Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 7: #RESOLUTIONADAY 2021, Day-19

#ResolutionADay® is, in theory, supposed to happen every day. But, sometimes, life happens. Sometimes a family vacation happens. Sometimes a cold happens. Point is, things happen …but I don’t quit. It would be easy to quit. Easy to say, “hey, this was supposed to be 365 days and 365 resolutions and I missed a few days so I’ll try again next year.”

I won’t let myself off that easy, and I won’t let you off that easy. 

So what?!?!  Ya missed a few days. Big deal. If you miss 30 days this year, you’ll end 2021 with 335 days of little bits of self-improvement? Would that work for you? If you missed 50 days, you’ll finish 2021 with 315 new, good habits (or have eliminated a buncha bad habits).

Make it a game. Grade yourself every month. Every quarter. I’m borrowing this from Matthew Dicks. He says…

“Every month I report the progress of my yearly goals in order to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) and hold myself accountable.” -Matthew Dicks

Here’s his January update. Truly, take the 10-minutes to read it. Matthew Dicks lays it all on the line. Warts, successes, and failures, and all.  

Again, read his list. It’s bodacious. It looks damn near impossible. It’s much too much for anyone to do in a year. Right?

Well, yes. Mathematically, factoring in the fact he’s a teacher, has a wife I’ll assume he likes to spend time with, has two kids he also likes to spend time with, well, there’s no way he can get it all done. But as he always points out, when he analyzes his progress, does the math, and crunches numbers – if he gets a 65% success rate, his year is full and productive.

I’ll take 65% success on #ResolutionADay®

Today is Day 19 of #ResolutionADay, and I keep making the year, me, and my life a little better.

  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 19: Every Monday-Friday, eat a GREEN lunch (salad? cut-up veggies? celery and almond butter?)
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 18: Do a quick, 15-minute household chore each night

What Is #ResolutionADay

The Return of #ResolutionADay®, 2021 (Introduction)

Connect with me:
Snapchat: donkowalewski
 

I Want Stuff, Part 5: Blue Light Blocking Glasses

It’s not so much “I want stuff” …but “I have stuff.” And my BLUblox blue (and green) light blocking glasses that I wear before bed might be the single best purchase I’ve made in a long, long time.

Recall, I’m obsessed with quality sleep. I’ve had these BLUblox glasses for a little over three weeks, wear them starting at 8 p.m. every evening while doing my normal evening stuff of reading emails on the computer, watching my HDTV, and reading on my iPad and iPhone …same stuff as I’ve always done in the evenings. But now I’m doing my normal evening stuff while wearing my BLUblox glasses and I’m here to tell ya …my sleep has improved more than I would have ever expected.

I get to bed at 10:30 and am usually asleep by 11 at the very latest. I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. A perfect night’s sleep would mean 6 1/2 or 7 hours (still a little less than what’s recommended by the National Sleep Foundation).

What I’m finding is I don’t wake-up in the night. I fall asleep faster. And I’m waking up before my alarm and feeling fully rested.

Before these BLUblox glasses, I would need three alarms (one on my watch, one on my other watch across the room, and one on my iPhone) to rouse me, and many, many times in my tired early morning moments, I would justify ignoring the alarms and going back to sleep for another hour. An hour later, usually filled with tossing and turning, putting an audiobook or Podcast on to distract me from my guilt of ignoring my alarm …well, an hour later, I still felt tired. Three cups of coffee later I would still feel tired. Then all the stuff that comes with being overtired would impact my daily activities. I’d justify a quick 15-minute nap sitting in my chair. I would snack on sugary things for an energy boost.

Lack of sleep leads to all sorts of little, bad habits.

Now? I’m feeling rested and my early mornings are filled with the things I want to do early, early …like a quick walk while listening to an uplifting audiobook. A quart of water. Some breathing exercises. All of it happening because I can actually “spring” (not sure I’m ready to use that word, yet) out of bed and start my day at 5:15 a.m.

