Creating Sustainable Change Using a Minimal Viable Threshold Mindset

Apr 30, 2021 | Health, Podcast

Listen to the full episode here:

In This Episode

Our health and wellness is reliably achieved through sustainable habit change. But, how does a person create this change when they have tried and failed many times over. Is change still possible? In this episode, we’re talking with a member of the Elite HRV community, Dean Dwyer, who shares his personal story of transformation. And how at age 53 he figured out how to fix the underlying mindset that was preventing him from having the body he truly wanted. Whether you’re working on your body, your business, or any aspect of your life, the principle of “minimal viable threshold” may be the key that unlocks sustainable habit change for you.

Episode Guest

Dean Dwyer

Dean Dwyer is on a personal journey to master his mindset and to share what he learns along the way. As a coach, he helps people change how they look by changing what they think regardless of their age, genetic make up, or past failures.



Social Media:

Show Notes:

01:00 – Dean’s story and what prompted him to change

05:03 – The evolution of Dean’s journey

07:55 – Minimum viable threshold explained

18:08 – How mindset changes lead to behavior changes and how these concepts travel from domain to domain

22:10 – The Mindset Miracle: Mindset, Behaviors, Outcomes

36:15 – Using HRV to measure and manage change

42:55 – Where to find Dean

Episode Transcript

0:00:01.2 Welcome to the Elite HRV Podcast, where experts share their experience using heart rate variability and other biomarkers to optimize health and human performance.

0:00:15.1 Jef Fry: Welcome back to the Elite HRV Podcast. I’m Jef Fry, your host for today’s episode, and with me today is a man by the name of Dean Dwyer. Welcome the show, Dean.

0:00:31.4 Dean Dwyer: Thank you very much, Jef.

0:00:34.1 JF: Hey, so let’s dive in. In one of your recent podcasts, you mentioned how what you do is not dissimilar to what a mental conditioning coach of a professional athlete might do, and I really just love that comparison. So, I was hoping we could start off the show today, Dean and unpack a bit more about what it is you do and give our audience a quick bio leading up to that.

0:00:58.9 DD: Sure. And I’ll start with the bio, just to give context to this, but I’ve probably got a story that a lot of people can relate to, which is for the better part of half a century, I’ve struggled with my weight. I’ve had successes and then… But ultimately, always sort of failed at this. And so when I was 53, I sat down and I had this, there were a lot of realizations, and there continue to be a lot of realizations, but one of my big ones was that how I look impacts how I show up in the world.

0:01:31.3 DD: And I thought if I don’t… Like it has an impact on every other area of my life. And so if I don’t feel like I’m showing up completely as myself because I don’t like how I look, then there’s no way that I can bring as much as I wanna bring to the relationships I have, to the work that I do, to the community involvement that I wanna have, all those sorts of things. And so I thought, I’ve gotta figure out a way to not only solve the problem, but sustain it beyond just a couple of months that, I was looking at years and decades. And so that was the journey I went on and when I got to 54, I started out at 195, and I was probably somewhere between 22 and 25% body fat, and I managed to lose 40 pounds and down to about 10% body fat, and I thought… And I did it, Jef, in a way that was very different than what most people do.

0:02:21.0 DD: There’s a lot of work that I’ve done on building habits for myself, behavior change habits, and figuring out not just how to change a behavior, but actually to sustain it, which is much harder than adopting a behavior is being able to sustain that long-term. One of the things I knew I could do, like I thought I could change how I look by doing what I used to do in the past, which is like, I’d work out for 30 to 60 minutes a day, but I thought, that actually isn’t… People who work for a living, who have families, who have children, who have partners, who are involved in their community, who have extended family, you don’t have time to suddenly add two hours to your day to now go and do something that you weren’t doing before. And I think that, that’s the one thing that a lot of people forget when they’re following people is that you have to look at their circumstances. Like I’m not going to follow some 25-year-old kid who is in great shape, but has never been overweight, ’cause he doesn’t get it.

0:03:22.0 DD: He doesn’t know what that’s like. And so I feel like one of the advantages I have now is, you can’t look at me and say, “Oh, he’s gifted genetically or”, like I’m not. All you gotta do is look at my before picture and you go like, “Oh my God, he was hideous!” So… And you look at it and you say, “Okay, and he was 53 when he did that.” And so I feel like I have a story now that people could look at and they could say, you know what, I do… That provides hope where they think, “I could do this.”

