It’s spring and I hear many people talking about planting flowers and prepping gardens. Have you ever planted a garden? If so, were you successful at your attempt?
Let me ask you some other questions.
- If you planted a corn seed did you expect to harvest tomatoes?
- Did you plan ahead to decide what kind of results you wanted from your garden before you started randomly throwing seeds in the ground?
- Once the seeds were in the ground, did you just forget about them and hope for the best, or did you have to care for them?
As I was thinking about my friends and those that I know have been successful at having gardens, I started comparing it to my life. Successful gardeners start with a plan – they start with the end in mind. You have to know what kind of fruits and vegetables and you want to end up with and then make a plan for the care and maintenance of them. Then, you have to get the right seeds in order to get the desired result.
Do you have a plan for your life? Do you know what kind of life you want to have? In The Journey Training, I learned that I was living too often on autopilot, expecting my life to just work itself out without having a plan. Not only was I not picking the seeds that would give me the desired results, I was allowing others to plant seeds that I didn’t want in my life. The “seeds” I’m talking about are thoughts and beliefs. I believed negative or limiting things about myself that were not going to get me the life I desired. The Journey Training helped me replace those thoughts with “seeds” that would take me closer to the life that I really wanted and helped me make an outline of a plan to get to my dreams.
I now have a plan and I start out every day nurturing the seeds that will produce my dreams. I tell myself things like:
- I am a bold, beautiful, and balanced woman after God’s own heart!
- I am a child of the King!
- I walk in abundance and always have more than enough!
- I choose joy today!
- I choose to live fully engaged and pursuing my purpose and passion!
- I make a difference in the lives I touch!
In this way, I am nurturing the seeds of my dreams and starting to see them grow and develop in new ways.
I encourage you to think and dream about what you want your life to be and start taking steps today to plant and nurture the seeds that will grow into those dreams. Take it one day at a time and have patience and watch your dreams grow.
WHEW! You made it through Christmas! You know what comes next. That’s right – it’s time for New Year’s resolutions! That wonderful motivational time of year when we make all kinds of commitments to new goals. In order for us to achieve these new goals we must make some sort of change in the way we are living today. Our heart says we can do it and for a brief period of time, our head agrees. And then something happens and we resist the changes we need to make even though we know, deep down, it’s what we really want. Resistance to change can expose itself in many ways, from foot-dragging, to self-sabotage, to even outright rebellion. Studying universal sources of resistance gives us the ability to see when we may be resistant to change. Here are several warning signs to watch out for:
- Excessive Uncertainty: To some, change can feel like walking off a cliff blindfolded. This anxiety can cause us to push back from anything we view as “change.” We all naturally seek self-preservation and safety, so it is common for people to choose to remain where they are to avoid the uncertainty of change. As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
- Everything seems different: Change naturally brings new things into our lives. But we are creatures of habit. Since we are often lulled into daily routines, change often jolts us into consciousness, often in uncomfortable ways. We can resist change if it shines a spotlight on things we’d rather have stay the same.
- Loss of face: Change is a departure from the past. We can perceive change as admitting that we have done something wrong that requires a change. If we buy into that thought process, we often resist change to save our ego and perceived reputation.
- Concerns about competence: If change means that our current skills become obsolete, we often resist change so that we don’t have to learn new skill sets. If things would only stay the same, we would not have to feel like we are not up to the new task.
- More work: Change is indeed more work. Those closest to change are often overloaded and resist it in an effort to reduce the load.
- Past resentment: The ghosts of the past are always lying in wait to haunt us. Old wounds can be reopened in times of change.
- Ripple effects: Change can create ripples and affect others around you. These ripples can lead to disruptions in routines, workflow, and even in the way we think. Sometimes the people around us do not want us to change.
Have you already found yourself resisting change to something you really want to do? Do any of the examples listed above sound all too familiar? Are you ready to make a change that sticks?
