Getting Better

✱ How Do You Do? by Evan Troxel

By far, the question I get asked the most is, “How do you do so much?” Another version I hear a lot is, “I don’t know how you do everything you do.” I get the same question/comment weekly if not more often. I’m going to put some thoughts on the page here so I can point people to this blog so they can read about it if they want to. Hopefully you’ll get something out of this too.  

In a nutshell, I do a lot. I don’t take time off too often. I’m nearly maxed-out on PTO. But when I do, I make it count. I don’t watch much TV. I don’t like to sit still. I love making things. I want to do even more. I sleep seven hours a night (I only say this because I won’t sacrifice sleep—I need to stay healthy so I can do more). I like to record podcasts. I haven’t decided if I’ll write another book. I recently made an online course to teach others a 3d program. I’m designing (and am going to build) a custom camping trailer from scratch. I’m a licensed architect. I mentor people. I lead. I’m on many teams. I want to be outdoors more. I like to exercise. I love rock climbing. I miss making music. I want to travel and see things. I want to have experiences. I want to be inspired. I want to be with my family. 

I think about two words quite often: freedom and impact.

I like making goals. Part of the reason I like making goals for myself is that I enjoy progress. I try to go through the goal setting exercise once a quarter. Some goals are short burns, and some are long term. 

I also like autonomy. Autonomy serves me well. I don’t like having to move at someone else’s speed limit (and this doesn’t always mean I like to move faster). Autonomy gives me the freedom to do more with my life than most people are comfortable taking on. It also allows for me to do meaningful work, to me at least. 

The word ‘freedom’ immediately came to me earlier this year when Mark LePage asked the EntreArchitect Facebook group to "Pick one word that defines your focus for 2017.” There were lots of great words added in the thread that day and for many days after that. I wrote ‘freedom' that day because it meant autonomy among other subtleties. 

So freedom was my word… for about 3 months. I've now changed it. Don’t get me wrong, freedom hasn’t been banished. It’s still there, but it’s not the priority. It’s now periphery. Hopefully it’ll be an outcome of my new word: impact.

Why did I change my word? Because I want to make a difference. Freedom was selfish. Freedom was for me. Impact is for others. Impact is my why. Why do I do what I do? To make an impact. To help others. To make a difference. To push the boundaries. To color outside the lines. To make progress. To allow for change. For better.

In case you’re wondering, I’m no different than anyone else. You could choose to do anything I do. You might be able to do it better. You just have to decide if it’s worth doing. What's important? What’s your priority?

If I could ask you to do three things, they would be:

  1. Care more about something. Talk about it. Share it.
  2. Do more. More, more, more. This often means doing less of something else. Take inventory and make tough decisions on what you can cut. Make a Now page about your priorities for a little accountability.
  3. Start. If you start, you’ll make an impact. This is what the world needs, even if it only affects one person.

✱ Now by Evan Troxel

I’ve created a Now page here on my web site. What’s a Now page? Great question. It’s a page where I’ve publicly stated the stuff I’m focusing on; therefore only the stuff I’m focusing on. As my priorities change, I’ll update it to reflect my current projects. Consider it a living document (which is something web pages are really good for).

I’m the type of person that has always been interested in many, many things. It’s always been hard for me to focus on just one or two main things. I mean, just look at the list of obsessions I have over there on the right side of this page. I love starting projects but I don’t always finish them, and that bugs me. For instance, a few years ago I decided that I was going to finish what I started and finally get my architecture license almost 20 years after graduating from architecture school. During that long, arduous studying and testing process I really wanted to start some new projects but I knew they would take my focus away from getting that damn license. So I negotiated with myself that I would not start anything new until I finished my last test. Once I got licensed, I started working on my trailer project the very next day, and I’ve been working on it ever since.

I haven’t been blogging much here or over on my Method website for a couple of years now, and the priorities on my Now page are the reason. The importance of having a Now page is that not only does it state what I’m currently focused on, but it also is an indicator of everything I’m not working on. Basically, if it’s not on the list, I’m not doing it. So if you have a project that you think you need me to help out with, check the list first. If it’s not related to one of those things, I’ll probably say no. Don’t worry, it’s not personal. I've just gained a heightened awareness that I need to continue to invest in myself and my personal development more than taking on things that scatter my focus. I’ve been doing this for the last 3 years and I am determined to continue. It’s been very rewarding so far.

