What Happened When I Took On A Year-Long Quest To Change My Life

Today I finished a year-long effort of abstaining from alcohol while simultaneously improving myself in five key areas.  It’s been a year of tremendous self-discovery.  If you are unaware what the hell I am speaking of, I called it “The Quest,” and I started it on October 3, 2017.  “The Quest” started quite differently than how I am now finishing it.  I did, however, layout that it would be fluid in nature and I would change things as I saw fit.  I lived up to that much.  

As of now, I have decided I will be doing four quests in total, treating each quest like a year of college and adding onto the learnings and accomplishments of the year prior.  This gives me a direction to take my creativity and life goals, as well as an outlet to write.

I learned so much this past year and the results were resoundingly positive.  If you haven’t been following along on my path, the goal was to create lasting change by removing distractions, turning bad habits to good, and focusing on five “silos” for growth.  The five silos were: Mental Health, Physical Health, Creativity, Career/Learning, and Relationships.

Accomplishments (the five silos)

Let’s start here, with all the good things that I accomplished over the past year in the five key areas.

First, and foremost, I did not take a single sip of alcohol in 365 days.  I’ll call that, Accomplishment Number One.

Physical Health: Lost approximately fifteen pounds, maintained strength, increased endurance, aesthetically look as good as I’ve looked in years.  I feel healthy… very healthy.

  • My diet has been mostly on point.  I eat far less sugar and carbs than I used to.  Due to my activity level, I may actually need to increase calories, but I have become quite comfortable being leaner than my past bulky self.
  • Worked out approximately 4-6x a week over the course of the year.
  • Sauna, Steam and Cold Therapy 3-5x a week.
  • Regular outdoor activities and exercise (also mental health).

Mental Health:  Noticeably altered my perspective, removed negativity, gained clarity, learned to reframe my thoughts and how to fix a negative mental state.

  • Drastically increased my ability to meditate, which in turn has positively impacted my mental health more than anything I have ever done.  This is a habit that I practice about as often as I go to the gym.  Sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more.  I, as a result, find myself breathing through negativity and am less anxious than before.
  • Journaled regularly, which helped digest feelings, prioritize goals and work through emotional baggage and thoughts.
  • Regular exposure to nature.

Creativity:  Wrote more than I had written in many years, something I have always loved to do, but had been neglecting.

  • I started and continually expanded and defined a blog and vlog.
  • Improved my video editing skills.
  • Wrote blogs, book chapters and journal entries.
  • Recently started painting.

Career/Learning:  Started a new career, became truly self-employed, and had some early successes.  Learned a range of topics, read books, and applied new knowledge.

  • I committed to, put in the necessary 90 hours, studied for and passed the Washington state real estate exam, allowing me to start a new and exciting career.
  • Significantly cut back on indulging in unimportant time sucks and always try to choose the option at that moment that creates a better or more productive outcome.  This has led to many more hours reading, workouts, more informative viewing options (such as watching a show that teaches rather than just entertains), etc.
  • I read or listened to the following twenty books:

1. Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

4. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

5. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

6. 4:2 Formula; Getting Buyers Off the Fence and Into a Home by Jeff Shore

7. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahnuik

8. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

9. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

10. Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

11. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

13. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

14. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

15. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

16. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

17. I Can’t Make This Up by Neil Strauss and Kevin Hart

18. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babbin

19. 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

20. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

21. All the other books I have indulged in, but either got distracted from or put down in favor of another before finishing.  This was probably the longest book I listened to or read all year 😆

  • Outside of actual book studies, I learned how to manage a blog, meditate efficiently, exercise better, control my weight, and other miscellaneous things.

Relationships:  I have cut out of my life most of the toxic people and have been working to improve my relationship with my girlfriend.  This is more of a personal endeavor, and one that is harder to articulate progress in.  I do feel closer to the people in my life that are meant to be there, and less worried about trying to fit people in that do not try to do the same for me.  Lastly, I am less worried what others think of me.  Although, I am unsure if this was ever a severe ailment of mine, everyone suffers from this on occasion and I can definitely can be a people pleaser.

Where Did I Fall Short?

  • Still a Procrastinator:  Using this post as an example; I should have wrote this last week and then easily posted it today by clicking a button, instead, I have had to write this all up this evening, which took an immense amount of time to do.  I procrastinated.  I tend to do this with most things.  A habit that I will be looking to address in Quest Part Two.
  • My God-Damned Thumbs: I still pick them constantly.  This must stop.  It’s such a bad habit, but I don’t know if it’s rooted in anxiety, or more so, just something I have started doing while I’m thinking or listening.  I did conquer this habit for about two months out of the year, but somehow it came back, probably around when I started practicing real estate.  What a fucking creature of habit, I am. 
  • Patagonia: Unfortunately I have some time before I will be able to afford this trip. 
  • I Like My Sleep:  God damnit, I need to get up earlier.  I, think, this week, I figured out the hack to this: Get excited about the day.  We’ll see the progress that comes from such an epiphany.  I realize that I dream really deeply and have a difficult time breaking from my dream and placing value on getting out of bed over the comfort I feel while lying in it.
  • Money:  Not where I want it, yet.  This will be one of the main focuses in Quest Part Two.
  • Feeds and Screen Time:  I know I just stated this as a positive thing that I have gotten better at.  That’s not entirely true, as I didn’t even have social media before I started real estate.  What I am getting better at is how to better manage this.  It really has to be a cognizant effort or it doesn’t resolve.
  • Writing:  I have, yet, to finish writing the book I said I was to write.  This will, also, roll over into Quest Part Two.
  • Yoga:  My weekly yoga practice never stuck and became something I do on occasion, rather than part of my weekly exercise routine.

What Did I Learn From This Process?

Mostly, I learned that anything I put my mind to, and fully commit to, I can accomplish.  I, also, learned that things happen faster than they seem to, but not without effort.  Patience is, however, key to seeing a goal all the way to fruition.  A year is less time than it seems to be, but longer than most attention spans can hold.  More can be done in a year than expected, but five years of continual progress results in a landslide of change.  I heard this somewhere… probably Tony Robbins or some shit.. but, whatever, it’s relevant.

Would I Do It Again?

100%, absolutely.  As I stated above, I will be taking on another three years of quests that will be different in structure and objective, but build off of what I have completed this year.  This is, again, in attempt to simulate a college-type learning scenario.

Abstaining from alcohol was not difficult once I got started, and though I am looking forward to having a couple beers, I do not plan on overindulgence and know that I have the ability to cut it off entirely at any given point.  I could happily go the rest of my life without ever having another sip of alcohol. 

What Would I Do Differently?

Pertaining to quests, less is often more.  I loaded too much shit into the outline of “The Quest” from the get-go and that resulted in periods of inefficiency where I became frazzled with all the “to-dos” and started neglecting things that were much more pertinent to take care of.  In fact, when I started this whole thing, I was more focused on writing blogs and making sure that I meditated than doing taking care of much more necessary tasks.  Structure is good, but too much structure kills creativity, progress, and is hard to sustain.  In regards to journaling, this was especially true.  As I made my journal more complex, I ended up abandoning journaling for a period.  Keeping a checklist and writing a daily or bi-daily entry seems to keep me on track enough; overcomplicating the process killed the habit entirely, exhausted the free flow nature of it, and was ultimately unproductive.

The same was true with other aspects of “The Quest.”  For example, trying to meditate every single day became a chore, albeit one that I enjoyed, but when it was left unchecked off my to-do list, I became disappointed in myself.  This is actually the opposite effect than the one I was trying to create.  I translated that into a learning experience not to force things and have found that if I just fit my meditation in where its comfortable, I get it done.  With that said, trying to keep on schedule for the first couple of weeks is a good way to kickstart the habit.

I, now, find that I meditate, read, journal/write more days than I do not. 

Exercise is the one area where this does not apply.  If you do not feel like going to the gym, then go to the fucking gym.  A workout, simply, solves most problems and clears the cache.  Also, if I do workout, I am more inclined to meditate and do a heat/cold rotation.  If you are injured or need a rest day, there’s always room for exceptions, but don’t compromise on your commitment to your health and well-being.

Linking these habits to one another, also, seemed to improve the likelihood that I would get them complete. 

What Aspects of My Life Changed the Most Drastically?

Well, first off, I look completely different than I did when I started this.  I wasn’t in terrible shape then, but there is a stark difference in fitness level.  I worked out pretty regularly before I started “The Quest,” and had already started a pretty solid regimen.  What I did not foresee was that I would somehow get down to, and sustain, my body weight at +/- 180 pounds.  Putting weight back on has actually become a difficulty, this is partly because I just don’t like eating a crazy amount of food, but also, my metabolism resembles more of what it did during my high school years than my post-thirty ones.

My overall well-being has significantly improved.  I feel much more dialed and cognizant of how I spend my minutes by actively trying to live in the present.  My perspective is positive and most of my negative thinking is kept at bay.  I, ultimately, learned to control this by noticing who and what I am talking about, stopping myself from gossiping, and framing things in a manner that end in a specific point, rather than some flow of consciousness-styled rant.  Mainly, I have stopped ranting entirely; something I used to do daily.

I have become a much better writer.  Exercising that muscle either through this blog or in my journal has become an irreplaceable outlet for my thoughts.  I will further curate this into an actual talent in the coming years.  Writing a book is still something I long to, and will, eventually complete.

Preparation, as mentioned in an previous post, is something I now consider necessary to advancement.  As well as, taking action.  Learning to balance the two to become more efficient is a necessary skillset that I has seen development.

