Have you ever noticed how a baby who has learned to sit up sits up so straight? I can remember noticing even as a kid how straight some women sat. To me, it made them even more beautiful.
I wish good posture came naturally for me, but because of a prenatal stroke it’s much harder for me. The most commonly used definition of posture is “the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting”. Participating in band, through high school and college, taught me to be disciplined with it. When in a concert ensemble and playing an instrument, you are expected to sit up straight and on the edge of the chair. This helps your breathing and playing. When marching, I had to work not only at standing up straight, but also with proper horn angle, while moving AND playing! Talk about discipline! Over time, I found myself doing these things naturally.
Many years after marching band, I found another cardio exercise I love – the elliptical! It’s much more suited for my body than running! I can remember noticing one time how balanced I’d become on it! I was standing up straight, not holding on, dancing away! My posture was great and my whole attitude had changed!
This reminds me of a tool I gained in The Journey Training. It’s called Ground and Center. When I carry myself in a grounded and centered posture, I feel tall, centered, and ready.
That brings me to another definition of posture: “a particular way of dealing with something: an approach or attitude”. This posture helps us react to life. Trials and tribulations happen. The better the posture, the better we approach or react to them, and the better outcome we will have.
Are you critical of yourself in pictures? One of the worst pictures I perceive of myself is a picture from college, at my heaviest weight, pretty much leaning against the guy behind me. As I began losing weight, not only did I start to appreciate my posture physically in pictures, my attitude had also changed. My confidence skyrocketed and it showed!
I was remembering this recently as I looked at myself in the mirror. I’ve dealt with plenty of shame regarding my weight and how I look. Carrying the shame burdened my posture. The Journey Training taught me to change my perspective. Rather than holding onto the shame, I let it go, I chose to look in the mirror, stand up straight, shoulders back, and see the real me. There, now you look better, Alison!
Posture equals attitude. Change your attitude and you’ll change your outcome!
It’s been 5 years since winning The Biggest Loser. I’m not perfect, but I’m still 200 pounds down from my heaviest. To sustain a 200 pound weight loss for over 5 years hasn’t been easy; in fact, it’s been a lot harder than losing it in the first place! The true battle began once I stepped off the scale as the World Champion of Weight Loss back in December of 2009.
Life can hand you challenges, and those challenges can become distractions. I’ve been handed many in the last 5 years, and at times I have failed those challenges and backslid into some old, bad habits. In fact, 2 years ago I had to make some decisions to get the train back on the right track and begin to make progress again. Will Rogers once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” So how do you face those challenges and distractions, and keep yourself moving forward? It begins by managing you.
I have found that you spend the most time with one person: YOU. And that being the case, accountability begins with you! Managing yourself takes discipline and self-control, but simpler than that is it just takes a plan.
Make Some Deadlines, Create Some Expectations
For years, I managed Land Surveying crews. If I wanted something done, I’d give them a deadline. Without a deadline, we can tend to have the “there’s no rush” attitude. But when we have a deadline on something, things tend to get done! Deadlines in your life begin with goal setting. In The Journey Training, I teach goal setting by setting time specific goals. If you just set a goal without a deadline, there’s no urgency to get it done! So whatever you need to do in your life, whether it’s lose weight, find employment, sell things, or save for retirement, take the end result and break them up into smaller goals. Let’s use weight-loss as an example.
If I want to lose 50 pounds, the first thing I need to do is set a time frame. So my goal becomes lose 50 pounds in 6 months. Then I break that up into even smaller goals. My long term goal is 50 pounds in 6 months, and I now set a short term goal of losing 10 pounds in 1 month. And even further than that, I want to set a weekly goal of lose 3 pounds in 1 week. So now I have a deadline. Get on the scale in 7 days and be down 3 pounds. Without that deadline you can set for yourself, 50 pounds seems impossible. How big does 3 pounds sound? To me, it sounds do-able!
Just as you’d manage others, you’ve got to manage yourself. Set a deadline for yourself and put it out there. Tell others of your deadline. Ask them to check on you when it comes and see how you did. Do what a manager would do for his team – set a deadline and create an expectation.
