Greetings from freaking cold New York City!
I forgot how much I truly despise cold weather; thanks for the reminder Mother Nature! Sure, I grew up in Massachusetts so I’m not stranger to single digit or negative temperatures, piles of snow, ice, wearing fourteen layers of clothes,etc…but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! Moving forward, I think I’m just gonna not do Winters anymore.
Speaking of NYC, I’m thinking of doing a meet up of sorts tonight in the city - say around 7pm at a bar here in Manhattan (not very fitness, but it’s the best I could do last minute). If you’re in town, shoot me an email at Steve@nerdfitness.com with the subject “NYC Meet Up” and if there’s enough interest I’ll put something together and get back to you quickly.
So far my drive up from Atlanta has been relatively uneventful. Although the heat in my car is broken, the heat coming off the engine filters into the car, so after about 30 minutes of driving the cabin actually gets quite toasty. My toes get cold, but nothing a few handwarmers dropped into my slippers hasn’t fixed (yes I’m seriously driving while wearing them).
I spent a good six hours last night getting caught up on my email responses from last Thursday’s travel-hacking article. Other than the folks who live in the places I’m visiting and have offered to show me around/put me up for a day (which is so incredibly awesome – thank you!), the emails fell into two categories:
- Group A – People who have traveled extensively and wanted to offer up their advice.
- Group B - People who are “insanely jealous” and wish “they could do something like this” but it’s “not possible”
I’m quite grateful to the people in group A for all of their advice, and I’m thankful for all of the emails from the people in Group B. My goal is to get as many folks from B to A. This is my first question:
Why not you?
I’m a normal guy. Six months ago I had a normal desk job. Six months ago I had never been outside of North America. Six months ago I was the one reading sites about guys doing awesome things and saying “I wish I could do that someday.” Fast-forward to December 2010 and I’m suddenly booking a last-minute, 11-month, 35,000 mile adventure around the globe.
Here’s something you might not know: I’ve spent the last three years working every single day to get to this point. It might seem like a rash decision from a guy who decided to throw caution into wind and risk it all, but like every story, there’s more than meets the eye. (Thanks Optimus Prime!)
I guess you could call this my origin story.
Three and a half years ago, I stumbled across Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Workweek. I read the book in one sitting and decided that day I wanted to eventually become a real life Jason Bourne/James Bond – a world traveling, multilingual, martial-arts expert who goes on crazy adventures. The only problem? I had never been out of North America, I only kinda spoke Spanish, I didn’t know any karate, and I worked a 9-5 job out in California that didn’t really make me happy.
So, I started doing at least ONE thing every day to get me closer to becoming Bond/Bourne.
I love helping people get in shape and turn their lives around (who doesn’t love a good underdog story?), so I took a basic personal trainer certification class, started researching every fitness book I could get my hands on, bought NerdFitness.com, and started a blog in December of 2008. Since then I’ve published three hundred articles, written half a dozen guest posts, connected with hundreds of other bloggers, emailed thousands of readers, and slowly but surely built up a community of like-minded individuals. Six months ago, I moved my plan into Phase 2 by quitting my day job at Sixthman (which was AMAZING) and focusing my time solely on Nerd Fitness as a business. Phase 3 starts in January, when I begin to travel, hopefully learn some new languages, and study martial arts.
How did I do it? By clearly defining my goal, believing that it was possible, and then taking action.
Here’s how you can do the same:
Clearly define your goal
What is it that you want out of life? It doesn’t need to be a 9-month round-the-world trip. Maybe it’s visiting Europe for a few weeks with your wife/husband. Maybe it’s losing 50 pounds and running a marathon. Maybe it’s winning an Olympic gold medal in Curling. In this day and age, I absolutely refuse to believe that anything is impossible – given enough passion, time, and effort, there’s very little that can’t be done.
The best part? No goal is too ridiculous. I mean, come on, I’ve spent the past few years working towards becoming a fictional secret agent! Here’s what you need to do:
- Write down your goal – spend 20 minutes tonight lying on your bed, listening to your favorite song, eyes closed, visualizing what you want out of life. As they say, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Once you decide which direction you’re headed…
- Remind yourself of it daily – change your work laptop background to the place you want to visit, pin up a picture of Ryan Reynolds if that’s who you want to look like, hang a motivational quote on your bedroom door to see it every morning. Your goal needs to be at the front of your mind at all times.
- Believe it can be done - yeah, this sounds like new-age mumbo jumbo, but it works. Search for folks who are doing/have done what you do and find out how they did it.
- Start formulating your plan - How are you going to get where you want to go? If it’s starting your own business, you need start with an idea. If you want to climb mountains, I’d start with climbing lessons. First A, then B, then C.
Do one thing every day
Every decision has consequences. That means every decision you make today can take you closer towards your goal or further away. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, are you dragging your butt out of bed at 5AM before the kids wake up to go exercise? Or are you sleeping in, eating donuts in the break room at work, and complaining that you “never have any time?” If you want to travel, are you setting aside a portion of your income every other week for your “travel fund?” Or are you buying the latest gadget and digging yourself further into credit card debt?
Once you have a clearly defined goal, you can start analyzing your day and figuring out what things can be done to take you closer to your dream. For me, it was writing articles after work every night until two AM and connecting with readers instead of going out drinking or playing video games. For you, it might be giving up soda, signing up for a gym membership, or making small tweaks to your diet.
Small changes over a long period of time can produce some pretty drastic results. Don’t worry about failing – you will certainly stumble along the way to your dream. Instead, focus on doing SOMETHING – the experience you’ll get from actually doing something is ten times more valuable than continuing to plan without taking action.
Do at least ONE thing.
Every single day.
Be patient, but be active
You probably won’t accomplish your big goals tomorrow. If it’s something truly ridiculous (which I wholeheartedly endorse), you might not even accomplish it this year, or the next year, or the year after that. These things take time, and it’s far too easy to simply give up and settle for “safe” than continue pushing for something that is years and years away. Fortunately for you, you have a clearly defined goal that you’re constantly reminded of, which means you’re willing to do what it takes to make it happen, right?
If you’ve been reading this site for a while you know that my favorite movie of all time is the Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne hoped for a better life outside of the prison walls of Shawshank; and then busted his butt for 19 years to make it happen.
Stay active, do one thing every day, and be patient. If it takes a superstar like Chris Guillbeau 279 days to reach overnight success, it can take the rest of us normal folks far longer. Keep your eyes on the prize, and you’d be surprised what you can accomplish with a ton of persistence.
Alright let’s hear it: what is your big goal?
What’s your one thing you’re going to do today?
How can I help you get there?