Welcome to Lifelong Learning Coach

Welcome to Lifelong Learning Coach!  My name is Jim Ponchak and I am a math teacher and basketball coach.  I strongly believe that learning and growth should not stop when school stops.  I also believe that it is not enough to learn new things; we need to apply our learnings.

“Contrary to popular wisdom, knowledge is not power – it’s potential power.  Knowledge is not mastery.  Execution is mastery.  Execution will trump knowledge every day of the week.” – Tony Robbins

The goal of Lifelong Learning Coach is to share things I have learned to help others learn, apply, succeed, and repeat.  I will share my thoughts and learnings on ideas, books, courses, and other sources that are helping me grow into my best self.

To paraphrase John Newton: I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I am going to be, but I am better than I used to be.  

I hope you find something here to help you become better than you used to be!


3 For The Week

Here are three thoughts from the week that I would like to share.

  1. I am saddened by the racial inequity that still exists in America. I hope that outrage over recent events leads to activism and lasting change. No one should have to fear for their life and be worried about being mistreated based on the color of their skin. I was unaware of the tragic murder of Emmett Till and the impact this event had on Rosa Parks.

“Rosa said she thought about going to the back of the bus,” civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson told Vanity Fair in 1988. “But then she thought about Emmett Till and she couldn’t do it.”

Read more here. Emmett Till and 4 Black Americans Whose Killings Provoked Outrage and Activism

2. Today marked the end of the 14 day Win Today Challenge from Jon Gordon. One of my favorite tidbits that I picked up was on Day 13 when Jon talked about the importance of feeding your body with the right fuel. One of the things I learned about was the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists. The Dirty Dozen are the fruits and vegetables with the greatest exposure to pesticides which means it is most important to buy these in organic form. The Clean 15 are the fruits and vegetables that have the lowest amount of pesticide residue which makes them a safer choice in conventional form.

Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Lists

Jon Gordon Positive University Podcast: The Do’s and Dont’s of Achieving Optimal Health with Dr. Christian Gonzalez

3. I began experimenting with Tabata workouts. I like that they are quick to complete, but give you a good workout. The idea is you perform an exercise at a high intensity for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. This pattern repeats over the course of 4 minutes. It is supposed to be great for burning fat. Here is a link to an article from Web MD that explains Tabata in more detail.

The 4 Minute Fat Loss Workout

3 Highlights From the Week

Highlight #1

Last week I mentioned that I was starting a free two week challenge from Jon Gordon to help develop the mindset to win today and create a better tomorrow. One of my favorite things that I like to talk about with my students in class and the basketball teams I coach is controlling the controllables. Jon talked about this on the first day and shared this graphic.

Control What You Can

I think the graphic gives a great visual on the things within our control and some examples of things that are outside of our control. You can tweak this to fit with your philosophy.

If you want to learn more about Jon Gordon and his books click the link below.

Jon Gordon’s Website

Highlight #2

Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, and Russell Brunson have a free 5 Day Challenge starting on Monday called the Build Your Brand Challenge. There are upgrade options that you need to pay for, but you can just take the free challenge if you don’t want to make the investment. Click the link below if you are interested in joining me for the challenge.

Build Your Brand Challenge

Highlight #3

I enjoyed this article from Medium.com on brain health. Here are a few takeaways.

  • Physical activity can increase brain chemicals which can help with memory and learning.
  • When we think we are multi-tasking, the brain is really just quickly switching between activities.
  • “Multitasking also increases the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking.”
  • A UCLA study found that being more sedentary can lead to thinning of brain regions linked to memory.
  • Just 10 minutes of face to face conversation with someone can help improve memory and cognition.
  • Once again, getting a good night’s sleep is huge for your health!

Here is the link to the full article if you are interested in learning more.

7 Modern Life Habits That Can Be Incredibly Bad For Your Brain Health by Thomas Oppong

The Week In Quotes: August 9, 2020 to August 15, 2020

In case you missed them on social media, here are the quotes from last week. Included with each quote, you will find a question for you to reflect on. I encourage you to explore these ideas. Please reach out if you would like to discuss any of them further. jim@lifelonglearningcoach.com

August 9, 2020

What is something you can speak up about to help those being wronged?

August 10, 2020

How can you approach a circumstance differently to change the weigh you feel about it?

August 11, 2020

What’s an example of a failure you’ve learned and grown from in the past? How can you use this to overcome future setbacks?

August 12, 2020

What action can you take to help you learn by doing?

August 13, 2020

What idea do you want to pursue today?

August 14, 2020

What obstacle can you push through to get one step closer to achieving your goal?

August 15, 2020

What is one more thing you can try? It might just lead to your greatest success.

3 Highlights From This Week

1. Jon Gordon is offering a free 14 Day Challenge starting on August 15. It’s purpose is to help you develop the mindset to win today and create a better tomorrow! I love Jon’s books and am excited to participate in the challenge!

The challenge is free, but you will have the option to upgrade for $20 to receive 6 bonuses including two video trainings valued at $97 each.

