Like me, you probably learned this lesson in school as a kid, my teacher must have announced it at the beginning of every test. “Keep your eyes on your own paper.”

If you’re looking at someone else’s paper you’re probably either looking for answers or checking to see if they were moving faster.


The grown up version of that is comparing yourself to others.  If we spend too much time admiring someone else’s life on paper rather than living out our own unique purpose, we are only cheating ourselves. Your life is just that yours!  Don’t allow yourself to become discontent with what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, the progress you are making, or your outcome based on someone else’s.

I read once that we view the blooper reel of our own lives but compare it to the finely edited cinematic version of the lives of others.

The truth is we all have our blooper reel and those moments may have been hard to get through but we have them to look back on and hopefully get a giggle. We are meant to make our own paths, live our own dreams, and reach for our own goals.  No two people will have the same path and that is what makes this journey so amazing. We are all here to write our own story on our very own page.

As you celebrate this day of ashes, remember to love your neighbor, but keep your eyes on your own paper.


A few years ago I had a pretty serious knee injury requiring emergency surgery. The doctor told me may never walk again. He was sure I would never be able to run, jump, or ride a bike. I heard the doctor’s words, but never took what he said to heart. I couldn’t, so I took it as a challenge.

I wasn’t going to be stopped. I refused to let this keep me down.  I pushed through physical therapy I forced myself to work through the pain.  The doctor told me I was pushing too hard and that I need to wear the brace and use the crunches.  He explained that my surgery wasn’t a normal surgery and I need to accept the fact that I may never walk again. His words lit a fire inside me.  I was more determined than ever.  I was walking again without assistance within 3 months.

I’ve been working out regularly for about 18 months. My knee hasn’t given me too many issues expect the occasional aches and pains. Until a few months ago, I was doing squats in the squat rack & my knee gave.  I almost fell with 185 lbs. I was terrified! The pain was excruciating. That was the last time I went into the squat rack. I started doing squats on the smith machine & going just below parallel.

Last month I realized my passion for the gym was being replaced with fear & resentment. I was afraid of another fall or worse.  Twice a week on leg day it haunted me.  I avoided the squat rack like the plaque. My passion for the gym was turning into resentment.  There was only one options I had to force myself to try the squat rack again.

No one but me and the weights.  I knew I needed to get over this or everything I’ve worked for to get this far would be for nothing.  I
did it! Last week & again yesterday. Only the bar at first then slowly added weights.  I’m only up to 105 now but I did it!  I am keeping proper form and dropping all the way down. 

Obstacles haunt all of us at some point but if you believe in yourself you can conquer your fears and achieve your goals.  Challenges are what change us and prove to ourselves how strong we really are.

What got me started on my fitness journey.  I wanted to get that feeling back I had before kids and work took such a toll.  I started working out two years ago but made such little progress it was frustrating.  My trainer said I need to lift weights, but I was one of those girls that thought I’d get bulky.  I remember saying “I don’t want to lift heavy weights, I want to look like a lady”.  I cringe thinking about it now.  After a year of very little results I knew to truly change my body I needed to get into lifting, but I felt awkward in the gym.  No real idea about what I should be doing or how to do it even.  I pushed myself to go.  My mom quote stuck in my head “How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time” So I took baby steps.  I made myself try one new machine each day, and one free weight exercise. It felt like I was under a microscope for the first few weeks.  Dreaded going.  It was my version of HELL!!! After about 3 weeks it became a routine. I didn’t hate it but it wasn’t my favorite place to be. After 6 months I was still seeing very little progress, by now my boyfriend had taken notice that I was serious and we found the Jim Stoppani 6 wks to Shred program.  I made an appointment on my schedule 6 days a week that I refused to cancel on. I was taking back my body and my life. It became the hour of the day that was all about me, when I could do good things for myself.  I loved the way strength training made me feel and look.  I began to look forward to my gym sessions.  That was where the stress of the day just melted off me.

