My goals for 2016-2018

Over the last three years, I’ve focused a lot on goal setting and developing the necessary skills and discipline to actually cross those goals off of my list. Things have changed for the better in my life since I consistently put more of a focus on developing myself, and paying attention to the details of progress.

By thinking about, and writing out all of the goals you want to achieve in your life, you give your brain an important job to do. Our minds are complex, but they’re also easy to condition if we are clear about what we want, and we work toward achieving those things every day. 

The following is a list of what I want to accomplish in the next 26 1/2 months.

Fitness

My health is the most important thing to me. Without it, nothing else matters. So, I have a few health and fitness goals that I will work on improving and completing in the next two years. These are all things that encourage me to develop speed, strength, and mental toughness. They are also goals that challenge me to develop different areas of my fitness: 

  • Hold a 60 sec. unassisted headstand by Nov. 30th 2016.
  • 12 consecutive dead hang pull-ups by Dec. 31st 2016.
  • Run a sub 7:30 min. mile by January 31st 2017. 
  • Run the Lost Lake race in 2 hours and 30 minutes or less (August 2017).
  • Bodyweight to 150 LBS by August 20th, 2017. 
  • Run Crow Pass (2018).
  • Continue to improve mobility, and live pain free. 

Marriage

A happy, thriving marriage is very important to me, and building an amazing relationship with Lela is a major priority. Continuing to grow together, and to inspire one another to be our best has always been our vision. As time goes on, it can be easy to settle in and get comfortable- and that complacency in a marriage can lead to the deterioration of a relationship. The grass is greener where you water it, so next to my health/fitness goals, my marriage gets most of my attention. 

  • Buy Lela flowers at least twice a month. 
  • Sporadic love notes around the house every week. 
  • Make a big deal out of our anniversaries, and celebrate big.  
  • Card at least twice a month.
  • Movie/Restaurant date night once a month. 
  • Pedicure date once a month. 
  • Practice patience daily, and continue to be honest and open. 

Travel

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I haven’t prioritized it much in 2016, but that’s going to change for the next two years. I have a lot of catching up to do. While it’s certainly not as pressing as taking good care of my health, and nurturing my relationship with my wife, seeing the world is very important to me. I consider it a part of my ongoing education. My travel goals for the next two years are not completely set, but this is what I’m focused on right now:

  • China: Walk at least 10 miles on the Great Wall of China (Nov. 2016).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been absolutely in awe of the Great Wall. The Chinese culture has always seemed very different from life in the United States, and that’s what attracts me. The history, and eastern philosophy is what fascinates me most.  

  • Paris, France: Climb the stairs to the highest point in the Eiffel Tower (Dec. 2016).

I haven’t had much of an interest to travel Europe until recently. The food, the history, and the fact that I’ll get to visit a new continent are all appealing to me. The Eiffel tower is just as intriguing to me as the Empire State building in NYC. Plus, my wife really wants to go, and as I always say “happy wife, happy life.” 

  • Kona, Hawaii: Get Rescue Diver certified (undecided deadline).

I became a certified SCUBA diver in January 2009 while on a trip to southern Thailand. Diving allows you to experience the world in a completely different way, and it’s magical. I have since become Advanced Open water certified, and Nitrox certified. The next level is Rescue Diver certification which will make me a more competent diver and will enable me to handle every potential disaster I may encounter under the water. I’ve never been to Kona, so it’s time to cross that one off my list. 

  • Luang Prabang, Laos: Visit the Kuang Si Falls (Jan. 2018). 

I have a deep fascination with southeast Asian countries. Laos is a place that seems so different from anywhere I’ve ever been, and the Kuang Si Falls look incredible. Of course I’m drawn to this country for other reasons too; the history, the culture, and the people. Southeast Asian people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met, and I find myself missing that human connection when I travel elsewhere. 

  • Bagan, Myanmar: Sunrise Hot air balloon ride over Bagan temples (Feb. 2018).

Bagan was founded in the second century A.D. I can’t think of a more interesting place to ride in a hot air balloon. Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world with the average annual income coming in around $1,500.00. There is something about this place that makes me want to put my philanthropic focus on it for future endeavors. I look forward to the day I get to visit, and in some way help to make a positive impact in the lives of those who live there. 

  • Nepal: Everest base camp trek (from Kathmandu to the base of Everest: Oct. 2017 or April 2018).

The Everest base camp trek appeals to this side of me that longs for mystery, and adventure. Uncertainty, and hard work. I love the mountains, and I can’t think of a better place to go to experience the most awe-inspiring mountains in the world. 

  • Dubai: Skydive with Lela over the Palm Islands (undecided deadline). 