Next, I’m adding a sleep-enhancing tea I keep seeing at the fancy market by my house.

Lent Stuff, Part 2: 40 Days to a Better Me (and You?)

Way, way, way before people did things like a 30-Day Cleanse or Fast, or did the Whole30 diet plan, or meditated for inner peace, the Catholics were already doing it and calling it things like “Lent” and “Advent” and “prayer.”

I take Lent quite seriously and use it as a time to re-focus, re-invent, and rejuvenate my mind, body, and spirit. They say “40 days makes a habit permanent” (actually they say 21 days, but you know and I know nothing sticks in 21-days …at least not for me). 40 days? Hey, that’s what Lent is.

I’m continuing on with my #ResolutionADay, but I’m also adding a few things more enlightened to Lent …like praying the Rosary on the daily, fully fasting on Fridays and into Saturday (so from dinner time Thursday until breakfast on Saturday, I’m fasting … 48 hours). I’ll use the Rosary time to calm and focus my mind and practice gratitude and humility, and be thankful for my blessings. I’ll use the fasting time to practice discipline and remind myself I can do more than I think I can.

But I’m also doing something else …using these 40 days to Unsubscribe from soooooooo many email Newsletters. I don’t know how it happened, but I find myself in my Yahoo! and Gmail deleting more emails than I’m opening and reading. Like prayer and fasting, it will take discipline and focus. I’ve done this Unsubscribing thing a few times, for a few days, and never remember if I actually Unsubscribed or not …but not this time. This time, I’m keepin’ a list and checkin’ it twice. If I get emails from places I told not to email me after these 40 days of purging, blocking, and Unsubscribing, I swear I’m getting a lawyer and filing a lawsuit (I have no idea if a lawyer would take that case or if I have any grounds for such a lawsuit ….I probably accepted countless terms & conditions without reading).

But it’s necessary. It will give me some time back into my life, will make me less cluttered and more organized, and will rid me of the guilt of not opening those emails that someone worked hard to write – yes, I do feel a little guilty highlighting all the emails and then Deleting all at once.

So, here we are, Day 1 of Lent and I spent a half-hour cleaning up my Gmail Inbox and Unsubscribed from the following. Wow. Look at all those pointless emails I do not read or open. This is a good thing.

What are you doing for Lent? Inspire me.

My Day 1 Unsubscribe List.

  • Gazelle Sports
  • A Sales Guy
  • Fathead
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Barsmith
  • Ash & Erie
  • Domino’s
  • Yummly
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  • Tractor Supply Company
  • MicroCenter
  • iHeart Daily
  • Whistle Pig Whiskey
  • College of Communications (MSU)
  • Swanwick (blue light blocking glasses)
  • American Cancer Society
  • Ryan Serhant (author and sales coach)
  • NAIAS
  • Down to Earth (Catholic Men’s Club)
  • Vimeo
  • Reuters Automotive Events
  • Pique Tea
  • Chopra Education
  • Ghostery (web tracking tracker)
  • Revenue Development Resources (sales training)
  • NY Times Cooking
  • Andy Frisella
  • Crunchbase
  • American Heart Association

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 6: #RESOLUTIONADAY 2021, Day-6

I won’t Blog about #ResolutionADay® every day. Maybe every other day. Why you ask?  Because if I’m spending 15-minutes a day writing and Blogging, I have some other things I want to write and Blog that will get me closer to my goal of writing and finishing a book – or a screenplay.

Now, here’s the much longer version of why I won’t write about #ResolutionADay® each day. Have you heard of #75Hard? It’s a genius idea by Andy Frisella where you do the following things for 75 days. No excuses. No days off. 

