Headspace has a 40% off sale for all of 2019 (as of Dec 11, 2018). They have some free meditations you can check out, and I got hooked on their sleep courses, which you give you nice little wind-downs with fun ambient settings to fall asleep to (hopefully).

My First 30 Days of Push Ups

I credit the book “Atomic Habits” for getting me going in the right direction. “You do not rise to the level of your goals—you fall to the level of your systems.”

It’s nice to have a goal – “I WANT A STRONG UPPER BODY!” Sure. But as author James Clear lays out, you need a system.

My new system starts the night before.

I plug in my phone, and it stays on the other side of the room. This way I’m not tempted to wake up and start scrolling.

Next, I cover my phone with a note written from the previous night. At night I got goals, strength, power! In the morning, ahhh, I just want to crawl back under the covers. But with a note on my phone that says, “HEY! DO YOUR PUSHUPS,” it’s snaps me back to the system.

Oh, another part of my system is I can’t do my push ups until I stretch for 15 minutes. That’s another goal – stretching for 30 minutes a day. That, and launching right into push ups probably isn’t too good on the muscles anyways, so yeah, I get down on my mat and go through a stretch routine.

After my timer goes off at 15 minutes, then I can finally do my push ups. I started at five (don’t start your habit off by making it too difficult), but now I’m up to 10. They’re still not easy, but I’m building a habit, not training for a competition.

Once I’ve stretched and done my push ups, I really have no desire to crawl back into bed now with my phone. The blood is flowing, heart is pumping – let’s go! Make that bed! Make breakfast! Drink coffee!

Then, all without too much effort, my day is off to a great start. That’s my system.

 

Making Space

A timely arrival in my inbox, wise words from Derek Sivers,

“Life can be improved by adding, or by subtracting. The world pushes us to add, because that benefits them. But the secret is to focus on subtracting.”

Subtracting opens space.

Space, like wide open areas. Breathe the air and enjoy the views.

Space, like fewer notes to allow a song to breathe.

Space, surfaces cleared, tidy, with purpose and reason.

Space, as giving your brain a break.

Subtracting as a strategy in 2018 seems crazy pants, but I think we’re onto something here.

What is the Matrix

I was on Xanga in the late 90s. Then started a music blog in 2001. In recent years most writing I’ve done has been in the orbit of online marketing, social media, and such.

There was a time before all that when making music was most important. Playing the bass, dabbling with creating more music on the computer, I even put some music on Bandcamp at one point.

Where did I lose that? It’s not just that I know how the sausage is made, both from the editorial side of things, and also the label and publicist angle. For whatever reason, I see the doom and gloom of it. My naive zest from the 90s gone. Not in the sense that I thought I was going to “make it,” but just that child-like joy in “just” making something to make it.

Creating for the sake of creating, and not for some external validation, press, or east coast tour. My mind keeps taking me there, as if without those goals what’s the point. I don’t know how to pluck that from my thoughts.

Lately I’ve been forcing myself to open up Abelton Live and create something each day. Not to write full songs, and think of an album, or plan who will produce my EP – very far from it. I just want to rediscover that creative habit again, and honor the muse again.

Step Back to Move Forward

An album is linear, and a movie, and the calendar year. It’s planned out, mapped out, and can’t deviate. Song one comes before track two, the dramatic motorcycle chase follows the fight scene, May comes after April. That’s the way it goes.

Life, however, moves. Ups and downs, peaks and valleys, sure.

One of my best career moves was ditching a sure thing (full-time AV tech a NYC university) for something totally uncertain (a three month contract at AOL). Leaving a high paying job for a lower paying one, which led to the right conversations which set me on the path I’m on today (which is still working in music in 2018).

Nothing in permanent, change is always coming, so buckle up and do what you can.

All in With Daily Burn

Well, I gave Aaptiv a shot, but it just wasn’t for me. I need visuals and I need people.

So it’s back to Daily Burn.

I’ve flirted with the service about a year ago, but balked at the price (it starts around $12/mo) on top of a $20/mo gym membership. But since I only really use the gym for the treadmill and rowing machine, well I cancelled the gym and all in with Daily Burn.

Every weekday morning at 9am Daily Burn has a LIVE streaming workout. Real people, all different abilities, and the trainers are absolute characters. Sure, the whole WORKOUT thing can be cheesy for folks like me, right? I’m a metal head computer nerd, right? Who are these people with bubbly personalities and corny jokes?

Well, it turns out they’re pretty great, and much more encouraging compared to canned audio saying, “you’re doing awesome!” So they can keep up with their bubbly selves, because they keep me going.

The 30 minute workouts leave me worn out, sweaty, occasionally cursing, and ready to die, so I feel like we’re off to a good start. It’s weird to pretty much feel like I’m not in shape doing these workouts when just a few weeks ago I completed a half-marathon, but, I know by doing these workouts, and movements, and cardio, and push ups (oh my god) that I’ll be a faster, stronger runner, and that’s what I want to gain from all this.

More Screen Time Thoughts

In a week I looked at Instagram for about seven hours. Before I get out of bed, have a look. Waiting for my french press to brew. In line at the bank. After a run. These tiny moments add up.

And maybe it’s not all about all the OTHER things I could have done with that time, like worked, or read a book, or stretched, but all the nothingness I could have done.

To stare out the window, look at the trees, a late night walk. Life can’t just be about maximizing every single hour, right?

Working Out is Hard

If you ask me to run 10 miles in any direction, sure. I can do it.

Ask me to do burpees for 30 seconds and, well… I can do it, but I won’t like it.

My heart rate is just maxed, my shoulders and arms hurt, I’m probably sweating everywhere.

And I know this is why I need to do more working out stuff. Like I said, I can run comfortably for 10 miles. I can bang up some hills, even do a little speed here and there.

Push ups? Leg scissors? Squat jumps? Kill me now.

As Seth Godin recently wrote in “A note from 2030“:

“Twelve years from now, your future self is going to thank you for something you did today, for an asset you began to build, a habit you formed, a seed you planted.”

Dammit, he’s right.

I started running in 2016, and today in 2018 I am super thankful I started then! I really need to honor that note from 2030, and get doing more work out / cross training / weight lifting.

Start It Now

The best time to start getting into shape, learning to play the guitar, starting a meditation practice, quitting smoking was 10 years ago. The next best time now is right now.

Yes sure, I started running back in 2016 and just ran a half marathon and didn’t die. But you know what I didn’t keep doing from way back in 2016? Push-ups.

In my flurry of “I’m gonna eat better, and start running” excitement, I also downloaded one of those “do a 100 push ups a day” apps. I stuck with it for a few weeks, then… just sorta stopped. If I would have kept with it, for over two years?! Damn, my upper body would be stoked right now.

But I didn’t love doing push ups, I loved running in the woods. So, I ran.

These days I want to run farther, and a little bit faster. And allllll the advice I see out there is… doing strength training (that includes push-ups).

I think with any of this stuff, overlooking the temporary pain in the now to get the completely unknown thing in the future. Somehow I figured if I keep running then someday I’ll be able to run farther. Right now, mentally, I can’t put together that equation; if I do a few push ups today, a few years from now I’ll have more upper body strength which will help me run better.

 

 

Yoga Ain’t Just for White Folks

Yoga has always intrigued me, but even as a white man with a bit of a belly I still feel like I don’t fit the proper look. I know I’m wrong, of course, because as a white dude I “belong” everywhere. But damn, these wonderful humans are inspiring and powerful and wonderful. (via, Kottke)