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Fit Dad Fitness: Kevin Warren- Featured Dad Of February

This interview was originally written for Fit Dad Fitness.

When I first connected with this month's Featured Fit Dad, Kevin, he was a full-time civil engineer at land/site development company in Houston. As he and I discussed on his episode of the Fit Dad Fitness Podcast, his goal was to leave his desk job and cubicle behind and focus on fitness and training full-time.

Less than two full months into 2018, and Kevin has done just that. At the time of this feature being published, Kevin was just beginning his first week as a fitness entrepreneur.

And Kevin has a full plate. He is the Strength & Conditioning Coach at Paradigm Training Center (a local MMA gym), co-host of the Saved By The Barbell PodcastSTACK.com expert contributor, personal trainer, and online coach.

His final words of wisdom from his interview below exemplify this Fit Dad's outlook on his health and fitness and his career — You owe you.

Here is Kevin's story:

When did you first get into fitness?

I've always been an athlete. Growing up, I played nearly every sport- baseball, basketball, football, golf, etc. My junior year of high school, I came across a little website called Bodybuilding.com and fell in love with the weight room. I started lifting daily and trying every nutrition plan under the sun, but I was only scratching the surface.

My freshman year at The University of Texas at Austin, I got the opportunity to become the school's mascot (yep, the dude running around in a furry suit). Being the mascot technically classified me as a UT athlete, granting me access to the elite training facility and world-class coaches. There, I learned from the best what it really meant to be an athlete. I spent countless hours in the gym, training like a madman and soaking up every bit of knowledge I could. That year is when fitness went from merely an interest to a passion.

What activities do you do to keep fit and active?

My training regimen has always been dominated by bodybuilding-style lifting. I love throwing weight on the bar and chasing a pump. Recently, I began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and will be competing for the first time in February 2018 at the IBJJF Houston Open. In addition to my structured training, I also enjoy playing basketball, going on walks with the family, and trying different workout classes like boxing and yoga.

What is your favorite fitness memory or achievement?

In July 2017, I competed in my first NPC Men's Physique competition and got 3rd place, earning a national qualification. It was the first major achievement of my fitness career, and was without-a-doubt the hardest I ever worked toward something.

What is your favorite workout?

Man, it's hard to narrow it down to just one. My favorite STYLE of workout is using supersets. Alternating between opposing muscle groups (chest/back, biceps/triceps, quads/hamstrings) is one of my go-to methods, and is a staple of the programming for myself and my clients. Supersets are a great way to get a lot of work done in a short period of time.

In what ways do you hope to influence your children through fitness?

There are so many important life lessons that can be taught through fitness. The value of hard work, delayed gratification, and consistency- just to name a few. But I hope to show my kids that fitness isn't a chore or a burden, it's a lifestyle. I never want my children to look at working out as something the HAVE to do, but rather something they GET to do.

What words of encouragement would you have for other dads out there who want to be healthy and fit?

You owe you. Don't make your fitness goals about proving somebody wrong, or looking good for someone else, or even about your kids. Make it about you. Living a healthy lifestyle insures that you are the best YOU that you can be, which then allows you to show up best for others. You can't pour from an empty glass, so before helping others, you have to help yourself.

My Non-Negotiables

My Non-Negotiables

The best way to ensure success (or progress, at the very least) in any field is to create strong habits. With all of the chaos that life throws at us on a daily basis, having some semblance of a routine is essential.

My life has drastically changed over the past couple years, but there are a few things I continue to do every day without fail. Here are my daily non-negotiables:

1. TRAIN

Surprise, surprise. Yep, I “workout” every day. I put that in quotations because not everyday is a fully programmed training session (6/7 days for me, right now), but I make sure to move my body in some way. Even if it’s just a long walk, I believe some type of physical activity needs to be a daily practice.

2. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

I started doing daily personal development about 3 years ago, and it completely changed the way I look at business, relationships, and life in general. 90% of the time this is listening to podcasts, although I’ll occasionally jump into a good audiobook or some informative YouTube videos. If you’re not spending the majority of your commute listening to something mentally stimulating, you’re wasting your time!

3. POWER LIST

A power list (originally coined by @andyfrisella) is essentially a daily to-do list comprised of 5 tasks. Not goals, tasks. Most people keep a running list of 50 things, which just results in them getting overwhelmed and not doing any of them. I whittle every day down to 5 tasks, no matter how small, and try to knock them all out.

4. FAMILY TIME

At some point in the day, it’s so important that I put everything away and completely focus on my wife and kids. Admittedly, this is harder than it should be because I’m on my phone almost all day. But just one meaningful conversation with Brittany, or 15 minutes of silliness with Gavin and Aubrey have the ability to change my entire day and my perspective on whatever I’m going through.

That’s it! Just 4 things.
These are my essentials.

Talk About Stuff (It Helps)

Talk About Stuff

Last night, Brittany and I talked on the phone for well over an hour (she’s traveling for work). It reminded me of how we started our relationship. Back when I was a freshman at UT and she was still a senior in high school, we would talk on the phone for hours every single night. It was the foundation for everything.

Now, those conversations don’t happen nearly as often. Between the kids, our businesses, and everything else we have going on, we rarely have time to just talk uninterrupted. But last night reminded me just how valuable that time is.

Like most people on social media, we probably seem like we have all of our stuff together at all times. Like most people on social media, we don’t.

I have my doubts and insecurities. One of the toughest parts of my situation now is that I spend the vast majority of every day alone, running from place to place. Usually, that means I don’t really talk to anybody all day. Certainly not about anything serious.

That’s why these talks with Brittany are so important. Without them, I sit on negative thoughts for too long. When I can get those thoughts out and get a different perspective, I feel fresh. Ready to face my challenges rather than cower away from them.

If you have someone close to you, talk to them. Don’t let the negativity consume your thoughts. Get it out, get feedback, and get moving.

Thanks, babe.

My Number One Fan

You know that feeling when you would meet somebody in class for the first time and suddenly you start seeing them everywhere?

Or when you buy some shoes and the next day you notice like 10 more people who have the same pair?

Or when you get a new car and randomly see the same make and model at every single stop light?

Well, losing someone to cancer is kind of like that.

You more than likely know someone who has been effected by cancer, but you don’t really recognize or understand it until it happens to you.

Since my mom’s passing one year ago, I’ve had conversations with dozens of people who have also lost someone to cancer. It’s not a group that you want to be a part of, nor that you want to add any new members, but it’s one that you’re happy exists. Because while any and all sympathy is appreciated, it’s tough to truly resonate with someone who hasn’t experienced loss themselves.

I’m thankful for the friends that have helped me through this year, and I empathize with those who are experiencing something similar. I’m thankful for my wife, who has been patient and understanding with me. And I’m thankful for my dad, because despite everything that he’s gone through, he remains strong.

