To say that this year has been one of the most pivotal years of my life would be a vast understatement.
This was the year where I made the decision that enough was enough, and that I refused to believe that I had already been in the best shape of my life. I wanted to collaborate the year that I was 27 with a set of 27 lessons from the past 365 days.
1. You have a choice.
You might not have had control of everything that put you in a certain circumstance, but you can absolutely control your attitude and your plan to change things.
2. Be real.
There’s no sense in being in a relationship (friendship, dating, otherwise) that you can’t be 100% yourself.
3. Amputate when necessary.
Self-control is not my strong suit. Whether it’s food that throws off your diet, free time activities that cut into your time to work on self improvement or your dreams, or friends that don’t support you fully in your goals. I find that the best way to gain control of some of these situations is just to remove your access to it.
4. Surround yourself with people will will call you out on your
I don’t need more yes-men in my life. It’s most important to me that people actually report the story the way they see it, not the way i want to see it.
5. Create systems of accountability.
This is an integrity thing. If i’m the only one affected by a goal, or a to-do item, it’s easy to rationalize an excuse to avoid it. If you seek accountability, you have an incentive to follow through. I started at the gym because I had a friend who needed me to go along with her. I couldn’t just skip out on her!
6. Learn what actually produces results.
Sometime conventional wisdom isn’t the most effective way to achieve your results. (eating less and doing more cardio is the “conventional” way to lose weight. But it’s probably not the most effective way. )
7. Integrate your findings from number 6 into your routine.
If you have a system that you know works, simply incorporating it into your routine WILL lead to success. I’m eating low carb and doing mostly weight training. Obviously if you don’t put in the full effort your results won’t be as much, but if you put in the work that will lead to results, you should expect results.
8. Everyone has a first time at the gym (or anything)
There’s no shame in being a noob, the faster you start something and get learning, the faster you’ll be a veteran. Everyone had that awkward first visit to a gym.
9. If you’re going somewhere, take someone with you.
This applies to road trips as well as goal journeys. Experiences aren’t as good unless you find a way to share them.
10. Growth never happens in your comfort zone.
11. Struggle to finish your last rep.
That’s where your results come from. If rep 1-10 were easy, but 11-15 were going to be extremely difficult, and you stopped at 10, you missed your chance to actually push your body.
12. If you find something that works. Share it with others.
There’s more value in telling others what’s working and what’s not. You have the opportunity to actually improve the life of someone else, just by simply being open about the things you’re working on.
13. Dress as if you’re going to meet the love of your life today.
This was originally from an image titled something like “Things your dad probably told you, but you should hear again.” I kinda like it.
14. Be honest about things.
If you don’t like something, don’t put up with it. If someone is asking you to do something that you don’t know how to do, communicate that! I have a hard time lying, but i find that the more upfront and honest about things I am, the better.
15. Be the guy that over-communicates.
When you miss out on something because you didn’t fully explain yourself, or you assumed something, it’s easy for something small to turn into a disaster. Over communicate, you may feel slightly nuerotic, but if you don’t let things fall through, you win.
16. Seek resolution.
I’m still working on this in both relationships and business, but the quicker you can get a yes or no out of a situation, the quicker you can move onto the next step.
17. People are watching.
Someone is looking up to you. Someone is looking to you for instruction or example
18. On a similar note. Only work on things you’d be proud to tell your grandparents about.
19. Say no more often.
Saying no is hard, but if you accept every request that’s put in front of you, you’ll end up saying no to your own agenda/goals/projects
20. Sleep more.
It helps everything. I can tell the times in my life where I’m more overwhelmed often overlaps times where I’m not allowing myself to sleep enough.
21. Compete. Compete. Compete.
I perform better when there’s an aspect of competition in there. Whether this is in business, fitness, or video games, if there’s a clear winner or loser, I plan on winning.
22. Aim High.
You don’t know how high you can reach if you aren’t willing to try and find your limits. This applies to nearly everything.
23. Life is more complicated than the Greatest Hits Digest you read on social media daily.
Your friend that seems to have accomplished all of their dreams still struggles with things, they just aren’t telling you that. Nobody is perfect. Everybody poops.
24. Write it down and follow Up
I write down everything I have to do so that I don’t let things fall through the cracks. Emails I need to write, bills i have to pay, groceries, ideas for business. Everything. This can lead to a cluttered list of things you need to do, but return to that list often, and you know you’re working on the things you need to do.
