Children Have Such An Advantage

I find as I grow older that not only do more opportunities present themselves to me ( because I am constantly learning how to look for them ), but that my reasons to not pursue them also grow.

No, I don’t mean calculated reasonings where I did a weighted average or logic tree to come to my conclusion to pass on an opportunity, but reasonings such as “that’s too much work” or “that will never work because XYZ did it 3 years ago”.

One of the bad things about learning more as you grow older is that sometimes what you learn are things that actually stunt and prevent your growth ( if you let them ).

To give you an example, I’ve pretty much stopped doing affiliate marketing and SEO in favor of PPC and building up SaaS companies. Part of the reason was that years ago, I dominated SEO for several industries over thousands of keywords. I was highly sought after in the SEO world. The same was true when I focused on affiliate marketing and dominated that space, becoming the number 1 domestic and international affiliate for multiple networks at the same time. I paved the way for many affiliate marketers that are now household names in the space with 1 of my campaigns.

As both SEO and affiliate matured and the easy money dried up, I decided to once again change direction and focus on new areas. As I grew in those new areas, I always had thoughts about doing SEO and affiliate marketing on the side. However, lingering thoughts about Google not liking affiliates and SEO getting harder because of Panda and Penguin kept me from dipping my toes back in the water. Experience with having campaigns go from 1 in 3 successful launches to 1 in 10 also kept me at bay.

Essentially, as these industries matured and the threshold to be successful was raised, I experienced more setback and negative reasoning to want to go back into them.

In hindsight, I let false information decide for me that I couldn’t be successful in it again.

Why was it false?

For one, not only was it harder ( but not impossible ) for me to be successful.. but I was reading countless stories of people dropping like flys anytime a new algo update rolled around from Google in the SEO world. I was also watching people get hit left and right with account bans at Adwords and Facebook for affiliate marketing. Watching these horror stories and also having a hard time myself ( but remember, not impossible ), I decided to jump ship and eat in greener pastures at that time.. which was doing my SaaS stuff and client billings.

Now any time someone brings up SEO or affiliate marketing, I have nothing positive to say about the current outcome of those industries.. even though I have not played in them for almost 5 years myself. See how being deceived can lead you to make false assumptions about something you know nothing currently about?

It not only happens in this situation, but in lots of others. Maybe you had a bad experience with a first car that happened to be a Ford so now you think all Ford’s are shitty. Basically, an untrue statement unless you have driven every Ford for several months at the same time in the last 6 months.

I agree that the way our brain handles these emotions and reflexes can help us and prevent us from getting into more bad situations. The trick is to figure out what you are creating false beliefs on that won’t actually stunt you or hurt you.

Whenever I have a decision to make and I am unsure of myself, or catch myself thinking like this, I have a new tool in helping me out in my thought process… I ask my children.

My children haven’t lived life enough to develop these growth-stunting beliefs and think nothing is impossible. If they tell me something sounds like a great idea and I ask them why they think that.. they never have those negative experience I have had before that make them think they can’t do it.

Once I get their OK, I start digging into real fact based decisions on the thought and keep the prior bad out of the process.

Funny, but when you think about it.. hate operates in a similar way.  Children do not know hate, they learn it over time.

Hate for something/one is essentially prior experience influencing current situations that might not be an accurate reflection of the prior event.

Next time, ask a child what you should do.

My Morning Routine For 2015

I’ve settled into a morning routine for 2015.

Although I know I need to do better and that there are things I should change ( like what activities I am doing myself ), here is what I have came up for my morning routine:

  • Wake up before 7am
  • Work on and try to finish MIT ( most important task ) before 9am
  • Organize all my small tasks ( should be stuff I outsource though ) on my Todoist app
  • Start working on all the Todoist task stuff ( I have recurring tasks, 1 off’s, etc )
  • Drink water and/or coffee

 

I really need to start outsourcing some of the stuff on my task list.

Also, I need to come up with a better evening routine. Possible tasks for it are:

  • Read 60 minutes a day
  • Plan out the next day or 2
  • Be in sleeping by 11pm
  • Review my current day

 

Failure Could Just Be Wrong Timing

I am not sure I believe in failure anymore.