A lot of times, it still frustrates me to think about what happened. It all was so sudden that I didn’t really have time to process or “deal with” it. To be honest, I probably still haven’t.

While I don’t know if there’s any “right” way to handle it, I do know that my mom would be proud of me. Much of her still lives on through the way that I treat people, the way that I love my kids, and the way that I go after what I want.

She was always my “number one fan”, and I know that she still is.

Creating Content

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Creating content is essentially a full-time job.

In this industry, valuable content is non-negotiable. It’s a necessity.

Producing work that informs, motivates, and entertains has been my intent since day 1. And honestly, I love doing it.

I love sharing new workouts, effective exercises, nutrition advice, productivity hacks, and pretty much anything that could benefit my friends. It’s extremely rewarding.

But it’s also extremely exhausting.

For every perfectly placed picture, video, article, and podcast, there are hours of work behind-the-scenes.

Often, this process can get frustrating, repetitive, and overwhelming.

It’s frustrating when a well-researched, 1000-word article that took me nearly 6 hours to write gets less than half of the likes and views as a picture of me with my shirt off.

It’s repetitive to pull out my camera stand and set it up perfectly to capture every exercise in my workout (and then to open the same app every day to edit those videos).

I get overwhelmed when it’s 6:00 PM and I have yet to post my daily piece of content on Instagram.

I know that stressing about the caption or the filter of an Instagram photo sounds ridiculous, and is the very definition of a #firstworldproblem, but it’s a problem nonetheless.

Over the past two years, I have put out (what I believe is) a literal fuck ton of content. Since June 2016, when I released my very first blog, I have:
• Written 50+ personal blogs.
• Written 40+ published articles.
• Recorded 50 podcast episodes.
• Recorded 200+ exercise demo videos.
• Posted 800+ times on Instagram (an average of more than once per day).
• Written 1 eBook (#10weekstobeach)

I’ve also recorded about 15 vlogs...but we don’t talk about those.

During this time, consistency has been my best friend. I know that not every piece was a grand slam, but I was getting base hits day-in and day-out. But recently, I’ve been in a slump.

Since I put out 10 Weeks to Beach, my creative energy has been almost non-existent. Ideas will come, but the moment I sit down to expand on them, I lose all motivation. Its frustrating as hell.

So here I am, trying to take a bit of my own advice, and “just get a win.”

After not writing anything longer than a couple hundred words in a month, I’m articulating some thoughts. After not recording an episode of Saved By The Barbell since June, Justin and I just dropped a new episode. They’re not massive jumps, but they’re steps in the right direction.

Sometimes when we get in a rut, we think the only way out is by some monumental display of force. A grand slam that will send the crowd into a frenzy and make everyone forget about the slump. Really, we just need a few base hits.

3 Steps to a Powerful Morning Routine

“How you start your day is how you live your day.”

Almost every successful person I know has a powerful morning routine. It primes them for a day of intention, mindfulness, and productivity. It provides a way for them to work on themselves before working on others. It creates positive momentum and a sense of accomplishment that leads to a brighter and more enjoyable day.

A powerful morning routine doesn’t need to last for hours. It can be done in as little as 5 minutes, and can be adjusted to the amount of time you have available.

Here are the 3 Steps to a Powerful Morning Routine:

1. Silence

Before opening your text messages, social media, or emails, spend some time completely disconnected from the world. If you check those things the moment you wake, you’re already on someone else’s clock. A few minutes spent in complete silence will calm your mind, relieve stress, and get you focused on what needs to be done that day.

Examples include:

  • Meditation

  • Gratitude (or prayer)

  • Breathing practices

  • Journaling

  • Power List (or a to-do list)

2. Personal Development

Before you help others, you must first help yourself. Daily personal development will ensure that you’re consistently building your mind, just as you would build your body in the gym. Consume positive, uplifting, growth-oriented material first thing in the morning to get in the right frame of mind for the rest of your day.

Examples:

  • Reading a book/article

  • Listening to a podcast/audiobook

  • Watching an educational/motivational video

3. Movement

Get your body moving first thing in the morning to get the juices flowing, improve your mood, and think more clearly. It doesn’t have to be a full workout, although that’s certainly an option. Even 5-10 minutes of purposeful mobility, walking, or bodyweight exercises can dramatically improve the way you approach the rest of your day.

Examples:

  • Yoga (or mobility/stretching)

  • Walking

  • Bodyweight exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc.)

  • Full workout

Be Intentional

Being intentional is having a purpose for everything you do, when you do it.

It’s giving your full attention to the task at hand.

It’s putting first things first.

Whether at the gym, at work, or at home, it’s important that your actions reflect your goals and add value. It’s so easy to get comfortable with daily life, mindlessly going through the motions. It’s like when you’re driving, and you arrive at your destination without any recollection of how you got there. Sometimes we all need to take a step back, look at how we’re spending our time, and re-evaluate.

How are you spending your time?

Do you have a schedule?

Any habits and routines that you can lean on, even when you’re at your busiest?

Are those habits moving you closer to, or further from, achieving your goals?

Is the way you’re spending your time reflective of your goals?

Do you even have goals?

Where do your priorities lie?

Are the things you’re doing every day indicative of those priorities?

These are tough questions.

I still struggle with them.

But rather than running from them, use them to audit yourself and make improvements.

And, “Wherever you are, be all there.”

Seek Adversity

Why do I wake up every day at 4 AM?

Why do I get to the gym before the sun rises?

Why do I train while others sleep?

Why do I push myself to failure?

Why, day after day, do I keep coming back?

Why do I lift weights in the first place?

Because it makes everything else easier.

“Fire is the test of gold;
adversity, of strong men.”

Be The Example

One of the biggest motivators I had to leave my previous job and pursue my passion was the conversation I knew I’d eventually have with my son.

How was I supposed to tell Gavin that he can be whatever he wants to be when he grows up, if I’m not what I want to be?

That phrase always sounded so woo-woo to me when I was a kid. That you could “be whatever you want to be”. To be honest, I never believed it. I don’t think most do.

Looking back, it was because I CHOSE not to believe it. I chose to stay in my little bubble of comfort and security and ease. I chose to trust only what I knew, and not even consider the greater possibilities.

When Gavin grows up, I want him to know he has a choice. That he truly can do whatever he wants. And I want him to look to me as the example.

#1 Fitness Tip for Beginners

The new year is fast approaching, which means that gyms will once again be full of people hoping to “get in better shape” in 2018. But where do you begin? With so much misinformation, counter-information, magic fat burning pills, detoxes, and crazy exercises dominating social media, it’s hard to know who to trust. Luckily for you, I’ve brought together 6 of the top coaches and trainers in the industry to share their #1 fitness tip for beginners.

Start Slow - Ben Boudro (@benboudro)

We've heard it way too often. You attempt to do it all at once. Food tracking, meal prepping, figuring out macro's...When do I workout? How often do I workout? Should I do fasting? When do I stop eating carbs? All of this can lead you to being super overwhelmed, then frustrated then before you know it, you are at that spot where you just say "screw it! I'm done!" 