0:03:55.2 DD: And as an example, so my training, I work really hard to make sure it’s only 10 minutes a day, and I know some people might question that and say, “Oh, come on, you can’t possibly have gotten what you got doing only 10 minutes a day.” Some days it might be 12 minutes or whatever. Sometimes I’m playing around with new moves and I’ll experiment, but I work really hard at getting my 10 minutes and then when my 10 minutes are done, they’re done, ’cause I thought, if I can do this and I can sustain it, then somebody else will look at that and say, “Yeah, I could find 10 minutes over the course of my day to do stuff,” and so yeah, I wanted what I’m doing to be…

0:04:35.7 DD: I wanted to live the model, I wanted people to have a picture in their head and say… I know a lot of people say, “Hey, if I can do it, you can do it.” And I feel like that’s actually not true in most cases because again, we don’t really know what people are doing behind the scenes, I don’t… Like you said, if I’m immersed in this and this is my life, and I’m spending two hours in the gym, and… That’s not the same as, again, somebody who’s got a family and got kids.

0:05:03.6 JF: I wanna reiterate that for our audience. I encourage everyone to go to our show notes and look at the before and after of Dean Dwyer and go to his website and check it out, and see exactly what he’s accomplished over the course of what sounds like six months, he lost 40 pounds. Correct me if I’m wrong, is that right, Dean?

0:05:22.9 DD: That is correct, yes.

0:05:25.4 JF: Yeah, he lost 40 pounds at the age of 54, over the course of six months. And it sounds like you did it the [0:05:31.9] ____ at least the [0:05:32.4] ____ time, you were working out, you’re exercising like 10 minutes a day. Is that all right?

0:05:37.9 DD: Well, actually, it evolved to 10 minutes. So the way that I approached it, Jef, was, so when I start… So I spent a lot of time rethinking, like I thought, I know if I do this the way I’ve always done it, which is I dive in and I’m an extreme junkie, I love extreme solutions, so I’ve gravitated to things like P90X, which is a fantastic program but it’s extremely… It’s extreme, it’s 45 to 60 minutes, six days a week. And I’ve done that. I did that for 90 days back in 2010. And nobody knew. Nobody knew I did anything. You couldn’t tell. My after picture looked like most people’s before, but I thought if I just do what I’ve always done, I know how this… This is gonna end badly. In two or three months, I’m gonna be right back where I was before. So I actually spent a lot of time really rethinking, looking back at all my failures and I thought, “What are the commonalities in all my failures and how do I learn from that so that I can put together something that will actually work long-term this time… ” ‘Cause I had never really thought long-term, I always…

0:06:44.4 DD: When we get into this, everybody, we think about it simply as weight and I didn’t know it was gonna be 40 pounds. To be honest, I didn’t even think that was achievable. I thought if I could get to 170… I remember being in university, my second year in university, and I got down to 169. So I thought, wow, if I can get back to 170, that would be awesome. But I really sort of looked at this and I thought, it’s gotta be different. And the one thing that I noticed in all my failures in the past, and I wrote an Instagram post about this, was that I would start something that would work and then I stopped doing that thing, whatever it was.

0:07:21.6 DD: Now, there were two reasons I stopped, either it was too extreme and it wasn’t sustainable, so I made a note of that. I thought, anything I do has to be sustainable. And the other one was I just… I got over-confident and I started thinking, “Oh, I don’t need to do this anymore. I can… I can get away with not doing this. And that was sort of sort of the kiss of death, so… Yeah, I spent a lot of time, Jef, this time around, thinking about everything that I could do to sort of make sure that I would have long-term success. And the way that I thought about it, I created this term for myself called the Minimum Viable Threshold. I thought, my goal here is where most of us go into this… As an example, when people decide that they’re going to lose weight, the first thing they usually do is they join a gym and they start doing some crazy exercise program that requires them to invest 45 minutes of their time and day or whatever.

0:08:12.0 DD: I said, don’t do that. Don’t do that, everybody does that. Nobody ever tests to see, what’s the minimum that I need to do to get the results I want? So Jef, when I started, I didn’t even… It wasn’t even 10 minutes, I realized I didn’t actually enjoy working out, but working out was important for me because it would change what my body looked like, ’cause I had man boobs going on, and I’m like, okay, I need to do something to tighten this thing up, otherwise, it doesn’t matter if I lose 25 pounds and everything is hanging like a pair of socks, it’s gonna look terrible, so I gotta do something to tighten it up.

0:08:46.4 DD: So actually in the first month, I thought, okay, let’s just condition myself to show up and do whatever it is I say I’m gonna do. It was a 100 push-ups, which took me… I would do them in sets of 20 or 25, and I would time myself, and that took me about three minutes over the course of a day. I periodically would stop, I’d take a strategic pause and I would drop down and do 25 push-ups. And then when I got to 100, that was it. So that’s all I did for the first month. And then once I felt like, okay, I got this, I’ve got this under control and I’m committed to this, let’s bundle another behavior together. And then I started doing core because I realized for me, if I feel lean, it changes how I carry myself. Even though nothing’s changed, I still weigh the same, I still look the same, but when my core is tight, I feel lean, and it changes how I feel in my clothes and how I’m showing up in the world, so then I started doing five minutes of core work.

