Happy New Year. It feels like winter, I have a stomach full of eggs and coffee, a warm apartment and comfy pants on. I had a great NYE and was only slightly hungover, which is a drastic improvement over last year. I’m listening to a Spotify station based on the song “Gun in My Hand” by DOROTHY and it’s the fucking sauce. Try that out. I believe in being constantly involved in self improvement, and self -actualization through those improvements, and that should be happening frequently, not just once a year. But there’s energy and focus that comes with everyone mutually deciding to change at once, so like many, I’m joining in the collective hunger to sharpen up, refresh my goals, and kickstart some personal evolution.
2015 – Fear: the Teacher
2015 was the best year in recent memory. I bet 1993 was probably pretty great because all I did was eat, make noise, and play with stuff I found on the floor. Probably, but I don’t remember it. So, 2015 was the best year for me this century. It was immensely pleasurable. I began truly realizing the benefits of being a fit healthy person -feeling physically powerful, energized, and more able to truly enjoy the good things in life. I ate better, I slept better. I started learning how to truly enjoy myself as a physical body and treat my body with the respect and love that that warrants. So that was pretty groovy. I started letting go of a lot of unhelpful self-perceptions. I kept building better habits. I explored myself as an athlete, artist and teacher. But those were all products of the real lesson of 2015. That lesson was that my happiness stems from a combination of disciplined mindfulness, and an active search of things that challenge and scare me. My fulfillment comes from challenging myself constantly and I saw my reality shift as I put this principle to work.
For a few years now I’ve been actively self-creating and self-determining as much as possible. Once upon a time I decided that I would choose who I became – emotionally, intellectually, physically – that every year would see me closer and closer to my best self that I envision deep inside me. Becoming that Ideal Self is a lifelong process that is never over. So in 2015 I truly started to figure out how to be an active agent of my own life. This was the year that I realized life isn’t supposed to just be fun, and that happiness is not a reward for checking the right boxes. Life is a chaotic tornado of things HAPPENING, and the only thing you get to choose is how you respond to those happenings. You can’t always change your feelings. You can’t always control what’s done to you. But you get to choose your actions and reactions.
I think maybe ever since I read Dune and Gates of Fire way back when, I’ve been obsessed with Fear as a phenomenon and emotion. I’ve learned that fear is there precisely to point us where we need to go. When I started Strongman in March, I realized how I afraid I was of being too weak, of being insufficient. And I realized I had to either tackle it head on by training as hard as I could, or I’d be running from it forever, always wondering how strong I might have become, how far I might have gone. And now I’m obsessed.
This obsession has elevated me physically and mentally light years beyond what I ever dreamed capable. I learned that I must feel weak in order to grow stronger. And now I am beginning to turn that obsession back to my career and art. I need to know what I can be, how far I can reach. It has nothing to do with monetary success or specific landmarks of achievement (although there are things of that nature I desire), it has to do with living presently and actively to the best of my ability. And in tackling these fears head on, I learned that incompleteness – the struggle to be more – is the beauty of being a conscious human. There is always room to be stronger, more compassionate, smarter, more thoughtful, kinder, faster, more disciplined. Awareness of this and the desire to keep going is all I need.
In 2015 I learned how to turn fear into action. How to turn fear into a conduit to power. How to turn fear into a roaring engine. I thank my fears for teaching me, and I am grateful for this understanding.
2016 – Discipline: the Way
In 2016, my journey to my Ideal Self continues, as it will for the rest of my life. It starts with physical, spiritual, and mental discipline. Writing every day. Meditating every day. Taking small fasts and breaks from distractions (I won’t be drinking in January, for example). Continuing my training. I believe that I have a lot to give to the world, and that becoming my most powerful self is how I do that – that by becoming and building my strongest self, the positive ripple effect of my actions will occur naturally. Nothing forced, nothing faked.
In 2016, I encourage you to picture who you really want to be. I don’t mean your job, I don’t mean your hobbies, I mean your quality of personhood. What do you give yourself? What do you give others? What do you give a shit about? I am going to ask myself these questions every day. In 2016, I am going to consciously choose who I am, every day. I am going to mindfully pay attention to the world around me. I am going to ask you to call me on my bullshit. I am going to ask you to hold me accountable to this post. I am going to hold myself accountable to my true mission: becoming a person who makes the world a better place. I have no idea how that will ultimately manifest itself, and I don’t need to. In 2016, I am going to keep becoming.
Here are my active task-oriented resolutions for 2016 and how I’m going to implement them.
–Write daily (Set alarm for 20 minutes earlier, set multiple morning alarms to keep me on task)
–Publish new essay/blog post biweekly (Set reminders, brainstorm with writing partners)
–Meditate daily (daily reminder in phone with preset time planned ahead each week on Sunday)
–Further my education (Read one fitness industry article daily during lunch, more TBD)
–Monthly Resolution to reinforce and refresh mental and physical discipline (January: drinking fast). Annouce it to all my roommates and close friends so they stay on my case.
-Print out list of these resolutions in place I see every day with big fat reminder question in bold letters “WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?”
I had a leisurely morning of sleeping in, having a late brunch, drinking a lot of coffee, writing this post, and now I’m going to keep ringing in 2016 by doing boring shit really well and with intention. Clean, organize, cook, write.
I would also be remiss to talk about 2015 without acknowledging all the incredible people who contributed to my year. There were many new people who I now consider irreplaceable and I marvel at the wonder that strangers can become so important and so close so fast. Thank you.
I am incredibly deeply grateful for the people who continue to support and love me and build me up. As much as I believe in personal accountability and self-determination, I know from experience that having family (found, natural or otherwise) and people who positively contribute to your life is essential and deeply powerful, you need a team. If you were a friend to me in 2015, thank you.
Happy New Year.