Week 6

I want to include a quick reminder, right up front, in this entry: These weekly summaries are like journal entries and give me a chance to reflect on the successes of the past week as well as areas I need to focus on, for improvement. This summary of the sixth week of 2022 is coming much later than I originally intended, but is still right in its timing. I can hardly believe this, but I am still dealing with some lingering symptoms of my upper respiratory situation. But, the symptoms are much milder than they have been and I feel better than I have since this started several weeks ago.

Looking back on the sixth week, I am feeling a mixture of healthy pride and irritation at myself. In week six, many little things went off the rails and I will need to make a concerted and purposeful effort to get everything back on track. The conscious and purposeful resting of the previous week turned, almost automatically and effortlessly into a week that lacked focus and purpose. I need to be mindful of this and keep it from happening again.

That said, the major stressors at work continued during week six and got worse, which I did not think possible. So maybe the lackluster performance in week six was a reaction (not a proactive response) to those stressors and the increased mental and emotional demands.

Core Focus of the Week: Plus one, plus one, plus one.

During the sixth week, I continued to remind myself that each day is part of a process of making 2022 my best year ever (hat tip, Hal Elrod). It is NOT about perfection. It IS about progress. And it IS about my perception of the year, the month, the week, the day, the hour, and the moment. As I have heard Brian Johnson say, several times, in various Optimize.me pieces, “Plus one, plus one, plus one.” Similarly, another thought I have been keeping in mind is the Buddha’s “drop by drop, the bucket is filled.”

I unconsciously relaxed on my predetermined processes this week, choosing not to try to force anything into a spare moment. Instead, I tried to be more mindful of each choice and WHY I would choose one option over another. And as mentioned before, there were also many times when I did not even make a point to execute a predetermined process step.

I continued working on optimizing my “process step stacking” that I started in the previous week. For example, listening to an Optimize.me content module on Stoicism, Buddhism, and one of the “Conquer” modules (typically anxiety or depression or procrastination) while I am making my first bathroom visit, doing a weigh-in, drinking my 8-ounce water, and making the bed. So far, I am liking the stack. The stack is proving to be very effective and very powerful as part of my morning routine.

Drop by drop, the bucket is filled…” – the Buddha.

This week, I continued working on being mindful of every drop I can add to the bucket, every “plus one” I can add to my best version of myself. Even with a lackluster week, my drop-by-drop helped me be a better version of myself by the end of the week. For example, I still gained nearly two dozen new nuggets of wisdom or perspective tweaks that help me refine my thinking and expand my awareness.

But this year, I am reflecting on results, which is why I am doing these summary posts. If my only two options in this world are to grow or to wither away, I continue to choose to grow. Even if that means I am only growing by a 5-minute walk around my condo, or one new idea, or by two minutes of meditation practice, or by 15 minutes of reading. Especially in light of a lackluster week, I need to remind myself that these are still seeds that will eventually yield a harvest. And I want to immediately recognize that it could be very easy to use this as an excuse to back off from implementing my predetermined processes.

In the sixth week…

  • My bodyweight was essentially consistent all week, which was a bit of a triumph given that my eating was all over the map.
  • I continued to drink more water than I did prior to 2022 and I am resolved to continue adding more throughout the day. But I still need to improve.
  • I made better food choices, in many cases.
  • I continued intentional walking, totaling about 2 hours worth.
  • I added another $10 to my savings balance.
  • I added another $100+ to my investment balance.
  • I applied for a Senior Technical Writer position with Amergint Technologies, answered a screening message, and set up an interview that will happen in the coming week.
  • I continued investigating side hustle ideas, ruling out several more ideas already.
  • I continued to deepen and strengthen my relationship with my wife, including a spontaneous date night at one of our favorite restaurants.
  • I enjoyed a night with my in-laws, including a great meal and some great conversation.
  • I consistently did my Miracle Morning SAVERS each day, and enjoyed Hal’s app for the 30-day challenge.
  • I read from 12 Rules for Life and Illusions and enjoy these books.
  • I continued to engage with high-quality content about Stoicism, Buddhism, and conquering my anxiety, depression, and procrastination, learning about practices that will make me a better version of myself each day.
  • I enjoyed some additional Jim Rohn content, taking advantage of Jim’s proven mindset and philosophy towards life, to begin refining my own philosophy and mindset.
  • I laughed each day, but on reflection, it was not nearly as much because, again, I gave the work stress more attention than I probably should have. And focusing more on the stressful parts of the day took away my enjoyment of the rest of the day.
  • I started learning about other spiritual practices, scratching the surface on Wicca and Paganism.
  • I started going through the content of A Course in Miracles online. This is very interesting reading and seems to be an amalgam of Christian thought, Buddhist thought, and New Age thought, with the conflicts removed.
  • I continued learning about, and learning to practice, Stoic philosophy.
  • I engaged with Psalms, Proverbs, and the Tao Te Ching, filling my mind with ancient, but timeless, wisdom. I missed a couple of days, but otherwise have been on track.
  • I wrapped up the Bite Size Wise podcast episode series on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Continued posting episodes of other type of content and continued making posts on the Facebook page. At the end of week six, I was up to 18 unique listeners. Once I get to 50 unique listeners on Anchor’s count, I can begin to monetize the podcast with host-read ambassador ads, which also means I can offer ad-free episodes and other premium content on a subscription basis. Also launched the Instagram account for this podcast.
  • I released a bonus episode and a second scheduled episode of the Illusions podcast. At the end of week six, I was up to 30-ish downloads and Red Circle was listing the weekly average as 25. Once I get to a weekly average of 500, I can monetize with advertising, which will make it possible to offer ad-free content as part of an exclusive content package. Also launched the Facebook page and Instagram account.
  • I played guitar at church and very much enjoyed the weekend of playing, especially with the group on platform with me.
  • I continued to refine my podcast subscriptions, trying to focus on shows that are edifying in one way or another. I have also come to terms with the idea that I will never be able to listen to every episode I have in my feed (48,000+) but that I will be able to take advantage of many, many good/great pieces of content to spur new ideas and new perspectives.