0:09:43.4 DD: So just whatever, whatever I could think of, I would just do 30-second sets. So I would do my 100 push-ups and then I was doing five-minute core. And then the next month, I thought, okay, I bundled those two together, let’s bundle a third, and then I started doing pull-ups, which I couldn’t do and I didn’t like doing, but I thought that’s a high leverage activity, and so I thought, I gotta teach myself how to fall in love with pull-ups. And I could only do three, so I did a set of three, and then the next day I did a set of three, and then later on the day, I did a set of two and so I was doing five a day, and that’s kind of how I went about approaching this, but… Yeah, it evolved over time. And then I realized, I was doing something one day and I started calling it 10-minute Body. And so for the last, I would say, eight or nine months, it’s been 10-minute Body. And I work really, really hard to keep it to the 10 minutes.

0:10:34.2 JF: Yeah, that’s still amazing that you’re able to sustain the body that you have now at an age of 54, with just 10 minutes a day. It’s truly remarkable. So I’d encourage all of our listeners to check out Dean’s Instagram just to see, just to witness what he’s doing because…

0:10:52.6 DD: My shameless, topless photos.

0:10:53.5 JF: Your shameless, topless photos. You know what? I think people need to see it. And visuals are very powerful, and so I don’t think you should feel ashamed about that at all. I think that’s exactly what you need to be doing. I think it’s really powerful.

0:11:07.8 DD: Thanks. Can I jump in on that for a sec?

0:11:11.6 JF: Sure.

0:11:11.7 DD: Yeah, I know, I was just gonna say too, I think the other reason that I do that is that I am actively working on changing the way that I see myself because I’ve been… I have not liked the body that I had for most of my life. I was always frustrated with how I looked, I never… I always had this visual in my head of who I thought I could be and I was never there, and so the Instagram feed actually acts as a way to reprogram how I see myself, so that I no longer see that guy that would wear baggy clothes to hide his body. That every day it reinforces the new look that I have. So it actually plays a really pivotal role, and initially I did feel weird about it initially because I would… The videos I film, I film them for me, I’m not filming them for Instagram, I film them for me, because when I’m shirtless, I can actually see the muscle groups that are working, and that is really motivating as well too, because it’s another way that I would gauge my progress, I’d be like, oh, you see muscle separation, so I’m really like, oh, I didn’t see that before.

0:12:13.2 DD: And then I got to the point where I thought, okay, I’m gonna start sharing this. And I got over that fairly quickly, but I was pretty self-conscious the first few times that I did it, and I kinda do many jokes about it now being a shameless self-promotion. But you’re right, I think people need to see it so that they… Yeah, just so that they know… ‘Cause I said, I don’t… There are a lot of people too that post an after picture and then… But that after picture was from three years ago and so it’s not up to date. So I thought if I’m posting this too then people will see that I’ve been able to sustain it because my message about sustainability is actually more important because that’s actually… Sustainability is harder than losing weight but anyway, that’s another topic we can talk about later.

0:12:54.3 JF: No, I love that. Well, I do wanna go back to something that you were saying because I think it’s gonna resonate with so many people. As a nutritionist, I work with a lot of people who have that sort of black and white mentality when it comes to things. I think that’s why January New Year’s resolutions are such a big deal is because so many of us function that way, that we’re either on or off. I think that’s kind of what you were talking about, we’re either on something or we’re off something. And I love… I absolutely love this concept of minimal viable threshold because that sort of contrasts this natural black and white tendency that so much of us have, and it says, not what’s the maximum I can do, but what’s the minimum I can do and do… Ostensibly, with some of these behaviors, ostensibly forever. Can I do this forever? So to speak. And when you start thinking about things in that way, you really start to think about, okay, yes, I can do… You start to think about, what’s the minimum I can do? Not what’s the maximum. And that’s sort of a mind… A shift that is really difficult to make, but I think once you make it and once you see success from it, you get it, you get the power in that.

