I’ve made a commitment to my Apple Watch: when it tells me to stand, I listen. I rarely worry about reaching my Standing goal for the day but discipline comes in the small things. The little victories and habits are what lead to momentum, and momentum leads to bigger wins.
It’s kind of like my parking spot – no one parks further away than me. I’m not trying to compete with anyone else. I’m just saying that I don’t take the easiest, closest spot. I’m training my mindset to always be willing to work hard, stay sharp.
One of the most memorable Christmas presents I ever received was a single company share (stock) of Nike. From age 12-18 and had become a fanboy of the athletic brand. Michael Jordan was in his prime, Bo Knows Bo was a thing, and all I wanted to do was Just Do It. I felt a part of the company. I had ownership. And it didn't hurt that the stock split twice. Of course with four shares, I wasn't inspired by the money; I wanted to be part of the story.
Bo Knows Bo – brilliant
The brand took a big hit when it was revealed that it was making products in sweatshops. To be honest, that tarnish of the company lasted a long time for me. Big brands soon became less of a big deal to me (poor college student) and I never regained my passion for the company.
Nike has been making quite the comeback. Their recent partnership with Apple on the Apple Watch specifically caught my attention. I was reminded how groundbreaking the company was with athletic gear and how it has evolved (as all companies must) to provide software apps and a relevant message in the 21st century. Nike established the Nike+ Run Club and almost overnight I found a script where I wanted to play a leading role.
that "Etch-a-sketch" in the middle is my running route
I love the idea of a running club. I've never been in one but the week we moved to Oregon, we were at the Firefly and learned that there is a running club that meets every Saturday morning. Life with three young kids does not make that time work the greatest for us right now, but this spring might be a different story. In my line of work I'm always looking for ways for people to take their health to the next level. I work at a fitness club, I believe there is a lot of value (equipment, community and experts) at a fitness club. But the idea of a "grassroots" running club at the local coffee shop is pretty cool also! Anyway, there's the local running club and there's the digital running club – and you know me, digital is always pretty cool to me.
I'm not sure we need another social network. I know that face-to-face interaction is both essential and at the same time taking a hit in our digital society. Still we need to leverage technology and find ways to connect with more people with said technology especially if it benefits our health. And that is my motivation: a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. Sure, a guy like me often gets competitive but it doesn't always have to be like that. Running is about being in community. Each runner is as different as the next. One of the main features of the Nike+ Running Club is the prompt to run on Sunday. I love this! And each week I've had Apple Watch Nike+ I've participated in the Sunday run.
Nike was the original athletic company. They had a significant fall from grace and they've rebuilt their brand. Nike is continuing to tell the story of health and fitness and is finding new ways to get you and me involved in the story. I'll end with one of my favorite fitness stories. Nike asked Casey Neistat to help launch their Nike Fuel band. Well the Fuel Band ended up being a flop but hey, this video is still pretty awesome. (Sorry for the thumbnail – it’s not all about girls in bikinis).
The purpose of this newsletter is to be a resource of articles for people interested in leading a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. My reading material focuses on health and wellness with occasional instances of personal productivity, discipline, and habits.
As we ended the year last week I talked with numerous clients about reverse engineering 2017. I encouraged them to envision what they wanted their health to look and feel like at this time next December. It's a poignant time of year to look back but also (I would argue) look ahead. What does that look like? What have you built? How have you gotten stronger, faster, healthier? So you have your goal for 12 months down the calendar. What's next?
I know what you're thinking: "I'm scared to start because I am afraid I won't keep it up." Or worse, "Everyone's starting their New Year's Resolutions, and I'm not into those. If everyone's doing it, I'm out." Let's all put down our device and realize it doesn't matter what other people are doing. You, my friend have a goal for 2017 and it's time to start. But starting is probably the toughest part of this whole thing. I know because I'm right there step-for-step with you.
What am I starting in 2017? First off, I'm starting with less. I did really well reading devotionals last year, beginning each day reflecting on portions of the Bible or topics to become a better man, husband, father. Over the years I've gathered multiple devotionals (most of which are fantastic) but what I've realized is that by not focusing on one, I've watered down the messages and concepts. I've essentially robbed myself of the full impact of a single entry. This year I'm down to one entry per morning. I haven't decided on which one or even if I'll switch throughout the year (month-to-month?). See that? The plan doesn't have to be perfect. But I have to start.
I'm reading less. That's not completely accurate. I'm reading less of the tech Twitter stuff that I absolutely lovereading. I'm refocusing my daily Twitter news to actual news first and my exercise science and fitness news second. As I've reflected I've the last couple weeks I've realized a clear fork in the road when I sit down to read: I could go left and read to make myself better professionally or I could go right and read fun tech stuff that is useful but does not help pay the bill or feed me in any way other than as a hobbyist. Reading less of the tech stuff will be an intentional disciplined move to reading what matters to me.
