Autor: markyoung

~ 19/01/13

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This blog has been, for me, a great opportunity to share my thoughts, connect with a huge number of amazing people, and also a way to look back and reflect on the things I knew (or thought I knew) in the past.  But today that all changes and this will officially be the last post on MarkYoungTrainingSystems.com

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Today marks the start of a new chapter for me and I am excited to announce that I’m now exclusively going to be providing services as a brand new coach at Lean Bodies Consulting which is owned and operated by my good friend Erik Ledin.  The LBC track record for physique transformations is nothing short of incredible (for those who need proof go HERE) and it is an amazing honor to be asked to be a part of this company.

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Of course, I’ll be posting on the LBC site, blog and Facebook page and covering many of the same topics (and up to the same antics) you’re used to as well new things I haven’t covered in the past.  I sincerely want to thank you so much for following me to this point and I look forward to providing you with great content and coaching in the future.  Please join me as I turn the page to the next chapter in my fitness career.

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www.leanbodiesconsulting.com

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Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook because (as many of you know) I’m a social media addict.

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LBC Facebook Page

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Autor: markyoung

~ 11/07/12

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On June 27th the FDA approved Arena Pharmaceuticals’ new drug Belviq (lorcaserin) making it the first weight loss drug to be approved by the FDA in 13 years.  Following this announcement I wrote an excited post on Facebook and Twitter with a link to the press release.

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Not surprisingly, people responded with a variety of thoughts and opinions and, of course, asked for mine….which I withheld…at least until I had a context/framework for the discussion.  Now I do.

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Yesterday I wrote a post (one of my most popular ever) about the fact that I think the process of losing weight and becoming healthy is like attempting to swim up a raging river.  The river represents the current of our society pushing us towards eating too much, exercising too little, and generally everything that is the complete opposite of living a healthy lifestyle.  Upstream we have the factors creating that current which obviously need to be addressed and this is most certainly something we all need to start becoming concerned about if we are to ever conquer obesity and fat gain.

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But caught in the current are a variety of different people at different distances down the river.  There are those who have only been moderately affected.  This constitutes what I would guess is the majority of the population.  Through either good genetics, a little effort in the kitchen and the gym, or some combination of the two they’ve managed to either be in good shape or only moderately overweight.  It might be argued that these folks could/should be encouraged to continue what they’re doing or make lifestyle changes respectively.  Generally speaking, I would agree with this.

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Further downstream, however, there are a growing number of people who are at a desperate point where, if not helped, they might reach the end of the river…the waterfall.  While exercise and dietary change are most certainly needed, these folks are in urgent need of a life jacket and a pharmaceutical intervention like Belviq (or Qnexa which is up for approval on July 17th) is exactly that.

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The research on Belviq suggests that it represents the likelihood of a reduction of 5% body weight which has been shown to have meaningful effects in people who have health issues related to their weight.  It gives them an edge…like a life jacket in a river, but it doesn’t do the swimming for the people that take it.  It is NOT meant to be a replacement for lifestyle change, but used in conjunction with it.

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Like any drug, of course, there are potential side effects which is why treatment must be limited only to those who actually need it.  If the risks of not treating the problem outweigh the risks of treating, then you treat (just like any other medication).  A person who wants to drop 20 pounds for his highschool reunion would likely not be a good candidate.  Another person who was bordering on being diagnosed as Diabetic and carrying a little extra weight might be considered.  THAT is what it is for.

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And looking even further down the stream might be the place where I’d say it is appropriate to consider gastric bypass.  Again, without lifestyle change the benefits of gastric surgery are limited and weight/health issues will return in many who don’t make them.  But for some, the risks of the surgery are less than those of not treating so for them this is a last safety net before the water fall.  At least this way we’re still giving them a chance to swim.

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What do you think?

