The Biggest Test We Face When Setting Goals

Ah, goals. Don’t you love that feeling when you decide enough is enough and you’re ready to make a change? You think to yourself, “YES. I CAN DO THIS. I AM AWESOME. LIFE IS AWESOME. I AM THE ONE.”

And once the feel good feelings wear off, you suddenly start to remember a few things…

You suck. You realize you weren’t strong enough. You can’t keep up with the pace of everyone else. You fizzle out. You let life get to you. And you realize how much you love things like cheese and chocolate. (Or, you know, whatever throws you off track from your goal.)

But let’s put this in nicer terms, yeah?

What’s really happening here: The Universe is throwing you a curveball. 

I recently set a goal to complete three straight weeks of clean eating and exercise. I picked a workout program that was exactly 21 days. I specifically wanted to send in my results to Beachbody and do the program start to finish – no cheats. (And I kinda wanted the free t shirt.)

I had tried this program once before. I got hurt on day ten and had to stop. But this time was different. This time, I decided, I would win. I even had my day 22 cheat day planned: Red Sox vs White Sox game. It was perfect. 

….and then a free Cubs ticket landed in my lap.

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Those two words: Free. Baseball. They’re kinda a big weakness of mine.

“But Tony. I don’t believe in this whole thing where the Universe is ‘for or against me.’ In fact, I hate anything ‘woo-woo.’ This isn’t for me.” 

I actually totally get it. And I’m someone who, admittedly, can get a little “woo woo” and warm and fuzzy. At the same time, this lesson applies regardless of whether or not you believe in a higher power. Life is always going to test us. As Alexi Panos would say, it’s like “the universe asking whether or not we’re really serious.” But you can call it whatever you want. 

The reason I like this explanation so much is because it stops making the situation so damn personal. It makes us normal human beings and not some awful person for wanting to revert to our old habits. Which, by the way, don’t just bring us comfort. They bring us joy, pleasure, and instant gratification. And it’s a completely natural thing to want to do when you’re having a shit day. 

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I’m going to start referring to those off days as “days where I get to be treated as a princess.” I think it has a better ring to it. 

So be aware that this test is coming. And if you slip – that’s fine. You’ll be ready for it the next time. Whatever you do – please don’t stop. Because there’s people you love who are going to benefit from the “you” who wins.

Let’s go get ’em.

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Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their own terms.

He also loves to blog on how to do this. 

Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life, or to inquire if he can do some writing for you!  You can reach him at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you hit that “share” button for friends and family to see 😉 

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Wanna see more? Check out my actor website! 

I also have a YouTube Channel with weekly #SundayVideos where I share how to take control over our thoughts and feelings on facebook live! 

How death can bring life into others

Mark Manson is the author of the book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.” As one might expect, it contains a plethora of choice language and is pretty direct and to the point. And yet, it is just as equally beautiful and powerful.  

He begins each chapter with a story. Some personal. Some not. The final chapter contains my favorite: He shares a touching story of the loss of his friend Josh. Manson was 19 years old when he lost him. Manson reveals that after a battle with depression, he came out the other end and eventually started bettering his life – likely in ways, in my opinion, that probably wouldn’t have happened had Josh not passed away. 

A couple of years ago, I wrote about my own experience and hopes after I lost one of my childhood friends, Dave Kendricken. (In the three years or so of writing, this has been by far my most popular post….he was a popular guy, what can I say.)  If you know me, you know I hate pain. I hate when there’s nothing but negatives and I’ll do whatever I can to change it. I wanted to find the positive meaning in the situation. 

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Someone called me “The Happy Guy” earlier that day….I was okay with it. 

First let’s clarify – this is not about pretending that things are fine, or pretending we’re happy when we really need to cry. You can ask the couple sitting next to me on my flight home to verify that. (Thank God I had a window seat.) This also isn’t about pretending that the positive meaning makes the situation a good thing. It means that given we can’t control the situation and we’re allowed to take away the beautiful moments that might never have occurred otherwise. 

When Dave died, I wasn’t happy about it. And today I’m not happy about. What I do feel is an abundance of gratitude that it brought me closer to my family (and some of his family) in a way that I hadn’t felt before. 

So how do both these stories help you? 

