"This is not a dress rehearsal; this is your life. It's the only one you got." — Bill Murray

I have included the above quote in other articles written for elitefts. I love it. I think it is something we should think about daily—life; it is the only one you got.

As my life unceremoniously cascades into 2019, I find myself thinking, man that was fast. How is time moving so quickly? How can my body be aging in dog years, while at the same time, I continue to grow more handsome?

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I don’t know that I am a big New-Years-Resolution-Guy, but the line of demarcation marking the passage of time from one year to another is as good a place as any to put a new stake in the sand and accept more accountability for the direction of the one life you have got.

As we rapidly move into mid-January, below are My 5 for 2019—not resolutions necessarily, but aspects of life to consider.


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1. Set (Write) Goals — Plan

I have written about goals before—many times before. Having goals and the method to reach them is paramount to achieving success in any endeavor. The plan is a critical component—the short-term goals forming the foundation to reach the long-term goal.

Many successful people suggest having written goals. I always thought that sounded like a good idea, but aside from my programming in the weight room, I never really took the time to definitively write out my goals and force myself to stare them in the face each week. 2018 was the first year I took the time to do so, and although I did not hit all my targets, I am confident I accomplished more than I would have had I not performed this easy exercise.

It is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your progress and provides a source for progress tracking.

I know most of you still won’t do it, but I hope some of you will.

2. Read More 

Reading more is a simple and effective way to impact your life positively, plus the ability to focus through a good book is a discipline worth preserving.

During the early part of the year, I was waking early to read the morning headlines—particularly political and financial happenings from the day or evening prior. Being better informed provided me with more self-confidence in addressing general issues that surfaced during various formal in informal conversations.

I try and mix my reading with a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and various instructive (“how to”) titles. In 2018 I set out to hit a modest goal of six books in addition to a variety of news sources.

Recommendation: If negotiation is a skill you value or utilize frequently, consider reading Never Split the Difference—Negotiating as if your life depended on it, by former FBI Hostage Negotiator, Chris Voss. I read it twice in 2018 and know it will be a constant source for future reference.

3. Train

I had some aspirational training goals for 2018, but the year had other ideas for me. Injuries and life always seemed to get in the way, but often, I was able to find the motivation to drag myself in the gym and get some work done.

I am speaking primarily to the older trainees here—you have got to find a way to keep your body moving, despite the aches and pains. I know lifting heavy made you feel alive. I am coming from the same place but am slowly accepting my body will not handle some of those numbers anymore; now I must pick my spots.

I can still military press solid weights, and I have added more chins, dips, and direct forearm work to routines. I have also had success with shorter duration training sessions.

Re-prioritize your training. Find a way to get it in, even if it’s only a fraction of the volume you used to perform you will be surprised at how reinvigorating it can be. I have found that calendaring my training helps. I utilize Google Calendar and attempt to log a minimum of four training sessions per week.

4. Be Present 

Being present is another aspect of life that I see slowly slipping away. I am a culprit too, there is no doubt. I find myself frequently spending valuable time flipping mindlessly through Instagram (my online drug of choice).

I recently returned from a family trip to Florida where I noted my own children and nephews sitting at the same dinner table staring into their phones for large portions of the evening. It is kind of a shame.

We have largely forgotten how to interact and communicate without our electronic devices because we are out of practice—too dependent on the electronic stimulus that is programmed to pull in more and more of our attention with endorphin releasing “likes” and “shares.”

Try and set some specific times each day to set aside the devices and work to eliminate phones at the dinner table.

5. Be More Self-Aware 

Self-awareness is the ability to see ourselves clearly; to understand how others see us, and how we fit in the world. During her Ted Talk, Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist and researcher suggested that while 95 percent of people believe they are self-aware, the real number is closer to 10-15 percent. She suggested that people who are more self-aware typically have stronger relationships, are happier, and perform better at work.

In her research, she found the people she termed Self-Awareness Unicorns, utilized introspection differently and, during her Ted Talk, Tasha provided one of their unique tools—instead of asking “why” questions, they asked “what” questions.

For example, instead of, “Why am I not getting promoted?” they would ask themselves, “What can I do to show that I am the best person for this job?”

In a bad situation, instead of asking, “Why me?” they would ask, “What is most important to me?”

Instead of, “Why do I feel so terrible at work?” they would ask, “What are the situations that make me feel terrible at work and what do they have in common?”

In a recent Podcast I listened to Adam Robinson, an American Educator and the co-founder of The Princeton Review, discuss how sometimes we are not aware of what we are signaling to other people and the profound impact the messages we send can have upon us and our daily interactions. He suggested soliciting feedback as a tool, by merely asking a trusted peer—what does everyone know about me that I don’t know about myself?

The ability to provide feedback is challenging, but constructive feedback is invaluable because we are all somewhat blind to the impact we may have on each other. It may be difficult to hear what others have to say—you will need to decide for yourself if the potential upside benefits justify taking the plunge.

Better late than never—Happy New Year and hopefully the My 5 for 2019 will provide you with some thought-provoking fodder as you both enter and navigate the next stage of your life.