Archive for the ‘problems’ Category

In order to better understand where you are headed it often helps to see where you have been. Throughout this fitness journey I’ve been through a lot.  I went from my highest weight ever of 206lbs to my lowest weight in almost a decade of 166lbs.  I’ve grown stronger, improved my endurance, pushed through obstacles, and made quite a few mistakes.  Looking ahead I benefit from the knowledge that while I’ve grown a lot there is still a tremendous amount of room for improvement.

I have to begin training specifically for Ninja Warrior; I have to eat cleaner (less refined sugars and snacks); and I have to ramp up the intensity of my training sessions 100 percent!

But before we get into all that perhaps it would be helpful to see where I’ve been over the last year and a half.

I started out on February 8th, 2007 @ 206lbs and with a higher body fat percentage than I care to admit.

As disheartening as it was to see how I had let myself go, I was glad to have visual confirmation of my own failings when it came to living a healthy lifestyle.  How did I get there? For me it was two things- too much soda and NO portion control.  I look back and remember some meals where I had thirds on a full size 11 inch plate. (more…)

Create Goals, Engage Focus, and Gain Desire

Setting realistic goals isn’t just an exercise in penmanship. When you set goals you engage focus and gain desire. Without focus desires will run your life and send you in a thousand different directions- which usually amounts to going nowhere fast. You need goals to engage your focus, to center on that point on the horizon where you want to be. Your focus will breed desire to get to that point, to be that person, to live up to your potential.

How: Take today to create three goals, and harness your desires to become a better person.

Apply Honesty, Gain Perspective

Honesty usually isn’t hard when dealing with other people, but when dealing with our own actions and bad habits most have a habit of taking a less than honest approach. Too often we look at our failures and blame others, we look at our success and take all the credit. Can you be honest with yourself? If you can be honest with yourself, you will gain perspective. Perspective is the unique ability to look into your own life and see what you are doing right and wrong without resorting to the defense mechanisms of blame, excuse, and rationalizing.

How: Take some time at the end of the day and review your choices and decisions. Ferret out any excuses and rationalizations, assign blame or responsibility appropriately. Think about the causes and effects of your actions. In addition, find friends, family, and co-workers who have a vested interest in you and are willing to be honest with you.

Discover Core Values, Gain Traction

While your goals are limited and focused, you need to have core values that are open and broad in perspective. For example, while a good goal might be:

Lose 10lbs by September 30th, 2007,

a good core value might be:

To live a healthier lifestyle in how I eat, exercise, and how I handle stress.

Your core values create a checkpoint for future actions. Is that food something you want to eat? Should you be sitting on the couch or out running? Run these situations past your core values and you will find that you now have a light to guide your path. Core values and goals go hand in hand.

How: Look back on your life. What do you regret? What are your proud of? Find your core values and write them down, commit them to memory. Bring them together with your goals, and begin living a life with conscious direction.

How do you handle a crisis? Does it resemble the woman in the video below? [Watch before reading further]

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Our present financial condition is similar to my physical condition back in February. My wallet is horribly out of shape; my credit cards are stretched like me waist used to be; and cash flow is almost non-existent (much like my previously well concealed six pack). I think that is enough analogies for now, you get the point.

Where are we right now? Well, sad to say, we are burdened by about $15,000+ dollars in credit card debt. That debt costs us about $525/month just to stay on top on minimum payments. Crazy, isn’t it? It wasn’t always like this, when we got married we had three credit cards. It got this way because we (and most often me/I) got suckered into those credit card giveaways. We bought a new mattress and took advantage of the no interest, no payments for a year if you signed up for store credit card “special.” Of course we didn’t pay it off within the year, so we got charged the back interest. Same thing with a digital camera. We also had medical bills we couldn’t pay, so that ended up in a medical credit card. So right now we have about 9 credit cards. I could just smack myself for getting into this mess.

To make matters worse all those cards are maxed out. Why? Well, since my wife is a school teacher and I am a grad student we had two months each year with NO paycheck. We didn’t save/budget well so we ended up living off our credit cards.

So what now? I can’t go back and change this, but I can create an action plan to pay-off this debt. Chances are you could use an action plan too.

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With my in-laws gone and a weight gain of about three pounds from their visit residing around my waist it is time to get back in action.

The next week looks something like this:

June 19th– 1/2 mile run, 1/2 mile walk, and ab work

June 20th– 1/2 miles run, 1/2 mile walk, and resistance training (full body)

June 21st– Walk

June 22nd– 1/2 mile run, 1/2 mile walk, and ab work

June 23rd– Walk, resistance training (full body)

June 24th– 3/4 mile run, 1/2 mile walk

I am starting this week (today) at 171.4 lbs, and 34 3/4 inches of waist. I am shooting for 168.5 lbs and 34 1/2 inches by the end of the week.

Consider this the beginning of ANOTHER two week total transformation challenge- a great opportunity to excel.

Ever have one of those days where you feel like scrapping everything you’ve worked for because things are just that hard? Today, I came too close for comfort.

The problem. Well it is complex. Apparently my previous university gave me about $1,000 too much in subsidized Stafford loans. I didn’t find out about this until I got accepted to UNC-Greensboro for my doctorate. At which point I was told I couldn’t receive ANY unsubsidized Stafford loans because of the over payment.

The last three months have been a quest to find out who is responsible: Wells Fargo (my lender), North Carolina State (my previous institution), or Direct Loans (the federal program). I have been told of two possible solutions.

  1. I figure out a way to pay my lender (representing the feds) $1,000+ dollars. Such is impossible since we don’t even know how we will pay our living expenses this July (no paychecks for either of us). So how in the heck am I going to find $1,000 bucks?
  2. NC State sends Wells-Fargo the money back and in return Wells-Fargo cuts a new unsubsidized loan for the same amount. That sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it is. In order to do that I would have to apply for a whole new loan and the process would take 4 – 6 months. I start classes at UNC-Greensboro in August- two months from now.

I could just scream I am so angry. No one at NC State is offering me any help. No one at my lender is offering any help. And no one at the U.S. Department of Ed. is lifting a finger. Each one says it is the other two’s problem.

Meanwhile I have no clue how I am going to afford the gas to drive back and forth to UNCG- a two hour drive each way. Much less pay for books, fees, etc.

Please keep me in your prayers. This is taking a serious toll on my sanity and my stress level is way up.

I just try to have faith that God will provide and remember Christ’s words

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34.

God values me and he will never forget me. Although it is a struggle, I will keep my faith that the Lord will provide. Whether it means finding a job for the month, a check in the mail, or a kind stranger. I have faith God will come through. And I must admit I can’t wait to see how he does it.