0:14:20.2 DD: It’s so counterintuitive to the way that we are thought to think about solutions, right, because every solution out there is some extreme version of something. It’s seven days for this or 30 days for that, or 90 days for this, and so we have been programmed to think that change is supposed to happen really fast, but nobody thinks about, what happens after you get the result? What do you do? What happens? Well, for most people, they end up… What ends up happening with a really extreme solution is we do a reverse countdown. So I remember when I was doing the P90X thing, which I wanna say is a fantastic program, but I said it’s too…

0:14:58.4 DD: I’m an extreme junkie, but it wasn’t sustainable. It was just, there was so much resistance around doing that every single day, but I did get through 90 days, but the way I was approaching it was… I remember, I did the first day and I thought 89 left to go, and then it was 88, 87. So we do this reverse countdown. The problem with a reverse countdown is when you get to zero, is that there’s nowhere to go, and so we…

0:15:22.4 DD: And I remember I got to zero and I thought, okay, it doesn’t look like I’ve done anything, so I’ll just do it again. And that lasted one day because it was just too extreme and it wasn’t sustainable. It burned us out, so I thought, okay, if I… I’m gonna do it this time, but again, I’m gonna come out at the other end. I’m just gonna start playing around, what’s the least, what’s the least I need to do? And then once I find the threshold… And I continue to play with that, I continue to… I’ll give you an example of something I just recently tweaked. So one thing that I was doing was 10,000 steps a day.

0:15:57.1 DD: So for me, it’s always about sort of always sort of addressing the resistance that comes with something. If there’s too much resistance, we’re gonna stop doing it, so I’m always very aware of that when I start feeling resistance to something, which is why 10 minutes is a challenge for me, but it’s doable. Again, if I put it to 15 or 20 minutes, I probably wouldn’t continue with it. So I realized that for me, 10 minutes is, it pushes me and it challenges me, but it’s doable. So the 10,000 steps, I started feeling resistance with that ’cause I’d go out for a walk and I come home and I go, oh, shoot, I still have to do 2500 steps. So then I would go either back out or while I was out on my walk, I started zigzag-ing all over the place. It wasn’t enjoyable anymore. So I thought, you know what, let go of the 10,000 steps thing and just put in a number, I thought what’s ultimately important is that walking, for me, it gets me outdoors, I get myself some vitamin D and it’s like a walking meditation that I enjoy doing. So let’s put the fun back into it. So take the 10,000 off the table, cut it in half, I wanna get… At minimum, I wanna get 5,000 a day, and then if I get more than that, that’s a bonus.

0:17:04.3 DD: Last night, I walked like a mad man, I got 25,000 steps. Now that’s an unusual day. But again, the minimum is just get your 5,000 steps in and then anything beyond that is a bonus. And it brought the joy back into that, ’cause now I’m going out for a walk and I’m actually enjoying it and I’m not… I’m not looking at my steps going, “Oh, okay, I better walk backwards and walk over this way,” and those sorts of things, so it’s always, Jef, about removing resistance so that it is ultimately sustainable long-term.

0:17:36.2 JF: Yeah, no, I love that, and I love the way that you think about these things because with so many things, with so many things, it’s all about talking about how we do things like this new thing, this new thing you can take, this new protocol you can do to get the results that you want, and we will then maybe give a quick nod to, you need to have the right mentality around it, and then… That’s all we say about it, right? But what you do is you focus on the mindset and that comes with all different sorts of behavior change in all different domains in life. We’re focusing mostly on diet and exercise and health up to this point, but it really is applicable in any domain in which you’d like to have some sort of behavior change, is that changing of the mindset, or focusing on the mindset and the power behind that.

0:18:37.6 DD: That’s the beauty of mindset as it travel… It travels to other domains, so you can look at other disciplines and take the same cont… The minimum viable threshold also applies if you’re a writer, what’s the least you need to write in order to feel that you have… You’ve put in whatever effort you wanna put in? What’s the least number of emails that I need to respond to, to feel like I’m managing my inbox? It applies anywhere. What’s the minimum I need to do to build a much better relationship. Right?

0:19:12.5 DD: Yeah, I love that… I’m always thinking about concepts that travel and man, the other thing that I really work hard doing is saying, okay, like don’t… We have a bias, Jef, we have what I call context bias, is that we take an idea that we hear in one space and we only think it applies in that one space. And one of the things that… One of the skills that I’m really great at is… So for example, I don’t read weight loss books, I read business books, and I take the principles, ’cause I believe building a success… The reason I call it a successful body is that it’s run on the same principles, as building a successful business.

0:19:50.6 DD: So I read, like Jim Collins has written a whole bunch of books about business, why businesses fail, Good to Great, Great by Choice, all the concepts I would be reading the book and I’d be underlining and highlighting in the margins, and I’d say this applies to a successful body, this applies to a successful body. So the principles travel, we just… It’s not a way that we’re conditioned to think, we don’t teach people to think this way in school, so I think that’s one of the areas that I can provide real value is to get people to sort of think differently about not only the ideas that they’re going to invest in, which is also a key word now that I’ve started using with my language, is that I’m a behavior investor… I consider myself like Warren Buffett, but I’m a behavior in investors, or sorry, I’m a behavior in… Sorry… I’m an investor in behaviors rather than an investor in companies, so… Did I say that one…

0:20:49.6 JF: I love that. Yeah.

