I spent my 45th birthday in Phoenix, Arizona, at a four day live event organized by Brendon Burchard, one of the world’s top high performance consultants.  Brendon has published multiple best-selling books, his online trainings have been consumed by millions of people, and he has consulted for Anthony Robbins, Oprah, and more.  He’s no slouch.

On the first day of the live event, he told a story that made a huge impact on me.  Here’s the short version.  He was writing his first book, but not working particularly hard at it, and one night his girlfriend, who was supporting him at the time, came into the bedroom and climbed into bed so as not to disturb him while he worked at a desk next to the bed.  He recalled the visual of her sleeping beneath a pile of his bills that he had spread out on the bedspread, which she worked so hard not to disturb as she climbed into bed for the night.  There she was, sleeping under the weight of his unpaid bills.  It was at that moment, Brendon recalled, when he realized that his inaction was hurting the woman he loved.

My inaction was hurting the people I loved.  It was keeping me from being the best partner I could be.  It was keeping me from being the best dad that I could be.

Up to that point, I really thought that my weight didn’t affect anyone but me.  My body, my issue, right?  But it goes beyond that.  The problem isn’t contained within your physical self.  Your weight affects your ability to play with your kids.  It limits what you can do around the house in terms of upkeep and repairs.  It influences how much you sleep, and therefore your physical and mental energy throughout the day.  There’s a lot that’s impacted by your weight.

So here I was, 45 years old and the heaviest I’d ever been in my life, and as if that wasn’t challenging enough, here’s the real gut kick that happened; I realized how much time I had wasted.

I started getting heavy in my early twenties, and I kept getting heavier right through my thirties and into my forties.  As I got older, I adjusted my lifestyle to accommodate my weight issue.  I hiked less, played sports less, and worked outside on landscaping and gardening less.  I spent less time with active people, and more time with docile folks.  These were all subtle choices.  It’s not like I sat down one day and said to myself, “Now, how can I trim down my activities and choices so that I don’t ever have to feel the true discomfort of getting fatter?” I just did it intuitively along the way.  For two decades.

And there I was in Phoenix, realizing that it had, indeed, been two decades.  The 20 most robust years of my life, spent sitting on couches, watching TV and playing video games.  And I can never get that time back.

Neither can you.

But I can choose to use my time differently now.  I can make the most of this time that I have.

What do you wish you used more of your time for?  If you were going to stop using time doing _____ and start using time doing ____, how would that impact your life?

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