Failure for a large part was me simply telling myself I wasn’t good enough, or that my idea wasn’t good enough.

What’s crazy is, I would experience what a lot of us would call Déjà vu months or years later when I would see my idea running wild in the world under someone else and being massively successful and adopted. Really? I did that and tried that a while back and it failed!

The new owner of the idea would sometimes change up a small angle or feature, and many times it wasn’t changed at all. However, now it’s successful and my past iteration of that same idea failed.

I’ll give you a few samples:

  • I was working a day gig and had several ideas for improving the flow of company work and improving our bottom line. Everything I suggested fell on death ears and would not get implemented by management even with sound research and proof. 12 months later the people I pitched the ideas to were no longer at the company and we had new management and also new co-workers. One of my co-workers pitched the same ideas to the new management and got praised and promoted while I sat back and just shook my head.
  • I built a one of a kind tracker for monitoring SERPs in a new and unique way. It took me a couple years trying to build it by myself and getting it right. Once I started to gain traction and move in the industry with this new idea, competitors copied it and tried to claim it as theirs.. as they were the “first” to do it. I thought of myself as failure since it took so long for this new idea to sprout in the minds of people who were confused when I first launched it, but seemed to adopt instantly when my competitors launched it.
  • Before the idea of “multi-taking” was proven wrong, I was doing and preaching the need to be laser-focused on just single tasks and single goals, to be a master of 1 thing. Others around me mocked me and explained how I was wrong. Under their impression, I told myself I was wrong and needed to adapt to their multi-tasking “jack of all trades” ways only to fail and fall further behind. Years later, several of these same friends now preach single-focus mindsets and one even makes a “guru” career out of it.

I am not writing this to sound arrogant. Truly, that is not my aim or goal.

However, if you have fallen into this same trap of telling yourself you failed on something.. maybe you need to revisit that idea and see how you can make it special for today’s needs and time. Sometimes you just might be 9 months ahead of the world or even 3 years ahead of the world.

Don’t let others tell you differently. Stick to your idea and when you think its a huge failure, make sure to prove it’s a real failure first before you give up on it.

I could slap myself for all the times that I gave up on what I thought was a failure ( because failure is permanent ), when in fact I gave up on a winning idea or method too early.

Déjà vu

More Uncommon Financial Advice For The Digital Marketer

This is a followup to a post I wrote in April of 2014 that is located at Uncommon Financial Advice For The Digital Marketer.

It’s been almost a year and not much has changed with the advice I gave last April.

A few people have asked me for updates and I thought I would shared some of new advice I would give today.

Your Emergency Fund

The only update I have here is that I have learned I don’t really need cash in the house. It’s nice to have, but most emergencies I have encountered didn’t require the need to have cash on hand and didn’t require the full use of the $1000.00.

I have now moved this money to a separate checking account at one of my banks where I can just use my debit card if I need access to the money. Everyone takes Visa and for the time I need cash, I can hit the ATM machine.

 

Start A Savings Plan

I didn’t change anything here, but I did forgot to mention where to store this money in the original article.

Considering this money will largely be left untouched and unused, it makes sense to have your money work for you while it’s a safety net. I’ve moved all of my savings to Ally Bank, which right now is paying me a 0.99% APY, one of the highest APY’s for any bank.

Ally has been trouble free since I started with them.

 

Removing Temptation

A lot of readers have told me that they become easily tempted when their emergency fund and 6 month’s savings builds up to spend the money and splurge on items they regret later.

I also get those urges and feelings, but one thing I have done to combat that situation is to simply put the money out of my reach.

For an example, Ally Bank doesn’t have branches or ATMs. They also do not issue out debit cards. If I want my money from Ally Bank, I have to make a transfer and wait 3 days. When you are waiting 3 days for your money, you have time to think about the splurge you are about to make.

Even deeper, I take 1 extra precaution and many of my regular and needed bills ( electric, water, phone/internet, insurances, etc ) are paid up 6 months in advance. Yes, you read that right.

