Okay, so it’s the 3rd day of 2012 and I’m sure you’ve read a bunch of motivational posts on how to get fit and healthy, or [insert whatever resolution here]. If so, then good – we definitely need to be reading this type of material.
I actually read a few pieces that got me really excited. One in particular was Jason Ferruggia’s latest article, My Personal Journey to Hell and Back – talk about an amazing story of courage and vigor.
If you want to be inspired, you can even read my story I published a little while back at the ChangeBlog – How Extreme Focus Can Change Your Life.
Look, I know it’s the beginning of the year and if you’re like most people, you’ve been dealing with the whole idea of making some New Year’s Resolutions. I sometimes get caught up in hating on the whole idea of making them because, let’s face it, most people suck at committing. I wrote about it last year and even said to Screw Your New Year’s Resolutions as a result.
I’m not really bitter about setting goals for the New Year; I just hate seeing people get really excited for a few weeks only to peter off into their old habits and give up altogether. It’s not that our intentions are bad or unwholesome – it’s usually a problem with biting off more than we can chew and being unrealistic.
Today, instead of giving advice on what to do, I want to share with you some ideas and methods that I’m going to be using to help me succeed in all that I’ve been planning the last 3-4 months for the upcoming year.
I’m also going to share with you some things I’ve learned about goal setting and how I’ve been able to be successful as a result of applying some of these methods.
No More Than A Handful
It’s a funny saying, but last summer, I was talking with a mentor of mine and I was sharing with him all the things I wanted to do within the next 6 months and how I should go about achieving them. I then asked how I should go about it.
He replied with, “no more than a handful.”
I sat there for a minute… “What?” I asked.
He said “you cannot do everything at once, and I know short your attention span is – pick no more than 5 tasks to conquer and choose them wisely. Make sure you can dump a ton of passion into them and be willing work on them when you’re tired and not feeling up to it.”
As a scatterbrained, mind-racing polymath, I got all worried. It was time to let go. I sat down and drew a map of what I wanted to accomplish with regards to my fitness writing, putting out a training manual, getting published in various outlets, growing my readership, etc., and then I chose what mattered most.
I disregarded the smaller goals and pushed the more important ones to the forefront of my mind and that’s what I began to work on.
So one thing that’s been very beneficial to me is to be selective in what I’m pursuing, and to stop biting off more than I can chew.
Here’s a warning: you will get burnt out if you take on more than you can handle. I am a testament to this many times over but I’ve finally learned how to say no. I am very comfortable with the amount of work I can take over a certain period and I won’t take on any more. It’s not worth the loss of sleep and I hate not being able to do my very best.
Give Me 5 Minutes of Your Day
Back in November, I did a piece for Greatist.com and had the chance to chat with Leo Babauta as he contributed to my article titled: Making Health & Fitness Complement Your Life.
When I got the response email from Leo, I read it over and over and over again. His advice was so simple, yet very powerful and I began to use it with various tasks that I’d been putting off (for whatever reason).
I asked him for some tips he’d give to those who wanted to make fitness complement their life. His response was:
“Start small. You might see the fittest people committing hours to exercise, but they’re like the black belts. All you need to do is start. Commit to doing five minutes of an activity you enjoy, every day, and commit to changing one thing about what you eat— replace a junk food with something healthy you enjoy. You can find time for five minutes. Slowly, you’ll see yourself improve, and you’ll want to make more room for fitness.”
5 Freaking Minutes! That’s it – all it takes. After I read this, I began practicing it to see what would happen.
There are few things I hate doing but one of them is mobility work. It’s becoming more important as I’m sitting more during the day, so outside of my daily walks, it’s imperative that I do more foam rolling and stretching to remain limber and mobile for my strength training and brogramming.
So I started with 5 minutes working on the tightest areas (ankles and hips). After 5 minutes was up, I stopped and realized that it wasn’t so bad. I did it again the next day, but went a minute longer. I kept going until it was just normal – in short, I created a habit. Turns out, it was just a problem getting started. Give me 5 minutes.
Along with saying that, forming new habits is not always an easy task – it requires diligence and persistence, but forming them can be very rewarding. To learn more about the 5-minute process, read this article.
Check out my friend Andrew’s video below where he talks about how to succeed in 2012 by creating new habits.
I love how Andrew mentions, as I said earlier, that most people bite off more than they can chew and only get discouraged early on. Start small, start slow and give it 5 minutes per day. Give yourself time to work into a consistent plan of action.
What Am I Working On?
I have quite a few major goals/projects that will be taking up a lot of my time, but I won’t go into them for sake of this example. Below, I’m going to give you some things I’m working on daily and how I plan to continually improve each one.
Okay, here we go – interviews are like confessions…
Daily Squatting – I’ve decided to begin daily squatting and today is actually day 6 for me. However, I’m not doing it in the traditional, Olympic lifting sense where I get under a heavy bar for 3 intense reps.
When I’m not doing legs, I’m either finishing up my workout with some light goblet squats or doing bodyweight squats and stretches at home. The reason I’m doing this is to improve my ankle, and hip mobility so I can do full, butt to calves Olympic-style front squats. I’m almost there when placing 2.5lb plates under my heels.
Zen Meditation – I’m not doing this for any reason that is religious. I’m doing it for the supposed positive neural changes that can manifest in the brain from becoming good at meditation and also because I’d like to know what it really feels like to turn off so to speak. For as long as I can remember, my mind has always raced 100 miles per hour.
