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10 Things I've Learned So Far Inspirational Observations

by David Grenier

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Copyright I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity, in some instances, I have changed the names of individuals and places. I may have changed some identifying characteristics and details such as physical properties, occupations and places of residence. 10 Things I've Learned So Far Inspirational Observations All rights reserved Š 2013 This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproductions or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of the author. First Edition: September, 2013

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Introduction I'm not a motivational speaker. I'm not a doctor, celebrity or sophisticated intellectual. I'm just a regular guy. Years ago I got it in my head that I'd like to write a book. I've had half-written stories on my computer for ages but never seemed to get around to making them into something. This book, 10 Things I've

Learned So Far, is my way of accomplishing that long lived dream. I don't claim to know everything. As a matter of fact, the older I get I realize I know nothing. That being said I'm here to share some things I've come to know along my journey so far. The words within these pages are based on my observations about the world I live in. From what I've learned as a personal trainer to my experience with epilepsy, this book encompasses a range of thoughts and, at times, personal frustrations. The idea for this book came when I started my first blog, Much to Say About

Something, which no longer exists. Much to Say was more or less a weekly diary, featuring different events that inspired me to write. Sometimes they were reflective and other times they were negative situations that I learned to turn to positive ones with a simple change in viewpoint. I was surprised and humbled to hear people ask when my next article was going to be. Their anticipation made me realize that I can make an impact outside my own little world with something as simple as sharing my personal perspective. These ten things are far from all encompassing. They are simply a collection

These ten things are far from all encompassing. They are simply a collection 10 Things - 5 of events, mindsets and attitudes that I thought fitting to put into my first book. I am not trying to tell people how to live, merely sharing my viewpoint on the world I chose to live in. Thank you for being a part of my dream. I hope you find this reading motivating and inspired.

Sincerely, Dave

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Lesson 1: We Want To Be Better Than We Are "When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too." ―Paulo Coelho

__________ Ever wish you could change something about your life, yourself or your situation? You're not alone. Striving to be better than we are, to change our current situation, is what keeps us driving forward. Sometimes it has to do with luxury, like getting a bigger house or nicer car. Sometimes it encompasses personal traits like not being so sensitive or controlling anger. Whatever our goals are, they are set in place because we are striving to be better than we are. I don't know anyone that doesn't want to change something about themselves. I'd be out of business if people didn't want to lose weight, gain weight or increase functionality. With that in mind the best piece of advice I can give is:

Be satisfied with who you are, but be willing to strive to reach your potential.

Be satisfied with you are. It's easily said but often difficult to achieve. We gain weight, lose a job, didn't get a promotion we were looking for. These things play havoc with our self-esteem and can be hard to come back from. Lots of life events, or even people, beat us down and reduce our confidence, causing irreparable harm to our ego. During these down times I turn the wise words of Confucius: "Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it."

10 Things - 7 This is especially relevant when speaking of our self-image. You can see beauty in others but seeing it in yourself is all but impossible. One of the most inspiring videos I've seen is a study done with a group of women about how they see themselves compared to how a stranger saw them. If you haven't seen it, check out "Real Beauty Sketches" by Dove. In the video the women are brought into a room and asked to describe their facial features to a police sketch artist. They talk about their "crows feet", jaw line, cheekbones - the works. When they're done they leave without the sketch artist ever seeing them. Then a stranger, who they spoke with prior to the drawing comes in and describes that same person. After the drawings are done the women are confronted with a side-by-side comparison of their picture and the one the stranger described. The results are astounding. Each woman reacts similarly with comments like "She looks more open, friendly and happy" as they look in awe at the difference between the impressions of themselves and how the stranger saw them. It's a very inspiring video, I highly suggest checking it out whether you're a man or a woman. But why the shock? Why can't we see ourselves the way others do? Something jumped out at me when one woman said "My mother always said I had a big jaw" while describing herself. This holds a key to one of the big reasons we have a problem seeing our inner, and outer, beauty - loved one's opinion. According to the Mayo Clinic one of the biggest factors to self-esteem issues is a challenge by a loved one (1). Though our parents have our best interests at heart