The way I worked it out was that I was simply setting aside in cash the amounts needed for my 6 months of savings for electric, water, and other bills and sending it off to Ally Bank. Knowing that temptation was still hovering around, I decided to instead take the money and give 6 months worth of payments to the electric company in exchange for a credit on my bill. I repeated this for my water bill, phone and Internet, and many other bills.

I can already hear a ton of you in disagreement with my decision.

The simple truth is, I designed my 6 month’s savings plan to be exactly what it’s titled, “A 6 month savings plan”. It only exists so that if I get laid off, lose my job, get injured, etc… I can survive for at least 6 months without any problems.

It’s doesn’t exist for fixing water heaters, getting new tires on the car, or taking a last minute trip to Disney World. It doesn’t exist for getting my children braces or lending money to family in a pinch.

Therefor, by my decisions to pay up 6 months in advance, I achieved my goal. If I were to get laid off, fired, or disabled.. I would still want/need to pay my electric, water, phone, and other needed bills so I could survive. So why not give them their portion of the money right now and keep it paid up each month?

I achieve my goal, plus remove temptation in spending it later foolishly.

 

Paying 6 months in advance doesn’t matter much if you now stop paying those bills going forward. You have to pay 6 months ahead, get a credit, and continue paying what the bill would have been every month afterward to keep a rolling 6 month credit.

Any other bills I can not prepay or wouldn’t make sense to ( property taxes, Christmas fund, etc ) simply just go to Ally each month where I earn 0.99 APY on it until it’s needed.

 

Conclusion

A strong financial foundation is key for moving forward with your business and goals.

Don’t let small mistakes lead you off your path. If you get easily tempted, remove the risk. If you have a good sized nest egg, make sure it’s working for you while safely stored away.

Becoming More Financially Responsible

When I think about the amount of money I have wasted in my life, I could almost make myself sick.

I wasn’t the type of person that would run out and buy the latest iPhone or get the most upgraded options on a new car purchase. That wasn’t the type of wasteful person I was.

However, I was the type of person that would just leave change laying around in my car and repurchase products 2-3x times because I couldn’t find ( or broke ) the original I bought earlier. I also almost never returned stuff, even when it was broke out of the box.

I’m in no shape to have to scrape and save just to get by, but I am taking more time to evaluate my buying/waste behavior and making changes to that.

 

My Reasoning

Part of the reason I decided to be more financially responsible is that my family recently sponsored a child in need via Compassion International.

While the amount of money sent each month is small ( $40 ), the responsibility that comes with it is huge. I can not simply write off not sending in the $40 each month because “I forgot” or because I didn’t stop at the bank and grab enough cash. Someone in another country depends on that money and I have to make sure I always have a way to send it in on time.

With 3 children watching every move I make, I also need to show them through example how to be financially responsible by spending less than you earn and also starting ( and keeping ) savings goals.

 

What I Have Done

I haven’t radically changed my lifestyle, but here are a few things I have started doing since Jan 1st:

  1. Every $1 AND every $5 bill that comes my way is set aside and saved in a green Mason jar.
  2. Every week I set aside money for the $1 weekly challenge savings goal ( read more about it here ). This is done electronically via my bank.
  3. Any and all loose change is collected from the house and cars and put into the green Mason jar.
  4. I go through all purchases made on my debit and credit cards and round up the change and transfer it into a savings account.

Collecting $1 and $5 dollar bills from change given back to me at the store is rather easy and painless to set aside. Who truly misses the $1 bills in change or the $5 bill you might get back?

The weekly $1 savings challenge is also really easy to get started into. You are supposed to set aside a dollar each week for the number of the week you are in for the year. At the end of the year you should have collected over $1431. Here is a visual to help it make more sense.

Since I do not want to fool with keeping up with what week it is and having to make the transfer each week, I simply divide $1431 into 52 weeks and get $27.52. I just round that up to $30 and transfer over $30 every week into a savings account. Easy and no thought needed.

Collecting loose change is also a no-brainer!

The last example is a bit tough. Essentially I go through all my debits and charges hitting my bank account and list them out in Excel.  I do this weekly to keep it simple.

