Don't Let Your Life Get Stuck in Maintenance Mode

renovate photoI work in an IT office where we talk about maintenance, service level and projects a lot. Like, all day sometimes.Maintenance is the work you do on an ongoing basis. It doesn’t change much, it can be repetitive. It’s basically keeping the lights on and the email running.Service level is how much you are giving your clients on a regular basis. If you keep systems running to do email that’s one service level. If you want to give them more, you increase your service level.Projects are new things that can increase efficiency or increase your service level. They’re new things that change how you do things or what clients can do. Projects are planned, start, then end and are gone. They have a start date and an end date.This is a quick description of an IT office. But it’s a lot like your life.You have maintenance that you do every day or every week to keep things going. You eat, work and do laundry. Some of these things are literally to keep the lights running in your house by paying your bills. Some of them more metaphorically keep the lights on by feeding you, clothing you, and entertaining you.What you do each week is your service level. Those are the things that your maintenance affords you. If you want more, then you are going to get to a higher level of service. You’ll need more money, skills or people to get what you want. To get those things, you’ll need to start a project.Projects change the service level in your life. If you want to eat better then you can do a 30 day challenge (a project) to eat paleo. After that project is complete your nutritional service level will be higher. You will be eating better.If you want to get fit, then you might start a Couch to 5k program (a project). This will increase your fitness service level, you will have more energy and be stronger.This service level are what you can do. It’s not for external clients or friends or family. It's for yourself. You will feel better after taking on a 30 day project to eat better. You will have more energy if you take on a 30 day project to run 3 times a week. You will think more clearly if you finish a 30 day meditation project.If you are stuck in maintenance for the rest of your life, things will get boring fast. People stuck in maintenance will have a mid-life crisis. They get to retirement and wonder where it all went.Life isn’t meant to be stuck in maintenance the whole time. There are only so many days left.Always be planning a project. They make life worth living.

Being Strong to be Useful: Giving Thanks for Movement

strongman photoIt's Thanksgiving in Canada today. I'm going to add my 2 cents to the slew of other blog posts that probably came out today about what I'm thankful for. Everyone writes about that on Thanksgiving. I guess there's a reason for that.I'm always thankful for my friends and family and being born in a time and a place that affords me all the things I currently have. It makes it much easier to live an interesting futuristic lifestyle compared to 50, 100 or 300 years ago. I love playing sports but I don't think I'd make a good warrior running around on the battlefield.What I'm very thankful for recently, and this has come up a few times in the last few days, is having my health and mobility. For the most part I can run, jump, crawl, lift weights, chase the dog around, ride my bicycle and play floor hockey. And it's awesome. I love being able to move hard and fast and it certainly is a huge part of my life.At the moment, though, my back is sore from a bad landing at beach volleyball last week. I'm not moving very fast. But it won't last that long and I'll be out running, jumping and riding in no time.What being injured does show me (and more regularly than I'd like to admit) is to not take movement for granted. Never for one minute think that ease of movement will last forever. It won't. It's often one of the first thing to go when you're older. It's like your mind, if you don't use it then you'll lose it. People are losing their ability to move well at an alarming rate these days.That concern lead me to read the first story I had ever found on Methode Naturelle. Georges Hébert was an officer in the French Navy prior to First World War. He was stationed on an island in the Caribbean where a volcanic eruption threatened the lives of many people that lived there. Orchestrating a rescue, he and his crew saved some 700 people. The ordeal had a profound effect on him for one reason. Many of the people they saved did not have the fitness or the strength or save themselves or their family. They did not have the physical ability to get themselves out of harms way. Hébert would go on to form a personal motto out of the experience, "Être fort pour être utile" ("Being strong to be useful").Just reading the article in Outside magazine gave me goosebumps. After, Georges dedicated his life to spreading a fitness system based on natural movement. I believe one of the basic requirements we have as humans should be efficient movement and we have to work hard at keeping that going. Kids run around, climb trees and jump a lot. Adults should to.This idea and many others have caused me to orient my life around movement and getting a lot of it. I try not to sit still for too long. The more movement the better.We only have it for so long. Make the best of it and never take it for granted. 