That happens WAY too often in fitness and it doesn't have to be that way. 

My biggest suggestion is to choose ONE THING, yes, ONE THING to focus on each day. 

When choosing that ONE THING, make it something that by doing it, makes everything else easier or unnecessary. Basically, choose ONE THING that will actually make a difference in your fitness journey.

For the first 2 weeks, make sure that it's something very simple. An example can be: "Do a healthy habit for 5-minutes today." or "sweat today." or "walk the dogs today." It's important that you make it very painless and easy to do when first getting started. 

Oh yeah, and don't try to choose 2 or 3 things because it never works. Multi-Tasking is bullshit. Choose one thing and stick to it. Then after 2-weeks, choose something that's just slightly more challenging like: "eat a veggie at every meal" or "drink 1 gallon of water every day." 

The important thing here is that YOU choose the habits you want to learn and that YOU write them down every single day.... Oh, wait, your too busy to write this down every day?....Bullshit. 

Writing these down every day takes you less than 2-minutes to do and will make a huge impact on your fitness journey. 

Trust it. Start slow, choose your ONE THING and hold yourself accountable. 

You'll be amazed at what this will lead to over time. 

Chase It! 

Quality Over Quantity - Mitch Gill (@gilltrainingsystems)

Beginning a journey to a fitter, better you can be scary. What do I eat? What workouts do I do? So many questions.

But the first thing I tell people who are embarking on a fitter lifestyle, “Focus on quality over quantity.”

This can bleed into many areas of their lives but my primary focus is on the quality of movement and not the quantity (reps, weight, etc.). Focusing on quality of exercise will lead to less injury and much bigger gains in the long run. An injured body is an idle body and can set you further from your goals than before you started.

Set Process Goals - Cory Carpenter (@corcarpfit)

Process goals are a great way to build positive momentum and instill daily habits that will turn into a lifestyle with no end in sight.

So, what is a process goal?

A process goal is simply a goal that focuses on the process of reaching the ultimate product.

Example: My product goal is to lose 50 lbs. So, I will set numerous process goals to get me there. I will lift weights 3 days per week. I will walk or jog 3 days per week. I will eat at least 3 healthy meals each day. I will drink no less than 1 gallon of water each day. There is no limit to the amount of process goals you can set, but I recommend starting with just a few and then slowly adding more in as to not overwhelm yourself.

A product goal can take a long time; it can be discouraging and really test your patience. But, if you pick 3 things (exercise, eat, drink) and complete them each day, the ultimate goal of losing the weight will actually take care of itself. The daily small victories will continuously build positive momentum; and instill healthy habits (processes) that will stay with you long after you’ve lost all the weight.

Don’t Take On Too Much At Once - John Papp (@johnpappfitness)

My number one tip for anyone just starting out on their fitness journey is to not take on to many changes at one time.

Don't try to eat strict keto, workout five days a week, do 20 minutes of daily mobility, sleep 8 hours a day, and drink a gallon of water if you haven't been doing any of those things. I usually recommend to my clients to pick 1-3 habits, depending on the specifics and their circumstances, to focus on at one time.

For example, if we are starting from the ground floor I want them to focus on working out during their scheduled sessions with me and picking one healthy food to add to their diet. Once they get that down we add another healthy food in place of something not so healthy and maybe we start to add in a short walk two days a week. We repeat this process until their lifestyle and nutrition are completely transformed.

Taking on too many things at once will be overwhelming and chances are you won't stick with it and reach your goals.

Earn, Learn, Achieve - Justin Ochoa (@justin_m_ochoa)

This piece of advice is the best general tip I can give anyone, in any industry. It’s not fitness specific, but it’s massively important to your success in this industry.

My biggest tip for a young professional is to realize these three things:

  1. You are owed absolutely NOTHING. Drop any sense of entitlement. Earn it.

  2. You know absolutely NOTHING. You may think you know it all, but a true professional is always learning. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know much at all.

  3. There is absolutely NOTHING stopping you. If you want something, you can go get it. It doesn’t matter what obstacles you come across, and you will come across them. If you can breathe, you can win. Let nothing stop you.

Those are the three things that I am grateful to have instilled in me by my parents at a young age. These attitude checks will keep you on a straight path on your journey. Lock in, stay focused and go reach every goal you set.

Don’t Wait - Todd Sabol (@toddsportsmed)

My #1 tip for beginners is as straight-forward as it gets, however that does not mean it is easy.

Don’t wait.

When starting your fitness journey, or any journey for that matter, you need to realize first and foremost that everyone starts at different points. You need to be content with that. If you wait for the right moment, the right opportunity, you will never take that leap. You will eventually look back and regret not jumping into the fire and that is the scariest thing, but it is completely controllable.

I wish I would have had someone write this article for me back in 2008. But I sit here now in 2017 writing this article, and write it for someone that is waiting. Waiting to reach out to their mentor, waiting to take an internship to learn about fitness, waiting to study for their certification exam, waiting to become their best self. I urge you reading this to stop waiting.

As scary or as uncomfortable of the thought is that you are putting off, I guarantee the feeling of regret you will have in 10 years of not going all in on your passion will be worse. Take it from someone who has made many mistakes. Stop reading this now and send that email, make that phone call, visit that gym, learn from your mentor, do whatever it is that you said you weren’t ready for and prosper. I promise you will not regret it.

Big Rocks - Me

What, you didn't think I was going to get in on this too?!

My biggest piece of advice for anyone beginning their fitness journey is to lift the big rocks.

Focus on the things that really matter. The things that have stood the test of time and undeniably work.

Too often, people get tripped up on the little pebbles. "Should I try going keto? What about vegan? What's better, dumbbells or kettlebells? Morning or night workouts?"

It's questions like these that become overwhelming in a hurry, and ultimately lead to failure.

Instead, focus 99% of your attention on these 3 big rocks:

  1. Eat real food. Meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, and earth-grown starches.
  2. Move your body. Bodybuilding, Crossfit, running, swimming, hiking...it doesn't matter.
  3. Enjoy it. Eat food that you like. Do workouts that you like. It's the only way it will ever be sustainable.

Stoic

I have been pretty stoic since my mom passed a few months ago. I'm still not sure if that's just my personality, or if it's a "mask" that I'm wearing (as Lewis Howes would say).

I suppose time will tell.

I haven't been outwardly emotional about it, and most of the time I'm able to get through the day without it drastically effecting me. In certain instances, however, its rough. Visiting her resting place, holidays, and Aubrey sharing memories of finger-painting with grandma are just a few of the things that really get to me.

This letter is also one of those things.

This letter was written by someone I knew in high school. As he says, we were never particularly close, but we played sports together and hung out on occasion. A few years ago he made some mistakes, got into some trouble, and is now in prison.

