Category

motivating

After Leaving Her Abusive Husband, This Woman Lost 525 Lbs And Won Back Her Life

By | Food for thought, motivating, stories, success stories

Christina Phillips weighed 708 pounds and hadn’t left her house in two years before she decided to regain control of her life.

“Before I couldn’t walk eight feet without feeling like I was gonna die. Now, I could do just about anything I put my mind to,” she told People.

Christina was 22 when she first appeared on My 600-Lb Life, and had become completely dependent on her family and husband Zach to help meet her most basic needs.

On the show, Dr. Nowzaradan prescribed Christina a strict diet plan and recommended exercise, before she could qualify for gastric bypass surgery.

By the time Christina was 12 years old, she weighed 286 pounds

Growing up, Christina witnessed her parents arguing all the time, and turned to food to cope. By the time she was 12 years old, she weighed 286 pounds. 

By the time she signed up for the popular TLC program, Christina was bedridden and unable to care for herself, so when she lost enough weight to be approved for the life-saving surgery, she became empowered.

“At the beginning I had a lot of people doubt me,” she explained.

An abusive relationship had enabled her

As she continued to make progress, Christina realized her husband was threatened with her newfound independence and that he’d been enabling her throughout their marriage.

I was in a really abusive relationship. And that definitely, I think, has had a negative impact on me. It hurt. In my heart, in my head.

So Christina decided to divorce Zach, who had become unsupportive of her happiness and transformation.

Despite the heartbreak, she went on with the surgery and lost 525 pounds, but instead of celebrating her hard earned success, she began to struggle with her body image.

She needed to adjust to her new reality

“Lately any time I see the scale go up, I tend to freak out and I stop eating for a couple days,” she admitted on an episode of My 600-lb Life: Where Are They Now?

At this point, Christina was ready to go under the knife again, to remove excess skin but her doctor recommended she consult with a therapist to address her fears, instead.

He thought she was being too hard on herself.

I know I’m not 700 lbs. anymore, but I still feel that way. And I don’t know how to change how I feel.

After putting on extra pounds to be eligible for the procedure, Christina eventually got the surgery and was down to 172 pounds.

Christina wasn’t at the end of her challenges

“When I was 700 lbs., I felt worthless, and like I didn’t deserve anything better than the life I had. And now my fear of gaining weight has crippled me. But I have to move past that fear if I want to live my life,” she said.

Her fear of gaining weight led to her developing an eating disorder, but she’s been able to work through her demons and has recently completed her second 5K run.

This Goalcast video will give you pure, unbridled inspiration:

Despite being met with obstacles throughout her transformation journey, Christina has been determined to maintain her physical and mental well-being, and looks forward to the little things now.

“The simple things in life are enjoyable to me. I know that seems silly but it’s the honest answer,” Christina said. “Just walking and being able to go to the park with my nephew. [It’s] the most simple thing like taking him to the park or going shopping or driving.”

“I’m so much more happier now. Being able to wake up in the morning and get out of bed without feeling like I’m gonna die, I thank God every morning for that,” she continued.

I am so blessed to have a second chance at life.

Christina Phillips

Take every win as evidence that you can do it again

Going from 700 lbs. to a healthy weight was not a straight journey for Christina. Along the way, she realized there were other obstacles that needed to be dealt with too.

It is important to be aware that there will always be setbacks along the way to your objective but every time you overcome an obstacle, you gain the knowledge that you’ll be able to do it again.

More inspiring transformations:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/08/24/transformation-story-christina-phillips/

Intrinsic Motivation: How To Get Motivated By The Right Reasons

By | Food for thought, goalcast originals, motivating, stories

When we talk about motivation, we often bunch all variants into one umbrella. Yet, it is important to take a closer look at what motivates us to achiever our goals or daily tasks, whatever they may be. Very often, there’s a focus to our motivation that isn’t about ourselves but about something or someone else, and their reaction and feelings vs. our own.

J. Stuart Ablon, Ph.D., is the Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He defines intrinsic motivation as “being internally driven to achieve some goal vs. extrinsic motivation is being driven to achieve the goal in hopes of receiving some reward or incentive.”

Why you might be wrongly motivated

For Ablon, extrinsic motivation is focusing on external factors, and it is not the best method to go about achieving your goals.

This is a short-lived and ineffective method because external motivation and intrinsic drive are inversely related.

J. Stuart Ablon, Ph.D

In other words, the more you focus on external motivation, the more you eat away at your internal drive. You actually lose your internal drive to achieve goals when you focus on the external reward.  

