Wait a Second…Why NOT You?

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 [email protected] 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.

Hope + Action = Win.

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?

-Steve

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  • Hannah

    It’s fine for blogs to evolve into neighboring topics over time, but it seems like over the course of a few months, fitness has been pretty much abandoned as the major topic of discussion in this blog.I’m disappointed by that, personally.

  • http://www.kristensloan.com/ Kristen Sloan

    Hey Steve, I wrote about this topic today as well. I think it’s important to start taking action to reach your goals, but also to realize accomplishing all of your goals will not happen overnight. Stay warm! Kristen

  • http://www.stevekamb.com Steve Kamb

    hey Hannah!

    Thanks for the comment – to me Nerd Fitness has always more than just fitness – it’s about living a better life, doing things that scare you, and being happy. It’s also always been a personal journey for me to a better life – that journey is taking me around the world which is what I wake up in the morning and can’t wait to write about.

    Thanks for reading up until this point, let me know if you’d like me to recommend some 100% dedicated fitness websites that I enjoy.

    Cheers,

    -Steve

  • http://twitter.com/AlanPerlman Alan Perlman

    “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

    Andy Dufresne is one of my all-time favorite movie characters. Nice reference!

  • Jay Skiles

    Steve: Shawshank is timeless – and you have safe travels and keep us posted. I am getting back to Nerd Fitness!

  • http://joelrunyon.com/two3 Joel Runyon | [BIT]

    It’s all about action. I love it Steve. Why NOT you? (*scampers to collect some FF miles of my own*)

  • http://twitter.com/christinaowen80 Christina Owen

    I love the why not me. I keep wanting things but never achieving them. Hopefully this will help me get off my butt and doing something about it!

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Wait a Second…Why NOT You? -- Topsy.com

  • http://shaunastacy.com/2010/04/create-your-own-dream-board/ Shauna Stacy

    For anyone who has difficult putting things into words, or is unclear as to what they want, it helps to create a vision board and place it prominently. It’s helped me a lot and helps a lot of the people I know in reaching their own big dreams.

    I’ve linked to my article on what a vision board is and how to make one (it’s so cheap and easy to do!) and I’m not a business trying to push, just a person walking the walk.

    Good luck :)

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    Hey Steve,

    thanx for the motivitation !
    So cool – I enjoyed every bit of it. I had no clue that your blog is that old, and I admire that you worked on it every single day !
    I recently heard Tyler Tervooren talking passionately about you and your community, and your writing style and mission clearly show me how you attracted one !

    Where does the majority of your income now come from – your eproducts, or a membership site ?
    Curious.

    And keep shining soo bright !

  • elmanuel

    Today I got a 3 month gym membership and did yoga. (I also wanted to go to the school prom but got sick last minute so I’m sitting here at home wishing I was not sick) I moved to a different town a week ago to have more time to study and to have the time and power to work out now that my longtime injuries are finally going away.

    My plan is to start training martial arts again when my knee feels up for it hopefully within three months.I want to get to the level of fitness I had five years ago when all I did was train.
    I’m going to get the girl of my dreams, I just don’t know her yet(or maybe I do but just don’t know it yet) hopefully within a year.
    I’m going to get my learn on in school and try my very best to be the best elmanuel I can be. I want to be a great physical therapist and fix people up. Graduating in 3 years hopefully.

    I got inspired to do most of these things by reading articles by you. You can help me by reminding me time and time again what I have to do. My enthousiastic ramblings have turned this post in chaos so apologies for that!

  • Bill

    Good post, Steve. I use a lot of those same points when I give advice on Yahoo! Answers to young people who don’t know what they want to do in life or how to get there when they know.
    So important, and often rather challenging, nailing down that core desire.

  • http://boston-guy.posterous.com David

    Love this post. Definitely makes me think about creating my life and not letting my life create me. Something that I “know”, but need a reminder of now and again.

    My small goal is to continue to post in my blog on a regular basis. And to spend that time to think of my big goal….

  • Owen

    Really inspiring post man, thanks! I seem to have accidentally fallen into reading from a group of interconnected bloggers (yourself, Art of non conformity, art of manliness, fluent in three months etc) who are all subtly telling me the same thing – that I can do it, I’ve just got to start. So I am, bit by bit, in terms of the job, health, fitness and hobbies… thank you!

  • Justin

    Very Inspiring! When you’re in LA, let me know if you need anything, I’d be happy to help out :)

  • Anonymous

    So I read a good 15-30 blog posts a day and I cant remember the last time I said this, but here goes… this post really moved and inspired me. It actually caused me to take an action. Thanks. Let me know when you are coming through the Phoenix area and I will buy you a beer

  • http://www.grrlwriter.com Grrlwriter

    Hi Steve, great post and thank you so much for the inspiration!

    Here are my big goals:

    - to be able to quit my day job to write full-time while being able to live and work anywhere in the world
    - to be in good enough shape to complete the Mt. Fuji at dawn hike and to learn some killer diller swing dance aerials
    - to travel – Thailand, Europe – actually, why limit myself? I want to see the world :~).