After listing all my charges, I simply let Excel calculate the difference between my actual charge and the next nearest dollar. So if I had a charge of $26.01 from Walmart, I would round up to $27 and the difference is $0.99.

I keep doing this for every single charge and line item and then total the differences up for each into a daily total. Whatever that daily total is, I round up to the nearest dollar as well.

roundUp

It’s a fairly easy process, but it does take a bit of time to copy and paste all the transactions. Excel handles all the other work, so if you can find a easy way to import your transactions, this would make it easy to keep up with.

 

Results To Date

I’ve only started doing this in 2015, but I have to date:

  • $75 in my green Mason jar ( this is from $1 and $5 bills and any loose change I find in the house/cars )
  • $33 in my round up the change account from bank transactions
  • $90 in my $1 weekly challenge account ( I am doing this slightly different since I just send over $30 weekly to an account ).

If the trend keeps up, I am assuming that I can put back $235 a month into a savings account without much thought or work.

That’s $2820 a year after taxes.

 

It’s not a ton of money, but for some people it can be a life changer. Many people here in America have no savings and plenty of people in other countries struggle just to have rice and beans daily.

In summary all I am really doing is:

  • All loose change I find or get back goes into a jar ( later this goes into a savings account )
  • All $1 and $5 bills I get/find go into a jar ( later this goes into a savings account )
  • I round up to the nearest dollar all purchases on my debit/credit card. This difference goes into a savings account
  • I actively contribute $1 for the number week I am in into a savings account.

 

My Plans For The Money

I plan to ensure I can keep sponsoring a child each and every month. I might actually plan to sponsor more as this savings is enough to sponsor 5 total children for an entire year.

I have also thought about reinvesting the money into affiliate marketing campaigns, long-term savings, lending clubs, starting a new business, etc.

The most practical thing I have thought of is to simply go on vacations for free. I already use my points and miles from credit cards like Starwoods, Sapphire, Hitlon HHonors and more to fund my vacations. However, the flights and hotels only cover so much. There is always food, gifts, tips, and lots of other expenses once you get to your destination ( especially if you have kids like me ). This $2820 could go a long way to fully funding an entire vacation when combined with miles and points from reward programs.

Most people do not have an emergency fund ( at least $1000 in cash on hand ) or a 6 months saving plan ( 6 months of expenses saved up in case of job layoff or medical issue ). Most people also carry debt of some kind either in credit cards, student loans, or mortgages. If you fall into this group of people above, I highly suggest using this money for paying down debt and starting proper savings plans first before planning vacations or charity work.

 

Conclusion

Saving money doesn’t have to take time or be very painful.

I am already looking at ways to automate and make this process as hands-free as possible. Knowing that I am not doing the $1 weekly challenge the way I should be ( I really should be putting back $1 a week manually to reach the $1431 goal ), it was just much easier to figure out the average savings per week from the total ( $1431 / 52 weeks ) and round it up and send it over automatically.

The same exact principle can be applied to loose change, $1 and $5 bills, and also rounding up the change from your bank statements on credit cards and debit transactions.

If after 3 months ( or even 1 month ) I know that I consistently find $5 in loose change and about $70 in $1 and $5 bills, I can just start sending over $75 a month into an account and not manually do this process by hand anymore. The same holds true with rounding up the change from my electronic transactions from the banks. If I find I consistently average about $35 a month in change left over in my debit and credit transactions, then I will just simply start sending that every month to my savings account as well without having to break out Excel and copy/paste.

This exercise isn’t about scraping by or missing out on “big wins” in life. This isn’t about skipping lattes or doing without.

I am not missing out on anything while saving this money. Do you think I am truly missing out on a couple of $1 bills or a $5 bill weekly? Do you think I am skipping lunch just to round up my change from debit card transactions? I am also not missing the $1 per week in the weekly challenge either. The loose change was just a mess sitting in cup holders in my car or in the couch in my living room.

Each of these programs focuses on small changes, changes so small you don’t notice or miss them.

It’s simply saying, I know I can save more money in my life instead of wasting it. That money can be re-invested in yourself or other people and can also be used to make a difference. This is very powerful.

