How to Approach Your Goals: Want vs Wish

People come to me with goals they hope to accomplish to improve their lives. Their attitudes towards how they will accomplish their goals often gives me a good idea if they will succeed. Some of these people truly want to achieve their goals, while others only wish for them. Let’s look at the difference between wanting and wishing your goals. One often leads to success while the other often does not.


Early last year I was invited onto a podcast to discuss New Year’s resolutions and if they were a useful tool to reach health goals. I explained that a New Year’s resolution can be a good time to improve on health goals because It takes place after holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s when people are more stressed, traveling, and usually eating more sweets. The biggest barrier to having a successful New Year’s resolution is how people approach their goal. They treat their goal only as a wish.


Far too often people treat their resolutions as a wish, like they discovered a genie and would be granted a wish. There is usually little to no planning on how to actually achieve their goal, just the outcome the desire. When you only wish for your goals, they are very likely to never come true. When you actually WANT your goal, you will be willing to plan, seek out help, and work hard to achieve your goals. If you really want to achieve something that will better your life you will go through hard times to get it.


A recent example I can give is my goal to improve my public speaking ability. It would open up doors to improve my career, so I decided to make it a priority and professional goal of mine. I began by researching and asking around about where I could improve on my public speaking skills. I learned there was a local Toastmaster’s chapter where I live. It is a group that meets, gives speeches in front of other members, and you receive feedback on how to improve your public speaking. I attended a few meetings and realized it would be a great tool to help me achieve my goal. Though I may not always feel like going because I may be nervous to speak in front of more experienced members, I know that it will help me achieve my overall goal of becoming a better public speaker. Sometimes to accomplish our goals we have to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations that we know will help us.

What can you do?

If you have a goal for yourself, whether it be health related or otherwise, consider what you need to do to achieve that goal. It may require studying, practicing, or joining a group. You do not want to have a goal with no way to accomplish it. Then your goal becomes just a wish, and unless you have a genie, that wish is most likely not going to come true. Think deeply about how you can achieve your goals and then act on it. WANT your goals, do not only wish for them.




CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant



Want to work with and learn more nutrition, exercise, and how to improve your health? Contact Rick to set up a free consultation now


No Wrong Way to Get Started

We all have our own unique motivations for living a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to exercise, there are many ways people become active, like sports or training with a friend. There is no wrong way to get started being physically active. I had a fairly unique beginning which grew to much more over time.


As a young child, I played sports like baseball and hockey; I never saw that as exercise, and I never trained outside of those sports. I quit playing sports while I was still young and remained inactive for several years. I put on weight and was quite out of shape. (The required one mile run in gym class soon became my nemesis) What lead to my return to being physically active was actually more accidental than intentional.


I was recently asked what inspired me to make exercise a priority in my own life. Honestly, I could not remember how I started being active on a regular basis, but after a day of dwelling on that question, the answer came back to me. In eighth grade, I was a huge sports fan and would watch ESPN as much as I could, especially in the morning before school. ESPN was channel 25, and ESPN 2 was channel 27. I would flip back and forth between the two channels to watch as much sports coverage as possible. As I flipped between ESPN and ESPN 2, I would often see a flash of a bright, beautiful beach that caught my attention. It was channel 26, and I eventually decided to stop and see exactly what it was.


Channel 26 was Lifetime, “Television for Women.” It was Denise Austin’s morning workout show. Whether I stopped for the beautiful beach or the pretty woman, I can’t really seem to remember. I watched it in little bits during ESPN commercials and I began to say to myself, “I can do this.” So I did. I started slowly doing body weight exercises in my bedroom before school. This was the beginning of my regular exercise routine. To this day, some of my favorite core exercises are ones I learned from her shows. After following along in my room for a few episodes, I started to feel stronger and began to look more toned. Probably not how most teenage boys start a regular exercise regimen.