a challenge by a loved one (1). Though our parents have our best interests at heart 10 Things - 8 there are things that we hold onto from childhood that affect us throughout our entire lives. "Why can't you be like your brother and get better grades?" "Stand up straight, you're going to get a hump on your back." "You can't go out like that, you're not wearing enough makeup." We've all had some sort of critique that stuck with us but it's important not to let those define you as a person. How does one fight these thoughts away? The first step is to be positive.

Be Positive Being positive works wonders in self-image and self-improvement. One of the best ways to battle these negative thoughts is by identifying your negativity. When you hear yourself say or think something negative, turn it around and be more positive. Eckhard Tolle, a well-known inspirational writer, once said:

"The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive."

Start simple. If, in the case of the woman not liking her chin, set your attention on something you do like. "I like my hair." Or "I have nice eyes." Maybe you don't like anything. Try thinking back to when someone complemented you on something and focus on that. It doesn't just have to be physical. Say, for instance, someone said "Wow, that presentation you did last week was great!" Center on the

someone said "Wow, that presentation you did last week was great!" Center on the 10 Things - 9 fact that you're a good presenter and it will grow to a greater appreciation of yourself. Zig Ziglar, a prominent motivational speaker, shares his thoughts on how the power of positive thinking can change your life perspective. In one of his engagements he talks about a woman who hates her job. Perhaps hate is too light of a word. Loathes, detests, or even resents her position and the people working there would be more accurate. He asks her about the positives at her job in which she quickly says there are NO positives. "Do they pay you?" he asks. "Yes, of course they do." "Well you like getting paid, don't you?" "Yes." "Good, then that's a positive you can focus on." He replies After having her write down a list of everything she likes, no matter how seemingly insignificant, she ends up changing her attitude towards her job and even ends up enjoying it! As a personal trainer I see negative-centered attention all the time. Clients come up to me and say they don't like "this", or "that" is awful. What I do is have them focus on the good and, over time, that focus resonates with even the thing they hated most about themselves. During this time we are exercising and changing their body but their mental attitude with everything changes. Regardless of what you're looking to change, being positive is a key aspect

Regardless of what you're looking to change, being positive is a key aspect 10 Things - 10 but it's not going to get you there by itself; For prolonged success I think the best action plan you can make is the SMART one.

Being SMART After I became a trainer I quickly realized it's more about inspiring and providing motivation than lifting weights and exercising. Without motivation, goal setting and knowledge don't mean a thing. There's one client, let's call her Jennifer for privacy sake, who had a particularly hard time sticking to her goals. When she came to me it wasn't because she wished to lose a lot of weight. Her goal was just to get healthy and become more active. We discussed her lifestyle and quickly found a lack of focus and motivation was holding her back. Confident I could help her we started down the path of being SMART. Being SMART is an organized way to build success with goal setting. This technique can be used for earning more money, weight loss, behavior changes, whatever you're looking to improve. Being SMART is about being specific instead of being general. When Jennifer came in she knew she wanted to exercise more and be physically active but that's as far as she thought about it. I told her, as I tell all my clients, how important it is to get specific. Compare the following two statements:

"I'm going to exercise more."

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"I will walk or jog one mile, three times per week, for the next month."

The first sentence is a blanket statement. While they can be useful in determining what you want out of life, they don't necessarily provide an optimal path to success. The second sentence is a technique trainers use to provide consistent, lasting results. So how do we start being SMART? First we have to look at what the acronym means.

Specific - Don't generalize. Take every aspect of your goal (type of activity, time you'll commit to and frequency) and write it down.

Measurable - Make sure it's something you can gauge your success in. Something like losing weight is easy to gauge, money is easily seen building in your account but measuring success isn't always close at hand. In those cases giving a specific, like "one mile", is something you can use as a measuring stick. A timetable can also help.