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Saw this at an audition last week. Figured it was good luck 🙂 

Manson also shares a dream after Josh passed away where the two of them were chatting. Mark recalls that telling Josh that he was sad that he died. To which Josh replies something along the lines of, “Why are you upset that I’m dead when you’re still so afraid to live?” 

That, my friends, is a beautiful takeaway. 

Imagine for a moment that every reader who read this part started to do things different in their life. Imagine that actors finally stop making money excuses and start finding ways to get seen for commercials and high profile theatre companies. Imagine if aspiring entrepreneurs took the leap and quit their day job (after the accumulated some savings, of course) and began creating the job they always wanted. Imagine that every single person who said, “I can’t do [that thing I really want to do] because of [time, money, etc.]” stated to do that very thing?

Most of us are too afraid to live. Most of us play the safe route. Many of us rob ourselves of we really want to do and what could make us most happy. 

As Manson reminds us – we are all going to die. So if that’s the case…what do we really have to lose? 

Let’s start living my friends. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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Tony is a theatre and film actor living in Chicago, just up the street from Wrigley Field 🙂 He loves helping others to become the happiest version of themselves so that they can live more fun, fulfilled lives on their terms. Contact him for a free one-on-one to see if he can help you with your own mindset and happiness in life at tony.rossi@gmail.com

PS – Rumor has it that he loves when you share his content with friends and family.

Sometimes It’s Better To Keep Your Mouth Shut…When Discussing Goals

Have you ever been drunk at a party? 

As much as I pride myself for building better habits, surrounding myself around more positive people, and becoming the type of person who can reach those big and awesome goals…I’d be lying if I said no to the above question. If you haven’t (or if you just don’t want to admit it), let me paint the scene for you: 

You’re having a great time. Such a great time that you’re suddenly willing to share some gossip with a friend. You even preface it with, “I really shouldn’t be telling you this…” but because you’re in such a great mood, you just have this feeling. That feeling tells you, “Yes. You are right. You should share this information. All other reasoning is irrelevant.” 

Of course, eventually your reasoning comes back. But even looking back you can go back to that feeling and justify why you did what you did. “Oh dear..I shouldn’t have done that. But I can absolutely see why I did that…” 

Now, let’s talk goals. 

Right now there’s a big, juicy goal I’m working on. I can’t believe I’ve even set this. It’s that big. And it’s not cheap. And yet, just last week, I found myself setting up an appointment as an initial first step to making this goal come to fruition. I was feeling awesome, you guys. 

Unfortunately though…I got drunk at a party. 

Okay, no. I wasn’t drunk. I wasn’t even at a party when this happened. And yet I got that same feeling that I could trust someone with this valuable piece of information. So I prefaced it with, “You know, I shouldn’t even been saying this….” and off I went. 

No sooner had I finished sharing this, another person chimed in: “Why wouldn’t you just do [insert the name of something much more reasonable and affordable] instead?” 

The truth was, I had considered this option. Many times. And it doesn’t even compare. It’s like saying, “No, let’s skip getting that amazing bacon double cheese burger from 5 Guys and just make one at home using a frozen patty, microwave some bacon, and use the bread we already have. It’ll be cheaper.” 

Yeah….no. 

Yet, on my bike ride home, all I could think of were the following: 

“She was right, Tony. You really should just do the cheaper option.” 

“Why are you considering that expensive option? How the hell will you ever afford that when you’re having trouble affording more reasonable things?” 

“Have you considered that this just might be a stupid thing for you to want, given your situation?”

And so on and so forth. Until….wait a minute…

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From “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero

What happened to that joyous, energetic feeling that I had a week ago? Why did that suddenly dissolve? And why am I being such a jerk to myself for wanting something that makes me happy? 

Here’s why you don’t share big and awesome goals with people: They don’t have the same understanding that you do. They’re not bad people. They just don’t think the way you do. You could explain every tiny detail with them and they still wouldn’t get it. They might hear your words. But they won’t digest the message. People who don’t aim for big and awesome things like you do aren’t going to hear your words. And that’s okay. 

But you’re not off the hook. 

Here’s the thing about setting big goals: If you’ve made the decision in your mind that you’ll do whatever it takes to get there – you’re going to get it. And when you do, you’re setting an example that it’s possible.  