According to Ablon, “sustained intrinsic drive occurs when three basic psychological needs are met: competence (feeling good about our skills), autonomy (sense of independence) and relatedness (feeling connected to others).”

What does that mean?

Fostering those three things is what helps to create a sense of internal drive. But, while these concepts seem to make sense in a theoretical sense, let’s put them into real world talk.

For example, our need for social media validation. This is something all of us can relate too strongly. “You’re thrilled to see more likes on your latest post and you’ve increased the number of your followers,” said  Kim Woods, a spiritual leader and transformation expert. 

In your career, you work harder than anyone else for that bonus or promotion. To impress your friends, you buy those shoes you can’t really afford for all of the compliments.  You feel good, like you’ve accomplished something. 

But, that good feeling goes away as those likes and followers, in their fickleness, stop reading your posts or unfollow you.

Kim Woods

At work, you’re exhausted and realize your current efforts are unsustainable. You look in your closet and know those shoes don’t go with most of your outfits, so sit on your shoe rack until they go out of style. 

Even before all of these things happen, if you’re honest with yourself, each positive circumstance doesn’t make you satisfied for very long, if at all. 

You’re stumped until you understand you feel this way because you’re being motivated by outside factors, not internal ones. 

“Inner satisfaction, otherwise known as intrinsic motivation, is driven by internal rewards such as; satisfaction, pleasure and enjoyment. While extrinsic motivation, those likes and followers, bonus and shoes are based on earning external rewards or avoiding punishment,” said Woods.

Intrinsic motivation is everything while extrinsic is mildly interesting at best.

Kim Woods

This is a big statement, yet the truth of it is proven by how you feel when you do things that fill you up and make you happy.

Unlocking your real superpowers 

“Tapping into your intrinsic motivation is key to achieving your goals and living a better life,” continued Woods. When you follow your inner compass for satisfaction, you find your passion and have more energy to make progress on your intentions.

As you build this muscle, you foster self-confidence and gain a sense of your true purpose.

Kim Woods

“When you find your true purpose, you have fewer distractions, enable easily sustained effort and connect smoothly with others,” said Woods. Once you’re in this flow, you’re living in joy, ease and freedom. 

How can you tap into your intrinsic motivation? 

Discovering what inspires your own inner motivation isn’t easy with all of the external factors in your life, but the deeper you go within, the easier it is to find those answers. This sounds simple, but it isn’t

It’s hard not to be influenced by what others are doing on social media or by friends and family giving you their advice.

Kim Woods

However, you want to block them out for a time until you know what gives you satisfaction. It’s different for everyone, so following others isn’t the way to uncover what makes you happy. You need to follow yourself. 

The keys to find the right motivations involve three areas: 

1. Your mind 

You want to make the decision to pursue your own internal knowing. To do this, go within.

“Remove the distractions and the noise and envision what you want your life to look like in 3, 6 and 9 months. Write it down. Assess each area of your inner life and your outer world. Your inner life includes your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being,” Woods said.

Are each at the level you want them to be – just for you? Next, look at your outer world. Does your living environment feel like a sanctuary? What would it take to make it one? How about your love life? Career? Do you allow yourself time and resources to explore things you love doing?  Do you see the friends who lift you up?

Kim Woods

2. Your heart

What makes your heart happy? Remember those times when you were younger and lost yourself by doing exactly what you wanted? Take a moment and think back.

“Settle yourself comfortably and start with your breath. Take 10 calm breaths to get connected and then let memories come up. Recall the happiest times in your life. What are you doing? Who are you with? These could be simple moments. Perhaps your coloring or running through a field. Maybe you’re on the phone with a close friend. You could even by laying back and looking at the clouds,” said Woods. 

Make note. 

3. Your will

Give yourself permission to put yourself first in this pursuit of finding the things that fulfill you.

”Be curious. Carve out time in your week to remove all external input and do something that makes you feel satisfied, valuable or accomplished. Go back into the first 2 keys to help you figure out exactly what it may be. Shift your priorities to create a routine to be free to wonder, learn, explore and create,” said Woods.

Make the commitment to yourself to master things just for pure enjoyment. In the process, you may wish to learn new things, focus on your passion, join causes or groups or be in service to others. 

“As you give yourself permission and commit time and energy toward your satisfaction, you gain a sense of competence by learning a new skill, a sense of purpose by finding your true calling, a sense of belonging by joining others in shared interests or a sense of meaning when helping others,” Woods condinued.

