How To Stay Motivated

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Staying fired up over anything is incredibly tough and outright exhausting. I’ll be the first to admit that and I’m usually someone who is positive and upbeat to a fault. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish – healthy living, starting or growing a business, or building better relationships – staying motivated is going to be a serious challenge.

So how does someone do it? How do you stay motivated to get something done? Unfortunately, you don’t. You simply can’t do it so stop trying to stay motivated 100% of the time – it’s going to burn you out.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.

1. Understand that motivation is cyclical. It will have its ups and downs – there will be some days you’re really fired up and others where you’re just not feeling it. This can be caused by a lot of things – the weather, your diet, your health, those surrounding you, and so much more. Some mornings you won’t want to get up and go to the gym. Some evenings you won’t want to come home and work on your side business. The first step is simply accepting this as part of life.

2. Focus on dedicated and determination. When you are super motivated make sure you get into the right mindset of what you want to accomplish. Break it down into a plan and get determined to make it happen. Determination and dedication towards a task will last much longer than motivation. Make it a priority – publicly and internally.

3. Rely on others. Find accountability partners – something who is willing to call you out when you’re letting yourself get lazy, or help give you encouragement and feedback then you’re pushing forward. Having others on a similar journey helps, but they could simply be friends that are willing to help you out.

4. Experiment. I often super-dose on vitamin D (5000-7000IU per day for 1-2 days) and test UV lighting exposure throughout the day sometimes to see what works and keeps me at my top motivation and productivity (weather impacts my mood like crazy). I also know exactly what foods will help me stay fired up and which will send me into a slump. Listening to your body and experimenting is a great way to push the cycle in your favour. Things like brisk walks or runs outdoors or timed coffee intake can really impact your motivation.

5. Know the difference between demotivation and change in direction. I often set goals that sound like the right thing at the time. These could be anything – training for a race, starting a new business project, or so on. There’s a difference between me getting lazy and not being able to accomplish a goal or task that I set out for myself because I’m demotivated and allowing myself to completely trash that goal and task because it doesn’t align with the direction I’m heading in. Don’t let a change in direction get you down, but at the same time don’t let that be an excuse to get lazy.

Also, I sometimes take 10 minutes out of my day to watch / listen to some inspirational videos or historical speeches. Here’s a good video to fire you up to get to the gym in the morning:

What do you think? I’ve been banging out a few long days over the last week or two in anticipation to launch a new project for one of my businesses. There have been some times when I’m just flat out demotivated and I do not want to continue on. It’s many of the above tips that I’ve been using to consistently deliver ship day after day. What works for you? How do you stay motivated? I’d love to hear it in the comments.

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Automation vs. Authenticity

I suspect this isn’t the first time you’ve seen this debate. With so much tech and so many tools available to us to automated a huge part of our lives and businesses it’s a hot debate in many industries and across many disciplines. You hear of speakers that are up making presentations and their personally-managed twitter accounts are sending out tweets. Email auto-responders that convert curiosity into dollars with the help of psychology and automation.

Is there a fine line? Does being uber-automated mean you need to sacrifice authenticity? I could certainly argue either side of this coin and provide some amazing examples for both. I think it depends on the situation, the business, the person, and the transparency of the process.

I recently stream-lined our interview and episode publishing process for The Lifestyle Accountability Show. This is actually what made me think of this topic in the first place. I love chatting with people about healthy living – hearing their stories, their struggles, and what they continue to do to work towards a healthier version of themselves. It’s insanely motivating and inspiring for Devon and I – as I hope it is to our listeners as well.

The thing is, the podcast doesn’t generate me any money and it can take up a lot of my time. Finding guests, staying up to date on their stories, arranging times to chat, accounting for miscommunication of timezones and missed interviews, recording, editing, publishing, follow up, promotion, etc. You get the idea. Don’t get me wrong I love it but I am doing it all myself and it can get a little time consuming on top of running my own business.

So it came down to necessity for me. Things I meant to do weren’t getting done as well as I’d like them to. Promoting the episodes across our social media channels, giving guests a heads up on when their episode will be live, making the process of arranging a time to chat easy with as little back and forth as possible. For the sake of my sanity I decided to automate some things in this business. I wanted to share this as both a way to share some of the processes that were developed and to be transparent and say it’s okay.

So what were some specific issues and what am I doing about them?

Scheduling: automating the process to make it simple and easy.

I had some of the process built in the beginning – how to reach out to people that I’ve been following. Whether online or through friends of friends, I had somewhat of a process to reach out and introduce them to our show and ask them to be a guest. There were holes in it.

We often missed each other due to miscommunication over timezones. There were times when the interview was going to start and we didn’t actually have their phone or email contacts. We double booked people by offering time slots to multiple people via email. People are busy and by the time they had an availability, it was already booked on our end. By scheduling too far in advance, we ran into the problem of people forgetting about the interview. Lots of holes to fill and fix.

