Epic Fitness Member Spotlight – Audrey Workman

Audrey Workman has an amazing story to tell!  With the help of her teammates in our most recent New Year New You Transformation challenge, she has had some amazing improvements in her health and fitness!  She has lost over 20 pounds of fat and almost 12 total inches off her waist and hips.

If you are looking for a sustainable change, check out our latest 28 day kickstart program here!

Check out her story below, along with her teammate Kate Harvey:

 

Member Spotlight Video – Stacey Carroll

We are so excited to be sharing Stacey’s story.  Stacey had an amazing transformation in our most recent New Year New You Challenge and in a short 42 days lost 4.5% body fat, 7.5 inches total off her waist and hips, and 8.5 pounds of fat!

Her story is a true inspiration of what hard work, dedication and habit building can do over the log haul!

April’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Donation Classes

For the entire month of April, Epic Fitness is teaming up with Awaken Studios and Woman Of The Year Candidate Tiffanie Booker to raise as much awareness and funds as possible to support the LLS mission to end blood cancers.

We are honored to be a part of this fundraising effort.  Here is how it works:

  • All members and non-members are welcome to join us every Saturday in April and attend our Metabolic Strength class at 9:30am (non-members arrive at 9:15am to fill out a quick participation questionnaire.) 
  • The minimum donation for the class is $5 (you can donate as much as you want!) and Epic Fitness will match EVERY donation dollar for dollar!
  • Every penny goes directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and their mission to end all blood cancers.  

Here is all the information below, along with a video where you can meet this years Girl of the year and learn more about the Man And Woman Of The Year competition:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Girl of the Year

Epic Fitness Guest Member Spotlight – Dan Bailey

Epic Fitness Member Dan Bailey, who just joined us as a member in January and who just completed our 6 week New Year New You Transformation Program shares his story below.  In just a short 6 weeks, Dan made an amazing transformation losing over 26 pounds of fat and more than 5 total inches lost in his waist and hips combined.  This helped his team of three win the cash grand prize of $3,000!  These changes have spilled into other areas of his life, which he talks about below.

Where were you before you joined and became a client of our gym? How were you feeling?

I had lost about 50 pounds of weight, starting in August of 2016.  I was just doing Weight Watchers.  It had worked but only to a point.  I could never get to the next level.  I wanted to be the best me possible, and I could not do it myself.  I needed help to get there.  I was feeling frustrated with the results I was getting. I needed to do something different.

What was your turning point that you decided to take action and become a member?

I think for me, I just got tired of trying the same thing over and over.  I was getting older, and was growing very tired of carrying all the extra weight around.  I was very afraid of the potential health problems that would come find me if I did not do something about it.  I also want to keep living life at a high level as I grow old, and I would not be able to do that if I kept going the way I was.  Knowing I could not be healthy without some help I started to look for it.  It just happens I know a world class strength coach, Dan John, who told me to go to Epic Fitness and work with their team.  Looking back, I wish I had done it 5 years ago.

What happened when you joined?  What are some of the biggest changes since you have joined?

When I joined, I was super nervous at first.  But right away, everybody there accepted me, and I fell in love with the Epic family.  Everybody there is so positive, and I feel so alive every time I leave after working out. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed, but when you look in the mirror, it is so worth it.  The biggest changes for me is my physical appearance.  My clothes either don’t fit me anymore, because they are too big, or things I have not worn in years now fit.  Everywhere I go, people comment on how good I look.  I don’t take complements well, so that is a big change for me, in a great way.  I have more muscle and strength than I ever thought I would. I don’t get winded as easily anymore, skiing is way more fun, and I have made a whole new group of friends!

 

 

 

 

 

What would you tell other people about Epic Fitness?

I would tell people how great Epic Fitness is!  The entire team of coaches and staff are all amazing to work with!  The programs that are developed individually for you work great, and the support you get from everyone is amazing. It really feels like a community, a group that everyone is welcome to be a part of. Epic is by far the best gym I have ever been to, and was the best decision I have ever made for my health and mental well-being.  It is making me the best me I can be, and upgrading my life daily!  Do yourself and everyone who loves you a favor, and join Epic fitness, it will make you the person you always knew was inside you!  I only wished I had started sooner!

