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.


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. 


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

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! 


Get what you want…by not getting what you want

I like when things are perfect. 

While I promote being #notperfect on social media, I continue to get humbling reminders about how I’m still learning to be positive when a wrench gets thrown in my schedule. If things don’t go according to plan – like, exactly according to plan – I freak out and am convinced the day is ruined. 

Take yesterday morning, for example: I woke up. I found it wasn’t raining. I immediately decided I was going to bike to Steppenwolf Front Bar and do my work from there. I love Steppenwolf and knew I had to get out of my apartment to do work. Starbucks just wasn’t cutting it. I had my plan! I bundled up, put on my coat, packed my bag, and threw on my bike helmet. 

…and then realized it had started raining. 


I went back inside, contemplating what to do. I wasn’t pleased. But I had things to do. I decided to just start working from home.

…and proceeded to have one of my most productive mornings in a long time. 

Sometimes we get what we want by not getting what we originally wanted. 

Ever have your plans cancelled due to weather? Or perhaps a change in weekend activities when a friend bails on you? This is the concept in a nutshell. The cool thing is that not only does it teach us to control on the things we can control, but it can help us be more comfortable when this happens with bigger situations. 

I had an awesome plan to intern this summer at a place I really respect and admire. I thought it’d be great if I got it, and was pretty determined to get it. Long story short – I found out that the typical applicant is expected to meet some expectations that I didn’t meet. At first I was pretty upset. Until I remembered this concept. 

Here’s a way to look at your future change of plans, whatever they might be: “I can’t (work there this summer)? Interesting. I wonder what else is now available for me…

The more we grasp this concept, the better we can handle disappointments. The more we can handle disappointments, the more authentically positive we become. 

No bullshit. No faking. No suppressing. 

Doesn’t that sound fun? 


One of my favorite reminders hanging up on my wall. (I kind of like sticky notes.)

Let’s go get ‘em, friends. 


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

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

What to do when you don’t want to feel better


Ever have one of those days you just feel like being grumpy?

It’s one thing to be weighed down by our problems. It’s another story when those problems pile up. If they feel heavy enough, it might make more sense to just sit and sulk.

“Why bother fixing this one problem? It won’t fix the other five.”

“Right as I fixed my last problem, four others showed up. Fixing them isn’t worth it.”

“Fixing this problem in the past clearly hasn’t gotten me onstage at Steppenwolf. Speaking of which, I haven’t heard from my agent in a while.  Clearly the community hates me…”

Get the idea?

I caught myself stressing about a problem last week. (Don’t worry, Steppenwolf, it wasn’t about you.)  I was upset to the point that even doing my personal development wasn’t helping. I just wanted to sit under a blanket – a cold, wet, disgusting blanket of negativity. It wasn’t fun to sit under. Yet being under this blanket, admittedly, brought me an awful form of comfort. It almost made it okay to be upset, unhappy, stressed, etc.

While it’s okay to experience these feelings, it’s not okay to stay in this spot.  Luckily, I have an awesome life coach. Her name is Courtney Rioux. You might have heard me talk about her once or twice (or five hundred times).


True story: I’m less grumpy after clarity sessions with Courtney

In our private facebook group for #MyBigYear2016, I confessed my problem and how it made me feel. Courtney’s response hit a chord. An awesome chord (Hence why I promote her work so much): “Let’s not focus on the problems. Let’s focus on solutions.”

When I’m under this blanket, all I focus on are problems. I don’t even want to focus on solutions. Yet when I heard her words, I saw a glimmer of hope. It made me aware of all the opportunities I had to solve my problem. It shed a light on things that – under my stupid blanket – I didn’t even want to look at.

It made me start to be happier.

If you’re not happy, you’re not going to come out from under the blanket. You’re going to focus on negatives and think about how you don’t have the strength to come out. You won’t see the solutions, and you likely won’t consider being happier.

Find someone you can talk to. Take a break from your problem and do something to put yourself in a better mood. Give yourself something to look forward to. Regardless of what you decide, do what you can to make yourself happier. It’s different for everyone. If all else fails, realize there are people in our lives who love us exactly as we are. Being happy will make them happy. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them.

Tony Rossi 1

Saw my Great Uncle John last week in Boston! He definitely made me happy.

I don’t know what’s under your blanket. All I know is that if you’re reading this post, you’re someone who cares about doing something to make yourself happy. And that makes you awesome.

Don’t forget that.

Go get ‘em.