I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately... as in almost every day. The following tweet just happened into my feed a few days ago and it re-sparked my desire to share exactly what I've been thinking, and more importantly, doing:
It makes me happy to think that future me is going to be happy with the choices current me is making now. Put another way, future me will be thanking past me for the choices I'm making now.
What does that mean?
I've been slowly chipping away at a list, changing things here and there to make my life better. The things I've taken on keep getting bigger and bigger because I've realized how much change I want and need, and small victories lead to bigger challenges which need conquering. Once I start to conquer something, it seems pretty easy to add another and so it's grown as I've moved forward.
My goal is to make the important changes now that will impact my life in the long term. I'm talking big stuff. Hard stuff. Life-changing stuff. I want to train myself to make changes that are necessary so I can live life the way I want. I'm learning how to silence the part of my brain that says I can't do something. And that's just the beginning. My brain has all kinds of roadblocks that need to be taken out back behind the house and shot.
For instance: I want to be an active father. I want to raise my kids to be great contributors to society. I want to be debt-free. I want to hang out with excellent people. I want to seek adventure. I want to change the world. I want to make art. I want to inspire and be inspired. I want to share what I know. I want to live the life I dream of with people I love.
Some people just take what they get. They live life without a plan. I'm a designer. I'm designing my life.
Time is of the Essence
A little history: Around Thanksgiving of 2009, I gave up the first thing - soda. This was a big deal for me. Everyone who knew me in college and for years after knows I was never a coffee drinker and I was addicted to sugar water. I would pop open a Pepsi first thing in the morning and sometimes drink four or five of them a day for a while. When I quit, I was only having one at lunch but I knew it was time to stop. I had caught a cold and had learned that sugar feeds colds like nothing else. I decided to quit and haven't had one since.
This started a pattern for me - make changes cold-turkey. All or nothing. And it meant sticking with those decisions. No faking it. No one else knew I was doing it so it was a little harder when I only had to be accountable to myself. I believe this has helped me because I was only doing it for me anyway. Accountability to others can be a powerful thing, but accountability to yourself is what really matters. If you can do it by yourself, I think it's even better.
So that's where it started. But then things got more serious.
The last day of February, I started a lifestyle transformation which touches on health and fitness but runs much deeper. I thought of it as a leap-year challenge - something that was a long term goal that I would chip away at by accomplishing smaller, daily chunks. It all started when someone made a little side remark. "You're fat." That hit me deep into my core. I was always the skinny kid! "No way, not me" is what I told myself. But I knew I had a gut. I whined and complained about how I didn't have enough time to exercise. I could always eat whatever I wanted without concern for weight gain... until the last few years. I'm 37 now, and if I didn't start making changes, it was going downhill without brakes.
I knew that if I set a long term, life changing goal, It would take a long time to get where I wanted. I also knew I would have to have lots of smaller milestones in between to measure progress along the way. I's also need accountability and a reward system built in.
I work at a desk. I sit most of the day. No longer did I fit into my dress pants. I was growing man-boobs. They bounced when I went down the stairs at the office. I'm just sayin'.
Besides that, low energy. Tons of bad habits. Not enough sleep. Not productive enough. The list went on and on.
Time to Change
This is just a primer post for a narrative I'll be telling well into the future. In other words, this is the beginning. I'll be sharing the changes I've made and followed. I'll share tip and tricks that have helped me along the way. There are a couple of reasons I've decided to do this: First, I want to keep a record of it. It's important to me to track my goals and be able to look back and see the path I've intentionally chosen to take. Since I'm a digital junky, I'll share some of the tools I've used to track my habits and goals. Second, I want to let you know that you can do it too. You just have to want to do it, and take the first step. In other words, start.
The types of things I'll be talking about are diet and nutrition related, exercise, getting out of your comfort zone, personal challenges, taking risks, resources, and critical thinking. It's not just about the outward appearances. It's about clear thinking, creativity, ability to focus, take chances, and living a life of intention - both personally and as a father of four kids.
It's all summed up so nicely in the tweet earlier in this post, isn't it? Let's focus on that until next time.
It's hard to press the button to post this because it's so personal, but here goes. I hope it can help you too.