Epic Fitness Guest Spotlight – Barbara Spring

We are delighted to share Barbara (Barb!) Spring’s Epic story.  Barb is just barely coming up on her first year with us, and she came in with a big fitness background and exercised almost daily, but continued to get nagging injuries that would hold her back.  Barb is a great example of the positive things that can occur when you have a specific program that is customized to your own unique ability level.  Here is Barbs story!

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Where were you before you joined and became a client of our gym? How were you feeling?

I had back pain, leg aches, shoulder pain and I felt like I was going down hill faster than I wanted to be for my age.  I learned from the Epic team that I was doing a lot of things wrong that I shouldn’t have been doing.

 What was your turning point that you decided to take action?

Actually it was when I retired because I felt like I had more time to devote to my health. I knew of Epic Fitness through a friend and I thought  “Why not support a local business with a trainer I knew!”

Why had you not joined in the past? 

I thought I was doing everything myself that was good for me.  I was running, doing free weights, riding a bike but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted because I was wasn’t getting any stronger. I learned later that some the exercise things I was doing were wrong for me and my needs.

 What happened when you joined?  What surprised you?

That I had more endurance than I thought I would and that I was more coordinated than I thought I would be.  And that I caught on as fast as I did even though I didn’t speak the gym language.  Because all of the coaches are there all of the time so if you have a question there is always someone there watching you and you can ask.  That made the biggest difference for me is that there is always someone watching, if you are doing something wrong they catch it right away.  They correct it instead me of doing it wrong for weeks at a time.

 What were some of the biggest changes you noticed during the first several months of your membership?

I noticed after the first month I was gaining more muscle.  I see it in my arms.  I feel like I have more strength when I am doing yard work, lifting grandchildren, and daily living I just feel stronger that I was before.

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 How do you feel now?

I feel like I want to continue because it is such a good program.  It’s a very friendly gym, everyone is nice, no one is judgmental, everyone is just trying to improve their lives.  The staff is wonderful!  It is also great because “everyone knows your name” just like in the show “Cheers”.  A very friendly, home like environment that I come to just about every day!

Epic Fitness Guest Spotlight – Jackie Brewer

Jackie was brave enough to share her very emotional and touching story with all of us.  She is living proof to what a supportive environment and community can do to your life, even when you are on the brink of letting everything go.  We are so proud to see Jackie’s progress in such a short period of time.  Since joining 7 months ago she has undergone not only a physical transformation, but emotional as well.

We are convinced it is not just the diet and exercise that has changed Jackie’s mindset and life, it is also the social support and community support she gets each time she steps foot in the gym.  Her story is raw and emotional, and if one person reading this can make some of the changes that she has in her life and model what she is doing, then we feel so grateful for her being so open to share to possibly change another persons life.  Here is Jackie’s story, in her own words.

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Where were you before you joined and became a member of our gym?  How were you feeling?

I was eating and drinking myself to death.  I would stay up late and sleep all day, usually at least 12 hours.  Although I would drink several energy drinks a day, I always felt exhausted.  I was a slug.

What was your turning point when you decided to take action?

My depression had become so severe I no longer wanted to live.  I had thoughts almost daily of how I would end my life without devastating my family.  I no longer enjoyed activities that were once my favorite, like softball. When I played softball I would get someone to run for me every time I got a base hit, because I believed everyone was making fun of me and my size.

Why had you not joined our gym in the past? 

I felt that I was too far gone.  I felt that becoming the person I always wanted to be was impossible.  I felt like being in a gym would be too uncomfortable.

What happened when you first joined?  What surprised you?

The environment in the gym was unreal.  I NEVER feel uncomfortable or judged by other members.  At the start I was very nervous and felt very insecure.  All of that disappeared quickly because of the “family” environment. I was surprised at how quickly I became stronger!  Within weeks I could do things I never could have imagined doing in the beginning.