This Now page wasn’t my idea. I read about it over on Derek Sivers’ web site first, where he talks about 'saying no’. I know it’s something I’ve needed help with for a long time. He recently created a page with information about what he's calling the Now Movement that you might want to check out as well. In fact, he was the guy who wrote No more Yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no that first got my attention on this matter. 

Getting to the bottom of all of the clutter in my mind is the real reason for doing something like this. There are lots of people, myself included, that are open to saying ‘yes' to just about everything. Lots of people have written about all of the cool things that can happen when you say yes. It’s just not that season in my life right now. While there are so many cool things out there to do that I would like to be a part of, I’m resigned to the fact that I just can’t do everything. I’m doing the things that have meaning to me.

Do you have a Now page?

Consider making one if you don’t. Even if you don’t publish it online, it really helps focus your energy into the things you are passionate about. My thinking is that those are the things you’ll pour all of yourself into and do something really great. To me, that sounds much better than putting some of your energy into doing something that has bits of you in it and comes into the world in a mediocre way. It’s my goal to not do things half-assed any more. It’s just full-assed from now on.

If you do decide to make one, leave a link to it in the comments. I'd love to see it and find out what your passion projects are.

✱ Rejection is Good for You by Evan Troxel

Rejection is something every person working in a creative field has to learn to deal with if they want to get better at what they do. It's an essential tool that must be learned and put to use, as scary as it is. There are lots of people that think we get to do the "fun" job being the creative. While I would agree about the fun part, there are lots of non-fun aspects to the job that are actually downright terrifying sometimes. It takes a lot of guts to be vulnerable and put your work out there in front of others for it to be judged. Many people overlook this difficult part of the job.

For those of you unfamiliar with a common part of an architect's education, a jury of academics and professionals come together to critique a student's work that has typically been pinned up on a wall for everyone to see. It's called a Crit, which is short for "critique". The Crit is the home of rejection in an architect's life. It's what we do with the rejection is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. 

Wikipedia states:

Criticism is the practice of judging the merits and faults of something (or somebody) in an intelligible (or articulate) way.

  • The judger is called "the critic".
  • To engage in criticism is "to criticise"/"criticize".
  • One specific item of criticism is called "a criticism" or a "critique".

Criticism as an evaluative or corrective exercise can occur in any area of human life.

The Crit

A fairly standard setting of a Crit. This one happens to be at sci-arc. Click to embiggen.

While rejection is definitely not limited to architecture, it's the perspective I'm coming from. Architecture school was and is a good place to learn how to develop a thick skin because of the critiquing process students go through when presenting their projects. It's where we learned how to deal with rejection. Sometimes it was relentless. People cried.

It is the role of the designer to use said criticism to make the next project better as it is probably too late to make the current one any better because there is no time left. Make sure you understand: the goal is to make the project better. It is often a misunderstood method. Most of the time, at least early on, the student takes it personally. They shouldn't.

I always loved how after working tirelessly for weeks on end at a breakneck speed to hear "It was a good first pass" at the final presentation. The irony. 

I've also noticed that we tend to lose touch with the idea of the Crit after school. A lot of times we take it personally because of our inability to separate ourselves from the work. Designers pour their lives into their work and it becomes an extension of them, so it makes sense. Other times it's taken personally because of the inability for some jurors to make a constructive criticism. Some jurors response and/or tone is often demoralizing and full of their own ego. We get to hear all about how they would have done it (so perfectly I might add). This is a problem, but not the point of this article. Those kinds of comments and attacks should be dismissed immediately.

I was sent links to these articles about rejection, and they are very well written so I thought I'd share them. I wish I’d read these years ago during school, but it's great to read them as reminders now. To be able to use rejection and criticism as a tool is a powerful thing. I've included just a small quote from each article but they really are worth reading in their entirety. 

Rejection and the designer by Lisa Shaughnessy:

What are the results of working in a discipline where rejection, and its first cousins, compromise, dilution and modification, are ubiquitous? Does rejection harden ambition and act as a spur to better work? Or does it inject a debilitating toxin into the organs of creative ambition? 
Of course it’s not social rejection that designers fear, but it’s almost as deeply felt, and strikes at the core of what it means to be a creative producer. How designers cope with rejection of their work is fundamental to how they progress and develop as creative practitioners.
And there’s a paradox here for designers: if we wish to avoid rejection we nearly always have to choose blandness, but on the other hand, if we want to make work with depth and resonance, we have to risk rejection. So unless we decide to settle for blandness and cosy consensus, we have to live with the near permanent threat of rejection.

