Tag Archive: Accountability


Quotidian Manifesto

Changing course is easy. Never reverting is hard.

Half way through the year and I find myself teetering on the edge of relapse. Some old habits are creeping back into my daily routine. I’m trying to fight them off. As part of that effort, here is a reminder of what I set forth to quit, start and substitute.

Quit

Being Ignorant – In this information age there is no legitimate defense for prolonged stupidity; you are a Google search away from insight and intelligence. Therefore, immerse yourself in books, online articles and videos focused on the long term effects of diet (good vs. bad) and exercise (regular vs. none). If nothing else, you’ll be smarter and preemptive guilt will help you avoid indulging late night cravings or spending the night in front of the TV.

Excusing Neglect – Tired. Overweight. Dispassionate. Lethargic. These things are not okay and should not be tolerated. Stop rationalizing your current state under the guise of more pressing and important concerns—spouse, kids, work, house, finances, etc. Your performance in all these areas is directly affected by your mental and physical health, so don’t ignore your daily diet and exercise requirements.

Eating Sweets – Most often sugars provide nothing than empty calories and momentary gratification. In exchange for this you incrementally give away your waistline and long-term health. It’s a bad deal. Give them up. Completely. It will be one of the hardest daily changes to maintain, but will pay out big over the long term. To ease your pain, allow one exception each day: a 30 calorie 85%+ cacao chocolate square.

Mindless Snacking – Whenever hungry outside of meal time, force yourself to wait ten minutes before heading to the kitchen; odds are the desire will pass. If it doesn’t, go ahead and snack on fruit. And after dinner, no eating. Period.

Start

Creating Accountability – Establish clear consequences (positive and negative) for your behavior. Whenever possible, make them visual and emotional. Weigh yourself everyday and display it on a Post-It stuck to the bathroom mirror. Use smaller plates and dish at the counter rather than the table so you have to physically get up for more food. Publicly track your exercise activity, books consumed and ideas generated. And don’t leave yourself an easy return to the past—throw out or donate clothes once they become too big or oversized, pay the fee and update your drivers license photo and weight, and blog about your successes and failures.

Thinking Big – Work on building or creating something bigger than yourself. Don’t worry about accomplishing it, just focus on the pursuit and know achievements will follow. Identify others with whom you can partner, collaborate and create. Give away your ideas, especially to those who are more capable of implementing them. Maintain an innovation wall. Practice edge craft. Plan, book and reserve your next vacation at least 9 months in advance. Create a life list.

Exercising – Incorporate at least 30+ minutes of physical activity into your day five times each week. Elliptical is fine, but mix it up; do some running, basketball, swimming and weight lifting as well. In addition, adopt a daily routine that includes stretching, sit ups and push ups.


Substitute

Productive for Busy – Get things done and ship everyday. Identify fixed commitments, tasks that cannot be delayed without rapidly increasing penalty (cooking, exercise, If it can be completed in under two minutes, do it. If not, list it. Don’t browse the internet during lunch. Instead, watch one TED or BigThink video (20 minutes and your out). Limit email checks to three times a day—morning, lunch and 30 minutes before end of business—and advise everyone of this schedule and your cell number. Blog everyday for at least 30 minutes and publish whenever a post is 90% finished; if you work on it for more than three consecutive days, move on to a new idea.

Nutrients for Calories – Mind your portions, but don’t starve yourself. Instead, swap out high fat, high sugar and low nutrition foods for lean, nutrient rich superfoods. Consume more fruits and vegetables. Lots of them. Don’t skip breakfast. Drink unsweetened iced tea in place of soda; cut out red meats and use portobello and shiitake mushrooms in their place; snack on frozen grapes and fruit smoothies rather than ice cream. Be sure to start every morning with a cup of green tea, a hard boiled egg and some fruit with non-fat yogurt and a little granola. And supplement one of your meals with a capsule cocktail that includes multivitamins, fish and flax oil, turmeric and curcumin.

Books for TV – Instead of ending the day falling asleep on the couch in front of the television, conclude by reading a book in bed. Trade out mental sedation for intellectual stimulation. And when you do want to watch something, do it while on exercising.

There are many more things to quit, start and substitute, but this list will do for now.

Consumption

We are keenly aware of the perils and dangers associated with overeating. Obesity. Higher blood pressure. Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

We are also aware of the perils and dangers associated with overspending. Debt. Higher income requirements. Increased risk of credit problems, foreclosure and bankruptcy.

And yet we collectively continue to consume more than we need.