Being intentional is difficult but worth it

herd photoBeing intentional is one of the best ways to make your life meaningful, satisfying and have impact.If we drift around, letting life, friends and family make all our decisions for us, we probably have an easy life but not one full of meaning. By choosing our friends, our work, our hobbies and everything else we want to have in our life intentionally, life can mean so much more.It can be tough to be intentional all the time, having to choose everything, not just going along with what the herd is doing. First you have to choose if you are going to do something different for every difference choice, and then you have to actually decide what to do. It's time consuming and uncomfortable. It can be the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day.Here are a few things I've found make it easier.One thing at a timeAs with all habits and changes, go one step at a time. Don't try and do 10 different things at once. You'll get burnt out and give up. Being intentional is hard work. It's a lot of thinking and planning and sometimes going against the people around you. Take it one step at a time and you'll see more success.PlanningPlan ahead. If you are purely hoping that you'll be able to do what you want to do when the time comes no matter what then you might be mistaken. If you haven't thought about what you want ahead of time then you may not even know. You'll be pressured to do what the group is doing. You'll be pressured to do what society wants you to do. Having thought about it ahead of time makes it much more likely to happen.Support GroupHaving a group you can rely on to talk and ask questions is crucial. It's best face to face but there are also many online. Don't worry about not being able to find one, they are out there. You will probably have to do some digging though. The best one is probably not the first you'll find but something is better than nothing. Always be looking and keep the best groups close.AlignmentHow can you align other many activities together? If a few activities are all heading in the right direction then they might just play off each other. Often healthy intentions can build off one another. You start eating healthy because you've been going to the gym a lot and don't want to waste all that hard work. Being intentional about your health and what you eat and how much you move is a very good foundational block for your life but it can be really hard to get started. If it aligns with many other things in your life then it will be easier to keep going.Photo by cocoparisienne

Are you drifiting, driving or designing?

At the World Domination Summit in Portland this year, Michael Hyatt took the stage and told some stories about his alcoholic father. The stories started out depressing but he got to his main point: his father was drifting through life.Michael couldn't handle the thought of doing the same himself and so set himself on a path through life that ensured he worked hard and was successful. You would call him driven.He claims that "overcorrection" from seeing his father drift through life to his own driven path was a mistake. Being driven can make you successful in the traditional sense of the word but not happy. Driven looks great on paper but someone else is actually steering. Maybe parents. Maybe society. Maybe fear. But at no point during that driven time didn't Michael ask what he really wanted.

Design it

He says there's something in the middle, something better, something called the Designed Life. The Designed Life is more intentional, more personal and more fulfilling. You work hard and achieve your goals in a designed life but they are your goals. Not your parents. Not societies. Not ones created out of fear.In order to remind himself that he's designing his life and not just blindly striving for some externally set goals he asks himself 3 questions every day.1. How do I want to be remembered?2. What is important to me?3. What single brave decision do I need to make today?

How are you living?

Are you aimlessly drifting?Are you blindly driving somewhere?Or are you making intentional choices to put the pieces you want together for your life plans and designing your life?You get to choose.

The 2014 Superhero Challenge

Resolutions? Ick.January is a time for resolutions. I've always hated resolutions, but not because they aren't a challenge or they don't make your life better or they aren't fun. Resolutions just seem to  have such negative connotations for most people. Making a commitment at the beginning of the year to make your life better in one small way could be such a good idea but most people never follow through.  Most resolution talk 1 month into a new year inevitably ends up with "I've already broken mine" or "I'm doomed to fail. Why start?"I've always set resolutions but I've never made a solid commitment to them all year long, until now, I've never made resolutions that were actually doable and I actually really wanted. They are fun for a bit and then it's back to normal, comfortable life.I read a great blog post on resolution tips for entrepreneurs recently and this fits in well with one of the tips: Get uncomfortable.My resolutions this year are going to be uncomfortable. Let's get into it.

What is the Superhero Challenge?

I'm a firm believer in hormesis which is the idea that when you push your body it will adapt to what small stresses you put on it. Lots of stress every day is definitely bad and leads to me freaking out and doing absolutely nothing for a few days while I recover. Little stresses here and there, lead to better adaptation and systems to handle them.All of the things in the challenge I've been working on in one way or another, and this is just a concerted push to the next level for each of them. They aren't brand new to me. Why not do them all at the same time?Time is the huge limiter, but when you want to do something and you don't have enough time, you hack it down to make it fit, right? I like living the multipotentialite or autodidact life and doing a lot of different things so I've come to the conclusion that I'm just going to have to learn how to work faster, not do less.Every part of this challenge is about getting healthier and working more on things I love. Instead of dragging on a slow shift in my life to doing more of what I love, I'd rather just upend the entire system of my life and reset things. What better time to do that than at the beginning of a new year. 