So many great points. I must hold back from quoting more... please go read it for yourself.

And then there's this article coming from the perspective of a writer that easily crosses over into other creative work. The author describes why it's good to get rejected:

Get Rejected by Lisa Carver:

It may say something about you, positive or negative, that your piece (or your love) was rejected, or it may say absolutely nothing at all about you. (Same with having your piece accepted.) Rejection, personally or professionally, is only saying this doesn’t fit here. Maybe it used to, or maybe it would if this and this changed, but right now, as is, no. It may be a case of wrong time, wrong place, or it may be that what you wrote is just plain uninteresting. Some things you write are going to be pretty bad. It’s good to get notice that there’s something more you could be doing, writing, thinking, experiencing. Why be hurt by that? Go do something bigger, go try it.
Once you stop being frightened of saying no, that’s when you can say a real yes when it’s yes. When you stop being frightened of getting told no, that’s when you stop being frightened of their yes not being really yours, and you no longer need to worry over either a yes or a no like a dog with a bone about to be snatched. Get good with rejection, and you’ll be able, finally, to be accepted. And cherished. And celebrated. Every once in a great while. And you’ll know it’s yours.

Even now I use the critique/jury process during the development of my projects. It allows me to get a wide range of alternative perspectives to view my work; a 'fresh set of eyes' as they say. It takes deliberate thought and action for me to make sure I take the crit as potential ideas to make the work better. To not take it personally. It's then my job to weed through the comments and different points of view—to take some to heart and to leave others in a ditch by the side of the road as I speed off and never look back.

We did an Archispeak podcast episode on critique and criticism where we explored the subject more. The comments on the page by some of our listeners are golden.

The bottom line is that the Crit is the important part, and rejection is good for you. It's where you listen, and it's a tool you can use to become better at your craft. Once you figure this out, you actually start looking forward to Crits because they can provide clarity. If they don't, there are two things wrong: You're either not inviting the right people, or you're not doing it right.

✱ The Best of 2014 by Evan Troxel

Sapphire Pool, Yellowstone National Park
© Evan Troxel – All Rights Reserved

The year is winding down and I’m sifting through 5,000 photos getting ready to make the 2014 Troxelmar Family Slideshow. It’s a tradition that I’ve done the last 3 years and this will be the fourth installment. I already have over 300 images earmarked and I haven't even gotten into the videos yet... Wish me luck.

I get a little better at it each time, and it’s become something I look forward to doing the last few days of the year. The first couple of years were pretty stressful. Now I’m knee-deep picking photos and videos, putting them in order, applying transitions, adding music, adding titles and BAM! It’s going to be an epic viewing. We usually cook up some popcorn and watch it on the big screen TV on New Year's Day. This is going to be the best shoebox of photos ever in about 10 years when the kids are all grown up and moved out.

It’s time to reflect. Why? Lots of reasons, but really the biggest one is because it's a good time to reinforce to my brain that I'm making progress in my life. This past year was definitely a turning point for me. In a nutshell 2014 was the year I decided to overcome the biggest hurdle in my life in order to do some of the things I really want to do, which was to finally get my architectural license. Done.

The main reason I was able to accomplish that and so much more is that I set goals for myself in October of 2013 and I reviewed them monthly. I also decided to put off some majorly-cool things so that I could focus on this priority. The side benefit to that decision was that I had some very cool things to look forward to when I finally did finish. I kept reminding myself that I'd get to do some awesome stuff as long as I finished well.

Setting goals has been the most important thing I've done in recent years. I mean actually writing them down and saying them out loud. If I were to just have all these ideas bouncing around in my head there is no way I would ever be able to methodically chip away at them. I would be aimless. The second most important thing I've done is to continually check in with myself and track my progress. 

Starting this December, I set new goals in every part of my life for the upcoming year and I now review them weekly. This came out of a big brainstorming session, lots of coffee and my trusty Moleskin notebook. I set a weekly reminder to go off every Sunday so I would remember to do my weekly review, because otherwise I wouldn’t do it. Life just has a way of continuing on if I don't create proper reminders to pause and reflect.

Further, I'm using some tools like this one to help me focus on four main goals, and I'm tracking progress on them five days a week for 12 weeks. I've also been doing a lot more mind mapping lately, and I've found it to be an invaluable tool for visualizing my projects, organizing them, finding lots more clarity and answers. These tools help me really tune into what's working and what's not so I can make adjustments along the way to make sure I make it to the end.