His mom posts these letters on his Facebook page. I'm not sure how, or if, he knows I read them. But I have. Every single one. They're extremely thoughtful and real. In fact, he seems to have grown more over the past few years in there than most people I know out here.

I'm not sure why a few words about my mom from a person I haven't spoken to in 10 years weigh so heavily on me.

Maybe it's because he chose his only method of connecting with the outside world to send his condolences to me and share a beautiful memory about my mom.

Or maybe it's because I often overlook some of the seemingly small, but exceptional traits that my mom had, which he writes about here.

Either way, this is something I will hold on to forever.

I try to treat all people with respect. Always have.

Now I know where I get it from.

Feet in the Dirt, Head in the Clouds

The dirt.

Waking up at 4 AM.

Commuting 2+ hours a day.

Training alone in an empty gym.

Working in a cubicle.

Reading, watching, and listening to content.

Creating content. 

Prepping meals.

Working in a cubicle. 

Calling, texting, and emailing clients. 

Waking up in the middle of the night to feed Gavin.

Skipping happy hours, celebrations, and weekend trips.

Working in a cubicle. 

 

The clouds.

Making an impact.

Helping people live happier and healthier.

Proving to my friends that a 9-to-5 isn't the only option. 

Giving my wife the life that she deserves.

Showing my son and daughter that it is possible to do whatever you want when you grow up.

Making my mom proud.

Making my dad proud.

Living life on my terms.

Hitting the snooze button. 

The Impact of Personal Development

Personal development- the never ending chance to improve not only yourself, but also to attract opportunities and affect others.
— Jim Rohn

To me, personal development is about investing in yourself. It's spending time alone to think, learn, plan, and reflect. This time is invaluable, and I believe it has been the single most important factor in my life over the past couple years.

Personal development can come in many forms. Nowadays, it seems that there are unlimited resources. Apps, podcasts, books, audiobooks, YouTube videos, documentaries, articles- the list goes on and on. Other forms of personal development- such as meditation, prayer, or just silence in general- don't require any resources at all.

Personal development has enabled me to grow not only as an employee and leader, but as a father and a husband. Through this practice, I have become more mature, focused, and confident. Here's how:

Clarity

Personal development is how you find out what's really important in your life. It separates your priorities from your distractions. It gives you the mental clarity to determine your goals, and teaches you a way to pursue them.  

Most people spend their lives perpetually busy. Scurrying from one place to another, or one task to the next, without really thinking about why.

Why are you doing the things your doing?

One of my favorite quotes comes from the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. Covey states, "If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster." On the surface, it may seem like the completion of your day-to-day tasks moving you forward in life. But if those tasks aren't aligned with your ultimate goal, then what are they really worth? What's their purpose?

Most people don't spend enough time alone to think about these big, heavy questions. But that time is exactly what's needed.

Regularly schedule time to reflect on your past and plan for your future. Create a grand vision and set milestone goals along the way. It will keep you on track and make sure that your daily actions are aligned with your ultimate purpose. It will give you the ability to direct your efforts on those actions that truly matter, and eliminate the rest. This clarity is extremely important for success in all aspects of life. 

Confidence and Self-Awareness

Another benefit of personal development is the creation of true self-awareness and confidence. If you can't spend time alone without getting fearful and uneasy, chances are you may not be 100% comfortable with who you are. I know I certainly wasn't.

That probably comes as a shocker to most people, as I'm pretty sure everyone who knows me knows I've never suffered from confidence issues (ha!)- but it's true. When I would listen to podcasts and hear the incredible stories of how people pursued their passions and made incredible careers doing what they love, I got pissed. When I tried to meditate, I got anxious and overwhelmed. It was frustrating.

Now, however, I believe that I have a true sense of who I am, what I stand for, and what I care about. I credit that to personal development. 

Spending time alone to think and reflect will solidify your values. It will reveal the concepts that mean the most to you, and teach you how to practice them in daily life. I always admired characteristics like hard work, commitment, loyalty, discipline, and patience, yet I didn't truly know how to apply them. But I learned.

I absorbed the experiences of others, and became so familiar with these concepts that they began presenting themselves in my daily actions. I came to terms with the things I suck at, and recognized where I had the potential to excel. That process is what led to real self-awareness. 

Knowledge 

Learning from others first-hand has been the most beneficial aspect of my personal development. Just this year, I have been a student to countless entrepreneurs, CEOs, authors, pro athletes, coaches, and Navy SEALs. Their stories, of both success and failure, have given me a blueprint in which to construct my life.

The resources available to us today are so comprehensive that would be crazy not to take advantage of them. With a simple YouTube search we can learn business from Gary Vaynerchuk, leadership from Jocko Willink, and bodybuilding from Arnold Schwarzenegger. One minute I'm listening to Eric Thomas on Lewis Howes' School of Greatness podcast, the next it's Stone Cold Steve Austin on Mark Bell's PowerCast.

The content is so in-depth and detailed. Oh, and most of it is FREE. These are some of the most successful people in the world literally giving away their habits and philosophies. Most likely, there's a man or woman out there who has already done exactly what you want to do. Study them. Follow their habits. Learn from their mistakes so that you don't make the same ones yourself. 

 

Personal development is an ongoing journey, and it's never too late to start. The impact that it's had on my life is so profound and overwhelming. I want you to experience it too.

Next time you're driving to work turn off the radio and put on an educational podcast.

Wake up 15 minutes earlier and meditate.

Grab a new book and read it during your lunch break. 

 These things have really worked for me, and I know they'll really work for you too.  

My Top 10 Podcasts

If you're not already listening to podcasts, then you're missing out. They're my go-to source of information, motivation, and entertainment on a day-to-day basis. In the car, at the office, or even at the gym, chances are I'm listening to a podcast. Here are my 10 favorite (and a few more).

10. The Good Dad Project

 
 

Larry Hagner's Good Dad Project navigates the common struggles of fatherhood and marriage and provides real world advice on how to become a better dad and husband. Frequent guests include Navy SEALs, UFC fighters, and fitness pros.

Start Here:

Work Your Passion, Get Healthy, and Find Your Ultra with Rich Roll

9. Order of Man

 
 

Ryan Michler is a U.S. veteran who, along with his guests, help you "become the man you were meant to be". This podcast is full of takeaways to improve your business, relationships, health, and more.

Start Here:

103: A Practical Approach to Improving Your Health | Ben Greenfield

8. The Men's Health Podcast

 
 

The Men's Health Podcast, hosted by BJ Gaddour, has quickly climbed up into my top 10. BJ picks apart the routines and habits of the most successful people in the fitness industry and shares practical advice on living healthy while still enjoying life.

Start Here:

Episode 25 - Sweatcast: Cory Gregory

7. Joe DeFranco's Industrial Strength Show

 
 

I've been a fan of Joe D ever since I first did his Westside for Skinny Bastards program way back in my freshman year of college. He's one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the industry, with names like Triple H and Brian Cushing on his roster, and is consistently hilarious and informative. He drops tons of knowledge on best training practices, nutrition, and supplementation.