How this Challenge is going to work

All my past resolutions have failed because I forgot about them. They were were never integrated into my life in any way. There were no reminders. There was no incentives to keep going. There were no stakes if I failed. There was no measurement. All the things you are supposed to do to keep proper goals over a long term, I did none of them. No none of them lasted longer than a few weeks.Journaling has changed all that. I've never journaled before in my life but writing almost every day in 2013 changed that completely. I didn't get to journal every single day but I made it to 270 entries. I have a notebook in Evernote that all the entries go into, one for each day, and I can add to it over the day from any device I'm on. This completely changed journaling for me. I regularly write over 2000 words.For this challenge, I keep a list of what I'm measuring on my goals at the top of each journal entry. I add to them over the day when I complete something. Keeping this list in front of my face all day every day is the only way it's all going to get done. Best part of all is that I write down all my ideas for making it work better the next day right there in my journal. I'm bringing out my implementation intentions in force.All the goals have measurements. Each day will have measurements.  Each day I have a number I want to hit for something, or zero for something I'm stopping. I'm trying hard to not make any judgements when I miss a day on something, just write the number for the day and move on. I used to beat myself up for not getting something perfect the first time. Now I realize that's a ridiculous expectation, especially for something this hard. Measuring progress is very important for motivation. If I don't see any numbers, I'd probably stop within a few days. Counting down the days until I'm finished is a huge pull for me.Here's what's in the challenge. 

The List: What's in this crazy challenge?