Set that goal. Let others laugh at you. See how many people are laughing when their mouths are hanging open because they can’t believe you got what you wanted. 

Go after big things. There’s other people who are going to benefit other than you, my friends. It’s a beautiful thing. 

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Having positive mantra cards, like these ones given out by Dallas Travers for her Thriving Artist Circle members, have been a big help 🙂 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

3 quick reasons why you’re awesome

It’s my last blog post of 2016…..this shit better be good, huh? 

Per usual, I have a million thoughts on my mind. I’ve had a couple dozen aha moments since my end of the year vacation began. I’ve written down countless messages, notes, and thoughts that I can’t wait to share with the world – inspiring minds with the thoughts of Tony Rossi. 

We’ll save those for another day. 

Instead, here are three thoughts with no further explanation, of things on my mind that I think need to be shared: 

  1. You are awesome, exactly as you are
  2. You can screw up and still be just as awesome
  3. If you’re worried that you’re not awesome, chances are you have high standards for yourself. Which means you’re not going to let yourself be less awesome. 

…did I say I wasn’t going to give a further explanation? Oh. I lied. 

I love you guys. I am grateful for your likes, shares, and comments. I am grateful that so many of you watch my Sunday Facebook live videos. I am grateful for the mentors who teach me these lessons. 

And I’m grateful that I’m awesome enough to get over myself and share them. (Oh yes. This shit applies to me too.) 

Bring it on 2017. 

Let’s go get ‘em. 

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Beautiful shot of a water show at Longwood Gardens earlier this week 

Two Steps Toward Being Happier (When You’re Really Stressed)

If you’re anything like me, you have high standards for yourself. You want big things in your life. You want lots of love and joy. You want to go to work to a job where work doesn’t feel like work. Then you can go to bed at night thinking, “How the hell did I get so lucky to have all of this?” 

Some people might think this sounds silly. I’m betting to you it’s not. I’m betting this is something you think about a lot. In fact, I’m betting you even might be taking action towards this type of life. 

Which is awesome. 

If that’s the case though, listen up: You likely have a case of “high standard syndrome.” 

Don’t worry. It’s actually a good thing. In simpler terms, it means you want to be happy – like, all of the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. And considering that you likely have people in your life that you love and care about, this is actually a giving and caring act! Why? Because the more you care for yourself, the more you’re going to be able to care for others. (i.e. – If you want to make others happier, you’ll want to be a happy person yourself first. Work on you so you can work on them.) 

The problem shows up when we spend all our time stressing over the things we “should” do – work hard, stay up late, focus on anything and everything of importance going on in our life. While it’s good to be spending our time on our high priority tasks, sometimes we forget to check in and ask “How am I feeling right now?” If I forget this myself, I usually won’t think to ask it until it’s too late and I’m feeling FAR from the joy that the completion of these tasks are supposed to bring me. 

So before that happens to you – again – consider the following steps:

  1. Have the question, “How am I feeling right now?” (or something similar that works for you) somewhere you’re going to see it. For me, I love having sticky notes hanging in my wall in front of me with helpful reminders or mantras. For you, it might be a reminder popping up on your phone.
  2.  Give yourself permission to stop. Now, if you’re working on a deadline that’s due within an hour – this might not be as useful. But if it’s for your to-do list, ask if this is something that can wait. I’m not saying we should get in the habit of always stopping in the middle of a productive work session. Rather, there are times that work better for us than others. And this moment in time might not be best for this particular work, given your mood. 

Earlier yesterday I was planning the rest of my day and figuring out how I was going to catch a particular show. Before I knew it, I was pretty deep in the rabbit hole of, “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET EVERYTHING DONE?” I then realized – I never bought my ticket. I didn’t NEED to go to the show. Yes, I wanted to go. But not if it was going to cause me a bunch of stress and pain! The minute I gave myself permission to miss the show – I felt ease and calm. It felt good. 

Oh right. There’s a third step…

     3. Realize being #notperfect is part of getting more of the joy you want in life. 

I talk a lot about being #notperfect. So much so that it’s started to catch on among friends on social media 🙂 (Yes, I’ve noticed. And it makes me smile every time). If there really is such thing as perfection…..I think it’s nothing but stress and anxiety. 

