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Envision Strength Fitness' Life Transformation Blog
Envision Strength Fitness' Life Transformation Blog

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1:30 PM

Self-Awareness: The Key to Self-Control and Lasting Change

How many times have you asked yourself, during your morning routine, did I already put on my deodorant? Only to attempt to sniff your own armpits (I know…gross!!) in search for some evidence either way. Have you even been in a rush, at your local mall only to come out searching for your car only to discover you can’t find it? Are you going crazy? Is it early onset dementia? Most likely it’s none of these, it’s more likely that you are distracted with your thoughts and forgot to take notice. Unfortunately, distraction is an epidemic in our busy culture. There are so many things fighting for our attention that we fail to pay attention and miss out on so many great moments.


Actually, distraction might be costing us more than we realize. Having our head in the clouds, or in other less desirable places, might even be contributing to our bulging waist lines! Studies show that distracted people are more likely to make poor food choices. In her book “The Willpower Instinct” Kelly McGonigal points out how Baba Shiv, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, has shown that people who are distracted are more likely to fall to temptation. In a study, they found that students, attempting to learn a telephone number, were 50 percent more likely to pick chocolate cake over fruit at a snack cart. How many times have you popped a few chips in your mouth as you worked to get your kid’s lunches ready for the school day? Or during your favorite team’s big game, you looked down into an empty bag of chips only to ask yourself “When did I eat all those chips”. Actually, you might not even be able to answer these questions, because you were too distracted to notice.

The good news is that you can train your brain to be less distracted and more aware of your actions in the moment. Here’s my challenge for you, pick 1 thing you struggle with having more self-control with and be more mindful of it. For example, if you feel like you are eating too much during the day, write down all the food you put into your mouth for 3 days in a row. Notice when you are more likely to eat mindlessly and note what you are doing and how you are feeling? Are you rushed? Are you tired? Are you stressed? No matter what willpower struggle you are facing (smoking, drinking or maybe shopping too much), try to take notice of your feelings and actions, related to this struggle, and note both your actions and emotions. If you track for 3 days, I believe you will be shocked at what you will discover.

As Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. states “self-awareness is the ability to realize what we are doing as we do it, and understand why we are doing it.” Without self-awareness we are always going to struggle with self-control. The brain is much like a muscle you exercise at the gym. If you force your brain to focus more, your brain will get better at focusing. Therefore, I encourage you to exercise your mind by being more aware of your actions on a daily basis. Retraining your brain will not be easy, but I believe it is the key to self-control and reclaiming the life you were created to live!!
12:27 PM

How to Experience Lasting Transformation

Have you ever been is a situation where you were asked to perform and despite your best efforts you failed miserably? Maybe you had to get up in front of a crowd and give details about a project you were working on or you were asked to play golf with the CEO of your company and you were embarrassed by your performance. We can all relate to these moments on one level or another. Failing, in front of an audience, is no fun.
So…here is my question…in your failure, did you promise yourself to never place yourself in a position where you might fail again or did you take that failure and learn from it?

Too many times we see successful people as having some sort of crazy talent. However, we never see how many times they actually fail before they succeed. Thomas Edison was quoted as saying:

"I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." –Thomas Edison


                                                      Photo Credit: Krissy Venosdale

The reality is that successful people don’t see their failures as lack of talent, but as insufficient effort or a lack of skills that can be obtained with time and greater effort.

If you are ever going to realize your potential, when it comes to your health & wellness you need to begin to think of failure differently, otherwise you will quickly become frustrated and give up on your wellness journey.

In addition to changing your perspective on failure, t’s important to be able to maximize the belief that you have what it takes to initiate, reach and sustain your desired goals. “The more you believe you can do something, the more likely you will do it; the more you do something successfully, the more you believe that you will be able to do it again.”(Coaching Psychology Manual,Moore & Tschannen) As the saying goes “Success breeds success”. 

The big question is how do you develop this elusive belief in one’s ability to achieve a desired outcome or vision? Behavioral psychologist Albert Bandura identified 4 sources that will help us to maximize our belief in our capabilities which can lead us to sustained transformational wellness.


1.) Mastery Experiences

2.) Social Models

3.) Social Persuasion

4.) Reduction of Stress Reactions

I recall several years ago I was asked to speak on the topic of nutrition. Although I knew my subject well, I was not use to conveying my knowledge and ideas to a group of people in a well thought out and articulate way. I assumed I could just create some content and talk about it. Let’s just say my presentation was far from smashing. I remember thinking, as I was driving home from my talk,”that was terrible…oh well…I’m just not good a public speaking”.