I know people who could generate $30k in revenue from affiliate campaigns in a day, but it cost them $29.8k to generate it. That’s a lot of work for only $200 profit a day, profit that still hasn’t been taxed yet. Being able to “keep” more money would make all the difference in the world to these people.

It’s not always about what you make, it’s more about what you keep.

I want to show my children the power of small changes and how to be financially responsible with their money so they can learn how to afford the things they want in life later on.

A few other changes are coming because I evaluated my spending behavior, things such as buying more products online and actually returning things I don’t like/are broke after I get them ( which I almost never did because it involved another hour long drive down the road to the store ) and getting rid of stuff I no longer need/use that is just causing a my garage to overflow with useless junk and stuff I never use anymore.

Setting Goals Aligned With Core Values, Priorities, & Your Mission Statement

Most people set goals haphazardly on Dec 31st for the upcoming year. It’s Jan 5th and I am just now thinking about what goals I want to accomplish.

I purposely waited so I could think about and set my Core Values, Priorities, and Mission Statement so I could better think about what goals I want to work on in 2015. I also wanted to take time and review my Dream Life series to remind myself that anyone can live the life they want ( Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 )

 

My 2015 Goals

This list IS NOT my entire list of goals, but a basic sample of them. Some things I do not want to share because they are private. Sorry folks…

I largely picked these goals because they aligned with my Priorities which you can find here. I also made sure they aligned with my values.  I try to keep only 3 goals to keep everything simple and easily focused on.

 

Family

  • To spend 1 full day offline with the entire immediate family. This includes them being offline as well. I will make this day be Sunday.
  • Getting healthy and lose 100lbs. What good am I to my wife or kids if I am constantly sick or in the hospital? I am exercising 20 minutes daily and largely going Paleo/Slow Carb.
  • Each week I want to pick one person and have time with “just them”. Maybe this is for 1 hour, me and them, and we play a game or watch a movie. Just us.

 

Charity/Faith

  • To sponsor a child in need overseas. This is rather automatic at $40 a month or so, but I am going to pay for a full year upfront.
  • Learn more about my faith by attending church more. This ties into one of my goals for Family above ( Sunday ).
  • To help a local charitable event/program. So many people help those overseas, but what about those here locally in your community struggling?

 

Building Net Worth

  • Each month I want to focus on building a new asset for myself. By December, I want 12 new ( and simple ) assets that have positive cash flow.
  • Tight reign on finances on things that DON’T contribute to my goals, priorities, mission statement, or core values. I have wasted a lot of money on products I don’t use, things I don’t need, or things I overspend on. This newly saved money will be put back and saved instead.
  • Start a defined savings plan. This actually means many things besides the obvious ( 401k, pension, etc ). I am actually wanting to find and start alternative methods of saving for retirement/mini-retirements and having my money “work” and make even more money.

 

So those are my goals for 2015. Very simple and doable and most just take a few hours a week to accomplish. They align perfectly with my priorities this year and almost all hit a core value of mine.

 

Conclusion

You do not have to have very specific or over-reaching goals in your life. Pick out your priorities and then make goals that you can either:

  • Complete Weekly ( like spending 1 full day offline )
  • Work on daily/weekly to hit your final goal in the future ( building an asset for yourself monthly )

I do have a few other goals I am not going to share on the blog, but trust me they are simple ( a core value of mine ) and based largely on either my mission statement or priorities for the year.

Why not take an hour or 2 to plan out your goals for the year and post them below? I would love to read what some of you are planning.

Building A Personal Mission Statement

Building a personal mission statement helps define your purpose. It helps give you a bit of motivation and adds clarity to what you are about.

I have found that when setting goals for myself, sometimes I can lose sight of what is really important in my life.

Some of us set goals and these goals have no theme or reason for why they are really in place. Many of them resemble tasks or goals that really do not add to our bottom line.

This is where Core Values, Priorities, and a Personal Mission Statement come into play.