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 How do you feel now?

I feel like a different person.  I feel stronger physically and emotionally!  I now am excited about what life has in store for me.

Epic Fitness Guest Spotlight – Charlene Dansie

In just the last eight months, Charlene has been able to not only transform her body but also transform her mind.  She has been such a good example of what fitness can do to your mindset, even when you think there is no way out from the pain or stress of your life.  Her story is inspirational, and we are so honored to be able to share it here!

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Where were you before you joined and became a client of our gym? How were you feeling?

I was in a pretty rough spot. I had been taking care of my husband who had been sick, lost him and had my own health scare.  I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even walk around the block without stopping 4 or 5 times, to catch my breath.  I had no energy, I had no breath. Basically, I went to work then went home and crashed on the couch.

 What was your turning point that you decided to take action?

 I just decided I didn’t want to live like that. There was no quality of life, there was nothing to keep me going.  I talked to Kambie, my niece, one of the coaches at Epic Fitness and asked if she would work with me.

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What are some of your biggest changes?

I was able to walk around the block again,  and not walk around the lake in my neighborhood. It is about 3.5 miles around.  I haven’t made it all the way yet but I have made it about halfway.  I have a better attitude, I have more energy, and I feel happy!

 

What happened when you joined?  What surprised you?

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoy it, how great the trainers are to work with, and  how the trainers are always there to help you and correct anything you need help with.   All the other clients are fun to be around and always very encouraging and up lifting.  I am also down three dress sizes!!

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5 steps to becoming successful in 2017

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Time to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017!  No more looking back on the past, what could have been or how things should have gone.  Stop focusing on the past and things you can no longer change and start focusing in on the wonderful future that lies ahead of you!

The great thing about it being a new year is that you can start from a pretty clean slate – turn the calendar and start fresh.  This is a time when New Years’ Resolutions become oh so popular again, yet only about 8% of the people are successful in reaching their “resolution.”  That means ultimately 92% of us end up not reaching the goals we set out to accomplish.  There must be a better way, right?  There is!

Here are the 5 steps to become successful in 2017:

  1. Focus on being happy!

There, I said it.   H-a-p-p-y.  I know, there is so much stuff going on around us that it becomes so tough to control our own emotions.  But this is literally the #1 thing that will transform your life, and the great news is, only YOU have the power to control this one thing, no one else.  Your attitude is a direct reflection of who you are.  It is essentially your attitude towards life that will determine life’s attitude towards you.  Basic cause and effect.  Everything we say or do will cause a reciprocal cause and effect.

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If we are happy and cheerful, glad for the opportunity to wake up and flip our eyelids open every morning and experience this miracle of life, others will reflect that positive attitude back to us.  Quite simply, we get back what we put out.

So as a test, try this next time you greet a co-worker, friend or even a stranger – SMILE!  Be accepting and positive to the people you decide to surround yourself with.  Be positive and giving, what is amazing is the reciprocity that occurs with this type of mindset, the mindset of being happy!  Remember, you have a choice every morning when you wake up.  Make the choice to be happy and you will find your life and the people in your life start to change with you.

In all honesty, you may be reading this and thinking to yourself “Be positive, be happy – is it really that easy?”  Why not try it out for yourself and see what happens.  I bet more people start greeting you differently, and with a smile, and soon your goals and aspirations become easier to achieve.

  1. Use the 1% Rule

This one is a game changer, and directly correlates with your attitude as well.  At Epic Fitness, one of our core values is to treat each person we come in contact with as an appreciating asset.  What does that mean?  We believe that every person has their own unique starting point when it comes to fitness and health, and we respect that by meeting each person exactly where they currently are on their journey.

We also believe that every person that we come in contact with should be getting 1% better each and every time we see them, and we hold ourselves accountable to that by asking the question “Did you get 1% better today?”  Now, this is a tough one to quantify, but in terms of health and wellness we are looking for those small improvements that move the body and mind forward towards a bigger goal.  We believe that every person can get 1% stronger, fitter or healthier by just focusing intently on bringing a little more each time they come in.

