Stop With The Excuses and Start Taking Extreme Ownership of Your Health

extreme ownership of your health

 

It’s easy to blame the other person for being a bad partner. It’s easy to blame the job for your stress.

It’s easy to blame others for you not being where you want to be in life. It’s easy to blame your environment for your current woes. It’s easy to blame your diet.

But excuses don’t move your life forward. The only place you’re heading is to the losers mentality.

When it comes to destroying excuses, one of the best groups of people to look to for modeling a behavior and mindset is Navy Seals. Navy Seals are some of the highest performers in the world. Their high level of excellence is due to the commitment of extreme ownership.

What’s extreme ownership

Extreme Ownership is principles developed by co-authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin of the book ‘Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win’.

Jocko Willink was the commander of Task Unit Bruiser and the most decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War. Leif Babin was one of his platoon commanders.

While these principles are explained through the context of war and teams, they are effective and highly applicable to your business, life, and health.

Extreme Ownership of your health is where you can’t blame products, your boss, your ex, your economy, your gym, your peers, your family, your social media environments, your physical environments, nor anything else for not taking action towards the things that are “important” to you.

You’re accountable for your success in health and fitness, along with everything else in life. While you can’t control the exact outcomes and timetables, you can control the process and actions that give you the best chance for success.

A true leader owns the outcome to the best of their extent. Things go wrong, you forget to do something, go off your plan, miss a workout, or go off your diet— then you take full ownership of it with no excuses.

As they explained in the book, Extreme Ownership is “on any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rest with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failure, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win.”

You’re the leader of your own life, business, and well being.

Here are 7 key principles to taking extreme ownership with your health.

1. Your attitude sets the tone

“The leader sets the tone for the entire team” — Leif Babin

While you’re not leading a team out to the battlefield, you’re leading yourself to the battlefield of life and maneuvering the various obstacles that life throws your way. Your attitude sets the tone for how you operate throughout the day.

Is it a setback that you fell short with your diet and fitness goals? Or is it merely feedback to help you get better and grow more as a person?

Someone with an extreme ownership attitude doesn’t leave something up to chance to change if they have the capability to change it. It’s not about what you preach, tell others, or share on social media. But instead, it’s about what you tolerate in your life.

What type of standards are you setting for your life? Are you accepting decent enough and moving on? Are you accepting partners that are alright and don’t light you up? But at least you aren’t alone—right?

If you approach life with a “decent enough mentality”, then you’ll get decent results. In other words, you’re going to be average.

In Bud’s class and seal qualification training, they dubbed a phrase “tortured genius”. No matter how obvious his or her failing, or how valid the criticism, the tortured genius accepts zero responsibility for mistakes, makes excuses, and blames everyone else for their failings and shortcomings.

Don’t be this person. Accept ownership and responsibility.

2. Check your ego

“Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism.” “When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers and failure ensues.” — Jocko Willink

Ego can serve as your anchor to not achieving your business and health goals.

For example: Steve wants to lose weight and has tried numerous workouts from fitness magazines and the internet. He’s never stayed consistent and his metabolism has slowed down because of the various fad diets, detoxes, and workouts he’s tried.

Instead of taking extreme ownership of his health, he blames his weight gain on his stress, job, and lack of time. He says he knows how to get into shape, but he hasn’t actually ever done it. He’s not taking extreme ownership with his fitness because he refuses to take responsibility and continues to deflect blame. He’ll continue to be stuck and spin his wheels in neutral until he sets his ego aside and seeks out help.

This same type of thing happens to the girl who claims there are no good men and she continues to only find douchebags. She’s not taking extreme ownership that a big portion of her dating faults is because of herself and that she needs to work on herself and figure out why she’s attracting these types of guys.

finger pointing — extreme ownership of your health
The only finger pointing allowed is directed at yourself.

When it comes to ego, Ryan Holiday reminds us that:

“If you want to be more than a flash in the pan, you must be prepared to focus on the long term. We will learn that though we think big, we must act and live small in order to accomplish what we seek. Because we will be action and education focused, and forgo validation and status, our ambition will not be grandiose but iterative—one foot in front of the other, learning and growing and putting in the time.”