Part of the fun of skydiving is enjoying the scenery below you after you jump from the plane. My first time skydiving was over a desert in southern California, and while I enjoyed the experience, I imagine it would be so much more exciting to free fall over the Palm islands in Dubai. I think Lela would appreciate the gorgeous view as well, so I have suggested we make that a goal for our first skydive together. Skydiving isn’t nearly as terrifying as it looks. But it requires you to come out of your comfort zone for many obvious reasons. 

  • 10 new U.S. States: Do something memorable in each one; this could be attending a major league baseball game, a fitness conference, or snowboarding in Utah. 

As of right now, I have 26 more states to travel to. In the next 26 months, I’d like to knock off at least 10 new ones. In no particular order they are; Colorado, Utah, Tennessee, Connecticut, Alabama, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi. 

Personal Development

  • Read a book a week, apply what I learn immediately. 
  • Journal at least one page every morning; include 3 things I’m grateful for every day. 
  • Meditate for 20 minutes at least 4x a week. 
  • Learn to play at least one new song on the drums every month. 
  • Attend a photography workshop. 
  • Attend at least two fitness conferences a year. 

Philanthropy/Contribution

  • Raise at least $20,000 for the FF Lost Lake team in 2017. 
  • Adopt a family for Christmas for every year. 
  • Raise at least $300 per month through our Boot Camp for a Cause program.
  • Volunteer my time, and continue to look for new ways to contribute. 

Figarelle’s Fitness

  • Sunday group hikes during the warmer months. 
  • FF fitness/adventure retreat (2017).
  • New gym equipment each month. 

Some other fun “bucket list” goals I have are: Start a ‘Figarelle’s Fitness’ Foundation where we can give back, and change the world on a larger scale. Meet Oprah. Write, and self-publish several best selling books. Become a helicopter pilot. Fly first class on an Emirates flight. Snowboard in the French Alps. Celebrate my 73rd wedding anniversary with my wife (this would mean I’d live to see 100 years old). Fly to outer space on Virgin Galactic (fulfill my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut). Bungee jump in New Zealand. Dive with humpback whales in Hawaii. Become fluent in Spanish. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list of every one of my life goals, and I haven’t included deadlines for every goal just yet. These are all things that are floating around in my head at the moment.

Making a list of everything you want to do before you die is important, it’s a start in the right direction. Take it a step further by including a deadline for each goal, and include why each goal is so important to you. 

The process of goal achievement has lots of moving parts. Depending on the complexity of the goal, you may be able to check things off your list left and right without a lot of effort or investment.

Ask yourself: Do these goals stretch me? Do they take me out of my comfort zone, physically and maybe financially? If so, what can I do to rise up to the challenge, and acquire the skills and knowledge required to achieve each one? Who do I have to become to achieve this particular goal? What books do I have to read? What actions do I have to take TODAY? 

Personally, I set goals that make me uncomfortable. Life is too precious to grow complacent in your relationship, your career, and in your daily life. 

Life is too short to avoid taking risks. As soon as you begin to feel all warm and cozy for too long, it’s time to shake things up and start setting some big fucking goals. 

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

 

 

 

 

Mastering Your Mental Game

The other day a client commented on how much weight I’ve lost over the last 4 months. She wanted to know how I did it.
 
The short response was, “I did it by following every piece of advice that I give you guys.”
 
Over the last four months, there have been no quick fixes, gimmicks, drugs, ‘detox’ diets, special smoothies, body wraps, or magic pills. I’m not following Paleo or any other fad diet, and I’m not doing anything unique with my exercise routine.
 
I wish I had a magic wand to wave over my clients to get them the best results in the least amount of time.
 
But I don’t. It doesn’t exist. The magic wand is WORK. 
 
So, what have I been doing to achieve a 30 LB loss since April?
 
The following are a list of special sauce secrets. There is certainly more where this came from, but I figured I would offer up the tip of the iceberg. Enjoy! 
 
 
NO ALCOHOL
 
I have not had a sip of alcohol since April. I am not opposed to drinking booze, but I wanted to enter into this focused phase of my life completely sober and without a crutch to numb me when shit got tough.
 
I wanted to be completely present. My biggest issue with alcohol is that I consistently make poor food choices when I drink. I didn’t need to create temptations for myself, so I chose to abstain. 
 
I WRITE
 
I journal every day. I have a morning journal where I ramble off nonsense to clear my head. I talk about my workouts and nutrition and I figure out where I need to go by writing out everything and reflecting.
 
I have a separate workout journal where I record every exercise, set, and rep that I do. I also record my training runs, including distance, and duration. Writing creates clarity and allows you to reflect. Don’t trust your memory, write shit down. It will help you improve week after week. 
 
I DON’T CARE
 
When I began this process, I decided to kick out some gadgets from my life. I no longer run or workout with a heart rate monitor, and I don’t take body fat measurements of any kind. These things don’t matter to me.
 