This can really work in any area of your life.  You can get 1% better spiritually by taking an extra 5 minutes a day to meditate or pray.  You can get 1% better with your nutrition by eating one extra serving of vegetables or having that extra glass of water at night.  Honestly, this works in every area of your life!

I feel like this can be very powerful in many ways, start with having the mindset every morning when you wake up that you will be 1% better in just one area in your life, then go after it!

  1. Focus on gratitude

Every day, there are so many things we can be grateful for but we never seem to make that connection on WHY we are so grateful for each thing in our life.  To keep it easy, start writing down one thing you are grateful for, then one or two reasons why you have gratitude for that thing.  This way, you can focus intently on just one thing a day to start, and your reasons of why are the powerful uppercut punches on what keeps driving you forward to achieving whatever it is in life you want to achieve.

I will share a personal one with you:

“I am grateful to have a family that supports me in what I do and love every day.  I am grateful for this because it allows me to serve more people in my mission to help as many people become the best version of themselves.  I am also grateful for this because it allows me to be a great mentor to my two sons.”

Start with your “what” and end with your “why.”  This will make your gratitude powerful and allow you to look back at what you wrote and keep you motivated moving forward and to be grateful for what you have in life, no matter what it is.

  1. Seek out those who have done it before – find a mentor or coach that can lead you down the right path

This is one step that most people skip, because they often think they can go at their goals alone, but end up making little to no progress because they just didn’t ask for help.

In whatever you want to accomplish, look to people from the past that have accomplished a similar goal before and use their formula since you know it already works.  Or, even better, seek out their mentors or coaches and get the expert coaching or training that they received.  This will knock off so much time in you reaching whatever goal you want to accomplish.

For example, if you are looking for a good financial advisor you could research what some of the top minds in finance are doing and then seek out the experts they used and use them for your goals.  If you are looking to make a transformation in your health and wellness, research the coaches and gyms that are getting the best results with their clients.  Hiring an expert will catapult you so you can take the straight path towards success, without all the bumps and roadblocks along the way.

  1. Become a goal “Doer”

We highlighted these 7 steps in an article last year that received a lot of great attention, and feel if you use these simple steps you can accomplish really anything you want to.

1. Be specific

Write down what you want to accomplish and EXCACTLY when you will accomplish it. Using our example, you might say, “I will lose 10 pounds by March 29th, 2017 at 3:30pm.” That is how specific you need to be, have an end date (and time) you will complete the goal by.  Place this specific goal somewhere you can see it and read it daily, like on your bathroom mirror.

2. Develop a purpose for each goal

Find out what your red hot “Why” is for achieving your goal. Why are you so passionate about achieving this goal?   Answer that question, and this will really ignite your passion to achieve your goal.  Using our example above your “why” might be, “I want to feel like I did on my wedding day and honeymoon and have the energy to be able to do the things in life that are fun and exciting again.”  Having a purpose for each goal will really get you jazzed and excited to accomplish your goal!

3. List others who can help you reach your goal

This is an area that is more often forgotten. It’s okay to ask for help accomplishing your goals. Think of these important questions – Who can help you achieve this goal?  Or, who can serve as mentors to help you achieve this goal? (See #4 above!

4. Create your plan

What are the exact action steps that you need to take to achieve your goal?  Figure that out, then work your plan backwards.  As the great author Dan Kennedy was quoted saying, “Start with the end in mind.” It is hard enough to have this enormous goal and looking up at the mountain thinking to yourself, “How am I going to make it all the way up there?”  When you could just start at the top and work your plan back all the way to where you are today!

5. Find solutions for potential obstacles

Again here is another overlooked step that many people never do.  Think of any obstacle that may come up and find solutions to those obstacles.  So when you do run into one, or two, there is a clear, drawn out solution to solve the problem.  As the author Sun Tzu famously stated in his book The Art of War, “Every battle is won before it is fought.

6. Take massive action now!

No, I do not mean write down your goals and just look at them every day, meditate and magically one day your dreams will come true!  That will never happen.  I mean really take action right this minute!  Ask yourself, which steps (see Step #4) will I immediately take action on, now?