This is applicable to your health because if you want to shift the paradigm of your health for the long term, you have to focus on taking action, finding proper education, and doing the little (but essential) things on a daily basis which means letting go of the ego and preconceived notions.

Steve could take extreme ownership by signing up for a session with a trainer at his gym to learn about effective workouts, meet with a nutrition coach to learn about healthy eating, ask friends who have successfully lost weight, or decide to join my 1-on-1 comprehensive lifestyle coaching program.

Place your ego on the bench. Think about the next step required for changing your health and start taking extreme ownership of your health.

3. Cover and move

“In the seal teams, we taught teams to act decisively, my default setting should be aggressive. Proactive rather than reactive. Instead of the situation dictating our decisions, we dictated the situation. Departments and groups within the team must work together, depend on each there and understand who depends on them. Cover and move equal team work.” – Leif Babin

Wait and see doesn’t cut it. There is no try, only doing. The picture and journey will never be smooth sailing, there will always be risks and tough choices. Do your best to assess the situation (and cover the big risks) and move forward. Have a bias for action.

In fitness, front load your work and prepare ahead of time for potential difficulties and temptations.

Don’t try to control everything, only fixate on the big dominoes. This allows you to have room to live life with less stress and have more mental space to make the big decisions that truly move life forward.

4. The simpler, the sexier

Complexity equates to more risks and often unnecessary ones. Complexity is your enemy. The more complex, the more unknowns and variables which lead to higher likelihoods of quitting.

When it’s more difficulty, it’s harder to understand and not as easy to execute, which leads to higher percentages of quitting.

With your health and wellness, your nutrition should be as simple as possible, but yet highly effective. Think Pareto’s principle here (80/20). What are the big dominoes in your healthy eating plan that will yield the most in return?

A couple could be eating adequate amounts of protein with each meal, have 2-3 servings of vegetables with each meal, and eat 3-4 times per day. With exercise, it could be having a workout plan that consists mainly of the big compound lifts due to them using multiple muscle groups and causing more of a metabolic load/stress on the body. And thus leading to more calories burned in a shorter amount of time.

Lastly, another big domino to focus on is getting the proper amounts of sleep that are also high-quality sleep.

5. Set strict priorities and ruthlessly execute

“Even the most competent of leaders can be overwhelmed if they try to tackle multiple problems or a number of tasks simultaneously. The team will likely fail to each of those tasks. Instead, leaders must determine the highest propriety task and execute. Prioritize and execute.

On the battlefield, there will inevitably come a time when problems arise that have a snowball effect. These present themselves as a complex entity of their own. It’s in this type of high-stakes situation that it’s important to relax, look around and then make a decision.” — Leif Babin

The principles remain the same for your life, business, and well-being.

Do your best to stay a step or two ahead of the potential problem. But, when faced with multiple challenges in your life, identify the highest priorities and tackle those problems one at a time.

implement & action — extreme ownership of your health
Action…action…And more action is the name of the game.

Here’s a quick way to take extreme ownership of your health and set up a chain of priorities and execute:

  1. Evaluate/recognize the problem/issue causing the most issues or one that could be the biggest barrier to your goal
  2. Lay out a simple, clear, and concise plan in terms of the highest priority
  3. Develop and determine your solutions (don’t forget to seek help if needed—remember the ego)
  4. Focus all efforts and resources on that issue
  5. Move on once it’s resolved

6. Be decisive and steady regardless of the scenario

Not taking a choice nor making a move is a choice in itself and that’s called inaction (the worse of them all).

It’s important to be comfortable amid the chaos and act decisively amid the uncertainty around you. While not in a battlefield, you’ll encounter many variable factors on a daily basis that could cause disruption to your flow.

Don’t be wishy washy and flip flop back and forth with what you decide to do. Choose and move on regardless.

Pick a nutrition and workout plan and then execute ruthlessly. Stay the course and trust the process. Don’t go chasing shiny new objects or program hop each week, that’s how you stay stuck in mediocrity.