0:20:49.7 DD: Okay. [laughter]

0:20:49.8 JF: I think you did. Yeah, I think you did, but I think the audience will get it, no matter what, but what I love about that is, in our society, so often, success financially necessarily means a less healthy lifestyle in so many contexts. It means sitting down more, it means you’re spending all of your energy and emotional energy and physical energy in business and what it is you do to make money and not in living a healthy life. And so a lot of people who find themselves in poor health or anything along those lines they’re probably… Very often, they struggle with either their weight or their health in some way. And so reframing all of this to think, to use terminology such as investing in your health, I think is brilliant, and I think it’s a great way to get people like that to actually understand the importance of their health. Now, one thing I did wanna talk about is this graphic you sent me, The Mindset Miracle. And so for our audience, this will be another thing in the show notes, I think this will be an episode that you’ll really wanna check out our show notes because there’s gonna be a lot of helpful visuals, but Dean’s created this Mindset Miracle Model. It’s a diagram of various things pertaining to mindset, and I was hoping, Dean, that we could take a few minutes here for you to talk through that as best you can for our listening audience.

0:22:45.0 DD: Yeah, absolutely, and I don’t have a copy of it in front of me right now, but I have been actually working on that model for years. So for me, when I started this, Jef, I said I was looking at… When I, I sat down and I thought, okay, this ends badly if I just do what I’ve always done, if I just mindlessly go into this and try and do my way out of essentially what I believe was a thinking problem, but I thought I need… For me, I’m very visual, I need to see something in order to really understand it, and probably the best way to describe it is anybody who struggles with directions, it’s like I understand the words. When you tell me where I have to go, I get it, I understand the words, but if I don’t get a clear picture in my head of what that destination looks like, I end up somewhere that I did not wanna go. And so it’s the same in life. If I can’t get a clear picture of how something works and I’m just doing stuff, then the problem is, if it doesn’t work, I don’t know, I don’t know what to fix ’cause I don’t know what…

0:23:46.2 DD: I don’t actually know what I’m doing. So for me, I started thinking about, what’s at the root of change, how do we go about changing behaviors? And the more that I… I’ll give you an example. For example, with the American Constitution, so the American Constitution, obviously, is a world-changing document that was created, but when you understand the mindset behind it, the mind… They created a mindset that didn’t exist, which was that every human has rights and from that mindset, it created a list of behaviors that people with that mindset would have. They would have access to. But the moment that you put that out there and you say, hey, you know what, you have rights. The moment that I go, yeah, I do have rights. The moment I adopt that mindset and I say, I do have rights, that it inherently, whether we realize it or not, it will change the behaviors that we are now investing in, even if we don’t realize it. The moment that I change a mindset that I have, it will automatically impact the behaviors that I am performing, and if my behaviors are impacted then it’s going to change the outcomes I’m producing.

0:25:04.0 DD: So for me, when I started thinking about this, Jef, I was like, okay, I gotta figure out the root cause mindset here. How am I thinking about this? And so I’ll use the successful body as an example. I was thinking about it the way everybody else was thinking about it, that that it was a diet and exercise issue, and I thought, well, what if it’s not? What if that’s a wrong assumption? What if diet and exercise are definitely, they’re part of the solution, but what if they are not the root cause? And so I really, I spent a lot of time kind of noodling on that, trying to figure out what the root cause might be. And then I finally figured it out, I realized that the problem was, it wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t need another diet and exercise solution, I knew enough to do something that would allow me to have success. What I didn’t know how to do was manage my own behaviors that I would start… I would start behaviors and then I would stop. And so for me, I started thinking, I thought I have to teach myself how to stop stopping, like if I know that something is going to work, then I have to figure out a way to manage myself, so I show up every single day, and I do that thing that I know generates results.