Random Side Effects:

1.  Foul Language: I cuss less… like, much less.  I have been called out in the past for using “fuck” three-plus times in a single sentence.  The other day, while discussing some random topic, I realized I hadn’t swore in multiple strings of paragraphs.  This was not a work discussion, this was talking to my girlfriend.  Don’t get me wrong, I still probably cuss more than your average Joe, but much less than I used to.

2. Articulation:  My language and conversation skills seem to have greatly improved.  I feel as if I am talking, and perhaps, writing clearer and with more purpose.  That could be my perception, but it could also be from an increased mental acuity coming form mindfulness techniques and the knowledge gained from reading books.

3. Listening:  I’ve become a better listener.  I don’t know what combination of new habits to attribute this to, but I am less likely to cut someone off in conversation than I used to be.  I, also, try not to automate my responses.  I think listening to Audible is part the reason for this, as there is no place to interject oneself when you are listening to a book.

4.  Emotions:  Control, is what I most notice.  I am able to better control MOST of my emotions.  Especially anxiety or unease, as well as lurking depression.  When I do suffer full blown depression, it becomes harder to rebound from.  I have found the cure though, and that is becoming productive when it arrises.  Usually I can tie my depression to some sort of burden I feel I am carrying.  Once I make the burden actionable, it lightens the load and I can move past it.

5.  More Open to New Ideas:  I stopped shutting down ideas that I found imbecilic, and instead embrace new ideas with curiosity.  If for no other reason, to learn why people think the way they do.  So, although I find Alex Jones to be an absolutely insane, crazy person, learning what makes people believe in such obvious falsities intrigues me.  He is still a piece of shit, but one that can be shrugged off.

6.  Funny:  I cannot confirm if this is true or not, but I feel less funny than I used to be.  Maybe it’s an unfair statement, but I used to consider myself a pretty funny guy.  Now, I just feel more focused on accomplishing goals, and much less on making people laugh or being clever.

7.  Narcissism:  I am aware of the narcissism involved with blogging and vlogging, hash-tagging and just social media overall.  I would have relentlessly clowned on this very blog just a year ago, but I also wanted an outlet to write and a way to hold myself accountable to stay on track towards my objective.  It worked.  So, fuck it, I now blog and vlog…  I know it is self-indulgence at its finest, but until I accomplish what I have set out to, that will have to be an asterisk.

8.  Loss of Interest in Media:  I, currently, hate spending time watching TV.  More so, I hate spending time staring at my phone.  Although, I do still find myself on the couch watching Netflix, I have started turning it off when I am disinterested.  I had this conversation with my friend Jarod this week, and we both were on the same page here.  When I am watching TV, I should commit fully to watching TV.  No phone in hand, no searching for hours for something to watch.  Just turn on the show, watch the show without distraction to completion, TV off, next task.  This really should be applied to any activity.  Be present in everything you do.

What Habits Will I Continue?

Most of them.  Removing only the overly-structured constructs that I initially put around goals in an attempt to accomplish them. 

What Habits Will I Discontinue?

I think, when I started doing this blog, I said I was going to run regularly.  I don’t think that will stick as a regular activity.  I have no intention of running much, as it can hurt my knees.  Plus, I find hiking, biking, or even rowing, more enjoyable.  I do like trail running though, which I would gladly do more of.

What Would I Like to See More of Next Year?

More Alpine.  More Stability.  More Money.  More Adventure.  More Mountains.  More Learning.  More Yoga.  More Mindful.  More Hustle.  More Patience.  More Love.

What About the Future Most Excites Me?

I am done worrying about the past or the future.  Even getting pre-maturely excited about the future tags it with an expectation that may or may not conclude how it plays out in actuality; resulting in disappointment.  The excitement that I feel is towards the opportunity to tackle the goals right in front of me, right now.  I am excited to do that everyday, with everything I decide to do.  I am excited to approach every task with an enthusiasm and vigor that continues to grow as I further learn to hone my presence in the moment.  Balancing all the different aspects of my life gets me excited, too.  As does, increasing my knowledge.  This all fills me with a significant amount of purpose.  That purpose brings a sense of calm, and that calmness is better than excitement, it’s contentment.  Contentment is balanced and consistently a good place to be.

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

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A Journal Entry Concerning Time; Finding Your Internal Compass

Time is probably the most precious commodity that we, as humans, have.  As it passes by, our lives go with it, leaving only memories and wisdom behind.  It’s interesting to watch how many people fill their days with activities they otherwise hate, and their minds with worries of the future or empty entertainment that keeps them distracted from the present.  People that I know and love spend much of their lives worried about how they’ll retire, and often, they skip past the part of their life where they are the most capable and able-bodied.  Others don’t take any time to do this, live only in the moment, and are miserable because they have yet to find how to properly fit into this world.  I watch as people circumvent their own dreams and aspirations for the realities of others.  They do this by using their time to watch television, scrolling Facebook or Instagram feeds, or gluing themselves to the always BREAKING cable news programs designed to breed anxiety and further division.  I still fall into these time-sucks, but I am now cognizant of what they’re accomplishing and how their accomplishments change me for the worse.

Other ways this can be emulated is in the working of a nine-to-five for a company that often does not align with one’s own ideals.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with watching your favorite show on television, and we all need to put food on the table, but the truth is, most of the time we spend in front of digital media is 100% useless and is just a method of escapism that keeps us from fulfilling what is authentic to us as individuals.  The goal here being: to create a reality that is preferable to the one we are told, by society, to follow.

Preparation, however, should not be skirted, and it is important to take steps to create a stable future.  Dwelling on it as life’s main objective, however, seems to lead to missed opportunities, as well as a somewhat bland, and perhaps, meaningless life.  Often, with people who follow this course, once in retirement, purpose is still missing.  Family seems to make up for some of this, as well, a family lends itself to a larger purported purpose, however, with one’s individuality unfulfilled, even the most accomplished businessman, might feel unaccomplished if their true desires and potentials were never fully met.  If they never tried to write that book or taste the snow on top of that one mountain.

As I close out my first “Quest” —the year of self-improvement that I started following my brother’s wedding on October 3, 2017; a day that began with a hangover as I moved to cease my consumption of alcohol and focused to redirect bad habits into good ones— this has been one of the take-away lessons that I have learned.  Last night, as I was journaling, I wrote about it.  Below is that entry.   img_4436

With little more than a week left in my Quest, I will be sharing the changes that have occurred in myself, and the lessons that I have learned along my path.

For me, finding my internal compass has been one of those lessons.  A lesson that can only be learned void of distractions; when one clears their mind and turns off the outside voices.  There are so many profound and exciting revelations that have come from this year’s experience, and I cannot wait to share with you what those have been and how I plan on continuing my growth in my upcoming Quest Part Two.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Winning. Losing. Just Being.

An Update on the Most Epic of Quests.

What is up, party people!?  There is a lot in this post, so please read all the way through.

We’re well into month eight of my Quest, and holy moly is there a lot that has transpired since my last update.  Adventures I have gone on.  Soul searching I have done.  Work accomplishments that have come and passed.  Books I have read.  Let’s get into the nitty gritty and break down this on-going self-improvement quest into its five key areas of focus.

Mental Health.  I have to say my mental health is pretty steady.  Besides having random bouts of self-doubt, I have maintained a pretty optimistic outlook on life, am successfully practicing non-reactivity, and am trending in a direction that I am content with.  That is not to say I don’t, at times, find myself slightly down or unmotivated, but I am able to define where my negative feelings are coming from and isolate those feelings to whatever obstacle is responsible for the negative thought loop.  Once I do that, I can break that thought loop.  Often, any negative feelings can be traced back to my impatience with my career or financials, or not being able to do something I want to do.  When there is nothing I can do about the outcome, or if the solution is one that will take time to achieve, I have started to breathe through my discontentment and reframe my perspective to take the action needed to help me get where I want to be.

My meditation practice has seen some significant growth and is bleeding into my daily routine, meaning, I am finding myself clearing my mind by noting my breath when feelings of anxiety, stress, or self-doubt begin.  That is a massive change that has significant benefits, maybe even the most significant development that I have undergone during this process.

Physical Health.  Stated simply, I’m in shape.  I am strong, I am lean, I workout 4-7x per week and am maintaining a weight at around 182-185 lbs.  Although I would consider that on the lighter side for my frame, I feel fantastic and think that adding any additional muscle mass is only going to benefit me aesthetically.  My diet could use some work, but if I just got rid of the momentary lapses in discipline that urge me to shovel spoonfuls of PB with a delectable honey drizzle into my gaping mouth, then I would be doing just fine.  I, also, tend to drink an iced hazelnut americano at some point during each day, which I have started being cognizant of, not just from a health perspective (the syrup and cream), but also because of the sheer amount of plastic that a habit like that generates.

Here’s what my diet regularly looks like:  In the morning, I, typically, fast until 10 AM -1 PM.  I break that fast with either a protein shake or some eggs over a bed of greens (with an avocado if we have one).  Lunch is often a salad and some leftovers, but if I’m in a rush, a sandwich or burrito from Whole Foods or PCC may be indulged.  I have, as of lately, been cooking my dinner on the grill.  After my daily workout I drink a large whey protein shake.

I, also, take some supplements, here is what I am currently taking:  Whey Protein, Creatine, Pre-Workout, Alpha Brain by ONNIT, Brain by Host Defense, CoQ10, B12, Krill Oil, Vitamin D3, ZMA (Zinc Magnesium Asperate), 5-HTP, Collagen Peptides, Aniracetam (nootropic – take only as needed and sometimes with my pre-workout for added focus)

Creativity:  Honestly, I have not been doing all I can here.  My focus feels somewhat divided between work, the outdoors, the gym, and I have been neglecting to let my creative juices flow like the river they could be.  I haven’t even been updating this blog very regularly, but what I have been doing is enjoying editing and recording videos of my adventures, which I have posted to the “a Life to Summit” YouTube Channel.  I, also, am feeling more inspired lately and feel that I have a lot of pent up writing to slog through.  One of my goals for this coming month is to make some progress on the book I am writing.

Relationships:  In some ways, this has seen tremendous growth.  My girlfriend and I have been fighting and bickering much less than normal, and I feel like we are understanding one another better and acknowledging what sets us off.  It’s not perfect, as no relationship ever is, but we’re making strides, and I’m very pleased with that.  My other relationships with my family and friends are going just fine, minus the fact that there is just not enough time to adequately spend with all the people I care about.

On the other hand, I have further written off the most toxic relationship in my life, and harsh, but incredibly honest, words were conveyed through text messages to that person and their significant other.  I have come to terms with the fact that some people cannot be changed, and no matter who that person is supposed to be to you, if they are negatively impacting your mental health, they do not need to be in your life.

IMG_3114.jpgIMG_3034.jpg

Career/Learning:  I have sold two houses so far and have been busily growing my pipeline.  I am, currently, in between very active buyers, believe I have a couple listings coming up and am generally looking at this career move as the best decision I have ever made.  With that said, I am somewhat stressed out, the lull between clients has been too long and led to some self-doubt, but think I will make a solid career out of this venture once I have fully ramped my business up.

I am reading daily and applying what I read to my life.  Great things are coming from that.  Listening is the other thing I am working on, and my Audible and Calm apps have been great tools to hone that skillset.

 

As I have been gearing up my real estate business and further growing this blog, I have been paying attention to how people interact with their social media, and there are a couple things that have bothered me about what I have witnessed.  One of those things is that I feel like there are a lot of phonies out there.  Frauds, if you will.  People who convey that they are someone that they truly are not, and I want to do my very best to ensure I do not fall into this category, because, in reality, I am not some zen-minded intellectual, rather, I operate in chaos and my life has been a series of me stumbling into stupid decision after dumb outcome, rinse, repeat.  The whole concept of this year has been to find balance and learn to clear out that chaos.  It’s a step that has been needed to be taken to correct an unstable path.  With that said, these people I have deemed as phonies might not deserve such a harsh critic.  In fact, it is a negative time suck to even judge these people who are just trying to figure out who they are in this digitally connected world.  Or maybe they’re just trying to make a buck.  What drives someone else is completely separate from what drives me, and it is very easy to choose which lens you decide to view others through.  What I am trying to say is, I have kind of been a dick for a lot of years, but I think I might be coming to a place where I am shedding that dick skin. 😳

If I could offer advice to people out there battling with their online personality versus their true self, I would say to just get out and do what it is you claim you do and make it part of who you actually are.  For instance, if you are claiming to be a bad ass personal trainer who is a crazy hiking machine, then get the fuck out there TODAY and go hike something extremely hard.  Then do it tomorrow, too!  Followed by three more next week.  Show the world you can do things others cannot and set a precedent for yourself to stop encouraging half ass efforts just so that you can get a picture on top of some easily attainable mountaintop that makes people unfamiliar with the area say, “Oh, wow, they’re on top of a mountain, that must be hard.”  It’s easy to be on top of a mountain, it’s hard to find the steepest, longest route, and push yourself beyond what you know you are capable of.

Stop talking, start doing, and don’t stop doing until you get the results you desire.

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Lastly, I had a discussion this week with a childhood friend.  That friend is Antone Gerontis.  I am going to write a whole separate post regarding Antone’s journey, but am bringing your attention to him now, as his story is one of the most inspirational and heartbreaking things I have come across.  His mental strength is unrivaled and I am so honored to have had the chance to converse with him.  Antone and I went to elementary school together, and, unfortunately, he has become very, very sick for the last six plus years.  As we were talking he was prepping himself for a surgery and had a gaping hole in his chest.  Even with all of that, he had nothing but the kindest words to say and was telling me his dreams and goals for when he is healthy, again.  I know he is going to get there, but he needs your help.  He has spend all of his money battling his disease.  Please go visit his site and read his updates.

https://www.youcaring.com/antone-gerontis-563753

 

When an issue seems like it is too large and burdensome to bear, remember that any issue at a certain distance vanishes completely from sight and is no longer an issue at all.  I have spent a lot of time feeling like I am winning or losing at life, recently I have realized that I am just being, and will continue to just be until that vanishes completely from sight as well.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

P.S. WHOEVER DONATED A THOUSAND DOLLARS TO aLifetoSummit.com’s Patagonia trip!  HOLY SHIT!!!!!!! THANK YOUUUUU!!!!!!! I, literally, just saw that and am so emotionally overwhelmed and thankful.

P.P.S.  I have alot of footage to upload to my Vlog, including a trip into the Olympics with my little brother.  Here is the recently uploaded video of us climbing Saint Helens in May.

P.P.P.S. Here’s what one of my recent workouts looks like:

Warmup:  1300 meter row on 10 difficulty in 5 minutes.

Squats
135 lbs x 10
Pause set: 135 lbs x 10
205 lbs x 10
255 lbs x 6
315 lbs x1
255 lbs x 6
255 lbs x 6

Shoulder press dumbbells
50 lbs x 10
50 lbs x 15
50 lbs x 12
50 lbs x 10

Single-Leg Leg Press
90 lbs x 10 ea
180 lbs x 10 ea
270 lbs x 4 ea + 180 lbs x 8 ea

(Superset with)

Isolated High Row on Hammer Strength (Plate Loaded)
90 lbs (180 lbs total) x 10 each
115 lbs (230 lbs total) x 10 ea
135 lbs (270 lbs total) x 10 ea

Lateral and Frontal (Alternating Sets) Dumbbell Raises
25 lbs x 10  L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs x 10 L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs X 10 L
25 lbs X 10 F

Low Cable Crossovers
80 lbs (each stack) x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10

Rear Foot Elevated Lunge
25 lb dumbbells (50 lbs total) x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg

Sauna and Steam.

 

The “Halfway There” Evaluation; Goals for What’s Ahead

I’m in the driver’s seat, speeding through my checklist of daily tasks, accomplishing more each day than the day prior.  No longer am I procrastinating on things that I have been fearful of… Taxes?… call a bookkeeper, find a CPA… Credit sucks?… repair that motherfucker.  No new leads?  Call all your friends and setup coffee dates.  All my new found habits are, now, routine… Work, exercise, meditate, journal, write… Turn the TV off.  As Gary Vaynerchuk stated in Tribe of Mentors, “squeezing the fuck out of the seconds [of my day].”  And, that’s what the goal was, but there are times when it feels kind of boring or lackluster.  When I’m not motivated.  That’s when I need to keep my eyes on the prize.  So, with that said, it is time to reevaluate my Quest, see where I am at in each vertical, and see where improvements can be made.

MENTAL HEALTH:
Depression is gone, I haven’t had it in a while now.  I stay busy, exercise, meditate and journal, and with that, my mental clarity has never been better.  I can say that this was the outcome I have been wanting out of all this.  Happiness coincides with mental health, and a positive disposition is key to my growth.

One thing I have learned over the past six months is not to hold resentment against myself for not completing one of my tasks.  If I flup up, I just look back at where I was when I started meditating and regain my footing.  It’s very easy to forget to take care of mental health when I get busy, but it’s also very easy to meditate and doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes out of my day.

GOAL:  Now that I have built somewhat of a foundation, I want to take it up another notch.  My goal for the remaining six months would be to continue with the habits I have made and use them to alter emotional responses that I have.  Those responses include: anger, anxiety, frustration, impulsivity, impatience, and others.  

My lovely girlfriend pointed out that I am picking my thumbs, again.  I had completely quit doing that for a couple months and, all of a sudden, I’m back gnawing those nubs like a squirrel gnaws a nut… Fuck.  Done.  Quit that shit and move on.  I had a short stint where I wasn’t meditating regularly, and for whatever reason, that’s when I started picking my thumbs again.  That also coincides with when I started my new career.  Whatever the root cause, this habit can be put in check, as I recently had it in check.  No more lapses.

PHYSICAL HEALTH:
I have been consistently lean and strong for a while now.  Aesthetically I look pretty good, as well.  My gym routine is solid; I get some cardio (rowing, running, hiking, skiing, etc.), have progressed in my yoga practice, lost weight, have almost rehabilitated my shoulder (I think), and eat an all around healthy diet of proteins, healthy fats and vegetables… with the occasional pizza binge. 🍕

This, simply, just needs to continue.  I’m satisfied with the results, but would like to put a couple pounds back on.  That is going to be dependent on how my shoulder and neck feel.  If they continue feeling better week after week, then I might be able to start lifting a little heavier, again, which would allow me to obtain some mass.

GOAL:  Get in climbing shape.  I want to climb some mountains and I need to train for that.  That is the last missing link in my fitness routine.  Adventure routine, more so.

Which brings me to my second goal here which is something I have been trying to do throughout this quest, and that is to complete one adventure per week.  Whether it is skiing, hiking, biking, etc., just one adventure a week and I feel better in so many ways that I would almost put this under mental health if it weren’t for the profuse amount of sweat that trickles off me.  Anyways, hiking season is now upon us, and I plan on hitting the trail regularly, which I have already started doing.  Mount Saint Helens is coming up in May. #ADVENTURING


CREATIVITY:

I write pretty regularly now.  I am working on writing a book.  I write this blog.  I write in my journal.  This area could still be worked on though.  I spend more time watching TV than writing, so it would make sense to flip those habits and write more than I stare at a big screen

GOAL:  Turn off the TV and write, paint, edit a video, etc.  My goal here is to put whatever time I put into TV & video games, instead, into my creative outlets.