25. Take the choice that will end in a better story.
Do the things that will be fun to tell people about later on. I love telling stories
26. You don’t need more books and learning, you need more action.
I likely can not purchase another book for the rest of my life, and I’ll be ok. I’ll make it work. There’s much to learn from the books I already own,
27. Channel your inner Shia. Do it.
It has been just about 250 days since I started my journey of personal improvement and weightless, and I feel like a different person.
Just over a month ago, a friend started asking me questions about how exactly I was going about my routine. After a several book length text messages, I realized that this information is probably best suited for an article here on dauntless. These are the resources I have been using for my results.
The 4 Hour Body.
This book has been pretty important to my life change, however the first time I skimmed thru it, I stopped after seeing it’s heavy emphasis on diet. I wasn’t ready to change the way I ate at the time. I put it on the shelf.
After starting the gym routine in February, I found myself really taking a liking to all things health and fitness. Any promises of more results in less time were attractive. This time I was ready to listen to advice about diet. And this book’s diet plan *The Slow Carb Diet* seemed to make sense to me, so I figured I would give it a try.
Though I haven’t religiously followed any specific fitness/diet scheme, my plan most closely follows Tim’s advice in this book. I highly recommend anyone check out this book. You can purchase the book on Amazon here.
Following a diet plan causes a lot of questions. This blog post laid out the rules in a way that was easy for me to reference, as well as showed a couple of case studies from people who achieved pretty big success using the diet.
This is one of my favorite websites because Steve does a fantastic job writing about health and fitness from a very un-intimidating perspective.
I have followed his site for years, the idea of taking comic books and video games and making those the foundation for workouts and fitness resources was something that I really resonated with. Unfortunately it took a couple before I was ready to really take any action from it!
These posts are ones that I have referred back to and sent to friends multiple times.
Easy Paleo meals (my eventual eating pattern is somewhere awkwardly between Tim Ferriss’ slow carb and the traditional paleo plan)
The beginners guide to intermittent fasting (this has been VERY interesting to me lately — get results just by skipping breakfast? tell me more)
Beginner Body Weight Circuit (because you can totally do a workout without a gym, right? )
A couple of months in, I realized that I needed to be doing more with free weights. Machines do a great job safely getting your muscles working, but they are designed to isolate specific muscles, where if you’re doing a basic lift using a free weight, there are many muscles at work during each rep. Getting into free weight exercises insures that you’re working on the auxiliary muscles that are working throughout the motions.
I started noticing that one of my arms was slightly stronger than the other, by moving to dumbbell exercises for a majority of my upper body workouts has allowed me to workout arms individually and attempt to balance my strength.
This is the website I used to quickly look up what workouts would work for different muscle groups. I didn’t take great notes in high school, so I definitely needed this!
I listen to podcasts during my commute. My current line up is roughly half business podcasts and half health podcasts. These are a few of the ones I’ve found pretty helpful.
The Model Health Show. This show focuses a lot about natural nutrition and fitness. I love Shawn’s humility and grace as he hosts this show. He has a history of reversing chronic conditions using real foods and nutrition as the cures. … I’m listening.
Fat Burning Man. My primary goal since starting my health journey has been fat loss, so this seems to fit! This show talks quite a bit about the paleo lifestyle.
Tim Ferriss Podcast. As if I haven’t outed myself as enough of a Tim Ferriss fanboy, but this podcast is probably my favorite of the handful I listen to each week. He doesn’t just focus on health topics, but he’s more focused on dissecting human excellence. I love the variety of guests he’s had, and his ability to bounce between topics and still have everything make sense.
I’ll come back and edit this post as I go, as I figure there will be resources that come and go as I go through this journey.
What am I missing?
About a month ago, I had posted on my personal Facebook page that I was on track to be down 100 pounds far before christmas.
It was an empowering accomplishment to consider, and the question was met with a unanimous positive response. Personally, I didn’t know how possible it would be because, even though my rate of weight loss had been incredible up until that point, I knew that I would have to slow down at some point.
I calculated out about how much weight I needed to lose per week to be on track to hit the 100 pounds by Christmas, and within a couple weeks, I was 3 weeks ahead of pace.