7. Discipline equals freedom

“Instead of making us more rigid and unable to improvise, this discipline actually made us more flexible, more adaptable, and more efficient. It allowed us to be creative. When we wanted to change plans midstream on an operation we didn’t have to recreate an entire plan. We had the freedom to work within the framework of our discipline procedures.”

Jocko Willink

Most people think of discipline as being strict, regimented, and for control freaks. At first glance, this might seem accurate, but in fact, it’s the opposite.

Discipline is the gateway to freedom, success, and the body that you desire. Discipline catapults you from good to great. You won’t become more rigid with discipline, but instead, more flexible.

This happens because you’re creating systems and processes that allow you to execute without having to reinvent the wheel or think of the basic tasks to do each and every day—you’re becoming more efficient.

Your systems created through discipline cover this and now your mind is free to focus on other important matters.

Ask yourself how can I use more discipline to create more freedom in my life. Is it creating systems with your nutrition, working out, groceries, cooking, business, or other facets?

The Surprising Truth About Why You Won’t Accomplish Your Fitness Goals

the-surprising-truth-about-why-you-wont-accomplish-your-fitness-goals

Maybe it’s the diet?

Maybe it’s the workout?

Perhaps, but most likely not. It’s easier to blame a particular problem for our fitness woes than to assess ourselves and take responsibility for our shortcomings.

In today’s overly saturated world of information, we have countless weight loss drugs and tv shows such as the biggest loser that promote dangerous healthy behaviors that are unsustainable for the long run.

If you ask the average person why they didn’t accomplish their particular fitness goal or what’s holding them back—they usually point to a specific tactic that’s setting them back.

If only it was that easy.

The things that hold us back not only in fitness but also with our careers and relationships are the intangibles. It’s the small things that are blatantly in front of us but they seem so obvious that we overlook them.

Whether you’re on a weight loss journey, looking to build muscle or any other type of fitness goal—make sure to address these 4 surprising but often overlooked areas that can stop you from accomplishing your fitness goals.

1. You don’t understand your needs

Entrepreneurs and small business owners wouldn’t randomly jump out of bed one morning and immediately pursue a business idea out of blind faith. The boardroom of directors doesn’t decide on budgets and actions for the next quarter through random guessing.

In each of these scenarios, there is a level of research and understanding of the market to a certain extent. While they can’t prepare for every single little thing, they can front load their work for the big issues and assess what their particular needs will be.

The same philosophy applies to your fitness. In this case, you’re the market and before you can worry about external tactics or anything else, you have to place a premium on yourself.

For some of you individuals who overextend themselves in work and in their personal lives, this means to become a little selfish for the time being.

Why be selfish?

Because you need total clarity about yourself. Before thinking about adding anything externally, you need to answer the basic questions that suit you on a daily basis.

For example, how many calories do you need to eat? To figure this out, you must look at your age, gender, the level of activity, and factor in general lifestyle factors into the situation.

After you have some of the data on yourself, now you have to figure out how to execute on the plan at hand. It’s useless to have a bunch of information and well-intentions if you don’t take action on them.

This is one example of many. You should get clear on your sleep, working out, and any other big priority in your life.

2. Record your progress

Peter Drucker is famous for saying “what gets measured gets improved.”

If you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t, how can you be your most efficient version of yourself?

In the business world, they’ll analyze marketing campaigns, manufacturing costs and many other metrics.

What does this look like in health and fitness?

For examples, healthy eating and using the power of journaling your food for increased awareness.

Why journaling your food?

Because you need to know what you’re eating, how it’s making you feel, what’s triggering you into eating not-so-good foods.

Did you happen to experience a mid-afternoon crash today at work or did you feel more lethargic than normal today? How’s your sleep going? With the journal, you’re able to get information and then measure it to see if small changes are needed.

why-you-wont-accomplish-your-fitness-goals
Don’t underestimate the power of journaling

3. You don’t have boundaries

When you haven’t truly thought about your value adding activities and your life-draining habits, you’re going to be inefficient.