I’ll stay being #notperfect, thank you very much. 

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 

The question that got me out of my funk

Last week I shared with you guys that I haven’t been feeling too great this month. Unfortunately this week is no different 😦 What I’ve since learned is that I’ve been prolonging my cold because I was being stubborn. I had refused to take a break from my exercise regiment and wasn’t giving my body the rest that it needed.

I honestly didn’t realize how attached I had grown to my workouts and my physical results I was getting from them. Of course, I learned this the hard way because I’ve finally stopped doing them. I’ve also learned the hard way that I’m not very nice to myself when this happens. I allow that negative voice to chime in…

“You don’t look as good as you did before.”

“You realize that if you don’t workout, you’re going to look ugly.” 

“You should just let yourself go and eat like crap too. There’s no reason to pretend that you’re going to keep your results in the meantime.” 

All this negative chatter has been chiming in. There was a good 24 hour period where I listened to every word and believed it to be true. (It wasn’t pretty. Ask Beaker.) 

Fortunately I’ve had some helpful people chime some reason into my head. Coaches such as Wendy Braun and Courtney Rioux in particular. In fact, it was Courtney’s words that chimed into my head that finally started to put me in a better mood. 

I credit Courtney for a lot of my breakthroughs. What was really cool about this one was that I actually haven’t even shared this specific struggle with her yet. I simply remembered something she had said to someone else in a recent My Big Year call. They were going  through something completely different and expressed it to Courtney. She followed with this question: 

“Are you willing to see things differently?”

I love this question. We easily can spend time and energy listening to negative voices and asking ourselves why we’re not better. Yet we often don’t stop and ask if we’re willing to see our situation in a different light. I realized the entire time I had been kicking myself and listening to that negative voice that I wasn’t willing to see things differently. I wanted to feel better, resume my workouts, and then have a big cheat night while I watched one of the Cubs games….and then resume my workouts so I could get my results back again. (True story.) I was so frustrated, I wasn’t willing to see any other outcome. But once that question popped into my head, I realized, okay…..I am wiling to see things differently.

Now….what can I do?

The next tie you find yourself in the midst of a setback, stop and see if you’re willing to see things differently. There’s an answer for every problem. But we won’t take the necessary next steps if we’re not open to seeing things differently.

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And if all else fails, take this advice from Preston Smiles. This was from his book “33 Ways to Love Louder.” I’m a little obsessed and it’s such an easy read.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 

What eating clean for a month taught me about myself

Prior to this, I was having one or two cheat nights a week. Those of you who know me can verify that these cheat nights are no joke….

 

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I’ve been knowing to eat heaping portions of quesadillas….

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That’s two bags of mozzarella cheese and a bag of tortilla chips. Cheat nights involve consuming all contents. 

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I mean, when the Cubs are in the playoffs, tea just doesn’t seem appropriate…

I coach others with their health and fitness. I share with others how when you do a certain program and follow the nutrition plan, you’ll get results. Part of this coaching involves leading by example. And to be honest, I haven’t been doing a great with this. I’ve been doing programs combined with massive cheat nights. Not only was I not practicing what I was preaching, but I wasn’t able to see whether or not some of these programs actually worked for me.

When I started my latest program, I decided I was going to do better with nutrition. I hadn’t planned on going this long eating clean. Once  I made the decision to go to the theatre on pizza night and bring my shake, I was all in. I was going to finish this and finish strong.

Below are some pros and cons that happen when you decide to start eating clean:

 

The cons:

-You feel sad or left out anytime you pass restaurants or bars. (Even if you probably wouldn’t want to go there anyway that night.)

-You stare longingly at certain foods at the grocery store.

-You say no to a lot of free food and samples.

 

The pros:

-I’m saving a lot of money

-There’s a plethora of foods and meals I do enjoy that are very healthy

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Oatmeal and apples with cinnamon. Delish. 

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I have a pretty sweet healthy shake that I like to make nice and thick…

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I kind of like chicken….

-I have killer morning and evening routine that work great because I sleep better when I eat better

-I am digging my results so far

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This was after week four! (After picture is on the left….I’m still learning guys.)

