Getting Back on Track When Life Sucks

Lego screaming needing fitness to help get him back on track

There are times in your life where the deck is stacked against you:

  • You can’t find a job.
  • You’re out of shape and overweight.
  • You forgot your umbrella and a sudden downpour appears.
  • You live in your mom’s basement
  • You stepped in dog poop while a bird pooped on you.

Sometimes, it seems like every single thing that can go wrong does.  “Can I please catch a break?” you ask yourself, and wonder why everybody else gets some help and you can’t seem to get any.  Rest assured my friend, for there is salvation within today’s post.

Want to know the absolute most important and effective thing you can do TODAY to turn your life around and change your luck?

Ready for it?

Work out.

Make your own destiny

Storm trooper ninja taking control of his destiny by starting his workout

I don’t swear much on Nerd Fitness, but sometimes it’s appropriate.  This is one of those times.

Shit happens.  

Every day, shitty things happen to us that are outside of our control.  Companies downsize.  150 people apply for the same part-time job.  Friends move.  Relationships end.  Shit happens.

Although these things happen to other people every day, it’s tough not to fall into the “the world is out to get me” card and fall further into a rut.

Let’s start with the best thing that happened to you today:

Did you wake up? Awesome. We can build on that!

There are factors and situations in our life that are completely outside of our control. However, no matter who you are, what your socioeconomic status is, where you live, how old you are, or why your life sucks, there is one thing that you are 100% in complete control of:

Your health!

Even if everything else is going wrong in your life, you still get to control how you look, and how you feel every day:

  • You might be unemployed, but you are buff and unemployed.
  • You may be single, but you are single and look great naked, which hopefully means you won’t be single for long!
  • You may be living in your Mom’s basement, but you are in the best shape of your life.

Start small

Storm Trooper starts exercising small by taking small steps

As we learned from David in Prometheus, “Big things have small beginnings.”

You are capable of big things.  You need to start somewhere though, and starting small with exercise is a perfect beginning.  Start with exercising, take responsibility for your actions, and understandthat you are 100% in control.

And start small!

Like Leo says, pick ONE habit you’d like to build, and start TODAY:

  • I want to start walking every day.
  • I want to start strength training.
  • I want to cook my own meals.

Make this ONE habit a priority – “I don’t have time” is not acceptable, as we both know you have time.   So set up a google alert to remind you each day.  Find a buddy to remind you.  Write it on a post-it note and stick it next to your computer.  Make the habit small enough that it’s possible for you to complete each day, but challenging enough that it gets you off the couch and out the door.

Most people suck at building habits, but you don’t have to.  

Win small

Storm Troopers workout with Darth Vader watching, small exercises

When you complete a tiny fitness habit every day, it reminds you that no matter what else happens in your day, you still leveled up your life in some way.

  • I didn’t get that job, I slept in until 11AM, I watched six episodes of Battlestar Gallactica, but at least I worked out.
  • I still live at home, and my friend stood me up, but at least I managed to get myself a bit healthier today.

Sure, doesn’t sound like much.  However, when compared to what you were doing LAST week, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

And that’s all we’re looking for: small wins!

Each small win is one teeny tiny step closer to that epic life that has been foretold by the prophecy (that you created for yourself in step 1, because you get to write your own destiny).

It’s how Optimus Prime transforms: one tiny step at a time.  

And I think the world would be a better place if we all took advice from O.P., don’t you?

Build momentum

Storm Trooper knocks over dominoes to build momentum

After a few weeks of tiny steps and tiny changes and tiny improvements, all of which are 100% in your control, a funny thing starts to happen:

  • Your clothes start to fit better.
  • Your friends and/or coworkers start asking “hey, have you lost weight?”,
  • You look in the mirror and give a “hey, this is working!”

Whether it’s a dramatic change over a matter of months, or a tiny change over a matter of weeks, you get to take these victories and say “yup, I did that. I succeeded at something.”

I remember talking to my friend Saint two or three years ago about being unhealthy – it was one of the most depressing conversations I can remember. Saint was out of shape, overweight, in a dead end job, hating life, and stuck in a rut.  Every day, we’d have a g-chat conversation about how miserable his life was, and it honestly started to drag me down.  So Saint woke up one day and decided “I’m going to start exercising.”

Over the next three years, Saint transformed – slowly at first, but eventually he picked up some serious steam and went on to become one of the best success stories I have EVER seen.  Since then, Saint has become a man possessed, and now talking to him is like talking to a completely different person.  Our conversations are actually ENJOYABLE and inspiring to me!  Saint is now a dragon-slayer.