Come join us at The Journey Training in January. You will learn tools and methods that you can immediately apply in your life and make changes that last and bring you the things you say that you want most in your life. Don’t resist this opportunity – I promise you won’t regret it!
I was speaking at an event in New Orleans recently, and I told a story of a defining moment I had during my time on The Biggest Loser. I think it might be something that you need to hear, too.
On The Biggest Loser, each week we had a challenge. It might be a feat of speed that you might have to compete at (of which I would never win…I’m slow). Or it might be a feat of strength that you might have to win (and there was a contestant there that could do a pull-up on day one! I couldn’t even hang for 1 second at 430 pounds). Needless to say, this 5’11” short, Irish-American wasn’t very fast, or strong, or even confident at the time. For the first 4 weeks I didn’t do well in the challenges. In fact, I was usually in the back of the pack. But in Week 6, we had a different kind of challenge.
Your Strength may not be your strength
When we walked down to the beach and saw Alison Sweeny, we knew something was about to happen. We arrived to see 8 large sand piles on Malibu Beach, each with a shovel handle sticking out of the top. I heard the contestant next to me groan, “Ah, man! Do you know what we’re gonna have to do?” And I answered while smiling, “Oh yea, I do! We’re gonna have to DIG!”
He thought I was crazy, but what he didn’t know was that I can dig! I mean, not just dig, but if you put a sharp-shooter shovel in my hands, it’s like a 6-shooter in John Wayne’s hands! Much of my life was spent with a shovel in hand – on my Uncle’s paving crew, and while looking for property corners while surveying land – and I felt something for the first time: confidence!
The Race Begins
Alison explained that each team of four would have to dig down into the beach and uncover a treasure chest that contained a key. After we retrieved it and unlocked one of four locks on a prize box, we could go back to help a teammate dig. The first team of four to unlock all of the locks would get what was inside the box.
Alison said, “On your mark, get set, GO!” and we were off! And after 25 minutes of digging, with my back killing me, my chest was nowhere in sight. I was so frustrated, because it seemed I was just making no headway!
Have you ever dug a hole in the sand? What happens? After you dig some sand out, and it looks like you’re making progress, the sides cave in and cover up all of the hard work you just did. After the 25 minutes I was getting so discouraged that I felt like giving up.
It’s not a matter of speed, it’s a matter of will
But I didn’t give up. I kept digging and digging and digging. So much so that I got angry! And finally, the shovel came down and hit something!
“Danny’s the first one to get to his treasure chest!” Those words were the sweetest words I’d heard since going to the biggest loser! I was FIRST at something! I pulled it out of the sand, got the key, and ran to unlock my lock. After doing so, I returned to see who could dig the best so I could help them finish – and my team couldn’t dig worth a darn!
I was first, but our team lost the challenge. And when I found out that the Blue Team had won plane tickets home to their families, I cried. I hadn’t seen or talked to Darci, David and Mary Claire in over a month! I was devastated.
Defining moments often come in defeat
I walked over to the hole I had just dug and looked down in it. And I saw something other than a hole; I saw my life.
Over and over I would begin to lose weight, losing 10 – 20 – 30 – even 60 pounds, only to become discouraged and quit. In fact, I lost 239 pounds in 6 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days on that show – but that was NOTHING! I added up all of the weight I had lost and regained over the 10 years before that night and was shocked. I’d lost over 1,000 pounds! I’d lose some and get injured – quit – and gain it all back. Then I’d lose some more and go out with friends – and eat pizza – and never get back on track, causing me to gain it all back and then some. And let’s face it – when you weigh almost 500 pounds like I did, and you lose 20 pounds, it seems like the sand that kept caving in on me! I’ll never be finished!
But that night, digging that hole, I didn’t give up; I didn’t quit. And I finished! I made myself a promise that night. I promised myself that no matter how hard things got, no matter how hopeless things seemed in my life, that when I set out to do something, I WOULD FINISH! I would Lose My Quit. And never again would I be a quitter.
