Cuz nobody likes a grumpus
I’m generally a pretty happy guy.
I enjoy my life, love my job, have a few hobbies, and am blessed with the best friends in the world.
Like anyone else, though, I have bad days; sometimes, terrible days. Days when maybe things go wrong, or don’t work out as planned. Hell, even days when I just get up on the wrong side of the bed and walk around being grumpy for three hours for no apparent reason.
But while I can’t avoid bad days altogether, I can do better at minimizing the frequency of such days, and the impact each one has.
And so can you.
To help you, I’ve got this handy list of things you can do and ways you can cope to make the bad days not so bad—just little “tricks” to help brighten a day that seems a bit gloomy.
This isn’t my normal fitness schtick, but it’s something that has been of great value to me. I hope you enjoy it.
You may have surmised that I’m a bit of a momma’s boy—which is why I’m putting this one first. My mom is absolutely the most important person in my life, and one of the main driving forces behind everything I’ve done and everything I hope to achieve.
But she’s also a royal pain in my ass.
Italian mothers wield guilt like a Samurai wields a Katana. Anytime she calls me, I assume she’s going to scold me for not calling her, or to tell me the chicken cutlets she made went to waste because I didn’t come over for dinner.
That said, no one loves you like your mother. Anytime I’m having a problem or I need advice, Momma Roman is there to lend an ear. More importantly, anytime I’ve been down in the dumps, she’s helped to give me perspective, offer support, or just make my favorite dinner.
My mother is the strongest women in the world. She raised two children by herself, worked her way up several ladders with no college degree, and instilled in me the value of hard work. She’s also exceptionally wise and empathetic; when it comes to helping me out, she knows how to speak my language. If I’m depressed, she gives insight beyond the typical clichés, and helps me understand how to either get over it, or get my head out of my ass and fix it.
And the best part is, even if she can’t help directly, she makes me some meatballs, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so bad.
So, seriously—if you need a pick-me-up, give your mom a call.
Thanks, Momma Roman.
I do this all the time. I decide, you know what? It’s time for the world to be just a tiny bit different. And so, I make up my own rules. Start a trend.
For example, last year I decided that the word “bro” would not be pronounced “bru.” A small change, but one I think needed to be made. It’s caught on in fitness circles, and somehow it worked it’s way onto the Jersey Shore. Okay, that wasn’t really my intent, but it happened.
Along other lines, I have decided that the high-five is now obsolete. As technology advances, so too must social interaction. To that end, I have been giving people what I call a “wi-five.” This is a wireless high five—basically, it’s a high five where you don’t touch (wireless, get it?).
And because it’s wireless, you can send a wi-five through text or email, or, in the case of my friends, give them from across the room while out at a bar.
But this rule is important for more than high fives and bros. The real point is to look at situations and ‘rules’ from different perspectives. When feeling constrained, confused, or contrite, ask yourself: “Does this really make sense, objectively? Does this situation need to be this way, or are the ‘rules’ not as hard and fast as they seem?”
At any minute of the day, I like to be able to ask myself, “What am I doing, and why am I doing it?” The ability to simply stop and force yourself to reanalyse what’s taking place—from training to business to interpersonal relationships—is critical for overcoming obstacles and preventing them from arising in the first place.
Change the world—leave a mark on society. Change a rule.
This one is more fitness related, obviously, but still very relevant. No matter how good the program you’re using is, sometimes you just hit a “rut.” You can get a bit bored.
Now, the instinct for many people is to switch programs—but you know better, because you read my blog and you know that program hopping is a cardinal sin in the Book of Roman.
So, if you can’t switch programs, what do you do? In my experience, if you want to brighten up your training program (and your day), the easiest way to do it is to work out out somewhere else.
Hitting a new gym for the day is always cool – the set up is different, the atmosphere is different, the whole experience is different. It’s change of pace that often leads to a better workout.
If you need to jazz up your workout, get a guest pass at a new gym.