The definition of Beginning is as follows: “The point in time or space at which something starts.” Many of us see our lives as a dash – that dash on our headstone between when we were born and when we die. Although our dash is our entire life, I believe our life is like an investment: past results do not guarantee future performance. If you look at the fine print in the top mutual funds they will all have contain disclaimer. Why? Because the future is unwritten, and that’s a good thing!
We all fall down. The stock market rises, and it corrects – and sometimes even crashes! It’s a part of life. Our crash doesn’t define us or determine our future. How we respond to our crash defines us and determines our future. If you’re in a crash or have experienced one in your past, and don’t like where you are now, the good news is you can begin again.
I doubt anyone reading this has never felt hopeless at some point; hopeless in your finances, marriage, faith, health, weight, or maybe your job. That’s one thing we all have in common. Hopelessness is a direct negative result of the feeling pain. The good thing about pain is that it can also have a positive result: healing and growth. Healing and growth happens when we look at our pain – our crash – and we learn from it. If past performance guaranteed future results, we’d be finished. Thank God we can begin again! So, the million-dollar question is: How do we begin again? Well, I can tell you how I did it – by losing my regrets.
One day on The Biggest Loser, I made a terrible choice. I played a game that resulted in me having to eat a 780 calorie cupcake – and that’s not good when you’re in a weight-loss competition! I made a mistake! I crashed. I immediately began beating myself up about my bad decision. Coach Mo noticed this, came up to me and gently said, “Someday you’re going to have to be okay with your choices.” Later that day, Jillian Michaels, my trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, had me on the treadmill and was killing me when she asked, “Danny, what’s wrong? Something’s bothering you.”
I got off the treadmill, sat down, and told her, “Jillian, I am so stupid. I played the game, ate the cupcake, and now I’m in trouble. I had to eat 780 calories more than the others and I may go home. I am so stupid!”
She replied, “So you’re going home, huh?”
Jillian said, “Well, that depends on you, not your stupid decision.” She went on to explain to me that holding on to regrets – the decisions that made you crash – will be your downfall, not the decisions themselves! You take your good decisions and run with them! You take your bad decisions and learn from them – use them to fuel your next step. That will determine your future.
That day, I grew – The pain and regret I felt began to cause hopelessness, but I worked through it and found healing & growth. I decided to begin again, right then and there! I laid down my regrets and worked harder that week than ever before – and I set a record on The Biggest Loser by losing the most weeks in a row of double digits, 7 weeks, beginning that very week! I dealt with my past, lost my regrets, and I was able to begin again.
What have you carrying from your past? Are there things you need to lay down and begin again? The Journey Training can help. I began losing my regrets in my training, and you can begin again with the next Journey Threshold class! Just make a new decision; a decision to lay down your regrets and begin again!
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” ~ Zig Ziglar
I’ve learned by traveling the world as a motivational speaker that you have to know where you’re going before you can get there. When I left for The Biggest Loser in 2009, I knew two things: God gave me this opportunity, and it was my responsibility to act on it.
180 pounds was my destination – quite a long road from 430 pounds! But if I never set the destination, how I would I ever get there? There are two things you must know to navigate to your destination: Where you are and where you are going. The first step is to acknowledge where you are. If you don’t know where you are, how can you know where you want to go? You cannot heal or change what you don’t acknowledge. The second step is defining where you want to be. These destinations could be health, finance, relationship, career, any number of things. Only when you know where you are and where you are going can you then “map” a road to success. In my case, once I knew where I was going, and I had less than 7 months to get there, so I had to devise a plan for success.
Plan For Success in Health
I learned that 3,500 calories equaled a pound. I made a goal of losing of 1½ pounds per day – a 5,250 calorie deficit. If I ate 2,000 calories, I would need to burn 7,250 calories per day to reach my goal. This gave me a mark to hit – a target! Some days I would fail, some days I would succeed, and other days I would exceed the mark. The show’s nutritionist Cheryl Forberg and Trainer Jillian Michaels taught me what to eat, and Bob Harper and Jillian taught me how to burn calories – SWEAT! Then I hit GO on my GPS.