So why share this funny tidbit about my life with you? There is a very important lesson to be learned from this story. As I stated, the beginning of my regular exercise routine was different than many other teenage boys my age. That is exactly the point of this story. There is not a wrong way to get started with your exercise routine as long as it is done safely. Whatever type of exercise you start with is OK, there are so many types of exercise and ways to get started. Whatever way you decide to start can lead to more success down the line. You just have to get started.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


4 Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise

Whether outdoors, in a gym, or at home, exercise can be performed almost anywhere. To be more specific, exercise can be broken down into two basic groups: cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise and strength (anaerobic) exercise. Today we are focusing on cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular means cardio (heart) and vascular (veins). It is your “heart vein” system, you could say. Cardiovascular exercise, or “cardio” for short, can be done through a variety of exercises like running, cycling, jump rope, etc. These exercises require consistent breathing; after all, aerobic does mean “with oxygen”. Let us look at a few of the benefits that can be acquired from cardio exercise.


Improved Heart & Lung Function

The lungs bring in oxygen and the oxygen is then transported into the bloodstream. The heart then pumps the oxygen filled blood to the rest of the body. Improving cardio exercise improves the function of both the heart and lungs. With improved heart function, your heart can work much more efficiently. This often leads to improvements in heart rate and blood pressure. With improving cardio exercise, the lungs can take in and deliver oxygen to the bloodstream, as well as remove carbon dioxide more efficiently. Simply, your heart and lungs can do the same work with less effort and strain.


Weight Loss/ Weight Maintenance

A greater amount or intensity of cardio exercise means more calories burned. The body first uses glucose from carbohydrates as its source of energy. After that source is used, the body begins to use fat stores as energy. This helps the body shed excess weight or maintain a healthy body weight. Burning fat stores usually comes with extended cardio exercise sessions (usually about 20 minutes in a session). Also, some individuals begin their day with cardio exercise before eating breakfast to begin burning fat more quickly into their session. However, you may feel less energetic performing cardio exercise on an empty stomach.


Improved Sleeping Habits

Abnormal quantity or quality of sleep can cause issues in personal and professional life. Cardio exercise puts physical stress on the body, and our bodies use sleep as a time to recharge. The amount of exertion through cardio exercise can help us reach a deeper level of sleep. For some, exercising in the evening can help them fall asleep (I fall into this category). For others, it may energize them and make it difficult to fall asleep. If you have a hard time sleeping after exercise, make sure to plan your cardio exercise for earlier in the day.


Reduced Risk of Injury

Cardio exercise has long been associated with building lean muscle. If you see a runner or cyclist, you may notice they usually are not bulky but do have defined muscles. Cardio exercise helps produce stronger and more flexible muscles that can hold up better without strains and tears. Cardio exercise can also lead to a stronger core (abdominal and back muscles). These muscles control and protect postural muscles. Strong core muscles make it easier to rotate the trunk of your body and avoid a hunched-over posture.



As you can see, there are a wide variety of benefits from cardio exercise. I forgot to mention that you also just might enjoy your cardio exercise as well. As mentioned before, there are a wide variety of exercises that are considered cardiovascular. Find which options you enjoy best and slowly work into it. I am sure you will see some of these benefits, if not more, once you build a steady cardiovascular exercise routine for yourself.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


3 Tips for Anxious People New to Outdoor Group Exercise

With the weather improving in much of the U.S. many Americans will find themselves wanting to get outside and be more active. During Spring and Summer it is easy to find fun events like 5K runs, group biking, or outdoor sports leagues. This can definitely be a great way to get active and meet new people. The problem is it can be difficult getting yourself to participate in these events when not having participated in one before. Some people may struggle with interacting with people they may not know or may be self-conscious they will look foolish if they try something new in front of others. Let’s go over a few ways to get over these barriers.


Bring A Friend

Going to an event alone can be somewhat nerve wracking when you may not know anyone else there. A great way to ease this stress is to bring a friend or family member along with you. There very well could be someone close to you that wants to get more active who would be willing to go with you. Let others know your interest in going to an outdoor event and ask them if they would be interested in coming with you. This also allows you to have accountability with your friend. Building accountability with others helps both of you to follow through with actually going to the events and to push each other to do your best.