There are many ways to nurture your intrinsic motivation. Choose one or two that speak to you. Woods says these ways include:

  • Envision your satisfied life
  • Ensure you feel emotionally safe
  • Discover your core values
  • Tap into your heart’s wisdom
  • Talk to a trusted source to help you see your full potential
  • Trust yourself
  • Say yes to challenging, yet attainable tasks 
  • Be autonomous 
  • Let go of control or expectation
  • Feel as if it’s possible
  • Pursue a higher purpose or something bigger than you

The bottom line – when you live your life based on what fulfills you, you’re motivated to give your all to accomplish great things. 

More inspiring articles:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/06/25/intrinsic-motivation-how-to-be-motivated-for-right-reasons/

Woman Lost 124 Pounds and Chased Her Grief Away One Selfie at a Time

By | Food for thought, motivating, physical health, stories, success stories

Justine McCabe was overcome with grief after the passing of her mother and husband in the span of a year. As a result, she turned to food for comfort.

Within just a few months, she had gained 100 pounds. Her friends and family became concerned about her wellbeing after noticing how much weight she had gained. They nagged and pushed her to start exercising.

At her heaviest, the single mom weighed 313 pounds.

A challenge out of spite

Initially, Justine sought therapy to help her process the grief. It was not long before she felt ready to take up her loved ones’ challenge to get back in shape. She went to the gym “out of spite.”

She snapped a selfie of herself on that first day at the gym. Little did she know that she was laying the foundations of an inspiring transformation journey. “I didn’t like what I saw,” she told TODAY.

I feel like I look so broken and lost and sad and that’s the reason why I started taking a picture a day. I wanted to see myself change, see if my expression would change.

Justine McCabe to TODAY

She traced her recovery through selfies

And change it did. As Justine became more active and documented her progress at the gym every day, she began to notice changes. Not only was she losing weight but she also realized that exercise was helping her deal with her grief.

“I would use that time to do a lot of thinking,” she said. “I was able to process some of the emotions I was dealing with that I would then go talk about and work through in therapy.”

After losing 124 pounds, she felt like she got a new lease on life. Justine took up new activities like hiking, kayaking, obstacle courses and returned to one of her favorite childhood pastimes, horseback riding.

And developed resilience in the meantime

Justine was fully immersed in enjoying the activities she could not have practiced before, until one day, while she was riding a horse in late 2018, the animal lifted and reared up, sending her straight to the ground. 

The impact was so hard, it “blew out” her knee, but she was not prepared to let that get in her way. Despite the injury, she persisted in staying active and continued to push her limits. However, the pain in her knee eventually became unbearable.

“I kept saying, ‘No I’m fine. Keep pushing. This is what I do,’” McCabe explained. “I still wanted to seem like I was the same and I was so great.”

But she was not out of the woods yet

Eventually, she consulted with a doctor and found out that she had torn her meniscus and ACL. Surgery was an option, but still, she resisted.

Instead, McCabe continued with her vigorous workouts. As she “was never really letting [her] body have time to heal and recover,” she was eventually struck down with illness and diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Forced to slow down her pace, she started to zero in on her health and became aware of her limits.

It’s so important to not sit and pretend that we are perfect, that we always have that same motivation and energy because it’s not (sustainable).

Justine McCabe

Acceptance is the starting point, not the end

“Things in life happen and we have to accept that,” Justine realized. After reaching that acceptance — of the loved ones she lost and of her medical diagnoses — she was able to start over.

Nowadays, Justine focuses on low-impact workouts, maintaining her weight loss and staying healthy.

“It’s hard to make those good, positive choices especially when life is not going exactly as planned,” she said. “Every choice that I ever make it’s always based upon that idea that I’m choosing to live. I’m choosing to live my best life.”

Whatever we go through, acceptance is not the end of hardship. Rather, it is a new beginning, an opportunity to reconfigure our lives so we can start afresh and do things better.

More inspiring stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/01/10/transformation-story-justine-mccabe/

How To Simplify Your New Year’s Resolution With This One-Word Method

By | Food for thought, How-To, mindset, motivating, self

The 2010s have been nothing short of monumental. From technological advancements, changes in societal dynamics to the state of the planet, the years have been challenging and shifting our ideals about who we are and who we want to be.

On a global scale, the impact of the last 10 years has been massive but it affected people on a personal level too. Every single one of us has been swayed by the multitude of events in the past years. As we head into a the next decade, we get to ask ourselves what we want the next years to look like.

Before making a New Year’s Resolution, take some time to reflect

Trying to project the future can definitely seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. So often, at the end of the year, we get stuck in the whole New Year’s Resolution cycle.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that making a New Year’s resolution is a bad thing. Its great! But the cycle is that we don’t truly acknowledge who we are when we make them and who we want to be by following them through.