I am a busy mother of two which add a little more to my plate, but my kids have been amazing during this journey and it has made our meals much more entertaining.  Remember my mom’s saying….with that in mind… for the kids we had to try one new item from the produce section each week, for the first year this worked very well since they hadn’t eaten to many items from there, sadly.  However, that got increasingly more difficult, now we find new recipes that are healthy twisted on old favorites or just new all together.  Their favorite dessert is anything from our Yonanas or our rainbow (made from pieces of fruit from each color slices up and shaped in to a rainbow).  They love the new more active me which I awesome because I do too.

I want to live as an example to my kids and other mothers out there.  No matter how old you are, living a healthy lifestyle will change your life for the better. I have so much more energy and we as a family do so much more.   

I wrote this to share with others that you can be a busy mom but still manage to eat healthy, work out hard, and live a fitter lifestyle. I hope I can help others to get motivated to set and achieve your own goals.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you




Seems everyone is so busy, running here going there.  So much to get done during the day.  When I started working out I had a million and one excuses on how NOT to make it to the gym.  I was busy.  Two kids in football, working 50-60 hours a week.  Things were hectic.  But I made a promise to myself and to my health for my family.  No, I wasn’t in danger of becoming ill or anything drastic…Just lazy and unhealthy




I realized quickly that I’d never “find” time to go to the gym, I had to make it.  First step was twice a week.  After about a month of that I started 3 times then 4 now I’m at 5-6 times per week and if I can’t make it I workout at home.


I HATED the gym at first.  I felt insecure like I was in a foreign country.  I was shy and tried to stay out of everyone’s way.  If you’ve been in a weight room I’m sure you can relate.  It’s loud so busy.


Now the sound of the 45s clanking is relaxing. I don’t just count reps, I make them count.  For one hour everyday I clear my mind as I improve my body.  The gym could be packed but for me, It’s just me and the weights.   I am confident and comfortable, it feels great!

Make the time and you will be happy you did.  Not only will your body begin to change but it’s good for the soul.













People always ask me how I got started on my path to a fit and healthy life.  It was quite simply really.  I bought the insanity program and tried it a few times starting eating a little healthier but nothing to write home about.  Then as I was talking to my 6 year old daughter she asked me something that hit me like a brick.  “Mommy why do girls hate their bodies” I asked her to explain and she went on to give examples of how people came over and didn’t want to swim because they weren’t bikini ready and how girls always talk about being fat.  Her next comment sealed my decision “Mommy am I fat?”  My daughter is a string bean she couldn’t be smaller, so I was crushed. What was I doing? How do I teach her to love herself and not be insecure about her body like most of us are.

Then a light bulb. I will show her!  None of the women in my life growing up were healthy.  Some where naturally skinny others pleasantly plump but no one that I can recall ate healthy, worked out or heck even walked around the block. That day I told her I was not working out and eating healthy because I hate my body,  I’m doing it because I love my body.

We cook healthy meals together and pack lunches.  That day forever changed the way I look at fitness.  It’s not just about me and feeling better about myself, it’s showing my daughter and my son how to live a happy and healthy life.

By on August 3, 2013

Through all of the stories of great successes, it’s the men and women who found their motivation and consistently used it as their main drive to reach success.Motivation-In-The-Morning-Day-300x330[1]

Motivation and excitement about your vision, your ambition, your goal, give you energy and an ability to do what others can, but won’t do. If you’re motivated, you work longer hours, but are also more productive and focused in those hours you work. But what if you’re not internally motivated day after day to hustle, work, and trudge through the daily tasks that make-up the path to your end goal?

Are you relegated to a life of mediocrity, or is motivation something that can be coached, practiced, and created?

Today we’ll look at 15 ways to find the motivation that the Tony Robbins’, Mother Teresa’s, and Elon Musk’s of the world have.



15 Ways To Wake Up With Motivation


1. Have your biggest dreams written on a massive white board

Your dreams and audacious goals should be written where you can consistently see them. I use a big white board next to my desk. On the white board are my big goals, my weekly goals, and motivational quotes. This helps me keep the eye on the prize, maintain focus, and ward of the distractions that make their way into my day.


2. Focus only on TODAY

We can get lost in thinking about the future or regretting the past. What’s terrible about this is that while you’re worrying and wishing you were in a different position in life, someone else is working.

