2018 Resolutions

Happy New Year! 2018 was ushered in as we said goodbye to 2017. Unfortunately, as I look back in The 6th Floor archives, I failed to post my 2017 resolutions last year, first time since 2011. As for 2017, I am glad it’s over, as it was a very challenging and busy year, both personally and professionally. Thankfully, a new year is like a clean canvas reading to receive each brush stroke that will make up your masterpiece. Here’s what I expect in my 2018 “masterpiece.”

This year, I have changed my approach to the year, as I desire to focus on a keyword for the the next 365 days. I’ve sent resolutions in the past, but as with most, they slowly fade away. While exercise and weight loss, usually top the charts, this year I wanted something different and feel this approach runs deeper and will have more impact in my life and those around me. That word is “selfless.”

 

self·less
ˈselfləs/Submit
adjective
concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish.
“an act of selfless devotion”
synonyms: unselfish, altruistic, self-sacrificing, self-denying;

This word is a perfect fit for how I want to start the year off. While I do volunteer much of my time, for PTA and scouting, there seemed to be a disconnect in the time spent concerned with my wife and son. The two most important people in my life I call family.

While perusing Facebook or Twitter, I ran across a video from Japan about being selfless. I watched it twice and the message, an important one, seemed to provide a strong message that had me thinking about the sort of man I had been, from husband to father, friend to co-worker.

As I mentioned in 2016, I have much to work on to be a better man. I have done things in the past that have called into question being truthfully and trustworthy. No worse feeling knowing you can’t be relied upon as a friend. Seeing this as unacceptable, it was time to look back in order to improve moving forward.

While 2017 was a step in the right direction, 2018 needs to see notable changes. Even at 48 years old, there is room for improvement in order to be the sort man I should have been years ago. It’s more than just volunteering my time, it’s about making a conscious change and seeing those improvements in every facet of life.

We have all heard the adage, “actions speak louder than words.” This rings true in the act of being selfless as applied in daily life. “People say things and make promises they have no intention of keeping on a daily basis…Words are cheap…until they are acted upon.” An article found at Elite Daily seemed to echo many of the characteristics I need to practice more as we start the new year.

One of those “actions,” not following through with a task I promised to accomplish. It can be something as simple as forgetting to pick up something at the store or not communicating with my wife on an upcoming event.” While these seemingly harmless events have bearing, especially the more I forgot to follow through something that would benefit someone else.

At the end of the day, whatever your actions may be will show what you are trying to prove. If you are simply talking, nothing is happening, but when actions take place, you are actually engaging in this behavior. Actions prove who someone really is while words only show what someone wants to be.”

This quote sums things up nicely and when successful will help lead me to be more selfless, thinking about others in my life. Today hopefully starts that journey and will hopefully allow me to reflect and grow over the course of the year. American writer, poet, philospher, Suzy Kaseem has three valuable words to make me the individual I want to be.

2016 Resolutions

2016 Calender on the red cubes

While 2016 is still about 11 hours away as I type, it was about time to get on T6F and freshen up to my resolutions for this coming year. This year has been a great, from a personal standpoint but as with many years, there were still some shortcomings that need to be addressed in order to make 2016 that much better. The theme for 2016 will be “positivity” as there is nothing I cannot do, at work, home or anywhere else I might find myself in the coming year. Yet, as my wife tells me, “actions speak louder than words” something I never forget. So let’s kick off 2016 with a brief review of 2015.

Looking back on where I have come over the past 12 months, nothing really stands out, many months seemingly run together and before I know, December has come and gone and we are staring at another new year. Last year I wanted to work on being a better man, as a husband and father. I hear many friends of mine comment on just how involved I am when it comes to Zach growing up. At times this year I felt it was too much to juggle and some of the commitments I made to him probably fell by the wayside, resulting in broken promises. Last October my wife and I turned a very important corner and looking at improving our life.

For Christmas last year I made put together a ‘date jar’ in order for my wife and I to spend more time together. The rigors of daily life, a full time job and my “honey do list” seem to have be pulled in many directions every day and spending quality time decreased. We would plan on watching television together on my Friday and inevitably I would fall fast asleep. So much for “quality” anything. So for 2016 I am setting aside time each week for my wife and I to spend together.

