My Goal List: 2014-2015

Below is a list of everything I am currently working on, with the longest running goal extending through May 2015.  Many are very easy, and it is my belief that by sprinkling many easy and attainable goals that compliment your bigger ones, you’ll keep a steady stream of success flowing that builds your confidence to the bigger, seemingly impossible ones. 

In order to motivate you, and keep myself accountable, this list will become the table of contents for the next several months of my life.  I’ll be updating the blog often with statuses and lessons learned for each goal and then linking to them here.

Building the List

This list started with 1 goal.  And it was a big one: to travel around the world with my wife on a RTW ticket.  I accomplished this goal last year by raising the total number of points necessary for 2 tickets to travel 35,000 miles around the globe.  But, we can’t leave until March or April of 2015, so I have lots of time to prepare as well as become increasingly impatient.  This list was built around preparing for that goal, and while it may seem like a stretch at times, each one plays a small part in it.  Also, all them work together to make sure I’m not obsessing over the RTW ticket every day J.  So what do you want to do in a year or two from now? Solidify that goal by setting smaller ones that build up to it.

My Daily Baseline

26 years old as of this year.  Married for 2 years, so all the same responsibilities that come with that.  I own 2 dogs, have a mortgage, and am a consultant from 9-5 Mon-Fri and almost never get to work from home.  For the first 2 years of my career I was so exhausted after work I literally added 20+ pounds as I became addicted to eating out and watching TV every day for 2 years.  Over the course of 13 months, my wife (also a consultant) and I might have cooked 15 meals at home.  This horrible lifestyle lead to two very unmotivated people, so tired from being tired that we spent most weekends laying around the house as well.  Then I decided to change that! And thus the list was born.  So no, I’m not a full time blogger, free to roam the world and get paid to gloat about it.  I’ve just decided that I’m not going to let 40+ hours a week define my whole life!

The List

  • Read More
    • Finish The Leadership Moment by Michael Useem
    • Find a read a good stategy book about Go
  • Win a game of Go against ‘sensei’ (buddy who taught me how to play)
  • Take 30 cold showers
  • Bike to and from work (32 miles round trip)
    • 11 mile circle route
    • Bike to closest train station (11.3 miles)
    • Bike to and from closest train station (22.6 miles)
    • Bike to work (16 miles)
    • Bike to work and from train station (27.3 miles)
    • Bike to and from work (32 miles)
  • Don’t come in last in two 5k’s
    • Atlanta Ridiculous Obstacle Course 5k
    • Atlanta Color Vibe Run 5k
  • Learn to read and write basic Japanese
    • 46 Hiragana
    • 46 Katakana
    • 425 kanji
  • Learn to lead Alaskan glacier expeditions
    • Reduce daily food consumption
    • Leverage bike commute to increase endurance
    • Complete paperwork/payments/medical
    • Procure equipment
    • Arrange flights
  • Increase social opportunities
    • Increase SABG Meetup group activity
    • Cultivate Reddit Atlanta FB group
    • Checkout backpacking meetup group
  • Lose weight/save money for RTW
    • Eat more homemade food
    • Drink homebrew or free beer only
    • Save $10k
  • Travel around the world for 2 months
    • Visit friends in Germany
    • Visit Thailand, Istanbul, Norway, etc
    • Go on a safari
    • Sleep in an ocean hut in Maldives
    • Live in Japan for 3+ weeks
    • Camp in other countries
  • Have more Weekend vacations
  • Learn Mindfulness Meditation

How 5 Cold Showers Can Change Your Mindset

Excuses take away your future, so that you can still have something to day dream about today.

Last week, I started the Cold Shower Therapy (#CST) challenge.  When you accept the #CST challenge, you agree to spend the next 30 showers without hot water.  For 30 mornings you climb into the shower, take a deep breath, and try to stand under an icy stream for 5 minutes (or just long enough to speed wash yourself).

While I’ve read all about the great benefits of CST, there are also a few of unforeseen dangers that I didn’t realize come with it.  Within just one week of starting the challenge the following had plagued my life:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Loss of Interest in things I once enjoyed
  • Poison Ivy
  • Walking with a limp 

Prior to starting this challenge, I could eat huge portions of my favorite foods, often until I became ill.  I could browse Reddit nearly all weekend, and feel completely fine with the few accomplishments I mustered before bed on Sunday night.  I also sure as hell didn’t have itchy skin or trouble walking.  But now all of that has changed, and it’s all because of something so simple: the act of choosing a cold shower over a hot one.

After my first cold shower, I stepped out and immediately felt a rush of pride.  ‘I did it!  I can do anything!’  And I thought that was the point, and went about my day. But it wasn’t until the subsequent showers that I realized where the true motivation comes from.  It’s not so much the act of surviving a cold shower– put me in a shower where my hot water heater is broken, and rather than motivation, I’d emerge with a new form of malice to unleash upon the world.  Rather, it’s the act of hearing yourself come up with such a vast variety of excuses, and making the conscience decision to ignore them all.  It’s amazing just how creative your brain can be.  From the time the alarm goes off, it starts telling you why today would be a GREAT day not to take a cold shower.  Why yesterday (whether amazing or terrible) justifies cranking up the heat.  How there really isn’t any benefit that a hot shower can’t offer.  And my personal favorite: that there just isn’t any point in not being comfortable. 

What I didn’t realize was how much control the excuse generating portion of my brain had over my life.  After all, it generates them in such volume that I never noticed they were the same ones recycled with different words.  I started to catch on when I considered ordering healthier options for lunch:

‘You might get hungry later, so you should go ahead and order the foot long combo.’

Or when I thought it would be a good workout to camp on top of Yonah Mountain this weekend:

‘There’s no point (in not being comfortable this weekend).  What benefit can camping at 3,100ft give that a day hike to 1,800 can’t provide?’

Suddenly, I realized that not only had I heard these excuses before, but just that morning I had successfully ignored them. But there I was, the day of my hike, and I had decided to lie back in bed.  I had decided to do a number of other things that day, and realized all of them could wait a little longer while I watched some TV and relaxed.  That’s right.  I had come up with excuses not to go camping, and then came up with excuses to procrastinate starting my excuses.   That’s when I took a deep breath, got up, and packed my bag.  Just like turning on the cold water, in the end I was much happier.

Except for the poison ivy and sore muscles.  Those really suck. But I’d do it again!

Did you make any excuses today?  If the answer is “no,” perhaps like me you don’t notice them yet.  And that’s a much bigger problem.