Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Accountability: Goal Checkup after 6 months

I cannot believe that 2016 is half over.  Where did the time go?  It is time, once again, to check in with you, my accountability partners, on my 2016 goals and to confess how I am doing.  After 6 months, I still do not have the ripped body in the picture above, but I am still working on it.  This is the longest that I have stuck to a New Year’s resolution and feel physically, emotionally and spiritually great.  Let us start with the visual proof:
Here are some of the statistics since I started at the beginning of the year – I have lost 12 pounds, reduced my waist by 4 inches (the same since March), and 2 inches have gone from my hips (the same since March).  In terms of body fat percentage, I have gone from 18.5% to 13.4%.  I still exercise at home 15-20 minutes 4 days during the week and go to the gym with Debbie on the weekend.  This past week, however, I have had some knee issues; so I have done no exercises and was surprised to realize that I missed it from my routine.

Exercising has been important to transforming my body (and the continuing improvements), but there was definitely a change in my eating habits that have helped significantly.  I have read a few books on eating healthy, listened to people talk and have some modified version.  My basic diet is:

  • 2 eggs for breakfast – this is seven days a week.  I mix it up with scrambled (plain or seasoned), hard-boiled or an omelet.
  • Salad for lunch – this is what I usually get during the work week.  Includes a hard-boiled egg,  broccoli, black beans, and then a variety depending on the day.  There is no meat in the salad and no fruits.  Good for roughage, which I found out that my body might need some help with as I get older.
  • Chicken, fish or beef (with veggies) for dinner.

I have done away with the sugars (for the most part) from my eating habits.  Ends up that is the one thing that added to my girth.  I have not removed completely.  I do have one cheat day (or as a friend refers to as a Treat Day), where I might have a small scoop of ice cream.   The same goes for starches and carbs.  I am not running, will never fool myself into being a runner, so there is no need for me to have the quick energy blast.

What it really comes down to is making wise choices.  What we put in our mouths, how we treat our bodies and have the mindset to stay focused on our physical outcomes, is what makes the biggest differences.  We are constantly bombarded by commercials showing food advertisements to places I will not eat at.  We constantly see places that might not sell the healthiest of foods as we walk down the street.  Is that food VERY TASTY – yes.  Is it healthy for you – not as much as you might think.  It all comes down to choices.  If you choose to become a healthy specimen, you have to do what is necessary.  I was once taught 3 key words – Be, Do and Have.  To be what you want to be, you must do the things (i.e., make appropriate sacrifices) so that you can have what you want.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Father's Day 2016

Father’s Day or not, I am up early.  Taking the morning off to sleep in could have been an option.  I, however, am up early to play golf. 

I am part of a group of eight that rotate each week, so we share the overall costs and are not committed to play every week.  This is “my day”, so I do not mind the time spent with friends out in the nice weather attempting to look like we are golfers.  Will there be a time to sneak in a nap later? Maybe.

One of the nice things about pushing myself to get up this early is that the house is quiet.  I made myself an omelet and now enjoying my morning cup of tea.   Many thought leaders talk about the morning hours and how to use that “new found time” for exercise, reading or meditation.  I like to write in the morning, as my brain is not “cluttered” with thoughts about what has happened during the day or squeezing in the time between running from one thing to another; my brain tends to be more openly creative.  Breakfast is finished, now it is the computer and me – 20 minutes to half an hour pouring my thoughts onto the page.

“But, Wayne, that is valuable sleep time.”  Yes, I know.  Many people I know get up, grab something quick to eat and then run out the door.  That was my routine a few years ago.  When I decided to, as Jim Rohn puts it, “…work harder on myself…”, that included utilizing my time better.  There have been many a weekend, in my life, where I have not set an alarm and woken up at 10:30.  By the time I lounge in bed, get up and shower, it is time to think about lunch.  Now, that kind of morning is a treat, though I often feel that I have lost time to do something.

“Tweet, tweet.” I listen to the birds and watch them fly playfully past the back deck.  It looks like it will be a great day.  Good weather, a little golf and then time with my family; that sounds to me like a great way to spend my Sunday.  I am not sure why we need a “special” day set aside to celebrate Father’s Day, because, since I have had children, everyday is Father’s Day to me.  And, of course, as a child, I am happy to spend some time with my father today, for without him, I would not be here.  For me, I find that the day ahead is another day that I can feel blessed with the family that I have, value the time we get to share together and be grateful for the lives we lead. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Getting Soft in My Old Age

"Your father has only cried twice," said my beautiful wife.

"I Lava You was one of them, and I was there," Bec said with a big grin.