Life is that hole in the sand
In our marriages and relationships, in our jobs, in our health, in our goals and dreams…There will always be a thousand reasons to quit. But what you need to do when you hit those times is keep going! Victory is just on the other side of that obstacle! Lose Your Quit and you will get where you are going.
No matter what you see (or don’t see), no matter what you hear, no matter how you feel, what matters is what you do – Never, ever quit. Never give up, and I promise, you’ll have a defining moment in the struggle, and your Journey will not be in vain!
In The Journey Training, you’ll have several defining moments like mine. You’ll find out things that have been holding you back, things you need to do to get you where you want to be, and you’ll also find ways to enjoy the journey instead of just racing the race! I hope you’ll join us for the next Threshold and begin digging your hole today! The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll have your defining moment!
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6
People are always striving to balance work life and personal life. Through an exercise in my “Simply Lose It” coaching group, I stumbled into balance!
The exercise: a spreadsheet with the days of the week running across the top and daily activities running down the side. The activities included SLEEP, GROOMING, NECESSITIES (like eating and cleaning), WORK, and FUN AND LEISURE. For each day and activity, I put the amount of my day I put into each activity in increments of 15 minutes. The idea is to see where your time goes and then, at the end of the day, identify whether you spend more or less than 24 hours. It’s a personal reflection exercise from there.
My times for the WEEK:
SLEEP: 46.5 hours
GROOMING: 5.75 hours
WORK (Mon-Fri): 50.5 hours
FUN AND LEISURE: 49.25 hours
NECESSITIES: 15.5 hours
What jumped out most to me was how close my times were between SLEEP, WORK, and FUN AND LEISURE! They are within 3 hours and 45 minutes of each other. I call that balance!
How did I do this? We can debate the ability to multi-task all day long, so I’ll identify some key points of equality.
Commute: I moved to an apartment closer to work. I work with fabulous people who drive me to and from work. I’m having quality time with friends WHILE commuting to work!
Spirituality and Fellowship: Much of my spiritual time was spent in worship services with friends!
Meal prep: I am at my healthiest when my meals are planned, prepped, and ready to go. Not only do I make healthier choices, but it also frees up time later in the week for other activities.
A veteran teacher I work with is great about organizing social activities. She says, “Work will ALWAYS be there.” As a teacher, there is always something I can be doing for work. But if I focus too much time there that’s burn out, not balance.
Where are you spending most of your time? Work on the exercise mentioned above to help you find out.
What can you do to find balance in your life? Maybe it’s walking with friends, setting some alarms on your phone, or making reminders for yourself.
In The Journey Training, participants are given tools to help prioritize the important things in life and manage commitments and time. Do some multi-tasking and enroll in the next Threshold class. You’ll give time to you, your work, and your relationships!
I vaguely remember being normal. I was 7 years old and in the second grade. That is the last time I remember being normal. Since then, I’ve been me. So exactly who am I? I am someone who has never taken a bite of food without placing a label on it – labels like “I shouldn’t be eating this” and “I can’t let mom know” and “I’ll just skip the next meal to make up for it.” Yea. I’m that guy.
Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Many of you know of people like me, but you just can’t relate. Every bite of food, every meal, every treat, every drink – they’ve all been my adversary. I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a meal like others I know – without the guilt and shame that come with it. And every meal is a pound that will show up on my body. Guaranteed.
A Taste of Victory
I was 15 years old. I hadn’t had a girlfriend in almost 4 years. You know why? Because of my weight, of course! Who could love a guy like me? OH! Just a minute…mom brought home some Doritos! OH NO! I did it again! Ate the whole bag! I’ll never have a girlfriend… 🙁
Wait! I’ve got it! “Mom, will you buy a large jug of that low-calorie Italian salad dressing from Sam’s Club? I know it’s eight dollars, but it’ll be so worth it! And bring home 4 heads of iceberg lettuce, too. Thanks!” Now I’ve got to run that mile around the block. All I have to do is go out my door, run up the street, down to 3rd street, around the park to Crosby, then back home. That’s a mile. I’ll do that every morning and every evening. “What? Did I put anything on the salad? Yea, sure mom! I did.” There is no way I’m putting cheese, or anything else on my salad! That’s extra calories! I’ll just tell them I did and they’ll never know.