Instead, we make our resolutions based on what we want and then can’t see them through. This is because we never truly reflect on how having that accomplished that resolution thing will change us or make us feel in the long run.

Because we don’t take the time to look at who we are in the present moment with gratitude, acceptance, and appreciation for just how far we have come, we fail to create the change that we want. Before we make a resolution, we need to reflect on the reason why we need to add a certain change or thing to our lives.

In order to make your New Year’s resolution, but also your New Decade’s resolution, effective, you want to get very clear on who you are right now. But you also want to make sure that you are reflecting and looking at yourself with the utmost gratitude. 

Who were you at the start of the decade?

For my part, I was pregnant and married to a narcissist with no idea what my future was going to look like or who I even was anymore. I had lost touch with my magic, the parts of myself that were intuitively me. 

Take stock of who you were back in 2010. Some easy ways to do this is to listen to the music you liked then or watch your favorite movie that came out that year.

Acknowledging things that spoke to your soul, like film and music, helps you to reconnect with the person you were. Even if that person isn’t someone you are proud of, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid looking at them.

In fact, by accepting the parts of us we are ashamed of and the times in our lives when we weren’t the greatest, we help to heal ourselves and move towards the next stage of our lives. 

Make sure to think about your progression

What happened between 10 to 5 years ago to make you the person you are today? Take a bit of time and acknowledge the pieces of you that fell into place and forgive yourself for anything you did that you weren’t proud of.

But also, be sure to note all the achievements you are proud of. They have set the building blocks for who you are now.

Five years ago, I was reconnecting with my inner magic and starting to help other people do the same. I was healing from trauma and clearing blocks in the thick of PTSD. It is a far cry from who I am now, even though it still feels like just yesterday. 

Think of who you are right now

And, that brings us to now. Who were you at the start of this year? What did you believe in? What did you value? How has this past year changed you or helped you grow? What have you learned? What have you achieved? 

The Holiday Season isn’t just good for cookies and Christmas trees. It’s a time for reflection and introspection. So before you decide who you want to be in the coming years, make the end of the year a time to honor who you are right now. 

At the start of this year, I was struggling with my notion of what is next. I had been trying to get a publishing deal for nearly three years, battling with my mindset and playing too small.

However, I end this year being a bestselling author with a publishing deal and I am the host of a metaphysical comedy podcast. I am now the person that I have always dreamed I would be, even if in the last ten years I did none of the things that I had been hoping to achieve.

And that is almost better. It is an incredibly freeing feeling to finally be the person your soul has always called you to be. 

Start by choosing your word

So, how do you decide on who you want to be and how do you build a resolution to fit that? Well, I have come up with an exercise that I call choosing your word. 

Now, before I even get into how to do this, I want to be sure to state that this is not meant to be complicated or confusing. In fact, if you notice you start to make things complicated while doing the exercise, be sure to pause and explore why you are doing so. It will help you further into your journey towards healing.

The goal of this exercise is to choose one, and only one word, that you want to strive for in the next year. By doing a resolution this way, it allows you to constantly connect with the person you are becoming and striving to be in five seconds or less.

It eliminates all the shame that can come up if you don’t hit you resolution goal, like losing 50 pounds by June. In fact, by narrowing the process down to one word, you gain more clarity and the ability to renew your drive whenever you want just by repeating that word. 

Figure out your word and simplify your resolutions

So who do you want to be this time next year? And what is one trait that that person will have? There is your word. That trait is the thing you should dedicate this year to. 

For example, if you want to lose weight your word could be “healthy.” If you want to cure your anxiety, your word might be “brave.”

My word for the next year, and most likely the rest of the decade, is authenticity. I know that, in order for me to truly keep following the path that is meant for me, I must get comfortable showing my authentic self at all times. 

Once you have your word, write it down, put it on your wall, or just have your phone remind you of it every now and then. Remember, whoever you are becoming is a result of who you have been, so acknowledge your power and take the leap into the next version of you.

More helpful articles:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/24/one-word-new-year-resolutions/

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work For You (And What To Do Instead)

By | Food for thought, how-to guide, mindset, motivating, self

New Year’s resolutions have never been my thing. While I’m very aware that, for many, they can be powerful, life-altering promises to the self, it does seem that the vast majority of people fail at keeping their resolutions.

I’m actually convinced that speaking these promises out loud to others at holiday parties actually lessens one’s chances of success. Let’s face it: New Year’s resolutions are gimmicky.

The fact is, if you’re going to make meaningful changes in your life, the time is now, not later.

