Top 5 Improvements for Midyear 2017
We just hit the halfway checkpoint for 2017. How are things going? How are your goals coming along?
It’s crazy to think about how fast time can really go by without even noticing.
For my 2017, things have been going well – just not in the way I anticipated at the beginning of the year.
For the past few years, the “middle of the year” is usually the most uneventful, the time when I start to cave in and fall into default habits.
This year is slightly different. While yes, I kind of hit a momentary rut and have started to slip away from my goals, this year had a few things happen that kept things mixed up enough for me to not fall completely flat on my ass.
Rather than setting specific goals (which is kind of contradictory to what I’ve done in the past), I set “directions.”
I had 5 “directions” I felt drawn to when I first started the year.
West Coast Swing, Community of Awesome, Wanderlust, Business, and Serve.
I didn’t make stellar progress in all areas. Some were better than others. But that’s okay, it’s unrealistic to think I’ll make massive strides in every category of my life at every single moment.
I’m not going to get into all of the specifics of what went well and what didn’t this year, but there are a few highlights that make me smile and the more I think about them, the more they re-energize and excite me for the coming months.
- I did my first ever competition in West Coast Swing and made it to Finals. I don’t think I’ve ever done any kind of competition in my life, so this was a great experience for me.
- I was asked to attend an event and had the opportunity to also practice my photography.
- Fort Wayne West Coast Swing was started in January and we’re hitting the 6 month mark with about 8 events thus far.
- I had the opportunity to be part of a pilot program that opened up a lot of health and mindset related things for me, as well as uncovered personal issues that I need to face.
- I began to more proactively explore alternative styles in a quiet manner.
- A new opportunity was presented to me that could potentially alter the trajectory of my life in the short-term especially.
On the flip side, I still struggle with largely the same issue.
- Doing the 1 thing that’s most important in my day/week/month/life. Or the thing that I’m most excited about.
- Self-discipline to not play video games or watch YouTube all fucking day long.
I’m sure I could think of plenty of things in either category, but I don’t want to spend too much time reflecting on the past 6 months.
I already know the key areas I need to improve and the handful of things that will make the most significant improvements in my life for the coming weeks and months.
The Top 5 Important Things for Me to Focus On for Midyear 2017
There are countless things for me to work on, but these past few weeks have revolve around these 5 central ideas. They’ll adapt and change over time, but for now, these are the most relevant and most important for improving my life.
Prioritizing My Health
The most significant thing right now to improve my health can be summed up as “nutrition and sleep.” More than anything, I just need to stop consuming shitty stuff: pop and bad food. Not only are they not necessarily healthy for me, but they make me physically feel like shit.
Not well versed in this area yet, but generally my goal:
- Stop drinking pop. (I don’t do moderation very well.)
- Cut out alcohol. (I don’t drink very often anyway.)
- Drink significantly more water and/or tea. (On track.)
- Stop eating so much stuff that just makes me FEEL like shit.
- Introduce healthier foods into my daily diet. (Go review IVP notes.)
I’ve made significant improvements (compared to the last ~10 years) since doing IVP, but it can still use some refinement. My goal:
- Establish a sleep schedule target. My initial target:
- 8:00 AM wake up.
- 11:00 PM electronics off.
- 12:00 AM sleep.
- The overall goal is consistency, not specific times.
- Stick to it at least 5/7 days of the week on average.
- Adapt as necessary.
Getting Outside Into Nature
Simple and to the point. Get out of my bedroom and get outside. Breath the fresh air and get some sun. One of the early IVP tasks that has stuck with me because of its simplicity and impact.
I never realized just how closed off and stuck I feel when I’m in my bedroom. I’m sure there are some other issues to uncover because of that, but right now getting outside is simple enough to help me “reset” and get into a better mindset.
- Go outside for at least 5 minutes every day.
- Ideally within the first 30 minutes of waking up.
- Sit on the porch or go for a walk, it doesn’t matter.
Using Movement and My Voice (to Create STATE & Flow)
More recently I discovered the significance of going on a walk and, as weird as it sounds, using my voice. I don’t really exercise and should. Right now, getting outside and going for a walk has been really helpful for me – but my focus is more emotional than it is physical.
On top of that, I’ve been practicing how to talk. Which is kind of embarrassing to admit, but it is what it is. During the occasional conversation I have with someone, I realize just how flustered I get and how I can’t articulate what I want to say and often get mentally overwhelmed during conversations.
