Email:tomdolanfitness@gmail.comPhone:217-463-2040Address:120 E. Wood St., Paris, IL, 61944

Change isn’t always comfortable. It involves risks. To reach new levels, it takes work and preparation, but sometimes, you just have to go for it. 

For years, I’ve been going to Las Vegas every Spring for a National Taekwondo tournament. One time we took the kids with us and were walking near our hotel, when we found an “M & M” outlet store with a 3-Story Climbing wall inside!

To climb the Matterhorn shaped wall, you harnessed up on the bottom floor and took one of several paths up the mountain, using the hand holds. An “M & M” employee would stand below and hold the rope that controlled your harness from a pulley up on top. 

It was completely safe. If you lost your grip, they’d just lower you back down. You’ve probably seen similar setups at the county fair. But this one was huge. 

Family members would wait upstairs on the 2nd or 3rd floor and watch your progress. Of course the kids scampered up like squirrels. 

When it was my turn, it looked a lot different than looking down from the balcony. The handholds seemed smaller and harder to reach. There was also a surprise on the “adult” route. 

Halfway up, the grips were placed just a little too far apart. You couldn’t comfortably reach them. You couldn’t even stretch and reach them. There was only one option: you had to go for it. And I just couldn’t do it. 

I couldn’t let go the grip I had, and trust that I could reach the next one. I was frozen. I couldn’t move. Finally, after a couple minutes, they told me to jump backward and they’d lower me down. 

I was embarrassed. A Black Belt, expert in Martial Arts, “successful entrepreneur”, and fitness guy, and I couldn’t do it. What really burned me was I knew that I was harnessed in. Nothing could happen. If I missed, they’d just lower me down. 

Everyone was nice enough, but I stewed about it the rest of the day and all evening. By the next morning, I’d had enough. I had to go back and try it again. We all tromped back to the M & M store and they all waited upstairs while I went down and got harnessed in. 

I was so steamed that I charged up the base of the mountain. As I approached the point of no return, my head was screaming, “Just go for it. If you miss, they’ll lower you down. Just go for it.”

I knew if I slowed down, I’d freeze, so I went for it. When my other hand found the handhold, I remember thinking, “Yeah!!!” It felt amazing. I had a little more climbing to do, but the hardest part was behind me. 

A short time later, I was perched at the top, grinning like the kid I’d become again. I’d also learned an important lesson. Sometimes, you just have to go for it. 


We just had a pretty good weigh-in for Biggest Loser “30” in Week 6. What impressed me was how well the group rallied. Week 4 had been a typical plateau week, and some of them had some trouble in Week 5, too.

This is when most people quit, if they’re going to. It’s when half the people call it quits. Two weeks in a row without results is just too much sometimes. But not this group.

Not only did they stick with it, but they bounced back in style. All but one lost weight, and that one had some medical issues.

The winner had lost weight the week before, but I’d challenged her to set a new goal. She didn’t think she’d have another good week, but decided to go for it and ended up losing 3.6 lbs!

We’re halfway through February, and some people have already given up on making a change in 2017. They’ve started, run into resistance, and already quit. Some didn’t even start. But why?

I think it may have something to do with how they set goals. Performance Coach Zig Ziglar was often fond of saying: “When you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.” But when you have something to aim at, you’re much more likely to achieve it.

Goals that aren’t written down are like tossing pennies in a well. You’re wishing. Writing things down, takes dreams and brings them into focus. It takes desires and turns them into opportunities.

You see, once you write something down, you have to deal with it. It’s no longer some nebulous thing that you might get around to doing. It’s in the real world now, sitting there, staring you in the face.

You’re no longer “hoping for something”, you’re actively thinking about how to do it. So here are a few questions that may help you get back on track.

1. What do you really want? Be specific. “I want to get hired at _______________.” “I want to go back to school at ________________.” “I want to lose ___________ pounds.” It has to be realistic.

2. When do you want to achieve it? You have to have a time line, but some part of it has to be in the now. Be specific. “I want to lose _________ lbs by _____________.

3. Why do you want it? You need a BIG reason why. It has to be important, urgent even, or you just won’t do it. Find your reason why.

Finally, write stuff down. Create a list, and start taking action. Write down the important things you need to do. Once you’ve done it, check it off.

Give yourself some credit for accomplishing something, and then move on to the next thing. If you don’t get to something, move it to the next day.

Every day, make a new list of critical tasks. Some things will move to the top of the list. Some may drop down. That’s ok. But at least you’re thinking about it.

Some things are going to stay on the list for awhile. That’s ok too. It helps keep you focused. It’s the physical act of writing them down regularly that gives you power, and purpose.

Get some leverage on yourself. Get some momentum. Write it down. You can do it.


We’re excited to announce a new martial arts class called Warrior Krav Maga is starting tonight, Wednesday, January 18th at Tom’s Fitness.

Krav Maga is an Israeli self-defense system that was designed to be brutally effective in dangerous self-defense situations. With quick, easy to learn responses, Krav Maga will empower anyone to be able to defend a violent attack, and get away. It’s also a great workout too!

Classes will be Mon and Wed from 6:30-7:25pm, with Sat morning classes offered on most Saturdays. This is an adult class. Wear comfortable workout shoes and clothing, and come prepared to have fun and sweat!

Your first visit is free, so come and give it a try. You’ll love it!

After taking stock on 2016, our next step is usually to set some new goals for 2017. Maybe you’ve already done this. Perhaps you haven’t. Either way, I hope this is of some use to you. 

Sometimes you need to just continue doing what you’re doing. If you’ve been working toward a goal not yet achieved, that’s fine. You’re on your way. Stay on track and keep making progress. Hold your throttle down.

Often times, we realize that for some reason, we just didn’t get the job done. Perhaps we fell way short of a goal, or even fell off the wagon. Not good, but that’s ok. It’s time to pick up. If that goal is still important to you, the answer is simply to just get started again. 

This happens a lot with people trying to lose weight. You go down, then up, then down, then back up again. It’s so common, they have a name for it: “The Yo-Yo Syndrome.”

Rather than spend too much time beating yourself up, you might as well let it go. Sure, you need to resolve to do better, and make a new commitment. But in the end, you really have to just get started again. 

Just treat it like a new goal. Here are a few things you can do to make your goal much more likely to be achieved. If you do these things, I promise you’ll do better this year. 

Make your goal very specific, as in “I want to lose 30 lbs.” If it’s too general, like “I want to lose some weight”, it won’t have enough power to pull you into it. 

Put a time frame on it, like “I want to lose 30 lbs by the start of Summer.” Now this is more meaningful, and it has some urgency to it. You can also see that you have five months to lose the 30 lbs. That means you’d have to lose 6 lbs a month, or 1.5 pounds a week. That’s very doable. 

Your goal also needs to be measurable. That helps you keep track of how things are going. It lets you see what kind of progress you’re making. Or lack of progress. Either way, you know how you’re doing. 

Of course, weight loss is very measurable. That’s why we do weekly weigh-ins. Just know that I don’t put too much stock in any one measurement. Things can vary. Now two good weeks in a row tells me something, and three is a trend. But you’ve got to measure it!

Finally, goals need to be realistic. They have to be attainable. One way to look at this, is by studying what other people have done. Were they similar to you, without any extra advantages? Then you can do it too. Let me repeat. You can do it too. 

Break down your large goals into smaller ones. Keep the big picture in mind, but focus on the weekly progress. If the goal is to lose 30 pounds, it’s the smaller goals of a pound a week that will get you there. Little successes lead to big ones. 

Be diligent in your efforts. If you remain focused, you’ll get what you want. But if you get sloppy in your efforts, you won’t want what you get. In the end, you don’t have to be great or amazing. You simply have to be determined.

If you have more daily successes than failures, you’ll succeed. That’s because every day, you’re getting a little bit closer. Success usually isn’t one massive breakthrough, it’s a series of smaller ones. 

Stay committed. Be all in on it. If you fall off a little bit, get over it. Get back on it. You can do it. Remember, just get started, again. 

Next time, I’ll finish this series with some tricks you can use to get the ball rolling. 

Master Tom Dolan
6th Degree Black Belt
M.A. Exercise Physiology

Looking Back To Move Forward. 

As we turn toward 2017, we have yet another opportunity to make our lives better. Sure, we have this chance all the time, but the New Year always seems to bring this into sharper focus. 

Sometimes it helps to think about what went right, and what went wrong in 2016. If it’s been working, great! Keep on doing it. Do it more; maybe do it better. But if it isn’t working, perhaps it’s time to admit it. 

My martial arts and business mentor, Chief Master Phil Minton, taught me we can only improve when we’re honest about things. Even successes can be made better. And when something isn’t working, we have to figure out why, so we can make the needed adjustments. 

It’s not always easy, because it’s hard to admit mistakes, or poor decisions. But if we can have a moment of clarity and just be honest with ourselves, it can open the door for growth and change, wherever we might be. 

When we look back, we might see it wasn’t a big deal, at least at first. It might have been a series of little things that “crept up” on us. We may have gotten a little busy, or just a little lazy. 

Perhaps we let some better habits go (just that once), and then we did it again. Before we knew it, we lost our discipline. That’s when the real choice was made. We could surrender to the wrong, or fight to make it right. We still have that choice, even now. 

Once we know our need, we can make a plan. It’s the decision to change that gets us started, but it’s the plan that takes us there. We’ve also got to actually follow the plan, and stick to it. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Dave Ramsey, who says: “Adults devise a plan and follow it. Children do what feels good.” His point is, even as adults, we often act like children. 

We do what feels good at the moment, rather than keeping the goal in mind. Most of the times I’ve struggled, I’ve lost sight of the big picture. I’ve lost sight of the plan. 

As we move into the New Year, and start thinking about new goals, let’s take a moment to look back. Let’s be thankful for our successes, and pray for wisdom about the future. 

Next time, we’ll look at goal setting. To all who I’ve had the privilege of knowing this past year, thank you for your trust and support. May you have a happy and transformative New Year!

Master Tom Dolan

Biggest Loser “30” will begin just in time to help you start the new year. A great Christmas gift to yourself or a loved one, Biggest Loser at Tom’s Fitness is just $100 for the 7 week program. Biggest Loser participants weigh-in every Monday night, and get FREE access to our popular Boot Camp Workouts, every MWF at 5:30 pm! Don’t miss it. Make a decision, and “Just Get Started!”

Our next 16-Hour IL Concealed Carry Class will be on 12/9, 12/10, and 12/11. The class meets Fri night from 6-9pm, Sat from 8-5pm, and Sun from 12-6pm. The classroom portion will be held in our multi-purpose room, and the live fire practice and qualification will take place at Tom’s private shooting range. The cost is $175. Discounts for current and former military and IL Hunter Safety. For more information, please visit

After a break for a few months, we’re excited to launch Biggest Loser “28” on Monday the 22nd! Over the last 15 year, hundreds of people have learned how to Eat Right and Exercise Smart in 27 different Biggest Loser groups. We’ll jump start your weight loss program with weekly weigh-ins and FREE Boot Camp Workouts, MWF’s at 5:30 pm. Cost is $100 for the 7 week program!

In the last couple weeks, we’ve looked at how leaders are planners, and how leaders take action. This week, I want to talk about some other characteristics of leaders. 

Good leaders know how to communicate their own personal vision. Great leaders inspire people to make that vision their own. 

One of the most compelling ways we can communicate is to share one’s belief in something. An even more powerful way of communicating is by demonstrating that belief. We do this by putting what we say into practice in our own lives. 

Kids growing up in families where exercise and working out is a culture, tend to be more active than kids from families that don’t. It’s the same thing with faith. If a family lives out their faith, the whole family tends to do it. 

If you grow up around a culture of hunting, you’re likely to enjoy hunting yourself, and are at least familiar with the whole process. just like families that are “gear heads,” building and racing cars. Their kids typically know their way around a garage and a wrench. 

Rachel Cruze says, “More is caught than taught.” This means that people often learn more from what they observe about you than from what they hear from you. 

Leaders also never stop learning. They listen, evaluate and make course corrections. They’re willing to admit mistakes, and change direction when necessary. All of these things require communication. 

But before any of that, a leader has to communicate that they care. I’ve heard this quote from several speakers, but it’s originally attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Communicate that, and you’ll be able to communicate everything else. Sometimes you don’t even need words. Remember, “It’s not just what you say, it’s what you do!”