Be Humble

If you have to go it alone make sure to keep an attitude of humility at these events. You may not know what to expect the first time at a 5K run, maybe you will not be able to run the entire time, which is OK. It is not necessary to do everything perfectly. Often we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and fear the worst will happen. No one is going to stop and laugh at you. If you meet other people at the event, let them know you have never done this before and this is a brand new experience for you. Often others will help you and give you advice. Take it as a learning experience, be humble, and enjoy yourself.


Just Do It

Overthinking any situation can be detrimental to your success. There will be reasons you tell yourself why you should not go and justify it in your mind. You might feel you are not ready to be physically active around other people or you do have the best equipment, so why bother going. The key is to just get out there and do it. Make sure you understand what you are signing up for and be generally prepared, but do not make it any bigger than that. I understand how it feels to try new activities and feeling nervous about how others may judge or what they might think about me. We often make things much worse in our minds than they are in reality. So just get out there, sign up for that 5K or team sport, and give it a try.


Whatever the outdoor events that you are interested in, get out there and try it. You may find something that you want to continue long term or may encounter a new workout friend. There is a lot to benefit from and little to lose.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


Insurmountable Odds: How to make an Unlikely Comeback

The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history was coming back from a 10 point deficit. With 18 minutes left in Super Bowl LI, the patriots trailed the Falcons by 25 points. For most teams, this game would be all but over. Well, the Patriots ended up tying the game, sending it to overtime, and winning the game. In the 3rd quarter and up by 25 points, the Falcons were given a 99.5% chance of winning the game. Was it impossible to comeback and win that game? No. Was it incredibly unlikely? Absolutely. There is a lesson we can learn from this amazing comeback in our own lives.


We have all had times in our lives when our obstacles seem insurmountable. They can come in many different situations, like finances, family, health, education, or career. There are always times in life that will get you down, whether due to your own mistakes or to circumstances out of your control. That is when an important decision has to be made—do you push twice as hard to fight for your goal or do you decide it is too unlikely to accomplish and give up? If you want to reach your goals badly enough, no matter how difficult the resistance, there are ways to increase your chances of success.


Focus & Plan

When life gets tough, it can become stressful. Maybe you have to improve your performance at your job, or you have to improve your grades in school, maybe you find yourself running low on money. It can be tempting to become self-defeated, which makes the problem even more difficult to overcome. It is important to focus and plan your next steps. What steps can you take to start the process of getting yourself out of your bad situation? Every situation is different, so give some thought to your specific position and think of even small ways to make improvements. For example, rearrange your schedule to improve productivity at work, allocate more time to study, or cut back on unnecessary expenditures. The Patriots had to focus on scoring one touchdown before they could focus on the next three they would need in order to come back and win the game.


Take Advantage of Opportunities

In difficult times, you have to take advantage or even create your own breaks and opportunities. Look for openings to capitalize on and improve your situation. For example, is there a part-time job available to improve your finances, or can you make extra money from a hobby of yours? Is there a classmate that can help tutor you in school? Is your boss open to suggestions on improving the productivity of the workplace? Take advantage of situations like these, you already need all the help you can get. When all seemed lost, the Patriots forced turnovers and made big plays when they absolutely had to.


If you want something, you have to work hard for it. When you find yourself down in life, you have to work even harder. I will be honest, even when you make some changes to improve your situation, it may still be unlikely that you will succeed. The Patriots could have made all the correct moves near the end of the game and still easily lost. But remember this Super Bowl Patriots team when you find yourself on hard times in life. Even if you feel like you have a 99.5% chance of losing, you might just be able to win in the end.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


3 Ways to Set Yourself up for New Year’s Resolution Success!

Here we are at the end of the year. Looking back on the past year, we reflect on what we have achieved and what we hope to accomplish in the New Year ahead of us. People think about what their New Year’s resolution should be. Some people consider it seriously, and others somewhat jokingly say what they would like to accomplish. While many resolutions do not come to fruition, there are ways to achieve yours. New Year’s resolutions often fail because people do not set themselves up to succeed. You would not take a test or give a speech without some kind of planning or preparation. Let’s take a look at some ways to turn your resolutions from a wish into a realistic goal.


