self reflection

I had a rough weekend

It started great Saturday morning with me teaching classes in Encino and then getting the chance to deliver my “5 Pillars of Health” presentation to members.

I love getting to present new and (at least to me) exciting ways to improve health and wellness, so I was feeling really good until I arrived home at about 12:30pm and tried to log into my ARENAFITNESS.COM email address and…..nope.

Huh, that’s weird, let me try again…..nope. What the hell is happening? Okay, one more time……nope, and now it says the account has been disabled!


A sequence of freaking out, ineffective deep-breathing exercises, a lot of cursing and the dog hiding under the bed followed for the next SEVERAL HOURS as I desperately tried to reach someone at Google for help (nearly impossible if you’re locked out of your account, even if you have a PAID G Suites account for your business, like I do).

With help from friends I was finally able to submit a form requesting help and got an email response from Google that BEGAN THE LONG PROCESS of getting reactivated.

My email address is the admin log in for the company account with Google, and it’s also the account that receives ALL my business and personal email. Every hour that passed I was missing emails and the people who were sending them to me were getting a response saying the account was disabled.

What were people going to think? Are people going to think Arena is out of business? What about vendors, banks, any company for which my email address was the contact? What about appointment confirmations and reminders and such?

How badly is this going to screw me up????

In the midst of it, which is when I began writing this post, I arrived at a few lessons, even though I continued freaking out (but at much lower intensities).

LESSON 1: Change your password constantly and make sure you have someone else as an admin, too, on your G Suite account in case this ever happens. And set up two-step verification!

Yeah, that was the technical lesson, and it’s an important one, but there are two others that are perhaps more important:

LESSON 2: Set “office hours”

This is actually an idea I presented in my “5 Pillars” workshop and it hit me hard Saturday just hours after delivering it.

It was really bad that my email was disabled, but a separate and equal issue was:

Why was I checking email at 12:30pm on Saturday AFTER my work shift had ended?

I was finished with my work week and it was time for me to unplug, relax, enjoy time with my wife, have fun and decompress so I can come back fresh on Monday morning and hopefully deliver great fitness to our members.

Checking email was in impulse, a habit. It happened without even thinking.

I am so conditioned to continually look at my smart phone, a device that has been referred to as a “slot machine in your pocket,” that I constantly pull it out without even realizing it and start scanning my work email (or social media) without even knowing it!

This isn’t good. For any of us. And I know that YOU do it, too.

When did it become the norm to work 24/7?

When did office hours dissolve so that we feel obligated to be connected to clients, co-workers, friends and our boss at any time of the day?

We are not evolutionarily adapted to being “always on.” It creates a chronic, low-level stress that degrades our health and happiness. The research is clear on this.

We need to create “office hours” during which time we are available to our work place and the outer world and then go offline so that we can engage in our lives away from work and with our family.

We need to do this not so that we can abandon our responsibilities and not because we don’t love our work.

We need to do this so that we can regenerate, decompress, and come back able to share the very best of who we are with our work.

LESSON 3: Control what you can control

My wife and I watched a new show Saturday in the midst of my email nightmare called “Bless This Mess,” and there was a very timely scene in it.

This is important, so please check this out.

The main male character, Mike, is crushed that a rain storm he was expecting wasn’t going to come as planned to water his newly planted crop. It was devastating news that put him in a deep funk. He and his wife, Rio, had planned to go to a neighbor’s potluck and have fun but he was so depressed he opted out, which was a great disappointment to his wife who went without him.

Rudy, a neighbor, starts chiding him about the fact that he skipped the potluck to stay home and mope and this exchange followed:

RUDY: “You go be with your wife.”

MIKE: “Rudy, I would love to go with my wife to a potluck, but it’s not gonna rain, and we don’t have any money to buy an irrigation system!”

RUDY: “Can you make it rain?”

MIKE: “No.”

RUDY: “Can you make the wind change direction?”

MIKE: “No.”

RUDY: “What’s the one thing you CAN do?”

The one thing he COULD DO was go to the potluck with his wife, who wanted him there.

What’s the lesson here?

We can only control what we can control.

It wasn’t my fault my account got hacked. I was doing EVERYTHING I could to get it reinstated. It was no use moping and staring at my computer and yelling at the sky. So, I surrendered to that and went back to my weekend and ended up having fun despite the email issue that hovered in the background.

When you’re working on improving your health, all you can do is what you can do. You can’t control nature. You can only manage your actions and behaviors.

If you want to lose body fat or improve your health in some other way, what you can manage are your exercise habits and your approach to healthy eating, getting enough sleep and managing stress. But you can’t control physiology, you can’t manipulate time, you can’t force nature.

DO what you CAN, control what you can control, and then stop staring in the mirror waiting for abs to appear and allow the process to unfold.

So, remember:

1. Protect your time. Live your life. Turn off your phone, stop looking at email and mindlessly scrolling through social media. Life is OUT HERE, not in your phone, I don’t know of a single study that says that spending a ton of time on your smartphone is healthy for you.

2. You can’t make it rain. So stop trying.

3. Go change your password. Now. Trust me on this.

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Jonathan Aluzas is co-owner of Arena Fitness, a fitness center that offers group training in Encino as well as personal training in Northridge.