Plan For Success in Finances
This principle has helped me in areas other than losing weight. Finances are also an important area in which to plan for success. When you are in debt it can seem overwhelming. The reason I know this is because at one time Darci and I owed $62,700 of unsecured debt. Darci and I paid off that debt in just a few years – WITH A PLAN! On my YouTube channel you can see the video of Darci and me seen on Joyce Meyer describing our journey. It took a plan and self discipline to get there.
In marriage, it is wise to counsel with your fiancé and learn each other’s goals BEFORE saying I do! Then you can know where you both presently are and where you both want to go – and you can agree on plan for success in your marriage.
In whatever area you are looking to change – health, finances, marriage, parenting, any area – you must devise a plan. I urge you to find wisdom from good people who can help you such as your pastor, a counselor, or a trusted friend or support group. Those who have gone through The Journey Training have buddies and small groups to help when they need encouragement or ideas. Then you can follow a plan to focus on the future you want, not the future you just might happen upon! As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.”
What happened to us as we grew older? Where did all of those dreams go? There is a bible verse that says: “Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17) Let me ask you? Why didn’t it say young men will dream dreams? Why not the sons and daughters? I believe it is because it gets harder to dream the older we get. But I believe wholeheartedly that those dreams are still there in your heart – waiting to be re-ignited and awakened. We may have just forgotten how to dream!
To be able to actually visualize what you want is an important step to attaining it! Before I was on The Biggest Loser, I had to actually believe it could happen. I had to see myself as a thin and in-shape man. This might seem easy to some of you, but imagine if you weighed 460 pounds and had a 69 ½ inch stomach – AND you were 39 years old! It seemed impossible. But deep down, I knew that it wasn’t! I held on to the hope that I could achieve that dream. So I envisioned myself in shape; feeling and looking healthy again! In fact, I carried a picture of myself at 17 years old, when I felt and looked like a champion!
Without that visualization, I might as well have hung it up. In fact, a few years before I had lost that vision – and I bought more life insurance for when I would die a morbidly obese man.
One day, I closed my eyes and pictured my dream. I was thin, healthy and I was involved in something that was helping people achieve their dreams. It involved music, experiential training, and my wife Darci was involved, too. It was exciting, yet scary, to dream again! Then I wrote an entry in my journal. I wrote this:
The things I need to do to achieve my dream:
- Be a joyful and passionate man.
- Lose the weight.
- Lose the debt. (2 & 3 can be achieved by winning The Biggest Loser!)
I signed and dated it, and the path to my dreams appeared! That was a year before I made it to the cast of The Biggest Loser, and I don’t believe it was a coincidence!
You see, while on The Biggest Loser, I not only won the show and $250,000, but I was joyful and passionate! I lost all of my weight, and I lost all of my debt! And what else happened? A dream of mine from my youth, writing music, was re-ignited! Passion was breathed into me again, and in turn I wrote a song on the show called “Second Chance,” which has been played around the world and has given hope to many hopeless people! This old man dreamed dreams!
What is your dream? Can you dream again? We at The Journey Training know you can! One of our primary purposes is to re-ignite passion and dreams in people who may believe it’s simply too late!
In Arthur Greeno’s book, Dysfunctional Inspiration, He shares some amazing facts. A few are:
- Tiger Woods was three years old when he shot 48 for 9 holes of golf.
- Mozart was 8 when he wrote his first symphony.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson was 14 when he enrolled at Harvard.
- Bill Gates was 19 when he co-founded Microsoft.
- Plato was 20 when he became a student of Socrates.
- S. Truett Cathy was 25 when he and his brother Ben first started the Dwarf House, later to become Chick-fil-A.
- Joe DiMaggio was 26 when he hit safely in 56 consecutive games.
- William Shakespeare was 31 when he wrote Romeo & Juliet.
- Walt Disney was 55 when he opened Magic Kingdom.
- Dom Perignon was 60 when he first produced champagne.
- Michelangelo was 72 when he designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
- Frank Lloyd Wright was 91 when he completed his work on the Guggenheim Museum.
- Grandma Moses, America’s most well known folk artist, was in her 70’s before painting her first painting.
- Ichijifou Araya was 100 when he climbed Mount Fuji.
Still think you are too old to dream? Think again – and DREAM AGAIN!