Giving Thanks for My Favorite Holiday of the Year

Soldiers showcase a cake as they serve Thanksgiving dinner at Schofield Barracks.
Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, showcase a cake made at the Bronco Cafe as they serve Thanksgiving dinner to families at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Nov. 22, 2012. (Sgt. Vanessa Atchley/3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

My favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving, just edges out the Fourth of July in my book because of what it stands for: Giving thanks.

Teammates ask me all the time: What gives with the constant fired-up attitude, Alden? Some who don't know me call it false motivation until we spend about two minutes together. That should be about how long it takes you to read what I'm about to write.

In my book, attitude is the number one thing you need to control before you tackle any goal you have in mind, especially if you're looking to work on your body. Attitude is 100% up to you. No matter how powerfully positive or miserably negative you are, you've made that decision and you've made it based on a perspective that you've allowed your brain to accept.

Your perspective in life fuels your attitude. If you think you're going to fail, then you will. If you think you're fat, then no matter what anyone tells you, you'll remain focused on being fat. Conversely, think about winning, then you'll be thinking about how to win, and you'll be on your way to victory. If you want to lose 10 pounds, then you'll determine how to lose it and make it happen.

No matter what it is, how you view your challenge is directly dependent on what perspective you adopt, and that perspective is your attitude's foundation.

So what's this got to do with Thanksgiving? Everything! It's about everything that's truly important about your perspective in life. I give thanks for being able to move, to see, to feel and especially to love my family and friends. We all get caught up in the rat race of life, and when we do, we usually lose our perspective on the things that really matter, versus the things that seem to matter at the moment.

This Thanksgiving, take a moment to give thanks to the things that matter most in your life. Once you do, you'll realize that you've discovered the power source to your own fired-up attitude. If you're struggling to figure out what thanks you should give, drop down and push 'em out, then give thanks to the fact you can do a push-up. I know a whole bunch of veterans who wish they could do what you can do.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Alden Mills, creator of the Perfect Pushup, is CEO of Perfect Fitness. Mills went to the Naval Academy and later became a Navy SEAL. After retiring in 2000, he earned his MBA at Carnegie Mellon. His ultimate mission is to inspire everyone to pursue their own dreams. For more from Mills, check out

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