  • Drink A Gallon of Water
  • 10 Pages of Reading
  • Follow A Diet
  • No Alcohol or Cheat Meals
  • Take a Progress Pic
  •  (2) 45 Minute Workouts  <–this is the basis for my epiphany

My friend Nick introduced me to  #75Hard. I like the idea. Nick did it and loved how it made him feel and how much better he looked when it all ended. And it should. 90-minutes of exercise a day is Mark Wahlberg level exercise, and it showed. My friend Nick also pointed me to this episode of Andy Frisella’s Podcast where he basically yells and curses for more than an hour but in between the foul words and mostly saying nothing, he actually reveals the point of #75Hard. He challenges people to do it because most of his devoted followers have never fully dedicated themselves to anything so completely that they don’t even know what discipline and hard work even looks like. I agree with that. Many, many people want something but have no idea what other people did to get what they wanted. Me? I think I have done #75Hard quite by accident quite a few times in my life when I really wanted to accomplish something (find a new job, close a giant deal, launch a website, get booked on a radio show, start a Podcast, ghost-write a book). 

I started Andy’s #75Hard and made it through Day 12 and then quit …and here’s why. Because I don’t need those 90-minutes of exercise. Many people don’t. And for me, when I was doing those 90-minutes of exercise, it was nagging at me that, hey, Don, you found 90-minutes in your day to exercise and yet you can’t find any extra time to be a better husband? To finish your own book, finally? To Blog? To floss your teeth and pray and journal and yet you found 90-minutes to exercise? 

I realized quickly what Andy really wants people to wake up and realize …you can’t compromise …ever …if you want to accomplish something. 

Some things I don’t compromise on. Other things? I’m ashamed to say I take a day off. Then two days off. Then a week off. Then a year off. What a wake-up call.

For his #75Hard, anyone who does it, and finishes, will feel invincible and superior and probably like they can do anything. I want that, too, but I’m replacing the (2) 45 Minute Workouts with (2) 45 Minute writing sessions because that will get me to the place I’ve been avoiding and then I’ll avoid what Gary Vaynerchuk always warns his devotees about …regret. Gary says, if you’ve ever seen “regret” in a man’s eyes …it’s painful. Watch the 3 1/2 minute video below and if you think you’re going to wake up one day full of regret about something …do #75Hard, but replace the (2) 45 Minute Workouts with whatever you really, really want. 

“Regret is the ultimate poison. If you are thinking about taking the leap and doing whatever it is that you love, you need to just go for it. You will always regret the things that you don’t do.”   -Gary Vaynerchuck

Does that make sense? I’m sure I’ll talk about it more on the Blog, soon. For now, I’m off to work on my book. And then my next book when I do my own #75Hard, again.

Today is Day 6 of #ResolutionADay, and I’m adding 2 cups of green tea each day. 2021 is all about my heart and my brain.

  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 6: 2 Cups of Heart-Healthy Green Tea Each Day
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 5: Only check Facebook, Instagram, Signal on PC or iPad. Think about this one. Do you know you spend too much time looking at your phone? I know I do. I look at my work email on my iPhone. I look at my Gmail. I look at my MS Teams for work. I look at Instagram. I look at LinkedIn (for work?). And I look at Facebook and Twitter. I scroll. And scroll. I tell myself it’s networking. I do it while walking the dog, or while watching TV because “dual-screen is a thing.” But when I’m scrolling on my iPhone, and going App to App, Liking things and Commenting on things, I’m simply falling into a time vortex like so many. Instead, my Day5 ResolutionADay will be to only look at social media (with the exception of Instagram) on my desktop computer or iPad. While it’s mostly the same, it does require me to be deliberate and when I’ve done this before, I immediately see my time spent “doing nothing” (which is really what scrolling and scrolling and checking if anyone commented on my posts is, when you think about it). It’s something. It’s an experiment.
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 4: Reduce Coffee Intake to 2 Cups Per Day (all before 9am) – This is a big one because caffeine messes with your sleep. I’m obsessed with sleep and the restorative powers. I think it’s the most important of all the self-help, health, and habits. If nobody’s written a book called It Starts with Sleep, maybe I’ll write it.
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 3: Drink 1-Gallon of Water Per Day
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 2: Read for a Min. of 15-minutes each day. (2/6/2021)
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day1:  Spend 15-minutes #Blogging each day. (2/5/2021)