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Dr. Tom Talks Intermittent Fasting, Ketogenic Diets & More!

6. Renegade Radio

 
 

It's no surprise that I'm a Jay Ferrugia fan considering two of his favorite things are training and hip-hop. Jay's super down-to-earth approach to fitness (pre-float tank edibles anyone?) and life in general is definitely refreshing and makes me feel like I'm right there with him in the conversation. 

Start Here:

#135: NFL’s Fittest Man, Steve Weatherford

5. 'Young N Hungry' Firecast

 
 

The homies Zach and Jay are making major waves in the fitness space. Jay is a full-time online personal trainer and Zach owns a gym and runs multiple businesses- both before the age of 25. Week after week, these guys dive into topics that are extremely relevant to my life (and the lives of any young, hungry people) and provide real, actionable advice based on past experiences. These are two great dudes who have me nodding my head in agreement for a full hour.

Start Here:

#31: Life Lessons from the Gym

4. The GaryVee Audio Experience

 
 

If you haven't heard of Gary Vee by now, then you must be living under a rock. Over the past year or so, he has exploded with viral videos and images that have been shared, regrammed, and snapped across the internet. Gary is an uber successful digital marketer, angel investor, and life-long entrepreneur. While he's often blunt and profane (which is what makes him so great), he's also 100% genuine and gracious. Whether you're looking for practical advice on business and social media or just want to talk sports and hip-hop, Gary has you covered.

Start Here:

#AskGaryVee 244 | Calling from the Arctic Circle and Advice that Every 22 Year-Old Needs to Hear

3. The Bill Simmons Podcast

 
 

Finally! A podcast not about fitness and personal development! This pod is my one stop shop for all things sports. Simmons is a podcast O.G. He's master interviewer, and has guests that range from his college buddies to the greatest athletes of past and present. Whenever this pops up in the feed, I drop everything and listen.

Start Here:

Ep. 174: Kevin Durant

2. Business and Biceps

 
 

With a name like Business & Biceps, it's no surprise that this pod ranks so high on my list. But this ranking is less of a reflection of the topics covered, and much more a reflection of the people behind it. Cory Gregory and John Fosco are two of the most influential people that I have ever come across, and they have impacted every facet of my life over the past couple years. Their drive and passion is infectious, and their knowledge of everything from the gym to the boardroom is second to none. In addition to their weekly full-length podcast, they drop "Daily Fire" (5-minute mini-segments) to keep listeners motivated throughout the week.

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Episode 35- Strategy To Get The Raise You Deserve, Not Settling, & Handling Expansion

1. The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

 
 

I first discovered Lewis Howes' The School of Greatness podcast almost two years ago. It was the first podcast I had ever listened to, and I just stumbled upon it randomly by scrolling through the iTunes charts. After only a couple episodes, I was hooked. Lewis' easy-going approach to interviewing and his ability to get deeper-than-the-surface with his guests really left a lasting impression on me. I went back and listened to almost every previous episode (I joined somewhere around Ep. 150) and have probably only missed a handful since.

Lewis' podcast introduced me to a whole new world of personal development. I heard story after story from people who found a way to do what they love for a living. Until that point, I didn't really believe it was possible. This podcast has introduced me to so many influential people, has definitely been a game-changer in my life.

Start Here:

Rob Dyrdek: From Small Town Skateboarder to Media Mogul Empire

Honorary Mention

The Tim Ferriss Show

Mark Bell's Powercast

The Model Health Show

Health N' Hustle Podcast

8 Lessons from Lewis Howes' School of Greatness

I first discovered Lewis Howes' "The School of Greatness" podcast almost two years ago. It was the first podcast I had ever listened to, and I just stumbled upon it randomly by scrolling through the iTunes charts. After only a couple episodes, I was hooked. Lewis' easy-going approach to interviewing and his ability to get deeper-than-the-surface with his guests really left a lasting impression on me. I went back and listened to almost every previous episode (I joined somewhere around Ep. 150) and have probably only missed a handful since.

Lewis' podcast introduced me to a whole new world of personal development. I heard story after story from people who found a way to do what they love for a living. Until that point, I didn't really believe it was possible.

I remember the first time I heard Pat Flynn explain his escape from the corporate world, I was floored at how similar his previous situation sounded to my current one. Rich Roll and Natalie Jill gave me real life examples of people who left their 9 to 5 jobs and became successful entrepreneurs in the fitness industry. Countless others have had a lasting impact. While I now keep more than 10 podcasts in my regular rotation, The School of Greatness is still my favorite.

When my wife got me Lewis' book for Christmas (also titled The School of Greatness), I couldn't wait to dive in. I learned from previous experience with Cory Gregory's The Mindset Manual that even though I may have absorbed a ton of someone's content by other means (podcasts, videos, articles, etc), a book enables the author to go REALLY deep and expand on ideas that they find extremely valuable.

In the book, Lewis essentially takes bits and pieces of knowledge from guests on his podcast and pairs it with personal experience to create his 8 steps to achieve greatness. Here are those 8 steps and what they mean to me:

1. Create a Vision

The power of a strong vision is something that has been echoed by literally every single successful person I know. A clear vision of your ideal life will keep you grounded, focused, and accountable. The only problem is, most people have never taken the time to create that vision.

Developing a vision can be a difficult exercise. It certainly wasn't something I was just able to sit down and knock out in 5 minutes. It took days of thinking before I could actually write it down on paper (writing down your vision on paper is a major key- do it!). Take the time to really visualize what your ideal life looks like.

  • What is a perfect day for you?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • Who do you spend your time with?

This isn't the time to be practical. Swing for the fence. Sure, it may seem out of reach now, but that's the point! This is your dream, it shouldn't be easy.

2. Turn Adversity into Advantage

Everybody faces adversity. Sure, some have it tougher than others, but everyone goes through something in their life that challenges them. So when that adversity strikes, do you cave? Do you complain about how things aren't fair and how so-and-so has it easier than you? Do you blame your circumstances on your environment or your parents or the government? I hope not.

Charles Swindoll said, "Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." The first habit in Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (which I highly recommend) is "Be Proactive"- that is, take responsibility for your own life. Viktor Frankl stated in Mans Search For Meaning (which I also highly recommend), "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

The bottom line: you control your life. If you created a vision in Step 1 that's hard to achieve, you're absolutely going to face adversity along the way. But don't let it beat you down. Let it build you up. Embrace it. Use it as an incentive to work harder and as a reminder of all the things you have to be grateful for. Use it to your advantage.

3. Cultivate a Champion's Mindset

To me, the champion's mindset is all about belief. Belief, either in one's self or something else (like God or higher power), is so crucial. In fact, I probably would have put this a step ahead of "turning adversity into advantage".

