What a week it’s been! Julie and I have been so excited to bring you the Renew You Kickstart, and now that we are rolling down the tracks with the basics, it is time to talk about Leveling Up and Next Steps on this journey.  

What?  You thought you were done?

Oh no….au contraire, Lifers!  This journey has JUST begun.

Listen to the Podcast

To listen to the Day 7: Leveling Up and Next Steps Podcast and follow along, please click the player or the download link below.

Download MP3 (48.7 MB)

Recap the Renew You Kickstart

Leveling Up, Next Steps,  Renew You, Health and Fitness
Julie and I worked together in the Living Room on this campaign – January 2019

When Julie and I came up with the idea of the Renew You Kickstart, we were driving to Winona, Minnesota, to see our son Ryan.  We though this would be a great way to get us moving, eating better and working on our mindset in 2019.

We weren’t sure if the Small Scale Life Community or if other folks would be interested in this kind of thing, but we were pleasantly surprised.  As of today we have had 37 people (including Julie and I) participating.  I am sure we have others participating who did not sign up since our podcasts on the Renew You Kickstart have had 400 to 500 downloads per episode!  That is pretty impressive, and it is pretty exciting!

During this process, Julie and I learned some new technology and new systems, and we started an e-mail list.  We will be learning from this experience for the next Renew You Kickstart that will be rolling out in the second quarter of 2019!  At the same time, we will be expanding the content of this Health and Fitness Renew You Kickstart going forward, but more on that later. We will be leveling up our content production and technology for the next Renew You Kickstart in the Second Quarter of 2019!

Leveling Up

Leveling Up, Next Steps,  Renew You, Health and Fitness
Jump right in! Julie and Lisa gearing up for their Triathalon – August 2018

Julie and I have discussed making a lot of changes to our ordinary, everyday lives this week.  We have encouraged you to change three key aspects of your life: movement, nutrition and mindset.  For long term success, you have to start, be consistent and take things low and slow at first.  Like in long distance running, if you start in an all-out sprint at the beginning, you will eventually get frustrated, burn out and quit.  We tend to quit just before significant change starts to happen!  You never know: you might be a few bites or steps away from making some real progress.

As you move forward on your journey, you will want to increase your efforts over time.  We’ll discuss what that could look like for each area: movement, nutrition and mindset.


“I started working out this week, and I am SO SORE!” 

Michael Bell and I discussed Basic Movement this week in a podcast.  We discussed how sore folks might be once they started getting active, and Julie and I have had some reports from participants they they were indeed sore this week!  Soreness is natural; you are using muscles that might not have had much activity in a while.  Soreness is a sign that you stretched those muscles, and your body is naturally going to repair them.  This is how you get stronger: your body repairs muscle and they get bigger.

As your body gets stronger, you will want to add distance, time frequency and/or resistance to your workouts.  This is leveling up for movement!  For example:

  • Instead of walking, riding a bike or swimming for 15 minutes, go for 30 minutes
  • Increase the speed and incline of the treadmill so your body (and muscles) need to work harder
  • Start training with weights, resistance bends, sandbags or kettle bells.  You might need an instructor to show you how to properly use equipment before starting this practice.  Always be safe!
  • Take a class: yoga, SPIN class, body flow, others.  Working out with others is a good way to support each other and try new methods of exercise.
  • Kevin Geary from Rebooted Body says that people should get functional fitness by doing activities they love: hike, kayak, canoe, walk, play tennis, etc.  It doesn’t feel like a boring “workout” because you will be doing something you love!

Movement is medicine for your body.  You will start low and slow, but you will eventually feel strong enough to challenge yourself.  That is precisely what should happen and what leveling up looks like for movement!


“I hate vegetables, especially bell peppers!”

When we started this journey, many of us have had a steady diet of processed and sugar-infused food and drinks.  If you take something out of your pantry or cupboard right now, can you even pronounce the stuff on the label?  I am an engineer, and I cannot!  What is this crap?

Incorporating natural and whole foods takes time.  We have grown up on pop tarts, diet drinks and ready-made food in a microwave.  Our taste buds aren’t used to eating real food!  

If you are struggling with eating and drinking real food, we suggest starting where you are and focus on one meal.  What food items can you eat that reduces the processed junk and introduces real food during that meal?  How about lunch?  Maybe you can cut the processed microwave meal or take out and eat a Mason Jar Salad containing lettuce, meat, craisens, nuts, a little cheese and some light salad dressing?  That would be a great new start to improve your nutrition that you can pre-make on your day off!

Start small!  When you feel confident and have mastered that meal, move to the next meal.  This is what leveling up for nutrition looks like.


“I have worked so hard this week and my weight went up! What the hell?  I am going to quit this stupid stuff!  It never works anyway!”

You know, I had this exact thought today. I am not going to lie. My weight actually went up two pounds as of this morning.  Yes, it did, and yes, I was mad about it.  This is a true story, and I am not being dramatic to get your attention.

We are going to have victories, and we are going to have setbacks on this journey.  While we are improving our body and eating better, we also need to be focusing on our mindset.  Stinkin thinkin has derailed me more times than I can count, and while you might have lost a few pounds this week, there will be times ahead where you “hit the plateau” (stall on the scale) or actually gain weight!

Working on your mindset truly is the secret sauce in this journey to become more healthy and fit, and it is lacking in so many diet programs.  This is life: we are going to need to be able to deal with stinkin thinkin, doubt, emotions, setbacks and failures.  

As we move along this journey, we need to work our brain as much as we work on our muscles and stomach.  To do this, we need to replace “willpower, motivation and discipline” with planning, meditation and journaling.  Here’s why:

  • Planning takes out the immediate doubt of what we will be eating for our meals in 24 Hours and a week
  • Meditation helps us focus on what and who are important while improving our ability to cope with emotions, setbacks and failures
  • Journaling helps us get it all out and down on paper so that we can find ways to cope with stresses and life.

We don’t need willpower, motivation and discipline because this is what we are doing now.  Each time we plan, meditate and journal, we are laying the groundwork for success. We are taking the mystery, doubt and guesswork and mystery out of this journey.  We can be confident that we will succeed, grateful for the good stuff and people in our lives and ready to get stuff done!  

Be still and quiet.  Start with simple bullet points on your 24 Hour Plan, and after time, add a little more as you reflect on what is happening on this journey and in your life.  This is what leveling up for mindset looks like and based on our own experiences, you’ll be glad you did!   

Leveling Up the Small Stuff

Leveling Up, Next Steps,  Renew You, Health and Fitness
Tom and Ryan working out – March 2016

Everything works together when you commit to and execute the small stuff.  What is the small stuff?  The small stuff are things that are easily overlooked as we focus on the big three (movement, nutrition and mindset), but are just as, if not more, important than the big three.  Here are a few of the small stuff things that we need to focus on leveling up as we learn, do and grow:

Complete the 24 Hour Plan

It is just a simple one-page sheet, but remember: when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Complete the plan daily, and do not forget to review your day!  That is where you take a look at what worked and what didn’t, and you can start to see trends over the long haul.  I know we are all busy, but commit to completing the 24 Hour Plan all the way. 

  You might be surprised at what you learn.

Drink Water

I was drinking a solid 44 ounces to 88 ounces of Diet Dew a day in the past.  That is about 0.7 gallon of diet drinks a day!  I am kicking my Diet Dew habit and replacing it with water.  This isn’t easy; water doesn’t have carbonation or a sugary taste, but I am doing it anyway.  The key is to keep drinking water to stay hydrated, and if you have to replace that Diet Dew with something, how about a sparkling water? 

As a rule of thumb, you should start drinking at least 64 ounces of water and eventually level up to half your body weight in water.  For me, that’s a lot of water!

Get Sleep

Sleep is another critical component of weight loss.  Your body needs the down time to repair and restore itself.  The fact of the matter is that we are sleep deprived.  As the night owl in this family, it is tough for me to force myself to go to sleep earlier, but getting a solid 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night is such a game-changer!  You can think clearly and won’t bite the heads off of family, friends and coworkers.

Level up by starting to go to bed at a set time, and stick to it!

Next Steps

Success, purpose, planning, preparation, midweek motivation, 3Ps of Success
Runners walking to the Starting Line in the Zumbro 100 Endurance Run in driving snow – April 2018

Julie and I really enjoyed putting this Health and Fitness Renew You Kickstart together.  It really helped synthesize and crystallize what we are doing in our lives going forward. 

We need to do the following things for our Next Steps:

  • Commit to doing the work for ourselves. No skill is learned without practice and execution.  We have to do the work consistently, no matter what that damn scale says.
  • Print out the 24 Hour Plans, use them and put them in a binder.  They will help you see progress and trends over time.
  • Show up on a daily basis and do something.  Even if you are going through the motions, it is much better than doing nothing at all.  
  • Don’t give up! Giving up now is giving up on yourself.  Stop doing that  You have value, and Julie and I want you to win.
  • Work through plateaus.  During this journey, you will stall and hot plateaus.  It happens to all of us.  When it happens, our bodies are adjusting.  You might even gain weight during this process! Remember: your body is undergoing change, and stalling or gaining weight might just happen.  Don’t panic and don’t give up (it’s easy to do that, I know)! Look at your 24 Hour Plans and focus on those little things.  You might need to be more consistent; you might need to add resistance; you might need to change your routine.  Making small adjustments might help you break through to the other side.  Be patient, but make adjustments and do the work!

Your Turn

What feedback do you have?

Julie and I want to hear from you!  We want to keep the momentum going, so we would like to hear from you on the following topics:

  1. How is it going?  Do you have one success or win this week?
  2. What questions do you have?

Julie and I would love to use your comments for a Question and Answer Podcast and Article, so send us your feedback to realsmallscalelife [at] gmail [dot] com or through the Contact page at Small Scale Life.
We will be back soon with more on the Health and Fitness Renew You Kickstart.  In the meantime, remember to learn, do, grow and be a little better each day!  Good luck and go get em, Lifers!

Listen to the Podcast

To listen to the Day 7: Leveling Up and Next Steps Podcast and follow along, please click the player or the download link below.

Download MP3 (48.7 MB)