Day 92: One Quarter In

 

keep-calm-and-check-progress-5So now that I am one-quarter of the way through this year, I took the opportunity to revisit some of my goals to see where I stand…

Physically:  I’ve been able to get a workout in every single day.  Some days, that workout consists of 50 pushups as I get ready to crawl into bed.  Some days it’s a full, heavy weight session at the gym.  But I’ve done some sort of muscle punishing workout every single day.  I’ve seen some results, too.  Nothing too tremendous, but enough that I’m happy with my progress.

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Day 4

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Day 89

No, I’m probably never going to be huge.  I resigned myself to that my senior year of high school.  Nor do I want to, as my wife claims she doesn’t like overly muscular dudes.  So that’s good.  But I am happy with my results so far.

Reading:

I’ve completed a number of books so far, but I’m slightly behind pace.  I realize that, but I’m not freaking out too badly by that, because when I get into a fiction book, I usually devour it.

Skills:

I’m pleased with my progress.  I’ve made a desk, learned to identify a lot of birds (which reminds me, we’ve seen our first robin in the yard), and I’m progressing towards my first belt in karate.

Running:  

Again, pleased with where I am.  I’m slightly off pace, but that will all change as rugby season comes into full swing this spring.  I run a lot during the spring and fall seasons.  So anywhere that I am behind, I will make it up very soon.  In addition, we’ve got our first adventure race of the season coming up in two weekends.  I’m excited to be running with my wife.  Also, I love my Vibram Five Fingers.

People Who Matter:
I’m a little behind on this, but several upcoming posts include more than one person, so I will be back to pace very shortly.

So that’s it.  A brief look at the first quarter.  I’m sure I could be more in depth, but none of this matters to you.  What really matters here is you.  Is this inspiring you to do something better?  Does it help you continue on a path you’ve wanted to walk?  In the end, that’s what I hope to do…inspire you.

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As always: This is simply my journal as I try to better myself. I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself. Make 2013 YOUR year.
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Day 37, Babe’s and Quick Shots

Today would be Babe Ruth’s 118th birthday.  In honor of the birth of one of the greatest ballplayers to ever live here are a few words to live by, from George Herman Ruth, Jr himself.

“Don’t let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

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Babe-Ruth-quote

Quick Shots: As I mentioned before, I finished Captivating a week or so ago and have moved on to How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.  I’ve also picked up Beautiful Outlaw, by John Eldredge.  I read this month’s Imprimis essay last night.  I’ve selected the French Silk Pie recipe I will be making this weekend (finally), and the desk is coming along wonderfully.  I hope to post the full write-up on the woodwork tomorrow night since I want to get the finish work done on the desk.

I’ve still been able to get in a workout every day so far this year.  We identified another new species of bird the other day – the American Goldfinch.  And I’ve been pouring a lot of energy into work so far this year.   So I’d say I’m still on track.

Finally, one last quote to chew on, from another great man who shares today’s birthdate.

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As always: This is simply my journal, nothing more, as I try to better myself.  I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself somehow.  Make 2013 YOUR year.
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Day 33, Desk Action

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It’s a messy weekend around the house.  I tore out the old buffet area in our dining room so I could make a “mommy station” for my wife.  The plan is to put in a desk with several hanging file drawers for all of our bills and expenses, and several other multi-use drawers.  I want to make sure she has enough outlets for her computer, the charging stations for the camera and video camera, and whatever else she might need.  I also will be installing shelving units to help her stay organized.

The test of this entire thing is that I’m not doing it prefab.  I’m building the desk, drawers, shelves and facing from scratch.  I’m using this as an opportunity to help complete another skill I’ve been dying to improve upon: my drafting/woodworking ability.

I designed the desk last summer, but this was the first opportunity I had to actually try to complete this project.  It’s very cathartic to be doing something that has been on the to-do list for so long.  Honestly, it’s kind of an analogy for my life so far this year:  I’ve finally gotten off my duff to do the things I’ve always wanted to do.  I don’t know if the desk will turn out exactly like I how I picture it in my mind, nor do I know if what I will be like when this year is over.  But I do know that my home will be better off with this desk, as will my life with my commitments.