Creating your vision is a scary process, and probably the first thing you'll think to yourself when you do it is, "...but that's not possible." It's almost instantaneous. But talk to any successful person and they will tell you that they knew they would be successful. Champions believe in their dream.

I think believing that your vision is attainable comes from the process of reverse engineering. Break down your dream into yearly, monthly, weekly, and even daily goals. Having faith and trusting that your goals will be accomplished isn't delusional, it's tactical. Your vision may seem way out of reach right now (as it should be), but if you break it down to the day you can begin to grasp the exact steps you need to take to make it happen.

4. Develop Hustle

Hustle is the stuff that everybody wants to talk about, but nobody wants to do. It's the hard work. It's directing all of your efforts toward what you want to achieve. There's no replacement for it.

To be brutally honest, I never really hustled hard for anything in my life until recently. Maybe I thought I did at the time, but now that I know what real work feels like, it was nothing. It wasn't because I was lazy or unmotivated (well, maybe a little bit), it was because I didn't care about the work I was doing. There was no end goal. No vision. Now that I have a real "north star", the hard work has become second nature (and I actually enjoy it). I know that the hustle is a necessity to achieve greatness.

I think a lot of people can get complacent and, on the surface, lack hustle because they aren't directing their efforts at what they truly want to do. They're just going through the motions, letting life take them along for the ride. If more people harnessed their vision and discovered what they truly care about, more people would realize that they have the ability to hustle.

5. Master Your Body

Obviously I'm a fan of this one. I believe that taking care of your body is essential. Exercising and eating properly can have such a huge impact on your life. I've experienced it myself and have witnessed it first-hand with dozens of clients.

I'll use the airplane analogy: On an airplane, the flight attendant tells you that in case of an emergency, put your own mask on first before attempting to help others. Mastering your body makes you better equipped to handle everything in life. It makes you a better parent, spouse, and employee. It will make you happier, more energized, and more confident. Fueling your body with healthy food, regularly exercising, and recovering properly will ensure that you're best-suited to tackle any obstacle that comes your way.

Whether you like to lift weights, run, or do Crossfit, it doesn't matter. Just move. Find something you enjoy that you can maintain for years to come. Eat real food. Real, from the Earth, stuff that your Grandma would recognize, food. Drink lots of water and sleep more.

6. Practice Positive Habits

I've gone pretty deep on habits before (here and here). Strong habits are the foundation of productivity. The more tasks that you can make habitual, the more efficient you will become. The more automated your decisions, the less your brain will have to work (resulting in a surplus of brainpower to handle more difficult obstacles). Here are the daily habits I've established:

  • Workout
  • Read
  • Write
  • Express gratitude
  • Uninterrupted family time
  • Review yearly goals

If I can do these things daily, even for just a couple minutes at a time, I know I will be successful and happy. I still have a few habits that I'd like to further develop (meditation being the main one), but these activities are my building blocks. No matter what happens, I lean on these few habits to guide me through the day.

7. Build a Winning Team

We've all heard the saying from Jim Rohn, "You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with." Your team is your inner circle- family, friends, or coworkers. And whether you know it or not, their attitudes and actions have a significant impact on your own. Are the people closest to you honest? Motivating? Supportive? Do they have a strong vision and relentless hustle? Sometimes, you have to ask these hard questions and take a step a way from the people who aren't moving forward with their lives so that you can.

This has definitely been something I've struggled with, but I've developed an interesting viewpoint on the topic. I think that in today's digital era, it's actually easier than ever to build a winning team. While many people criticize social media for taking away from "real life" interactions, I choose to take the opposing perspective. The internet has given me mentors like Lewis, Cory Gregory, and Gary Vee. It has introduced me to a group of hard-working dudes who have similar interests and aspirations. While I may not be surrounded by these people physically, their daily content provides a steady source of motivation, support, and information.

Don't be limited by your surroundings. If you don't have a winning team at your fingertips, you can create one- whether in person or online. Choose to surround yourself with positivity and influence so that you, in turn, can become more positive and influential.

8. Live a Life of Service

I love that Lewis included this. After listening to 300+ hours of School of Greatness episodes, I can confidently say that almost all successful people mention some form "serving others" in their definition of greatness or their three truths. Accomplishing anything of importance solely for yourself is not truly gratifying, and it's not truly great.

People often think of service as volunteering at the Goodwill or donating money to charity (which it is), but it can come in many other forms. Sharing your time, information, and positivity with those who may need it is service, and it doesn't necessarily have to cost you anything.

Major Keys: Man's Search for Meaning

It amazes me how books written so long ago are still so relevant today. You would think that after 50 years, certain principles would become outdated due to the new norms of our ever-evolving society. But they don't. The same ideals and values that were important back then are still important today.

The teachings in Man's Search for Meaning (1946) are a prime example. Though the world is certainly a different place than when this was written, the messages in this book hold truer than ever.

Viktor Frankl, the author, endured catastrophic terror and still managed to uphold ideals that are seldom seen in today's society. Here are a few quotes from the book that I found particularly inspiring.

"I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare. Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man. Suddenly, I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do. At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us..."

Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's first-hand account of the Holocaust, one of the darkest events in our world's history. Frankl experienced humiliation, abuse, starvation and the death of his entire family while in Nazi concentration camps. Yet, he not only survived, he came out of it with a positive mindset and a willingness to help others.

Nowadays, there are people (who have every freedom and luxury known to man) scouring the internet claiming that "2016 was the worst year ever." If you're one of those people, please do yourself a favor and read this book. Gain some perspective. And stop complaining. The world is a much better place now than it was 30 or 50 or 100 years ago.

"...there are two races of men in this world, but only these two. The race of the decent man, and the race of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere. They penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group is of pure race, and therefore one occasionally found a decent fellow among the camp guards."

It seems like most of the increasingly negative chatter on social media nowadays stems from an issue where two groups of people are pitted against one another. Publicly taking a stance- politically, socially, or religiously- is often met with harsh criticism. No matter what side of the issue you're on, labeling your entire opposition by one title is misguided and unfair. I choose to believe that the vast majority of humans are good, and I treat people as such. There will always be a few bad apples, but don't let them spoil the whole bunch. If Frankl was able to find redeeming qualities in Nazi soldiers who held him captive in a concentration camp, I think you can find a way to get along with someone who voted for Trump.

"What man actually needs is not a tension-less state, but rather the striving and struggling for a worth-while goal."

This sentiment has been echoed by great men and women throughout history. Happiness is not achieved by reaching a certain level of comfort. On the contrary, comfort is the enemy. It halts progress. This is something I've "struggled" with personally. I live a pretty comfortable life (I know, boo-hoo poor me). I have a healthy family and a steady income and a house in the suburbs and all the security and safety that comes along with it. I could accept working a ho-hum job for the next 40 years, go on a few nice vacations, have a decent marriage, and pretty much mail it in for the rest of my life and be good. But is that even really living?