Worry does no good. If you truly want to succeed you need to learn how to focus your mind only on the present. Do what you can do in the moment, work on the project at hand, accomplish your daily goals and tasks, and you’ll do the same with your bigger, lifelong goals and dreams.


3. Have only 3 things on your to do list that MUST BE accomplished

Don’t try and fill your day with too much. Sure, you’d like to get a lot accomplished, but there should be 3 (only 3) important tasks that NEED to be accomplished. Focus on these first. When they’re completed, and only when they’re completed, are you allowed to move on to other things.

Too many people spread themselves thin. What ends up happening is they get overwhelmed, which crushes their motivation, and nothing gets done.

If you’re focused, you’ll stay motivated, you’ll get more done, and you’ll be where you want to be a lot faster.


4. Practice discipline

Discipline isn’t sexy, but it’s necessary. It’s in discipline that we gain freedom. We gain freedom to get more done, to improve, and to remove regret from our lives.

When you’re focused only on today, doing only what needs to be done in the now, nothing else matters. But discipline needs to be practiced everyday.

When a reporter asked two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, how often he trained growing up, he said (and I paraphrase) Everyday. I never missed a workout, because I knew that if I missed one, I’d give myself a reason to miss another.

If you practice laziness and distraction, that is what you’ll be, and you’ll be left with nothing but regret and failure. Practice being successful by doing what successful people do everyday: they remain disciplined.

Remember, take it one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with eternity when the present should be your only concern.


5. Create an inspiring environment

Your environment HAS TO inspire you. Surround yourself with images that motivate you, but also in a clean, clear space. Clutter truly does clutter the mind, but it can also be depressing to be in a messy area.

Pattern your work environment as you’d love it to be. Spend a little money on a nice desk if that’s your thing, but make sure your work space inspires you and motivates you. This is where the magic happens. This is where you should be spending most of your time. So make sure it affects you positively.


6. Have a quotes list near your desk, and your bed

It’s not the critic who counts… The famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt is always close. Be it in my notebook (one of the two), or handing from my bathroom mirror, or next to my bed, I always have inspirational quotes that keep me focused, upbeat, and aware that success isn’t immediate. That success takes hard work, dedication and much sacrifice.

If “making it” was easy, everyone would have made it. That’s why I respect all entrepreneurs, it takes guts to be in the arena.


7. Workout everyday

Part of staying motivated is warding off depressive thoughts. Being physically fit helps with that not only from an image and an energy aspect, but hormonally as well.

For men, being physically fit will help raise your natural levels of testosterone, which leads to diminished likelihood of depression. So get in the gym at least 4 times a week, and get outside and get active.


8. Set mini, measurable goals

You’ll have your big goals – and make sure they’re as clear as possible – but they need to be broken into smaller goals as well. Make these goals measurable and attainable in the near future (like “to-do’s”).

Everything should be measurable so you know where you are in relation to where you want to be (EVERYTHING).


9. Work in 90-120 minute intervals, interspersed with active breaks

Your work should be intense, purposeful, and focused. Studies have shown that we can do so for a 90-minute period, but tend to lose focus once that 90-minute period is finished.

One of the best ways to regain focus is to do something active. The endorphins release by a quick jog or set of sprints will help you not only gain energy, but regain focus.


10. Don’t work on small projects

That is, don’t set small goals that don’t excite you. You NEED TO BE excited about what you’re trying to accomplish. If it doesn’t excite you, how are you going to be motivated?


11. Clean once a week

Clean your house and work space once a week. Keep clutter and mess out of your life if you want to keep consistently motivated.


12. Take mini-vacations monthly

While the hustle and grind of creating something – i.e. the life of an entrepreneur – can be arduous and necessary, it needs “mini jolts”. Nature, for myself, is the best way to give me the jolts I need to stay focused, hustle daily, and accomplish big things.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you should unplug once a month. Go local, but do what you gotta do to get out of your routine. You’ll not only be re-energized, but you’ll find that nature can enhance your creativity.

Bring a notebook and a book to accompany you on your adventure.


13. Read voraciously

Great people read. Books are their companions. Check out The Gates Notes – it’s Bill Gates personal website, filled with his personal notes on whatever he’s reading.