7. Evaluate your progress and make any necessary adjustments

Always be asking yourself, “Am I on target with my goals?  Am I taking the necessary steps needed to achieve my goals?”  Make sure you are doing at least a weekly assessment of your progress, and if any adjustments do need to be made, make them! It’s okay to update your plan as things in life change.

Take action on each and every one of these 5 steps, make them part of your daily routine and I promise YOU CAN AND WILL BE SUCCESSFUL!!  Good luck and here’s to an amazing new year!

 

5 Keys To Create Success in Life

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We all live in a life where we can easily be bombarded by all of the not-so-important things and allow our lives to be flooded by things that are outside of our control.  Social media, election banter and emails are the first three things that come to mind that can flood our time and lives, and finding control in this world is key to staying successful on what is important.

What is important to you?  Spending more time with your spouse and kids?  Having more of a scheduled and prepared day?  Being able to workout and take care of your health on a daily basis?  All of these things should be important to most of us, we just need to learn how to prioritize our lives in a way to make the right choices to conquer our days.  Here are 5 keys to create success in life and to take your days back.

  1. Keep the main thing the main thing, or keep the goal the goal

It is important to make sure you know what your #1 top priority for the day is and get that done first, with absolutely no distractions.  We all have “to-do” lists and things we never seem to get to, but we need to stay focused on what is most important and do just that ONE thing each day.

Also, if you have set a goal for yourself to reach down the road, make sure you write down daily targets that will get you closer to your goal.  An example of this – if you want to lose 10 pounds over an 8 week period, your daily targets may be that you will eat protein at each meal, or drink an extra glass of water before bed and when you wake up.  It can be something so simple, but when written down and actually acted upon it becomes very powerful to getting you closer to your goals.

  1. Stop doing time management, start doing priority management

For every task during the day, you should have a priority set for each task, and a time allotted for each task.  Think of the highest priority items first, as well as what you can implement or get done the fastest.  We all know that checking things off our “to-do” lists can be very motivating, so start with those items that are the highest priority and can be done the fastest and then set a time in your schedule for when you are going to complete the task.  This will ensure that you are not checking your email 10 times a day, or looking at social media on the hour every hour.  My business coach and mentor, Alwyn Cosgrove calls this strategy “Force Ranking.”

You would start with your primary question or goal of what you want to accomplish, then work backwards from there and start to fill in all the items you need to complete and with what impact and speed each action item brings to the table.  Here is an example of what your force ranking system would look like:

Force Ranking – Primary Question?  Ask this question first.

Item- what needs to be completed to help aid in your primary question Impact – (1-5)

5 = huge impact

1 = small impact

Speed – (1-5)

5 = quickly implement

1 = slow to implement

Total (2-10)

Total score from both columns

The high impact and faster items to implement  would be what you would work on first (scores totaling 8-10).  For those items that may have a high impact, but be done at a slower speed (scores around 6) like a larger project – make sure to work on these since they have a high impact, but  also set a goal completion date.  For those items that have a minimal impact and are slow to implement (scores of 2-5) you are probably safe placing these on the back burner for a later date, or reconsidering if you even need to do it.

These are all top priority items that we can get done in the first part of our day, before we need to put any fires out.  Make sure to plan your day ahead of time, don’t just “show up.” 

  1. Make time, don’t try to find time

We all have the same amount of hours in one day – 24, and the same amount of hours in one week – 168.  Let’s make sure we are making time every day for all the important stuff.  You can make time by doing the following:

–      Write down the most important things to get done the night before, that way it is first on your mind.

–      Make your priorities a true priority.  If you want to learn more, make the time to read.  Place it in your schedule like an appointment.  It will get done if it is placed in your schedule.

–      Have non-distracted “time blocking.”  Make sure to block off certain times of the day where you get particular things done, and try to keep it somewhat the same each day.

–      Stop watching TV!  The average American watches between 5-7 hours of TV a day!  This is in almost all cases a “time waster” and you will lose some powerful hours in your day by being stuck on the couch.