This thinking could not have been further from the truth. The reality was that I had not mastered the skill set it takes to be a good public speaker. If I had devoted more time to studying the art of public speaking and practiced my delivery, I would have given a smashing presentation.


                                                            Photo Credit: Dean McCoy

Once you identify the skills you need to master to be successful on your wellness journey, it's time to create a challenging learning environment. The key is to make your learning challenge fit into what I call the “Goldilocks Principle”. Not too hot…not too cold…just right.

The key in mastering a skill set is finding one that is challenging enough to keep you fully engaged in the process. If it’s too easy you will put less effort into mastering the skills needed for success. On top of it, without some level of challenge in the process, you never really learn from your mistakes and develop the ability to overcome obstacles. Perseverance is key to long term success in all areas of life.

 "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." –John Quincy Adams

Ask yourself this question: “What are 3 skills I need to master in order to reach my fullest potential?” Once you have identified these skills next ask yourself: “What will it take to become a master of these skills?”

For example, due to the proliferation of social media and streaming video, I came to realized that I need to learn how to communicate my ideas better on video. To be honest with you…I hate the camera and this form of communication is so out of my comfort zone. I would rather write or talk in front of a real person. Despite my fears, my goal of being able to reach more people with my vision must include the use of video. Therefore, I am beginning to master the art of speaking in front of a video camera by studying those who it well and practicing my newly acquired skills whenever I get the chance. It’s funny how, as I practice my skills, my confidence is increasing and my fears are slowly fading away.

I hope this post helps you as you look for ways to master the skills it takes to leave the quick fixes behind and finally experience lasting transformation. 

In Strength,



1:49 PM

The Reason Why You Are Frustrated With Your Fitness Progress...

Are you training hard at the gym and seeing minimal results? Are you working with your trainer 3 hours a week and still not seeing the transformation you desire? It may not be your fault. Let's be honest... it's the 165 hours a week, you're not with your trainer, that's killing you. Right?

1:00 PM

You're Too Fat...

Don't believe the lie, in your head, that you're too fat...too old...too shy...not smart enough...not rich enough...not talented enough to become the best version of yourself. The reality is that becoming who you were created to be is a process that takes time. With a grand vision, the right plan, consistent effort and willingness to learn from your mistakes, you can maximize your potential!!

1:54 PM

Goals: Go BIG or Go Home


When setting your wellness goals, it’s important to dream BIG. Many "experts" will tell you to be realistic with your goals, but give me one example where true greatness was achieved by setting realistic goals. Would Neil Armstrong have ever gone to the moon if he set realistic goals? Would Martin Luther King, Jr. been the leader of the civil rights movement if he lowered the bar with respect to his goals?

I’m not saying you should make your goals so unrealistic that you set yourself up for frustration and failure, but what I am saying is…don’t sell yourself too short. You are capable of great achievements!!

As you brainstorm about your vision, I find it helpful to reverse engineer your outcome goal. If you begin with the end in mind, you will have a greater sense of what action steps you need to take in order to achieve the right end result. Dream about what you could achieve if you had unlimited resources, no restrictions and the world was your oyster. For example, you may desire to become a fitness role model in 3 years from now, but you are currently 100 pound overweight and have never picked up a weight heavier than a bowling ball. This desire seems unrealistic, but who cares…it’s a desire you have deep inside.

Now, begin to brainstorm what steps will be necessary for you to get to the end result. What needs to happen day to day…week to week…month to month for you to realize your goal of becoming a fitness role model. Here is where you will want to set reasonable, but meaningful goals as your take steps toward the grander vision you have for yourself.

As you begin to set the goals necessary to make it to the finish line, it’s very common that we try to go from the couch to running 20 miles a day or we say “I’m never going to eat ice cream ever again”. When you are making changes in your life, you set yourself up for failure if you set unreasonable action steps and expectations. On the flip side, if you don’t make your goals meaningful and challenging enough, you will soon get bored and go back to your default settings.

As you set your 3-month and weekly goals, I would like to ask yourself this simple question:


“How confident are you, on a scale from 1-10 (1=lowest confidence 10=highest confidence), that you can achieve your weekly goal?”

If your answer is any lower than a 7, on this scale, modify your goal or pick a new goal. If your confidence is too high for the goals you set each week, you may not be challenging yourself enough. The key to goal setting is to identifying meaningful goals that are a good balance between being a challenge, but not so difficult that you feel frustrated and fail to gain any momentum on your journey.

Success breeds success, so get some sold wins under your belt, with respect to your goals, and you will see your confidence build. With increased confidence you will be an unstoppable force!!
2:46 PM

(Part 2) Adventure is Out There!!


In my last post, I encouraged you to start living your life bravely despite your fears. My first challenge to you was to step out of your comfort zone in order to improve the relationships in your life.

How did you do?

I worked on this one too and to be honest with you... it was a struggle!! It was neither an easy or comfortable challenge. However, I discovered that the more I practiced it, the easier and less uncomfortable it became. I encourage you to keep working on this until it becomes second nature. It's awkward and clunky now, but trust will get easier.

Now on to our next challenge. Finding an adventure!!

For many of us, the most exciting thing we do all week is ride a sit down mower. Really?  I think we’ve lost our sense of adventure along the way and, in my opinion; this is killing us on the inside. Without a purpose greater than work or school, life becomes mundane and we end up searching for counterfeit adventures/pleasures to fill the void. Both men and women end up turning to unhealthy outlets to find the excitement that's missing in their lives. Our kids become addicted to video games in their own search for adventure.

Therefore, my challenge to you this week is to plan an adventure that you can take on your own or with a friend or family member.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to climb a big mountain or learn how to surf. Grab a friend and do it!! Try to schedule monthly adventures into your life and see what happens. My guess is that you will begin to enjoy each day a little more because you have an adventure to look forward to. Let’s face it, we only have the moment. The past is history and tomorrow is unknown, so start living today!!
2:00 PM

(Part 1) Live Fearlessly...I Triple Dog Dare You!!

question mark a life without fear is impossible, so let's focus not on fear, but on courage. Courage is the ability to move your life forward despite your fears.

I know how difficult it is to make changes in life. Let’s face it, the status quo is a safe place to be and who likes to deal with the unknown? This may be true; however, nothing great was ever accomplished without stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks. Our great country was founded by men willing to risk it all for our freedoms. What are you willing to risk for greatness?

“A ship is always safe at the shore - but that is NOT what it is built for.” 
― Albert Einstein

Please give some serious thought to these questions:

1.) Do you want to live a safe life filled with mediocrity or an abundant life filled with hope for a better tomorrow?

2.) If you were willing to step out of your comfort zone today, and every day, what could you accomplish?

3.) What kind of impact could you have on those around you if you were living a full throttle life?


I believe we were all created for greatness. Somewhere along the line, we all bought into the lie that we need to sit back, like good little boys and girls, and not make waves.

Over the next 21 days I am going to encourage you all to kick that lie to the curb and start living the life you were created to live. You were created for a life of purpose, impact and influence. None of this will come to fruition unless you face your fears, take a stand and rock the boat a little.

I challenge us all, to take the weekly action steps, which are required to move our lives, relationships and careers forward. Over the next 3 weeks, I will offer a specific weekly challenge, but feel free to choose your own challenge. The important thing is that you are challenging yourself to move out of your zone of comfort into a place where you can maximize your potential and become the best version of yourself.

(Week #1 Challenge): It’s all about relationships

Photo Credit: Daniel Colvin

Let’s face it, if we were really honest with each other we would all admit that there are people in our lives we wish we had a better relationship with. Maybe it’s your wife, child or friend. Regardless of how good or bad those relationships are they could always be better.

Therefore, my challenge for you is to call or text a person you would like to connect better with and tell them you are thinking of them and just wanted to say “hi”. This simple act of kindness will be a blessing to you and the person you care about. Going forward, try to make this a weekly habit. You’ll be amazed at the results!!

Comment below and tell us who in your life need more of YOU!!
8:23 AM

Girl Scouts...Don't Let Their Cute Looks and Charm Fool You


I just want to let everyone know that I am ok after the assault. Mom and Dad…don’t worry I’m a little battered and bruised, but recovering. My biggest complaint is that my stomach is killing me. Not the rib area, but closer to the middle of my stomach.

Here’s what happened…I was studying upstairs yesterday when I heard voices coming from down near the kitchen area. Since I was supposed to be alone, I was getting a little bit worried, so I went down to investigate. As I entered the kitchen area, I think they hit me in the head because the details become a bit blurry at this point. Now...I like to pride myself, a bit, on being trained in Krav Maga (Israel self-defense), but there were just too many of them and I think I must of gotten taken from my back side.

When I came through, I was tied to a chair and all I could hear was some singing…something about…I will do my best to be honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do…

I then noticed the terrible taste of chocolate, peanut butter and toasted coconut on my tongue. No matter how much I begged them to stop shoving those cookies down my throat, they would not listen. So much for being "helpful and caring and taking responsibility for what they say and do!"