What Is #ResolutionADay

The Return of #ResolutionADay®, 2021 (Introduction)

Connect with me:
Snapchat: donkowalewski
 

Random Stuff, Part 9: Billy Joel (and Vinyl v. Remastered)

My best friend bought a record player, like many middle-aged, Gen-X dudes are doing. I want one, too. I imagine myself sitting in an old metal folding chair by my record player on a Friday night sipping a glass of Southern Comfort and orange juice tapping my foot and looking at the album cover art, turning it over and looking at the back of the album, and singing along, hit and miss, because I don’t quite remember all the words. I’ll be slapping my knee and closing my eyes at certain parts just admiring the genius of the artist and trying to imagine what it must’ve been like way back then (because I’ll only buy old LPs) when the particular album I’m listening to was released. Read More

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 5: #RESOLUTIONADAY 2021, Day-4

When one of my #ResolutionADay® ideas is to spend 15-minutes a day on my Blog, and when I’m also trying to create a movement and attract followers, suddenly, even if I write exclusively about #ResolutionADay®, I get my 15-minutes logged.

I know, I know …you’re all waiting for me to update you on my sleep quality and how my BLUblox blue-light blocking glasses are changing my life. I’ll talk about that tomorrow but here’s the short version – they’ve changed my life. I fall asleep quickly. I don’t wake up at night. And I wake up before my alarm clock. 

Today’s Day4 of #ResolutionADay® and I’m still keeping it pretty simple. Keeping with the basics. And when you’ve got 300+ more days and resolutions to do, it’s OK to make them simple.

Here’s what I added Day 3 and Day 4. And just like that, we’re off and running and my life is getting better by a little bit every day.

  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 4: Reduce Coffee Intake to 2 Cups Per Day (all before 9am) – This is a big one because caffeine messes with your sleep. I’m obsessed with sleep and the restorative powers. I think it’s the most important of all the self-help, health, and habits. If nobody’s written a book called It Starts with Sleep, maybe I’ll write it.
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 3: Drink 1-Gallon of Water Per Day
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 2: Read for a Min. of 15-minutes each day. (2/6/2021)
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day1:  Spend 15-minutes #Blogging each day. (2/5/2021)

Previous #ResolutionADay posts:

The Return of #ResolutionADay®, 2021 (Introduction)

Connect with me:
Snapchat: donkowalewski
 

Random Stuff, Part 8: Microwave Your Mug

When we lose someone important and close to us, we try to capture the essence of their lives in a eulogy or stories. I’ve been flattered to have given quite a few eulogies at the funerals of people I loved and lost. My Mom. My best-friend Matt. My Grandpa and Grandma. We focus on big things they did. Things that everyone can agree on that made that person great, and that make us all nod our heads in agreement thinking, “oh, yes, that was totally him …I thought it was just me.”

However, we should also remember the very small things we know about those people if we were lucky enough to peak inside their private life and enjoy the subtle things these people did that made them happy in little happy moments. Today, on a morning in Michigan where I woke up to 11 degree temps and a house clocking in at 57-degrees (before I turned the furnace on), I enjoyed a tiny-joy moment shared with me by my Uncle Jerry.

Read More

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 4: #RESOLUTIONADAY 2021, Day-2

Oh, boy! The #ResolutionADay® army is really picking up steam. There’s me …Robin M. … and Chris W. 

Think about that. I want this to become an online trend, the basis of my “coaching” side-hustle, and eventually a book. If I get 3 new people every day for the 328 days remaining in 2021, I’ll have 984 devoted members of the #ResolutionADay® Army …or Club …or Movement …or the #ResolutionADay® Gang. I think I like “gang.”