0:26:13.5 DD: And so, for me, this journey, it’s not a diet and exercise solution, it’s actually a journey of management. And if you can manage it… Well, first of all, Peter Drucker had this great quote, “If you can measure it, you can manage it,” and then I sort of added to that, if you can manage it, you can master it. And so for me, this is all about management, this is a management issue, and it’s learning how to… It doesn’t matter what the behavior is, I need to figure out how I can make sure that I show up and I focus on daily… There are intermittent behaviors we can do like two or three or four days a week, but for me, I thought, I’m actually going to go with… I’m gonna focus on frequency. The more that I do something, and I think of it as practice. So every day, I get to practice this behavior, and the more I practice it, the better I will get at it. So I always focused on daily, which is also why I have 10-minute body is… I do it every day, and I have now for…

0:27:08.5 DD: Today is day 511. So I do it every single day. And some people say, “Well, don’t you need a day of rest?” It’s like, you don’t when you’re doing 10 minutes. I’m not tearing my body apart, in fact, I never sweat, I don’t even change clothes, I wear the same clothes that I’m wearing right now to do my workout and I challenge myself, but again, you’re only doing one set of pull-ups, and then I’m gonna come back maybe an hour later and do a couple of other two minute exercises or whatever it happens to be, but all of this, Jef, is really… It’s all about managing my behavior, but at the end of the day, when I’m struggling, I go back to the model, and it’s like, Okay, if this is not working, then I have the wrong mindset. And if I can figure out the mindset, then my behaviors will change, and when my behaviors change, my outcome will change, so it now gives me a way… If I look at an area of my life and I’m not getting the results that I want, then I automatically know I’m not thinking about this correctly.

0:28:04.1 DD: I may not even know how I’m thinking about this. And it may take me a lot of work to try and figure out the root cause of what’s going on here, but if I can figure out what it is, then I have an opportunity to change. Once I adopt a new behavior, so for me, with this one, I was like, okay, then I have… I’m gonna become great at managing myself, and that changed everything for me.

0:28:27.0 JF: Yeah, totally, and I’m looking at this Mindset Miracle diagram that you have here, and for our listeners, there’s mindset at the very heart. You have a small circle called Mindset, and then around that is a bigger circle labeled Behaviors, and then around that is an even bigger circle, labeled Outcomes, and so mindset, you’re saying is at the very heart of that, and it dictates behaviors, and behaviors dictate outcomes, and so you can see that indicated in the graphic, you see mindset with arrows extended out towards outcomes. Now, one other component of this diagram that I do want to mention is all these small circles that are pointing, are on the very exterior of the graphic, but they’re pointing in towards this. Can we talk a little bit about that, Dean? There’s friends and followers, for example.

0:29:24.8 DD: Yeah, no, thank you. And as soon as you mentioned that, I thought good. ‘Cause I forgot to mention the last part of that. Yeah, yeah. So three concentric circles. And what ends up happening is, when I change my mindsets, I change my behaviors. When I change my behaviors, I change my outcomes. Those act like a magnet, and suddenly you begin attracting different things into your life, so the moment that… For example, I’m on this podcast now because of the changes that I’ve made, like I reconnected with you, I reconnected with Jason, but I now have something of value that I can add to your audience. I didn’t before because of what I was doing previously. There would have been no reason to have, it’s like, hey, let’s bring an overweight guy on the show and have them tell us why he’s overweight, there was no value in that. So it allows me to now, attract a different type of person who is really interested in the way that I think about things. It allows me… It attracts different resources.

0:30:26.0 DD: So now I’m seeing books that are coming my way that I would not have seen before, I’m having experiences that I would not have had before, I’ve had people reach out to me, for example, to start doing personal coaching, which is not something I’d even thought about, but again, that’s a result of sort of this thing acting as a magnet. It’s some people might think this is a little woo-hoo-y, but I do believe in the whole idea of the law of attraction, but the law of attraction to me was always sort of this [0:31:01.5] ____ Was the word? I don’t know what the word is, but anyway, this fuzzy concept that was just out there, and it’s like I always believed in the concept, ’cause I do believe that who I am attracts the people that are in my life, but I thought this actually makes it visual, so people understand that that’s how it works. When I change my mindset, changes my behaviors, which changes my outcomes, and now I start attracting generosity into my life and kindness, and serendipity and luck. Things start working out in my favor.

0:31:31.1 DD: The other day I went to… We have these… This is little phenomenon here, and I don’t know where else this happens, but people build in front of their houses, they look like bird houses, but they’re little libraries and people can put books that they don’t want anymore that they’re done reading. They just put them in there, so you may come in and take a book, but then you’ve got three books that you know you’re not gonna read anymore, so you put them in there. So periodically on my walks, I will come across some of these and I stumbled on one of them, and usually, I’m not really a fiction reader, so I prefer non-fiction, and so usually there’s nothing in there for me, but in this one, there was…

0:32:14.0 DD: James Allen wrote As a Man Thinketh. Now I had always seen that, didn’t know what the book looked like, it’s just a thin little book, it’s almost like an essay, but I saw that, I’m like, oh my God, that’s… That’s mindset. This is all about mindset. And he wrote this like 100 years ago, and so it’s a concept that’s been around forever, but it’s kind of been lost in this… We live now in a world where we think that all our problems are… Required doing solutions. So we’re just out doing a whole bunch of stuff, but it’s like if… For… Anyway… I always serve… Whenever I talk about this stuff, I always talk about me. I thought, if I wanna change, I wanna create serious long-term change, then I need to start… If I don’t change the mindset, then what happens is I’m using force, and force will get you results, but it’s not sustainable, which is why like a 30-day extreme solution, you can get through it and you can probably lose weight on it, but it’s not sustainable long-term. It burns you out. So there’s a difference between force versus flow. You get to flow when you change your mindset, when you start doing the work. Now a mindset takes work.