Remember, if it is on your calendar, and you stick to your calendar it WILL get done.

  1. Extend the game 

Adding to point #3, if you can make time you will be successful.  Start to plan your day around your mornings- this is where it has been proven time and time again where you can get the most work done, before any distractions come into play for the day.  If you can set your bedtime for 1 hour earlier and your alarm for an hour earlier, you won’t lose any more sleep and you will extend your mornings by one hour to get some of the most important things done while your brain is the most active!

  1. Simplify, simplify, simplify.  

There is no reason at all to make things any harder or more complicated in life than they already are.  Success lies in keeping it simple and making sure you are relentless in making things easier on yourself.  A few quick and easy suggestions to do this:

–      Use bullet points and lists daily.  Having something as simple as a standard pre-written weekly grocery list can make your time at the grocery store so much shorter and keep you from buying those not-so-healthy items.

–      Prepare ahead of time.  This will almost always simplify anything you do in life.  Unpreparedness leads to making things more complicated and sophisticated.

–      Shark habits – think one bite and it’s done!  This has become well known by Dan John, who has been famous for saying, “I will always reply to your email.”  And he does, no matter how many thousands of emails he gets each day, he opens it and takes appropriate action right away.  When opening an email, reply or delete.  When brushing your teeth, make sure to floss.  When setting up appointments, set reminders right then and there.  Shark habits keep the simple things very simple, instead of out of our control.

A great quote to end with comes from Kevin Eastman, former Los Angeles Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations.  Success lies in the simplicity, and confusion lies in sophistication.”

Don’t forget how valuable your time is in your life.  It is the only non-sustainable resource that we actually have more control over than we ever imagined!

Seize the day!

3 Reasons Why You Don’t Go After What You Want – And How To Overcome It!

When studying what top achievers do on an everyday basis to be successful, there are 3 common things that they all overcome first to break through the barriers to become successful.  The good news is, all of these reasons are barriers that we put upon ourselves through our repeated poor habits.  That means we have the power to make the change to become successful, and I want to give you this recipe for success.

What are the top three reasons why you don’t go after what you want?  Here are the most popular three that we see time after time:

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Time (Do I have time to invest in this?)
  3. Procrastination or the loss of focus

I will go over each of these reasons in detail of action steps you can take right away to overcome each of these obstacles to become more successful in life.

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  1. Fear of failure

First, the fear of failure is one of the biggest fears I hear about from brand new clients when first starting a new exercise and nutrition program with us.  I can completely understand this fear, as many people who start right off have no idea or roadmap of what to do to get from point A to B.  This is why they hired us, and this in and of itself can be a very scary thing.  A brand new habit of exercising and taking care of yourself, and to throw on top of that attempting to create one small habit to help assist in nutritional health, which we discussed in detail in an earlier blog post here can be a lot when making a radical change in your life.

 

What you need to realize is that every top achiever in their field has failed on multiple occasions before they were successful, and there are many examples we highlighted here of individuals that failed first before they succeeded.  And this is ok.  We just want to try our best to keep those failures to a minimum – so try these steps to keep a positive mindset to achieve success and limit failure in anything you do:

  • Take some time to actually write down what you will accomplish, and then expand on why this is actually so important to you and your life right now.  Simon Sinek’s amazing book “Start With Why”is a great place to understand and find out your “why.”  (Also, here are some great steps you can take when setting and writing goals).
  • Once you have figured out your “why,” do everything you can to remove the distractions from your life that are getting in your way.  Maybe you are always a “yes” person, saying yes to everything that is asked of you.  Learning to say “no” is a very powerful step in taking control of your life so you can be successful.  Pick the things that you truly value, and go all out!  Say no to everything else.  Remember, you are in control of your life, not other people.
  • Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people that actually challenge you, and are willing to be challenged by you.  You will never grow unless you are challenged – this will be the one thing that could change your entire mindset in your life.   Remember, you become the average of the top 5 people you hang around with.  If you are spending your time with people that don’t challenge you at all personally or professionally, then find some new friends, a networking group, mastermind, etc.  Challenging yourself with others will help you overcome adversity better as well, so you can find a faster path to success.
  1. Time (Do I have time to invest in this?)