 

My Personal Mission Statement

Positively impacting others by helping solve problems with simplicity, creativity, and integrity while living life as full as possible

 

How I Developed My Statement

After developing my core values and priorities, I looked back in my life and looked at my past accomplishments which included

  • Being  a father
  • Becoming financially free and independent
  • Helping build several start-up companies from $0 in revenues to $30MM +
  • Developing unique and ground breaking marketing campaigns/solutions
  • Running my own business

I also looked at my core values and asked myself which of those values really impacted ( or could impact in the future, ) my family, friends, co-workers, customers, and those around me.

Simplicity and individuality came up as recurring themes in my accomplishments and also seemed to fit what would impact those around me in the future. Individuality lends itself a lot to be creative, so I changed out those 2 words. I also added integrity as it lends itself to trust and trustworthiness. This statement matches up with most of my core values perfectly and really fits what I have accomplished in the past.

I feel it also reflects on where I want my future to be focused. As my children grow older, I want them to trust that I will be there for them no matter the situation and that I can inflict positive change and solutions when they need it most. Need dad to swoop in and save the day? Need a shoulder to cry on and someone to just listen to you?

Your mission statement can be as narrow or broad as you want to fit your needs. You can also change your personal mission statement as much as you need when times change.

 

Adding Growth To Your Statement

Many personal mission statements do not add in any areas of improvement. If you noticed on my statement, I add in “while living life as full as possible”.

It’s a great thing to want to help others and to solve their problems. It’s a great thing to help others in a positive way, but what about yourself?

Not to be selfish, but I also want to work on improving myself while I help others. This is why I added, “while living life as full as possible”.

As someone that lives in a rural area, with young children, and had spent many years being flat broke and depressed.. I didn’t live life like I really wanted. I always felt like something was holding me back or preventing me.

Of course, a lot of this was just made up excuses in my head and my own doing.

However, that doesn’t take away that almost 40 years of my life has passed by and I feel that I haven’t done all the things I really want to do. So in order to remind myself to be good to me, I added in the bit about living life as full as possible.

 

Conclusion

Writing a personal mission statement will help you define your goals and help lead your future in the direction that best fits your core values.

Take the time to write down what your past accomplishments have been, where you want to be 5 years from now and what you want to be doing in the future, and what your core values are and see if you can tie in common themes or ideas from each.

Once you have some common themes, you can start writing out your personal mission statement for 2015.

I know when I feel depressed, unmotivated, or simply wanting to give up.. I can take a look at my mission statement and get a bit of encouragement and motivation for who I am and why I am doing it. It also serves to help me make decisions about what activities, business opportunities, and future growth I need to focus on.

 

Priorities, Are You Focused On Yours?

I know, I know.. I said in an earlier post I would write about personal mission statements. Trust me, that’s coming soon.

I wanted to talk about priorities though since we are at the beginning of the year still and what my priorities are. Hopefully, you can follow this post and set up your own priorities and also your own core values from my earlier post.

 

Picking Priorities

Priorities are a little bit harder to explain. They are not like values which can be easily picked from a global list.

Priorities are what’s defined by you and important to you.

I like to base mine on taking a 10,000 foot view of my overall life and deciding, “What’s Extremely Important To Me”.  It could be a big project that spans years, a goal, an area of life, etc.

I also like to pick my priorities so they can be changed within a year or even sometimes within a month or 3 months.

The reason I like setting them up this way is that I can pivot and focus on different areas of my like as needed.

 

My Priorities For 2015

I decided to focus my priorities this year on areas I neglected in the past. As someone always focused on business and my career, that left a lot on the table that I had neglected.

1. Family

This one is rather hard to talk about. No one wants to admit they have done less than they should for people they care about.

The truth is that when you focus on one area of your life, other things by nature get less focus and attention. One of those things was my family life.

People I deeply cared about passed away  before I got to spend meaningful time with them, my children are reaching pre-teen age and one is almost ready to drive. Time is slipping away and the memories you can make and the time you can share with each other are drifting past.

I want to teach them lessons and have good times with them before they are distracted with the world as young adults.

2. Charity & Faith

I’ve always been a Christian, but I can’t say I have been a very good one.

Not only do I want to spend more time within my faith, but my faith lends its hand into charity as well.