Many times, people don’t fall short just because of their diet or workout plan, it’s because of their lack of boundaries.

When you have no boundaries established, the world feels as if it’s caving down and you never have enough time to do anything. You feel constantly busy with no end in sight.

A common place where this occurs is with friends and family asking you to do things for them. After a period of always being there, there’ll be this expectation that you’re always available and when you try to change your behavior with them, this can cause some friction.

Activities such as always numerous weekly happy hours are among the many potential scenarios the each of us will face.

However, when you make a list of essential and nonessential activities in your life—you’re gaining headspace.

This frees your mind and allows you to make better decisions. This most importantly, allows you to start saying “no” to things that don’t serve your vision towards a healthier you.

4. No schedule

Business owners, entrepreneurs, athletes, and many successful individuals in fitness adhere to a daily schedule.

Not because they can’t keep up with their day, but because they understand that discipline equals freedom. They established times for meetings, phone calls, strategy sessions, workouts, and other appointments. Having the discipline to schedule allows you to become more efficient and effective at everything you’re doing in life.

Blocking out times in fitness is pivotal especially if you’re a busy professional who has demanding workdays. As we all know, nutrition is critical and without planning this out, many busy professionals fall short with their fitness goals because of this.

If you have a schedule, you could plan to meal prep on Sunday and let that last you until Wednesday. Then you could have another mini-meal prep on Wednesday to finish the week out.

The more you can automate your healthy habits, the greater the chances of succeeding with your fitness goals.

 

The 5 Fresh and Simple Ingredients all Successful Weight Loss Transformations Have

“The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether it’s proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”– Michael Jordan

5 fresh and simple ingredients all successful weight loss transformations have

I have a confession to make.

I absolutely love Thai food (especially the curry dishes).

With selections of massamun, green, red, panang, huang ray, and sassy (pineapple) curry—you can’t go wrong with any of those selections.

You may be thinking did this blog just turn into a Cooking Network blog post? Not yet. The food and cooking information will be arriving in the not-so-distant future.

I had Thai food over the weekend and ordered a bowl of green curry. As I indulged into bite after bite, and eventually drunk the rest of the soup, I had an epiphany—this dish was perfectly crafted.

My green curry not only tasted exceptional, but the precision and attention to detail that went into making this dish is something that isn’t to be taken for granted.

Green curry (Gaeng Kiaw Wan) is one of the milder Thai cuisines. In fact, Gaeng Kiaw Wan in a literal translation means sweet green curry (I’d like to see who knows this at trivia night).

After you add a protein of choice, the main basic ingredients are coconut milk, green curry paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce. However, depending on where you are, expect to also have some Thai eggplants, sweet basil leaf, kaffir lime leaves, green bell peppers, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, and baby corn (are you hungry yet?).

successful weight loss transformations
My green curry dish made with lots of love!

 

Ok, what does my green curry dish have to do with successful weight loss transformations?

Everything.

Just as the cooks who carefully prepared my dish and added each item in the right amount, embracing upon your fitness journey requires careful preparation and inclusion of the right items for the perfect result.

Add too much of the wrong ingredients to any curry dish, then the flavor and the dish turns into something completely different. Include too many tactics to beginning your weight loss journey and you’ll suffer from information overload (and risk not even getting started due to paralysis from analysis).

Most people’s weight loss journeys aren’t successful because they haven’t included the essential ingredients.

Is it because they’re using the wrong diet? Not necessarily.

Or is it because they’re using the wrong workout plan? Not exactly.

Maybe it’s because they aren’t working hard enough? Nope (effort is hardly the problem).

They don’t want it bad enough? No way (what is this—a high school football pep talk?)

Losing weight is conceptually simple, but the execution is where the complication arises.

Just as cooking a delicious dish of green curry requires the proper ingredients and spices for a world class experience, successful weight loss transformations requires the same dedication. These ingredients are often overlooked because they aren’t sexy or trendy, but yet they’re damn effective and essential.