Great, my family has begun to highlight my "weaker" moments, all to their amusement.  I am human, not Vulcan, and sometimes I am allowed to show emotions. 

"Dad's becoming emotional in his old age," starts to be chanted.

Flash back to the night before:

One day, I was at evening services, when one of our older members walked in.  He had been sick and we have not seen him in a while.  It was clear that it was an effort for him to be there, as his wife and son accompanied him.   We were all happy to see him, and it ends up that it was the anniversary of his father’s death and he was there to say the Mourner’s Prayer. 

In the Jewish religion, when someone dies, there is a prescribed mourning cycle.  The first seven days after the funeral, called Shiva, are where the mourning stays home, sits on a low chair and accepts visitors.  This is followed by the first month (30 days inclusive of Shiva), called Shloshim, where one moves out back into society, but continues the daily Mourner’s Prayer.  And when a parent dies, the Mourner’s Prayer is said throughout the year.  As a community, we recalled our loved ones four times a year during specific holidays (Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, Passover and Shavuot), and, individually, on the anniversary of the death (based on the Hebrew calendar).  I go, for example, each year on the anniversary of my mother’s death. 

Going on the anniversary, for some, is a very strong feeling.  My grandfather died at 89.  Shortly before he died was the anniversary of his father’s death and he was too sick to go to the Jewish Center to say the Mourner’s Prayer.  He was sad as this was the first time he missed going since his father died about 70 years beforehand. 

Towards the end of the service, someone came up to greet the older member.  The older man looked up at his greeter and asked, “Will you be here tomorrow morning?”

“Yes,” was the immediate response.

“Can you please say the Kaddish (Mourner’s Prayer) for me for my father?” 

I felt that question in my heart and held back the tears that were about to spring forth.  “Of course I will,” was the gentleman’s response. 

When it came time for the Mourner’s Prayer, I had a hard time keeping it together, for as difficult as coming to services was; this man still felt the obligation to honor his father.

As I get older, I do find that things affect me more than when I was younger, so Bec's words have truth in it.  Am I getting older or just more empathetic with age and experience?

Maybe it is because I just lost my aunt.  Maybe it was the thoughts of my grandfather.  Maybe it was seeing another person in my life that I watch get older, and they have the ability to do less than when they were younger.  Maybe Bec was right…maybe I am getting emotional in my old age.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cutting Off Our Nose to Spite Our Face

Do we throw tantrums as adults?  I remember when I was young, we went to visit my grandfather in Fair Lawn, who was doing yard work on that day.  The visit was to be brief, as we were planning to go out for ice cream.  My dad must have said something that I disagreed with, because I remember saying that I would plant tomatoes instead of having ice cream.  As my parents and two brothers rode away, I stood there crying over the choice that I had made.  There was another time, I do not remember the details, where we all did something fun one weekend where one of my brothers said he did want to go.  He stayed home, while the rest of us had a great time.  I understand that when we are young, we sometimes do not have the ability to see the bigger picture.  So why do adults sometimes make the same mistakes?

These two incidents from my childhood made me wonder if we ever “cut off our noses to spite our faces” to ourselves.  Thinking that we are standing the high ground in front of others, whether correct or not, at least, in our own minds, means we are proving something.  So, do we do this to ourselves, where we end up sabotaging our own success to prove something to ourselves?   When I was doing network marketing, one of the key activities (i.e., productivity), was to make phone calls.  I remember Debbie saying, “Don’t you have calls to make?”  I went down to my office in a huff and surfed the internet thinking I will show her.  I’ll show her?!? There went the left nostril.  I bought into a program, where following in the footsteps of others can lead to success.  I thought, “I am not giving up my freedoms and choices.”  There went the right nostril, because I did not understand that pinpointed sacrifices can lead to specific successes.  From Napoleon Hill, to John C. Maxwell, to Darren Hardy, all discuss the importance of working in a group (develop a mastermind).  “I can do this myself,” was something I believed for a long time…and there went the rest of the nose. 

In the heat of the moment, we let our emotions step in, react and make a decision that might not be in line with what we are striving.  In that one moment, we forget to take that deep breath, take a step back and put what happened in perspective of the larger picture.  In my example above, the objective was building a potential additional revenue stream that would have been residual in nature.  Seemingly, small choices, made hastily when not in the best frame of mind, can have a huge impact and we derail our own efforts.  OK, the proboscis magically grows back after I toss the nose that I just cut off into the drawer that has the prior noses that I cut off.  I cannot focus on prior past bad decisions, because I know that the past does not dictate the future.  As long as we value the lesson that we learn, dust ourselves off, and realign our goals, we can then point towards the future.