Put the Holidays Behind You

When the New Year comes, I often work with people that set one or more resolutions. Sometimes they say it in an apologetic manner, as if it sounds silly or cliché. They understand that many people set these resolutions but give up on them soon thereafter. Honestly, waiting for the New Year to set new goals for yourself is a good idea for several reasons. In the last few months of the year, the days begin to get darker, the weather begins to get colder in most parts of the United States, and the holiday season sets in (and with it comes stress, sweets, and large meals). As we head into January, the major holidays are behind us and the days (slowly) start to become longer again. The last few months of the year are usually difficult for most people and many people get off track with a healthy lifestyle. Don’t feel bad about making New Year’s resolutions; it actually makes a lot of sense!


Prepare and be Specific

Alright, you have decided that you are going to set one or two resolutions for yourself. Now how exactly are you going to follow through with them? Most people make resolutions with little thought on how they are going to reach their goals; unsurprisingly, this does not work. Before putting your resolutions into action, make a plan for how you will approach them. Set a time frame (Example: “For the next month…” “For the next four months…”), decide what days you will work on your goals (“3 days a week” “every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday”), and obtain what items you need before you begin (“gym membership” “Nutribullet”). Also, make sure to remind yourself of your goals to get into a consistent routine (set phone reminders, write notes on the calendar). By actually having a plan of action, your likelihood of reaching your goals increases greatly.


Partner Up

One of the great things about New Year’s resolutions is that many other people set them too. Everyone has a friend, coworker, or family member that has set a New Year’s resolution. It is a great opportunity to partner up with another person to help each other achieve both your goals. Accountability is vital to sticking with your routine and creating a habit out of your actions. Having another person to help you stay on track throughout the ups and downs improves your chances of reaching your long term goal.


Now you have a better idea how to actually make your resolutions into achievable goals. New Year’s gives everyone an even, fresh start to work on their resolutions. Your goals will still require hard work and may not always be easy. The more planning, preparing, and support you have the greater your chance of success. Best of luck on your New Year’s resolution!




CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant

Setting Realistic and Achievable Goals: 3 Keys to Reach Your Health Goals

It is not uncommon when I first begin working with someone that they have a long list of areas of their health that they want to address and work on. Eat healthier, exercise more, have better sleeping habits, drink less soda/coffee, manage stress better, etc. Those are all fantastic goals, but often people try to work on them all at the same time which can easily overload and cause them to not achieve their goals. Another issue is that someone I’m working with may want to lose weight but thinks they should lose 30 pounds or more in a month. It can sound like a good idea on the surface, but it is unrealistic through a healthy lifestyle change.  Understanding what areas of health you want to improve is important, but it is necessary to approach your goals in a realistic and achievable manner.


  • One At A Time

For most people, it is best to take on each goal one at a time. For example, put your effort into improving your eating habits, THEN start to focus on improving your exercise habits. Working on too many areas at one time often leads to failure with all areas you are working on. Create a list of which goals are most important to you. Make sure to have consistent success with each goal before moving on to the next goal. This makes the process more organized, less stressful, and easier to manage.


  • Break It Down

You may have one large goal, like trying to quit smoking a pack of cigarettes a day or trying to lose 50 pounds. The goal can seem quite daunting and so far away when you first start working on it. It is important to break down your long-term goal into smaller, more manageable goals. Using the earlier examples, you can cut back from 20 to 15 cigarettes or reduce your weight 5 to 10 pounds in the first month. Moving in smaller steps has a greater chance of success than trying to do too much, too soon.


  • Recognize Failure Can Lead To Success

Having realistic and achievable goals also means realizing it will not always be easy and you may not always reach your goals the first time. Roadblocks to success come up all the time. A family member gets sick, work responsibilities change, or the holiday season gets busy and stressful. Realize that this is part of the process to success. Go into accomplishing your goals with a mindset of learning throughout the entire process. Be open to better ways to address and succeed at your goals as you go along.


Whether working on many small goals or one large goal, always take time to break down your goals into manageable pieces. It takes time, effort, and patience to achieve long-term success. Learn from your experiences to find the best ways that work for you. While it may not always be easy, make it as manageable as you can to give yourself a realistic chance to achieve your long-term goals.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


Keeping Up Cardio When the Weather Gets Cold

During the Summer, the days are long and the weather is warm. Going for a walk, run, or bike ride can be a great way to enjoy a beautiful day and perform cardiovascular exercise. It is easy and convenient during that time of year. As we move into Fall, the days become darker earlier and the temperature begins to drop. Many people struggle to keep their cardio consistent during this time of year. Here are some tips to bridge the gap until the weather warms up again.