Also, in the creative vertical, my goal is to finish writing a book by the time I get back from Patagonia.

CAREER & LEARNING:
I have started my new career in Real Estate.  I’m ecstatic about that, and although I started off slow in this vertical six months back, I feel like I’ve made insane progress here in the last two to three months.  I have some definite goals (which I’ll keep to myself for now) and way more room to grow here than all my other categories combined.  Watch out world, I’m getting after this one.

As for learning, I am learning a bounty of knowledge about real estate.  I’m, also, reading multiple books a month and applying what I learn to my life, business, etc.  It’s interesting how much reading does for your brain overall.  More or less, my vocabulary seems to be expanding, and my ability to read faster and for longer periods is strengthening, too.  A lot of my ideas start with something I read and expand from there.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, BITCHES!

GOAL: I want to keep on with two books per month goal that I set for the New Year.  It’s helping me commit to a certain amount of Audible/reading.  I would prefer to spend more time actually reading, but right now, with the new career, I am going to have to commit to the hybrid approach that I’ve been doing thus far.

I don’t know where to put this one, but I think it fits best under Career, since it will likely benefit my career the most, but I need to get up earlier.  630 AM would be a good time, but that also means I need to get to bed earlier.

RELATIONSHIPS:
Oddly, or not so oddly, starting a career selling real estate has helped me reconnect with many people that I had otherwise lost touch with over the years.  Having kind of been a hermit for the last two or so, it’s nice to reemerge from my shell and be socializing again.

My girlfriend and I are on the same page now more than we have been in a while.  It probably helps that I am having some success at work — haha.  I love her and she’s pretty (she made me write that, but I do and she is).  Beyond that, I should probably spend more time with my family and go visit a handful of friends I haven’t seen in a while.

GOAL:  I cannot tell you what my goal is because my girlfriend would get mad at me.  🍑🍆 .  Hahahaha.  Just kidding…. Or, am I?  🤨  No, I totally am…. Or, am I?  I am.

IMG_2487.jpgGirlfriend and me at a show in Seattle meeting my favorite folk singer, Austin Basham.  He was a super rad dude.

In summary, I have completed so much in the last six months, but have no time to rest and way more to do.  I think that once my quest is complete, after I feel that I have maxed out my verticals, well, then, maybe next year I enter TIER TWO.  Also, there are some other verticals that are not included in my quest that I probably would include if I were to revise it…  Financials (money, investments, savings, credit, etc.), adventures (although this is somewhat prevalent), organization, productivity.  I guess you’ll just have to wait for what I conjure up six months from now.

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

PS ~ I have a ton of vids to make a great VLOG, but editing that shit takes so long that I keep putting it off… So, coming soon!

 

Taking on Distraction & Changing Habits: Quest Progress & Update

Journal-type entry. Update on my quest’s progress. The difficult task of a complete rewiring of the brain.

So, changing habits is harder than I thought it would be and this challenge is exactly just that; a big mothef*cker of a challenge.  But, that’s okay because that was the purpose of it.  So far I have found that it is easy to keep focused on a new activity for a couple of days, but trying to simultaneously turn all these different objectives into new habits and practice them daily, bi-daily or weekly is a demanding process and requires a total rewiring of how I’ve operated over the last couple years, in some instances, over the entirety of my life.

For instance, getting into the gym and exercising daily has been pretty easy so far.  However, only moderate success has been had when trying to facilitate running, weights, hiking, yoga, etc., into a balanced exercise routine.  I find that I can do one or two of these extremely well, but when I do the one well the others don’t get prioritized properly.  And that’s just within the Physical Health vertical that I have, so far, seen the most personal growth within.

Below is how I have done in each category so far this past week:

My Sobriety:  So far, so good.  I haven’t touched booze, and have very little, if any, desire to do so.  It is harder when out and about on town.  Drunk people are definitely more drunk than funny when you are not on their level, which tends to make you want to drink, but I don’t foresee this really being that difficult.  With that said, staying out late with people who are partying hard will likely get clipped from my routine.  After spending Saturday night out with the girlfriend until approximately 2 AM, I was not pleased with how tired I was on Sunday and the lack of productivity that came along with that exhaustion.  Yesterday I was a bit crabby and irritable because of this.

Physical Health:  Killing it so far.  Weight lifts are going up across the spectrum.  My weight is down about 10 lbs.  My stamina and intensity is increasing quickly.  I leave the weight room feeling simultaneously destroyed and euphoric.  I was able to easily hike 19 miles with 6000′ of elevation gain and 7800′ of loss last week (see posts on The Enchantments), and even ran the last 5-6 miles.  I need to put more emphasis on stretching and yoga, although I have been stretching in the sauna, shower in the morning and between sets at the gym.  That is going to be a higher priority this week.

My neck and shoulder are giving me pain on and off… Need to resolve this.  It’s been going on for months.  Also is why I am putting such an emphasis on yoga.