I know this story seems far-fetched, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Like I said…my biggest complaint is that my stomach is killing me…not the rib area, but closer to the middle.
4:14 PM

Finding Time for the Things That Matter: Resources to Master Your Skills (Part 3)

In part 1 & 2 of this blog series on managing your time and productivity, I discussed the importance of defining your 5-7 most important roles in life, encouraged you to find a system that helps you to manage your daily schedule more effectively and, lastly, gave you tips on how to turn down the mental distraction in your head.

In this 3rd and final post I will direct you to the resources that will help you to further develop the skills necessary to master your time, mind and productivity. By doing so, you will free up time to focus on your health & wellness, while focusing your energies on things that matter most.

(The Resources):
1.) Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time-Margaret Moore & Paul Hammerness, MD


This book will help you to tame your frenzied mind helping you to gain control over your emotions, sustain attention, curb your impulses, mold information, shift from one task to another and connect the dots

2.) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People-Stephen R. Covey


In this book Covey emphasizes the importance of developing a personal mission statement and staying on track focusing on the things that matter the most to your mission.

3.) The Power of Full Engagement-Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz


This resource stresses the importance of energy management vs. time management. It will teach you how to tap into the 4 sources of energy: emotional, physical, spiritual and mental.

4.) Strength Finder 2.0-Tom Rath


Strength Finder 2.0 was a game changer in my life. When I truly discovered what my strengths were, I was then able to take the necessary action steps to maximize my abilities. When you work form your strengths you are more likely to live a life of impact!

I hope you use these tools to create a life of greater purpose and meaning for you and those around you.

In Strength,

3:29 PM

Your Undivided Attention...The Best Valentine's Day Gift Ever (Part 2)


Photo Credit: Renee Rendler-Kaplan

In part 1 of this blog series, I talked about how to better aim your daily efforts at the things that matter most. The first step is to define your 5-7 most important roles in life. Next, once you define these roles, it’s important to have a system where you can manage your schedule daily to make sure you are focusing on what matters most. If you do not control your time…time will control you. Once you lose it, you can’t get it back. By blocking time and shutting out all other distractions you can begin to focus on the one thing that’s most important in that moment. Remember…NO MULTITASKING!!



Ok…this all sound very easy…right? Wrong!! You have turned off the T.V., phone, computer and are now ready to focus, but you just remembered that you need to pick up the kids from school at 3 pm and you forgot to pick up those ingredients for tonight’s dinner and you need to remember to send a “thank you” card to your sister and…and…and…and the list goes on. So…how do you turn down that distraction in your head?

To be honest with you, this has been one of my biggest struggles. I had an epiphany about a year and a half ago and it was the realization that I don’t really listen to people or focus on any one task well. The noise inside my head drowns out what others are saying to me. Then I noticed that same noise prevented me from focusing on other tasks. I was following my own chaotic mind from one thing to the next without giving any thought to why. Then I thought to myself, how long has this been going on? What have I been missing as a result? Do others know that I’m checked out?


The reality is that this type of mental distraction is, in my opinion, is common to most people. However, just because it’s common does not mean it’s a good thing. I never really figured out why I had become so distracted, but it’s really irrelevant. If I am going to excel at the areas of my life, that are most important to me, I need to be present in the moment.

For example, if my relationship with my wife and kids are important to me what does it say to them if I am checked out and not paying full attention to them when they talking with me? I want to show them I care, but my actions say something different. Right? So…being mindful to the fact you are not paying attention is the first step. The next step is doing something about it. Here are 3 practical things you can begin to do in order to become more present in the moment. Master these things and you will begin to see amazing things happen in your productivity and relationships:

Photo Credit: Krickitt1138

1.) Index Cards: Write down on an index card 3 words that represent how you want to show up in your relationships. By doing this, you will become more mindful in the moment.  For example, my words/phrases are:

·         Engaged/Fully Present

·         Serving

·         Inquisitive

Carry around this card to remind yourself of how you want to show up in your conversations with others.

2.) Deep breathing:  Many times we become so worked up in our minds we just need to slow things down a bit. Learning some deep belly breathing techniques can help you get your mind present and in the moment which will help you to focus on the task or person at hand.

3.) Prayer and/or positive self-talk: As a Christian I find it helpful to take a moment to pray and ask God to give me peace or strength in the moment. I will also practice repeating phrases like “I can focus” or “keep focused because this person is important to me”.


As you go forward into this Valentine’s Day weekend…remember…one of the best gifts you can give the people you love is your undivided attention.