Don Stuff, Part 3: No More Cheap Haircuts

I gotta get back to what makes me …me!

My hair.

It’s OK. I know what you’re thinking. You know and I know my hair ain’t ever gonna be what it was in my 20s and 30s, but I’m coming to terms with that. I see what you see. I have more forehead than I want. I can see a little more scalp through my hair than I’d like. But I’m 47 …I guess that’s just what happens.

Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s diet. Maybe it’s exactly what would’ve happened to my hair regardless of my life path. Maybe it’s the same male-pattern baldness that would’ve resulted from running a charter fishing boat in Maui where my downtime was spent kayaking, surfing, and painting and I didn’t have a wife, kids, demanding job, and debt versus my current middle-aged, middle-class life with all the stuff I wouldn’t have with a life alone on Maui.

Not saying I want that Maui life …well, maybe if it meant I would’ve kept my 20-something hair. 

Whoa. This Blog isn’t about life choices. Where was I? Oh, yes, my life choice regarding my hair. 

Are you sitting down? At Christmas, I decided to save some money and stop going to my expensive barber and, instead, just hit a chain haircut location thinking, with my current hair situation, what did it matter. In fact (make sure you’re sitting down), I bought a pre-paid gift card that gave me $9.99 haircuts and a FREE haircut on the day I bought the gift card. It made such great, responsible economic sense …but at what cost?!?!?!

I haven’t had even sideburns in months. Most times I look like my son experimented with haircutting. I know those women work hard at that chain haircutting place so I won’t even mention which one …but I can’t do it anymore. It’s a top-down approach to life. No, I won’t do the salon like I did in my 20s and early 30s, although I loved the deep conditioning, the mint teas, and the jazzy new age music ….I won’t do that but I will, at least, get my neck shaved, I’ll have a barber that knows me and my head of hair, and this little bit of consistency back in my life will go a long way toward better mental health.

Not to mention a great looking head of hair, even if I’m going pretty short (a 2 around the ears, 3 on the sides, and scissor cut on top). Plus, at my barber shop, I can come in halfway between haircuts and for a small fee, they’ll clean up my sideburns and neck. Trust me, the grey in my sideburns get pretty outta control at times. My barber cleans up my eyebrows.

It’s worth it and I’ll feel a little bit more like myself. I’m sure everyone who knows me and interacts with me on a daily basis will be happier, too, and won’t have to keep pretending they don’t notice my bad haircuts.

You’re welcome.

Food Stuff, Part 4: Have an Eating Plan

Do you like metaphors? If you want to drive from Michigan to California and see landmarks along the way, do you just hop in the car and start driving? No. If you want to have a garden or a beautiful flower bed, do you just throw seed down in the fall and hope for the best in the spring? No.

Do you want five more metaphors or should I get to my point? If you want to live to be a hundred and you want to be dancing at weddings in your 90s, you need to be healthy and eat the right things …the “map to California” if you will. Recently, a friend started yet another diet and he asked me, “what are you doing? What’s your diet?”

I told him it ain’t no diet. It’s a plan. It’s a plan for healthy blood, a healthy heart, a healthy gut, an unfoggy brain, and hopefully great hair.

I’m vegetarian. 90% of the time. I avoid any/all foods with preservatives or added chemicals or colors. This is me …EVERY DAY …and I think I figured this out from Tim Ferriss. It’s oh so boring, but I find if I waiver for more than a couple days, my anxiety spikes, my brain gets foggy, I can easily convince myself to procrastinate or have a cookie, I don’t sleep as well … I’ll feel grumpy …all sorts of stuff. I’m fanatical about food. If my wife ever divorces me it’ll be because my food routine almost seems like I’m acting smug.  But I really try to make this my thing without making a big deal out of it (like “look at meeeeee … I’m Mr. Healthy and you’re not”). Plus, bragging too much can come back to make me eat my words because from time to time I’ll go a few weeks eating like crap.

But, here it is.

1 slice sprouted bread with 1 TBLS MCT oil poured on like butter, a heaping spoonful of organic almond butter, and a heaping spoonful of fresh fruit preserves from local farmers markets.
  • Supplements:  1/2 of a once daily multivitamin, 1 fish oil pill
half of my Super Smoothie (I save the second half for the next day).
  • supplements:  1 tsp powdered magnesium mixed with water
I’ll eat what my wife cooks for the family most nights, otherwise, I make a salad or a tuna melt (see? not 100% vegetarian)
  • other 1/2 of my daily multivitamin, a cap full of apple cider vinegar mixed with water and I chug it (it’s awful)
* sometimes I switch breakfast and lunch when I’m feeling rebellious.
Other stuff
6 brazil nuts each day
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds each day
1 gallon of water
no eggs
no dairy
no white bread (except on pizza night)
almost no pork or red meat
minimal stuff from a box or package
What’s that old saying …keep it simple, stupid.

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)
  • 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.

The Return of #ResolutionADay®, 2021 (Introduction)

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