Betterfly-Quote-1-Expiriments

ONE MONTH GOAL UPDATE: In one short month, I’ve already begun to see changes in me.  My concentration and focus have improved, as has my desire to do my job better.  Physically, I’m already clearly in better shape.  My wife even commented that I look a little larger physically, and I can put in two miles at a good hard pace without tiring as easily as I used to.  I’ve upped my pushup routine to 60-75 per day minimum, and I’ve added chair dips and single leg squats to my routine.  I’ve been able to get in some sort of a workout every single day so far.

I’ve also kept up with my readings.  I’ve done my daily devotional every night, knocked out two books so far and started two more.  As mentioned, I’m going to get some of my woodworking goals taken care of this weekend with the desk. I’ve run 14.5 miles thus far, and if I were to count by the average of .5 miles per day, I should be at 16.5, so not far off.

Most importantly, I’ve really begun to learn some things about myself.

  1. When I put my mind to something, I can do it.
  2. I work best when I’m holding myself accountable to someone else.
  3. I used to waste a LOT of time.

I’m disappointed because I haven’t done either of the following: finished any of my 13 classic movies or mastered any of my 12 dishes.  The movies are less concerning to me because if push came to shove I could knock them out in a few nights.  However, I like to really take time with learning my food, so I do need to get on the horse with my cooking.

Finally, we’ve really begun to have fun with our bird watching.  It’s become a contest between my wife and I to see if we can identify any new species that show up.  Today we finally ID’d a house finch that has been hanging around the last few days, so I’ve added him to the list.  It’s funny how you never notice things until you look for them.  Appropriate in more ways than one in our life.

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”
-Albert Einstein

“A bird doesn’t sing because  it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
-Lou Holtz

Day 27, Of Airports and Travel

wpid-20130127_101831.jpgThat’s where I was this morning.  74F and sunny.  Tonight, I will cuddle up next to the wife under a wool blanket and comforter as a moderate ice storm continues to fall outside.  Ah, the wonders of modern travel.

As you can tell from my three previous posts, I’ve been away on business in sunny Orlando.  Travelling for work is not always glamorous.  It can be physically draining and filled with stretches of boredom while at your destination.  However, there is always a positive vibe for me as I sit in airports and on airplanes, thinking about my life.  Travel itself is inherently exciting.  It stimulates our minds and awakens deep yearnings in us, yearnings about change and hope and endless possibilities.  I am always invigorated after travelling.

Over the years, I’ve learned to harness this energy.  Whenever I travel for work, I try to spend the next few days talking to potential customers about big ideas and grand conversions.  I know the boost won’t last forever, but I can tap into it while it is organic and fresh.  In short, I try to maximize its potential.  Some of my best opportunities have been realized following these types of trips.  Expect some good energy from me over the next few days, especially after I sleep off this jet lag.

Another reason that I enjoy travel is the opportunity to tune out the day-to-day and listen to your mind and heart speak.  If I go for a run while I’m at home, I find myself thinking about grocery lists, errands, work commitments and such.  This morning, I threw the headphones on and went for a 2.5 mile run around the resort compound and listened to Jimmy Buffett radio on Pandora.  I didn’t just listen to the songs, though.  I wasn’t worried about making sure we had enough diapers, whether I would make a sale today, or what would be for dinner.  Instead, I knew my tickets were booked, that my bags were packed and lunch would be served.  I found myself actually listening to the music and enjoying the sunlight.   Heard a song that I have always loved with some poignant lyrics which I wanted to pass along, lyrics that I will expound upon in my next post.

Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places Ive been
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again
If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a bitches
I’ve seen more than I can recall

Its these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane

I think about Paris when I’m high on red wine
I wish I could jump on a plane
So many nights I just dream of the ocean
God, I wish I was sailing again
Oh, yesterdays over my shoulder
So I can’t look back for too long
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me
And I know that I just can’t go wrong
Jimmy Buffett: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Quick Goals Updates:  Aside from the mileage logged today, I got a light workout (pushups, situps, etc…) in every day and a heavy workout in at the Fitness Center in the resort this morning.  I also kept up with my devotional (I found the book while packing!) and knocked out a quick chapter from the next book on my list, How To Win Friends and Influence People.  We also have a new setup in the backyard with several new bird feeders, which I will introduce once the weather breaks and I can get some outside shots.

As always: This is simply my journal, nothing more, as I try to better myself.  I hope it inspires you to focus on yourself somehow.  Make 2013 YOUR year.
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Day 22, The Why (Rated PG-13: L)

Last night, my wife looked at me and asked me point blank, “Why are you doing this?”

I had to think about that for a second.  I know what I’ve said before about why I am taking this challenge upon myself: I want to push myself, I want to be better, I want to remain motivated, yada yada yada.  But that wasn’t her question.  Her question was why am I doing this physically, mentally, spiritually and personally, all at once?  Why push myself in so many directions?  Why not focus on one aspect or focus in one direction?

Why, indeed, am I doing it all at once?

Hold on, let’s pause.  I need to gather my thoughts on this one…

(Now that I spent 5 minutes making a spiced apple cider to accompany this slice of Thin Mint Pie -healthy!- I’ll continue).

Consider this:

“He who is an athlete only is too crude, too vulgar. He who is a scholar only is too soft. The ideal citizen is the scholar athlete, a person of thought and a person of action.”
-Plato

I have my college football head coach to thank for turning me on to that quote.  Coach Pole may have been quoting the philosopher as a means to implore us to go to class, but knowing the kind of man he was, he was also pushing us to think a little deeper.  What exactly was Plato talking about?

Was Plato decrying either athletes or scholars?  I don’t think so.  I think he was instead exhorting his fellow men to do it all.  Plato was describing the jack-of-all-trades, master of none.  He’s stating that you don’t have to be oxen-strong to succeed, or be grandmaster-smart to make it.   He was preaching balance.  I think it’s something that is dreadfully missing in our society today.  America has become a service driven economy, where you are only as good as your best skill, and that’s what you earn your money for.  As a result we are a society of individuals who, if thrown to the figurative wolves, couldn’t survive because we’ve honed our skills with rarely more than one or two focuses.  Unfortunately, in keeping up with the Joneses, we lose sight of a balanced life.

I didn’t want to be like this.  Yes, I have my skills for which I am rewarded in my business, but I am NOT my job.  To hearken back to a movie I posted a few quotes from two days ago –

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Chuck Palahniuk’s Tyler Durden is uncouth, uncensored, agnostic and nihilistic, but he’s also right in so many ways.  The only thing that defines me is me.  I can choose to let myself deny that and become defined by my job, my income, my neighborhood, car, family, or any other of myriad things that could define me.  Or, I can choose to define myself.

I choose to define me.

Plato said it: scholar and athlete, thought and action.  This is why I choose to do it all.  Because I can.  I want to be stronger, faster, fitter, and look better for my wife.  And I can.  I want to be more well-read, hopefully understand things better and increase my knowledge.  And I can.  I want to have more skills that I can draw upon if and when I need to.  And I can.  I want to know my God better, love my family better, show my friends that I care more, and improve myself for future opportunities.  And I can.  I want to have more memories, look back with more fondness, and realize a better future as a man.  AND I WILL.

So why am I doing this?  Because I want to.

Manliness.

Manliness.

Quick Goal Updates:  I finished Captivating two nights ago, and have begun Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.  I ran another 1.5 miles today on the treadmill (because it’s freaking -14F outside!) and did a light, and I mean verlight, yoga workout tonight after putting the kids to bed, before eating the aforementioned pie.  Between my wife and I, we’ve been identifying a lot of birds at the backyard feeders; we’re up to 7 different types that visit us regularly.  I’m already sketching out a new feeder I want to build to entice jays and orioles.  I can’t remember if I said this already, but my friend Jon and I have already picked out the 14’er we’ll be climbing this summer: Mt Bierstadt in Colorado.  I lost temporarily misplaced the devotional book my wife got me for Christmas, so I have been reading a different devotional online every day.

I’ve begun linking up to blogs and sites that I like to check for motivation, insight and inspiration.  If you’re a guy reading this, chances are you might like this site:  The Art of Manliness.  It’s a great site for out-of-the-ordinary ideas and lost skill sets, all done rather humorously and easy-to-read.

As for me?  This is my part of the journey.  I would love to hear about what is driving and motivating you.  We’re starting to creep up in numbers, so let’s keep up the good work and motivate each other.

As always: This is my journal. I hope it inspires you. Make 2013 your year.
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