Step One: Take Control

Before you can change your life you must first understand that you can. We live in a modern world of convenience and blame shifting. It’s convenient and strangely comfortable to blame all our woes on external forces. Whether it’s the abusive spouse, bullying, economics, genetics, the universe ganging up on us, or God’s cruel sense of humor, the majority of people when asked will blame the current state of their lives on any number of sources except the most accurate; their selves. Before we can turn our lives around we have to understand that salvation is not coming from outside. We need to stop waiting for the cavalry to ride to the rescue. It’s time to start asking ourselves “what can I do to fix things?”

If you are an adult living in America today you simply have no excuse. That’s right you have no excuse to bitch whine or moan, about how unfair or hard or sad your life is. You may have been born into poverty but you can choose to leave it behind. You may have been born to a racial minority but you can rise above its perceived limitations and defy the stereotypes. You may be genetically pre-disposed to store fat more efficiently than others but that does not mean you are predestined for obesity. There’s an overriding attitude in our nation today to make ourselves victims to chance. It’s always somebody else’s fault. In my industry it’s rare to find clients who admit to their own laziness and complacency but hardly a day goes by when a trainer is not blamed for lack of progress. The fact that dietary advice is being ignored, intensity is often low, and a client refuses to make healthy lifestyle choices rarely comes up in the game of assigning blame.

There must come a point in life when a person stops living in a world of excuses. They must look in the mirror and understand for good or bad this life they lead is their own creation. Initially this can be devastating especially if one finds themselves in the midst of hard times. People can become depressed and dejected. They will often feel like failures, but this moment of sorrow is also a moment of realization and rebirth. No one consciously sets out to wreck their life. We often have the best intentions but lack follow through or sound judgment. We fall prey to peer pressure and malicious advice but still it was our choice to listen and act on that same advice. Just as you ruined things so to speak, you now recognize that you can also reverse things. You can build the life you want.

I grew up in poverty. My father was a drunk and an addict and routinely squandered our family funds. I remember many times wearing the same clothes until they came apart because we could not wash them. We took bathes in the sink in water we boiled on the grill outside because we could not pay the power bill. I was picked on in school because I smelled, my clothes were shabby, and out of style. In High School I was a nerd, and unpopular. I was slight of build and a frequent target for bullying. Given the statistical odds and my father’s great example I should either be dead today or incarcerated and I am neither. You are not the odds, you are not where you grew up, and you are not your parents. You are not who you were a year ago or even last month if you decide not to be. You are what you choose to be, so I suggest here and now you make a choice.


I left my childhood behind and with it a lot of unpleasant memories. After high school I had no real idea who I wanted to be only promises of who and what I’d never be and the things my own children would never suffer through. I enlisted in the Marine Corps and my life has had many strange twists and turns in the 13 years since then but I see now that good and bad my choices about what I was willing or unwilling to do, to take the easy way or the right way, to take shortcuts or not has shaped the course of my life. I am the man I am because of my hardships and mistakes. It was not a case of the world being cruel but of life preparing me for the long road ahead.  My youth and all its misery was not a weight around my neck to hold me back but motivation to drive me forward. learn to see your own mistakes and hardships in a similar life and you might see your own faith in yourself grow along the way.

Don’t worry about how much you weigh or how strong you want to be, we will get to all that later. For now you have to decide who you want to be; a powerless victim or a mature adult in control of their own fate. You have to know; not think, not read or want, but know that you decide the course of your life. If you want to change, to lose weight, get healthy, become strong; you have to make that happen. I can show you shortcuts, even guide you through various paths along the way but I cannot do it for you. I cannot give you passion, or make you want it. You have to find that in yourself and unleash it. I will show you the “how” but you have to supply the “why.”

Stop blaming everything that is negative or goes bad in your life on the world and people around you. Accept responsibility for the choices you’ve made for good or bad. Understand just as you can put yourself in a bad spot you can also get yourself out of it. More importantly start believing fervently that things change. Situations improve and your life will turn for the better if you’re willing to never stop working and moving forward until it does. Now that you’re taking responsibility for the direction of your life, stop allowing other people to pull you off track. What they think of you and your goals is none of your business and not worth the time to listen to. Have faith in yourself and start focusing on what makes you happy. You may be a caring kind soul, you may be sweet, and nice, but that’s no reason to be miserable. We call that being a victim, a speed bump, a door mat. You are ultimately the only person in all the world responsible for your happiness if you are not brave enough and honest enough to make that a priority, no one is going to do it for you, no matter how attractive, loving, or right they are.

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