    Here’s wishing everyone the best – let’s get to it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/katybjwinter Katy Winter

    My goal is, basically, the female equivalent. My thing for today? Skipping, sit-ups and push-ups. How can you help? Well, there seems to be a dearth of female role models, especially with an underdog story to go along with it. I’ve said before that River Tam from Firefly is a huge inspiration for me, it’s just hard to translate the end-product of awesome into how-to-get-there. I know it’s the same process as for men, it just helps a lot to have a female story to aspire and relate to along the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan436 Bryan Nikla

    Great article. What I want to do.. Travel Europe and become a recognized DJ. steps so far that I feel can get me there… learn to DJ well. get gigs anywhere I can, hopefully clubs eventually. Create my own music after, and throw it in at the current gigs. expand my jobs, and get my own creations recognized. eventually, making my way to my ultimate goal step by step.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan436 Bryan Nikla

    Great article. What I want to do.. Travel Europe and become a recognized DJ. steps so far that I feel can get me there… learn to DJ well. get gigs anywhere I can, hopefully clubs eventually. Create my own music after, and throw it in at the current gigs. expand my jobs, and get my own creations recognized. eventually, making my way to my ultimate goal step by step.

  • Micah Stubz

    Thanks for the motivation. My goal is to quit my day job and work from home. I am online every night trying to make it happen. Trying to get a blog following, youtube following and a community on my site. You can help with any advise on how you achieved what you have so far any shout outs couldn’t hurt either. I am running a contest over at http://blog.thintopia.com starting Jan 1st.

  • Micah Stubz

    Thanks for the motivation. My goal is to quit my day job and work from home. I am online every night trying to make it happen. Trying to get a blog following, youtube following and a community on my site. You can help with any advise on how you achieved what you have so far any shout outs couldn’t hurt either. I am running a contest over at http://blog.thintopia.com starting Jan 1st.

  • http://www.ombailamos.com chacha1

    I am still trying to figure out if there is a BIG step I need to take, or if the little ones I am essaying will get me where I want to be. :-) In the meantime, I continue to do things that scare me.

    The scariest thing to most men I know is partner dancing. Drop me a note when you get to L.A. if you want a free dance lesson!

  • http://www.ombailamos.com chacha1

    I am still trying to figure out if there is a BIG step I need to take, or if the little ones I am essaying will get me where I want to be. :-) In the meantime, I continue to do things that scare me.

    The scariest thing to most men I know is partner dancing. Drop me a note when you get to L.A. if you want a free dance lesson!

  • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

    Could not be more true. This is one of the first hurdles to overcome, that with the right dedication, the right motivation and hard work, it CAN be you.

    Thanks again Steve, great blog!

  • http://www.paolosambrano.com Paolo

    HELL YES.

    Dude, pardon the unmitigated rage, but to me, there is just something absolutely infuriating about people who prattle on about “wishing they can do something like this” or about all the bills they have to do. I dunno, it just feels like a negative statement. Not negative like defeatist, but negative like it doesn’t mean anything. Although it is defeatist too. If someone really wanted to do it, they’d find a way to make it work. Otherwise, please just shut up.

    You’re living proof of this being possible, I’ve seen this blog grow, and I’m terribly happy for all your success. Looking forward to seeing you when you’re in SF in June!

  • http://www.paolosambrano.com Paolo

    HELL YES.

    Dude, pardon the unmitigated rage, but to me, there is just something absolutely infuriating about people who prattle on about “wishing they can do something like this” or about all the bills they have to do. I dunno, it just feels like a negative statement. Not negative like defeatist, but negative like it doesn’t mean anything. Although it is defeatist too. If someone really wanted to do it, they’d find a way to make it work. Otherwise, please just shut up.

    You’re living proof of this being possible, I’ve seen this blog grow, and I’m terribly happy for all your success. Looking forward to seeing you when you’re in SF in June!

  • Alyssa

    I just stumbled on your blog this afternoon and started reading this post. Loved it. :) Our origin stories are kinda similar except I always wanted to be more of an Indiana Jones(sans man-sluttery because I am a girl and don’t roll that way)/Sherlock Holmes sort of person. I don’t really know of any cool heroines who aren’t overly sexed up so those two are the ultimate combo for me. I speak a little French and work as a part-time secretary in California doing work that I sometimes find mind-numbing. My biggest excuse for not being the most awesome person I know has always been because I needed to remain in my hometown of 12 years and finish college or I’d pretty much be a bum and have no future. At least that’s what I’ve always been told. And I do want to finish college BUT there’s no reason I can’t study in another country and have fantastic adventures! Basically this is a roundabout way of me thanking you for writing a post that actually made me believe that being my own heroine is possible. Wow, that’s corny. But I’m going to leave it as is. So thank you.

    Oh! Hermione Granger/The Doctor(Doctor Who). Wouldn’t mind that combination.

  • kaatiefleming

    Zu57 Recently I have been so very down on cash and debts were killing me from all sides. That was RIGHT UNTIL i learned to make money on the Internet. I landed on surveymoneymaker p net, and started doing surveys for money, and surely i have been great amounts more able to do my things! i’m very glad that I did this.. With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. iHJ