The Journey to 100

I have made it two weeks in my 100 day journey. It hasn’t been as hard as I expected it to be. Somewhere inside I knew that it wouldn’t be, but I am still a little surprised. Surprised in a good way.

Here are a few observations from the first 14 days of my 100 day journey:

1. Following an exercise plan gets easy when you do it for a while. I used to struggle with working out. I prioritized everything else before it. Not any more. I have been steady at the gym for over a year now. This has been the cornerstone of my daily habits. It feels good to be able to say it. Make it a priority and it gets much easier.

2. Tracking my food is not as hard as I have made it out to be. Sure, it takes time, but it also cuts the unknown out. If I have a calorie goal and track my calories, I know whether I make it or bust it. If I have a goal and don’t track things…you know the rest. Tracking things is part of being successful. I want to be successful, so I have to make it a priority.

3. Reading a chapter a day has been a good thing. It is a little goal that is easily achieved. It also comes with a hook…most days I listen to more than that because I get interested in what I am listening to. I have already learned a ton in 14 days. Why didn’t I do this before?

4. Writing is still hard. Many days this is the last thing left on my to do list. I have gotten it done for 14 days now, but I need to make it a priority earlier in the day. Or, at least before I get in bed. Being lucid is not easy when your brain is trying to shut down for sleepy time. I am dedicated to getting better at this. The more I write, the more that gets unlocked. I just need to find the right time in the day to do it.

5. Drinking enough water a day is a game changer. I think there are a ton of folks out there that are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it. I was one of them. Not anymore. I still drink a fair amount of coffee a day, but I have put in my 100 ounces daily. I can feel the difference.

6. I have been taking a photo a day to show my progress. I looked through them earlier. Not much has changed. I have dropped 6 pounds, which makes me happy. I know this will start to pay off, but right now it just looks like the same dude in different lighting looking the same.

7. Encouraging people is fun. I am glad I put this on the list of daily things to accomplish. I do this naturally throughout my day, but for this challenge I have wanted to make a habit of sending written notes. I am going to have to make a list of folks to write notes to. I won’t be able to do this randomly for 100 days. I want to be intentional with it and I am excited to keep going.

Nothing worth doing is ever easy. The plan is a simple one, but it is going to take work and execution. However, I am up to the challenge. 100 days will be here before I know it. I can’t wait to see the progress and the changes it will bring.

Sam

I got a memory reminder on Facebook this week. It was a picture taken six years ago of my and my boy with my dog Sam. It made me smile.

Sam was a good dog. Crazy. Neurotic. Cuddly. Handsome. I loved him very much and was upset with him a lot too.

Like most of the other dogs we have had, we got Sam from a rescue shelter. I remember the day clearly. It was my 34th birthday. We went to the shelter and walked into a big room where Sam was penned up. He barked at me until I looked at him and said, “Yeah? What you going to do about it?” He stopped barking and turned his head at me. That was what sold me.

Sam being a rescue dog gives me context for some of his crazier habits. He did not like loud noises or being confined. He had some stuff in his past that made him the way he was. I am convinced of it. I did my best to love that out of him. It helped, but he never could quite shake it.

One time we left him closed up in my office so he wouldn’t mess all over the house. He proceeded to dig up the carpet by my door. He left a huge hole. He let us know he did not like being left in that room.

Sam also had a super sweet side. When I was sick in 2018 Sam spent a lot of time with me on the couch. He would hang with me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was great therapy. He was a cuddly guy.

I was happy to have the memory pop up. I miss that dog.

I Love Books

I have a confession to make. I love books. I have hundreds. There are many different topics. I have one shelf in my office dedicated to public speaking books. Another shelf has only CS Lewis books. I love them. I love to collect them. I don’t often read them.

Yes. You read that last line correctly. I love books. I collect them. Sitting down and reading paper books is hard for me. My preferred method of reading is listening. I listen every day. However, it still bothers me that I have a hard time with the old fashioned way.

