy. Our work places and schools are not designed to allow for physical activity. Yesterday as I went for a walk about the building where I work, I had to cut across lawns, walk on the street and avoid traffic. The designers of the building obviously intended employees to only walk from the car to the cubical. It would have been simple for them to add a path around the building but I imagine it didn’t even cross their minds.

We can do better. Individuals can choose to seek out physical challenges, but those that do are the lucky ones who were somehow guided down that path. Most people will not be that fortunate. Society has many labels for people who seek physical fitness : runners, weight lifters, fitness nuts, gym rat, surfer and so on. For myself, I’ve heard the term fitness nut applied to me. I’m not a “fitness nut”, I’m a human being doing what a human being is meant to do.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

April 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

Become Who You Were Meant To Be

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When getting assistance from a mentor or a coach, one may will take offense that they are being told to change who they are. But they are mistaken to feel that way.

Each of us is born with a blueprint of the person we are supposed to be. When we are young, it is obvious that we need to grow into that person. Children accept that learning and growth is part of their lives. But at some arbitrary age, society labels us as “adults”. We are considered matured and done with learning and  growing.

The truth is that we are is defined by the entirety of lives and the legacy we leave. We are not simply who we are when we reach a certain age. When we,  even as adults, continue to learn and grow, we are striving to become the person we were meant to be.

Even though I am over 40, I continue to find new ways to learn and grow. My behaviors and habits are not the same as they were twenty years ago or even just a year ago. However, I feel more at ease with who I am with the new behaviors and I’m excited to learn more about myself as I try new things.

When people reject opportunities to learn and grown, they are not defending who they are, but rather stopping themselves from being the person they were meant to be.

 

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

March 23, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Fitness Knowledge is Power

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One of the key factors to getting in shape is knowledge. It doesn’t matter what program or routine you are trying out, if you don’t acquire the right knowledge about fitness, diet and exercise you will fail. With the Internet, there is no excuse for not having access to knowledge. I just Google the term “weight loss” and the first link I saw was http://www.webmd.com/diet/. I went to that page and found a great deal of information – more than I could read in one sitting.

But don’t stop at the first site you see. Keep looking. Your journey should be a constant process of discovery. You need to find out what works best for you. The common advice will get you where you want to go but you may also find tips and tricks that speeds up the process or fits your lifestyle better.

Knowledge is power. I don’t provide a lot of detailed advice on my blog because I know how easy it is to find. I can tell you that you need to avoid sugar but if you want to learn why you can find that information easily.

Learning what exercises to do or what foods to eat is not the hard part. The most difficult aspect of getting in shape is figuring out for yourself how to keep going. What level of progression is too fast or too slow depends on the individual. I’ve pushed myself too hard on occasion and paid the price but I had to find out what my limits are. No book, video or magazine article is going to tell me how much I can take.

The acquisition of knowledge is not just about techniques and strategies. You also need to gain, what I’m going to call, motivational knowledge. Humans learn best by watching others. If we someone else doing something that helps us believe that we can do it. For this reason, I routinely look for success stories and motivation videos online. Go to YouTube and search the term “fitness motivation” and you will find thousands of videos of people working out or offering words of encouragement. Sure some of it may be over the top and extreme, but in the quest to get motivated you often have to witness the fringes of what’s possible.

The answers are out there. You just need to go find them.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

March 22, 2014 at 10:28 am

How To Keep Going When You Aren’t Feeling It

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For the past few days, I haven’t been feeling the excitement that I usually feel as I move towards my fitness goals. I’ve hit a plateau in my strength training and my percentage of body fat is so low that progress in that area is not perceptible. In other words, I’m in the best position to take it to the next level.

I’m at the point where most people give up. I know that moving forward when I’m not feeling it, is what success is all about. When I look at myself in the mirror, it’s obvious that I’ve achieved a level of fitness higher than most men in their 40’s. In my current circle of family and friends I’m at the top of the fitness curve even when I factor in the younger members.

The thing that keeps me going is that I know I can do better and I want to do better. The standards of the community are not as important as my standards for myself. It would be easy to take it easy knowing that I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished, but that’s not the path I’ve chosen.