Click Here to Sign Up for Jon Gordon’s Win Today Challenge

2. Here are some takeaways from my experience in the 5 day tiny habits challenge available from BJ Fogg.  He runs the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford. 

  • This is to start a habit and build momentum so keep the habit so small that it is almost impossible not to complete it.
  • Just like anything else in life, you will learn by experimenting with what Fogg refers to as your habit recipe. The recipe involves taking a current habit, linking your new tiny habit to it, and a small celebration for completing the habit. For example one of my recipes this week was; after I prepare my toothbrush in the morning, I will think of 1 thing I am grateful for while I brush my teeth and I will celebrate with a nice, clean smile.
  • The coach assigned to me was great about checking in each day to see how I did with my new tiny habits. This daily check in provided accountability and offered room for failure and the reminder that a recipe may need to be tweaked.
  • I think this is a great system for establishing a new habit or habits.

Here is the link to join if you are interested. 

Tiny Habits 5 Day Challenge

3. The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique developed by Andrew Weil is a breathing technique that can be performed anywhere. The technique can help you manage emotions, manage cravings, and get to sleep faster. It is recommended that you do this two times a day for a cycle of 4 breaths when you start your practice. After time, you may increase up too 8 breaths in a cycle; however, this is the maximum number of cycles you should perform according to Dr. Weil.

Dr. Weil asserts that after 4 to 6 weeks you will see wonderful changes in your body including:

  • Slows heart rate
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves digestion

You can learn more about the practice by clicking the link below to watch Dr. Weil demonstrate the technique and explain the benefits.

How To Perform the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise | Andrew Weil, M.D.

If you found these helpful and are interested in working with me to improve your habits, click the button below to get more information.

The Week In Quotes: August 2 – 8

I hope you enjoy these quotes and take time to think about what they mean to you. I provided questions as prompts to help you think and inspire you to action.

Sunday 8/2/20

Who do you want to become? What actions can you start taking now to get there?

Monday 8/3/20

What can you persist at today to get you one step closer to success?

Tuesday 8/4/20

What is something you hope to change? What is something you hope remains the way it is?

Wednesday 8/5/20

What can you take time to celebrate today? What is something you are grateful for?

Thursday 8/6/20

What knowledge or skills can you acquire to increase your earnings?

Friday 8/7/20

What is a small habit you can start or continue that will have a big impact over time?

Saturday 8/8/20

What can you do today to build your confidence?

3 Highlights From the Week

1. I am thrilled that NBA Coaches are taking a stand for racial justice!  During a video conference with reporters, Greg Popovich highlighted gross injustices done to black people in America that have not been taught in schools.  It was great to see the coach use his platform to educate and inspire change.  You can read the story from USA Today here.

Greg Popovich Racial Justice

2. There is a free 5 day tiny habits challenge available from BJ Fogg.  He runs the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford.  I am excited to learn more as I participate in this challenge next week.  Here is the link to join if you are interested. 

Tiny Habits 5 Day Challenge

3. I am part of a great group of supportive coaches on coach.me who share materials with each other. Today I was reminded of the importance sleep, nutrition, and exercise play in controlling your energy level. Read more about it here.

Energy Requires Action by Josh Everett

I highly recommend coach.me for its free habit tracking as well as for finding coaches to help you master habits.

My 1st Month Attempting a Ketogenic Diet

In June I decided enough was enough and I needed to get in better shape and lose some weight.  I heard a lot about the benefits of a ketogenic diet and decided to give it a try.  The biggest difficulties for me have been staying away from breads and sugars, but the benefits have been well worth it.  In the last month, I have lost 15 pounds.  I have done this primarily through the changes to my diet as I have not been great about exercising consistently.  I hope to improve my experience in month 2 by being more consistent with exercise.

Here is what I have done with my diet:

1) Intermittent Fasting

The idea of intermittent fasting is for your body to fast for 16 hours and you to eat your meals during the other 8 hours.  I do not follow a water only fasting routine and then eat my meals between 10 am and 6 pm as some people do when following an intermittent fasting regimen.  Instead, I start my day with Bulletproof Coffee to get a boost of fat for fuel without having anything to eat.  This is enough to keep my hunger satisfied until lunch time.  I then typically consume my meals between noon and 8 pm.

Read more about Bulletproof Coffee here: Bulletproof Coffee

2) Supplements

When I started researching a ketogenic diet, I looked at Drew Manning’s information on it.  You may recognize him as the guy who intentionally gained 60 pounds in 6 months to see what it was like for his clients to lose the weight.  You can read more about him on his website.


It was through this site that I discovered the Ketologic products to help supplement a ketogenic diet.  I started out with the “Fuel Your Best” sample pack to see if I enjoyed the products before making a larger an investment in them.  It was a good way to try the different products and flavors.  I enjoyed the products and chose my favorite flavors from the sample pack when choosing my flavors for the 30 Day Keto Jumpstart Bundle.  The products taste good, are easy to use and leave me feeling satisfied.