Yes!  The answer to this question is undoubtably, yes!  We all have the same amount of time in the day – 24 hours.  168 hours in a week and 8,736 hours in one year (doesn’t seem like much time, does it?)  Here is an even better exercise I did recently to find out how much time I really have on God’s green earth:

28,855 days is the average life expectancy for the average adult (just over 79 years old).  Mathematically, figure out how many days you have lived on this earth:

36 years old x 365 days (excluding leap years) = 13,140 days lived

I have almost gone through an entire half life cycle already!  Now when you put things into perspective like this, you realize how valuable and fragile this one resource is – this is the only resource on the earth that is NOT renewable, we continue to lose time on a daily basis with no ability to get it back, ever.  What are you doing right now to manage your time and to make sure your 28,855 days are utilized to their fullest potential?

This one quote really hit home for me:

“Every minute you waste is a minute you steal from your loved ones.”

Now, that was a very powerful one for me.  I have two boys under the age of four years old.  I had been in the “daily grind” for about an 18 month period (part was necessity) working between 14-16 hours a day.  These 540 days I completely lost from my children and much of their development early on in their lives.  I lost my ability to be present with them on a daily basis, I lost many nights where I missed dinner with them, and many times I missed their bedtime stories.

Then, there was a massive change that took place.  I realized this notion that time is NOT a renewable resource, and I will never get those days back – I will never have the chance to see my children at this young, adorable age again.  So, I made the decision to make a change and make them and my entire family a priority!  It was only then, when I “dealt with my own bullshit” that I could actually make a significant change in my life.

I only tell you this story because whatever you are struggling with, you can overcome it by realizing YOU can make a change to become more “time efficient.”  It really starts with you, and only you.  I tried to blame my situation or circumstance, but in reality it was all on me.  Here are several tricks to overcome time or the lack of it:

  • Use the Pareto Principle – this principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who, while at the University of Lausanne in 1896, published his first paper “Cours d’économie politique.”  Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; Pareto developed the principle by observing that 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.  You can look at this a little differently by thinking of filling a large mason jar with several big rocks, then dump sand in afterwards.  The sand is the 20% – the small stuff that we usually waste most of our time on.  The 80% are the big rocks – these are the daily habits you can create to make lasting change in your life so you don’t feel like your days are wasting away.  Big rock examples include having a to-do list with only one or two major things you need to get done today.  Or, setting a schedule for certain tasks during the day.  These are important habits that will help you be a time saver and not a time waster.  Always think of the “big rocks first” then fill the rest with sand.
  • With the Pareto Principle in mind, think of the top 3 things that will move you forward – and do those things everyday!  Whether it is having a consistent workout regimen, reading on your area of expertise, or masterminding with a group – make sure you are doing it daily! (We will dive more into this when we talk about procrastination as well).
  • Break up your days, weeks and months into 4 quadrants, it would look like this:
 

Q1 – Important/Urgent

 

Q2 – Important/Not Urgent

 

Q3 – Not Important/ Urgent

 

Q4 – Not Important/Not Urgent

Quadrant One (Q1) would include:

  • A crisis (Heart attack, stroke) or things that need to be taken care of right away.
  • Filling up an empty gas tank when driving.
  • A scheduled meeting or appointment.
  • A significant others birthday celebration (of course this is urgent and important!)

These are your “big rocks”, that means get these things done first before they become a fire in your life.

Quadrant Two (Q2) would include:

  • Time with your family.
  • Steps taken towards a longer term goal.
  • Sleeping, self care.

These are all the important things you should be doing every day, but aren’t urgent.  You should be spending the majority of your time in Q1 and Q2.

Quadrant Three (Q3) would include:

  • Answering the phone, emails.
  • Getting on Facebook or any social media
  • Enabling “Push” notifications on your phone, tablet.

