Author: Aaron

Overcoming $12k of Credit Card Debt

This day marks a massive milestone in our family’s life. It’s the day where I conclude the effects of so much suffering. Since I was blessed to obtain employment after 2 years of financial hardship, God provided the path to free our family from $12k of credit card debt in 1.25 years.

I wish to indulge in sharing 3 of the most important learning I received from this experience with you instead of telling you how to get out of debt because I’m not qualified to do so. 

The first important principle that brought me to this new found freedom is humility. Pride prevents any opportunity to change a person’s circumstance. When I was at the height of the credit card debt, I had to accept that success as a self-employed person is not going to happen. I had to give up my expectations of what life was supposed to be like and face reality. Until that moment I didn’t want to face the fact that I had to change. I didn’t want to be an employee, I wanted to be successful as a business owner. The reality is I’m not. It was very clear watching my finances head in the opposite direction, emotionally however, I believed that a business owner is the only way. 

Sometimes our beliefs need to adapt to an ever-changing world. If a current set of beliefs are not generating the desired results that you’re used to experiencing, chances are you need to look at changing them. By humbling myself and recognizing that my outdated belief system resulted in our financially-poor reality led to a desire to identify what I really wanted to experience.

I used my journal to write down how I wanted to feel about my finances. One of the major themes was that I wanted to feel secure financially. The next step was to describe what secure meant to me. As I wrote down that description, I was able to think about what milestones I needed to accomplish to feel secure.

Some of those things was the need to secure steady income asap. That meant, quitting self-employment and securing a job. When I achieved a steady income then I would focus on achieving a $0 balance on my credit card (I didn’t want to use the words debt-free because the focus and energy would be on debt).

Other activities such as insurance, additional income, KiwiSaver, savings, etc. were listed as milestones for me to accomplish that connected directly to feeling secure. These activities are accomplished one at a time and are done in phases. Phases 1 is to achieve a $0 balance. Phase 2 is to add insurance, KiwiSaver and savings. Phase 3 to begin growing a portfolio to build assets. By having a goal and a definition, I was able to align specific activities that would achieve that goal.

The other learning was creating a monthly financial forecast and tracking system. It is key to know exactly what I was doing with my money. It started on paper to confirm what info I wanted to track and then I used an app called Spendee to track my spending along with Google Sheets. By knowing exactly what was happening, I felt very confident about the future and was able to make very good decisions ahead of time.

Last, and the most important learning was to rely upon the Lord for help. When you experience a very low point in your life, your humility and willingness to look upward increases. I came to the realization that trying to accomplish this mammoth task was far beyond my own capacity. I need divine help. The Lord was in the details and provided the opportunities to pay off the debt, the strength to do it and the guidance to navigate through the journey.

As we celebrated this day, my heart is deeply grateful for the mercy and direction of the Lord. He truly strengthen our family that we didn’t feel the burden upon our backs and we were able to cheerfully overcome our challenge. Thanks be to God for His help in accomplishing what was at the time a near impossible task to overcome.

Reflecting on My Experiences Being Bullied at School

Imagine being the age of 7 or 8 at school, a boy approximately 11 years old (and in your mind looks like a man) appears, looks you in the eyes and threaten to beat you up for no reason. You know his name is Jack, you know he’s an older boy but you’ve never crossed paths… ever. 

There is a moment when you’re confronted where you get to decide how you are going to respond. I was silent, sacred and stood there staring at him, fearing if his threat was real, wondering if he was serious. That’s the anxious part, the uncertainty of it. I stood there powerless with no response, just a submission to what might be. Luckily, his friend persuaded him to leave me alone. He did. The feeling of that experience didn’t leave me alone.

That experience wasn’t the final time I’d encounter a bully at school. 

Getting teased regularly throughout my schooling was normal. It didn’t end when I got to intermediate or even college. I experienced it time and time again. I’ve been bullied and teased for being skinny, small, for the colour of my skin and for my religious beliefs. Throughout those years I dealt with it physically through sport but didn’t deal with it emotionally because I didn’t know how. 

One of hardest things about these experience is feeling powerless, because you believe that someone who appears as a threat has taken that power away from you. It can cause internal anger to grow within and you feel angry because you don’t know what to do or feel confident enough to do something about it. This stems from the imagination of what might happen if you speak up. This leads to low self-esteem and belief over time.

You see, your brain will do any to avoid pain, that’s how it protects you from potential danger. The power of your imagination can create scenarios that haven’t existed yet. Injecting intense emotions into it form a reality that can seem real even though there is no real evidence to support it. Standing up for yourself can mean pain, so your amygdala will send signals that doing something about it is too risky. The problem is staying as you are is risky as well. 