One of the unfortunate truths of life is that as we get older, we grow apart from people. We get busy, our lives go in different directions, we get wrapped up in work or relationships. But, just because you don’t hang out, it doesn’t mean you don’t care, and that’s never more apparent then when you actually get together with old friends.
Recently, my buddy Rob was having a rough go of things, so I hopped in the car and drove from NYC to Fairfax, Virginia to hang out with him. I cursed him every second of the way because of the traffic, but when I got there and saw how relieved he was to see me, it was all worthwhile. Rob and I go back about 13 years, and hanging out and retelling stories and sharing private jokes was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. We laughed for about four hours straight.
Now, you can’t always free up enough time for a 7-hour drive, but I wager you can free up 20 minutes for a phone call. Even if you stalk someone on Facebook and have a general idea what’s going on in their life, call someone you care about but don’t see often, let them know you’re thinking about them, and just be an awesome friend.
It’ll brighten your day, and probably theirs. Double win.
Just so we’re on the same page, Osmosis is movement from high concentration to lower concentration. In this context, I’m talking about the movement of personal energy.
Some people are just electric—they have the highest concentration of personal energy imaginable. You probably know someone like this—they just exude energy and passion. I’ve been told that I fall into this category, and I used to believe that… until I met Gary Vaynerchuk.
This guy outstrips me by a mile when it comes to energy.
I train Gary at 7am, which means I get up at 5:30 or so to be there on time. Often, I grumble as I reluctantly drag myself out of bed, but by the time I’m done with our session, I am on top of the world. Even on those days where I’m stressing about something unrelated to early mornings, Gary’s energy and exuberance is contagious—it moves from Gary’s extremely high concentration to my own slightly lower concentration.
People like Gary are priceless; so if you know someone who fits the bill, put ’em on speed dial for days when you need brightening. The best part is, people like that get joy out of helping people. Double win again.
In keeping with the last point, you can switch it and give your energy or knowledge to someone else. I recently posted on my Facebook that there is absolutely no better feeling than helping someone achieve their goals. I truly believe that with. I’m never more satisfied than when someone achieves a goal, and I was a help to him or her along the way.
This is certainly true with my fitness coaching clients and the people who use my programs—their successes are my successes and I get so much out of hearing about them. When my coaching client Andrew Edwards posted on my wall that he hit a PR of 225 on the front squat, it felt better than any time I personally hit PR. It’s so weird how that works.
Along other lines, I get tremendous satisfaction with my one of my new passions: working with my Business Coaching clients.
It’s crazy just how much enjoyment I get out of helping people take the next step with their businesses.
About a week ago, I had lunch with Liz DiAlto, an awesome NYC-based trainer who works with a lot of women, getting them ready for everything from red carpet stuff to weddings with her Wild Soul Movements system.
Chatting with her about how to build her brand (and why she should) got me psyched; in addition to knowing she’d do well by taking my advice, I was also impressed by her existing skillsets: Liz is smart, drive, has excellent salesmanship, and, as a CSCS, knows her shit about training. She also gets cool points because she trains Suzanne Johnson, the wife of NY JETS owner Woody Johnson. Score!
Between Liz and my new Business Coaching client, Sirena Bernal, a Boston-based nutrition expert and lifestyle specialist, who I am helping to transition into the online fitness realm, I see limitless potential. Both of these women have said they aim to be the “female version of Roman.” I have no idea what that even means, but I’m pretty sure it’s awesome.
Helping others and helping yourself (emotionally) cannot be separated—being a coach, a teacher, or a friend is simply too satisfying. Which means that the act helps them, you, the world, and Unicorns.
If you’re not already helping someone, do so.
Best. Idea. Ever.
Sometimes, even though I work out from home and ostensibly make my own schedule, I need to take a mental health day. It’s cool, but even that can be stressful—after all, it’s not like the world stops because you do. For entrepreneurs, and anyone whose job is task-oriented instead of time-oriented, missing work means your work doesn’t get done, so you stress even more about missing it.