3) Snacks

I am not very hungry between meals, but I do want a snack now and again.  I have been staying away from high carb snacks like chips and pretzels.  Instead I have been having a handful of macadamia nuts, cheese, or nut butter.  These snacks all have good fats and are low carb.

4) Meals

For meals, I keep it low carb and high fat.  Salads with meats and cheeses are great.  I also like chicken, beef, or pork with vegetables.  If I am not having a salad, I usually have broccoli, asparagus, and/or cauliflower as my vegetables.  You can find lots of keto friendly recipes online.  Below are a few that I found on pinterest and have enjoyed.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken With Bacon

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

Deconstructed Pizza Casserole

This article by Dr. Mercola on mercola.com explains the some of the science behind intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet.  One of the things that I have learned from his book Fat For Fuel is that it is important to not overcompensate for reduced carb intake with increased protein intake as too much protein can be harmful for your kidneys.


Why Intermittent Fasting Is More Effective Combined With Ketogenic Diet

I hope you found this article useful and that it spurs your interest in learning more about a healthier lifestyle!

Please note that I am not a doctor!  I am simply sharing information on what has worked for me.  If you are considering trying intermittent fasting and/or a ketogenic diet, you should consult with your physician first.  

5 Morning Rituals To Setup An Awesome Day

Have you ever felt like you were drifting or just going through the motions?  One way to get yourself back on track is to establish daily practices that will make you more productive and set the table for your success. 

Here are 5 things I do each morning:

1. Meditate: I find meditation has a calming effect on me and leaves me feeling refreshed.  I started out experimenting with meditation by searching for guidedmeditations online.  I eventually settled on the Headspace app as my go to for meditation.  It has a variety of topics for meditation and you can set different time lengths based on your preferences.

2. Stretch: I know that my lower back gets tight and makes it hard for me to be as active as I want to be at times.  I added 5 minutes of stretching to my morning routine to keep my back loose.  I find it is important to do this even when my back feels good so it keeps feeling good. 

3. Practice Gratitude: I write down 3 things I am grateful for each morning.  It puts me in a positive mindset and reminds me of all of the good things in my life. I am also a fan of gratitude walks where you think about or vocalize things you are grateful for while taking a short walk.

4. Watch, Listen To or Read Something Positive: I do not watch the news in the morning because so much of it is negative.  Instead I choose to take control of what information I am absorbing.  During the week, I like to start my day with Darren Daily from Darren Hardy.  Check out http://dd.darrenhardy.com to join and get it delivered right to your inbox each weekday morning.  On the weekends, I will search for a positive video on YouTube or listen to an audio book or course I am enrolled in.  

5. Establish My Top 3 Priorities: If you want more direction,you have to plan for it.  Each day I write down my top 3 priorities for the day.  Writing it down helps me remember them and bring clarity to my mission for the day.  

I hope this helps you have an awesome day too!  If you enjoyed this and found it helpful, please share it with a friend.  

Have an awesome day!

Planning Your Week: Setting Your Table for Success

One of my favorite John Wooden quotes is “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”  Time is one of our most valuable commodities yet many of us don’t plan things out to maximize this finite resource.  I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion.  I find that when I create a daily plan for myself I am much more productive and much less forgetful.

There are many strategies that people use to plan their days out.  I have experimented with different things and encourage you to do the same.  In my opinion, there is no one size fits all approach here.  I found what works best for me by trying different things.  One of the things that has helped me the most is my Weekly Compass.  It is a one page sheet where I write down all of the things that I have to do for the week ahead.  I define my personal mission at the top and divide the rest of the page into 4 sections.  The first three sections contain goals and the final section is for distractions.

The compass helps me prioritize my week by getting me to categorize my activities and commitments into one of my three goals or a distraction.  If the activity aligns with my goals, it is scheduled in my calendar as a priority.  If an activity is a distraction, I need to evaluate if I should eliminate it, delegate it, or do it if I am able to complete the activities that align with my three goals.

My personal mission is to be a light in the world.  I hope that my example and the things I share will help others be more successful in their lives.  My three goals are health, family, and impact.  If something does not fit in with these three goals, I put it in the distractions section.

If you would like a copy of my Weekly Compass to test out for yourself, please email me at jim@lifelonglearningcoach.com with Weekly Compass in the Subject.

Have a great week!


Be Better Than You Were Yesterday

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and

start being excited about what could go right.”

– Tony Robbins

It is in the spirit of this quote that I share my site with you today.  Like me the site will never have all of the answers, but it will always have room for growth.  It will never be perfect, but it will always strive to be better.

Remember to drop your comparisons to others and use yourself as the benchmark.  Are you better than you were yesterday?  I hope you will find something here that helps you answer this question with a resounding, YES!  It might not be a yes everyday though and that is okay too.  We can learn from the days where we fail to get better if we reflect on why we didn’t improve.  Were we distracted?  Did we run our day or did our day run us?  John Maxwell wrote a great book about this, Sometimes You Win — Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Gained From Our Losses.  We cannot always win, but we can always learn.  If we learn from our mistakes, we keep getting better.

I wish you great success!  For those days where you stumble and fail, fail forward by learning from them.