Instead, I focus on how I feel, how I perform, and how I look. Then I adjust accordingly. I ran for years with a HR monitor and it was helpful when I was a beginner. I’ve been running long enough to know where my heart rate is, but I honestly don’t care. Maybe in the future I’ll go back to using it, but this process has been a lot less stressful without it. 
  
I CHECK MY WEIGHT EVERY DAY
 
I weigh myself on the scale every morning. The number that pops up provides objective feedback. It helps me understand my current level of hydration, and provides enough information to help me adjust my nutrition.
 
The scale keeps me accountable. 
 
When we’re able to face reality, we leave no room for excuses. If I don’t know my weight, it messes up my plan and I delude myself for days. Progress stalls, and I only have myself to blame. 
 
I RELY ON THE MIRROR FOR FEEDBACK
 
I assess my progress visually in the mirror several times a day. This requires getting almost naked, finding a big mirror in a room with good lighting and posing like a fucking weirdo (if my wife didn’t know I was insane before, she knows now).
 
 
 
Posing was an important part of my bodybuilding competition prep back in the day, and it helped me learn poise and presentation onstage. I taught myself how to pose and flex each muscle by reading countless bodybuilding books in High School. There’s more to this than just vanity. You learn basic anatomy, and muscle control. You also improve your mobility, and posture. 
 
Visually assessing the way your body looks in the mirror is one of the best feedback tools you can use. 
 
I DON’T REACT TO THE NEGATIVE
 
I sit with discomfort in a non-reactive way. I’ve been hungry, tired, and low on energy many times these past few months. This has forced me to slow down, and simplify my life. 
 
The knee jerk reaction when we feel hungry or tired is to immediately find something to eat to take the pain away so we can change our mental state, and “feel good.” We’re always trying to escape the moment, have you noticed that? 
 
When you’re cutting body fat on limited calories, you don’t always get to run and eat something. Rarely do you feel satiated. This has forced me to be more present, and in the moment.
 
I can’t run to food to soothe my pain.
 
This delaying of instant gratification has allowed me to deeply ponder my relationship with food. Do I really need to eat when I’m stressed or tired? No. I probably need to get up and move my body, drink more water, and take care of some business I’ve been putting off.  
 
Eating food alters our mental state and when we’re constantly medicating ourselves with food because we’re tired, bored, sad, happy, and stressed we become trapped in a cycle of dependence. 
 
We’re constantly eating to escape feeling something. I haven’t been able to escape in four months. And guess what? The best part of feeling and pondering is that I’ve worked through some heavy mental shit that had been camped out in my head for months. 
 
I SIT IN SILENCE
 
I meditate for 20 minutes in the morning. I do a simple mindfulness meditation where I gently focus on clearing my mind to become more connected to my breath. That’s it. I say gently because I don’t judge myself or violently force thoughts from creeping into my mind. I don’t get pissed off if thoughts invade my head while I’m sitting, that’s what happens when you have a brain. Don’t judge it. 
 
I’m not sure why the fuck the western world is so afraid of meditation. It’s an opportunity to slow down, breathe, and lower cortisol.
 
Wonder why you’re always tired, sick, and unsettled? Because you can’t slow your crazy brain down. Get a grip on that thing before it destroys you. Yes, destructive thought patterns like anger, anxiety, and guilt along with chronic stress can speed up the aging process and erode your quality of life.
 
I DON’T COMPARE MYSELF TO OTHERS
 
I get inspiration from other successful people. I don’t allow envy or jealousy to cloud my mind. I compare myself to where I was last year, last month, and last week. Am I better? If not, I make a conscious choice to immediately improve something. 
 
People become lost and confused when they put their focus exclusively on other people and obsess over everything they’re doing. Constantly comparing themselves and getting upset that they aren’t in the same place.
 
Success doesn’t happen by accident. You don’t get to magically have everything you want in life for no reason at all and get mad when other people have it because they’ve worked their asses off for it. This goes for success in all of its forms. 
 
I DO THE WORK NO MATTER WHAT
 
There have been many days where I didn’t feel like working out. I didn’t feel like following my diet. The problem with “feelings” is that they’re little liars that threaten to delude and derail you from becoming successful.
 
Every time you give in to a destructive emotion or feeling, you reinforce it. If I’m always conveniently having an emotional breakdown before every workout, that workout will never get done. I go in to most workouts without overanalyzing anything and dwelling on the fact that I don’t really want to be there. I’m like a robot with a plan. I walk in and execute the plan, then I walk out. 
 
If I gave in every time I felt depressed, sad, angry, or stressed out over the last four months, I wouldn’t have made any progress. Don’t believe every thought you think. 
 
You’ve probably noticed by now that I haven’t discussed the specifics of my workouts. There are a million diets and workout programs you can find in magazines and online that can help you get in shape. That’s the easy stuff. 
 
The hardest part about transforming your body is mastering your mental game.