I am putting focus this year in sponsoring a child in need overseas monthly as well as seeking other areas to be charitable with here at home while getting closer to my faith.

3. Building Net Worth

I have focused a lot of my life in the areas of “income” and “revenue”.  These concepts are different than Net Worth though.

While I have a great income personally and I generate good revenue in my business, I want to focus on Net Worth and building up assets in my life as I get closer to 40 years of age.

The idea of  Net Worth and assets to me means that I am generating money while not  having to be present or trade my time away for it. By focusing on this as a priority, I can free up my time for my Family, Charity, and Faith.

 

Your Priorities For 2015

Have you actively thought about your priorities for the year?

I made mine very high level for a reason. I want my Core Values and my Priorities to shape my life and my goals. Doing this ensures I am always focusing on the things I want and making the right choices without regret when I do make them.

It ensures that I live my Dream Life and I live the way I want to live.

 

Conclusion

I urge you to think about 3 priorities for this year that are important to you. They can be as broad or narrow as you want to make them.

Defining what’s important to you and prioritizing those things will help you define your life for 2015 and ensure you are on the right path to your dream life.

In the comments below, let me know what your priorities will be in 2015.

Focusing On My Health, A Journey To A Better Life

I haven’t shared much about my personal health before, largely because I was embarrassed about it.

Growing up an overweight child presented many personal development problems. Being the “fat” kid and the but of all jokes wasn’t very uplifting for someone that just wanted to fit in with their classmates.

I stayed overweight up until I graduated High School. Magically, when I turned 19 I went through a growth spurt and got down to 125lbs and was wearing a pant size 29-30 which is extremely hard to find.

Years passed by and I got married and became a father. As I got more focused on my career and the stress of having a family, the weight piled back on until I found myself at the largest I had ever been.

 

Warning Shot

I had been hovering around 290lbs for almost 5 years, always telling myself that once I hit 300lbs I would finally do something about my weight.

On December 19, 2014  I woke up to feeling nauseated and that “pins and needles” feeling in my right hand. I wrote the feeling off as allergies ( plus my family had just got the Flu ) and the pins and needles as sleeping on my arm that night. After getting dressed and driving into the agency, I couldn’t shake the feeling in my arm.

At this time, I had also been suffering from fuzzy vision. It was difficult to read letters and make out objects unless they were close up. I wrote this off to the fact I needed to have reading glasses years ago and simply stopped using them and now I was getting worse and needed new glasses.

At lunch, I decided to text my wife and get a blood pressure and blood glucose reading from a local pharmacy to see what was going on.

440 Blood Sugar

The blood pressure and heart rate checked out to be OK ( not great, but not bad ), but my blood sugar was enough to send most people into a comma.

I didn’t go to a doctor, but I tried for a full week to naturally lower my blood sugar by drinking more water, exercising, and avoiding carbs. It took a full week to finally achieve this.

 

My Weight Ballooned

When I got home that night, I decided to step on the scale since I had collected so much other information about my health that day. I was shocked to find that for 5 years I hovered about 290 and that today, I was 306 lbs.

The sight nearly crushed me. Here it was, the day that I had been waiting for and telling myself would be the catalyst for change.

My thoughts went to my children and wife and what I life without me would do to them…

 

Course Correction

It took a week of getting 8 hours of sleep a night, drinking only water, avoiding carbs and sugars, and walking on my treadmill daily to lower my blood sugar to below 200. Even high 100′s is not ideal, but I finally got it to more acceptable level. When I weighed myself  on December 27th, I had lost 16 lbs and was at 290lbs again.

It took me 2 weeks to finally see a blood sugar reading of less than 110.

As of this writing, I still have not gone to a doctor to get an official reading. My family has battled Diabetes for generations and I am 100% confident that I crossed a line with my eating habits and poor health habits.

I am committing myself to changing my diet and exercising for 20 minutes daily for all of 2015. My goal is to have lost 100lbs before 2016.

 

Conclusion

Everyone makes New Years Resolution, it just so happens I had to make mine a few weeks before January 1st rolled around.

