My wife and her trophies
Today’s workout was interval training. I chose the stair-stepper for this routine’s cardio source.
20 minutes of interval training. 1 minute intense, 2 minutes slow. Great workout and a good sweat!!
See you at the finish line!!
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar
It’s another Monday folks, and it’s time to get to work. What are you looking to do today? Are you on track to achieving your goals?
Today, I wanted to discuss a great way to track your day. I just started this last week. It is merely a way to watch how you use your time. Some recommend tracking every 5-minute chunk. I think this is a little over the top. Instead, I use a time tracker to log when I start a task and then put another time at the end of the task. Then I create a simple formula (time end – time start = time used). This formula, my title of the task I am doing and the category of what that task is related to are all in a Google Sheet. Each day I add a new tab labeled by the month and day the time is tracked. What I’ve discovered is that my ability to monotask has increased tremendously.
Why is monotasking important? First, let’s discuss what monotasking is. Monotasking is the opposite of multitasking. Monotasking is doing one thing and one thing only. By adding a time tracking task, I avoid multitasking, which is a horrible habit to get into. It is easy on a computer to do this because there are so many things grasping for our attention, but if you monitor the time you spend doing something, it can really benefit you. Stick to one task at a time, monitor the time you spend doing it (start time and end time) and after a while you’ll have some data about what you do, how long you do it, and when you do it.
I want to come up with a day that aligns well with my habits. I have discovered further efficiency by doing like things at like times. For example, I workout first thing in the morning. Then, I do my journaling. Then, I do my blogging, which I’m doing right now. This is followed by my book writing. After my writing is completed, I’ll take a break and do an hour of meditation, eat some breakfast, then move into my course work (online learning). Once all of my learning is completed, I do some administrative tasks like check email, check social media, review the news (Google News and Flipboard), then I get into my reading. If I have some today-only tasks, I will knock them out after I have done all of my “administrative” tasks. Reading is the final thing I do all the way until 4 PM. So whatever time I have left after courses and I dedicate the rest of my day to my reading.
4 PM is when I stop working and enjoy the rest of my afternoon and evening relaxing, playing some video games, and watching a few shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Vudu. That’s my day in a nutshell. Recently, I changed my sleep schedule to heading to bed around 10 pm, so I get enough rest for my wake up at 5 am. It’s terrific to get to the gym this early because the gym is so empty. I love an empty gym. I get in, get my workout done, and get out before the morning crew shows up.
These kinds of changes occur when you seriously tackle the goals you have set for yourself. You will see new areas to adapt to for efficiency’s sake. I really enjoy the journey toward goals. Meeting a goal is fun, but literally opens new doors for new goals and achievements. I hope all of you have a great Monday and are ready to attack the week. If you have any “tricks” or “hacks” to offer, provide them in the comments below.
Until next time…
Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination—William Longgood
It is so easy to get bogged down with the trivial in life. We binge-watch television, we explore the postings in social media, or we gossip with our friends. The trivial things in life create nothing, contribute nothing, and accomplish nothing.
If you could accomplish anything you wanted in life, with no possibility of failing, what would you pursue? Keep this in mind while you list 100 things you’d like to do before your life ends. What did you write down? Did it involve traveling? Learning? Building a skill? Starting a business? Getting in shape? Seriously, use your imagination and dream a little. Whatever is on that list you can accomplish it. Dream big!
Once you have a list, go through it. Find that one thing on your list you can get to work on right now. Got your item picked? Good. Now look at what that finished task or goal looks like when you’ve achieved it. Do you have a good picture in your mind? Can you feel how good it will be when you’ve accomplished it? Who in your family is celebrating with you? Where are you when you complete this task? What colors are prevalent in your picture? What smells? How do you feel? Now, go backward from that moment and begin writing down all the things that need to happen to accomplish it. Now go through that list and make sure your tasks/milestones are in place. Is the time you’ve allotted between milestones realistic? Did you make sure your tasks are in order? In other words, are there any tasks that must go before another can be started?
