Pre-script: I’m sorry for filling this blog with just random “self-help” and personal routine stuff. I do plan on blogging about current issues, sexuality, and such more soon. And, of course, I’m always looking for questions for my AMA (Shit, I need to update that page with the last few “Ask PJ” posts). If you’ve got something you’d like me to talk about or have a question about relationships, sexuality, anarchy, drugs, or anything else that’s on your mind, or maybe you just want to tell me I’m wrong, then you can submit your thoughts anonymously to the following links: Sarahah or SurveyMonkey
This probably won’t surprise the two people who read this blog, but I kind of thrive off of new experiences. Variety is really the spice of my life and I find myself feeling confined, suffocated, and bored when things become routine. That part of my personality has driven me to live in 8 cities since 2007, bike across the country twice, explore drugs and new sexual experiences, and work at five different places since graduating college in 2009. I love that I’m adventurous and my personality pushes me into new, unexplored (by me) territory regularly.
Unfortunately, seeing “stability” as a four-letter word also has a downside. It is very, very difficult for me to stay interested and motivated with something long term. I get really excited about things and then burn out fairly quickly. I’ve been trying to be better about that, with mixed success. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I need to refresh my practices every few months. My morning routine has been awesome but it has started to feel a little stale and I’m happy that my current journal (Go Journal) ran out of pages and I started a new one (Phoenix Journal).
These two tools have a fairly similar goal but go about it in different ways. They both want to help improve your life, which is awesome… I need all the tools I can get. GoJournal is less of a daily time commitment, more philosophical, and great for reflecting on your life. The daily questions are mostly the same and include things like “What am I grateful for today?”, “How can I keep my life in balance today?”, and “What do I want to focus on today?”
Which are all great questions and they help get me into a strong mindset in the morning. Unfortunately, my answers got quite repetitive (particularly with that last question). I can only say I want to focus on finishing work, eating healthy, getting exercise, and reading so many ways. In general, my days are pretty repetitive.
Phoenix Journal, on the other hand, is much more “nuts and bolts” to improving my life and it is a significantly larger time commitment each day and week. I spent nearly two hours this morning answering the set-up questions (see below) and planning my first 3-month, week, and daily plans. There is a few philosophical type daily questions but a lot of the journal’s focus is on incremental steps to accomplish long-term goals. I think my daily commitment to this journal is going to be about 30-45 minutes (as opposed to 5-10 for the Go Journal).
That all being said, I’m super excited to start this. I’ve got that “New Relationship Energy” (or NRE for all you polyamory familiar people out there) with the journal and I think it is more in line with my personality and goals than Go Journal. And, as a way to help me flesh out my thoughts and educate and maybe motivate others, I’ve decided to share my answers to the questions I completed this morning to get the journal started. If this sounds like a good plan for you I highly recommend you pick up the journal and make it a part of your morning routine (or use it to create a morning routine).
Oh, first some quotes that I highlighted. Some of these are kind of cliche but they are powerful (at least to me):
“If you realize that there will never be a time outside of this moment to act in alignment with your full potential, then you will have discovered the key greatness.”
“In order to create a powerful vision and goal, try to connect it as tangibly as you can with the four main categories of life: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.”
“Your thoughts preceded your actions. Your repeated actions create your habits. Your habits create your life.”
“If you get into the habit of going to sleep and waking up at consistent times, exercising regularly, and eating the right foods – your levels of mental clarity, energy, and focus will advance tremendously.”
“By spending just a few minutes every morning reading and touching base with your future visions, you will set your focus and intentions in alignment with these aims. This is important because our aims manifest our reality. A routine of exercise, meditation, visualization, and planning, every morning, can radically transform the quality of your life.”
“Whether or not you achieve your goals, true success lies in having the courage to live up to your own word.”
The journal starts with asking me to make a commitment:
I, Peter, vow that from this point forward I will be a person of my word. I will no longer treat my time as a commodity. From this moment on I will endeavor to be the greatest I can for myself, my loved ones, and the world. I give my word to make time for this journal every day until it is completed, and in doing so bring to life my dreams, my purpose, and my highest potential.
Then, a vision of my future:
I want to be a successful writer. This will allow me the freedom to travel, security to care for my family, and feelings of accomplishment.