The biggest takeaway has been what I mentioned earlier: I had no idea what to do for fun if food or drink wasn’t involved.

Cheat nights were how I enjoyed my downtime. Carbs, cheese, and alcohol were my go-to way of having a night off. (Even if the only other friend in my apartment was named Netflix. )

I’m a bit embarrassed by this. Yet I’m guessing I’m not alone in the category. I won’t lie – I still haven’t learned exactly what to do with my downtime. I’ve been working a lot on incorporating more fun and relaxation into my life. Eating clean has definitely limited my options.

 

So what next?

I’m still going! I have two and a half more weeks of my program. And then?

I’m cheating 🙂

This has been less of a “I should do this forever” thing and more of an “Okay, what can I learn from this?” experience.  I know I’ll have more cheat nights. I know I’ll indulge when I’m on vacation. But I also know (and this is really cool) that I’m more capable than I thought. Given that the longest I can remember going with clean eating was prior to this, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

But I haven’t mastered it. I’m still learning. Just know this: If I can do it, you can too. Learning that we’re capable of more than what we thought we could do is an awesome, awesome feeling.

And that’s how you start to become your most positive, healthy, and creative self.

Let’s go get ‘em.

 

Struggling to stick with healthier habits yourself? Looking for ways to incorporate new ones? Shoot me an email at tony.rossi@gmail.com and let’s see if I can help or offer any free tips!

The biggest thing hold you back from success

As an actor and coach, I often have the lovely pleasure of watching others experience more success than I. In the past, I’ve resorted to the “Guess it’s meant to be for them and not me” mentality. Ever done that yourself?

As someone who helps others become the best and happiest version of themselves, I often hear thoughts holding people back – thoughts that simply aren’t true. How do I know this? Because I go through them myself quite often. It’s been the biggest reason why I make reading books, listening to audios, and working with coaches (such as Courtney Rioux) a non negotiable.

I’ve learned that many of us like to make up reasons in our head why things are the way they are and why we’re not where we want to be. It breaks my heart when I see my friends or others I talk to do the same thing. It’s why I write blogs, host periscopes, and make Sunday videos on facebook each week.

I can’t tell you why we make up these reasons in our head based on limited information. Perhaps someday I’ll know more about the subject. What I do know is, having learned this the hard way, that often the biggest thing holding us back is ourselves.

That, my friends, is the truth.

It’s not that you’re not talented. It’s not that you’re not deserving. It’s not that your friends advancing in your field ahead of you are better than you are. I might not know you personally. But if you found this post, I want you to know that you are just as capable and worthy as that person ahead of you. You just need to believe it yourself.

Start making that the story you tell yourself every day and every night, my friends.

At the same time, let’s get rid of the notion that a particular strategy “isn’t for you” before you’ve actually tried it – and I mean really tried it. What really pains me to see is someone working on a goal, continuing to fall short, but refusing to try a different method. If it helps, reframe your mindset. “I’m going to try failing at this for a while by doing (insert new strategy here).” It will take the pressure of having to feel good about this new approach. And let’s be honest – most of us don’t like change. So the beginning is going to feel weird. That’s okay.

Are your thoughts and limiting beliefs be holding you back? I’d love to chat with you one on one and see if I can help. Most of the coaching I do with others is free. If I can’t provide you with a solution, I also have resources and friends who might be able to help better than I.

So here’s my question to you: Are you ready to stop holding yourself back and start being happier?

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I’m not always happy. But when I am….I’m probably taking a selfie. 

It’s go time.

Let’s go get ‘em, friends.

Strugging? Have a setback? So were these 5 MLB All Stars…

Whether you’re a fan of baseball or looking to become an All Star in your own field, this one is for you.

Being a die hard fan myself, I often think about how wonderful it must be to be an athlete. Sure, there’s a hectic travel schedule and you’re under a big media spotlight. But how cool is it that you get to work every day doing what you love?

Last month I watched the 2016 All Star Game played in San Diego. (From my studio apartment. In Chicago.) I couldn’t help but notice there were a few athletes playing who weren’t exactly living an all star life in their recent past.

