When the blonde haired, blue eyed little girl walked into my gym, with her pigtails barely scraping the bottom of her mothers puffy coat, I knew I was in trouble. She addressed me as Mr. Falcon, and asked if she could leave a collection bin in my gym for her grade school shoe drive. After saying yes, and setting up the bin near the treadmills, I was relieved. This little girl could have asked for the keys to my Jeep, and I would have said yes, so being asked to contribute to a good cause was a relief. As the weeks ensued, gathering gently used shoes was easy. As the bin began to fill with what was once very expensive footwear, I couldn't help but think back to my own childhood. 

My mother worked very hard to ensure all of my needs were met. I always had food in my belly, and clothes on my back, but when it came to my feet, I was often 2 steps behind. You see reaching adolescence in the early 90's meant only one thing when it came to footwear...Nike. Kids would do almost anything to have the newest pair of swoosh branded kicks garnishing their tube socks. From theft, to world-class pleading, they tried it all, but there was no amount of begging that would get me inside the hottest pair of new sneakers. In my little world of low expectations and high arches, I felt like all my peers were just doing it, and the best I could do was just dream about it.

Fast forward 25 years, and I am no longer concerned with how trendy my footwear is. If the shoe fits, I'll wear it, however one thing still lingers with me after all this time. The idea of "just doing it." It no longer brings up feelings of inadequacy, but rather concern for how it is that we live our lives. The average person will do exercises they read about in a magazine, eat food they hear about on a talk show, and wear clothes they see on a double zero mannequin, without questioning whether these things are truly the right fit for them. This is a lifestyle driven by a just do it mentality, rather than a why do it mentality. We need to pause and ask ourselves one simple question before we act. "Why am I doing this?" By asking ourselves "why" before we act, we allow ourselves the opportunity to sever our attachment to the world of "should", and open doors to a decision making process based on growth. Growth based decisions will not always be fashion forward, but they will always brings you one step closer to something greater…self acceptance.

Here are 4 steps to bring you closer to making growth based decisions.

1. Listen first- How often do you find yourself waiting for your chance to speak, rather than really listening to what's happening around you? The world is full of messages, but they only have value when you are open to receiving them.

2. Know your destination- Without vision it is hard to know where you are going. Take the time to think about what kind of life you want to live tomorrow , so that you may become one step closer to living it today.

3. Go against the grain- Don't be afraid to stand out, even if your actions or beliefs seem a bit outdated. Figure out what skin you feel good in, and present it to the world with confidence.

4. Take "your" time- Recognize that this is your life. Take ownership of it by slowing down and allowing yourself the opportunity to be in the moment.

"Just do it" are good words for the tongues of shoes, but "why do It" are great words for the lives of people. Especially if a fourth grader does ask you for the keys to your car!

Chris Falcon is a Certified Personal Trainer, founder of Reactive Performance Enhancement Center, and creator of The Multi-Mode Method of Eating™. He is dedicated to helping people feel their best through healthy living on all levels.

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