Studies on the holding power of New Year’s resolutions are inconclusive at best. One survey finds that 4 out of 5 people will eventually break their resolutions, while another reports a higher success rate. Yet, both agree that approximately a third of resolutions don’t make it past the first month.

Another study found that less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are actually achieved. While there’s a lot of advice floating around out there, I believe that in order to do your personal goals justice, you need to understand a few key truths about failed resolutions.

Here is a helpful guide for implementing change in the New Year:

1. Significant change is not instant (nothing worthwhile is)

It’s hardly news that people often centre their resolutions around kicking bad habits. Whether it’s smoking, drinking, or not eating right, I’d say stopping unhealthy behaviors makes up the bulk of New Year’s resolutions.

But we often underestimate how long it takes to kick a bad habit. Common knowledge says about 3 weeks. We also often forget that when you stop doing something ‘bad,’ you need to replace it with something ‘good.’ But it can take 66 days on average before a new habit becomes, well, habitual.

My point? Many people become discouraged and give up long before putting the necessary time in.

2. It’s better to do one thing wholeheartedly than 10 things halfway

Resolution enthusiasts often make long lists of rather all-encompassing behaviors they want to change, like losing weight rather than gaining it or saving money rather than spending it.

Many of these goals require serious heavy lifting and sustained effort. So start by picking only one thing and then dedicating all your efforts to achieve it, starting from scratch.

There is no need to multitask when it comes to self-improvement.

There’s a resolution for you: stop glorifying people who multitask and hone in on your individual goals.

3. Cold turkey is not necessarily hardcore, succeeding is

If your goal is to cut back on caffeine, promising yourself you will “never drink coffee or energy drinks ever again” is an extreme statement. This method is called ‘cold turkey,’ and it involves abruptly ceasing a habit without preamble.

While it can be the most effective tactic for some, scaling back slowly and gradually sticks much better for many. So rid yourself of the notion that it should be all or nothing.

4. You can’t skip the process (the journey is the destination)

It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed by focusing on the destination (substantial changes down the road) as opposed to the journey, which contains small changes in the here and now. But unfortunately, the journey cannot be skipped over.

Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy says that for years her resolution was to ‘become a runner.’ To her, this meant becoming a hyper self-disciplined person capable of tackling marathons.

Each January, she’d start running, only to quit weeks later, feeling like a failure. But one day she decided to just go for a run—without thinking of all those future runs. She didn’t worry about time or judge herself for needing a process. This was what ultimately helped her focus on starting to run rather than feeling like a failure for not being a runner. 

5. Motivation has a shelf life and it’s best to acknowledge that

No one stays motivated for all 365 days of the year. First of all (particularly for those of us who live through winter seasons), coming down from the holidays can feel particularly harsh.

With the entire year still ahead of you and summer a million miles away, big life changes involving massive self-discipline can represent a serious challenge. Not to mention, when you have a whole year to achieve something, it’s easy to procrastinate—possibly forever.

Short-term daily or weekly goals tend to be more successful because you feel rewarded regularly and motivated to keep moving toward that next achievement. And then one day, you’ve accomplished something big, without even noticing how you got there.

What to do instead?

If something in your life’s got to give and you’re determined to make New Year’s resolutions, I do hope I’ve convinced you in a more general sense that one need not wait until January to implement change. That being said, I offer you these additional tips as well:

  • Put less pressure on yourself by setting well-integrated, forgiving intentions rather than die-hard, goal-oriented resolutions. The difference? An intention lacks the inherent succeed-or-fail opposition. It also values effort, experience, and process rather than only results, and is rooted in the present instead of the future.
  • Base your intentions on what you want to be doing rather than what you think you should be doing, and it’ll make all the difference in the world.
  • Frame it positively. Instead of telling yourself you will watch less TV, or drop that extra weight, or be more social, why not enroll in a dance class and commit to going?

Ultimately, as the American poet Carl Sandburg said, “beware of advice, even this.” No two people are wired the same way, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to self-improvement. One thing’s for sure, though: if you have the will, you got this.

More helpful articles:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/19/why-new-years-resolutions-dont-work/

This Boss Just Gave $10 Million in Holiday Bonuses to His 198 Employees

By | Finance, Food for thought, motivating, news, stories, uplifting news

It’s pretty common to feel like we’re in a position or career where we’re just going through the motions, trying to get to that next paycheck or the next vacation.

Yet, every now and then, we get a reminder that there are ways to manage a team and show them you care, it is alright to hope for, and expect better treatment from those we work with.

Companies from all over just got the best bit of holiday inspiration, via St. John Properties, a commercial real estate firm in the Mid-Atlantic, which just gave out $10 million in holiday bonuses to their employees!