For me, the answer is no. I don't want good. I want great. Like I said, I live a pretty comfortable life, which is why I strongly believe in creating adversity and setting lofty personal goals. Adversity doesn't have to mean anything crazy. It can be as subtle as consistently doing things that are difficult- like waking up every day at 4 AM, writing a gratitude journal, or practicing meditation. From that adversity comes growth. Similarly, setting real goals that are difficult to reach, yet achievable, (and laying out a plan to accomplish them) will prevent you from aimlessly wandering through life without a purpose. The struggle is what makes life exciting. It's part of the process. And like Frankl also mentions in this book, happiness and success are not found at the end of a long and winding road. The are found along the way.

"So live as if you were living already for the second time, and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now."

Wow. Stop and think about that for a second.

That's some Inception/Minority Report/Deja Vu-type stuff.

Heavy.

"The more one forgets himself, by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love, the more human he is."

We recently did an exercise for our Young Professionals group at work in which groups were asked to name a person who has successfully built their personal brand. The names were those which you'd expect- Steve Jobs, The Rock, J.J. Watt, etc. But what surprised me is that when asked why they chose their specific person, ALL of the groups mentioned the act of giving. Across the board, helping others was the quality that everyone admired most.

Greatness is about serving someone or something greater than yourself. If your motivation is selfish, you'll only go so far.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing- the last of the human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to chose one's own way."

This is my favorite quote from the book. Frankl describes that between every stimulus and every response there is specific, instantaneous moment in which we are able to choose our course of action. I love this quote because it holds true in any situation. There is so much in this world that we have absolutely zero control over- where you're from, who your parents are, the weather, the government, etc. But we always have have control over our own personal choices.

Rather than wasting time and energy complaining about any number of external circumstances, you can choose to accept them and make the most of your situation.

 

Reading Man's Search for Meaning was definitely an eye-opening experience. There is so much we take for granted in today's society. In a world full of complaining and negativity, just remember that you can choose to be positive. I highly recommend giving this a read.

 

Discipline vs. Habit

On the surface, I'm an extremely disciplined person. I wake up every morning at 4:00 AM. I workout 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I prepare all of my meals ahead of time.

The truth is, I'm not.

I'm not any more disciplined than any other person reading this blog.

My actions aren't driven by some inexplicable, other-worldly level of self-discipline. They're driven by habit.

For the longest time, I believed that all successful people shared the common trait of extremely powerful discipline. The ability to push themselves to do the right things 100% of the time, even when temptation was greatest. However, after reading a specific passage from The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, I now understand that what they really share is extremely powerful habits.

Don't get me wrong, it does take a certain level of discipline to establish habits. I didn't just rollover one day and decide to wake up at 4:00 AM every morning. But that discipline is targeted and direct. It's used specifically to form the habit.

For a certain period of time, I dreaded the sound of my alarm. I hit the snooze repeatedly, until I could no longer fall asleep between the beeps. I sluggishly walked to the bathroom to brush my teeth and splash cold water on my face, hoping it would snap me out of my trance. I hated it, and it was hard. But I pushed through that phase.

Now, it's automatic. I jump out of bed at the sound of the first alarm without thinking twice. There's no doubt about it- my day starts at 4:00 AM. And guess what? It takes zero self-discipline.

It just is.

Is it a struggle for you to shower everyday? Do you have to muster up the courage to brush your teeth? I hope not, but once upon a time those things were hard. Most likely, around the time you were my daughters age (brushing teeth is a nightly war).

So instead of thinking of working out or eating healthy as a constant battle with yourself, think of it as a short burst of concentrated discipline. A sprint. A means to an end. The struggle doesn't last forever, only long enough to fully establish the habit. Once that happens, it's smooth sailing.

You'll hear different people say different things about how long it takes to form a habit. Some suggest 21 days, others much longer, and others even shorter. Modern science theorizes that the "sweet spot" is right around 66 days.

 Graphic from  The One Thing.

Graphic from The One Thing.

It takes 66 days to form a habit.

Two months.

That may seem like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things it's really not. If you can be focused and disciplined for just two months, habit will take it from there.

So to my clients (and anyone who has ever considered working with me), ever wonder why there's no one month program option?

Bingo.

In my training, the shortest program duration is two months. I believe that if you can stick to my plan for that period of time, you have the ability to form a strong habit that will stay with you long after we work together. My goal is not to get you to drop a quick 10 pounds only to gain it all back a few weeks later. My goal is to teach you what it takes to be healthy and perform at a high level long-term.

I'm not saying that you can practice anything for just two months and then put it on cruise control, but after that time less discipline will be required to maintain that behavior.

I still struggle mightily with certain activities that I've been trying to establish for months. Meditation, writing, and even reading are really tough for me. They require more discipline for me than working out and prepping meals. But I know that if I make those things part of my daily routine for long enough, eventually they'll become automatic.

Stop thinking of success in any field as a constant internal battle. Instead, think of it as a short, all-out burst of discipline followed by a long-term routine.

At first, focus on just one thing- a keystone habit. I explained how powerful a keystone habit can be in a previous blog post. From there, you may notice that other habits will begin to form on their own.

66 days.

Two months.

That's all it takes.

21 Lessons for the 21-Year-Old Me

Later this week I turn 26, so I thought it'd be interesting to reflect on some things I've learned over the past 5 years and give the younger me a little advice.

Now, I don't regret anything I did back then, nor do I wish to change anything, because it all brought me to where I am today. That being said, there are definitely a few tidbits of information that could have helped me out along the way.

So listen up 21-year-old Kevin, you've got a lot to learn.

 

1. You’re Not That Cool

I know you think you’re the shit because you go to a good school and have a good major and have lots of friends and are involved in lots of cool things.

You’re not.

There’s a fine line between being confident and being a cocky asshole. Know the difference.

2. Your Degree Won’t Guarantee Anything

Not money. Not stability. Not success. Not happiness.

The sooner you realize that your degree isn’t some magical safety net that will protect you from all the world’s problems, the better. 

3. Practice Personal Development

Read books. Listen to podcasts. They will change your life.

4. Develop Strong Daily Habits

Wake up at the same time everyday. Workout at the same time everyday. Go to class and study at the same time everyday.

The more structured you make your life, the more freedom you’ll have.

5. Set Goals

Be specific. Challenge yourself. I know you're just trying to get through this thing one day at a time, but dig deeper and think of the big picture. Set dates on the calendar and stick to them.

6. Be Intentional with Your Time

You’ll never get this time back.

Spend it with people you care about doing things you care about.

7. Don’t Pee on that Building

Bro, hold it ‘til you get home.

8. Surround Yourself with Positivity

The music you listen to, the videos you watch, and (most importantly) the people you hangout with should all build you up. They should motivate you and encourage you to be better. If they don’t, then move along.