I want to become healthier and stronger. I want to try out for American Ninja Warrior, model nude, be considered sexy and attractive, and see how healthy I can become. Strength and health will allow me to travel, climb mountains, go on yoga retreats, improve my sex life, and live a longer, healthier life. It may even allow me to live to the point where death is an option.
I want to heal others using yoga, meditation, massage, therapy, or something similar. I want to be able to help people recover from past trauma and injuries, as well as reach their peak potential.
I want to be a leader in my community through volunteering and philanthropy. I want to lead my community into a stronger, better future.
I want to be financially secure so that I can provide for my family, travel without concern, and have a few luxury items.
I want to learn as much as possible, which will increase the chances that creation and creative solutions will come to my mind.
Next, a future I fear:
I’m afraid of wasting my life and dying alone and unloved. The ideas in my head will die with me, never brought to life. The years pass and I live a mediocre life without travel or adventure. I don’t end up seeing the world from a mountaintop or dive into the ocean or experience silent meditation or try new drugs. Instead, it is a sad, mediocre life without financial security or new experiences. I don’t truly live and I never find my potential.
Now, it gets down to time frames to make the kind of vague “life” into goals with a Three Year Vision:
In three years I want to be:
– A writer with at least one published novel, a bunch of short stories, and The Adventures of Higgins Complete
– In the best shape of my life and I have run at least one 100-mile race and several obstacle course races
– I have started training along a healers path of yoga, massage, or therapy
– I am a volunteer in the community with the Unitarian Church and as an end-of-life doula. I continue to work with CFCLT to assist low-income families and also volunteer at a hospital or animal shelter
– I am debt-free (except for my mortgage), have maxed out my Roth IRA for 2017, 2018, and 2019, and I have set up investment accounts for my nieces and nephews
– I have read over 200 books and developed new skills (TBD)
– I’ve gone on at least one meditation retreat and one yoga retreat
Three years is still way in the future, so the next step is a 12-week vision (which takes up all the active pages of this journal).
– I want to end my habit of drinking alcohol and have a healthy relationship with it
– I will have finished my Rite of Passage podcast series, written/submitted three pieces of essay size writing and one short story
– Near my goal weight of approximately 155 lbs and 15% body fat, run a half-marathon, and found an active hobby that I attend weekly (MMA, dance, rock-climbing, etc.)
– I have attended the Unitarian Church several times, I donate to the CFCLT, I have donated blood at least once, and found a new volunteer activity
– My Roth IRA is maxed out for 2017, I’m caught up on my taxes, my credit card debt is $0, and I have paid down 25% of one of my student loans
– I’ve found an end-of-life doula training session to attend and I’ve read one book each on meditation, yoga, massage, and therapy.
– I’ve finished 15 books, completed all the free CodeAcademy courses, and the Tableau courses I paid for on Coursera
– I am practicing yoga almost daily and attend at least one group class per week
After all that prep work it gets down into even more incremental details. I hope this works for me, but even if it doesn’t completely (or I flop on it like I have so many other times) I know I will learn something from it.
Day 2 Update of “Operation: Shut Off Facebook and Become Who You Want to Become”
Things went well yesterday. I found myself still occasionally opening the browser on my phone mindlessly and typing “f” in the search bar so that I could log on to Facebook. I don’t really miss it, but the muscle memory is there during times when I’m bored, procrastinating, or waiting for a work thing to load or download.
According to the scale I lost about 7 lbs yesterday, but I know that isn’t all fat. It is mostly water weight from a super salt heavy weekend and using up all my glycogen stores from fasting. Realistically, I probably lost about 1/2 of fat from the fast day. I stuck with my fitness and nutrition plan really well yesterday too, I only ate in my 8-hour window, consumed 1721 calories (despite having a small piece of cheesecake), walked 15,898 steps, and burnt 1,254 calories from exercise. My exercise was a 6.5-mile run, 20 minutes of yoga, and a little walking. I’m a little worried now that the weekend is here because there is less structure and more distraction.
Oh well, I’ve set reasonable goals for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday… basically go to the gym 1-2 times, run daily (even just for a mile), meditate daily, read when possible, get 10,000 steps daily, and keep those calories in check. Any other accomplishments are nice bonuses.
Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!