In fact, before I begin to consult with a person on a 1-on-1 level, one of the first exercises we do is address each of these five ingredients I’m about to discuss below.

If you want to accomplish your weight loss goals without compromising your sanity and preferred lifestyle, implement these five ingredients.

1.Have a meaningful incentive

The first step on your weight loss journey isn’t going to buy a gym membership, cleaning out your fridge, or researching workout plans.

The first step is to sit down and think about “why you want to lose weight?”.

I get it.

Writing why you want something seems silly and time wasting (after all, you need to get to the gym and sweat some calories off and clean your diet up).

However, this shotgun mentality may work at the beginning, but what happens when your motivation flames out and your adrenaline returns to its baseline. The novelty of something new has worn off and you don’t feel like going to the gym—what’s going to keep you going?

Without a powerful why there isn’t any substance or meaningful stakes brought to the table to guarantee you stick around at the first sight of resistance or discomfort.

A meaningful incentive isn’t buying a new pair of jeans, fitting into a neon green bikini for your vacation, building some size 16 biceps to impress at the beach, nor any other superficial surface metric.

A meaningful incentive connects on a deeper level and places a priority on the long-term (not just the weeks leading up to your summer vacation).

Aesthetics are important, but adding in other factors of your life such as losing weight to get off your medications, having the energy to play with your kids one day, setting an example for family and friends, or to improve your confidence to go after what you really want out of life.

2.Develop a winning game plan while preparing like a champion

Politics, sports, relationships, business, and wars all have one main commonality—to succeed requires strategic planning & preparation.

Presidential races aren’t won by the candidates just showing up. They prepare extensively and strategize to the minute of details. The super bowl isn’t won by the team just showing up on Sunday. They prepared two weeks in advance.

Wars aren’t won by randomly showing up and fighting.  They prepare and take stock of the surrounding terrain while analyzing their enemy.

Businesses don’t make profits each quarter by just showing up blindly each day. They forecast and conduct meetings to properly plan and execute. Successful relationships are certain to go stale after some years, but that’s why the successful ones continue to evolve with each other and never stop dating each other.

Stating a desire and want without a plan for making it a reality is nothing but an empty wish (it’s just floating up in the clouds).

Successful game planning and preparing like a champion requires you to front load your work as much as you can.

Why is a plan so crucial?

Because if you blindly begin your exercise routine, once resistance shows up or you have unexpected obstacles appear, you’re going to falter.

By game planning, you’re creating the structure that specifically works for you (most importantly). If your fitness plans don’t seamlessly mesh with your lifestyle, you’re not going to stick with the plan for the long haul.

When you’re thinking about how to construct a game plan, start with these three topics.

  1. Eating – How you eat needs to be considered based on your specific schedule, preferences, and comfortability while still complimenting your specific physique goals.
  1. Exercise – What type of workouts will you do? How many days will you lift each week? What exercises are you doing during each session?
  1. Implementation – What time are you working out and on what days? What about eating times? Have you established a sleep routine? Are you prepared for events, work, and other miscellaneous obstacles that will head your way?
planning successful weight loss transformations
Not matter the area of focus—you gotta have a strategy.

 

Front loading your work isn’t sexy, but neither is budgeting your finances—yet you’ll do it if it’s important enough.

One of the best ways to start front loading your work is to identify three of your potential biggest obstacles that pose the biggest barriers to succeeding with your fitness goals. Once you identify them, determine a solution for each of those obstacles.

3.Seek accountability and support

I told myself I was going to write a book and months later, I had one page written and a half-assed outline.

I told some people I wanted to write a book and they would tell me this is awesome. I felt good having a dream of writing a book, despite the reality that nothing was being accomplished.

Answering to ourselves hardly ever works in the end because we can justify our excuses and lack of action. Our brains are tricky and will find angles to make ourselves feel okay with not following through on our initial commitments and desires.

When it comes to accountability and support, we need two distinct types of it: professional/expert accountability and unapologetically positive support.