0:33:22.7 DD: I’m right now, I’m in the process, I’ve got little whiteboards in my place here where I write down a new mindset that I’m looking to adopt and I keep repeating it to myself throughout the day. I mentioned to you, Jef, off the… Before we got online, I have had sleep interruptions of late. I’m very careful with the language I use, I never use the I word when I’m talking about sleep, I’ve had sleep interruptions, so I’m not getting the best quality sleep that I want, but I realized I’m not thinking about it correctly. So I wrote down the mindset that I want, and the mindset I want is, I’m a great sleeper. And I keep repeating that. I am a great sleeper, and it sounds weird at first, and it feels weird at first, but I’m gonna keep repeating it because eventually that gets into my subconscious and it’s… I’m gonna believe it, I’m gonna believe that I’m a great sleeper, and I’m gonna put my… And every day, I’m gonna show up and I’m gonna put my sleep protocol in place. I have a score card for sleep, just like I have a score card for my body, I’m gonna put it in place, but that’s all mindset stuff.

0:34:23.7 JF: Oh I love that, I’d be really curious to see the end results of that little experiment you’re doing, and what I love about that example too, is how pertinent it is to our audience here at Elite HRV. Our audience, quite diverse; we have bio-hackers, we have people who are just interested in improving their health, we have people with some pretty serious conditions, who are trying to improve that, we have… We even just have successful people who are just trying to get better, and I think that’s why having you on our podcast here is just so pertinent because everything about what you talk about is applicable to all of those people. And when you’re taking your HRV every day or however frequent it is that you’re doing that, you’re getting information about… That’s going to help inform potential behavior changes, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the mindset that you need to take when implementing those behavior changes. And it sort of, it doesn’t say anything about how difficult a behavior change actually can be. And so I think it’s great that we’re having you on, and talking about this and along that vein, I was hoping… I know that you’ve been using Elite HRV, the app. I was hoping that we could get a little bit of… Get a little bit of context behind why you started using it and your general experience with it, up to this point.

0:36:09.6 DD: Sure, yeah, no, no. So yeah, I actually find your app to be really, really valuable, and so one of them… I mentioned earlier that Peter Drucker quote, what gets measured, gets managed. So every behavior that I adopt, I don’t… I spend a lot of time thinking about, okay, what am I gonna do and how do I measure it? It has to be measurable. Now, ideally, I’d like it to have a number, but not all behaviors necessarily come with a number. Sometimes it can be measured by just simply, did I do it or did I not do it? As a yes or no. 10-minute body. Did I do it? Yep, I did it. But every behavior has to be measurable, there has to be a way to know how you’re doing with that behavior. So what I really love… So I’m into anything that’s gonna give me numbers, so I log my foods, I weigh my foods, I weigh myself, and all of that data is invaluable for me, in terms of understanding if my behaviors are moving in the right direction and all the trends that they offer. The problem was, and I’d sent you guys an email about this too, because what I thought was fascinating with your app, and I’m not sure people necessarily think about this, I’d always hear people say, “You gotta listen to your body,” and I was like, I understand the words, I have no idea what that means. People would tell me they go, “Yeah, I really listen to my body.”

0:37:33.1 DD: My body doesn’t tell me anything, I can never… Unless it’s obvious, like I’m not picking up anything from my body, so it didn’t mean anything to me. And then I was looking at your app and I thought actually, that number is invaluable for me because it’s telling me what’s going on, on the inside and I can’t get that number anywhere else. Again, just my general feeling doesn’t necessarily indicate that everything is okay. I think I sent you guys an example too, I had read an article in, on ESPN that I thought really validated this whole idea of listening to your body. Daniel Cormier, who is a UFC fighter. He measures his… He measures his HRV and he… About six weeks before he was having his championship match, which happened a couple of months ago, his HRV dropped suddenly, and he’s like, whoa! He had been tracking it every day, so this… That data was like, okay, there’s something going on here. And so he went and got tested, and turned out he had COVID, and I thought that’s the value. So I’m using HRV at its most primitive level, but it tells me…

0:38:43.9 DD: That’s how I listen to my body is that I’m not waiting for my body to tell me something, HRV tells me how my body’s feeling. And then from there, I make a decision about how I’m actually feeling and whether or not I need to back off, or whatever, so it will… In fact, I just had… I had a day about three days ago where I was a five and I didn’t feel like I normally feel and I thought, yeah, you know what, today is just gonna be 10-minute stretching, so I’m just gonna… I got a stretch program that I have been working on, I thought I’m just gonna stretch today.

