If you have ever set out to achieve a goal, no matter how big or small, you have probably been met with the advice that “There is no better day to start than today.” There are hundreds of quotes that express this one idea — No Joke. Google it.
While I generally agree with the sentiment of this advice, I also believe that there are better days than others.
Before I go any further about setting goals, I should probably mention that although I’m not perfect — i’m far from it — I have spent a lot of time reading, watching, asking questions and researching the basic principles of what it takes for one to achieve their goals.
I have failed and succeeded multiple times. With every win and every loss, I have taken learnings. I still don’t have it all worked out.
Here is what I have worked out so far, and why today is the best day to start.
It has been 2 months since I finished my last project, my 100 day project. I lost a total of 12kg during the 100 days — around o.8KG a week. How did I do it? Well, on March 5th, I made the decision to start. I started with a few slight habit changes.
I decided to:
These goals were based on some preconceived ideas I had gathered from my dieting experiences, or as I now call them, projects.
My success had less to do with the initial habits I set. The fact was, that I failed to do a lot of these things. I still ate a decent amount of processed foods — I would have a protein bar every morning.
I ended up focussing on one goal, or habit, that wasn’t part of my initial plan — restricting calories. Why? Because it was measurable.
I knew how many calories I could eat a day. This meant I ate burgers, I ate processed food, I ate chips with aioli from one of my favourite restaurants, The Stokehouse. Was I healthier from it? Well, I was losing fat, which could only be a good thing.
Creating measurable, clear cut goals reduces anxiety.
How would I eat LESS carbs? Less than what? Less than Before? How much was I eating before?
Eat smaller amounts during the day. How small? How often? Goals, you’re not helping, you’re just confusing me!
The trick is to pick habits that you can tick off; that are clearly measurable. You either clearly did it, or clearly didn’t.
‘Save money every week’ doesn’t keep you accountable. ‘Save $500 a week’ does. While your goal still is ‘save more than I was before’, to keep yourself honest and anxiety free, give it a number. Make it tangible.
For me, this means;
These habits cannot be disputed. I either did them, or didn’t. I either succeeded or failed.
If you haven’t noticed, I like round numbers. Although these are lifestyle choices that will hopefully last a lifetime, it seems a little scary to start a habit and say ‘yep, i’m now doing it forever’. That’s obviously the end goal, but don’t set the expectations so high.
100 days can go by and not much can change. Which is why it’s a perfect platform to create new habits; the secret in achieving your long term goals.
Today marks 20 weeks until the end of the year (give or take a couple of days).
With this round number, you can do a lot.
In 20 weeks, there are 100 weekdays and 20 weekends.
With these round numbers you could:
Lose 20 KGs in 20 weeks with habits that are measurable:
This is exactly what I plan to do. It is all very palatable and more importantly, achievable.
A great and easy way to track your habits is through the iPhone app ‘Lift‘. A simple pen and pad can work too.
So start today. You have 20 weeks.
There is an ever growing category in the competition and ‘recruitment’ space. New spinoffs of ‘Best job in the world’ competitions are popping up every month, and they are offering the world.
People desperately stand outside of breakfast TV shows hoping that their professionally printed “Pick Me” sign garners them votes. They return home to create a Twitter account so they can tell the world to “Follow me so I can win” and that they “need more votes so they PICK ME”.
Seth Godin — marketing genius and amazing thinker — ingrained 5 important words into my brain while I read his book, Poke The Box; Don’t wait to be picked.True hustle, true greatness, doesn’t come from completing menial tasks against thousands of other participants, dreaming of a better life, dreaming of leaving their mundane job by being PICKED.Greatness comes from realising that you don’t have to wait for the opportunity to work on what you are passionate about.Create opportunities. Start now. Create your own best job in the world. One that you have built from working hard and hustling everyday and not from ticking boxes on a competitions entry form.
Are you unhappy with something in your life? Do you think about it everyday? Do you blame someone else for your troubles? Maybe you blame your work for not giving you a pay rise or blame your extra weight on working too hard. Here is a little fact that may just help:
YOU are in control. It is YOUR life. YOU can make the positive change to a happier life. The only person that can stop you is YOU.