  1. Professional/expert support and accountability – This is having an expert in your corner or at least someone who will keep you accountable while providing guidance. Your best friend doesn’t count due to the relationship. They’re unlikely to push you outside your comfort zone and call you out for actions you fail to follow through with. 

Whether it’s a coach or expert opinion on a forum—you need to involve someone with expertise who isn’t afraid to offer advice that you may not want to hear.

  1. Unapologetically positive support – Whether it’s a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, social media, or private group—this type of support essentially serves as your cheerleader. They keep your spirits high and keep you going when you feel like quitting.

They’re not going to give you logical expert opinion or call you out for something. They’re going to be biased in their support of you, no matter what’s going on.

4.Set a big, but realistic deadline

After you’ve established your meaningful incentive, a plan that fits your preferred lifestyle while establishing both types of accountability—now it’s time to put some skin in the game.

Without a deadline, there isn’t a sense of urgency to keep you focused and attentive.

While deadlines are important, you need to be realistic and properly assess everything going on in your life. If you have a hectic schedule and can’t workout as frequently along with getting inconsistent sleep—you can still expect some results, just not at the same rate as someone who consistently trains four days a week and routinely sleeps eight hours.

If you really want to up the ante, try a couple of these games out to make it fun and challenging with other friends when setting deadlines.

  • Make a goal on Stickk and donate to an organization that you hate if you fail to keep your word
  • Make a public declaration
  • Implement negative consequences or positive rewards (this is dependent upon your personality)

After determining your realistic goal, now it’s time to reverse engineer your goal down into manageable steps.

To generate momentum and build your confidence for long-term success, you must establish periodic markers of success.

Twenty pounds may be your goal, but reaching that goal is months down the road and without any positive signs of success beforehand, you’re not going to last.

Psychologically, twenty pounds sounds like a lot to someone new or rusty with their fitness. A better approach is to break those twenty pounds down into sizable chunks. With some clients, I’ll take it two pounds at a time.

Seems wacky and pointless, but just as in baseball, a couple singles and doubles here and there still drives in runs instead of just swinging for home runs while striking out more frequently.

Think little wins as opposed to large gigantic wins. You don’t go from broke to millionaire in two weeks. You don’t go from a mediocre NBA player to an all-star in four weeks.

5.Don’t forget to have fun

At the end of the day, we’re only talking about fitness. Not quantum physics, the theory of relativity, or some high-stakes boardroom meeting—this is supposed to be stress-relieving.

Here’s a secret that I want everyone to know—I don’t enjoy working out sometimes. Driving to the gym is one of the hardest tasks in my daily ritual.

There are a plethora of other comforting options. I could write even more (probably code for looking at Youtube videos), watch TV, eat some comfort foods (not a good idea), sleep in, play video games, or have a ‘Netflixathon‘.

However, I enjoy the effects of working out. I enjoy how it makes me feel; the stress it releases from my body; the way it helps my body look and perform.

These factors lead me to make better decisions; thus helps my business and relationships. That is why I’m hooked on the gym, not because I enjoy being out of breath jump roping or pushing myself to exhaustion during a set of squats.

I don’t enjoy passing up ice cream, wine, and cookies the majority of the time. While I eat and drink these items occasionally, for the most part, I pass on them because my why is more meaningful than the immediate/short-term pleasure those items provide.

ice cream- successful weight loss transformations
Ice cream is great, but it’s not worth your long term goals.

 

On the contrary, I enjoy how healthy foods make me feel, think, and perform.

Not matter the exercise routine you’re doing or the type of nutritional philosophy you’re following—you must enjoy some aspect of the journey (even if it’s simply finishing your workout or eating healthy through the week so you can look forward to your guilt-free weekend indulging meal)

Not finding any enjoyment and relying on sheer willpower is a dangerous game that you’ll always lose. Willpower is a limited resource that is zapped as you go about your daily routine and make decisions on numerous things. 

Put your lab coat on, become a scientist and keep experimenting with the type of workouts and nutritional strategies until you find something that perfectly gels with your preferred lifestyle while fully complementing your physique goals.