I’m not a competitive bodybuilder or fitness model. I have little extrinsic motivation to push myself beyond what is needed for general fitness and health.  But I know if I stop pushing forward when I have more to give, I’ll be disappointed. I’ll always wonder what I could have achieved.

When you are not feeling it, know that you are at the point of greatest potential. This is the beginning of your journey, not the end. If you get past this slump, you will have achieved something beyond your usual limits. Once you do that, you will question other limits you think you have.

I know this because I’ve gone past other self-imposed limits before. I remember feeling like I was done and that I couldn’t possibly move forward, but I kept going anyway and found I was just getting started. The first time I did that, it was a life changing experience and made me question the limits of what I could achieve.

When you  aren’t feeling that the excitement and passion that got you started, this is when you must lean into it and embrace the challenge of getting past it. Once you do, you’ll find a new and deeper level of passion and determination that will drive you even further towards your goals.

 

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

March 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

Staying On Course During a Crisis

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As most people, my health and fitness journey has had its ups and downs. I would commit to eating right and exercising regularly but then would drop everything when a crisis occurred. Even regular events, such as the holidays, would distract me.

Below is a list of a few crisis situations that would derail my health and fitness goals:

  • Car accident
  • Death in the family
  • Sickness
  • Job loss
  • Looking for a new job
  • Getting a new job
  • Buying a new home

My wife and I no longer allow myself to get distracted when a major life events happen. We’ve given up on giving up. Since we made this commitment, we’ve had several life events and managed to stay on course during each one.

To accomplish this required preparation and planning.The first step was to examine our crisis behavior in the past. We looked back at particularly tragic episode in our lives and asked ourselves if putting off our diet and exercise during that time actually helped us cope. We both agreed that we would have handled the situation better if we had continued with our healthy lifestyle. In fact, the unhealthy food and lack of exercise made the situation worse and contributed to the grief and anguish we experienced.

We had given up on healthy eating and exercise when we needed it most.

So now, regardless of whatever happens, we always make time for exercise and continue to eat a healthy diet. It’s been something we’ve come to rely on during times of crisis. It makes me happy to see my wife hop on the treadmill after a tough day at work as a way to unwind rather than sit on the couch watching TV.

One thing that was tough for us to accept was that no matter what happens, our healthy lifestyle is not negotiable.

Currently, my 6 year old daughter is sick. She has a fever that’s been peaking at 104.5 and needs our constant attention. For the past 3 days, my wife and I have had to wake up several times a night to care for our daughter. Last night at 1 AM, she was crying, vomiting and her fever hit 104. It took us an hour to calm her down and get her back to sleep but I stayed awake longer just in case. Despite all that, when I woke a 6 AM, I dragged myself downstairs and ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes – not my best workout but priceless considering the circumstances.

Would it have hurt if I missed my workout this morning? Physically, there would be little harm missing a workout or two. Mentally, if I missed a workout it would have set me back. It’s a slippery slope when you choose to miss a workout.

Nobody would fault me for taking the day off when dealing with a sick child. But, it is just a fever that kids get and I’m not dealing with anything that millions of parents haven’t dealt with before. Missing a workout due to my child having  a common fever would just be an excuse.

There may be times where workouts will be missed for valid reasons. We just have to be honest without ourselves. As for diet, I can think of any reason why one would need to mess up their diet due to a life event. Having a bad day at work is not an excuse to eat more.

When you are committed to a healthy lifestyle you have to plan on what to do when life tries to knock you off course. You can’t go forward with the expectation that nothing bad (or great) will happen. You have to tell yourself that when (not if) an unplanned life event occurs you will still find time to exercise and continue to eat healthy.

 

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

March 3, 2014 at 11:39 am

Physical Fitness is a Life Enhancer

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My grandmother, who would have been considered morbidly obese, lived to be 98 years old. She died peacefully in her sleep, no heart attack, stroke, diabetes or anything else the doctors could label. She must have weighed 300 pounds or more but as far as I can remember she never had with any health issues.