If you don’t want to make the change, maybe the problem isn’t as bad as you once thought.
This doesn’t mean that anytime you are faced with a difficult situation that you walk away — quite the opposite.
Sometimes, it’s nice to say: “This isn’t the best situation, but this isn’t the destination, things WILL get better. Be happy knowing that YOU have the ability to change.”
During my 100 day project, I have been hypersensitive to my habits and choices.
Changing my habits has been easier than ever before. Why? Because I understand that this is MY choice. This isn’t about a diet that I hate and resent. This is exciting. I am making this change. I don’t feel deprived, because i’m not. I seek comfort in the fact that this is my choice.
Whether you make the change or not, remember that the choice is yours.
A quote to leave you on:
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, and you’ll always feel what you always felt.”
Day 11 of 100 days
As day one of my 100 day project comes to an end, I sit on the couch reflecting on my successful day, while I try and not think about what I would normally be doing; eating chocolate.
I started off my day well. I walked to work, while listening to the audiobook ‘The Power of Habit’. It seemed fitting on a day where I would be throwing away my old habits for new healthier ones.
‘Healthy’ is a funny word. What does it mean? What is healthy and what isn’t? People love to latch onto fad diets and I understand why. The great thing about diets is there are clear boundaries i.e. eggs are okay, bread isn’t.
My 100 day project is an amalgamation of everything I have learnt over the years about this mysterious word ‘healthy’.
The mystery of the word ‘healthy’ was highlighted when I asked my friend Byron to get me a healthy lunch. To me, Byron encompasses a healthy individual, so I trusted him to bring back a guilt free lunch that would leave me feeling satisfied.
So, you can imagine my shock when he brought me back pasta. Or maybe you can’t imagine it. Maybe in your definition of the word ‘healthy’ you include pasta. There probably is room for pasta in a healthy, balanced diet, but for day 1, it didn’t feel right.
Like kids in a playground, I swapped my pasta for my other mate Jules’ sandwich. It was a great transaction for both parties, and I was just happy that he didn’t steal my lunch money and give me a wedgie.
The sandwich was good. It has a lot of salad. Some would call it a salad sandwich, but it also had chicken.
All in all, it was a successful day. I had grilled calamari for dinner with salad and plenty of water.
If you had viewed my Facebook profile today, you are probably under the impression that day one had a less than ideal ending, involving my (old) favourite Moro chocolate bar. You will be happy to know that this was a juvenile Facebook hack from one of my work mates. Probably masterminded by Leon, or maybe Kerri…or Marshy.
The status (apparently from me) read:
“I tried… I failed. Moro Chocolate Bar…Get in me!!”
The comments of disappointment from friends began to trickle in, as a grin slowly visited my face as I could announce that the disappointing status was simply a false alarm.
I’m off to have some water.
It has been 2 weeks since my very public breakup with junk food. It turns out that my lack of preparation and atrocious self control has left me pretty disappointed.
It’s not rational. It’s annoying — for me — and my friends; who one minute will listen to my rant about ‘today being the day’ to quickly watching me scoff down a free cupcake.
Why is tomorrow any different? I can’t answer that. Maybe I will be more prepared. Maybe I will hit a tipping point — hitting a maximum failure rate where I will magically choose a salad over a Honeycomb Mars Bar or take a long walk rather than a short drive.
I’m impatient. I want to see the results of my efforts now. I’m stubborn. I don’t do things ‘half arsed’. I don’t do moderation. I’m either all in, or all out.
Maybe it’s the wrong approach, but it’s me — the only way I know how to do it.
Let me try again tomorrow.
100 days to focus on eating clean & moving more.
As Fifi Box would say “It’s the new me”.
Thanks for all of your support.
It’s fair to say that we have a love-hate relationship. When I am feeling stressed and tired, you are there to pick me up and make me feel better. It doesn’t last long though. My burst of happiness quickly turns into regret, when your insincere gesture of a high leaves me crashing to the floor. It’s an abusive relationship.