We eat too much sugar, cholesterol and saturated fats. We spend too much on designer shoes, smart phones and LED flat screens. We feast on too many deserts, red meat and coffee. We buy too many toys, clothes and electronics. We consume all these things because superficially we believe we must—to be happy, to be satisfied, to be successful and even to help the economy.

Stop fooling yourself.

And recognize our current economy is built on consumption; therefore the system isn’t going to change anytime soon because too many people are dependent on the system. Retailers, manufacturers, restaurant owners, homebuilders and farmers need you to keep consuming. As do credit card companies, weight loss clinics, loan officers, personal trainers, debt consultants and dietitians.

To prosper in this environment, you need to get two things under control: diet and budget. Do that and you’ll be way ahead of most.

No Comment

When you go to an art gallery do you expect comment cards to be available next to each painting? When you buy a book do you assume there will be an opportunity to express your thoughts directly to the author? And when you watch a movie, are you disappointed if not given a means to immediately provide feedback to the director?

Probably not. Then why is a blog expected to enable comments?

I can see value in comments if there is a desire to foster an online dialog, an intent to build a community or an ambition to connect with a broader audience. But that is not the case with this blog. As I have stated before, the purpose here is to create personal accountability and exercise my mental faculties. Making it public and promoting it within my small network is nothing more than a motivation tactic.

Simply put, this blog is personal. And so, I have not enabled comments and most likely never will.

But that doesn’t mean I am not open to feedback, criticism or opposing viewpoints. If you want to show approval or appreciation for a post, click the “+” button next to the heart icon located to the right of the title. And if this is not sufficient, send me an email and we can have a one-to-one exchange.

Beyond that, I have no comment.

Personal Investment

An initial meeting with an investment advisor typically begins with a series of questions designed to find out what level of risk you are willing to accept.  Along those lines, consider the following investment scenarios:

A) You invested $50K in college tuition and after three years have received no visibility to how you have performed—no report card, no grades, no professor comments, nothing.  Are you willing to write a check for the fourth year and commit to another $50K for graduate school?

B) Over a five year period you invested $50K in a retirement plan that never provided visibility to its financial performance—no quarterly reports, no growth charts, no portfolio tables, nothing. How willing are you to continue giving them a portion of your paycheck?  Are you in for another $50K?

C) You invested $50K in a new business venture that never reported back to you its revenues or expenses—no cash flow statements, no profit-loss analysis, nothing. Are you interested in investing another $50K in this company?

Odds are none of these investment scenarios are attractive or appealing to you. Understandably, there is an unwillingness to invest in anything that lacks accountability or fails to provide visibility to its performance.

And this seems perfectly reasonable.  We shouldn’t assume simply attending classes will lead to graduation; and we shouldn’t assume blindly contributing to a 401k will yield enough money for retirement; and we shouldn’t assume a business is profitable simply because it keeps its doors open. To fully leverage an investment, we need visibility to its performance so we can continually evaluate its return.  And if that isn’t possible, we should be hesitant to invest more. Right?

So what about you? How much have you invested in yourself over the last few years? Let’s assume you’re working full-time and require another twelve hours each day for sleeping, eating and general health needs. That leaves you with roughly 2,300 discretionary hours each year to invest however you desire. Given the U.S. Census Bureau estimates median annual earnings for men working full-time in 2008 was $46K+, or roughly $22 per hour, means each year you have an opportunity to invest roughly $50K in yourself.

So how is that investment performing? Is it paying dividends? How do you know?

If you don’t, are you assuming showing up, blindly contributing and keeping your doors open will eventually provide you with a solid return? And if you weren’t willing to accept that level of risk in any of the scenarios above, what is different when it comes to your time?

I am no longer comfortable with such an investment strategy. I realize my time is limited, so I must invest wisely.

Exercise

Fitness Room at The River House Resort & Spa | Chiang Rai, Thailand

I consider this entry my final “test post”, as the site is is now fully functional and I have a pretty good command of what is needed for content creation.

And so far I am finding little joy in writing this blog.

While I get some satisfaction publishing a new post, the process is more work than fun. Perhaps that will change. Probably not. Regardless, I believe blogging about the development of 2MinuteGenius.com is necessary to build momentum, shape ideas, tone content and maintain focus.

In short, I need the exercise.  But how much?

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends healthy adults (ages 18–65) should be getting at least 30 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise five days of the week.  Or if this is too much to fit in your schedule, you can do “vigorously intense” exercise 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.

From a physical standpoint, I am not hitting either of those marks.  That needs to change as well.

So moving forward, the goal is to hit the elliptical machine five times a week and this blog at least three times.  In order to create some accountability, I have added a blog post calendar to the footer of the site, as well as a link to my physical exercise log (scroll down).

I’m tired already.

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