0:39:14.6 DD: So I found it to be invaluable because you can’t see what’s going on, on the inside. I can see weight loss, I can see the foods I’m eating, I can see the foods that I’m weighing, but I do not know what’s happening on the inside, and so that gives me invaluable data that I can use to begin to gauge my own behaviors on… Again, just dialing… I tend to… I used to think that that whole warrior mindset about pushing yourself, regardless of how you feel, that’s not such a great approach anymore, that you’ve gotta find a better way to find the balance of knowing when there is a time to push and then there’s a time to dial it back and that… It helps keep me centered because otherwise, I just go full throttle all the time.

0:40:00.7 JF: Totally, and you can push through. And it’s just not sustainable. It’s the same stuff that we’ve been talking about earlier in this podcast. You have to make these change, you have to do these things to improve your health. You have to make them sustainable, whether… It may not mean that you have to do them every day, such as the example of your 10-minute exercise routine every day, but whatever frequency that you choose and whatever it is, it has to be sustainable, otherwise, you’re just gonna have burnout. And I think Elite HRV is a great tool for… And just measuring your HRV in general is a great tool for helping to make things sustainable and informing how we can change our mindset about things.

0:40:50.2 JF: Well, look, Dean, I think we’ve ran out of time for today, I’m sure we could talk about this for hours, but I hope that our audience will listen to this and take away so many great nuggets, and think about the important of mindset and in all that is they’re trying to do… All that is in what they’re trying to do with changing their behaviors, so I think this can be really valuable for our audience for that reason. Is there anything else you’d like to mention, Dean, before we kinda wrap this up?

0:41:22.9 DD: No, I’m gonna piggyback… Oh, sorry, yes, I’m gonna piggyback off what you just said. Yeah, I think mindset is at the root of all of our problems, and if we have a problem that continues to persist for weeks, months and years, then we have not yet addressed the right mindset. So it’s prevalent in all areas of our life. And I was gonna say, Jef, if people are interested, I can send you a link. I’ll create a separate page if people wanted to download a copy of The Mindset Miracle. So I do… I call it The Mindset Miracle ’cause I really do… That’s what I call it for me. That it is… It has changed everything for me.

0:41:58.3 DD: Now that I focus first on, I’m not gonna run out and jump into some doing solution, and try and do my way out of a thinking problem, that every… Einstein had the quote, “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.” That’s a mindset issue. You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it. So that was the inspiration initially for the model, I just swapped out thinking for mindset. But essentially, mindset is just a persistent thought that we think continuously or regularly or constantly. So but I can maybe send you a link if people wanted to download that, just to have a copy for themselves to see it. Might be a good visual reminder.

0:42:38.1 JF: Yeah. I think that’d be a great idea. So we’ll definitely include a link in the show notes to this episode. And as well, Dean, are there other places where people can go to find you? I know we mentioned that you are on Instagram, but any websites and social media outlets?

0:42:53.8 DD: So the best place is, if you’re looking for daily stuff, Instagram and then… Or get on my email list. I do put out a weekly newsletter where I highlight five things that have had or will have an impact on building not only my successful body but my successful life.

0:43:14.3 JF: Right. Okay. And so people can get on the email list at, is that right?

0:43:18.8 DD: No actually, I just… Sorry, it’s funny, I haven’t been able to transfer that domain. Right now, it’s But they can also… Okay so there’s two websites you can type in, both lead back to the same website. So it’s which is successful-ist dot com. Or just type in They both go to the same site.

0:43:55.3 JF: Okay, great. So on Instagram, he is the thenewdeandwyer. And so I think that’s all we have for today. Dean, thanks so much for coming on the show, it’s been a real pleasure having you on and maybe down the road, we can do another one of these things and we can, we check in and see what you’re up to at that point. With that, I think we’ll call it a show. You guys all have a great week, a great month, and a great year. And thanks for joining us today. Bye.

0:44:28.3 JF: The Elite Academy now offers in-depth online courses on multiple subjects, so if you’re enjoying the content of this podcast, but you’re looking for a more structured and logical progression, looking at the science and application of these subjects, check out the Elite Academy at 

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