For whatever reason, maybe just out of habit, I think that you will fix my problems. Don’t get me wrong, you’re there when everything is going swimmingly too. The problem is that you hang out with my friends a lot, so you are sometimes hard to avoid. It’s not an excuse, I shouldn’t stay in an abusive relationship out of convenience, which is why I am writing this letter. I have tried to reduce the amount of time we spend together, but we always fall back into our old abusive ways.
I need to cut you out of my life for a while. I need to know that I can live a life without you. Maybe one day, I can bring you back and invite you into my life for a rare visit, but until I sort myself out, I will have to say goodbye.
Junk food, I won’t miss the way you make me feel about myself.
It had been a while since I read the book ‘Tribes’ by Seth Godin. The last time I read it, my life was different. I was working for myself and was surrounded by people that inspired me to improve, to innovate and to make a difference in the world. I was my own boss.
Now that I have worked for some large organisations, including the interesting world of a government agency, I picked up the book ‘Tribes’ for another read.
I was inspired to give the book another read after my colleague Sam Cavanagh mentioned it to me.
Sam produced Hamish and Andy’s radio show for five years, and now plays a big part in ensuring that Southern Cross Austereo (the company I work for) are constantly innovating. He could easily get complacent, hang up his boots and say “I’m the best at what I do” — just look at his trophies for producing the most successful radio show in Australia’s history.
Instead of being complacent, he continues to inspire. I am lucky enough to be in production meetings with him every day, as the awesome Fifi and Jules team work to put together the show.
“How can we do this differently?” “Let’s be the first” are just a few of Sam’s regular questions and phrases.
I’m using Sam as an example. Sam is in management, but he doesn’t manage. The best managers I have had the pleasure of working with don’t — or they hide it well.
The people I look up to, the ones that inspire change, and get me thinking and doing are the leaders.
I was reminded of this when reading ‘Tribes’ again. Godin sums it up best.
Managers work to get their employees to do what they did yesterday, but a little faster and a little cheaper.
Leaders, on the other hand, know where they’d like to go, but understand that they can’t get there without their tribe, without giving those they lead the tools to make something happen.
It’s easy to tell people what to do, to delegate. The real challenge is to inspire the tribe.
The great thing is — Anyone can be a leader.
It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you sit in an organisations hierarchy, you can lead. Your enthusiasm, your actions and your ideas can lead.
I don’t want to be an employee, I don’t want to be a manager, I want to be a leader.
I was at an event the other day and quickly introduced my girlfriend, Breana, to the host. There would have been close to a hundred people at the event. Music was blasting, there were dozens of conversations happening within the vicinity of the introduction — it wasn’t the best environment to hear what anyone was saying, let alone remember what was said.
It was a quick introduction, a quick hello and that was it; there were more invitees for the host to welcome. An hour and a half later, the host was milling around the venue, when he stopped and again spoke to us. He addressed my girlfriend by name, which I found really surprising. He was able to remember her name under the hardest circumstances. He would have met dozens of people that night.
It left a big impression on me. I was reminded of one of Dale Carnegie’s principles in his book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People‘:
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
I had just seen a real world example of this. It was amazing the difference a name could make.
The next day, inspired by the memory of the host, I set off to improve my memory. A quick search on Google and I found a well rated book called ‘Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything‘ by Joshua Foer. Five minutes later, I was on the couch listening to the beginning of the nine hour audiobook.
Two hours into the book and I already had some strategies to improve my memory.
The first strategy sounds simple. So simple that I didn’t expect it to work.
On my first day back at work, I used my lunch break to test the theory. I explained the method to my friend Jack;
“Imagine a path that you travel on a regular basis. You maybe walking, driving or riding a bike.”
“Now, I will write down a list of 10 things, actually, make it 12…that I will read out. As I read them, try and integrate them into the well known path. They maybe stuck on a wall or at a traffic light that you stop at”
We played the memory game and I was really impressed by the results. Jack was able to remember all 12 items!
I decided that Jack may just be good at remembering things, and I asked him to perform the same experiment on me.
12 items later, I was surprised to say that I remembered all of the items! This is coming from the guy that struggles with just three or four items normally.