Nick Horton is one of my biggest influences in the strength and conditioning world. His work and daily practice of meditation has inspired me to try it out. He’s a fine human being and someone I very much look up to. In fact, I just finished reading his new book Samurai Strength (not an affiliate link), in which he discusses the importance of embracing the practice of Zen Meditation to become a better Olympic lifter and athlete.
So as per his instructions in the book, I’m sitting down and counting my breath for as long as I can stand it (the last few days has been about 5-6 minutes before my mind completely wanders). I hope to improve and get to 20-30 minutes within the next few months. Then maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to practice for an hour at a time some day.
Daily Affirmations – A good friend and I had a chat the other day and made the decision to practice daily affirmations. I made a rule that we could only choose 5 and that we had to say them aloud every morning before we officially started our day. We could say them more if we wished, but it’s only required in the morning.Our subconscious minds are very powerful – the more we associate positive thoughts and outlooks with what we want out of life, the better position we are in when it comes to actually achieving what we set out to do.
Spend Time Maintaining Current/Building New Relationships – I traveled a ton in 2011 and I plan to do so again this year. Something I love more than anything is building relationships and getting to know new people. Thank heavens for the internetz – I’ve made so many awesome friendships because of it.
So, I will continue my travel-hacking extravaganza by using credit cards and promotional offers to my advantage to fly for practically free. I plan to revisit NYC, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City (JP Fitness Summit) and probably go skydiving in Vegas again. Yes, this is part of my goal-planning for the year.
How I Plan To Power Through 2012 Like a Boss
I’m going to put complete focus on my goals – they’re specific, and few. I’m not biting off more than I can chew. I’ve committed myself to daily practice and to build habits that will sustain me over the coming months.
For my training, I know what I want and how strong I wish to get. I’m smart, and confident in my programming and in those I consult with to look over my programming.
I will look back this time next year and be excited with what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. I will be proud to know that I’ve helped 10x more people this year than I did last year.
I will wake up every day and live like tomorrow ain’t gonna come. I will give without expecting anything in return and I will continue to pay it forward.
I will never, ever give up.
Resources To Help You Succeed in 2012
I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t give you some other sources to take with you as you embark on your journey into 2012. So below, I want to share some sites and people who I think you’ll benefit very much from.
Fitocracy.com – I’ve had the pleasure of hanging with Dick Talens in both New York City and Mountain View, California (where I met his partners in crime, Brian Wang and Daniel Roesler) and I cannot say enough about them all. They’re crazy about creating an awesome experience for fitness people and some of the most giving dudes I’ve ever met. If you hvaen’t checked out Fitocracy yet, see what it’s all about here: http://ftcy.co/lNdGWL <— Invite code.
Syatt Fitness – I remember a few months back when Jordan added me on Facebook. Little did I know I’d become such good friends with the guy but I’m sure glad he reached out to me. He’s Westside Barbell certified and currently interning at Cressey Performance. Guess what? He’s not even 21 yet and is already making waves in the industry. His writing is great, and he’s one of the most knowledgeable guys I know. Definitely be on the lookout for this guy in 2012.
Nick Horton – One of my favorite strength coaches currently and it’s not because I love the way he teaches the snatch. It’s because he’s on a level that many other coaches aren’t, in my opinion. His writing cuts deep and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is, even if it means he offends and loses a few readers. I have mad respect for him and have learned a tremendous amount from his writing and his YouTube videos are pretty good, too.
Matt Perryman – Okay, so this dude is smart. Don’t believe me? Just check out the section I linked to and start learning about daily squatting, autoregulation, and various ramblings on neuroscience. He’s also got a new book coming out – I read the first version about a year ago and cannot wait for the revised edition.
Sohee Lee – I had the chance to meet up with Sohee last month during my travels to San Francisco. There we trained and stuffed our faces together. She’s currently wrapping up her 4-year studies in Human Biology at Stanford, is a NSCA certified personal trainer and a NPC bikini competitor. I got to train with her and she out-lifted many of the guys working out that night.
Her story is powerful and I recommend you get to know her as she brings it in 2012. We (RogLaw and I) just got her site set up a few days ago – so be sure to subscribe and check back as she fills it with awesome content.
FitID.com – FitID is a brand new company that launched over the New Year. A dear friend of mine, Kenneth Yim, is one of the co-founders and I’m happy to be one of the first to know about it. In fact, when I was sleeping on his couch during my stay in New York, we had a lot of time to talk about where he plans to take FitID and his aim for the user experience. I think it’s going to be a great, supportive fitness community.
GirlsGoneStrong – I can’t get enough of them. These girls keep me on my toes because, umm, they’re really strong and if I’m not careful, they might catch up to my lifts and embarrass me. Seriously though, if you’re on Facebook – do yourself a favor and follow this group. Big things are sure to come from them.
RogLawFitness and JCDFitness Podcast – That’s right folks, we plan to begin podcasting sometime this month. I’m hoping we’ll get out at least one episode before the end of January, and then hopefully crank at least 2 out per month.
As of right now, we have some ideas for content, but we’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas you’d like use to go over. Don’t worry; you’ll get all the comedy at no extra charge (it’s free, anyway).
I just hope you don’t think less of me when you hear my southern accent.
—-So what are you going to conquer in 2012?—-