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Jackie Bradley, Jr: This season he’s been on fire for the Red Sox. The guy is a becoming a fan favorite in the Boston area after his impressive 29 game hit streak. I’m sure many fans aren’t thinking about how only a year ago he was struggling at the plate and endured multiple visits down to the Paw Sox – a Red Sox AAA team. I even doubted whether or not he’d be in Boston in 2016.

Will Meyers: This man got a standing-O practically every time he was featured in the All Star game. He was representing the Padres in their own ball park, much to the delight of the fans. Speaking of fans, anyone remember the time he got heckled relentlessly by Red Sox fans during the 2013 playoffs after a fielding blunder?

Wilson Ramos: This year the 29 year old represented the Washington Nationals for the National League. However, he endured a devastating struggle five years ago: Just after his rookie season, Ramos was kidnapped from his home in a hostage situation in Venezuela. Many were more concerned about his life – not the fact that he might never play baseball again.

Steven Wright: The knuckleballer for the Red Sox humbly accepted his first All Star nomination this year. After listening to him in a post game interview, fans got a chance to hear how he nearly quit baseball five years ago. Had it not been for the support of his wife, he probably would have. (Men, take note.)

[Source: The wonderful journal of Tony Rossi….but notes were from post game show on WEEI ;)]

David Ortiz: What’s not to love about David Ortiz? We’d be here all day if we were listing his accomplishments for the Boston Red Sox. All loyal Sox fans are familiar with his triumphs. But what about his struggles? Having just listened to a podcast, it was revealed that he broke down in tears after being released from the Minnesota Twins. He wasn’t sure he’d play baseball ever again.

[Source: Boston Red Sox Podcast – “A History’s Perspective.” Guest: Adrian Burgos]

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I miss the guy already. Caught him at Fenway earlier this season! 

Anytime there’s an abundance of evidence showing failure and setbacks, I tend to focus on more of them. I often see them in my acting career as well as my journey as a fitness and mindset coach. What I can’t see in those moments? The future. When we can’t picture an awesome future, it’s hard to get through the struggle

I love these stories. They share how a #notperfect chapter doesn’t dictate our final conclusion.

Go after that conclusion. The struggle isn’t all there is.

Go get ’em.

I’m Baaaaack!…and still #notperfect

 

So I took a month off of writing to refresh. I wanted new energy and a better system to updating once or twice a week.  I wanted to better share how we can all be our happiest and best versions of ourselves. Naturally, I thought, this would be a KILLER post that would be the spark that both myself and my friends needed for this page.

…..it wasn’t. A few confessions:

-I am writing this post at 8:31pm on Wednesday night. I always schedule them the night before they post at Thursday morning. (In other words, this post is still being written last minute).

-I spent last month working on some different goals. Truth be told, any thinking about my blog was more of an “Oh yeah, I need to get to that….”

-My first draft of this “I’m baaaack!” post was far different. I wrote it quick and wanted to get it out of the way. Fortunately for us all…..my computer froze and it never saved. (So please save your work….and don’t use a laptop that freezes a lot!)

I realize this doesn’t exactly show me in a flattering light. It’s not going to get me 1,000 followers. It’s not going to be the post that shows how I’m the best person to hold you accountable and help you reach your health goals. And it’s definitely not going to land me on stage at Steppenwolf.

When I was at Coach Summit in Nashville last weekend, Chalene Johnson shared with us that people can’t relate to your “after” photo if they don’t relate to your “before.” I couldn’t agree more. Before and After weight loss photos don’t do anything for me because it shows a transformation that I can’t relate to. I’ve never had a before and after photo that brings me joy and I have never had the abs that those people have. But when I hear from them in person about how hard the journey was and how many times they failed? Oh, I can relate to that….besides, I’ve failed plenty of times!

I use the hashtag #notperfect a lot because honestly, that’s me: Someone who messes up a lot. But here’s the best part: It’s okay to mess up.

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A quote from the wonderful Dallas Travers

I’ll admit I spent a lot of last month kicking myself for my “failures.” I’m probably going to catch myself doing that again. But you know what? I can be flawed and still move forward.

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Having other like minded people around you doesn’t hurt either. Photo stolen lovingly from Nadia Torres! (She’s in the white) 

Be #notperfect with me, friends.

Let’s go get ‘em.