He surprised every single employee

This incredible gift came during the company’s holiday party in Salt Lake City, Utah, where all 198 employees were presented with a sealed envelope. Then, company owner Edward St. John took to the stage and said each envelope contained a bonus check based on time with the company.

In total, the company ended up giving away $10 million in holiday bonuses at an average of $50,000 per employee.

“What happened tonight was magical. It is life changing,” said one tearful employee. “That was so generous.”

When St. John was asked what prompted him to give away such sizable bonuses, he simply said:

They’re the ones who make the boat go. Without the team, we are nothing—absolutely nothing.

A reminder of our potential

Sometimes, it may feel like our efforts at work or at home may go unnoticed but that’s why it’s important to recognize them on a personal level. In doing so, it helps us better appreciate our colleagues, family and friends for their own efforts.

When we show our appreciation, not only during the holiday season but every chance we get, we contribute to improving morale and team spirit. Furthermore, it helps to reminds us of our potential, both individual and collective, and leads us to the opportunities we deserve.

More inspiring stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/16/boss-gives-10-million-dollar-bonus-to-employees/

This One Lesson From Kevin Hart’s Late Mother Drove Him to Excel

By | career growth, comedians, family, Food for thought, Inspiring Celebrities, Kevin Hart, motivating, profile, relationships, success

Born in 1979 in Philadelphia, Kevin Hart is a successful stand-up comedian and actor who has consistently made us laugh over the last decade. He has built an amazing career out of his talent for captivating storytelling.

The entertainer is highly ambitious and a man of discipline. These were probably the main ingredients to Kevin’s recipe for success, which helped him go from almost nothing to more than he has ever dreamed of.

He started small but his dreams were big

While Hart’s life is now made of hit movies and seriously funny stand-up comedy shows, it hasn’t always been like this. But no matter where he was in his journey, he’s consistently had the support of the most important person in his life: his mother. She greatly contributed to making his trajectory a little smoother.

The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was strong. It may have affected my mom, but my mom was such a strong woman.

Kevin Hart for PEOPLE MAGAZINE

His first job was sizing men and women for footwear, but he had bigger plans for his future. He needed a job to help ends meet but he quit as soon as he realized that he could become a performer.

A single mom’s efforts

Hart and his older brother were raised by single mom Nancy. With a spouse lost in a life of drug addiction, Nancy had to remain strong for her boys. She worked as a Systems Analyst and did everything she could so that her two sons would receive proper education and stay off the streets. She was a religious, loving woman, yet, as Hart often portrays her in his shows, also intimidating.

In an interview with Oprah, Kevin recalled the moment when he took the biggest decision of his life and the way his mother reacted to it. He knew what he wanted to do, but he couldn’t do it without any help.

His mother supported him despite her religious values

Nancy didn’t really agree to her son’s aspirations. She hated all the cursing during his performances but she was supportive nonetheless. As he mentioned during an interview with Oprah, his mother told him:

You know what, Kevin? I’m not a dream killer. You tell me this is what you wanna do, I’m gonna let you do it. You got one year to prove to me that this is what you wanna do and that you can support yourself.

At first, Kevin didn’t do a great job in supporting himself. Regardless, he loved what he was doing and didn’t want to stop. He was building relationships that would later help him become famous. But at the time, meeting new people didn’t help to pay his rent.

This story of his beginnings and his mother’s help is one he has told many times. As he was about to get evicted, he sought his mother to ask for money. She insisted on telling him to read the Bible first before coming back to talk about his rent.

How was that going to help in such a situation? Well, once Kevin decided to open his Bible and read it just to please his mom, six cheques covering his rent fell out of it.

He was missing a little faith, but learned his lesson.

Kevin’s got many hilarious anecdotes involving his mother. If you’re a fan of his work, you’re probably familiar with what happened to him the first time he cursed in front of her.

Sadly, Kevin’s mother would not live to experience his breakthrough success, as she died of cancer in 2007. Hart only knew his mother was gravely ill a few weeks before her death.

He was devastated because he lost the person who believed in him and taught him to be the tireless and determined man that he is today.

As a religious person, Nancy Hart wasn’t the biggest fan of her son’s work and she didn’t talk too much about his career. She was, however, as supportive as it gets and proud of his success.

When he was cleaning out her house, Hart found a box filled with newspaper and magazine clippings of his interviews.

Anything I’d ever done, she had it […] She never missed anything.

The values she instilled in her two sons also remained. Kevin and his brother forgave their father for being absent during their upbringing and eventually helped him get through rehabilitation.