In all of my study of great people, be they politicians, entrepreneurs, or conquerors, knowledge was something they all craved. If you want greatness in your future, read in your present.


14. Journal daily

Spend one week making notes about when your energy levels – and motivation levels – are at their highest. There should be patterns. Use these patterns to your advantage.

Put your most important tasks in the times when your energy levels are at their height (I do all of my writing in the wee hours of the morning, or late at night, when no one is awake to bother me, and I can focus on one thing).

A journal will also help with clarity. It’s far easier to be motivated when your mind is clear, and the road to your goal is as well.


15. Win your mental battles

In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill consistently refers to the battles we have in our minds. The rich think a certain way, and it isn’t necessarily a greedy way, but a positive one.

The thoughts that fill your mind should only aid you in your journey, they should detract from it. Now, you may think, How can I control all of the thoughts that come in to my head. You may not be able to control what comes in, but you do have the power to control which ones you pay attention to.

Fill your mind with creative, positive, and ambitious thoughts. Don’t give energy to your fears and worries. They do nothing but move you further away from your goals.


Bonus: Eliminate ALL distractions

I have an app on my computer called “freedom”. It shuts down the internet and all social media for a time determined by me. I start this timer every time I sit down to write to ensure that I’m not distracted.

If social media distracts you, set up your tweets, posts, or shares with an app like Hootsuite, so your curiosity isn’t constantly getting the better of you.

If you have nothing to distract you, you have no choice but to work.


About The Author: Chad Howse

Chad Howse is the creator of Be Legendary, a company dedicated to helping guys experience greatness in Fitness, Work, & Life. Chad has been featured in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Shape magazines, and is a contributor to the Art of Manliness, and Addicted2Success.
Big changes to your body and your lifestyle don’t come without a shift in your mental attitude. If your mind isn’t up to the task, your body will never be. Learn how to strengthen your mind in six steps.
by Justin Woltering Jun 18, 2013

Whether you’re trying to lift more, gain mass, or get lean, mental strength will be the key to your success. Your goals may be physical, but your mind controls everything you do.

Just read some biographies of great bodybuilders, lifters, football players, and even runners. Their sports may be different, but all true champions reach the top by honing their mental game. Almost every trainee has a capable body; it’s the willing mind that sets the successes and failures apart! strong-body-stronger-mind-1

Even if you’re not a pro athlete, don’t think you can get away with a mediocre mentality. Whether you want to gain five pounds of muscle or lose pounds of fat, you’ll need to make big changes to your habits, work ethic, and lifestyle.

Those big changes don’t come without strengthening and improving your mind. Your work is never done. It might be as tough for a newbie just to reach the gym as it is for a world-class bodybuilder to prep for a contest. Your journey, however, is about you.

Feeling the pressure? I sure hope so! It’s all on you to get results, but that just means you also have the power to make things happen. With a few changes to your mindset, you can make your daunting goals seem like obstacles you just can’t wait to tackle! To help, here are six of my favorite tips for improving mental strength.

1 / Know What You Want

Before starting on your journey, you’ve got to know where you’re going. What do you want to accomplish with your body? Are you a young guy looking to get big, or do you want to lean down? Do you want to focus on strength for a sport, or would you rather focus on mass? Do you have dreams of becoming a professional, sponsored bodybuilder or fitness model? It’s your body, your mind, and your choice. Remember that!

Despite the simplicity, answering the question “what do you want?” is difficult for most people. One reason that question is so hard is that it forces you to come to terms with your current state of affairs. You might want to be a behemoth bodybuilder, for instance, but if you’re already overweight to an unhealthy level, then gaining more weight isn’t a great idea. You’ll have to diet first, and that sucks! It’s a lot easier in the long run if you’re honest with yourself and honest about your goals.



Outside influences can also make it hard to focus on your personal goals. Even well-meaning friends and family might try to discourage you from spending too much time, money, or energy on bodybuilding and fitness. Don’t cave in, but don’t ignore them, either. Think about what it’s going to take to achieve your goals. What sacrifices and trade-offs are you going to have to make? By taking your loved ones into account, you’ll feel a lot more solid about your decision. Those day-to-day challenges of training and dieting will become a lot more manageable when you’re sure of your goals.