My morning ritual

Since I started two years ago getting up at 5am to study, I've just continued doing so to chip away at my new goals. It's a great way to start each day and figure out what small thing I can do to make it one step closer. I am super excited for what's coming!

The purpose of all of my current goals is to set me up for an amazing 2016 and beyond. I've found that looking ahead three years is just about right. Of course things won't turn out the same as I've planned them, but the point is to just have some sort of direction. It's loose on purpose. I make lots of adjustments along the way. I’ll probably add some new things in and remove others completely.

Here are some things I'm proud to have shipped in 2014:

WORTHY POSTS ON MY PERSONAL WEBSITE in 2014:

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL STUFF in 2014:

  • I was promoted to Associate at HMC Architects.
  • I passed the last five exams to get my license to practice architecture. HOT DAMN!
  • I went canyoneering in Zion National Park. I lost both of my big toenails and could hardly walk afterward. It was very manly. (Photos coming soon)
  • Our family went on vacation to Yellowstone National Park. We drove over 3000 miles towing a travel trailer and had the time of our lives. I swear a gallery will be going up soon. There are some amazing shots.
  • I was named one of 25 architects you should follow on Twitter.
  • I was named one of 8 Independent Architects Taking the Lead on DI.net.
  • A school I designed won a 2014 Merit Award by the American Institute of Architects, Inland Chapter.
  • The kids and I made a video over a weekend about our adventures while my wife was out of town.

MOST POPULAR ON ARCHISPEAK (MY PODCAST) IN 2014:

Most popular on METHOD (MY DIGITAL TRAINING WEBSITE FOR ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNERS) in 2014:

I’ve never been one to sit still. 

Regardless if you find these things awesome or lame, they are all huge for me. Progress is personal. I'm definitely not writing them as a comparison to you, so please don't read it that way. I think it's a good practice to evaluate our accomplishments yearly and memorialize them in our time capsules. This happens to be mine. 

So here's to a great 2015! It’s going to be even bigger. Stay tuned, stay curious, and never stop learning.

Video: John Cleese on Creativity by Evan Troxel

I've watched this video twice now, and I'll probably watch it again. I keep picking up on new things each time. I have to say, this is the most succinct presentation on how to get in the creative mode I've ever seen. And it goes without saying that John Cleese comes off showing his complete understanding of this science-backed thesis in a captivating way. Just thinking about the way he designed the talk to include humor, timing, confidence, intuition and science makes me want to find more videos of him doing this kind of thing so I can study them. 

Take notes.

✱ We need great, licensed architects. We need you. by Evan Troxel

I was driving in the car today and Hey Jude by the Beatles came on the radio. My car is old so it only has a radio, so please give me a break! I had a big grin on my face as my kids and I sang along to the hook at the end. It's called a hook for a reason:

Naaa, na, na, nana-na-na...

This is a weird analogy, but hang in there with me for a minute. Why do we like this song so much? For a few reasons, really. It's easy; It's the part of the song everyone knows and isn't afraid to sing along; You're not going to mess it up; It doesn't matter how old you are or how young you are - you'll still sing it; You get to be one of the Beatles when you sing along to that part.

We're all part of this big thing together. It's pretty epic if you think about it.

Then I thought about all my friends in Chicago this week for the American Institute of Architects National Convention. Everyone swooping in, congregating at the same place at the same time, just like being at a Beatles concert. It's my hope that for this one week, everyone is singing along to the same tune, and that it's indeed epic. Architecture is in some bad need of camaraderie and inclusiveness

A lot of our podcast listeners, beyond being good looking, are students or unlicensed professionals. Hell, two thirds of our hosts are unlicensed. But not for long! That will change very soon. We need to dig in and get out hands dirty to become part of the community. Then we can start to help drive the big ship while designing it to be what we want, hopefully helping it thrive well into the future. The first step is make sure we are on the same playing field as everyone else so we can help as effectively as possible.

This is what I'm doing, and I hope you'll join me. Once I get my license, I have plans. It is not an easy nor a fast task. One step at a time.

We've been talking about a lot lately on the podcast about the NCARB exams, what's involved in them and what's changing. These exams are what all candidates (including yours truly) have to pass in order to become licensed architects, and become a part of the community that sets policy and steers where our industry is going. We've also talked a little bit about what tools are available to help us pass them. My friend David Doucette has a great little company that makes study tools for the exams. People I know who've used them absolutely rave about them. 