Mental Health:  I practiced some light meditation throughout last week, but not as much as I had hoped to.  One time-save I found is to do my meditation in the sauna after a hard workout.  Doing that pretty much clears the mind and leaves you feeling on Cloud 9 afterwards, plus it kills two birds with one stone.  I would also include my hike through the Enchantments as a boost for my mental health.  There was a drawback though, after doing that physically taxing of a workout I was left in somewhat of a mental fog throughout the middle of last week.  My energy has been pretty good since, however.

My general attitude was mainly up last week with a couple of lulls.  Waking up this morning I felt like I could take the world on, so that’s a good place to start..  There’s definitely been an underlying feeling of stress from outside forces that I am letting have a negative impact on me and that I need to put to rest.  The resolution would seem to be to either cut off the artery that is feeding the stress or face it head on.  I think that is dependent of where the stress is coming from, outlets like media should be easier to control.  But financial or relationship issues should be taken on aggressively to a place of resolution.

Basically: Stop f*cking procrastinating, dipsh*t.

Creativity:  I have mainly been blogging and editing videos for this vertical, but that has actually seemed to give me a creative edge over my prior self and reawakened my desire to write.  I, honestly, think I would like to write a book at some point and  am planning on launching a podcast as well.  I’ve also spent a lot of time brainstorming business ideas and those ideas seem to be getting stronger and better articulated.

“FINANCES & CAREER” CATEGORY HAS BEEN CHANGED:
A good friend of mine, Erik, made the point that finances and career do not go hand in hand and suggested I separate the two of these verticals.  I further liked what Ray Dalio had to say about the topic in his book Principles, how money wasn’t his objective but what followed his passion.  Thus, I have changed Finances & Career to reflect Learning & Career, a category I find that goes hand in hand.  Also, although financials will be a piece of my self-improvement process I will rarely going to post about this vertical, as somethings should be kept private and off the internet.

Learning & Career:  I spent some time reading last week, but have much more improvement to make in this category.  I guess creating the habit of reading is an important step in the process.  This week I will be focusing on this much more than last week.  Also, last week’s mid-week hike kind of threw off a lot of my schedule.  I will not have that same problem this week.

Relationships:  Last week was an interesting week under this vertical.  One of my best friends, Nate, is moving to San Diego for a massive career change and opportunity.  I am beyond stoked for him, however, I am a bit saddened.  His girlfriend, and a good friend of ours, Jocelyn, is not going to be going with, but instead, she is moving in with us.  It will be great having her around and I expect Brandi and her to have an awesome time living together.  Also, I have been trying to make more time for certain people who I have been seeing less and less over the years.

One thing I have been contemplating is:  “What do I bring to the table for my friends?”  I don’t know the answer, but it is something to think about.

IMG_0100.JPG

(Picture of Brandi (right), Me (middle), and Nate aka Naterbator aka Babybody (left) – this picture was taken prior quest, don’t judge the beer in front of me.)

Overall, this last week was a lot of fun and I achieved some great things.  I do need to focus more on the overall goal here though.  I have actually come up with an idea to make sure I am “Leveling Up” properly.  The idea is to make a point system where if I accomplish something during the day, I get points based on what it is that I accomplished (i.g. Under the Physical Health vertical:  lifting weights = 1 point; yoga = 2 points; etc).  Then I add them up at the end of the week and see how I did across all verticals.

My biggest challenge so far has been to remove simple distractions that suck the time out of my day.  Getting on Twitter or Flipboard can easily suck hours out of my day and I need to control that impulse.  Once I conquer that, I think there is a lot more I will be accomplishing per week.

Alright, time to take it all on.  Thanks for reading!

Cheers! 🤙

~Dane

 

 

 

Credit Where Credit is Due; Enter Chris Guillebeau

I don’t know why I didn’t mention this in my first post, having given Tim Ferris so much credit for his work Tools of Titans I completely overlooked another book that is very much responsible for this “quest” I am taking on.  That book was gifted to me by my good friend, Erik.  A soon to be repeating theme of this blog.

Chris Guillebeau penned an awesome book about taking on a quest and although I am not walking across Argentina without shoes on my feet and with a bindle holding all my belongings on my shoulder; I definitely took some solid ideas from Chris’ book The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.

I think because I didn’t fit into the same categories as others in his book, I neglected to mention this brilliant piece of work.  If you are looking for a motivating read, this book will give you some insight into other people who are stirring for a change.  Again, I am just quitting booze and focusing on self improvement, but the leveling up concept was definitely taken right out of his book.  Although, I did read about it in a chapter of Tools of Titans, too.  That was probably where part the confusion lay.

So, I’m not that original.  Sue me.

Also, after joining Chris’ mailing list, he emailed me directly and was very kind and responsive in his email.  In my opinion, that says a lot about an author.  Pick up his book and give it a read.

Cheers!

~Dane