As for Zachary, now 10, these years seem to move by very rapidly. Just yesterday it seemed he was starting kindergarten and this year he will be entering junior high. We are very fortunate to have a great kid, a bit spoiled being the only child but it’s going to be more important this year to teach him to be more responsible when it comes to chores and saving money. These two go together, so we will see just how quickly he can grasp onto the connection between the two.

Our time spent together is divided between soccer, karate and scouting, all of which have provided new experiences this past year. He has really flourished in each of these activities, where “doing your best” is more important than winning. Scouting has provided him all new experiences with new friends and new challenges. We have enjoyed the father/son time camping and learning different aspects of life. Sensei Bright has taught modesty, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, courage and indomitable spirit through karate. Soccer (while run very poorly through Impact Soccer) has allowed me to learn team skills and provide him exercise than many kids miss these days because of electronic devices and gaming.

Personally my biggest accomplishment of the year was achieved when I crossed the finish line of the American River 50 Mile Endurance Challenge in 13:52:55. Never did I think I would EVER run 50 miles, but it was an amazing journey, not only physically but mentally. Without my great running partner, Brian N. I would have never accomplished this feat. This just reaffirmed that the lifestyle changes I have made over the course of 4 years have been beneficial to my active lifestyle.

Yet with all good things, I did have some setbacks. While I still follow and promote a plant based lifestyle, as seen at Protective Diet, I did let myself go at times and those choices hurt my overall progress. I have see my weight increase about 10 pounds, as I was not successful in getting a 50/50 plate with enough green veggies. I continue to work on making better choices when it comes to my fuel, while refining what I eat in order to keep out additives and improve my health.

While running and weight lifting were two activities that help promote my healthy lifestyle, I was frustrated during the start of 2015, not being able to do either because of ongoing shoulder issues. This year I have a bolder goal of running my first 100k (62.5 miles) in March, followed by another attempt at the AR50 in April. These will be the only two races I run this year. The weight lifting fell by the wayside because I literally turned our garage into a storage unit after getting fed up with at the price to pay for storage. Thankfully over the last few months I have reorganized and cleaned enough of the garage in order to allow me access to my power rack and look to get back into strength training

2016 looks to be starting off on the right foot, as we were pre-qualified to purchase a new home. It’s been 3 years since our home was foreclosed on and we were forced to move into a rental about half a mile away. While it hurt us initially, we have come out ahead as we look forward towards the new year. We are now debt free from the doldrums that are credit cards. We are making only one car payment and my wife has established herself as a respected breeder for Bengal cats (Spotted Envy Bengals if you are interested). We have saved money, which should help us get into a new house, which will still be somewhere in Oakley, even though I would love to move east towards the Sierra foothills (so it would be a 2 hour commute each way to work, it’s a sacrifice I would make).

So let me stand together with my beautiful wife and son and wave goodbye to 2015 and welcome the challenges and changes that 2016 will bring. We have gone through quite a bit the past few years and 2016 will be the best yet.

2015 Resolutions

2015*sigh* It’s been another one of those years, as we say goodbye to 2014 and stare wide eyed at the upcoming year and what wondrous things it holds for me as I post my 2015 resolutions. It’s been a very challenging year as I look back on what has been accomplished, but more importantly where I failed. It’s those areas that I will look to improve on in 2015, there is no “can’t” or “won’t” and change, will be welcomed. Great strides were made this year, but I still fell short, in my opinion on where I want to be physically and mentally, as a husband, father and individual. Sometimes the individual accomplishments out shined that of commitments as a husband or father.

I started 2014 much like I ended the previous year, following a plant based lifestyle, avoiding meat, dairy, and added oils in my diet. This way of eating works for me and allowed me to control my weight without being hungry, shed some unwanted fat as I worked on a strengthening program. While I would love to think I achieved my Stronglifts goals, I fell well short due to continued inflammation in my left shoulder. All was going well to start 2014 after the initial surgery in October, 2013 but a few months into the new year I was experiencing severe pain in the shoulder joint.

After numerous visits to the orthopedic surgeon, he put me back into physical therapy. It was odd, as my shoulder felt amazing after surgery and I was making great progress. Unfortunately something happened (maybe building that haunted house two days after surgery contributed to it) and the pain flared up and never went away. After a few months of therapy, the PT sent her report to the orthopedic, which required another office visit. It was August when he decided to go back into my shoulder to clean the joint of inflammation. I had already stopped lifting weights earlier in the year to prevent further damage to the shoulder. Thankfully I still had my running.