On top of the affordable study guides for the exams administered by NCARB, David's company, Architect Exam Prep, also has a study guide (which is more of a bible really) for the California Supplemental Exam. This is an amazing resource, and I hope you'll check it out. If you use my link, I get a small kickback from David.

My goal here is to help spread the word about this resource because I think it's great, and because I want you to pass the exams. I hope we will all be singing the same song one day soon. Simple as that.

You can find out more here.

Link: "Everything I know about business in one minute." by Evan Troxel

38338-whatbillknew_525.jpg

Here is some great advice for business and for life. It's a quick summary from a one minute long presentation by Bill Drenttel, but you should go to Michael Bierut's site and read the story behind the message because he has some great observations about the man and his text. Bill sounded like an amazing guy. 

These are the ten things he said:

  • Focusing on making a partnership work is more profitable than focusing on making money.
  • Love your employees more than you love your clients. 
  • The best new business is your current business.
  • Price projects by asking yourself what the client's lawyer would charge.
  • It's better to be hired for your work than for your price. 
  • When it comes to getting paid, the first of the month is better than the thirtieth. 
  • Making money off mechanicals, printing and computers turns your business into a commodity.
  • The books in your library are more important than the numbers on your balance sheet. 
  • In order to love your work, take vacations.
  • Power, in business, comes from sharing money and valuing love.

Summary: Love > Business

Link: Empower Your Brand, Building Code Differences and Cleaning Scans by Evan Troxel

I'm happy to be featured alongside my friends Mark LePage and Lee Calisti on Novedge's Vectorworking Blog with a few things that will make both you and your architecture practice worth more.

My contribution is a tutorial from my other site, Method, where I show you how to clean up your scans in Photoshop and make them look way better.

Click here to read more.

A new Big Time Small Firm hangout is on YouTube by Evan Troxel

Last week I had the pleasure of being in a Google+ Hangout with Jes Stafford (@modarchitect on twitter) as the National AIA Convention kicked off in Denver. It was a great conversation, and I'm looking forward to more. 

We talked about the AIA and it's new Repositioning Initiative I wrote about last week, how architects should be more like chefs, the public perception of architecture, and how changing the architectural industry is going to need to be a grassroots effort if we are going to make it better.

If you're interested in this kind of thing, look for Big Time Small Firm on Google+ and ask for an invitation from @modarchitect.

 

This is Powerful by Evan Troxel

This is Water

The Glossary:

In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn't become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we've ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.
We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested.
Read the full speech here:
web.archive.org/web/20080213082423/http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html

(via Gruber)

✱ Design Everything by Evan Troxel

Seth Godin has a great post up today regarding our opportunities as designers:

Everyone takes a shower without their glasses, and yet the little, indistinguishable bottles in the shower often have 12 point type describing what's inside. No, I'm not going to wear reading glasses in the shower.

I will shout it from the hilltops. Or on this blog at least. DESIGN EVERYTHING!

This next quote really nails it. Great design is not fashion (emphasis mine):

Great design tells a story. It moves a product from one category to another, increases yield, creates efficiencies and most of all, adds beauty to the interaction.
But it doesn't have to shout. Or confuse. The pro user, the individual who chose your design because it is something she wants to use every day--this user appreciates the power and the beauty you've created. But in public, for the infrequent passerby, do not call attention to what you've built. We have other things to do. The best designer understands what's important.

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA by Evan Troxel

Ron Finley is a guerrilla gardener - a local activist in South Central LA. This is his inspiring TED Talk. We need more people like him. Less talk, more action.

If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes. But when none of this is presented to them, if they're not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever the hell you put in front of them.

Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking by Evan Troxel

This is an inspiring video from the TED website that reinforces my thoughts regarding making art = the best way to live. I love how confident Amanda is. This is a big lesson for me as I struggle through trying new things with my Method website as I try to help other artists get better at what they do.

Don't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan.

How can this apply to architects? We already are really bad at working too much for free and not asking to be paid for the difficult work we do.

The best way to get unstuck by Evan Troxel

This is precisely why you're stuck. Starting without seeing the end is difficult, so we often wait until we see the end, scanning relentlessly for the right way, the best way and the perfect way.

The way to get unstuck is to start down the wrong path, right now.

This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I'm starting on a new project and it's so overwhelming I had that deer-in-headlights feeling. Just get started. The end will come when it comes. Thanks Seth.

✱ Future Me by Evan Troxel

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.

The Symptoms

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.