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How to Stop Living ‘Paycheck to Paycheck’ (and we’re not talking money)

By Jeff Giosi | In CrossFit, Coffee, & Community | on February 10, 2016

It’s February already! I hope everyone did well with January’s challenge to cut added sugar and artificial sweeteners. Did you find it surprising to see artificial sweeteners pop up on so many ingredient lists? My beautiful wife and I used it as a catalyst to begin making our own protein bars at home. Honestly, they’re pretty awesome, so I’ve shared the recipe at the bottom! I also want to thank two of my favorite companies for helping me through the month: Perfect Bar and Fuel For Fire!


Now, we are officially one month into 2016! Are you still pushing so hard your goals and resolutions are in reach? Or did they already steam roll you? Either way, no problem! It’s a new month and, as always, tomorrow is another chance to live your best life! You just have to make that choice.

Too many times in life we find ourselves living paycheck to paycheck. For the sake of this discussion ‘paycheck to paycheck’ is not limited to financial standing. Now Later“I am going to finish school as soon as I…,” “My life is going to be wonderful once Ms./Mr. Right shows up,” “Once I get the dream job my life will be perfect,” “As soon as my schedule clears I’ll make it to the gym and get in shape” (but you won’t, because your schedule only gets busier) and the list goes on and on.

This is actually a blog I started writing three years ago while living on a friend’s couch. In every way, I was living paycheck to paycheck. I was working a construction job and making very little money. During this time I was applying at every Fire Department in the Mid-Atlantic region, and I just kept saying to myself “Everything is going to be awesome when I get that job.” I would have steady work, great pay, and I was going to start living my best life! I couldn’t wait. The only problem, is that is all I was doing. Waiting!

I put all my stock in my circumstances believing that once they changed, I would change. Somehow, magically, I would get hired, relocate to an amazing new city, meet a perfect woman, and live happily ever after. As each day slipped away, I was no closer to the life I knew I wanted. Daily, while shoveling muddy trenches, I kept thinking “my life will be perfect when…” Here’s the thing, in all Quitthe waiting I was missing my life. I forgot to live! I decided this time period was just a ‘phase’, and got so invested in my discontented circumstances that I neglected the here and now. Spoiler alert: Four years later I am still in Morgantown, West Virginia; I do miss my fire-fighting days but I now have my ideal career, and I’m married to the woman of my dreams!

How did that happen? I stopped letting circumstances control me. Winners win and losers lose. It really is that simple. Each day I had the mindset of a loser. I was so unhappy with where I was, I was wasting who I am! I was depressed, I accepted defeat, and I started believing I may be digging trenches for the rest of my life. So what happened? How did I go from living paycheck to paycheck, to living my dream every single day?

I stopped believing I was a loser and thinking my circumstances determined me. I opened an account in my life and started making deposits. (A worth-while investment.) I began making purposeful decisions and stopped letting life just happen. I controlled my circumstances, and you can too! Here’s how:

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

  1. Work while you’re waiting. If you’re waiting for Ms. Right, start making yourself Mr. Right!
  2. Stop playing the blame game. If you aren’t where you want to be it’s not because of him, or her, or school, or work, or your mom, or because you’re too busy, etc. It’s because of you. Take responsibility 6 steps imagefor your actions.
  3. Figure out what is most important to you. To me it was God, my family and friends, and my community! They were and are my “Why”, so I base my decisions around them. What makes you tick? It may be health, career, money. There is no wrong answer here. Be honest with yourself.
  4. Stop staring at a door you want to open and missing all the doors around you that are already open. I was so focused on being somewhere else in my life, that I missed opportunities to use my talents here and now. Make a list of your skills, and how can you use them today.
  5. Get a support staff. I did not go from couch surfing to owning a gym without amazing people to help me. Some of my best friends were the ones who, for lack of a better term, told me to get my head out of my butt! Cultivate relationships with people who want the best for you.
  6. Be Present! Never stop dreaming and writing down your goals, but don’t create an alternate reality of what could be. Be in the now and work toward those dreams!

And there it is. Once I followed these steps and started being present, an opportunity presented itself (thanks to my parents) to get my CrossFit Level 1 certification. Once I had that, I started coaching at CrossFit Morgantown. Four months later my best friend, Kent McBride, sold his share of the business to me. Then, just three months after that, I convinced a true West Virginia mountain momma to go on a date with me, which has led to our beautiful marriage.

Stop allowing circumstances to be the foundation for your future. Quit living your life ‘paycheck to paycheck’.


Feb Challenge Card

It can be as simple as taking the stairs to your car, or walking around the next time you’re on your phone. Just make a mindful decision to move and SWEAT every day.

Need help sweating? Schedule your FREE CrossFit Morgantown intro session below. 


February Recipe of the Month

The Giosi At Home Protein Bars

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, No Added Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners


Please note: I encourage you to play around with your favorite dried fruits and spices. We always use oats as the base, but have toyed with a variety of different ingredients and combinations. Below is our one of personal favorites.

  • 2 cups quick oats (we use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free)
  • ½ cup egg white protein (we chose egg white protein because it was gluten and sugar free)
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax (we found that using whole flax seeds works just as well)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. goji berries, dried (no added sugar!)
  • ½ cup dates, dried (no added sugar!)
  • ¼ cup almond butter (we use Justin’s Classic)
  • ¼ cup honey (The Honey News: We aren’t honey experts, but we’ve done a lot of research and it seems that the majority of what is sold in the grocery store in not “real” honey. Don’t let the word “natural” trick you. It’s ideal for it to be pure or “raw”. Processing and pasteurizing the honey removes the pollen as well as other valuable vitamins and enzymes, supposedly eliminating the actual benefits of eating honey. Any honey that does not contain bee pollen is not “real” honey according to the FDA. There is some controversy around all of this, but it seems that if you are not having real honey then you may be just as good to use organic sugar. We recommend buying local and doing your own research. – It’s a sticky situation.)
  • ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F. Mix up all of the ingredients (it is useful to mix dry and wet ingredients separately and then combine, especially when using raw honey). Pour into a baking dish, spread evenly, and press down the sides. Bake until the edges turn brown (15-20 minutes). Remove, cool, and cut into bars. Right after cutting, we place ours in individual containers so we can grab them on the go.


About Jeff Gios

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