Let’s face it, for some of us, 2011 was not our best year. If you read the news it looks like it wasn’t the best year for many people by a long shot.
2011 was a great year for me primarily because of the joy we experienced from the birth of our first child – our son Michael.
But I’m looking to make 2012 much, much better – much stronger and I invite you to do the same. The cool thing about the new year is it inspires us and fills us with hope for and to change. What didn’t seem possible on December 1st suddenly seems possible on January 1st.
In that light, here’s how I’m going to make 2012 my strongest year ever and as I mentioned, I invite you to do the same – join me and look back a year from now in amazement at all you have achieved.
There are 5 strategies I’ve been implementing over the past couple of years or so that have allowed me to –
– Start a new business
– Write and get a book published
– Speak nationally
– Allow my wife to stay home and care for our son
– Rebuild my body from years of abuse from training for competition
And, before we move any further, I want to set the record straight – There is nothing special about me at all, other than the fact that God made me unique. If I can do stuff like this – you most certainly can too. God made you unique too with certain skills, talents, and character traits. All you have to do is use them. Seriously, 10 years ago I never imagined I would’ve accomplished what I have. It’s a lot more than I ever thought possible. In 2012 you can do at least as well as I have – hopefully a lot better.
So let’s take a look at these 5 strategies.
1. Be Thankful / Have a Grateful Heart.
I have a confession to make – I used to be a “glass is half-empty” kind of guy. In fact, some days I still am. It’s hard to change unless you go out of your way to do so. Thinking a certain way is really just a state of mind. The more you think one way, the more you will re-enforce that thought pattern. And the more you will engrain those patterns until they are habits. And that’s all you know how to do until someone shows you something different, something better.
Here’s a really neat way I learned how to be a “glass is half-full” guy: Learn to be thankful/grateful.
I heard a guy named Dan Kuschell speak at a conference I attended a couple of years ago. He suggested a series of Top 10 lists to be thankful for.
– Top 10 Things I Am Thankful For Right Now
– Top 10 Things I Am Thankful For In My Business/Job
– Top 10 People I Am Grateful For In My Life
Take these lists and write them down. Don’t worry how long it takes you.
Then do this every day. At the start of each day. It really sets your mind on the right track for each day, no matter what time you have to get up.
When I first tried these, they were really, really hard. It would literally take me 0-30 minutes to get the lists done. They may be for you too. But when I was done, I was amazed at how my attitude had immediately improved. And the more often I did this, the better and brighter my attitude was throughout the day and from day-to-day.
And the cool thing is when my attitude improved, so did my outlook on life, and therefore my relationships improved and I saw more opportunities.
Life just got better and I was able to overcome some of my negative circumstances because I could recognize opportunities that I wouldn’t have before. And also, opportunities came my way that wouldn’t have before. Because after all, who wants to be around a sour puss?
2. Spend More Time With Your Loved Ones.
Here’s another horrible confession for you – for the first 9 years of my marriage, my wife and I rarely ate dinner together. I worked late and then worked out late. I’d get home somewhere between 8 and 10 every night. It was a major source of contention in our relationship. I was just plain selfish and didn’t value her or give her the priority in my life that I should have.
Today is a completely different story. We eat dinner every night, but I/we had to go through Hell to make that happen. I’m glad I did though. And now, I’m changing my schedule again (much easier this time) so I can spend time with our son and we can eat together as a family, now that he’s starting to eat solid foods.
We did this while we were away recently and it brought my heart such joy! There’s no greater joy for me than to spend time with my family now.
Loved ones are a blessing. Spend more time with them now while you still can. Look for the joy in those relationships.
I once heard someone say that on your deathbed you won’t wish you had spent more time at work or watching TV or chasing your dreams of personal glory. You’ll wish you had spent more time with your family and loved ones. Imagine having that kind of regret… It would be awful. I’m doing everything in my power to reach the end knowing that I lived fully and that starts at home.
I challenge you to do the same.
3. Dream More.
I am a Dreamer. Sometimes my dreams don’t turn into “doings” but many times they do.
Dreams keep us alive – they give us hope for a better future. Combine them with a thankful heart / attitude and they arrive much sooner.