3 weeks ago I was ahead of pace, but I seem to have hit a plateau. The scale has remained within the same 4-7 pounds during that time.
This is frustrating because:
- I’m currently weighing in at around 307 pounds. 68 total pounds down. 7 pounds from seeing that 3** number disappear forever.
- I’ve lost the cushion I had created on the plan to reach 100 by Christmas. I’m competitive. Especially with myself.
I have been talking with some fitness minded friends and doing some reading on fitness plateaus. In general, the advice starts with a few questions:
- If you’re on a diet, how well are you complying? Are you cheating more than is allowed? A friend recommended the myfitnesspal application for me to track my food intake for the next couple days. (I hate the idea of tracking calories, so I’m definitely resisting)
- How are your workouts going? Are you really still going after the workouts like you had been when things were new, exciting and shiny?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
If you can say that you’re eating right, that you’re still killing it at the gym, and you’re sleeping enough, then it’s time to adjust your diet or exercise and incorporate something new to your routine.
If you had been weight training with the same sets of reps and goals (even seeing gains!), drop the weight and do a higher rep set. Maybe incorporate some sprint training. Do something that your body will be like, “oh, I haven’t done that in a while, I like that.”
I don’t know enough about making radical changes in your diet to break plateaus, so I won’t go into any specifics, but I will certainly keep researching things.
As I look at the above 3 questions, I can’t answer all three of them completely confidently.
- I’ve still been sticking to my eating plan, but there have certainly been more cheat days beyond my allotted one day per week.
- I’ve still been going to the gym multiple times per week, but there have been times where I haven’t pushed myself as hard as I know I can.
- I don’t sleep enough. I can answer that one emphatically.
I set some rules for myself so that I can get back into things.
- 10 is bedtime, no excuses. This gives me the 7 hours of sleep that I need. The past three weeks have probably averaged less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
- Make sure all of my groceries are ones that will comply with my diet plan. If cheat foods aren’t around, you can’t cheat.
- Cheat food/drinks are reserved to 1 day per week. This is where I think I lost a lot of my momentum. There are a lot of excuses to have alcohol and sweets beyond my normal Saturday cheat day. This rule is going to require a TON of self control.
- Change the workouts around. Mix in interval training and high rep sets at the gym.
How does that look? How do you break through your plateaus?
I’m not an expert at this, and I’m just reporting what has/has not been working for me, but I love this journey and where it’s taking me.
Things had gotten a little out of hand, but I kept holding onto hope that things were going to get better.
A combo ACL/Meniscus tear in my right knee that took place my sophomore year had taken away my favorite past time, physical activity, and likely my strongest social circle.
The sport? Don’t laugh! Ultimate Frisbee.
My descent into an unhealthy life style started there, but I’ll save that story for another time.
I want to talk about February.
February is when things changed, when I decided that enough was enough and that it was time to do something different.
February was also when a friend of mine had finally convinced me to sign up for a gym membership so that she would have someone to workout with.
I refer back to February often, like an old friend that you want to honor their history but never want to revisit.
Having spent a considerable amount of time bumbling through the waters of online entrepreneurship, I knew that every goal needed to be measurable, and I wanted to know what kind of mountain I was facing. The scale read 376 pounds. I feel like you really need to annunciate every syllable in that to really get the gravity of that number.
Three Hundred Seventy Six.
That’s like 3 people. Yet I was able to bury the self shame because I knew that this was all changing.
I remember the first day we went to the gym. It was a monday, and the gym was relatively packed with treadmillers and people doing their circuits of weight machines. I was pretty hesitant to dive right in, I didn’t want people to realize that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!
It took me all of 3 minutes to realize that nobody was at the gym to pay attention to me, but they were all there to better themselves for whatever reasons motivated them. I latched onto this quickly.
We left the gym that day sweaty and eager to see what this adventure would hold for us, we discussed our fitness goals and what we wanted to get out of our time together. I was vague about really what I wanted. Part of me wanted to get healthy, part of me wanted to get strong, and the most of me probably just wanted to look better to the ladies.
We continued to go to the gym nearly every day for the length of February. I grew fond soreness, knowing that every struggling muscle was a sign that I had done something wrong, and that I would be stronger next time.
I spent the length of February just concentrating on strength training, and primary with the weight machines. I hadn’t changed up my diet at all except for following up every workout with a whey protein shake.