Now commit. Commit to begin working on your dream task tomorrow. Begin working toward your first milestone daily until you hit it. Then look at the next milestone and begin working toward that. Stuck? Look at the milestone and your list of tasks, you may need to break these milestones down into even smaller tasks to get the job done. Do that. Get these milestones broke into small chunks that can be completed in 25-minute chunks. Now schedule these 25-minutes each day. Is it on your calendar? Good.
Does this seem easy? It is. The problem most people have when trying to accomplish something is they fail to take themselves or their dreams seriously. They dream about doing something and it stays in the dream state. The dream stays where it is and we get bogged down with our chores, our day job, or something else. These day-to-day commitments become a ball and chain that prevents us from pursuing what we’d really like to do. We let the mundane become more important than what we dream about. As the years roll by, we are still dreaming and not any closer to achieving the dream.
Everything in our lives become one big distraction, one more reason to delay, one more excuse waiting to happen. After a while we become like the circus elephant trained to believe that the small rope spiked to the ground is impossible for us to break. We learn how to be helpless. We create our own prisons. We give up the dreams that could be ours and replace them with the mundane. Instead of working on our book for 30 minutes a night, we get caught up in a television series about zombies. Instead of taking that trip to Iceland, we waste our money on junk food or material things we don’t need. Instead of pursuing that business idea we play video games. You get the point.
You don’t have to join the crowd. You can begin today and start living your life. Pursue that dream you have in your head. Plan it out as if you could not fail. Begin taking steps to accomplish it. You will be floored when you achieve it one day and the journey you take to get there will be something you will always cherish for the rest of your life.
You’ll wake up one day and look at yourself in the mirror with a pride you’ve never experienced before. You did it. Hell, you may even tear up because you’re so proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Your family and friends will be proud. At the end of that glorious day, while you lay in bed, you’ll begin thinking about the next thing you’d like to do. And you know what? The next day you’ll begin planning and setting up your calendar to pursue your next dream.
Think about Edison, Ford, Lincoln, Washington, Einstein, Disney, Gates, Buffet, and Musk. Think about Keller, Curie, Earhart, Roosevelt, Thatcher, Rowling, Beyonce, and Oprah. The stories are alike. They started from nothing, with huge obstacles to overcome and naysayers in the background. They all had a dream and pursued it. Was it easy? No. Did they suffer at times? Yes. Did they experience failure and shortfall and doubt? You bet. The difference between you and them? They went for it. While their friends were diddling around with the mundane, they pursued their dreams. They stuck with it. When they failed, the got up, dusted themselves off, and started again.
It’s Wednesday, the 24th of April 2019. Over the next few days, put together your 100 list. Pick one thing you’d like to pursue. Get your plans set to begin execution on May 1st. You can do it. I believe in you. You have nothing to lose but the opportunity to learn more about yourself and gain the satisfaction that comes from starting your journey.
I wish you well.
Until next time…
“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore
Action is the only way to achieve what you want in life. You can think about, pray about, or talk about the things you’d like to do, but action is the only way to change what you want to do into a result. I used to be a “think about” guy. I’d think, I’d think, and I’d think, but never achieved. You would think this was common sense, but it isn’t. There are all kinds of ways to avoid achieving something. Fear is big. The fear of failure has probably thwarted more people throughout history than any other reason I can think of.
The reason successful people win is that they fail more than anyone else. Each time they fail, they learn something. They gain wisdom. This is the advantage that comes to those that try. The more they try, the more they fail, the more they learn.
I had a great weekend. I’m a huge advocate for video games. I continue to do my daily rituals, but my entertainment is video games and watching shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. On the weekends I recharge my batteries for the upcoming week. It’s great! This weekend we met with friends in Flint, Michigan at one of our favorite Thai Restaurants. The food is great, and the company was awesome. We do this monthly so we can stay in touch and enjoy some good food.