Not like when you were a kid. God, remember when you were a kid, and you stayed home from school? That was it. You just relaxed and got better. Kids have it made.
So, I decided that’s the way it should be done.
My thought was that if the problem with not enjoying your sick day is because you’re an adult, stop being an adult for the day.
Seriously.When I take a “sick day” I mimic the sick days of my youth.
When I was a kid and I missed school, I’d sit in my bed, play video games, and watch the same three movies, over and over and over and over. From the time I was 5 until I was 12, I never deviated from my pattern. I’d watch the Karate Kid, the Goonies, and the Monster Squad.
What’s the Monster Squad, you ask!? Well, it’s a lot like the Goonies, only instead of a rag-tag group of kids facing off against pirates, it’s a bunch of misfits squaring off against Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy and other monsters.
If you’re thinking, “that sounds dumb” you are fucking WRONG.
It’s awesome. Here’s a trailer:
Anyway, whenever I’m sick or just need a day off, I create a day as close to I can, and I’ve found it’s the cure for both stress and the common cold. In fact, I had a 9-year old sick day just two weeks ago, and this movie was still great. Wolfman, my friends, has got nards.
Next time you need to check out of the world for the day, do it like a kid and you’ll never look back.
Oh, man. Yearbooks. I can’t even describe the hilarity contained in there. Yearbooks can cheer you up for any number of reasons, and they only get better with age. If you want to cheer yourself up, just crack open your high school yearbook and get ready to laugh. If you’re a masochist, just go through and look for the candid shots of yourself, just being an idiot teenager.
The last time I was moving, I happened to thumb through my Senior Yearbook as I was packing up—and there I was, in my mock turtle neck, fleece vest and cargo pants, looking for all the world like I just stepped out of an N*Sync video. I laughed so damn hard that any stress from the moving process melted away.
From there, I checked out some of the notes left by friends, and got to reminisce a bit.
Hard to be grumpy when you can’t stop laughing at yourself.
And no, I won’t show you pictures.
This may sound a bit girly, but I keep a journal.
It’s true. I don’t write in it every single day, but when I do I try to be detailed. I started doing this because it one day occurred to me that if I am willing to keep training logs and record every single workout I’ve done over 15 years, I should probably document some other important things in my life. Besides, all great men keep journals, from Aristotle to Ben Franklin.
One of the advantages of journaling is that you have the ability to look back and sort of “re-live” past events, only with the benefit of perspective. Recently, whenever I’m having a problem—as in, an actual problem, something more than just a rough day—I find it helpful to go back and read through some of the problems I had 6 or 7 years ago.
There were some moments of real confusion, where I felt completely unsure of a number of things, all at once. I went through a terrible break-up, didn’t know if I was on the right path, and was generally questioning most things in my life.
In short, I was 23.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Aw, c’mon, Roman, you were 23, how bad could your problems have been?” Well, that’s kinda where I’m going with this.
Looking back at it, some of what I wrote about doesn’t seem like a big deal, and on some level I start to wonder if I was in the emotional throes of youth, prone to fits of melancholy and dramatic exaggeration.
However, I guess my point is that they sure as hell seemed bad at the time; in fact, looking at journals, there are moments when—between the angst and the pontificating—I can sense some legitimate pain. That was a dark time for me.
But I got through it. More importantly, looking back at it me gives me no choice but to acknowledge that I got through it.
At this point in my life, when I feel so sure of myself and my future, when I no longer question if I’m on the right path, I still run into problems; and, yeah, some of them seem bad. And when they loom large and start to overwhelm me, I re-read the old journals and just reevaluate. If confused-23-year-old Roman got through his problems, then capable-old-man-who-can-usually-handle-his-shit Roman can get through his, too. I guess it’s just way of reaffirming that—no matter what—this too, shall pass.
You know, just making this list brightened my day up. It’s a great way to put yourself in a good mood and remind yourself to take things lightly. Above all, this was fun. I recommend it wholeheartedly =)
Speaking of which…