Speaking of running, I accomplished something great this year and accomplished my first 50k running the Diablo Trails Challenge in April. It was a truly amazing feeling to walk around for weeks with a “runner’s high” wanting to run further. This was one of those accomplishments that meant much more to me than to my family members, but I celebrated with two co-workers who were cheering me on when I came down the chute and crossed the finish line in a time of 8:53:33! It came as no surprise that I had the desire to challenge a 50 mile race in the future.

As August rolled around, I made a day trip up to Lake Tahoe to participate in my second Tough Mudder staged at Northstar Tahoe. With shoulder issues, I probably should not have made the trip, but I had already registered and was looking forward to the event. I was concerned there would be some obstacles I could not accomplish, but surprised myself and made it through every obstacle. It was awesome! No other word can describe it. This year I also challenged myself to run the event wearing my Luna Sandals. Best decision I made all day, as my feet took the abuse, but at no point did my toes ever hurt, my feet might have gotten wet and had dirt and bark in them, but they felt good all day long. It was still nearly 8 hours on the hill, which makes for a very long and tiring day.

As a husband and father I have not been my best. While words on this site and comments on Facebook and Instagram tell a different story I have struggled on both fronts. It’s not easy sometimes knowing your deficiencies, but doing little to change them. I know I have claimed to make progress to be a better husband  or have more patience with my son. Somehow the end result wasn’t in my favor. No fingers need to be pointed, but I need to reflect inward in order to change who I am.

I continue to believe that if I can change my diet (lifestyle) I can change any aspect or characteristic I don’t find favorable. Unfortunately that is more difficult than I expected it to be. Maybe old dogs can’t learn new tricks or maybe men can’t change who they are. I still hold the belief I can be the best husband and father out there. All it takes is desire and commitment to make positive changes happen.

Last October was difficult, but I honestly felt our marriage had turned the corner and the future looked brighter or was I just setting myself up for failure? I had made commitments to both my wife and son, to work on my shortcomings. For example I continue to struggle getting my son do things. Usually this happens as he gets ready for bed. He fails to listen and I have to ask repeatedly in order to get something done. Him not listening, makes me irritable, which makes me (in his words) “act like a bully.” It seems I have created no middle ground for him, there is the right way or the way wrong. Yet in reality there is common, middle ground, which is something we BOTH need to work on. I am hopeful I have the strength and determination to have that patience and be supportive of him and to help him grow as an individual.

My interpersonal skills are still an area of concern, as it relates to my marriage, even after 11 years! I will be very thankful my wife is still by my side, as I realize I have been a real ass at times. Decisions and actions in the past have continued to plague me, while I accept what has happened I continue look toward the future in a positive light, but it’s difficult to let go what I have done and think everything is fine. It’s not and I need an adjustment, much like committing myself to eat better. Yet after nearly 12 months I don’t believe I am a better person after everything I have gone through.

Thankfully I have one resource I have reached out to, which could have me seeing things differently with a more positive outlook on life. While our lives have turned around on some fronts, such as finances, there is still work to be done and it starts with me. I need to step up and be the man I was when she said “yes” to be my wife. I haven’t been that man for many years. I need to be a better communicator and talk to her about what is on my mind. More importantly, I need to be her friend. Yeah, I know 11 years is a hell of a long time to realize this, especially seeing so many friends of mine and hers happy with life, kids and marriage.

Hopefully these changes will be noticeable, as I will make a committed effort on my part to change those negative characteristics and reflect a more positive aura around my wife, she deserves it. The past 2 years since her surgery have been a real struggle, both physically and more importantly mentally. It has taken a toll, but she is a very strong minded and beautiful woman. I have faith in her, hopefully her faith in me isn’t completely exhausted as 2014 draws to a close.

Finances continued to be a concern for much of the year. I knew we were at a turning point, coming up on 2 years since I lost our house to Bank of America. A day still does not go by that I am frustrated at how our case was mishandled and the home was sold at auction. With that entire situation behind me, I looked toward the future and taking what I had learned about home buying, mortgages and banking and prepare for a new home buying experience. While I am still a year away from having that foreclosure off my credit history, steps have been taken to improve our financial outlook.

We will start 2015 with one financial commitment to be paid monthly, her automobile loan. Just last month I finished paying off my truck, which I now own. It feel great to be relieved of a single payment. Credit cards are usually the death of many, I know it was for be 10 years ago, being some $20,000 in debt due to credit cards. Now between my wife and I we have four credit cards, all of which are paid off. Since banks have tightened credit limits, all these cards have manageable limits that won’t overextend our budget if we use them occasionally.

With my wife now “permanently disabled” and unable to work, she took up a hobby in order to make some extra money. She now breed Bengal cats, which has allowed to put money away that we hope to use as a down payment on a house at the end of 2015. I continue to examine our monthly budget and work on finding ways to save or get more out of the money we earn. I feel very fortunate she forces us to save money, it’s a pillar of confidence knowing we have a “rainy day fund” if something unforeseen happens. Now with virtually no debt, it’s time to start saving even more.

With all that said, I look forward to what 2015 brings. While I could continue to add to my resolutions, many of the remaining items will be used as goals in order to gauge myself through out the year.

2014 Resolutions

Here we are again, waving goodbye to 2013 and ringing in the new year. While it’s rare that my wife and I go out to a New Years Eve party, this year I am alone in the house, as she has taken my son to Disneyland with some friends. So it will be a very quiet New Years for me, one that I actually have off from work, the first time in 7 years. I have spent a fair amount of time recounting what has transpired since I composed the 2013 Resolutions last year, just as the new year was starting. While I am pleased on some levels, I feel as if I let myself down on others. So I look forward to my 2014 resolutions.

In 2013 I wanted to get into shape and improve my physique. With my diet under control and the weight still at my goal I felt I could see a major transformation with the addition of Stronglifts.com to my life. I actually started the program in October, 2012, but hit a stretch of 30 days without working out, in order to take care of my wife when she returned home from the hospital. That 30 day void took a bite out of the increases I was making when lifting weights and put me behind the goals I wanted to achieve.

I wrote about it often, but when the 12 weeks were officially up, I had not achieved the initial goals I set. It didn’t bother me, as I was learning, growing and seeing strength increases. When I added running in June, planning to participate in my first half marathon, I knew my strength training would take a hit. I did do enough strength training and running combined that I participated in my first Tough Mudder event in July at Lake Tahoe. Talk about awesome!

It was after Mudder that I started to have shoulder problems and lifting weights only seemed to aggravate the problem and increase the pain. It would be 3 months later that I would be having surgery to repair a torn bicep tendon in my left shoulder. While I was released to start strength training, I have been faced with some complications the last month and still have not started back lifting weights. Based on the pain I am currently having, I can’t lift or use the arm in a way that puts stress on the shoulder, it’s called adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder.

While our financial situation continues to improve, which is wonderful I never got around to getting organized and reducing the amount of paperwork I must deal with. I struggled with it all year long and while I made commitments to myself I failed to set aside time and take the necessary steps. It goes without saying this goal is still on my list for 2014. Every time I went to pay bills or look up account information I was surrounded by a pile of papers on my desk.

Reflecting on the year, it’s been difficult and challenging, one of the worst I have ever experienced. Might not know that as a regular reader on T6F. The year started off on the with  my wife, bed ridden in the hospital after major back surgery. When she finally was cleared to come home, it was to a new house, not the comfort and security she had know for the last 8 years. Along with the surgery, she had a list of other problems she picked up while staying in the hospital. It only got worse for me, as my relationship with my wife deteriorated. While I was taking care of her physical needs, I didn’t give a thought to her psychological needs and our marriage hit a very rocky stretch that lasted through September before turning the corner.

Yet October brought about some revelations and a bright outlook, I compare it to standing alone in a ray of sunshine, feeling warm. The worst is behind us now and our future looks bright. I have made a commitment to myself to change some of my behaviors and mannerisms while focusing on those people who are most important in my life. I have even compiled a short list of resolutions to give to my wife. Hopefully that step continues to make me a better husband and father.

While my lifestyle change has been wonderful, it’s still not “clean” enough. I hate using that word, since it can such a broad brush when it comes to eating. Unlike many others I read about on the Internet, my way of eating IS clean, yet I can improved. The last few months have been rough, but I still managed to eat very well, but sugar sneaked back into the diet. I enrolled in a PD-ed at Protective Diet and will look to better how I eat, while enjoying a vast variety of wonderfully prepared dishes at meal time. It is my intention to drive out the sodium and sugar.

After today’s run that 50k I spoke of could be in jeopardy. I got my assed worked today, the first time I have actually done trail running with hills. 900′ of vertical change in .23 of mile 1 has be questioning my chance at a 50k. Yet I will stay strong and run, run, run. Until the shoulder is healed, I will focus on running, more importantly continue to practice minimalistic/barefoot running. I love running in my sandals. Depending on how the 50k turns out, I might end up running the CIM come December. This was supposed to be my first marathon this year, but shoulder surgery took that opportunity away from me.t

I also want to participate in the Endeavour Team Challenge this year with 3 friends. It’s a HUGE commitment that includes 36 hours in the wilderness with nothing but your teammates. Running is just one component of this challenge. The other challenge this year is Tough Mudder with the group I ran with last year. Scheduled in July for Lake Tahoe I will look to improve on how I performed last year.

So I close the door on 2013, one that I would much rather forget, but do want to learn by it. I look forward to new challenges ad new responsibilities on both the work and home front. Hopefully these positive changes will make me a better, strong person going forward. Life isn’t supposed to be easy and 2013 saw major changes. Hopefully with those experiences 2014 will be a complete turnaround.

Have a safe and happy new year.

2013 Resolutions

2013Where does December go? Why does it seem this month above any other flies by, before you know it it’s Christmas Day and we are suddenly staring at New Years Eve and the upcoming year. This December has been no different that the past years. Since 2006 I have posted my resolutions to share with all. I feel this makes me a bit more accountable when it comes to exceeding my goals or questioning why I failed any previous resolution I have made.

This coming year I feel I have a leg up, so to speak, as the new year approaches. Before I get too far ahead, let me review what I set out to accomplish in 2012. The biggest challenge of my life has been achieved over the course of last year. In 2011 I set out to take control of my health, no longer relying on the Big Pharma or the medical establishment. Base on my October blood results, I have completely reversed atherosclerosis and any heat disease that might have existed. No longer am I dependent on ANY medication. My family physician declared me “perfectly healthy” during my October physical.

Not only did I meet my weight goal of 175 pounds, I exceeded it dropping to a low of 172 pounds. I had hoped to get my total cholesterol (TC) to 140-150, but the October results showed my level at 130 mg/dL! I am very excited with how healthy I have gotten the last 12 months. The second part of my “quest for health” comes as I look towards 2013.

The other two goals I had, while not as important as improving my health I failed at. I am not really upset I did not succeed at either of them. The first was to get the 1968 Mercury Cougar running. Well, that never happened, nor did it come close. I was able to put in quite a few hours in during the summer, but nothing at equated to getting the Cougar running. Oh well, there is always next year.

The other goal was to to on vacation, while it was scheduled for nearly the entire year, I canceled it about a week out (in November) in order to take it about 30 days later to coincide with my wife’s back surgery. Even taking a vacation, I did not get to San Diego or any other exotic destination. Again, there is always next year.

As for 2013, the list it’s all that challenging. First, I want to complete the 12-week Stronglifts.com program and continue building strength and muscle. After just 8 weeks in the program I have seen a real transformation, I can only imagine want a full year will bring. Looking forward to those prospects. With any luck I might even get to meet Mehdi at the end of January as he comes to San Francisco.

With the move being completed, it’s time to clean up and get organized. I guess along with the other positives that come with a move, now is the time to go through boxes that were packed and throw away (or donate) stuff I no longer need. I was horrified at the amount of crap I have tucked away in a 10×20 storage unit. I am even more shocked at the amount of sports collectibles I have obtained over the years. Seeing it all in one places makes me wonder how much longer I want to lug this shit around.

On the organizing front I start the year with NO DEBT! Gone are the 4 balances I had on credit cards. For the first time it feels great not to owe money to anyone (minus 2 car payments and a house payment). I would like to move all my billing statements I do have over to electronic and reduce the amount of mail I get. I want to start saving more money per month, which should be possible since I am not shelling out monthly payments.

I am sure there are a list of other things I want to accomplish, but right now these are the big ones. I look forward to another GREAT year, after a wonderful 2012 (minus my wife’s surgery). It’s been a challenge the last few days of the year, but it’s great to start the year off with a clean slate and work towards some goals.