Something strange happened yesterday. I gave myself permission to be still and read. I opened the book and when I was done I had read a quarter of the book. I can’t remember the last time I sat down and read 50 pages at once. I was rather proud of myself. I intend to finish that book this weekend.

So, why has it been hard if I was able to do what I thought I couldn’t do. I have a couple of answers:

1. I haven’t made it a priority at the right time of day. Every time I try to read a paper book is right before bed. It doesn’t work. I drop the book on my face. It is hard to see the print. It frustrates me and I give up. But…when I read a book mid day when my energy was high? It worked. Go figure.

2. I have let myself become addicted to distraction. Whether it is my phone, work emails, or whatever…I am distracted. This has to stop. If I was able to choose a different path yesterday, I can do it again.

It is my hope that my bookcase sees me more. I want to put the knowledge that lives there into my head. I want the space to think about it and ponder it while I read it. Yes, I will still listen to audio books, but I need to add this back into my routine.

I love books. It is time for me to show them.

Questions

I don’t know about you, but I am amazed when I learn new things in familiar territory. Does this ever happen to you? You’ve been around it forever, but out of the blue you learn something new. Or, something you were sure of is nothing like you thought it was?

I was at work today having conversations. It is a lot of what I do. I talk to people. I find out what is going on. I help where I am able. In one conversation, I was asking a set of questions about one topic and discovered something about another topic I didn’t expect. The questions took me somewhere I didn’t expect to go. It was like the tumblers of lock fell into place and sense started emerging. Where confusion had existed before, understanding started to grow.

I had been around the information for a long time. I thought I understood the process. It turns out I was missing some key points. I think that is what happens when we are too close to a problem for too long. It is very easy to lose our objectivity and lose our ability to see all of the details. We instinctively know there is a forest in front of us, but all we can see are the trees.

How many times does this happen to me and I don’t realize? What other areas of my life am I close to an epiphany, but don’t even know it? How do I get the barriers out of the way?

I think the answer lies in asking questions, and being willing to go wherever the answers lead you. In today’s example, I was asking one set of questions and asked for a concrete example to what my interviewee was trying to explain. In his explanation I found details I didn’t even know I needed. It was an enlightening experience.

Questions drive us forward. Questions are what keep us from being complacent. Questions can lead to progress. We just have to be ready when the answers aren’t what we expect.

Stop trying to hit me and hit me!

You remember that line from the Matrix, right? Morpheus is training Neo. He is trying to get Neo to step into who he really is. To break away from his doubts. To be the one he was intended to be. Thankfully, by the end of the movie, Neo steps into his identity and the Matrix is forever changed.

In my new set of daily habits, I have been reading (listening) at least a chapter a day. Some days the books have been so good I have just kept going. I hit a road block. One of the books I picked up kept telling me about the book, but never got to the actual content in the book…in the first hour of listening. (Had it been a paper book I would not have made it that far…)

What book am I reading? High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. I am fascinated with the premise. Are there habits that lead to high performance? What are they? How do I implement them in my life? Answering these questions is the reason I picked up the audio book and the Kindle version as well.

My main issue so far? The introduction of the book is 27 pages. It feels like website copy for a course the author wants me to purchase. There are some interesting tidbits, but so far I am. unclear about what I am going to learn throughout the book. I keep getting lost in over explanation and unnecessary commentary.

I am looking at the table of contents on my Kindle now and the description of the first High Performance Habit doesn’t start until page 52..of a 370 page book. The author also said that he started with 1400+ pages and this was the revision.

However, all of this commentary is offset by the reader of the audiobook. It is read by the author. I can hear his enthusiasm. He is passionate about what he does. He has worked with countless people, including Oprah. I am certain there are nuggets in the book I want to get to. However, I had to set it down for now.

Am I done with the book? No. I intend to keep going. I may have to listen and read this one. I may have to skim parts that are repetitive try to find the meat of the topic. His enthusiasm makes me want to at least find that part.

I am going to keep trying. If I find the good parts, I will share more.