I decided sometime in my journey to never show fear despite the fear I felt inside. I turned to heroic characters in movies and sport who overcame tremendous odds as a reference to give me the courage to believe I can be just like them… brave. 

I remember, one day when I was 13, I walked out of class with my friends and out of nowhere a senior college student grabbed me and pinned me against the wall posing to beat me up. Remembering that decided to never show my “enemy” fear, I looked him straight in the eyes and stood my ground and my eyes said “I’m ready when you are” gave me enough of an advantage to see him change his mind. I wasn’t trying to act tough or invite conflict. I was trying to communicate that I don’t feel threatened by you so your tactics will not work.

What I learnt from that experience is that bullies look for individuals they think are weak and want to feel powerful by taking away someone else’s power. However, they themselves are also victims of having their own power taken from them and in order for them to feel powerful, they follow the same pattern they received… take away from someone to feel powerful. They are individuals who haven’t felt loved and their behaviour to feel loved is counterintuitive to how one can give and receive love. Essentially they’re in pain.

You don’t have to fear anyone when you realise they don’t feel loved and are looking for a way to fulfil that need. Having the courage to be brave however you define it grows each time you act. Look fear in the eyes and stand your ground.

Note: This was written for Pink Shirt Day. To learn more visit www.pinkshirtday.co.nz

Is Your Health Balance in Debt or Credit?

On the 3rd of January 2018, I had a flash of insight about health. I saw it like a bank account with transactions going in and out. I wrote it down in my insight journal to use as an illustration of how our daily activities affect our “health account”. Here’s what I recorded.

“Health is like a bank account where one can make deposits and withdraws which lead to either a surplus or a deficit. A person’s habits will lead them into debt and in order to be in credit, one must work hard to clear the debt first. Interest also has its place and can be a blessing or curse depending on your spending or saving habits.”

I found it interesting to see a visual of a person’s overall health and how we can make deposits/withdraws into our health account. Each day we make small choices that affect the total balance at the end of the day. Those small choices (positive or negative) will not seem like much in the moment, but at the end of the week, month and year, if consistently made makes a difference.

Take a $4 cup of coffee for example. $4 on a cup of coffee for the day isn’t a lot. 7 cups of coffee in a week equals $28 (that’s carries a little more value, but you could probably live with it). In a month that adds up to about $120 (30 days), in one year the grand total is $1460 (365 days). You can see that one small purchase adds up over time. If you consider your own personal withdraws and deposits where do you think you health account sits?

Health isn’t about spending all of what you earn, it’s about learning how to build up credit with good small choices done on a daily basis. As you focus on depositing more, withdrawing less and engage in the power of interest, magic will start to happen.

ACTIVITY: Get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write at the top, left column DEPOSIT and on the right WITHDRAW and make a list of all the activities, choices, purchases that fit in those categories. Knowing where you are is a powerful in making better decisions going forward.

I’d like to know what you discovered about your health account. What insights did you draw from this activity and what you going to do moving forward? Please leave a comment below.

How to Reconnect With Yourself If You’re Feeling Mentally & Emotionally Drained

Are you often feeling overwhelmed, stressed or disconnected with yourself? Our busy lifestyle and modern challenges can often leave us mentally and emotionally drained, losing a sense of our authentic self in the process. My guest Gail has a masters in social work with honors and is an advocate for holistic approaches to wellbeing.

She has over 15 years experience in working with people who are striving to create wholeness in their lives. In this episode she draws on her wisdom as a mother, wife, educator & holistic health practitioner. Gail shares her insights into how aromatherapy can support mental and emotional wellbeing.

Listen in to learn how she supports others to feel connected, reach a higher level of awareness and thrive in their unique self.

I’d love to know what was the major takeaway from Gail’s insights? And a follow up questions is what will do differently to improve your mental and emotional wellbeing?

Please leave your comments below!

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To connect with Gail Watene:

FB: @essentialwellbeingwithgailwatene

WWW: https://www.mydoterra.com/gailwatene/#/

EM: essentialwellbeingnz@gmail.com

The 3 R’s of a Healthy Mindset

During the last 6 months of my time as a personal trainer, I noticed 13 distinct patterns of negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours among a specific group of individuals. It didn’t matter what diet or physical activity they were engaged in, it didn’t yield lasting results.

I set to find out why this group struggled with motivation, developing and maintaining healthy habits and achieving more permanent outcomes. I discovered was these wonderful individuals who truly believed that they couldn’t lose weight, get healthy or whatever, subconsciously acted in ways that would make their belief a reality.

The real discovery was pointed toward certain events that have happened in the past that changed that persons belief into a negative one (e.g. name calling, bullying or mocking).