My grandfather, was lean and relatively active when he died in his sixties of a heart attack.

Sometimes when I try promoting exercise and healthy eating, someone will bring up a cases where supposedly fit people died young of heart attacks.

There are many factors related to good health so you can’t look at one specific condition, such as visible body fat, as the only indicator.

My obese grandmother was a very happy person with a great laugh and a loving spirit. It could be that  her attitude and her genetics overrode the life threatening effects of excess body fat.

My seemingly fit grandfather liked to drink beer. He was also a smoker for many years until he quit later in life. He was also eating the same food that made my grandmother fat.

If I could go back in time, I would still advise my grandmother to exercise and eat healthy. She lived a long life but she never left the house. I don’t have any fond memories of her coming to school plays or her taking me to the park or zoo. I don’t think she lived as full of a life as she could have. She may have been healthy from a medical standpoint, but can you really consider someone who never leaves the house as healthy?

When I attended my grandmother’s funeral, I met friends and family members I didn’t know I had.  After the funeral, we had a gathering (they called it as “mercy meal”?). It was good to talk to everyone and hear stories about my grandparents. Even though it was my grandmothers funeral and my grandfather had been dead over twenty years, most of the stories were about him. I heard so many stories about my grandfather that day and was amazed at the life he led.

While my grandmother lived much longer than my grandfather, it was my grandfather who had the fullest life.

A few days ago, our area got hit with over a foot of snow. During the storm, I spent hours outside playing in the snow with my wife and 6 year old daughter. We were a couple in our mid-forties,  sledding and having a snowball fight with a 6 year old. What an amazing life we have! That is just one example of a something we do that most people our age won’t or can’t do.

For most people, maintaining a healthy weight will increase their lifespan. For all of us, maintaining a healthy weight will increase the fullness of life.

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

Posted in Fitness, Life

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Things Are Not Always as They Seem

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Have you ever had a strong belief that you had to give up based on new information or growth of character?

I have.

Knowing that I have had to change my beliefs in the past makes me question that beliefs I hold now.  The truth is that you can’t be certain of anything.

So, knowing that our beliefs can be faulty, should we temper our commitment to our beliefs? Should we hesitate to commit towards fighting for our beliefs? For me, the answer is no.

It is not immoral to defend a false belief. If you believe in something, then you would not be true to yourself if you didn’t stand up for your beliefs. What is immoral is continuing to defend a belief when you know it is not true.

There’s this temptation to reject any information that contradicts something you’ve believed for so long, especially when you’ve internalized that belief and made it part of your identity. Giving up on it may mean that you are no longer the person you once were. It is terrifying to give up on long held beliefs and try to figure out who you are now they are no longer part of you. Until your figure out who you are without the belief, it can feel as if you have no identity.

It is better to struggle for years trying to rebuild your identity, than it is to take the default, false identity that came with your initials beliefs.

Too many people take the beliefs of their parents without question. This may be why we still struggle with racism, homophobia and misogyny despite the many enlightened leaders who have been giving evidence to the world that these are false beliefs and have no place in today’s society. Our culture as a whole has moved on from these outdated ideas, but there are still individuals or even sections of our society that refuse to give up on those beliefs that their parents and grandparents defended as the world changed.

I’m not asking anyone to replace their beliefs with mine. All I’m saying is that a person who wants to be true and whole, must question their beliefs. One way to start the questioning process if to ask if a belief is based on the truth as you know it or on the truth as it was told to you by those who want or demand that you believe what they do.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 2, 2014 at 1:55 am

Working out When You Don’t Feel like It

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When I got home from work today, I did not feel like working out. I did anyway.

After I was done my workout, I realized how right I was to ignore the urge to sit on the couch and watch TV. I did what I had committed to do and now my life was better for it. If I hadn’t worked out what would I have gained? I could have done something else worthwhile but I would have been fooling myself if I used that as a reason.

We have to be honest with ourselves and realize that there are going to be days where we aren’t inspired to work towards our goals. It’s easy to do something meaningful when there is a fire in our belly. Doing it when we rather not is what really determines long term success.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

January 28, 2014 at 9:49 pm