I’ve now taken that process and really batched it and automated the scheduling. Now instead of a back and forth email series to arrange a time to chat, I send them to a page that lets them choose their best time based on our availability – in the timezone of their choosing. They provide a phone number or Skype account depending on how they choose to be reached. When they book they get sent an immediate email which includes the details of the chat, and a way for them to immediately put it in the calendar of their choice – whether Outlook, Google Calendar, iCal, etc.

The system then sends one reminder email 24-48 hours before the discussion to remind them and ensure them that we’ll be reaching out at the scheduled time. After the interview it sends them a follow up the next day, thanking them and telling them how the publishing will work.

The process I was doing manually – albeit half assed – is now almost completely automated and saves me a lot of time and mental energy.

Recording, editing, publishing, and show notes.

I won’t go into too much detail here because it’s less about automation and more about batching for this. But I have automated the posting to some extent by streaming the editing process and scheduling the posts in WordPress immediately after the discussion and editing. This frees me up to automate the next step.

Social media promotion

I was only allowing myself so much time on social media to help promote the podcast and each episode. The problem was that I spent a good deal of that time actually sharing each episode on a daily basis that I didn’t have much left in me to engage in the community, share more, add to the discussions, etc. Things that will ultimately help grow the podcast were getting put to the side because I wanted to make sure each guest was going to get a shout out.

I’ve always used HootSuite to manage the accounts, but now I use its scheduler to automate the promotion. After I know the URL of each episode after it’s been edited and drafted in WordPress, I schedule the posts on our social media accounts. Is it inauthentic compared to a doing-it-myself standpoint? Maybe, but it’s much better than forgetting or letting a day slip by without sharing a story – a story from someone who went out of their way and comfort zone to talk with us and help inspire people. I’d rather automate that and make sure it gets heard than struggle internally over how it should be done.

This frees up my “social media time” to actually talk with people – to engage and participate and show up to the discussions.

My biggest struggles were with the email correspondence and the social media – both of which are now fairly automated. The email thanking them for the chat wasn’t custom written by me for them specifically (although it says and means the same thing pretty much). Does that imply I mean it any less? Absolutely not. There were times when I forgot to thank a guest which I think is much worse. In this case, automating as much as I can frees up my time to be more authentic and spend the time on things that I genuinely love. Things like engaging with the health and fitness community. Getting to really know our guests and really helping them get their stories heard and help them motivate as many people as possible.

I really did have a struggle with automating things like this. Are there tradeoffs? Definitely. But in this case I believe automation = authenticity.

What are your thoughts on all this? I’d love to hear your input on the Automation vs. Authenticity debate.

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Why Do I Always Feel Tired

This is a serious question and something I’ve struggled with throughout my health and fitness journey. I never slowed down when I was in high school – I was always on the go. In fact, I don’t remember ever feeling “fatigued” that wasn’t simply the cause of pushing myself to the limits in sports or activities. But once I hit University, I fell in love with the nap.

Don’t get me wrong, I still nap often (although not nearly as often as I used to) and I do recommend a great caffeine power nap when you need a little extra focus and drive, but I don’t need them to get through the day like I used to. I don’t hit a wall anymore. I rarely wake up tired after a good night sleep anymore (probably the worst feeling in the world).

I was lucky that a lot of this stuff sorted itself out once I figured out what combination of food and exercise made me feel good. I didn’t have to play around with too much figuring out why I was so damn tired and running out of energy all the time. I’ll highlight some of the reasons why you might always feel tired and what are a few small things you can do to test and see if it helps. Some of these were game changers for me, but your milage may vary – test for yourself and see how it works out.

1. Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)

I suspect this is a big cause for a lot of people and why they feel fatigue – especially both first thing in the morning AND when hitting the afternoon wall. Your lunch probably spikes your blood sugar a little more than required, which can lead to a “crash” effect of sorts that will put you into that afternoon lull. For me, this was making sure my lunch contained a protein source, lots of vegetables, and a very slow digesting carb – I really enjoy some black beans for lunch because I find they give me the most consistent source of energy to get through the afternoon.

Likewise if you wake up in the morning feeling tired or with a headache, you might want to think about adding something very small right before bed – a piece of apple with some peanut butter on it should do the trick. It will give your body a little boost so that you’re not waking up with such low blood sugar levels.

2. Restless sleep (or lack of sleep)

Think you’re getting a good night sleep? Is it possible to measure? Sort of. There are a number of devices like the Fitbit and Jawbone Up that will track your sleeping patterns. You can even get an iPhone app that will use the accelerometer to gauge if you’re moving around a lot throughout the night.

I’m not suggesting you go out and spend a hundred bucks on some gadget just to track your sleep – but it’s important to consider that you might not be getting as good of a night sleep as you think.