2 / Surround Yourself With Positive People


Once you decide to change your body, you might find that all sorts of previously pleasant people start to become discouraging. It’s rarely anything overt, though. You’ll just hear off-hand comments about your “Spartan” diet or “obsessive” training schedule, and some people will not-so-playfully poke fun at you for taking fitness seriously.


In the long run, these people can poison your progress. Outside negativity will eventually wear down even the most strong-willed, independent-minded person. And, even if you never cheat on your diet or miss a workout, constant negativity will cause you some serious stress. This is a real progress-killer for bodybuilders and lifters.




While you always have to deal with stressful people, the trick is to minimize their influence on your life. You don’t need to cast out every person who’s not a die-hard fitness fanatic, but avoid people who belittle your goals.

Just as importantly, surround yourself with people who offer encouragement. Even if you train by yourself, try to spend time with other lifters and athletes who are just as serious as you. You won’t need to rely solely on your internal motivation when you have others holding you accountable; their progress can inspire you to be better.

3 / Do What You Hate!

If you want to make everything else in your routine seem a little easier, aggressively tackle the stuff you hate the most. Dreading your next leg day? Do double your normal volume on squats! Is cardio getting your down? Crank up the treadmill speed and tough it out. Getting a little sick of your diet? Try eating everything with zero spices or herbs for a few days and see if your normal meals don’t seem a little less boring.

You can only make so many tough choices per day. It’s a lot easier to fall off the wagon when every meal and every workout feels like a burden. By forcing yourself to do the hard stuff, you effectively make all of exercise and dietary habits “easier,” freeing up your mental energy for other tasks.

It’s even more important to apply this principle outside the gym. If you make tough choices for a living, you’re probably more stressed than most people. A high-stress life makes mustering the motivation to train hard and eat right next to impossible. Tackle big challenges in your career and personal life, and your “normal” activities like lifting and dieting will seem easy in comparison.

4 / Maintain Momentum

“The highs are high, and the lows are lower.” That old adage applies to most endeavors, and fitness is no exception. For me and most of my clients, training hard and eating right becomes easier the longer we do it. Like any other habit, they are tough to start, but even tougher to break.


Consider your own momentum the next time you think about skipping a workout or having a cheat meal. Is it worth it? You won’t just suffer the ill effects of that one bad decision, you make it easier to slip up in the future.

Making one tough choice in the present—sticking to your diet, finishing your workout, or going to bed on time—will make things far easier in the long run. You won’t have to “torture” yourself daily when your now-difficult routine becomes second nature. Consistent clean eating and training will make you look and feel better! The more your body improves, the less you’ll be tempted to return to your smaller, weaker, fatter, or unhealthy self.

5 / Set Short- And Long-Term Goals

When you try to improve your body, one of the worst things you can do is to become complacent. It’s fine to take a break now and again. Even pro bodybuilders have “maintenance” periods, but you need to keep new goals in mind if you want to make continual progress.

To keep yourself moving forward, have short- and long-term goals going at the same time. Say you want to increase your squat. If you’re currently hitting 225 for five reps, you might have a short-term goal of getting 275 for five reps. Don’t stop there! Think about how much stronger you want to be and set a lofty goal: try for 405, 495, even 585 for five reps!


Constantly accomplish and update your short-term goals, but always have that long-term motivation to keep you going. Even when you slip or take short breaks, those big goals will keep you focused and maintain your momentum.

6 / Embrace Failure!  strong-body-stronger-mind-5

It might hurt to hear this but, you should know that you are going to fail, and probably more than once before you reach your ultimate potential.

Even if you exert the utmost control over your diet and training, you’re going to have setbacks like bad workouts, periods of low energy, injuries, and external stress.

Know that this isn’t an excuse to be undisciplined, but an understanding that you’ll have to stay in the game for the long haul. If you don’t understand the likelihood of occasional setbacks, every mishap will seem like the end of the world.

Keep those failures to a minimum by remembering that you can never be forced to eat bad foods or sit on the couch instead of going to the gym. Optimize everything you can control, and understand that the things you can’t control may sometimes bring you down. The right mindset will allow you to bounce back as soon as possible!


Image  —  Posted: July 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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