I simply continue to trust my daily predetermined processes, do periodic check-ins to get feedback, and continue to make gains.

Week 1

I did not know I was going to do weekly summaries of my Best Year, until right now as I sat down at the computer. All day long, I’ve had a nagging feeling that I need to capture some of my thoughts as I near the end of the week, especially this first week of 2022.

Core Focus of the Week: Just get going.

Years and years ago, I heard Mike Litman say, “You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going.” Many of my mentors have said, “You can’t steer a parked car.” And Hal Elrod, who inspired this approach to 2022, continues to remind us that “it’s about progress, not perfection.” So, as you might have already figured out, the focus for this week was to just get going.

I already laid out my pre-determined processes and all I wanted to do this week was start. Just take those simple steps. And then do that again the next day. And the next. And the next. None of these steps has to be perfect – and that thought takes away SO MUCH stress! But stick with me here as I lay out this incredibly simple but powerful idea:

Every step forward is a step forward.

I know that seems almost ridiculous on the surface. But it is so easy to forget that even stumbling forward is still moving forward. It is so easy to forget that a 1% improvement, or even a 0.1% improvement IS improvement.

If the goal is to be the best version of myself, then every single step forward, however small and halting, is a step forward. Every single improvement, no matter how small, is still improvement and means that I have become the best version of myself up to now. And I can honestly say that, each day, as long as I focus on my predetermined processes, control what I can control, and move forward each day.

And rather than focusing on how far I still have to go before I have created the results I want to create this year, I am going to look back and see how far I have already come in just one week.

  • I lowered my weight by more than 2 pounds, in a healthy and sustainable way.
  • I enjoyed more water in the last week than in the previous two months combined.
  • I made better food choices, in terms of quantity AND quality more often than not, which is very much a step forward.
  • I did a total of 124 pushups, which was more than I have done in the past two years.
  • I did a total of 239 abdominal crunches, which was more than I have done in the past two years.
  • I did nearly 2 hours of intentional walking just to move, which was more than I did in the past 8 months, total.
  • I added $10 to my savings balance.
  • I added $100+ to my investment balance.
  • I interviewed for a step-up position outside my current employer and while I did not get selected for the position, I received very valuable feedback.
  • I started investigating several possible side hustle ideas and begun to take advantage of information and resources from very successful people.
  • My relationship with my wife is closer than it has been in the past 8 years.
  • My relationships with my colleagues is the best it has ever been.
  • I met someone new this week, expanding my circle of influence.
  • I consistently did my Miracle Morning SAVERS each day, and enjoyed Hal’s app for the 30-day challenge
  • I read more from Lead the Field and started reading The Money Tree, feeding new wisdom into my mind
  • I engaged with high-quality content about Stoicism, Buddhism, and conquering my procrastination habit, learning about practices that will make me a better version of myself each day
  • I enjoyed several PhilosophersNotes, which are VERY high-quality summaries of some of the most important books produced in the last century (or more)
  • I enjoyed a great deal of Jim Rohn content, taking advantage of Jim’s proven mindset and philosophy towards life, to begin refining my own philosophy and mindset
  • I laughed, deeply and often, each day because I made it a point to take advantage of the best medicine (I am convinced it is the best medicine for mind, soul, spirit, and body)
  • I enjoyed two new shows and two movies with my wife, which gave us a chance to bond over shared experiences and, several times, to discuss deeper issues
  • I planned two mini-trip getaways with my wife, which give us a chance to break out of our normal setting and enjoy shared experiences that are well outside our norm
  • I learned about the Buddhist idea of reducing/eliminating suffering by reducing/eliminating resistance to pain and started putting this into practice, which has already begun to reduce my suffering in small ways that I am sure will add up
  • I learned about the Stoic idea of “memento mori,” which means “remember death” and started putting this into practice, which has already begun to reframe my priorities as I remember that I could be gone at any moment…have I lived my best life
  • I consistently engaged with Psalms, Proverbs, and the Tao Te Ching, filling my mind with ancient, but timeless, wisdom

As I look back on that list, I must say, in both humility and honesty, that I have gained a HUGE amount over just a seven-day period. And I can see, tangibly, why it is much more productive to focus on gains.