Build confidence

Storm Trooper holds magnifying glass up to girl, begins to build confidence

When you start to exercise, you start to feel better about yourself, you get addicted to the feeling.

And then you chase it – exercising more, making better diet decisions, taking better care of your body.

The  feeling of self-confidence you get from being proud of what you see in the mirror is worth every decision required to get you from here to there.    

People can FEEL that self-confidence.  Ask any person what they look for in a potential mate, and I guarantee one of those attributes is “self-confidence.”  People want to hang around people that make them feel better and happier – when you are healthy and feel good in your own skin, you are happier and thus elevate the happiness of the group you’re with!

On top of that, people who take control of their own luck tend to get lucky more often: 

  • People who exude confidence and expect great things tend to get more great things than those who expect the worst.
  • Job applicants who are strong-willed and project confidence have a better chance at getting the position than the timid, shy, unsure applicant.
  • You have a much better chance of scoring a date when you approach him/her with confidence and project confidence that the answer will be yes.
Confidence can be tough to come by for somebody that’s never had it, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be acquired like any other skill.

Catch the disease


Getting healthy is contagious to every other part of your life.

Think of it like the best disease. Ever.

It overtakes every cell in your body, invades your brain, and gets you thinking drastically differently than before infection.  Here’s why: when you take responsibility for your situation, work to improve it, and find success, you get to pat yourself on the back and say “hey, look what I did!”

As you continue to improve your life physically, you start to identify other aspects of your life that you’d like to improve:

  • Hey, I got in shape, and I’m still have a lot of credit card debt; I want to fix that.
  • Hey, I got in shape, and I am really unproductive; I want to fix that.
  • Hey, I got in shape, and I am addicted to TV; I want to fix that.
  • Hey, I got in shape, and my house is a mess; I want to fix that.

You can apply the same techniques that allowed you to be successful with fitness and health with other aspects of your life: Start small, win small, build momentum.  If you’re in debt, set aside one extra dollar today to pay down the debt.  If your house is messy, set a new habit of making your bed every day.  If you are really unproductive with your time at work, start taking small steps to remove distractions (sign off gchat, better filters to keep your inbox uncluttered, etc.)

When asked what his key to success has been, billionaire and all-around badass Richard Branson responded with two words: Work Out.  If you have a few minutes, check out the article my friend Scott wrote on the man explaining why exercise has been the catalyst for success for so many.

Saint went from being unhealthy, overweight, in debt, and working a miserable job to getting in incredible shape, scoring a promotion at a new job, digging himself out of debt, getting married, and buying his first home.  He’s upping his game further, helping me develop the first (of many) Nerd Fitness iPhone applications and writing a book explaining how he got in shape.  It all started with “I’m going to get healthy.”

How about Staci, the chain-smoking, overweight, out of shape, unhappy desk jockey turned power-lifting superhero?  Over the past few years, she has transformed her life completely, inspiring thousands of women all over the world to get healthy.  Once Staci decided to get healthy, she realized how much she enjoyed it and started helping others get healthy.  I was so impressed with Staci’s transformation and willingness to help out on the Nerd Fitness message boards last summer that I hired her part time to help me with the business aspect of Nerd Fitness.  Now, Staci is a full-time member of Team Nerd Fitness, competes in Crossfit and powerlifting competitions, and even teaches classes at her local Crossfit gym.

Once you’ve found a blueprint for success on fitness, USE it to improve other parts of your life.  BUILD that momentum! 

The meaning of life


As Tim Ferriss will tell you: “Life exists to be enjoyed and that the most important thing is to feel good about yourself.”

Me personally?

I want to wake up happy, and go to bed proud.

I want to wake up every day excited about what the day holds and the projects that I’m working on.  At the end of the day, I want to feel proud of what I was able to accomplish with my business and health, and enjoy time spent with friends and family.

Although this is a fitness and health website, the REAL goal of Nerd Fitness is to help you remove barriers from your life that limit you from waking up happy and going to be proud.  In my opinion, the absolute BEST way I’ve found to get to that point?

Work out.


PS – If you have friends or family members that are stuck in a rut, share this article with them if you think it’ll help.  If you’d rather take a more subtle approach, invite them to exercise with you – offer up those words of encouragement, and don’t freaking up give up.  We only get one life on this planet, there are no continues.


Stressed Out LegoStorm Trooper Ninja, Small Exercise Steps, Storm Troopers Workout, Storm Trooper Momentum, Lego Talks to GirlLegos Fall like DominoesHappy Confident Legos, Lego light at end of the tunnel


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