These negative events shaped their beliefs about what is possible and what they expected the outcome to be in certain situations. When I work with people with their health & fitness journey, it’s important that they go through the 3 R’s of developing the correct mindset for their success. Recognise, release, refill.

First, they recognise the negative things they are saying about themselves, their body, expectations and what events triggered it. Second, they go through the process of releasing the negative emotions associated with those events. And third, they begin the process of refilling their mind with information that strengthens, uplifts, and inspires them to create new positive beliefs about who they are and what outcomes they wish to achieve.

By identifying and releasing those roadblocks that continually frustrate you, you’re able to free yourself from experiencing the same outcomes and create the opportunity to change your beliefs and actions.

The Mental Drain of Being a (Temp) Solo Parent

Disclaimer: This is not a whinge, sob story or sharing how hard my life is blog post. This is a personal observation and appreciation of what parents (especially mothers) feel when looking after their children on their own 24/7 with little or no help.

It’s school holidays with 4 days to go. I’m happy to say I have good kids, my wife raised them well and I think I can take at least 20% credit somewhere. Tash is in Las Vegas for 3 weeks and I’m here managing the house, the kids and trying to work (out how to get some business flowing). Managing multiple responsibilities is challenging at the moment to say the least.

Just before I started writing this blog post, I sat with my kids and felt mentally drained. Although I could do it, I didn’t really want to exercise, the executive function of my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders and I feel rather like I have no mind of my own. I starting thinking how my energy picks up when they go to bed, how between their bedtime til morning is the time I look forward to the most. Like I said, I’ve got good kids, but for some reason I feel I’m “on” when they’re conscious and I can’t turn “off” until they go to sleep.

I can certainly see why chocolate becomes your best friend!

As I was feeling drained, I started observing if this is a glimpse into what solo parents or mothers with young children are feeling day in and day out. They’re using a lot of mental energy to keep life moving as smoothly as possible. They have to be multi-skilled individuals for as long as it’s required that day. I started to consider my feelings and thought just how strong and resilient these parents are and tried to fill up my cup of empathy for them.

In this state, I don’t really aspire to achieve much but get through the day. Althought I’m physically there, I’m not there. I can feel and see the challenge to feel motivated to achieve your potential. I know from the stress, and fatigue it’s turning off my prefrontal cortex. That part of the brain is responsible being actively engaged.

In order to feel alive again it requires a change of environment and time away from the workload. There’s no other way around it. The mind, body and spirit needs time to recharge and whatever that looks to you and whatever support you have to make it happen, take time out to recharge.

When my kids go back to school, I’ll have all day to myself and all is well. I’ll get quiet time to work, exercise (which I’ve done once) and run errands without lugging 3 extra passengers around. For those parents who don’t have that luxury yet, I have a deepened respect for the effort you give each day. So like I said in the disclaimer, I’m not complaining but learning to observe and try and feel at some level how those who do this day in and day out feel.

I concluded that in order to find as much satisfaction and joy in this experience, I’ve decided to live by these guidelines.

  1. Do the best you can today and be okay with it being less than what you believe you’re capable of doing.
  2. Only do the most important tasks today.
  3. Pray often and give thanks for what you have.
  4. Make the best out of the resources you have available.
  5. Take care of your personal health as best as you can, especially mental/emotional health.
  6. Strive to keep your mind centred in the moment. Too much wasted energy thinking about the past and future.
  7. Don’t bother trying to be a hero, try to be human. There’s less pressure to live up to extremely high expectations.
  8. Tell yourself you’re doing better than you think. So hold your head up when you’re feeling weary.

I’m going to enjoy my quiet time now, but I want you to know that you are amazing and that I’m grateful to have a strong wife to raised our kids and did it so well. Keep going and keep doing the best you can.

Overcoming Diet Confusion

A question was asked when I was delivering a health seminar a couple of months ago. The common consent from the group was what diet should they follow, considering all the conflicting information out there. There are a number of different philosophies out there including trends like low-fat, high-protein, ketogenic, low-gi, calorie deficiet etc. and it’s easy to get so overwhelmed by all of these experts preaching their program and ideas.

So I thought I’d share in bite size pieces the important principles of health.

This is not a comprehensive discussion about nutrition. This post is to shift your thinking in the right direction.

The first thing that creates confusion and frustration in consuming a healthy diet is the purpose of food. For many, eating to lose weight sends people towards moderate to extreme dieting schemes so they can get results as quick as possible without truly understanding the basics of cellular nutrition. That’s where the confusion comes in. The focus is on methods not principles.

To make it really easy, your body is made up of cells. Your cells have different functions to perform to generate overall health. If those cells are restricted in resources, they can’t do their job. Over time, they stop functioning probably.