First, let’s quickly address the simplest solutions. At home, you may have an elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill. While some people may not enjoy using these types of indoor cardio equipment as much as being outdoors, they are convenient ways to keep your cardio routine consistent. If these types of indoor cardio exercise equipment are not available at home, then another option is looking into a gym that does have them. When looking into gyms, always take into consideration the cost, equipment available, and how often you will be able to make it to the gym. If these options work for you, then look no further, you have found a simple solution to your problem!


However, it may not be that simple for many others. Home equipment can be expensive and gyms may be too far away, too costly, or your time is too limited. There are other options available that can be done at home to keep up your cardio routine. Some options include the use of light equipment such as a jump rope or aerobic steps. Other, even simpler, options may require nothing but using your own body. Try burpees (AKA “Squat Thrusts”), mountain climbers, or the classic jumping jack.


The main point is that no matter how dark, dreary, or cold it may become outside, there are many options to still fit in cardio exercise. I often see people who achieve their goals (weight loss, being more active, feeling healthier) when they can be active outdoors just to see them lose those results when darker and colder weather comes in the Fall and Winter. Keep these options in mind this season and continue your routine consistently to reach your goals.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


You Have to Believe!: How to Avoid Being the Loveable Loser

For the first time in 108 years, the Cubs are no longer losers. The Cubs were synonymous with losing. Every year, you could be sure that something would come along to stop their chances of winning; even when they would do well, they would end up blowing it. An injury, errors, or just plain bad luck would always ruin their chances to win the World Series title. This happened so often that Cubs fans believed that they could not win, that they were “cursed”. No matter how well they played, deep down their fans believed they would find a way to lose. This thinking is not limited to sports. When life is not going our way, it can be easy to believe we might be “cursed” ourselves.


I often meet people that lack the confidence to believe in his or herself and go after what they want in life. It may be as simple as a new hobby or as serious as choosing a new career path.  Often the greatest struggle can be overcoming their own fears and self-doubts. Past failures, fear of the unknown, and lack of outside support can be negative factors. As a child, I often believed bad things would happen to me because I was not good enough or I deserved it. Therefore I felt I was not good enough to make friends, ask the cute girl out, or pursue my interests because I “knew it would just not work out.” Though I was able to grow past those feelings, it is easy to succumb to these negative self-fulfilling prophecies. What can we do to get over these negative feelings so we can still strive and succeed at our goals?


Commit To It

 This may sound incredibly simple, but seriously committing yourself to your goal is an essential key to success. Without fully committing yourself, it can be hard to focus and become easily distracted. If you had an important speech to give or test to take, it is vital to seriously focus on that particular task. Giving it your attention for just a short time is not going to yield the best results. Tell your family or close friends about your goals and get some support. Sometimes you just have to fully commit to what you want.


Plan Ahead

Whether your goals are big or small, you need to set yourself up for success. Do you need to set time aside or get items for your new hobby? Do you need to take a new course or complete a certification to pursue a new career? If you are unsure of the proper steps to take, ask someone that has achieved what you want. From beginning to fulfillment, plan the steps that it will take to reach your goals.


You Will Not Be Good In The Beginning

Believe me, you won’t, but that is completely fine. It is easy to try something for a day or a week, not do well, and then quit. Understand that you can and should learn from your mistakes. No one expects someone that is trying something new to be great in the beginning. This is no different from others who pursue their goals. Remember, when you do something incorrectly over and over, you will slowly begin to learn to do it better.


It’s easy to doubt yourself and believe that you can’t or are not good enough to achieve your goals. Even with these feelings, if you follow these steps you could be surprised at what you can achieve. Make your goals realistic. It may not always be easy to achieve the things you want, but it’s worth trying. The Cubs had to wait 108 years and failed time after time, but they are no longer the “loveable losers”, and you don’t have to be either.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant