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.


Day 4


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 61: World’s Greatest Friend Maker

“Why read this book to find out how to win friends?  Why not study the technique of the greatest winner of friends the world has ever known?  Who is he?  You may meet him tomorrow coming down the street.  When you get within ten feet of him, he will begin to wag his tail.  If you stop to pat him, he will almost jump out of his skin and show you how much he likes you.  And you know that behind this show of affection on his part, there are no ulterior motives; he doesn’t want to sell you any real estate, and he doesn’t want to marry you.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Man's Best Friend

How awesome is that?  I’m four chapters into this book, with many of the pages now bookmarked and highlighted, but nothing had impressed me as much as that paragraph which I read last night.  Think about it.  The person you most want to talk to is not the person who tells you about himself, it’s the one who asks you to tell him about yourself.  We thrive when we feel important.  We feel important when we think others care about us.  We think others care about us when they show interest in us. We love to talk about our own lives.

The most used word in the English language?  “I”.  That alone speaks volumes about our predisposition to talk about ourselves. We human beings are egotistic.  We are self-centered.  We are selfish people.  Sure, some of us have been able to overcome these tendencies and act in a giving manner, putting others’ needs first.  However, in our minds we instinctively react with concern for our own person first.  It’s human nature.

For the record, I am as guilty of this as the next person.


While you can not change your instincts, you can change your output. Great leaders are not the ones who command others, they are the ones who motivate others.  Want to be a leader?  Stop talking about yourself.  Begin asking about them.  You gain more by caring less about yourself, and more about others.

Can you imagine how great it would feel if everyone you talk to tomorrow were wagging their figurative tail and wanted to dive deeply into conversation about you?  It would feel pretty darn good, right?  Kind of make you feel on top of the world.  Well, why not be that person to someone else?  Make it a point tomorrow to turn conversation about you into conversation about them.  Use “I” less.  Don’t chime in with a story of your own experience; ask more questions about them.  See where the chat goes and how good you feel about it.  I’m betting you’ll make that certain someone’s day and, in turn, the feeling will give you your own set of warm fuzzies.  People respond when they know they are cared about.

And really, who couldn’t use their own set of warm fuzzies?

“We are interested in others when they are interested in us.”
Publilius Syrus, Roman poet

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 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.”

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 –


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.



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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Day 10, Nearly Up and Running

So here’s a little “Inside Baseball” for you…I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do this blog until two days before the New Year.  I was afraid that by putting myself out there like this, I would risk a more public failure.  Which is kind of funny because I failed spectacularly on national television last summer and I’ve never really cared about making a fool of myself.

But this, this is different.  This is more personal.  This is deeper.  This is far more meaningful for me.  This is about bettering myself, and that’s about as raw and exposed as you can be.  So I thought about whether or not I wanted to follow through with it and ultimately decided that it would help push me and motivate me to be that better person.  Without great risk there can be no great reward.

Why am I explaining all of this?  I’m telling you why I didn’t have the groundwork laid to do this properly.  I’ve been attempting to work on a Twitter account and Facebook page this entire time, as well as flesh out the pages and widgets and menus and design – yada yada yada -of this blog.  Today, we’re nearly there.  This weekend I plan to release my Facebook creation into the wild as well as publicly kick my Twitter account out the door and tell it to get to work.  Ooooh, exciting!


Today was the first day off of the Detox.  I actually felt a little guilty eating a real breakfast this morning.  The wife and I laughed about it, and we both commented on how that brief three days opened our eyes to a lot of crap we normally ingest.  We’re generally healthy eaters, I do a LOT of home cooking (my other blog: CatharticCuisine), support a local CSA and choose organic when financially-feasible.  Nonetheless, even being “healthy”, we’re not truly healthy.  Yes, it’s a sliding scale, but you don’t know how much you don’t know until you know what you don’t know, you know?

So, before I even had a cup of coffee this morning, I had another cleansing drink: homemade lemonade with fresh squeezed ginger.  Essentially, you drink 12 oz of water with a half lemon squeezed into it, then grate a 1/2-inch cube of ginger and squeeze the gratings to get the juice into your cup.  (Aside: I had no idea you could squeeze ginger and get juice, but it’s true!).  It’s tart to wake you up, the ginger is a powerful detoxifier that can kick start  your system, and if you like lemonade, it tastes great.   I’d like to do this every morning that I can, if nothing else.

One of these every morning. Easy and delicious.

Morning Go Juice

12 oz water
1/2 squeezed lemon juice
1/2-inch cube ginger root, grated and juice squeezed into cup


The big news of the day is that I can place a start date on another of my Skills Goals:  becoming proficient with my handgun.  We bought our handgun today, and after the 48 hour waiting period, I will have it on Friday.  I’m going to talk more about this, specifically gun safety and how we will be diligent with the firearm in a house with children (who will never know we have one), but I’ll save that for a later date.  Rest assured, this was not a decision we made rashly.  It’s been something that the wife and I have mulled over for months.   I grew up around guns, learned to respect them at an early age, and intend to instill the same respect for a weapon in my children.

Other Goal Updates: Ran 2 miles yesterday on the treadmill, along with the standard quick workout of 50 pushups and 4:00 of wall sits.  Got in some light weights today.   Still working on Captivating.  

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