Attainable - Walking three times a week should be something you can actually do. If you work two jobs, have a family and volunteer you might want to start out smaller and build up to three times a week. Nothing destroys motivation quite like setting your eyes on a prize just to have your dreams dashed because they were momentarily out of reach.

Realistic - "I'm going to lose fifty pounds in the next week" is not realistic, attainable and not to mention unhealthy. Being unrealistic sets us up for failure

attainable and not to mention unhealthy. Being unrealistic sets us up10 forThings failure- 12 right from the beginning. When you don't reach that weight by the end of the week, you might give up right then and there.

Timely - Saying "Three times per week for the next month" gives us structure that the first statement doesn't. We know our goal is set for thirty days. After that we are welcome to remake our goals to go further. Try keeping the timeframe short in the beginning to keep from getting overwhelmed. SMART goals are used successfully all over the world. They will get you far but there's one more aspect I'd like to add from personal experience, flexibility. Flexibility - Life happens and without allowing yourself some flexibility you're bound to get frustrated and maybe even give up. When it comes to doing that walk three times a week for thirty minutes, allow yourself some relaxation if you're just too burned out today. Maybe do it for ten minutes instead of thirty or put it off until tomorrow. At least you're still doing it and keeping with the trend. There is no harm in postponing your activity until tomorrow, as long as it doesn't become a habit. This lack of rigidity will keep you from getting defeated and allow you to enjoy it more. Setting goals is easy, accomplishing them is tough. It's been my experience that people that don't set SMART goals are at a much higher risk of losing interest and falling back to their normal routines. While being SMART is great, being DUMB is not.

How Not To Be DUMB

10 Things - 13 Since we can be SMART about our goals it makes sense that we can also be DUMB. DUMB is a little something I came up with, as far as I know, to help my clients make the distinction between SMART goals and the common trap most fall into of overlooking possible motivation factors. Simply put, DUMB means: Deliberately Underestimating Motivating Behaviors Having struggled with weight my whole life I can tell you, being motivated to lose weight is key. On many occasions while looking in the mirror I've had the thought to lose weight. This motivation was charged even more when I wasn't able to do even the small things I used to, like go up stairs without feeling tired or even climbing a tree (yes, I'm a big kid and still enjoy a tree climb now and again.) Even though I was upset I wasn't upset enough to change. My motivation was lackluster. I, like many, need a harsh realization to get moving and change. Sometimes, this harsh realization can feel like a slap in the face. A common example of this is putting on a belt and realizing you're no longer three notches in. It's putting on your favorite bathing suit just to notice things aren't quite how you left them last summer. It's climbing the stairs and feeling like you climbed the stairs. How great would it be if we could head off these issues before they get worse? Luckily, we can. At the moment of desperation, perhaps while you're looking in that

Luckily, we can. At the moment of desperation, perhaps while you're looking in that 10 Things - 14 mirror, decide to make the conscious decision to change. Don't worry, it's nothing complicated or scary and it only takes a few minutes of sitting in your favorite chair. Your first step to achieving your dreams is to write down a list. It's easier than you might think and can be applied to any goal, not just losing weight. Here's how I do it: Step 1: Seclusion Seclusion is imperative. Go someplace you won't be interrupted by family, pets or a phone call. If you're doing it on your computer, put it on airplane mode and leave your phone in the other room. Remember, if your goal is worth anything to you, you'll give it your undivided attention for as long as it takes to get started. You're changing your life, don't shortchange yourself by getting distracted. Step 2: Title your page Start your heading "My Motivation" with a subheading of "Why I want to ________" (lose weight, stop throwing away money, see friends more, etc, etc.) Step 3: Brainstorm This is just a list of "whys". Don't think, just write. It's so important to just let your brain flow and not get in your own way by thinking. When we think, we have a greater chance of being DUMB (weird, I know.) If you're having difficulty starting, think about what you're trying to accomplish. Why do you want to change? What is it about your current situation