The point? This is about starting something. It’s about starting many things. It’s about taking small, daily steps to massive self-improvement. #ResolutionADay is about the “power of now” and taking immediate action. Read More

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 3: #RESOLUTIONADAY

As I wrote previously, it doesn’t matter when you start something, as long as you start …now.  So, it’s with much excitement I’m re-launching #ResolutionADay …my brilliant idea of adding a new resolution every day for a year. Previously, I made it to Day47.

I was on a Zoom recently and everyone was sharing their resolutions, and most had one or two. All but one person on this particular Zoom laughed about having already failed followed by the typical, “well, now I have something to look forward to in 2022.”

When I got to talk, I (obnoxiously) listed 12 New Years Resolutions I made and said, even with the resolutions that tripped me up, I wasn’t giving up.  I could’ve gone on and on listing things I want to do that would absolutely improve my life. And so …I decided to start #ResolutionADay, again. Read More

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 2: #FreshStartFebruary #FixUpFebruary #ForgivenessFebruary

We’ve arrived on the eve of February and many of us crashed and burned on our New Years Resolutions. Studies say 80% of people abandon their resolutions before the end of January.

So, that’s it, right? Wait until next year to improve, right? It’s OK. Nobody actually makes good on the things they promise themselves at the beginning of each year.

No, I say. What’s that old proverb about the best time to plant a tree?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

So what! I know what happened in January. You were good for a week doing whatever you were going to do, then skipped a day. But you got back to it. Then you were good for a few more days and before you knew it, you were completely off track. I know. I’ve been there. Oh, wait. I’m there, now.

The best time to start a new habit or take steps towards a dream is 20 years ago (or 31 days ago). The second best time is now.

It’s OK. I’m giving you full permission to forgive yourself for your failings and if you failed at Dry January or Veganuary, or you didn’t get on that treadmill for 20-minutes each day, or you ate a cookie or twelve …me too. I was going to kick some butt at #75Hard. I was going to really start writing, daily, and finally finish my romance novel (don’t ask …but I have a GREAT story and for some reason it felt like the right thing to build around a romance). I was going to roll up my sleeves and recommit to my day-job for the entire 9-5 day. I was going to end the bad habits and sloth-like behavior around my early mornings and evenings and focus on my writing and marketing clients. I was going to pray with purpose each morning and journal to organize my thoughts.

Guess what I did instead? Woke up to my alarm at 5:15 a.m. and put on my favorite humorous Podcast and laid there listening.

#FreshStartFebruary #FixItFebruary #FuckedUpFebruary

80% of people fail at their New Years Resolutions. But what percentage of people start again in February? There’s probably not even studies on that because nobody thinks Febuary 1st is a notable date …but let’s change that.

Studies also show that, sometimes, it’s easier to focus around a single, central anchor. So pick one of mine, or make your own?

  • Fresh Start February – take a look at your New Years Resolutions and start again (plant that tree NOW)
  • Fix Up February – OK. So you broke some things …like promises to yourself. Fix that and promise yourself, again.
  • Fucked Up February – Well …we fucked up in January. Apologize (to yourself?) and don’t F’ up again (I used curse words specifically for reader Nick G. He likes curse words in his self-improvement stuff.
  • Forgiveness February – Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Guess what? You’ll mess up and fail, again. You will. We alllllll will. Failure is OK if you learn and improve from it. Use any metaphor you want (baby learning to walk, kid learning to ride a bike, person learning to drive, etc). Mistakes and missteps happen. Work to avoid the same missteps. Don’t beat yourself up (easier said than done …I’m 47 years old and I still don’t do the best job of it)

So, join me in #FreshStartFebruary. Let your critics roll their eyes and think, “oh, here he goes again.”

Let’s do this. Tomorrow …we re-introduce #ResolutionADay. See you then.