These are some of the things that you should try to minimize in your daily life – or at least assign a time to, so it doesn’t take over your entire day.  Actually removing those “push” notifications and all those bings and dings off your phone and assigning a time to get to them (like only reading and responding to emails after 12pm) you will find you can save hours a day to be more productive!

Quadrant Four (Q4) would include:

  • Watching TV.
  • Browsing the internet, your favorite blog or website.
  • Pokemon (Ok, I just had to add this one here…this is definitely not urgent nor is it important at all.  But apparently it is a lot of fun for the gamers out there right now).

These are just a couple of ideas, but you get the point.  These are not important, and not urgent and you want to spend the least amount of time possible in Quadrant Four (Q4).

  1. Procrastination or the loss of focus

Our world is full of things where we can lose focus very quickly (look, there’s a squirrel!)  But really this can be a huge issue with technology right at our fingertips 24/7.  Try these strategies to help with not procrastinating or losing focus:

  • Have a “Daily Three” – your to-do list with only three things on it you need to get done TODAY and make a schedule for when you will complete it.
  • Find your “magic time” where you have the least distractions and can get the most done in the least amount of time.
  • Find the time to have your personal time built into your schedule – time to workout and take care of yourself.  This needs to be scheduled into your day.
  1. Have a “Daily Three”

This is a real game changer.  Start by making this a habit during a certain part of your day.  Before bed works great, or make it the very first thing you do when you wake up and you feel most refreshed.  Have a notepad ready and write down the top three things you know you need to complete for the day.  If you only have one thing, even better – but don’t make it a list of four or five to-do’s.  You will not have that sense of accomplishment if you only complete three out of the five, and not all five.

Why three?  This isn’t a magic number, but it does seem to work very well.  The second part of this habit is making sure you schedule a specific time for each task to be completed.  For example, if one of your daily three tasks is to call five clients you better have a 1/2 hour block scheduled to complete this task.  What seems to be the easiest thing to do is to assign a time of day you will complete each task.  So, “phone calls” will occur at 1pm-1:30pm, “Writing a work proposal” will occur from 2-4pm and so on.

  1. Find your “Magic Time”

Your “magic time” is that time of the day when you are the clearest in your mind and body.  It could be right when you wake up in the morning, just after a workout, or even after a certain meal during the day.  This time is all yours, so it needs to be protected and used appropriately.  For me, my “magic time” is in the morning before the kids and wife are up in the house.  I am able to take 20-30 minutes and make it all about me and setting up my day for success.  This is when I do most of my reading and writing, and when I am able to get the biggest bang for my buck and get the most done in the least amount of time.  This way, I am able to conquer my mornings and then have better control of my afternoons when things sometimes don’t quite pan out the way I always envision it.

To find your magic time, take note of when you are in the best “flow” state.  That is, when you are able to concentrate and focus the most on single tasks and complete the most work.  Maybe it is when you are able to write the most, or be the most creative.  You will figure it out.  Make sure if you have never tried to do this in the morning – wake up 15-20 minutes earlier than usual and get your #1 top priority done first.  I think you will be amazed at how you feel when you can do that!

  1. Schedule your own “Personal Time Off” or “PTO”

This one is hard if you are a work-a-holic like myself.  One thing I will tell you though is if you take the time to refresh and recharge, you will come back so much stronger and be able to re-focus to get things done and not procrastinate.  This could be something as simple as taking PTO in the middle of the week for two hours to just leave the office and “chill out” at a coffee shop or a park.  You will be amazed what a break during the day can do for your day and your week.  Having personal time as well to workout and work on your own health is very important, and to be sure to schedule it is crucial as well.

Self-care should be included here as well.  When was the last time you treated yourself to a massage, pedicure or facial?  These things are all added extras that our parents probably didn’t do much of, but it will surely lower your stress levels and give you the refresher you need to get back to work and bring your best and to be re-focused on those “big rocks” again.

This was suppose to be just a quick summary of the three main things that usually get in our way of being successful, but quickly became much more than that.  My hope is that you can take one thing away from this post and use it right away to become more successful in whatever you do!  Good luck and remember to take action!