These are just a couple ways I'm starting with less. But I'm also starting things new, and yes starting today. A big part of what I want to accomplish in 2017 includes writing publicly more. Each year I typically write more than the previous year, so as a writer I'm improving. Win! I am a big proponent of writing every day even if it's just in a journal or something that never gets published to the world. At the same time I believe that putting public posts like this on the internet force me to be at the top of my game, continually get better, and punch fear in the face. It's not easy to write in public. But the successful people that I read were one day in the same boat: they had to start writing and hitting that publish button. One of my main goals for 2017 includes writing more on a weekly basis. I ended last year with a new writing project, Tech Trainer, which I am very proud of. I will continue this project in 2017 – it still feels like I'm "starting" this one.
Finally I'm not starting new health and fitness but I am starting a new training focus this year: I'm calling it TriForty. Again, the goal here isn't to list out all the details of what I'm starting but rather make the case that starting is one of the hardest part. Yet we all can agree that there can be no finish, no journey, no struggle and victory if there is no start.
My work typically starts at 5:40 every morning. Don’t feel sorry for me; I’m a morning guy and I’m doing work I absolutely love. Lately my Friday client load has been starting later, 7:20 to be exact. This has allowed me to get to favorite coffee shop first thing in the morning. They open at six and there’s only a couple regulars that sometimes beat me to the register.
Why get up early when I could instead sleep another hour? Two reasons. First, I have found that if I get up at the same time every day I’m much better off. Second (and much more importantly) it gives me space to get my head right. By Friday there are usually unfinished tasks, new duties and ideas to process, and limited time to wrap it all up. The Firefly at 6am Friday helps me finish well.
Sure, ‘twelfth’ is a weird word but it fits here. Yesterday marked the start of the last 1/12 of the year. December 1st means I get to sing Christmas songs to my kids for bedtime, play Christmas music 24/7, and most importantly drink egg nog. At the same time it’s that last lap of the year when the end is certainly in sight. I’ve learned to start my reflections early because I want to avoid that December 31st or January 1st temptation to completely revamp my life with new year resolutions.
Enough of the backstory. It’s always a good time to reflect, adjust, and plan. For me that has been a beautiful balance of executing my projects at work, building my personal projects, and thinking about the health of my family. What’s going well? What needs to improve? To be honest I ask myself those questions very often but it is the executing part that I always feel could improve. Do you feel that way too? Are you happy with what you produce or move forward on any given week or month?
November was especially productive because I got Tech Trainer planned out and published the first post, I developed a new tradition with the kids, and moved three big work projects downfield. Like publishing this blog post, it feels great to move things forward. But it’s kind of like exercise for many of my clients: they identify how good it makes them feel but it’s often very difficult to execute, hit publish, or ship that product.
Here’s to the last twelfth. May it finish well and look as healthy as the first twelfth.
Memorizing Romans 12 has been a great experience thus far. It has taken a lot of work, showing up every day and giving it five minutes. But I have seen the progress week after week.
The end is near. Verse 19 has been a challenge for me so here it is all by itself. Everything up until this point is going very well, only a couple mistakes here and here.
If you aren’t taking the memory challenge I understand. Even if you don’t believe you can finish at this point, pick a couple verses and commit some of the passage (v. 9–21) to memory. Having Scripture in your mind and on the tip of your tongue is always a good thing.
I have had a surprising amount of success memorizing Romans 12. As I’ve built the passage up to verses 9–16, I came to (what I believe to be) a natural break in the text. So I decided to start over with just two verses this week.
After just a couple days I was already trying to add this onto the first section. Certainly still a challenge but worth the effort.
This week as I’m going to ask you to trust me and this keyboard. I’m going to write out what I’ve memorized thus far and even though you can see the image below, It wasnt’ there as I was writing these verses from memory:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, always serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Serve the Lord’s people who are in need. Always be hospitable. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn.
How did I do? Are you taking the challenge? I am finding tremendous value in memorizeing and reciting each morning on my commute to work.
We are a full week into the new year. So where are you at? Have I removed this blog post far enough to avoid the temptation of resolution talk? That was the goal.
And yet there is still a goal. There always needs to be a goal. What’s yours? Mine is to sleep more. What?! A health and fitness pro that wants to sleep more? Absolutely.
For about a year now I’ve trained clients (on average) at 5:40am Monday through Friday. I love the mornings. But it makes for a long day since I often also have clients mid- to late afternoon. I’ve done a good job of limiting the early evenings I work both for my health and for family time. Katie has (too often but necessarily) been telling me that I need to take better care of my body, and she’s right. The benefits of sleep have been well documented. As a man in pursuit of a healthy and disciplined lifestyle, I need to have a plan in this area of my life.
New tool: FitBit
I recently purchased a FitBit for a class I’m starting. FitBit, Jawbone, Microsoft Band, they’re all interesting options and they all have one goal: get you healthier. For me I don’t need more steps; I don’t need more flights of stairs. I need to improve my sleep and the past week I’ve increased my hours of sleep each night. Just having this single piece of data has really helped me this week. It breaks down my goal of a healthy lifestyle into a manageable task, and I’m winning!
This has gotten me very interested in data. I realize data isn’t for everyone, and it’s easy in my profession to talk over people with all the exercise science discussions. But at the same time Madison is a university town, there are smart, educated people here. I find myself always guiding the discussion back to their work and their family life – without goals and managing information, you wouldn’t succeed in anything that has meaning. Setting goals, knowing the numbers, and devising a strategy to improve those numbers are the keys to victory.