Don’t make excuses to yourself that you, “Will do X after Y”. Go ahead and start the change you need today. I have probably caused a lot of damage to my body already waiting for those last 10 pounds to trip me over 300lbs.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. If you have a goal, start on it today.

 

Becoming a Better You With Core Values

I decided to take a stab at coming up with some core values in my life.

Core values help direct and empower your life so much that I am ashamed that I didn’t do this exercise earlier in my life.

Without further wait, here are the main core values I came up that I want to guide me in 2015:

 

Statement of Core Values

Core values are the essential enduring tenets which guide me and my future. They set forth what I believe and define how I should conduct my affairs.

 

Individuality

Individuality led me to an unconventional life. A life of abundant wealth and opportunity. If I would have followed the masses and went to college, took on a mortgage, or did it “their” way, I would just be cattle in the field right now. I will not let anything take away my individuality or the individuality of those I care about. If I can, I will help others find their own individuality.

I want to blaze my own trail and do things “my” way. Not your way and not any other way.

 

Freedom

For a long time I wanted to put down independence instead. When I really thought about it though, independence did not give me options and options are worth more than their weight in gold.

As an example, I might be an independent blogger or be independent of the grid and food supply. However, I now have to write daily or weekly and hunt and grow my own food daily too. Those activities now prevent my freedom to do what I want, where I want, at any time. When comparing these things out, I would much rather have total freedom than independence.

Freedom means much more than money or the obvious. As someone that is near diabetic, being tied to an insulin pen didn’t sound much like Freedom to me.

One of the reasons I didn’t buy the newest iPhone 3gs years ago was because it meant stripping away my freedom and having me in a contract for 2 years with AT&T who was the only one carrying the iPhone at that time. Contractually tied to 1 and only 1 carrier for 2 years wasn’t Freedom if I needed to change plans later.

I will not let anything take away my Freedom or the Freedom of those I care about. If I can, I will help others find their own Freedom.

 

Trust

I battled with putting down truth instead. When I thought it over, truth could be cold and callous and I do not want that.

As an example, what if you had an ugly child and they asked you if they were ugly after a bad day of teasing at school? Truth would mean you would say yes, crushing her. I would much rather be trusted to do the right thing than to always coldly tell the truth. I would want someone to treat me the same too.

If I trust you to do what’s right, I don’t always need the truth from you.

I will not let anything compromise people’s Trust in me or the Trust of those I care about. If I do not feel I can Trust you, you’re out.

 

Simplicity

At almost 37 years old, I have done a lot of stupid shit in my life. A lot of these mistakes were because I over complicated things in my life.

I have a problem with being a perfectionist and perfection is complication. I would much rather get something 80% right and move on ( which is simple ) compared to complicating my life perfecting the last 20% of something.

Not only that, but when I look at the time I wasted in picking stocks and banks for investments, I could have saved a ton of time doing what’s simple… Passive Index Funds.

Simple solutions win over complex ones. Simple projects trump complex ones. Choose Simple.

I will not complicate my life or the life of those I care about. If I can, I will help others simplify their own lives.

 

Activeness

This one is a bit mis-leading, but I feel fits what I looking for perfectly.

Sloth is laziness and it can be laziness of all types. Laziness can lead to bad health, poor business, bad decisions ( or the inability to make them ) and much, much more. The opposite of sloth is being active, or more importantly, action-oriented.

Being lazy in your decisions and being undeceive can prevent you from living the life of your dreams. Doing the same in your health can lead to early death.

I want to take action and be active in that process as soon as issues or opportunities arise.

I will not stand for laziness of any kind in myself or those I care about. If possible, I will help others to take action in their lives and become active decision makers.

 

These core values will help me make better decisions in my life and guide me to happiness and help simplify my life.

When you align all the choices and goals in your life against your core values, you end up always making the right decision. I suggest all of you take the time to really think about 4-6 core values that profoundly move you emotionally and think about what really makes you happy and why those events made you happy.

Those will make up your core values and will help guide you to the right choices in the rest of your life. Below are some links to help you think about what your core values are:

 

My next post will focus on a personal mission statement.