9. Surround Others with Positivity

Your friends are capable of incredible things. Don’t shoot down their dreams and ideas because they seem out of reach or unrealistic. Support them.

10. Have Meaningful Conversations

Get past the surface level "What's your major? Where are you from?" questions and really get to know people. Find out what drives them. Uncover their character.

This is the only time in your life that you'll be surrounded by so many different personalities from so many different backgrounds. They may not share your exact interests, but you can learn a lot from those people.

11. Express Gratitude

You didn't get where you are now without peers and mentors paving the way. Let them know how much you appreciate them.

12. Appreciate Brittany More

It takes a special woman to put up with you and your friends’ antics. Recognize that. Tell her you love her. Support her in the pursuit of her dreams.

One day you’re going to marry that girl (but you already know that).

13. Don’t Throw that Sign at that Bus

No comment.

14. Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond

You're involved in a lot, which is great, but don't spread yourself too thin. You'd be much better off picking one or two organizations/jobs and giving them your all.

By trying to do so much, you're just scraping the surface and doing the bare minimum. Focus on the things you truly care about and let go of the rest. It's the only way you'll reach your potential.

15. Pursue Your Passion

The whole, "do what you love" speech isn't just some BS motivational nonsense.

It's real.

People make careers doing what they love everyday.

Believe it.

You don't have to change your major or drop out of school, but take small, actionable steps everyday toward pursuing your passion and I guarantee it will change your entire outlook on life.

16. Ask Yourself, “What Would You Do Everyday Even If You Didn’t Get Paid For It?”

Do that.

And then find a way to get paid for it.

Also, ask yourself, "What would you do everyday even if you had all the money in the world?"

Do that too. Chances are, they're the same thing.

18. “If you live for the weekends and vacation, your shit is broken.”

I don't expect you for one second to understand this, but one day it will make sense.

Despite what you may think, you don't have to absolutely dread Sunday night-Thursday afternoon. You can make it just as good, if not better, than the weekend.

Study things that you enjoy studying rather than things you think will make you money one day. You can fail at something you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on something you love.

19. 3 Nights a Week on Dirty 6th is a Bit Excessive

Dude.

Seriously.

I promise Aquarium won't go out of business without you.

20. Explore the City

You live in Austin, Texas. One of the best cities in the world.

Don't take it for granted.

Get outside of the campus-downtown bubble and take it all in. Eat at more local restaurants, see more shows, hike more trails, and swim in more lakes.

21. Live in the Moment

Five years from now, you won't remember studying for that test or watching that episode of TV or playing that video game. You'll remember the times you spent with the people who matter most.

Make memories.

Those "if we leave right now..." moments don't come often, so when they do, jump in.

Major Keys: The Power of Habit

I recently finished reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and I enjoyed it so much that I felt compelled to write about it. This book helped me better understand not only my own habits, but those of peers, businesses, and society as a whole.

The Power of Habit takes a deep dive into the science behind habits, and explains thoroughly why people and companies do what they do. Here are 5 key takeaways from the book that really resonated with me.

 

Your brain wants to do less.

“Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often. This effort-saving instinct is a huge advantage...An efficient brain also allows us to stop thinking constantly about basic behaviors, such as walking and choosing what to eat, so we can devote mental energy to inventing spears, irrigation systems, and, eventually airplanes and video games.”

People often believe that committing to many habits causes a stressful and demanding life. They think that having a full schedule and a busy lifestyle results in clutter and chaos. On the contrary, habits create freedom.

When big chunks of your day are driven by habits, your brain is able go on cruise control. You don’t have to spend time and energy making decisions or figuring things out. You just go. By doing so, you have infinitely more energy to tackle the tasks that aren’t routine.

Takeaway: For more time and energy, make your life more routine.

 

Habits can never be forgotten.

“We know that a habit cannot be eradicated-it must, instead, be replaced. And we know that habits are most malleable when the Golden Rule of habit change is applied: If we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted.”

Habits are never erased. Even if they’re pushed back into the deep recesses of the brain, they’re still there. It’s why you often hear alcoholics or drug addicts say that they never truly “beat” the disease. That they have to fight the urge to fall back into their habits every day.

The brain can’t tell the difference between a good habit and a bad one.

To the brain, simplicity is simplicity, whether that routine is destructive or not. A bad habit can never be forgotten, it can only be masked by a good one. That’s why life-long smokers become avid runners. They replace the temporary satisfaction and relaxation of a cigarette with the endorphin “high” that comes from exercise.

Takeaway: If you have a bad habit, replace it with a good one that gives you the same feeling of fulfillment.

 

Some habits matter more than others.

“...Keystone habits can influence how people work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transform everything.”
“Keystone habits offer what is known within academic literature as ‘small wins.’ They help other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious.”

This is definitely something I can attest to. Sometimes, creating one keystone habit can generate enough momentum to change your entire life.

My keystone habit is waking up early. Waking up at 4 AM enables me to workout, read, listen to podcasts, work on my business, and spend time with my family. It has massively improved all areas of my life.

Small, daily wins are something I put a huge emphasis on. I’m constantly asking myself, “Am I one step closer or one step further away from accomplishing my goals today?” I know that if I stick to my habits and keep making progress, no matter how minor, my small wins will soon compound into large victories.

Takeaway: Develop a keystone habit that, no matter what, you will stick to every single day.

 

WILLPOWER is the key.

“Dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success.”
“Willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.”

As my man Eric Thomas says, “Average skill, phenomenal will.” There will always be someone out there stronger, smarter, faster, or more gifted than you. But that’s not under your control. What you can control, however, is your effort.

Talent will only take you so far. Numerous studies have looked at the habits of successful people, and above all else, the trait that they have in common is WILLPOWER.

Willpower wears down throughout the day. The more decisions you make, the more depleted your willpower becomes.

This is exactly why I set up my entire day the previous night before I go to sleep. Before I go to bed each night, I prep my meals, lay out my workout clothes, pack my things for work, and check my calendar. That way, when I wake up I literally have zero decisions to make. I just go. My willpower is still at 100%.

This is also why I workout first thing in the morning. A full day of decision-making and deep-thinking at work has the potential to completely drain willpower and make it that much harder to decide to go to the gym.

This is also why people typically binge eat or drink at night. After making tough decisions all day, it’s easier to just grab a beer and a bag of chips and lay on the couch than prepare a healthy meal.

Takeaway: Prepare your day in advance (everything from what you eat to what you wear) to save your willpower for the things that truly matter.

 

Habits begin with a choice.

“If you believe you can change-if you make it a habit- the change becomes real. This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are whatever you choose them to be. Once that choice occurs-and becomes automatic-it’s not only real, it starts to seem inevitable, the thing...that bears ‘us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be.’”

You control your habits.

You have the power to create them, change them, and capitalize on them.

The more healthy and productive habits you develop, the more positive momentum you’ll generate.

Takeaway: BELIEVE in yourself and TRUST in your habits.