I enjoy having a balance of work and play. When I’m playing video games or watching a great show, it takes my mind off things I must do and gives the mind time to consolidate and reorganize itself. Some of my best ideas for writing or anything I am pursuing comes while I play a game or enjoy a good movie.
What do you do to relax? What do you do to recharge? What are your goals this week? What are you looking to achieve by week’s end?
I hope all of you have a great week!
Until next time…
“The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” Unknown
Read more at: Brainy Quote
Every wonder why people live in the past? It is something I have recognized in the people I associate with and started wondering why people torture themselves over actions and events they can’t change? I recently learned during a course I am taking currently. It is because they are disempowered.
Disempowered people worry about things outside of their control. They worry about the weather, what other people are going to do or not do, they relive their past daily, particularly if that past event or action is traumatic. They just can’t let go of it. Subsequently, they gloss over the great things that are happening now or miss out on things that are great and working in their life. It is like they are wearing special sun glasses that taint everything that is wrong in the past and paint their present and future with the same filtered view. Why would anyone do that? It is because the brain has wired itself to be protective against a traumatic event that may occur now or again in the future. Instead of starting a new day and living fully in the present, they constantly worry that something bad will happen to them. This, in turn, becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Their lives do turn out the way their internal wiring dictates.
It is tough to leave the state of disempowerment. To some, being a victim is a profession. They can’t find the right job. Everyone is out to get them. They can’t find a lover. How could anyone love them like they are? They can’t set or achieve any goals. Why? I’ll fail anyway. This is a dismal way to live, wouldn’t you agree? Victimhood is their comfort zone. It is comfortable because if everything in their life is the fault of some outside entity; they are not responsible. Their life is one HUGE blame game. I can’t lose weight because everyone around me eats garbage. I can’t learn anything new because I sucked at school.
The opposite of a disempowered person is the person who is empowered. They take responsibility for their lives. They realized that they are in control. They are realistic, however. They do know that life will throw them curve balls. It is part of life, after all. Instead of being thwarted, they recognize it is something out of their control and learn ways to overcome the adversity. If they are out of shape, they learn about getting into shape. If they are lacking a skill, they learn how to gain that skill. If they are not finding the right people in their lives, they put themselves out there and meet new people. See the difference?
Choose a life of empowerment. Choose to take responsibility for your life. Choose to accept the things you cannot change and either live with these things or come up with solutions to overcome them. There is always a way—always. You just have to persist and keep trying. Simple, isn’t it?
This week I’ll continue working toward all my goals in writing, reading, learning, meditation, and exercise. I enjoy the daily routine of journaling, blogging, and working on my book. I enjoy the satisfaction of leaving a gym after a grueling workout. I enjoy reading and learning. I enjoy the solitude of getting quiet during meditation.
I hope all of you have a productive and terrific week! If any of you need any advice or help, feel free to reach out. I have some pretty awesome planning and execution hacks I’d love to share in all the areas I am pursuing. See you at the finish line!
Until next time…
“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.” ―Denis Waitley
I love this quote. I remember reading it a few years ago. It was an epiphany for me. It forced me to ask, “What do I do with my time?” My answer at the time was a little embarrassing.
I love video games. I love movies. I love TV shows. I used to waste an unbelievable amount of time on these things. I’d work, I’d come home and flick on the TV or the XBOX and that was my night. When I look back, I realize how much time I wasted on frivolous things.
Entertainment is fine. We all need to relax our minds from time-to-time. When this entertainment takes over your life, it is no longer fine. I used entertainment to escape my responsibilities—the important things in life, like exercise, meditation, writing, reading, and learning. Now, when I am seeking entertainment, I enjoy it. It isn’t a numbing experience. It is not an escape or a means of procrastination.
There’s a good exercise you can do, to see how you are spending your time. Write everything you do in 5-minute increments for 5 working days. You don’t have to be exact. Just capture as much as you can to see where you are putting your time. The results will amaze you when you take your 5 recorded days and look at what you did or didn’t do.
We all have more time than we will admit. When I did this exercise, I discovered that I was wasting my life. I got up, ate, went to work, worked, came home, watched TV, and went back to bed. What a dismal unengaged life right?