I recently fulfilled a dream I had in my heart for over 2 years. I’m still unpacking the significance of it – but it was a very powerful experience. Sure, it involved risk, lots of risk, but I lived it anyway and am completely glad I did. So much good came out of it and so much more has yet to. And I never would’ve experienced that if I hadn’t first dreamed and then risked to actually live my dream.
And that’s another point – some dreams contain an element of risk. Sometimes you’ll have to let go of what you believe to be security in order to experience and live your dream.
And if things don’t turn out exactly as you planned, just remember what one of my former mentors said – “You’re not shot, you’re not dead. Keep pressing on.” (Unless of course you are shot…)
4. Pursue One Dream Relentlessly Until It Becomes Your Reality.
It doesn’t matter what your dream is. Commit to pursuing it. Combine this with your newfound thankful heart / grateful attitude and you stand a great shot of achieving it – and sooner than you think.
One thing is for absolutely certain, if you don’t start the ball in motion towards achieving your dream, you will not achieve it. At all. Ever.
One of my dreams for 2012 is to completely rebuild my body and turn it into a machine. Yeah, I know, might sound cheesy. I don’t care though, cause it’s MY dream.
I want to build upon what I did last year which was to physically prepare for Michael’s birth which I did. This year, as he grows, I want to expand my physical capabilities too. Last year I got my baseline back. This year I want to build upon that foundation.
I’m chasing things like:
– a one arm pull-up
– a triple bodyweight deadlift
– a 1.25x bodyweight press
– a double bodyweight bench press
– a double bodyweight zercher squat
– 100 snatches with the 48kg KB
– a pistol with a pair of 48kg KBs in the rack
– mastering some gymnastic strength exercises
– and sprinting again
I want to not only hit 40 but crush it – being in better physical condition at 40 then I was at 20.
What’s your Big Dream?
5. Seek Out Others Who Can Help You Achieve Your Dream Goal.
The English poet John Donne wrote “No man is an island” yet we all still seem to think that we can or worse yet, must do everything on our own. Supposedly, it’s the “American Way” to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” or whatever.
That’s poisonous and wrong thinking.
Nothing is or could be further from the Truth.
If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you might think that those who have been successful and don’t want to share that success actually made that lie up and continue to perpetuate it so they can profit of others’ misfortune. I can tell you as a fact, based on personal experience, isolation and ego-centricity is a great recipe for failure and never achieving your dreams. That’s a great recipe for making 2012 your worst year ever.
Part of seeking others out is being humble and admitting that you don’t know everything. Again, here’s something I’ve had to learn the hard way. I recall a conversation I had about 4 years ago on the phone while sitting in my car outside my weightlifting platform with a prominent coach. We were talking about what I needed to do to be successful now that I was an older Olympic lifter.
Oh how I wished I’d listened to him at that time! My lifting experience might have been different. I might have actually achieved my goals. I know this now because I have started to implement some of his ideas and my body is getting stronger at a faster pace.
Don’t be a fool like I was and reject help.
I have a strong network of like minded friends and mentors who can help me out. And yes, some I have even paid large sums of money to for their invaluable advice. Without it, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I did in the past year.
Speaking of getting stronger at a faster pace, if you’re on the East Coast, (even if you’re not) I’m running a Kettlebell Muscle Workshop on Saturday, January 28th in Virginia. Literally everyone who attends one of these sets PRs and is armed with new techniques to continue to get stronger. (I just read the testimonials from Hardstyle Ventura where I taught an abbreviated version of this seminar – people were blown away by their PRs.) You should come if you want to see PRs. Register here and still get the Early Bird Discount.
Forward Thinking, Dreaming, And Doing
The New Year is not even a full 4 days old. It’s full of bright opportunity for you to achieve all of your strength goals and dreams, or at least get started down that road. All you have to do is dare.
Here are two quotes I leave you with to help you on your quest, your mission, your journey. Write them down. Put them where you can see them and meditate on them daily.
“Who Dares Wins”
– motto of the SAS
(The UK’s Special Air Services, the original Special Forces Unit)
“Do the thing, have the power.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson