In 2006 his cancer returned. Already having beaten it once, and despite being a young, fit, former world-champion Tae Kwon Do martial artist in his early thirties, Alwyn Cosgrove was being challenged with the fight for his life.

The survival rate for those who deal with Stage IV cancer is slim. Yet with the support of his wife Rachel, and his never-give-up attitude, Alwyn won the battle, and remains cancer free over five years later.

As a result of his life-threatening experiences, Alwyn now has less time than ever for worrying about petty details, negative people, or the minutiae that often stresses out the average person. Like Lance Armstrong, Alwyn is quick to remind me that he “only has good days and great days”. There are no bad days now compared to what he had gone through in the past.

Alwyn’s attitude on life and wisdom about the world are just two of the reasons that he remains one of the few fitness experts I subscribe to and look forward to hearing from each week.

It’s also because every few months Alwyn sends an email that reads like a cold bucket of water to the face. I want to share his latest with you today. It was sent on April 1st, but has just as much – and perhaps even a greater impact – today.

Here’s what Alwyn wrote:

“So here we are again. Today marks the 25% point of the year. Sorry – it’s not an April fools joke.

The entire first quarter of 2012 has already passed– we are now three months into 2012. 90 days are gone forever.

Are you on track with those New Years Resolutions? Are you on track with your goals?

If you wanted to lose 20lbs this year – are you down 5lbs already?
If your goal was to do 250 workouts – have you completed 62 ?

It’s amazing how time passes so quickly. If you need a “do–over” then I’m going to give you one. You can REDO your New Years Resolutions right now and get started all over again. That’s right – I’m letting you off the hook – but don’t waste a single second.

If your goal is (insert anything here) – start TODAY !

25% of this year is gone forever. Will you make changes TODAY or will another 25% pass, then another 25% –– and before you know it – it will be 2013.

I meet a lot of people in my job, and get a lot of questions via email. I’ll talk to guys who track every single macronutrient that passes their lips, and have tried just about every program out there. When I ask them how things are going, they’ll tell me that it’s great, or that the program is working well.

However, very few people actually measure and take stock of their efforts. If you are following a plan to lose fat – are you actually losing fat? And I mean at a rate that is acceptable for your efforts? Or are you blindly following a plan that doesn’t work, and essentially ignoring that?

I know where my progress towards my goals stand because I measure it.

When I was in the hospital for a stem cell transplant – the medical team took measurements of temperature, blood pressure and blood samples every 4 hours.

When we implement a marketing campaign at the gym, we track the results. We know for example how many direct mail pieces we send out, the cost of each mailing, how many inquiries we get, how many appointments are made, and how many people join the gym as a result. We know exactly how effective the plan is, and whether the return we are seeing is worth the investment.

We can see that for $X invested, we receive a return of $Y.

We need to know where our membership stands – how many inquiries, how many new members, renewals, etc., and when our busiest times are. Everything is measured and tracked so we can continue to grow and serve our members.

If you remember “SMART” goal setting –– one of the keys is ‘M’ – Measurable. Measure your results.

As we enter the second quarter of 2012, it’s time to take stock of your efforts. Has your current return been worth the investment?

Again, 25% of this year is gone forever. Will you make changes TODAY or will another three months pass, then another six –– and before you know it – it will be 2013.

Don’t waste a single second. Start TODAY.

Where will you be at the 50% point – July 1st? That’s 12 weeks away. Will you be 12 weeks leaner – down 12, or even 16lbs of fat?

Will your business demonstrate 12 weeks further growth – will you be 12 weeks closer to your goals?

The time will pass anyway.”

Thanks Alwyn, I love these reminders you send.

To me, the last line is the knockout punch. The time will pass anyway. The time is passing right now. Soon another day will be gone. Will you be any closer to your goals? If not, what can you do right now to change that?

If it’s better health that you want, be proud of the healthy changes you are making in your life. There are many more folks secretly wishing someone will take charge and be a healthy role model for them. It might not happen overnight, but if you continue to lead by healthy example – without preaching or being condescending – you can build an entourage of social support and people who want to be healthy like you.

If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not making any progress, one solution is to put more urgency into your life. Here’s what you need to do.

First, identify what it is that you truly want to accomplish. Second, outline what you need to do to get there. And third, give yourself a deadline. (Bonus fourth step: Cut that deadline by 20%. Don’t worry, you’ll reach it.)

These steps are simple, but effective, because they combine the power of a vision with the urgency of a deadline to help you finally accomplish the dreams that have been on your list for what seems like forever.

[Ed. Note: Alwyn Cosgrove is the owner of Results Fitness, Santa Clarita, California’s Number One Fitness and Sports Training Facility. He is a regular contributor to Men’s Health magazine and the co-author of several workout books, including his latest, “The New Rules of Lifting for Life” with Lou Schuler.] [Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the author of the invaluable dream–achievement book, “How to Set Goals“. It is now available for only 99 cents on Amazon. This book will show you how to overcome the limiting beliefs that others – and perhaps even yourself – have about your success. Pass the links along, your friends will thank you for it. ]

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Craig Ballantyne has been the Editor of Early to Rise since 2011. He’s also a Strength & Conditioning coach in Toronto, author of Turbulence Training, a contributing author to Men’s Health magazine, and a member of the Training Advisory Board for Maximum Fitness and Oxygen magazines. TurbulenceTraining.com features Craig’s best-selling Turbulence Training for Fat Loss program and TTmembers.com offers access to all of his Turbulence Training workouts and video clips (for men, women, mass-building, athletes, and bodyweight-only workouts). Craig also has an advanced research background, completing a Master of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He continues to study the latest training, supplementation, and nutrition research to help clients improve health and wellness, as well as their physical and mental performance. Twitter @craigballantyne