What do you want to do with your time? Do you want to exercise? Do you want to read? Do you want to write? Do you want to build and run a business? The possibilities are endless. Choose the things you want to do and get them on your schedule. My first choice was exercise. I wanted to get in shape and feel better. So, I carved out some time in the morning to exercise every day. This is where I started.
Now, that I am retired, I structured my day with a bunch of activities. Reading, writing, learning, exercise, and meditation all take up a part of my day. I also enjoy reading the news, keeping my email in-boxes cleaned out, and interact on a few social networks. These are the things I enjoy doing. All of them contribute to the goals I have set for myself.
What are you going to do with your day? What are your goals? Where do you want to be at the end of the year? In five years? You can do whatever you want to do. It is up to you. Make choices. After you’ve chosen the areas you want to pursue, plan how much time you want to spend on each area of interest. Then get these things on a daily list or calendar.
Go out and find self-help books on planning, goal setting, and time management. Watch some YouTube videos. Take some online courses. You can also ask yourself, “What have I always wanted to do but never had the time to pursue?” If you’ve done the above time-tracking exercise, you realize how much time you really have. Go after this thing you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe you wanted to learn how to garden. Maybe you want to start a coin or stamp collection. Maybe you want to start an exercise routine, take up yoga, or learn to ballroom dance. The possibilities are endless.
Life continues. Time continues. Why continue to follow the same path if you are unhappy with it? You can do whatever you want to. Weigh your options. Explore. Choose. You’ll be glad you did.
Until next time…
“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
Are you afraid of making mistakes or failing what you set out to do? If you are, I have an exercise you can work through. This exercise provides you a way to brainstorm your future. Write 100 things you would like to do before you die. This will be your personal bucket list. Assume you will accomplish these goals. You have the skills, talent, knowledge, and the money to do whatever you want. Try this. It is a great exercise and is the way I came up with my personal bucket list. This bucket list drives me to learn new skills and identifies new plateaus to shoot for.
I’ll be working on the 2nd draft of 5 chapters this week. I’ll be checking my writing for grammar errors. I am scheduled to finish my 2nd draft this month. Rewriting processes vary from author to author. I am working through my process hoping I can solidify this process for future non-fiction books. My writing efficiency will improve dramatically once I have this process completed.
My workout routine will stay at home using exercise bands. I got a new set this week that duplicated weights up to 50lbs. My home routine will be the routine I stick with while the weather here in Michigan makes driving conditions too dangerous to drive in. My goal is the same as last year. I want to get to 200lbs with about 10% body fat. I’ll get there. I’m slowly chipping away.
I’m on track with my blogging. I am at 516 followers, with a 1000-follower goal by year’s end. I use Sunday to read other people’s blogs and follow blogs I am interested in. I follow back everyone who follows Daily Ramblings. I am continuing to refine my content to continue to deliver top-level content that will keep and attract new followers.
My meditation schedule is daily. My reading involves 5 books. One book is a fiction book, another book is a history book, another book is spiritual, another book is on philosophy, and the final book is a self-help book. Each time I finish a book I replace the finished book with a book of the same category. I’m on track with my reading plan for the year. I finished book 8 of the 48-book goal I have set for this year.
I am also on track with my course load. I am taking a lecture series on YouTube, a political course on Coursera, offered by the University of Pennsylvania, and I am plugging through my programming course on Codecademy. The goal this year is to finish the Web Path I am enrolled in.
I hope all of you are on track with the goals you set in December like I did. If you are having trouble with deciding about what to do, take time and write 100 things you’d like to do, assuming you will not fail. When you have completed your list, write the reasons you would like to pursue these goals. The goals that have the strongest reasons are the ones you should focus on. Goals that motivate you will be the goals that are easier to incorporate into your daily schedule. Goals that don’t have a solid “why” will be those goals you place on a someday/maybe list. Your goals will change. Some will stick while others will teach you are not willing to pay the price that goal requires. It’s ok. Try things out. You never know.