Regardless of my upbringing and the way I was raised and how often he was in my life, he’s my dad. I have a positive outlook on life regardless, and I’m going to love him because he’s my father.

The eternal appreciation of a son

Ever since releasing his first stand-up album I’m a Grown Little Man in 2009, he has gone on to achieving big Hollywood success, appearing in films like: Think Like a Man (2012), About Last Night (2014), Get Hard (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and The Upside (2019).

He’s also a fitness enthusiast with a strict schedule. He gets up every morning at 5:30, hits the gym, and then takes care of business. From entertainment to fashion, to wellness and financial education, Kevin Hart is now a business tycoon and one of the biggest stars on the planet.

His mother’s lessons live on

Hart mentions his mother almost every time he talks about his accomplishments. He knows that he wouldn’t have become the person he is today if it weren’t for the effort she put in raising him. Nancy encouraged him to always have a positive outlook on life and never give up on his dreams.

The values imparted by a mother, or by any role model, often help us in figuring out what kind of life we want to lead. Being grateful for the lessons and aligning our actions to these values, much like Kevin did, enable us to unlock our potential.

More inspiring stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/16/lesson-from-kevin-harts-mother-drove-him-to-excel/

This Father Lost 75 Pounds by Shifting His Priorities After Health Scare

By | Food for thought, motivating, physical health, stories, success stories, weekly column

Mike Ewing knew it was time to make a change after he was told he couldn’t get on a Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios.

He had been waiting in the queue for three hours, but just before it was his turn to get on board, a staff member took him aside and asked him to sit in a chair to verify the safety harness’ fit. 

Ewing was too big and didn’t fit, so he could not ride.

“It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life,” the 34-year-old owner of a HVAC company in Westminster, Maryland told Men’s Health

“To be so big you can’t fit on a Harry Potter ride. That was a real wake up call to me,” he said.

Ewing remembered being heavy for most of his life

He went out to restaurants a lot, had a habit of overeating, and paid little to no attention to his diet. 

At 28, he weighed 280 pounds and had to shop for clothes at big and tall stores. That’s when he began feeling self-conscious about his weight.

When he initially set on his weight loss journey, Ewing tackled his diet: he eliminated sugar and most carbs.

He got a personal trainer that challenged him to lift weights twice a week: one day was dedicated to upper body strengthening and the other was for his lower body.

“Not crazy, but a habit I’ve kept to this day,” he said.

Ewing was able to lose 30 pounds pretty fast and stopped his diet

He was able to maintain his weight loss until his health caught up with him. He suffered bowel infections and gout so debilitating, he had difficulty walking. 

A father to two young daughters, Ewing was determined to take charge and transform his life for good.

So, he went back on his diet and was able to drop another 45 pounds over the span of six months.

It was a lengthy journey for Ewing, but over seven years, he’s lost a total of 75 pounds. 

It’s a family affair

He credits his wife for keeping him motivated through it all; a few months into his weight loss transformation, she started her own.

“We helped each other out so much in this regard. Once you start seeing results it’s so much easier to keep going,” he said.

He’s looking to lose even more weight, with a final goal of 189 pounds.

Ewing now shops for regular clothes and fits into a 36-inch waist size, which he never could before.

He’s gained confidence in the process and more importantly feels proud that he can be present for his family.

“I am able to be a better father and husband now,” he says. “That’s really all that matters when it comes down to it.”

More transformation stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/13/transformation-story-mike-ewing/

She Lost Over 100 Pounds by Making This Promise to Herself

By | diet and nutrition, exercise, Food for thought, motivating, stories, success stories, weekly column

Like many, Kristina Schneider struggled with her weight throughout college, but after attending her 10-year high school reunion, she decided she had enough.

“It became apparent to me that the typical attempts at dieting resulted in a lot of yo-yo dieting and that was doing more damage on my body,” Schneider told POPSUGAR.

She played basketball in high school, which kept her in shape but once she went off to college, things started to change. During that time, she gained 100 pounds.

Her life-changing promise

Throughout her 20s and after graduating college, Schneider began making efforts to try and lose weight. 

She tried a number of diets, some of them more drastic than others, but she always found herself falling back on old habits, and gaining the weight she’d lost, back again.

But her 2009 high school reunion was an eye-opener and got her thinking about her health more seriously.

“I felt horrible and was completely embarrassed and ashamed. It was then that I knew I needed to do something and that this something had to be permanent,” she remembered.

How she made good on that promise

After many attempts at losing weight, Schneider started WW in 2008, and while she was able to lose some weight, she eventually gained it all back.

“My journey was certainly never linear. It’s been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs,” said Schneider.