So my solution is to just … talk more. I originally started talking by reading books out loud, just to help me “re-learn how to talk.” But I started to notice how much better it made me feel just using my voice.
I started getting into a better physiological state because of it (similar to doing any kind of minor exercise like going for a walk) and have often been more productive, focused, and I physically felt much better.
I’m continuing to build on that by using my voice anytime I can, to not only train my body how to talk more articulately and confidently, but also as a way to “get into STATE” or “flow.”
My goal every day:
- Go for a walk/run or any kind of exercise.
- Use my voice for a brief time (e.g., recording myself speaking my mind for 5 minutes or via reading a book aloud).
- Generally, getting into STATE/flow.
I’ve always known it was an issue, but haven’t started taking it seriously until now. I have an inspiration and motivation problem. I’ll wake up, flip on some YouTube and “wake up” and “try to get motivated” for the day.
But I don’t actually do anything.
So it works, but to an extent. Those videos, those other sources of inspiration and motivation that fuel me? They’re great. I love them. Nothing against them.
The problem I have is that I don’t actually create momentum through movement or action or anything of that nature.
So I want to drastically reduce the number of “inputs” in my life. I want to be vastly more intentional with how I spend my time.
I don’t want to be spending most of my day watching YouTube, just trying to motivate myself to do something I ALREADY WANT TO DO. Those videos and audios can be great to prime me up to be in STATE/flow, as long as I’m choosing to do it intentionally.
So my goal/solution:
- Use Cold Turkey to “outsource” my self-discipline until I rebuild my habits.
- Not watching or listening to content unless I’m consciously choosing to get into STATE/flow, find a solution, or look for entertainment.
- Put a larger emphasis on actually doing things consciously, not defaulting to other things subconsciously.
- Using RescueTime to analyze how much time I’m spending where.
Trusting My Intuition and Embracing Solo Pursuits
One of the most significant take-aways for me by the end of IVP was that I was just not in control of myself. I wasn’t taking responsibility for what I wanted to get out of the program. It’s a theme that has been prevalent in virtually every aspect of my life.
And these are great, don’t get me wrong. But many times I was pursuing them for the wrong reasons.
I didn’t trust myself, therefore I would put off having to take responsibility for my life by “looking for an answer” from someone or something else.
So the goal is to begin trusting my own intuition and taking responsibility for my own life.
And this will, for someone who has relied so much on other people for solutions, will feel very lonely. This is going to transform me from someone who has to constantly seek validation and approval and get guidance or answers from other people to someone who is learning how to trust his own intuition, take personal responsibility, and fully embrace who he is on a regular basis.
I want to be fundamentally strong and confident with who I am. I don’t want to have to justify who I am or the things that I enjoy. I want to be able to say “this is me,” either by my words or my actions, and not be afraid of what you might say or do.
And the only way I’ll be able to do that is if I start listening to my own heart and stop looking for answers outside of myself. The choice to look for answers and knowledge outside of myself should be a conscious choice, not a default habit that’s been created to avoid responsibility.
But for right now? I’m going to be better off just connecting with what my heart has to say and going from there.
So my goal?
- Be quietly confident. Simply start doing things without feeling the need to proclaim it to everyone. Take the first step, then I can talk about it.
- Be willing to loudly embrace life. Don’t shy away from doing anything in a loud or vibrant manner if it feels like the right thing to do.
- Don’t get validation before I choose to do something. Like the things I like without apology or fear.
- Stop consuming content unless it’s a conscious choice. Don’t be habitually passive.
All in all, my goals are centered around creating a better foundation for my well being. TL;DR summary of my top 5 goals:
- Stop drinking/eating so much shitty stuff that makes me feel terrible. Have the same(ish) sleep schedule every day.
- Get outside, breathe in the air, get a little sun.
- Go for a walk or do some exercise and use my voice to get into STATE/flow.
- Consume less “motivational/inspirational” content as a default habit. Be conscious about content I’m consuming that will increase my knowledge or put me into STATE/flow.
- Follow personal intuitions, not guidance outside of myself that’s used to avoid personal responsibility.
It’s less important to me about being able to execute these perfectly. It’s more important to me to be able to make conscious choices and take consistent action on a daily basis that will push me towards being stronger at my foundation.