“You think that’s cool?” Jack said
“Well I have another method which will blow your mind”
Jack ripped a piece of paper out of a notebook and begun writing a list of items. The list was as follows:
“Okay, now are you just going to remember them?” I asked, feeling a little underwhelmed after the cool trick I just showed him.
“No, this will help you remember other lists!” He said, bemused by my ignorance.
He went on to explain that each of the items listed represented the number it was attached to. The number 1 looks like a hammer, a 2 looks like a snake, 3 looks like boobs and so on.
“I always forget 5…it’s a hat…well a man with hat” he said.
It was a stretch. but after a few minutes of memorising the items, 5 really looked like a man with a hat and I stopped confusing 3 for a snake.
Now that I had that sorted, I could use it as a tool. Now when I was given a list of items, similar to the path strategy, I would associate each item with the memory list (hammer, snake .etc) I had made.
For instance, the first item on the list to remember was ‘fireworks’, I remembered this by picturing me hitting a firework with a hammer and it exploding everywhere.
A few minutes later, I was able to repeat the list Jack gave me with 100% accuracy, the first time!
Then Jack showed me how I could take it beyond 10 items.
“So for the next 10 numbers, incorporate ice to the image, in the 20s add fire”
By the end of it, we were both remembering 25 items.
We compared our imaginations. “oh, I was thinking of The Beatles playing snake-guitars in firey hell” Jack said, explaining his image for number 22, The Beatles.
After one quick encounter, 2 hours of an audiobook and a lunch break; I was truly inspired, that even me, the guy that forgot where he put the keys to the apartment (sorry Breana), could remember things!
I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the book and take my memory even further!
I have been a long listener of radio, although, in the past five years, I have spent more time listening to audiobooks, podcasts and live streams. I like the audio format. It gives my eyes a break, after looking at computer screens all day. I understand that I am an outlier. Most people are happy with just listening to the radio, however, as technology advances and new applications are made mainstream, there will be a shift.
Podcasting was never going to kill radio. Radio has many advantages over it, advantages which will soon be be made redundant by the availability of mobile high speed Internet and other technologies — more on that later.
Why I think radio is great: It’s live, local, interactive and mixes both music and spoken word.
Podcasting was never going to be able to compete in a mainstream way with radio. Podcasting, by design, is pre-recorded and thanks to licensing restrictions, is unable to play mainstream music. Not being ‘live’ means that podcasts can never be truly ‘interactive’.
Anyone that thinks the demise of radio (as we know it) will be thanks to Podcasting is wrong and short sighted.
In Australia there are 745 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people, that’s 16.7 million motor vehicles in total. There is no doubting that the number one form of entertainment in motor vehicles is the radio. Audio is easy to consume while driving and currently, radio is the easiest way for the average Australian to listen to a live audio broadcasts in their cars. Thanks to the modernisation of car stereo systems and the increasing availability of mobile high speed Internet connections, this is starting to change.
A recent example of this is the transformation of the camera. If 15 years ago, someone said that in 2012, A majority of the population in Australia would carry a camera around in their pockets, they would be laughed at. Thanks to hindsight, we know that in fact, a good portion of the population DO carry cameras with them everywhere! Cameras like the Samsung Galaxy Camera are coming out that have a SIM card holder built in. It’s not a phone. It’s a camera. Now people can upload their photos straight from their camera without a cable or WiFi.
The availability of data is increasingly exponentially. I believe that it won’t be uncommon for a car to have a data plan in 5 years.
There are a myriad of media streaming services popping up offering an å La carte experience. An on demand approach which gives the user access to EVERYTHING whenever they want it. The movie streaming service Netflix is the perfect example of this. Netflix has thousands of movies and TV shows available for streaming to its customers. When I first used Netflix, I felt overwhelmed — So many choices, what should I watch?
I quickly discovered the power of Netflix’s recommendation engine. Thanks to its refined algorithm and curated genre lists, I was quickly able to get passed the noise and make a choice on what to watch. Without this curated approach, I would have spent more time searching for a movie than actually watching one.