As always, I wish you a great week!
Until next time…
“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”―Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever wondered about what you wanted to do? I remember when I was in high school and wondered about this very question. How did people end up where they are? Why did people choose a job of doing his or that? This question haunted me for a few years until I came across the idea of enlisting in the Army.
When I enlisted back in the 80s, my first few years weren’t that great. After a short while I began to doubt my decision. Then I had a revelation. I asked myself, “Why not put all you have into this?” From the moment I decided to put everything I had into being the best soldier I could be, my military career took off.
I knew in high school that I wanted to do something I liked. I learned in the Army that what I liked is what I chose to dedicate myself to. In other words, everything I thought had an order to it, was backward. Obviously, you need some driver to get you to act. For me, the Army represented a full-time job, benefits, and the ability to support myself.
After I had decided to join the Army, it was now up to me to embrace that decision. I could have just messed around during my first enlistment, doing the bare minimum, but my thinking at the time drove me to do something worthwhile. Why waste my time in the Army, when I was going to be there anyway? So that’s what I did.
Each of us comes to a crossroads in our lives. We know we want a certain end-state. We then began scanning our environment to find the means of alleviating the dissonance between where we are and where we want to be. Our ambitions drive this part of us.
Once we have decided what we want or where we want our lives to be, we must work. We take advantage of our opportunities and do the work. Doing the work, we slowly begin creating the future we have envisioned.
When do we win? We win when we have worked hard enough, chiseled away enough of our current situation to achieve the life we want. Imagine the life you want and begin scanning your environment for ways to get yourself to that point. What do you have to do? What actions do you need to take? Once you understand what your life will “look” like it is nothing more than working your butt off to get there.
Until next time…
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll
One of the challenges all of us face is the ability to choose what we want to do—what we want to achieve. Obviously, we cannot do everything. We must choose. This fact was recently emphasized as I was reading The One Thing by Gary Keller. This book teaches that the best way to achieve success is to determine the most important thing to do each day to push you forward toward your goals.
We all have areas of focus. Health priorities, relationship priorities, learning priorities, and spiritual priorities. Of these we will also have priorities that we deem most important. According to Keller, this is our one thing. This is the thing you dedicate your time to. I enjoyed reading this book but offer a caution—each of us has multiple priorities we need to pursue in order t maintain a balance in our lives. You cannot neglect your physical priorities, to pursue a business interest. You cannot forego a business interest to pursue a spiritual focus. We must attack multiple areas in order to succeed. We must maintain our relationships, our bodies, our spiritual pursuits, and our focus on learning new skills.
If you neglect any of these, you will suffer. Make a lot of money, while sacrificing our families, our religious practices, and our physical health is not tenable. Balance is key and is attainable. Just pick something you can do to push each of these areas forward in a given week and you’ll achieve what I’m talking about.
Spiritually, you can attend a religious meeting once a week or read your religious text daily. Socially, you can set a date with your wife or significant other. Learning can be achieved by setting a consistent schedule for reading or writing, online tutorials, or one of many free online courses. Physically, you can workout a few times this week. If you plan out your week you can make sure you pick one or two things to do in each of these areas to continue pursuing your goals that are specific to each of them.
What happens if you have no focus? You’ll end up spending your time on a lot of worthless activities. You’ll be spending your time on entertainment and other time wasters. It’s OK to have some downtime, watching a good movie or moving through one of the many television series that are available, but without focus, you’ll spend more and more time on activities that will result in nothing moving you forward. This is truly a wasted life.
The best book I can recommend to you if you are lost is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This book will provide you with character building habits and provide you example after example of what to do to move your life forward in a productive and balanced way. This book changed my life.
Once you are focused on certain things you want to pursue—pursue them. This self-motivated purpose will help you achieve a great deal of meaning in your life. Purpose provides meaning. Meaning gives us a reason for living. Meaning gives us something to look forward to and enjoy—a means of transcending mediocrity and suffering.
Until next time…