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Autor: markyoung

~ 10/07/12

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There are a ton of proposed reasons why society as a whole is getting fatter and less healthy.  People have speculated that it could be due to carbs, chemicals, drugs, hormones, genetics, and a whole host of other things.  Most interestingly to me is that most people tend to focus almost exclusively on one of these things and, as a result, think the solution to helping the world get leaner and healthier is to simply fix that one thing.  (Not so coincidentally, these same people are often willing to sell you a book or product geared towards fixing that singular issue for the one time price of $29.95)

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From where I sit though, it is more than just one issue.  To my clients I’ve described the process of losing weight as being very much like swimming up a raging river.  The current is driving us towards fat gain, disease, and inactivity and when we become motivated to lose weight we must choose to swim against the violent current…forever.  As soon as our motivation wanes and simply “stop swimming” for a short period of time we are swept back up by the river only to lose the forward progress we have made.

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That river is what some have called our “obesogenic environment”.  By default, our culture sets us up for lives where we’re too busy, too stressed, too tired, too sedentary, too lonely, and a bunch of other “too’s” which leads to the consumption of poorer food choices, general lack of exercise, and altered physiological responses to those things.

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While some might be quick to suggest that people are lazy and that losing weight is simply a matter of choosing to behave differently, I get where you’re coming from.  I’ve been there and I used to feel the same.  I said things like “nothing tastes as good as it feels to have abs” or “you don’t want it bad enough”, but that was a bunch of shit.  The reality is that most people ARE willing to put in some effort.  In fact, many people HAVE…several times.  But they got tired of swimming.  They got swept backwards.  They got frustrated and maybe they’re afraid to try again.  And who can blame them?  It is damn hard…and it isn’t getting any easier.

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The past couple of years my blog has been rather sparse with writing and a large part of that was because I didn’t feel like I knew how to pull everything together.  I tried several times to start again, but I always found that my the vision I started writing with was too limited and that I wasn’t actually going to make a real difference in the sense that I’d just be teaching people to swim and invariably be setting them up for potential failure in the long term when they got tired of battling the current of society.

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Now I think I have a vision that pulls it all together and will enable me to tackle various angles while truly creating a change and helping people from novice to advanced win the war on fat, disease, and inactivity.  I’ll first aim to help those who are drowning in the current.  I hope to throw them a life line and teach them how to swim upstream by cutting through the BS, answering questions, and giving them practical tips so they can learn to lose fat, get strong, and get healthy.

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The next step involves helping other trainers to follow the same path and help people to swim as well as becoming aware of the bigger picture of the battle against obesity and fat gain (see below).  In truth, I never started writing this blog with any expectation that I’d ever have trainers coming to me for advice, but I really appreciate that some have and I’m going to do my absolute best to help them.

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And finally, even though it is beyond training and nutrition (and far beyond the scope of where I ever thought I’d be considering “my place in the industry”) I am beginning to take focus on the many forces creating the raging current leading to weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle.  This means looking into food politics, food production, health policy, and a whole bunch of stuff that sounds boring as hell, but NEEDS to be done by people who are passionate enough to create real change.  It needs to be done by people who have been on the front lines fighting the battles…teaching people to swim…and are getting pissed of at losing so many to the raging waters.

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We need to STOP THE CURRENT!

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So the reason we’re fat may have to do with what we eat, or hormones, or drugs, or all of them.  But at the end of the day, ALL of those things can contribute to sweeping us all in the wrong direction.  We can teach people to swim…but most can’t swim forever.

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We need to fight back against the upstream forces!

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Part of my mission will be to continue to make this blog a place to learn to swim, a place to ask questions, and a place for discussion.  But a large part will also be to create a meaningful change to the obesogenic current of society even if it means becoming unpopular with some.  I believe that this message will resonate with many and that a growing army of passionate fat fighting soldiers (from regular peeps to fitness pros) will begin to emerge and fight this battle with me.

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So that’s where I’m at.  I’m tired of swimming.  And people always talk about a chance to REALLY make a difference.  For me, this is it.  Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to join the battle.

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Let’s change the world!

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Autor: markyoung

~ 27/04/12

Ignite the Fire
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In case you missed it, yesterday I had an article called Client Behavior Change: A Key to Success as a Personal Trainer  published at the Personal Trainer Development Center.  If you’re a personal trainer you might want to check this out.  (Kidding…you obviously want to check it out ’cause I’m awesome)  :)
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But getting to the main point of this post – This past week my good friend Jon Goodman released his book called Ignite the Fire -: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career.  Jon is the head of the Personal Trainer Development Center and his vision to change and improve the profession of personal training is what first got me interested in writing for his site in the first place.  I’ve hung out with Jon on several occasions and I can say without a doubt that he is going to make big waves in this industry.
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In any case, I asked Jon to write a few words to talk about what inspired Jon to write his book in the first place.  Here is what he had to say.
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Jon’s Story
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At 18 years old weighing a staggering 130lbs I proudly came home with my personal trainer certification. I was an unconfident teenager in first-year University and thought that becoming a personal trainer and working at the campus gym was a great way to meet girls. There – I said it. My initial motivation to become a trainer was never to help people. It was to hook up. Unfortunately it didn’t work.  Apparently confidence is important too…
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I “trained” clients at the University gym for 3 years haphazardly. At 21 years old armed with a Kinesiology degree and 3 years experience I got hired for my first full-time personal training job.
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Doing the math I figured out that I’d only need to work 20hrs a week to make $55,000 a year. This would be more than enough to travel (my other passion) and get an apartment… you know, so I could have girls over. I thought of training as a part-time job until I was ready to go back to school. Everybody I knew was a doctor, lawyer, or accountant so I figured these were the only respectable jobs. The only full-time personal trainer I ever knew was a bit of a schlub.
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Yet at 21 years old I was more qualified than most trainers. 3 years of experience and a Kinesiology degree made me look like I knew what I was doing. Problem was I believed it.
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My Rude Awakening
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I could explain the energy systems, joint biomechanics, and physiology of exercise. I knew of popular workout protocols but had always hopped from workout to workout. My theoretical knowledge was good enough. Problem was that I had no clue how to apply it.
Add to that the fact that I’d never researched anything for anybody other than myself.
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My first two clients were a 67 year old woman who was 40lbs overweight, had arthritic knees, and a frozen shoulder. My next client was a 15 year old guy who wanted to put on weight (something I hadn’t been able to do myself). He had never worked out before and was 25lbs underweight.
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Like any brilliant trainer I proceeded to give them both bodybuilding splits. They both had a chest/back day, a leg/abs day, and an arm day. They did 3 sets of 8-12 reps and 9+ exercises per workout. Oh vey.
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Along with these atrocities I had avoided business like the plague, knew nothing about reputation management, and had no clue how to organize my time. I was a young and passionate trainer who wanted to do a great job and thought learning exercise theory was the way to achieve it.
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Luckily I had great mentors but they didn’t have 24hrs/day to help me. They answered my questions when I had them. Problem was I didn’t even know what questions to ask most of the time.
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The Recession as a Godsend
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This went on for 3 years. I struggled to train 20hrs/wk. Once the recession hit I was pushed to go back to school to get my PhD in muscle physiology. “Personal training is a luxury” I was told. “People will stop training when times get rough”.
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I applied for master’s programs but never followed through. Thankfully another mentor appeared right when I needed him. This was a client who previously acted as the associate dean of medicine at a major University. He asked me why I wanted to pursue more formal education. When I couldn’t answer him he told me to save my money and time. He advised me to search out resources that gripped me and absorb as much as I can.
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This was the single-most important piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. Instead of researching and writing papers about one small aspect of fitness I’ve spent my time gaining a well-rounded education.
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Instead of saving my nickels during the recession I spent every penny I had on education. I was the first of my friends to attend a conference in another city (Las Vegas… life was tough) and I bought and read every material I could get my hands on.
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My Numbers Blew Up
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Within months of my recession-education plan I was training 35-40hrs/wk and earning extra cash referring clients to other trainers.
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My theoretical knowledge and passion didn’t change.
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What did was my mindset and practical application.
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The decision to not go back to school was a significant shift in my mindset and one that I didn’t make lightly. It did however reflect in my work. I became more dedicated to my clients and as a result referrals came pouring in.
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By far I credit my success to learning the practical aspects of personal training. I studied everything! In particular I became fascinated with the physiology of skill acquisition, learning styles theory, and the psychology of motivation.
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I attempted to get good at sales but quickly shoved it aside. I realized that passionate and skilled trainers are such a rare breed. All I needed to do was communicate my value and clients jumped at the opportunity to sign up. I’m not a salesman and have never used tricks to get clients into bigger packages. My value spoke for itself.
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The Promotion
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Within 6 months of this change I was promoted to the senior trainer at my club. At 24 years old I was now in charge of hiring, training, and mentoring a team of 8. The youngest was 3 years my senior.
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I’ll admit that I was horrible at pretty much every aspect of this job. I wasn’t ready to be a manager. I did however take meticulous notes and was able to establish some clear patterns as to what makes a trainer successful.
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The best trainers understand the why more than the how.
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Providing clients with an adequate service is not difficult. Most aren’t looking for high performance. Problem is that this is the aspect of personal training that most focus on. In my eyes the specifics of a squat mattered much less than how the trainer was able to teach it and get their clients excited about performing it.
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As I mentored more young trainers the pattern became clear. The same questions kept popping up.
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• Where should I work? I’ve heard some gyms treat their trainers poorly.
• How do I show a manager that I’m the right person for a coveted job or internship?
• I’m petrified of selling. How do I do it?
• How do I stop burning out?
• I don’t want to hurt my relationship with my client. Should I ask for referrals?
• How do I program for beginners?
• How can I make passive income?
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The Answers Didn’t Exist
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I looked everywhere for books, websites, or seminars that answer these questions. It didn’t make sense they didn’t exist. Through my years of training it was clear that the answers to these questions were what trainers really needed to know. Debating whether or not back squats are damaging won’t make a trainer more successful.
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I quickly realized that the reason is that this information isn’t exciting. Teaching marketing techniques guaranteed to “make you a 6-figure trainer” sells products. Helping your clients gain more self-efficacy isn’t exciting.
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On a whim I decided this was an opportunity. I needed to write the resource that would actually help trainers and not give them more of the same. This was going to be my way of giving back to the industry that had given me so much. I knew it wouldn’t make me a million dollars. That was never the intention.
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It took 2.5 years but I’m excited to finally release Ignite the Fire.
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I’m proud to say that the book will teach you how to:
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• Find your dream personal training job
• Build your reputation by finding your niche
• Sell any client (without sneaky sales tactics)
• Build beginner workouts
• Market yourself
• Dead with difficult client types
• Make passive income
• Turn your hobby into a financially and personally rewarding career
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Okay…it’s Mark again…
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I have to agree that Jon’s book does all those things and more.  Before I sign off though, I want to leave you with the trailer for the book.
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You can pick it up HERE.
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PS: If you want to learn more from Jon, myself, Nick Tumminello, Tony Gentilcore, Dan Trink, and Geoff Grivitz make sure to check out our upcoming Hybrid Training Seminar coming up in Toronto.  You can get the deets HERE.
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Autor: markyoung