accomplish. Why do you want to change? What is it about your current situation 10 Things - 15 that frustrates you? Step 4: Refine Once the list is done, it's time to refine and organize. I often skip ahead to step 5 and come back to this one later. Refining doesn't mean getting rid of anything. This is time to clean up your list, put it in complete sentences and add more thought than just instinctual phrases. In the world of weight loss most people start with the physical. Phrases like "I want to look better" are a constant theme. Now that your appearance whys are covered, do you have any motivation to get healthier? A few of mine are being seventy and not letting my body determine my abilities, not leaving my wife for a premature grave and being able to play with my future kids without it costing me back ache and fatigue. I don't mind my kid saying "Daddy, you're old!" but I don't want it to be because I'm groaning just getting onto the floor when we play. Step 5: Get SMART On a completely separate piece of paper write "Action Plan", "Being SMART", or my personal favorite "How I'm Going To Get There" at the top. This is when you put your skills of being a SMART goal setter in place. Write out as many things you can do to help on your journey to greatness. Remember to be specific about what you're doing to achieve your goals. If you're having difficulty with this, start by brainstorming everything you can think of from using stairs instead of the elevator to how often you're going to workout and

of from using stairs instead of the elevator to how often you're going to workout and 10 Things - 16 at what intensity. Some of the most valuable assets we have for a successful life are inspiration and motivation. Motivation gets us out of bed in the morning. Regardless of how large or small our motivations are, it's important to be well rounded in our approach to change our behaviors. Only through changing our behaviors can we create new habits. Having good habits creates real lifestyle change.

It's Often Easier Than We Think When it comes to change we often think it's harder than it actually is. Taking that first step is like getting out of a warm, cozy bed first thing in the morning. You know you can't stay there all day but it's so hard to to just throw off the covers. However, once you discard that security blanket you're free to begin your life. I run into a lot of people not realizing just how easy it is to lose weight. They feel they have to get to the gym and work really hard to get the weight off. The first question I ask these people is if they enjoy the gym. If they do then they're on the right track and we work with that. If not, then the next step is to find out what they enjoy doing. The first rule to achieving anything in life easily is:

Make it enjoyable!

10 Things - 17 When something isn't fun it just feels like work. I don't know about you but I'm at work plenty, I don't need to work when I get home. True, this approach can get results but for how long and at what cost? When was the last time you did something you didn't like to lose weight? Now think back to a time when you played a sport or went for a walk on the beach and time just seemed to fly by. Take those moments and grab them as often as possible. Not only will it feel less like work but you're more apt to build lasting habits and start to reduce strain and stress. Maybe your task is to build up your savings account. This might mean restricting your spending more than you want. Take this time to discover a new, and possibly, more interesting lifestyle. Check out other, cheaper opportunities. My wife and I love going to the movies. If we were to pay regular price we would be bankrupt long ago; luckily there are a few cheap theaters around. For these theaters we have to wait a couple more months for the movie but the cost savings is well worth it. For the movies we just have to watch now we go to another theater on five dollar days. Most venues have a day or two during the week that the movies are all at reduced prices. If you don't have that option check out a membership service like AAA or AARP that offer reduced ticket pricing. It might cost a bit in the initial membership fee but chances are you'll end up saving in the long run, if you use the services. Maybe the movies aren't your thing but the point is, with a little research and refocus of mindset, all things are possible.

10 Things - 18 Reducing stress is key in making things easier and enjoying what we do. When we overwork, we increase physical, mental and emotional stress. In fact, elevated stress increases Cortisol levels in the body which actually increases fat storage (2). So if your plan is to lose weight, do what makes you happy and you'll have better results. The key to becoming better than you are is first enjoying who you are. Then it's a simple matter of finding ways to incorporate things you enjoy and doing them every day. One of the best ways to achieve this is by seeking out inspiration to help us achieve that delicate life balance we are all searching for.

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