3. Lack of exercise

“But I get tired after I work out.” No shit. In fact, you likely get pretty exhausted and sore and feel like you never want to do it again. The problem is that you might use that as a reason to never do it again and if you do – the next time you try to exercise you’re going to get the same feeling.

I guarantee that incorporating a moderate exercise plan into your daily and weekly routine will be extremely beneficial in not feeling so tired.

4. You’re simply passing time

This is a big one and might be more of a reason than you give it credit. Sleeping to pass time is very popular – dangerous, but popular. It often goes hand in hand with simply being bored and not having the best use for your time. It’s very important that you pay attention to this if it’s happening because it can be the cause of, or eventually lead to some other issues such as depression and anxiety.

5. Anxiety or stress

“I’m not stressed.” Very common response from someone when they are asked if they are stressed out. The issue is that stress comes in a lot of different shapes and forms. Just because you don’t have an upcoming deadline in a project doesn’t mean you might not have other stressors in your life.

Is your family coming in from out of town and visiting for a few weeks? That can cause the body stress regardless of how excited you may also be about it. Car in the shop and you had to find a different way to commute back and forth to work? That’s an added stress.

You don’t need to be in full-blown anxiety attack mode for your body to have stressors – try to figure out what may be causing you unnecessary stress in your life and try to remove them as best as possible.’

Why do you feel so tired? I’m not sure. The above points are some of the things that I noticed were factors for my fatigue, but your milage may vary. But if you’re struggling with being tired all the time it might make sense to start paying attention to your daily routine and find out some of the influences and factors that could be attributing to the problem.

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Let Me Help You Lose Weight

Over the last couple months I’ve interviewed over 100 people about their health and fitness transformations. I’ve gathered a lot of information and have heard from a lot of different people who have used a lot of different ways to lose weight or simply change their lifestyle for the better with regards to health and fitness.

From weight watchers, to a strict paleo diet, Crossfit, at home workout programs, counting calories, drinking shakes, running marathons, kettlebells, triathlons, becoming vegetarian, vegan, slow carb, low carb, intermittent fasting, ice baths, and just about anything else you could think about.

There are literally thousands of different options and lifestyles to subscribe to that promise to deliver amazing results. Some do, definitely; but there are some very specific underlying habits that were common among everyone we interviewed who were successful in transforming their fitness and their life for the long term.

Based on these interviews – and our own transformations – we’ve deconstructed some of the main habits and small changes that needed to happen to be successful. From here, we created The Habits To Health Program.

It’s a 13 session program, normally done over 13 weeks or 3 months, where we tackle new habits on a weekly basis. Small changes and additions to food & nutrition, exercise & fitness, and your mindset. Changes and habits that are built upon week after week until they become routine and simply part of your life.

It prepares you for some of the biggest challenges that you will face in all three of the above categories – some of these challenges I guarantee you haven’t even considered or thought about yet.

We don’t prescribe any quick fixes. There are no miracle patches, pills, potions, or scams here. If you want me to help you lose weight it is going to take some work on your part. We’ll discuss goals, meal planning, fitness routines, and much more and we require that you put in the work – but we do it all with the focus on changing, creating, and building on healthy habits.

How does the process work?

1. You secure a spot in an upcoming program (currently the winter 2014 program).

2. On or around the start day you’ll hear from us to setup a time for an initial discussion for goal setting and a mindset chat. Shortly after this, we’ll give you what you need to really get started.

3. You’ll receive your first habit video that you can start acting on and implementing its tips into your daily life.

4. You work your butt off and make sure that you are showing up and committing to yourself to make a difference.

5. We stay in touch with you all the time. We are your accountability partner, coach, and cheerleader. You have access to us through a variety of mediums and we help however possible to make sure you succeed with your transformation. You will also have access to all the other participants in the program to connect and help keep each other on track as well.

How does someone get started?

We will start accepting applications for our Winter 2014 program within the next week or two. The program will start the first week of February – a way for us to weed out the people who fizzled out on their resolutions and find the ones that are still serious about changing their lifestyle.

There will be a limit of 50 people in the program. The price is $447. Although we have not formally opened up registration, if you want to send me an email and tell me that you are interested in participating I will send you a registration link early. I wanted to give my own followers a chance to sign up before opening up public registration – which is the purpose of this post.

It’s important to note that there are rules to the program – you need to be serious and make a commitment to yourself and us (you’re taking a spot from someone else, remember), have an open mind, follow the videos, and don’t judge or be judged. We don’t care what your current situation is – only that you want to make positive changes to your health and fitness. If you can give us that, we’ll help with everything else.

If you or someone you know wants to make 2014 the year of healthy changes and a new lifestyle, let me know. I’m really looking forward to changing some lives this year.

Questions? Send me an email or leave a comment below.