~ 12/04/12

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A manifesto is bigger than fitness. It is bigger than your career. Instead, it is a written declaration of your values and intentions in life and I’d like to share mine with you and finally help you to create your own.
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But first a little backstory…

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A couple months ago I came across a post on the internet about creating a personal manifesto and the concept totally resonated with me.  All too often we get busy with life and it is easy to lose sight of what really matters to us.  Instead we find ourselves driven by different things on different days and we don’t have a predetermined course through life. We get lazy, complacent, and generally end up wasting our lives away with things that truly don’t matter to us. We become subject to the control of our ever-changing thoughts and feelings.  Having a clearly defined set of values gives us the ability to reflect on them and assess if we’re on track in our lives.  As a result, I set aside a couple of hours over a few days and pulled together my own personal manifesto.

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Note:  Below is MY personal manifesto and it represents MY beliefs and values. While the specifics of these are very relevant to me personally, they may not be YOUR beliefs and values. I have shared them here to give you an example of what a manifesto looks like. I don’t intend to entertain any discussion about whether or not you agree with my beliefs and values. My hope, instead, is that taking a look at mine will inspire you to create your own.
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My Personal Manifesto

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I am a man of God.
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I will spend time with him daily by reading his word, and through worship, and prayer. I will allow HIS love to flow through me to all those around me. I will act in faith and believe in his promises. I will behave at all times in a way that is pure and holy. I will make God a priority in our home. I will seek to serve others with a joyful and willing heart.
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I am a family man.
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I will put the needs of my family above my own.  I will lead my family in faith and finance and be strong in times of trial. I will actively love my wife unconditionally, respect her feelings, and work in partnership with her to build a lasting relationship of trust, intimacy, and happiness.
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I will be a patient and kind father and love my daughter unconditionally. I will make time to play when I’m tired and teach her through example and instruction about faith, love, relationships, health, and effort.  I value my family and I put my phone aside when I am with them.
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I value my health.

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I will nourish my body only with nutrients and limit consumption of foods and beverages that jeopardize my health. I will not be a slave to any substance. I will exercise at a challenging intensity no less than two times per week and seek opportunities to be active. I will limit sedentary behavior.

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I always do my best.

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I will seek excellence in all that I do. My time will be spent on things that I value and I will limit time spent on things that serve as distractions.

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I care about my planet.

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I will consider impact to the earth in my decisions about food and products on which I spend my money. I will seek used before new. I will reduce waste, reuse items when possible, and recycle what can be recycled. I will limit accumulation of unnecessary things.

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My life will be an example for others to follow.

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Creating YOUR Personal Manifesto

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Step 1 – Create a List

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The first step in creating a manifesto is to list all of the things that you value in your life.  At this point you don’t need to spend a lot of time figuring out which are the most important, just get them all out on paper (or on the screen if you’re a computer junkie like me).  Take some time to do this.  Ask yourself what you’d like to accomplish before you die.  Think about what you’d like for your family, friends, and colleagues to say about you at your funeral.  Decide what kind of legacy you want to leave.  Make the list as big as you can.

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Step 2 – Pick Your Top 5

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At some point you’re going to need to cut down the list of all the things you’ve listed to the top 5 or 6 things you truly value.  I’d suggest beginning by crossing out the stuff that obviously doesn’t make your top 5 first.  That should narrow things down a bit.  From there, spend some time (even if it takes a few days) to cut away at the list until only the final few remain.

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Step 3 – Expand on Your Values

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Once you’ve narrowed it down to your most important points you’ll want to expand on them so they remind you each time you read them what they really mean to you.  Most importantly, make sure the points tell you what actions you should take or how you should behave to be in line with these values.  And make sure to state everything in the present.  Don’t say “I want to have integrity”.  Say “I have integrity”.

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Step 4 – Read it Every Day

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A personal manifesto is useless if you don’t read it often.  I have mine as a document on my computer desktop and I generally read it the first time I open my computer each day.  I also have a copy in my email so I can read in on my phone and a printed paper copy I can access easily.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I am not even close to being the person I’ve presented in my manifesto, but that is the person I want to become.  And each time I read it and there is some kind of discrepancy between who I am and what I’ve written it highlights for me the changes I need to make in my life.  Most importantly, it keeps me focused on what really matters to me and reminds me when I’ve gotten off track.  I know exactly what my values are so I know exactly where to spend my time.

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I’ve only just begun this process and my life is already beginning to change.  I challenge you to step out and create your own personal manifesto.

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Define and become the person you are meant to be.

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