Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
Ahh, sweet nostalgia…
New Year’s is a time of reflection, when we weigh up the hits and misses of the past year and put that year to rest. It’s also a time of optimism, when we set our goals and focus our will on the 12 months to come.
That summary is more than just an interesting exercise. It’s a key tool for your success.
Why? Successful people conduct regular “performance reviews.” They assess themselves with brutal honesty, shining a harsh light on their failures without becoming too emotionally attached to them. It’s enough to note how and why you went wrong so that you can learn from the experience and move forward.
Successful people also take note of goals met. And that can be just as important as recognizing past failures. Success motivates further success, it’s true. But we also forget just how far we’ve come and how much ground we’ve covered. It’s good to pause every once in a while to look back. Clearly recognizing what you’ve done right allows you to reinforce what’s working so you can redouble your efforts.
On that note, we’d like to share our process with you in the hope that you’ll share your past year and future goals with us here. Putting it out there in print makes you more accountable, and you’ll be more likely to follow through with your 2011 goals.
I’ll start, and then Adam will jump in with his score sheet.
So yeah, 2010. I experienced a couple disheartening challenges on the work and personal front, but all in all 2010 was my best year in a long time. On the training side, I spent the summer and part of the fall experimenting with a bunch of new programs by some of our colleagues, including high rep and core work by Dr. K, and my first real diet courtesy of Joel Marion. In some ways it was a trip down memory lane. I revisited dumbbell and barbell work, stability ball training, and other modalities I hadn’t used in years —but with a cutting edge twist. I had a blast, and the results were fantastic.
On the work front, Adam and I released several successful collaborations, and we flew all over North America to meet with colleagues in the online fitness industry, making some really great friends in the process. We officially incorporated our company, expanded our Inside Access membership group, completely redesigned our blog and really kicked our free content into high gear. We also ran the first Beta test for an exciting new project we’re releasing next year. There were some gutting challenges of course, including a disappointing launch, fraught with technical disasters, for TACFIT Commando 2.0, but all in all it was a pretty incredible year of growth. And it was a welcome respite from my past decade of starving artist poverty, I can tell ya!
At the same time, Adam and I continued to let our workaholic tendencies get the best of us. I barely remember the summer of 2010. We didn’t take any downtime at all, and I didn’t do any major travel writing assignments, choosing instead to focus on building our business. It was a conscious choice, but I know it isn’t a sustainable one. Striking a realistic balance between work and downtime will be an important goal for 2011.
On the personal front, I got married in the spring and finally took a honeymoon over Christmas (the first time my wife and I have gone away together for a real vacation since 1998). My cat Dashiell got really sick this past summer, but 6 months of antibiotics and several months of tube feeding her 5x per day saw her through, and I’m happy to report she’s tearing all over the house again and waking me up too early.
And what of 2011? On the fitness front, once Adam and I get our new product filmed I’m planning to spend a couple months in a gym so I can revisit a cycle of heavy strength training. It’s been years since I’ve done it and I’m looking forward to mixing things up and breaking new ground. I think it’s important to revisit other training modalities from time to time because doing so can reveal holes in your game, and it’s often the spark for new directions in creativity.
On the work front, Adam and I are releasing a huge new flagship product in 2011 that we believe will totally raise the bar in terms of quality and content. We’ve also got some ridiculously fun stuff planned for the launch. We think you’re gonna love it and we can’t wait to start filming.
On the personal front, I think my biggest goal for 2011 is to finally strike a realistic, sustainable balance between work and recovery. To actually take some downtime, to travel and write more, and to pause to enjoy some of what we’re building. It’s something I’m admittedly terrible at. I have several travel goals I’d like to accomplish this year, and I’d also like to start training for a private pilot’s license, something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. So yeah, here’s to a great 2011. I think it’s gonna be fun.
Adam here… When I coached ski racing, I gave my athletes a simple piece of advice. Everyone makes mistakes, even the fastest racer down the hill. The difference between the winner and everyone else lies in two things…
The winner has never been afraid to make mistakes, but has learned from every single one of them. The losers are scared of mistakes and try to forget them as soon as they’re made.