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2014: Looking Forward And New Years Resolutions

I took some time this year to really reflect on 2013. In addition to what I wrote in this post, I thought about a lot of things in many areas of my life. It’s only appropriate I think that I now look forward and establish some of the important things that I want to accomplish this year.

This post will include some high level goals that I want to accomplish throughout the year. It’s important that if you’re planning things out like this that you break them down and know what you’re going to do and what it’s going to take on a daily basis.

So what will the upcoming year look like for me? I’m going to break things down into four main categories: health, business, social, and financial. There will certainly be some overlap between some and things that may not fit perfectly into a category, but this gives me an idea of what I’m focusing on. Lets dive in to what I have on the docket for 2014.

Health

Goal: Bluenose half marathon. This will be my first half marathon and I’m really looking forward to tackling this distance. I ran the full marathon last year and it was a struggle. Having never ran a marathon (or anything over a 10k for that matter), I felt unprepared for the full but am really excited about the half. In addition to the half marathon I would also like to include at least one other organized race throughout the year. Whether a 5k or a 10k, I’d like to participate in another race.

Goal: Meditate. This is something I’ve never practised, ever. I’ve talked about how interesting it seemed to me but never built it into my routine. I’m going to experiment with a daily short meditation routine and will be sure to share the results and how it feels / works out for me here.

Goal: Stick to the plan. I’ve created a series of 3-month plans for my health and fitness routines based on what I want to accomplish physically over the next year. Instead of saying I’m going to do this or do that and hit everything I want, I’m simply going to strive to stick to the plan. If I can do that, whatever will happen will happen, but I know I’ll be at a good spot health-wise.

Goal: Defeat Devon at his challenge. Over the Holidays there may have been a bit of sibling rivalry when it came to some of our fitness goals. This goal might be a little self-centred but to hell with it – it’ll be fun. Devon challenged me to a best abs challenge. A six pack is something I have never really had (unless you include beer) so this will be an interesting process and certainly a learning experience. We’ll be documenting the process over at Lifestyle Accountability and will be open and transparent in the process when it comes to what and how we are doing things.

Goal: Balance. 2014 is going to be the year of balance and I’m really going to focus on having a well balanced work-life-play balance. Like I mentioned in my review, I understand there is no perfect balance, and that’s not what I’m chasing here. I’m just looking to be more aware of how things are going and continue to strive for a better balance.

Business

Goal: Double service revenues for our web services business. I’m going to be focusing on two core areas of business and really specialize a little in 2014 to accomplish this. I don’t want to include revenue from one-on-one consulting in this category because that’s not very scalable. Instead, I’ll be aiming to double our current service revenue. I’m sure I’ll have posts on what I’m doing from a business and strategy standpoint in a future post.

Goal: At least two speaking engagements. I’ve already been invited to speak at FitBloggin’ 14 in Savana, Georgia in June. I’m hoping to add at least one other conference in 2014 to my list of speaking engagements. Certainly more info to come on this as well.

Goal: Turn Lifestyle Accountability into a business. Right now the Lifestyle Accountability Show doesn’t make me a dime. I do it because I love interacting with people and getting people fired up about health and fitness. I think it’s become a great resource and a great motivation tool for people looking to stay on track. I don’t plan on changing the podcast and will always be running the show. I’m not in a hurry to make money from it but it does take a lot of time and energy. I have a few ideas of generating at least a little bit of income to compensate Devon for his time as well.

Social

Goal: Weekly entertainment with great people (and possibly drinks). This is something that I had some great success with in 2013 and want to continue to do throughout 2013. Getting together with good company over some good food or drinks is something that I believe has some amazing positive influences on your life. I’m not talking about overdoing it and being hungover every Sunday morning, but making an effort to connect with people socially on a weekly basis.

Goals: Communicate more effectively and create new connections. Everyone has some friendships that have fizzled out or old connections – whether personal or professional – that have taken the sideline because of a busy schedule. In 2014 I really want the people close to me to know what I’m up to, and to know how I feel about our connection. It’s too easy to lose touch and to close down and go through the work and life routine. I don’t want that going forward.

Financial

Goal: Invest more in real estate: acquire an additional 12 units in 2014. Some of you might have known that I’ve been dabbling in real estate investing with my brother over the past 4-6 months. I’ve been learning a ton and have had a lot of great experiences so far – but nothing compared to what’s to come. We close on our first 4 units on the 6th of January, 2014. These units will take a little bit of work renovation-wise, but I’m looking forward to the learning experience. In 2014, I’d like to add at least 12 additional units to our portfolio.

I am really looking forward to 2014 and what’s to come over the next twelve months. You’ll find updates on all of these throughout the year here on the new blog. I’m looking forward to being as open as possible in all areas of my life, and I’m really excited about how this blog will help with that.

Cheers to a happy and wonderful 2014.

Happy New Year!

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