When you start an exercise regimen, you receive advice from just about everybody. and one of the pieces of advice I followed early was to only weigh myself once a week so that you didn’t get frustrated by a couple days of lackluster results.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any logs of any of the first few weigh ins, but I remember texting a couple of my friends the first time the number on the scale was 5 pounds less.
It was exciting, I hadn’t seen that number go down in a long time, though this time was clearly the most serious attempt yet.
A month later the scale read 362.8 a difference of 13.2 pounds. I worked hard for it, and it was definitely enough success that it wasn’t hard to continually motivate my for my trips to the gym.
In march I added in a diet change.
This exercise stuff had changed me, all of a sudden I was researching so many different things and buying a silly amount of fitness magazines. My time spent playing with websites and internet business had turned me onto a guy named Tim Ferriss, and I knew that his book, The 4 Hour Body, might be an interesting thing for me to look into. At this point, anything that could get me success without spending hours daily at the gym was something I was interested in. Tim’s book suggested that a majority of your results really stems from a good diet.
I had heard this before. But my relationship with food was abusive. I was always worried about eating enough to make it to the next meal. I adored anything sweet and sugary, and I probably had enough enthusiasm for Chinese buffets to fund the complete renovation of the Great Wall. A change in diet sounded scary, could I do it? And could I make it through my workday?
I decided that the diet outlined in the 4 Hour Body would be as good of a place to start as any. It’s called the Slow Carb Diet and is outlined as follows:
- Avoid white starchy carbohydrates : This was a big change for me, as probably every meal had significant carbohydrates. (Oatmeal, PB & J, Pasta, Rice)
- Eat the same few meals over and over (you already do this, you’re just looking to reprogram new default meals.). I certainly had my defaults: Oatmeal every morning. Peanut Butter Sandwich, every day.
- Don’t drink calories. I had given up sugary pop the previous month, but I still drank a daily protein shake. So while I probably broke this rule more often than not, I’ve listed it here just for sake of completeness.
- Don’t eat fruit. Sorry bananas. The sugars in fruit make for setbacks in the way the diet works.
- Take one day off per week and go nuts.
Lets talk about rule number 5.
The diet changed everything about how I had been eating except for my daily protein shake after workouts. However, on Saturdays I could have whatever I wanted, and you bet I made it count. You’ll still find the occasional taco bell/ Chinese food/ ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Half Baked / box of donuts purchase on my bank statements, but you’ll only see those on Saturday.
The fact that you can cheat once a week makes it so it’s much easier to behave throughout the week. Passing a Culver’s and wanting a hot fudge shake on a Wednesday was tough. There were a couple times where I had pulled into a fast food joint late at night, just wanting to satisfy my desire for a quick meal, only to decide not to- and let the meal wait for Saturday. Tim had said that there’s a physical reason to cheat once a week too, but I’ll discuss that later.
With the diet in place, and a gym routine in place, the weight continued to fall off. In June, 4 months after starting this whole shtick, I was officially down 50 pounds, but we don’t stop there!
I weighed myself minutes before starting to write this, and the number read 312. … That number doesn’t need the same emphasis as the number from February. It’s just a passing moment. I’m down 64 pounds, and I set the goal last month of reaching 100 pounds lost by christmas. Even though I’ve averaged a weight loss of over 10 pounds a month, there’s some part of me that isn’t sure I can make it by Christmas, but I’m going to give it my all.
I have owned the domain dauntless.co for a couple years now. At the time, I was looking for a word that embodied something bold and courageous that I could use for a website for creatives and the human element of creating something. My first few ideas fizzled and nothing really came of this website.
This is sadly a common story with much of my life post-graduation. I became really ambitious about setting goals, but my follow-through was lacking.
I would set the same goals over and over, but without the proper set of tools and systems, the results would be the same. Over and over.
One of the things that I have always wanted to make was a website about productivity and achievement, but the reality that my life wasn’t aligning made me look at a project like this from a distance.
This year, I’ve been going through a bit of a life transformation, and I feel like I finally have some basis to write these things.
For the next month I’ll be rolling out some posts to this site as I look to build a foundation for this project.
It isn’t perfect. It’s not polished, but there are things that need to be shared.
I hope you’ll join me! Sign up below for email updates.