“What mom? All of the Diet Coke cans in my room? I’m only drinking 1 or 2 a day, I promise!” Ha! She’ll never figure out that I remain full of Diet Coke and have no room for food. And it’s ZERO calories! A win-win, right?!
What you’ve just read above was a picture of the summer between my 10th and 11th grade year. I left school at 240 pounds, and came back to enroll at 165 – I had lost 75 pounds in three months! As I walked through the gym, I could hear the voices whispering,”Is that Danny Cahill? WOW! He looks GREAT! I never knew he had it in him! Maybe he’ll ask me out on a date!” I felt worthy for the first time in 9 years. And it came with my weight – a connection I would never, ever lose.
The Oklahoma 500
Soon after getting married, it began again – the weight gain. 200, then 250, then 300, then 400, then almost 500 pounds! I was a wreck! I just couldn’t stop eating! And please, don’t ask me to do anything. I just want to sit – it hurts too much to stand!
That’s when I felt that same urge I felt at 15 years old again – I would find a way to lose the weight! And along came The Biggest Loser. I made it on the 3rd show I tried out for, lost 239 pounds (by burning 8000 calories daily while eating somewhere in the realm of 800 calories) and popped out of the paper at 191! I had lost 239 pounds! I felt like that guy in the gym, walking across to enroll in my junior year. I could hear the fans, my family, the press, everyone talking like they did that day 23 years before when I disappeared fat to reappear thin! Even Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry flirted with me on the Today show! I had it made, right! WRONG!
Here we go again
So fast forward 5 years, and the weight is creeping back on. The food is calling my name again and the bites are shameful, the meals are threatening, and my life is still in a shambles! It’s like nothing has changed!
This is the struggle many people have. The battle with the scale goes on and on, and no matter how hard we seem to try, nothing works! The weight comes back with a vengeance and we fail over and over again. The shame gets even more magnified with each failure and the guilt is so heavy it makes it hard to live. But wait! There’s another fad diet right around the corner for me to try – and lose – and eventually fail at.
The truth is that there are more things at work than simply one thing. There are many perspectives to why we cannot keep the weight off. First and foremost, our worth cannot be tied to our weight. God isn’t more proud of us if we are 175 than if we are 400 pounds. He loves us the same. He wants us healthy, but more than that, he wants us happy. And that’s a good start. No matter where you are, the “WHY” to get healthy cannot be only aesthetic. And we have to learn to love ourselves regardless of our failures and victories.
Second, we are ALWAYS on a diet! The definition of DIET is “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” Guess what? You can change your diet, but you are always eating a diet! The real question is what diet is the healthiest and best for you? What is sustainable – that you can live with for the rest of your life? Can you really eat all protein for the rest of your life? Are you really going to drink shakes for your meals 3 times a day forever? Are you really going to eat iceberg lettuce with Sam’s Club low-calorie Italian dressing and drink diet coke until you die?
Third, there’s bodily science. I learned this the hard way after damaging my metabolism by the large deficit of energy I expended vs. eating those 7 months on The Biggest Loser. My Leptin levels (a hormone that controls your hunger) were completely depleted and has barely made it back to 50%. My brain says I’m hungry after eating a full meal!
There are lots of reasons it’s hard to keep weight off long term. I am in the process of finding my balance, and after all these years I think I might be as close as I’ve ever been. The difference between the 8 year old Danny and the Danny of today is clear. I know my worth – regardless of my weight. And I know God loves me the same. So my “WHY” isn’t to be loved any more. My “WHY” is to be healthy and happy and live a long life. And I can’t think of a better “WHY”, can you? And I know one thing for sure. My past failures don’t predict my future – and I know there is hope for me yet!