Cutting out foods from her diet wasn’t working for her: “I would always find myself missing them and then binging hardcore on them, which would spiral me in the other direction.”

But then in 2009, she decided to give WW another try and this time, it stuck.

“What I loved about WW was that it did not feel like a diet to me unlike many of the other programs I had tried. It really taught me how to find that healthy balance you hear about.”

She turned back time by getting active

Kristen Schneider transformed herself-- and her life-- by making good on a promise to herself. She changed her habits to get the life she wanted.

At first, she didn’t work out at all — she decided to ease into her weight loss process and started off by taking walks. After a while, her friends began encouraging her to try out different activities, so she started incorporating different types of workouts into her routine. 

Today, she enjoys kickboxing, barre, yoga and strength training. “My core workouts are kickboxing and strength training, but I still like to mix things up,” said Schneider. 

She says she’s in better shape these days than she ever was in high school, and she’s returned to the basketball court.

I feel like I’m reliving my 20s again.

Over a 10 year period, she’s lost 105 pounds and has been able to maintain her weight loss by staying accountable and committing to never give up on herself ever again.

For Schneider, being able to travel with ease has been a huge bonus. “Between walking around and lugging your stuff through the airport, I would be out of breath and hot and sweaty by the time I got to the gate,” she explained.” But, that doesn’t happen anymore.

Her greatest victory

More than anything, she’s proud to have earned back the confidence she had lost.

“The biggest nonscale victory for me along this journey is a renewed sense of confidence, happiness, and a bright and bubbly personality,” Kristina said. “I want to go out and have fun with people. I want to take selfies and be in pictures.”

I want to live life to the fullest.

More transformation stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/06/transformation-story-kristina-schneider/

Man Loses 184 Pounds To Achieve His Dream of Being a Hero

By | diet and nutrition, exercise, Food for thought, motivating, stories, success stories, weekly column

Romar Lyle always dreamt of becoming a police officer, but as he started graduate school, he began to worry his weight would get in the way of making his dream come true.

At his heaviest, Lyle weighed more than 400 pounds and got used to the idea of a career in a forensics lab.

He was working as a graduate teaching assistant, but struggled to make friends. One day, his supervisor invited him to try out his gym. He was willing but skeptical.

The run that started Lyle’s journey

“I was just waiting for everyone to laugh at me,” Lyle, now 26, told TODAY.

“The workout was to run 400 meters and they told me to run 100 meters, just go down to the sign and come back. I remember running and a few steps in, I was out of breath. And I was like, ‘Here comes everyone laughing.’ I was so embarrassed.”

But to his surprise, Lyle didn’t hear any laughing. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

“All they were saying was ‘Keep going! I know it’s hard, keep going, you’re doing great!’” Lyle remembered.

As he ran slowly and had difficulty breathing, the coaches started running with him and cheered him on. Taken aback by how supportive everyone, he felt motivated to keep going to the gym.

“It wasn’t about the weight loss,” Lyle said. “It was about having a good time and doing something new and seeing what I could do every single day, whether it was to lift a little heavier or run a little bit further.”

The transformation began

Romar Lyle

Soon, Lyle started feeling different and started to notice how his body was changing.

“I lost all this weight and it didn’t feel as hard as I thought it would be,” he said. “I genuinely enjoyed what I did.”

Sometimes, he’d gain some of the weight he lost back because of his unhealthy eating habits but his coaches helped him make changes to his diet and learned to enjoy them.

“My coach kind of said, ‘Hey you don’t need to stop eating everything you enjoy,’” he explained. “So, I thought, ‘How can I make the dishes that I am used to in a healthier way?’”

After Lyle had gone six months without eating junk food when he had a fast food chicken sandwich, and when he felt ill afterwards, he realized it wasn’t only his weight that was changing.

“I just got so sick,” Lyle said. “My body wasn’t used to it anymore. It made it so much easier to say, ‘I’m not that person anymore. I am focusing on a healthier me.’”

His dream became possible

Since 2015, Lyle has lost 184 pounds, 30 of which he dropped during the seven months he studied at the police academy. He spends about an hour and a half at the gym most days and makes sure to get in some exercise every day, even if it means just talking a walk. He now weighs 222 pounds.

Lyle graduated from the academy and turned his dream into a reality: he currently serves as a police officer for the Richmond Police Department in Virginia.

“Having the physical ability to do those things pushed me further to say, ‘Yes I want to lose the weight. Yes this is where I want to be,’” said Lyle. “I have learned to re-embrace a challenge and not to quit.”

More transformation stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/11/22/transformation-story-romar-lyle/