Although its exciting for users to have access to ‘thousands of movies’ or ‘millions of music tracks’ thanks to the emergence of streaming services, the value actually lies in the services’ ability to curate an enjoyable experience based on the users’ tastes.
Radio stations are curators. They take a target demographic and deliver them music, spoken word and advertising based on the demographics interests. The music streaming service Pandora is a modernised version of this approach — You like Lady Gaga, well you will probably like Miley Cyrus.
The music streaming service Spotify adds another layer — social. Now your friends can curate the music for you. You can even create your own playlists, picking tracks from multiple playlists from different friends. You could pick a track from the 70s, then follow it up with a Hanson track — there aren’t any radio stations that can effectively provide that type of diversity.
Given the Internet’s openness, Internet radio is fragmented; making it difficult for users. Mobile application including TuneIn Radio are coming close to providing a more cohesive experience for listeners, but this is at a very basic level.
Radio is easy to access thanks to it’s walled-garden approach. Licenses are expensive which means that Joe Blow down the street can’t have BlowFM.
Internet radio is different. Anyone can create their own station with little audio equipment, a streaming host and an Internet connection. As long as Joe doesn’t expect to play mainstream music. That going to cost.
Here is an example of how I think it could work. I am a bit naive and I’m a dreamer. So if you think this won’t work, let me know.
Take Spotify and turn it into a scheduler. Spotify connects to your Facebook. It finds the audio shows’ pages you like on Facebook. Spotify generates a live schedule based on your tastes. You like Hamish & Andy — great, spotify adds H&A to your schedule whenever they are live. You like 3AW on Facebook. Spotify will need some more information here. A dropdown appears, asking which components you enjoy. You like their local news — no worries — now select which hours you would like it to play. Spotify now connects to your Twitter account. Oh, you like the tech segment on KFI radio in California? No worries. Spotify adds it to your schedule.
A few minutes later, you have filled your day with content, including spotify playlists you enjoy for when your favourite talk shows aren’t on.
Now, whenever you open the app, turn on your connected car, or set your alarm clock, you will hear LIVE content that you want to hear, from anywhere around the world.
Spotify delivers LOCAL ads to you, with the majority of the royalty revenue going to the show you are listening to. Don’t want to listen to ads with certain shows? Pay the shows’ premium subscription.
You are essentially curating your own radio station. Lots of people won’t have the desire to do so, which is where their ‘influencer’ friends do it for them. ‘I really like Josh’s taste in this sort of think, I will just follow his station’.
There you have it. That’s how I think/hope radio will be in 5 years. Tell me why I’m wrong.
The opinions and views expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer or anyone else that I’m affiliated with.
I love the new year. It’s the perfect chance to reflect on the past year and set some goals for the year to come. Here are my goals for 2013:
The closest I have ever gotten to meditation is laying down listening to music. Given my work and interests, my brain is constantly on, which can be tiring and unhealthy. I have wanted to learn to meditate for several years and 2013 is the perfect time.
I have said ‘goodbye’ to my car, with the goal to walk more. Over the past month, I have walked to and from work each day, which has been great. As well as this habit, I would like to introduce more movement into my work; get up more and walk around.
A couple of years ago, I attended a screenwriting class. I learned a lot and found it very inspiring. One thing that the class taught me was the power of habit. Write a page of script a day — it might only take 30 minutes a day — and in 90 days you have a feature film script! I also plan to blog more, hence the new personal blog. The blog is less about people reading it and more for myself, although if you are reading it — welcome, take a seat.
I love to push myself to do new and exciting things all of the time. I think it’s a great quality to have, unless you do it to the extreme. By being too goal orientated and future focused, I sometimes miss the special moments that are happening around me. Being present means that I take the time to stop and smell the roses, even if there are nicer roses a block down the road.
No crazy diets, just more mindful on what I put in to my body and how it affects me. I want to eat more fresh food from the ground and less processed, prepackaged foods.
I want to experience everything the World has to offer. I have booked my next trip to the USA in June for 3 weeks with my girlfriend, Breana. I also want to start preparing for long term world travel.