If you strive to meet everyone else’s expectations, aren’t you short-changing yourself?
Resist temptation to be normal
Be a first-rate version of yourself; not a second-rate version of someone else.
My first two goals are things I should have done years ago when I first started my current job. I train astronauts how to do space walks. Part of that training involves donning the space suit and training underwater in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab – an enormous indoor pool with a full-size mockup of the Space Station. By training underwater, the astronauts can learn what it feels like to work “without gravity” while orbiting Earth. As an instructor, I am allowed to go in the suit and train as astronauts do. The requirements, besides being healthy enough for physical activity, are to pass a swim test and a SCUBA skills test. Don’t ask me why you have to prove you are a good swimmer in order to be in a space suit. Common sense tells us you can’t swim your way to the surface in the suit, but as arbitrary as they are, those are the rules.
I have never been a good swimmer and instead of making it a priority, I made excuses. Granted, I’ve had some significant challenges in my life over the past few years, but I shouldn’t have let that stand in the way of doing a suited run in the NBL. So this year I’m putting those excuses aside. Here are the elements to those goals:
1. Pass the NBL swim test
- 800 ft (8 x 100-ft) in 10 minutes
- 10 minutes treading water
- 50-ft underwater in one breath (no wall start)
2. Pass the NBL SCUBA skills test
- Mask remove, replace, and clear
- Regulator remove, recover, and clear
- Alternate air source ascent
- Controlled emergency swimming ascent
- Diver rescue
- Assisted equipment ditch and don
- Catastrophic regulator failure simulation
I have recently taken up rock climbing and, thanks to some good friends, am sticking with it. I’m quickly learning that it’s not as much about brute strength as it is technique. Sure, strength helps, but so do mobility, flexibility, and body positioning. I appreciate how the sport is equal for men and women, young and old. I also like how it is an application of physics and strength. At first, everyone just tries to pull themselves up. Even after the first few times going to the gym, I quickly noticed how changing the positions and directions of forces applied from you to the wall can help. I want to continue going to the gym, with enough frequency to build the finger strength over time. I also want to learn better technique so I can apply it outdoors. My third goal is to go on a rock climbing trip and apply what I learn in the gym.
3. Climb outdoors on a real rock face
- Climb a 5.10 (gym)
- Climb a 5.11 (gym)
- Climb a crack (gym)
As I am establishing a new home on some property, I have a couple goals that I think can be completed by the end of this year. While I think #5 can be completed in a matter of weeks, it is lower in priority than #4. I should also point out that #4 will be built in a barn, outside of the house. After a year of focused weight training, I have exceeded the limits of the set I bought to start things off (Bench press rack and bench, 300-lbs of barbell & plates). I still go to the gym at work as my primary training grounds, but it’s nice having a backup at home for weekends and holidays.
4. Build my house
5. Upgrade home gym
- Squat rack (with pull-up and dip bars)
- Rubber horse mat
- Bumper plates & more weights
- Rock climbing pull-up board
This site was initiated as a home for my musical endeavors. I quit spinning at the Davenport last year when they owed me for four nights and never responded to pay me. I’d like to find another gig, preferably with more competent employers. Until then I want to get back into DJing just because it’s something I enjoy. Eventually, I want to spend some money on hardware and software for music production. I just have to balance that with the cost of building my house.
6. Record at least 10 music mixes in 2012
I have tried to list specific, measurable, and attainable goals. This last goal is the most vague, yet it shouldn’t be hard to accomplish.
7. Try something new
I am posting these online, publicly, for two reasons. I want to openly document my goals. I also want you to hold me accountable to them. I’d prefer if you used a positive approach to encourage and guide me, but I suppose it’s fair to chastise me if you see me quitting.
The NBC comedy Community is a spoof on community college. It’s a great, even if fictitious, example of how we humans are a social creature. We are so diverse, yet the majority of us find comfort and support from others. It’s why we gather around the water cooler, post on Facebook, tweet, and hit happy hour. Whether it’s comparing stories from work, trading diet tips, or bragging about your kid’s latest feat, we can’t help but share. Some are more outgoing than others, sharing with everyone including the unwitting Walmart greeter. Some are more introverted, only exposing themselves to those they trust most.
Why am I rambling on about something so obvious, especially in the age of “social media”? The communities you participate in can serve as more than mere sounding boards. They can be sources of encouragement and support. They can be sources of examples when treading new ground. They can even spur on competition, a great motivational tool to help you reach your goals. Of course, that’s assuming you share your goals with others.
Why do we keep our goals to ourselves? Fear of failure. If we don’t announce our intentions, there’s no shame if we quit or fail. It’s easy to pretend we were never trying.
What goals did you set last year? Did you reach them? Did you tell anyone about them, regardless of the outcome?
What if this year, you set a reasonable goal? Something attainable. Something measureable. Something to which others can hold you accountable. Something that can be a fun competition with others. Something with which others can help guide you.
There are plenty of online resources for you to find a community with similar goals (or even just someone who will root you on). I have found several by networking on Twitter. If you’re into anything related to fitness and athletics, you might try Fitocracy. This site takes the competitive and supportive online community a step further. It’s a role playing game (RPG) where you are the character who levels up for every activity you log that progresses your fitness.
Maybe fitness isn’t your thing. There are other sites that more generically support all resolutions, like 43things. I haven’t used that site, but the point is that if you spend a little time searching your interest, you’re bound to find a community for support, guidance, competition, and most importantly, accountability.
So try something new and share your goals with a friend (or a stranger). I’ll practice what I preach in a follow-up post.
Don’t wait for someone to discover you. Discover yourself.
Borrowed & modified from Quora topic on life-changing quotes.
This site has always been focused on my interest in music. I’d like to open things up a bit.
In the past year, I successfully recomposed my body. I tracked my progress in a spreadsheet and periodically posted updates via Twitter and Facebook. I found several online sources of motivation and I think it’s time I reciprocated. So even though this site began solely to share my music interest, I’m going to expand and post whatever I find relevant to finding better health and fitness for yourself.
I started with the e-book Four Hour Body in December 2010 and changed my diet to high-protein and “slow-carb”. Eventually, I hit a plateau and shifted into the Lean Gains method of intermittent fasting. Around April of 2011, I found the book Starting Strength and focused my time in the gym. In less than a year, I went from somewhere between 210-220 lbs to 175 lbs (about 12.5% body fat). I also got stronger. I can squat 360 lbs, dead lift 420 lbs, and bench press 220 lbs, all for a combined 1,000 lbs.
This transformation was just the beginning. I recently joined Fitocracy to help track progress and find motivation through community support. I plan to track my workouts here as a backup. I also want to start a collection of references to medical studies and scientifically-based guidance for losing fat and gaining strength. Goals cannot be measured without tracking progress and progress is more easily made with the support of others.
So I’m not really sure how well this will work, combining multiple aspects of my lift onto one site, originally meant just for one passion, but I’m giving it a try. I might also try sharing some insight into my job, now that the Shuttle program is retired and things are slowing down considerably.