Consider the company you work for as a body. It’s made up of different departments that perform specific functions. Every person in the company has a job to do and needs resources to do it, including people in other departments to fulfill their role. When resources are few and demand for output is high, staff will eventually get sick. If the pressure is too much over a sustained period of time, they’ll quit.

The key is resources which means nutrients. If you want to lose weight, gain muscle, have energy for your daily needs, you must supply your cells with as much nutrients as possible. Those nutrients (anti-oxidants, minerals and trace minerals) are found in your veggies and fruit.

A lot of people make the mistake of trying to force the body to conform by restricting nutrients and in return the body rebels. It thinks their is a lack so it goes into survival mode (that’s the complete opposite of what you want). By thinking nutrient-focus, you’ll think about getting as much variety of vegetables (resources) as you possibly can in each meal. The more resources the better.

From now on think of consuming nutrient dense food instead of calorie restriction. Think of eating to supply your body with resources to function properly. Focus on health first then your other desires (fit, strong, lean) will come.

Do We Need Nutritional Supplements? Or is it Expensive Pee?

Our body works 24 hours a day and is working very hard to keep you thriving. Consider how much your body is exposed to stress, pollution, radiation and chemicals. All these (among others) attack the cells in our body. Without enough resources to nourish and protect cells, sooner or later cells will not perform properly and eventually die, resulting in many illnesses.

Many experts advocate that eating healthy food is enough to provide all the essential micronutrients that is required for optimal health. Some even discredit supplementation with very solid facts about quality, potency and formulation. For the most part I agree with their arguments.

However, they fail to recognise that in today’s world our soils are heavily depleted of nutrients. The level of nutrients found in food is a lot less than what it was a generation or two ago. So that means that we would need to eat more fruit and veggies to get the same nutritional value compared to food grown in nutrient rich soil.

With chemicals sprayed on food, preservatives, additives, and food picked long before they’ve had a chance to fully develop, we lose a lot of the nutrients before we even consume it. The research is clear that high-quality health supplements will provide additional resources for cells to thrive and is recommended as a support to proper nutrition. Not every supplement sold is quality. The next question to answer is “What makes a quality supplement?”

The research published in the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements showed that most of the 1600 products tested were poor quality (these are mainly found in the supermarket/pharmacy) and only a few were of good to high-quality. To trust that the product I use will benefit my health or my clients, I believe that there are 6 important indications of a high-quality product.

1). The products are formulated by someone expert in cellular nutrition.
2). The company is heavily focused on the nutritional research and implement it in their products.
3). The ingredients used are pure and safe.
4). The manufacturing practices are done under strict health regulations (FDA, GMP approved).
5). The company guarantees that the quantity and ingredients on the label are in the bottle.
6). The products are tested to ensure quality, effectiveness and safety.

It’s important that the products you pick tick these boxes and any others you see fit. That way you can take nutritional supplements with confidence and your cells will have the needed nourishment and protection to give you a high standard of health.

To know what brand I trust, click here.

Are You Getting in the Way of Your Own Progress?

Are you too afraid to take action because you’re afraid of what others may think? Do you talk yourself out of doing something that’s important to you because you think about all of the negative things that could happen?

If that’s you then this episode is here to give you the courage to overcome your fear!

That’s an interesting question to ask yourself, “Am I getting in the way of my own progress?” My guest Fraser Cameron dives into that question and how the majority are living with too much fear.

Fraser who is a Transformation Coach in Auckland, NZ shares in this episode how we’re held back by fear and how a person can feel fear and act in spite of it.

He shares 3 key tips that have helped his clients overcome fear, gain momentum in their life and feel confident to achieve things they thought were impossible.

You can check out Fraser’s website www.changingstride.co.nz or find him on Facebook and LinkedIn.

4 Important Things PT Clients Do That Made Them Successful

When people sign up to a gym, why do some succeed in achieving their weight goals and others don’t? Are there secrets that the achievers know that others don’t? If you’ve wondered what others are doing differently to get their results, then this episode is for you fellow gym-goer!

I interview Personal Trainer Claire Rapira (FB: Claire Rapira-Personal Training) and asked her what her successful clients do that lead them toward achieving their goals. She was happy to share what they were, and I might add that her insights into what her clients do can save you time and money paying for a gym membership.

Heck, it might even inspire you to use the gym so you can at least feel like you’re not just giving away money.

This episode covers:

  • The 4 most important components that made her clients successful.
  • The 4 most important beliefs that you need to make it on your journey.
  • The importance of connecting with the right trainer.

Learning what works for others leaves clues and patterns and this episode contains valuable patterns that can make all the difference in the success of your journey.