The winner recovers from mistakes more quickly and then focuses on the rest of the race. The losers dwell on their mistakes all the way down the mountain.
What’s true in sport is often true in life. If we don’t take stock of where we’ve been, our mistakes and our successes, how can we improve our future? For me, 2010 is a particularly interesting year to examine.
Ryan outlined the ups and downs of a very exciting year from a business perspective. But that’s only one slice of the pie of life. Here are some of the other highlights. I like to break these examinations into “sectors” that allow me to drill down and pinpoint the most important elements. This year I looked at family, faith, education, hobbies, business and fitness.
One of my goals over the past year was to pack on some new muscle mass, and that came together quite well. In the final analysis, I’ll have packed on a very realistic 6-7 pounds of muscle. Doesn’t sound impressive? Ever see an 8 oz cut of lean steak? That’s one pound of muscle!
I also wanted to spend some time in the single digit body fat percentage. That’s no small feat for me, as I have a genetic talent for fat gain (and a world-renowned sweet tooth). But I managed to stay under 10% for about a month and a half in late summer. I could have done better, but I’m still prone to those darn sugar binges (especially this past week with all my wife’s Christmas baking around!).
On the family front, I have to admit that I let work get in the way of my goals. I didn’t spend nearly as much time with them as I wanted, and we didn’t manage to follow through on plans to go on a family vacation. However, we continued to thrive on strong daily traditions like meals together, praying the Rosary together, celebrating Saint’s days and more. This is the daily glue that binds our family together.
That brings me to my Faith. I could do so much better. But I get caught up in the daily grind and I often forget to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Although the traditions and the rituals of the Church kept me on track, I wanted to make prayer, reflection and especially charity a much bigger part of my life.
On a lighter note, I did a dismal job of pursuing my hobbies (or perhaps I should say my prospective hobbies). I wanted to take up the guitar, start practicing Taiji and learn more about wine and cooking. I did take a wine course, and loved it. I continue to experiment with lots of cool recipes (especially trying to adapt them to healthier ingredients). But I completely dropped the ball on both Taiji and guitar.
And finally, education. My longstanding goal is to do some sort of formal seminar or certification course every year. I usually end up doing more like 2 or 3. But this past year I didn’t manage it at all. However, I’m still very happy with what I DID do. I kept to my habit of reading 2-3 educational books per month. I also sought out and collaborated with some of the finest minds in the fitness business to come up with new ideas and inspiration.
So that’s what happened last year. But the most exciting part of this exercise is to project what’s going to happen in 2011. Here goes!
I’ll be spending one in every four weeks working like a madman on a mission so that I can spend the other three paying attention to my family, recharging my creative batteries and pursuing further professional development and education.
I want to maintain my new muscle mass while spending at least 25% of the year in single digit body fat levels. And I won’t exceed 12% over the course of the year. I’m also going to hire a coach who uses inventive and cutting edge techniques so that I can push myself into new areas of performance and understanding.
I’ll continue my habit of reading 2-3 educational books per month. But this year I’ll also attend 3 new certification courses. There’s an excellent yoga cert that I’d like to add to my repertoire, as well as a strength and conditioning course offered by Charles Poliquin. I’m also working on completing my Precision Nutrition certification. I may even renew my Biosignature certification this year.
My family deserves at least two trips away this year. They don’t have to be extravagant affairs, but an occasion to be away from normal life so we can fully focus on one another. I’m also going to find a way to make the “switch” from work to family time so that I’m not bringing my preoccupations to the table with me when I should be living 100% in the moment with them.
The rich traditions of the Church will continue to provide the foundation of my spiritual life in 2011. But I’ll make more time and be more mindful of opportunities for daily prayer.
I’ve scoped out a place that offers what looks like very authentic Chen Taiji. We have a slew of business travel on the calendar until early February, but I’ll enroll in Taiji classes as soon as I’m back. I’ve also found an excellent online course for guitar, which I’ll also start in mid-February.
Ryan covered most of the business stuff. Needless to say, we’re both wildly excited about the year to come.
So there you have it. Our personal wrap ups of the past year and our goals for the year to come.