Daily JournalingThis is the foundation of the challenge. Not only is it strengthening my journaling habit, it's also how I keep track and remember everything I'm doing each day. The challenge activities aren't hugely time consuming but there are a lot of them.  Without looking at my journal every day, I don't think any of this would happen. This is one of the year long goals. I'm aiming for over 300 journal entries this year.Daily WritingJournaling and writing are a big part of this challenge. Some of it will be in my journal, some will be for sections of one of the websites. I'll be working on at least one article every day. I had the grand vision of publishing an article a day but with my limited amount of time, that's not going to happen. Every few days, I'll be able to put out an article or section of a new Epic Guide I'm working on. This exercise is to help keep organized, get my thoughts out of my head and down on paper, and create digital products and blog post for PureOutside. This will most likely continue at some level all year.Daily MeditationMeditation has slowly grown into something I'm seeing everywhere but haven't had the patience to really put into practice myself. By some accounts, it's the wonder drug, and solves many different problems (usually ones that are mostly in your head). Like all things, the benefits come after regular practice so that's what this will start. This is another goal that will continue all year.Daily ExerciseI'm pretty good at exercising regularly but it can get tough with so much going on sometimes. I stretch and do a basic workout in the mornings and then head to CrossFit after work 2 times a week. I'm at least walking the dog after work most days but sometimes it's a run. A few years back I got sick of doing a ton of exercising over the summer, only to lose it all in the winter plus 10 pounds. I told myself I'd never do that again, and that winter was for continuing my exercise and working out, not reversing it. My goal is to be ahead of where I was last year before summer starts so that I can progress even further.Strict PaleoStrict paleo for 2 months. No gluten, no dairy. Some sweet potatoes to keep up the carbs for working out. My goal is to stay off the rice as well but we'll see how my workouts go. If I'm tanking every workout then I'll have to work something back in. I did a strict paleo challege for 6 weeks last year and it was fantastic... after the first week. Once we got our process and recipes sorted it worked well.No coffeeThis is going to be the hardest thing on the list. I sit in front of a computer all day around a bunch of coffee drinkers. It's excruciating sometimes keeping myself away from it. The caffeine draw goes away but the rest of the habits that go along with coffee drinking are pretty fierce. That combined with every story I read comes from some freelancer or entrepreneur in a coffee shop somewhere with their Macbook Pro, moleskin note book and, you guessed it, a coffee. Apparently the writing world runs on coffee.8 hours sleepGetting up at 5am is great if you can get to bed early enough. Last year I started getting up at 5am but was still up late. That definitely doesn't work. To shift your wake up time you have to shift your bed time. The coffee was making it more difficult so now that that's out, it's much easier to get to sleep at a decent hour. This one takes constant vigilance. If I stop thinking about it, I'm instantly back in my old routine.No procrastinationProcrastination is evil and it can creep into everything stalling projects, killing momentum and preventing anything from moving forward. If you can nip procrastination in the bud and push through before it even can come up, then you're well on your way to getting a ton of stuff done. I'm trying out the Getting Things Done method of doing something right away if it's going to take less than two minutes.Planning the next dayPart of each days journal is a section about the plan for the next day. This helps find problems before they happen and smooth the way for each of the things I'm trying to do in the challenge. When you pre-organize everything, you run into far fewer problems. The times when you're in a rush and things just aren't working are when you are going to say screw it and toss those resolutions in the trash. If you can organize everything before-hand your day will go more smoothly.Book ReadingI read like crazy already, blog posts, books, magazines, anything I can get my hands on. Good ideas have to have a good base and books are the best. I used to think blog posts would take over the world but after trying to seriously learn complex new skills and ideas by blog post I tossed that idea. Blog posts are fragmented ideas. They are great when they are organized into something bigger showing the whole picture but so few people do that. Books are whole ideas. They show the whole picture. They give you the background, all the steps, all the information. The problem with books is they take so long to read. My goal for the challenge is to actually finish a bunch of the books I've started.Slowing down and relaxingRushing all the time doesn't mean you'll be more productive. It really just means you'll be more stressed. I'm learning that now. Moving slowly and intentionally is far better than flailing. You probably get more done in the long run too because you're not redoing all the things you flailed through. Even typing and walking slower than usual reminds me of this idea. I write out stories of times during the day where I catch myself rushing and slowing down in my journal.January CrossFit Challenge2014 pullups, pushups and dips. That's the challenge for January at the CrossFit Nanaimo gym. Our combined total for the month of pullups, puhups and dips should be over 2,014 reps. This is about 70 per day minus a few. I'm front-loading them when I can because I know I'll miss a few here and there. The challenge with this is one is doing them throughout the day. 70 pushups all at once is tough. And when you miss a day you have to do 140 in a day. Even harder. It's totally doable though. 5 here, 5 there. Another great use for implementation intentions. For example, when I get up to get a glass of water, do 5 pushups. When I go to the bathroom, do 5 dips on the bathtub. 

Why is it going to be hard?

Resolutions are a tough cookie to crack. They often get forgotten and missed as the year goes on. What was once a fiery, intense, save-the-world kind of idea and resolution becomes "I'll do it later" 2 months in. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen with mine.So many things to rememberOne of the cardinal rules with resolutions and behaviour change is one thing at a time. Only do one thing at a time, they say. It makes sense. The more things you have on your plate, the less you can focus on each. Changing behaviour requires an enormous amount of thought and willpower and at the end of the a long day the motivation to do that new workout drops sharply. I'm going to use my journal to keep a checklist for each day front and centre. I look at my journal at least 3 times a day writing ideas and completing my checklist. This has worked so far with smaller lists but this one is much larger.PlanningDoing new things requires more planning than those old routines. Routines and habits don't take much thought at all, they just happen. You don't need to think much about them. New activities require a ton of thinking, remembering, reminding, scheduling and figuring out what works and what doesn't for you each day. It would be great if there was one perfect schedule that fit everything fit nicely but there definitely isn't. Journalling helps with all things. Thinking through what went well (or not so well) with today's plans and how to best tackle tomorrow's plans is a perfect thing to jot down in your journal over the course of the day.TimeSome days there's just not enough time to do everything. Making whole Paleo food every day is time-consuming. I'm thankful there is at least one raw food restaurant in town that we can eat while we're doing strict Paleo if we need to. Having enough time for everything is part planning and part shoving other things out of the way for now and saying no. I'm getting better at saying no to new commitments but I'm still finding myself excited about some new commitment only to realize I've said yes to another time consuming activity. Doh. 

What's going to happen after March 1?

The challenge ends March 1. Things will definitely relax but I'll continue some things until the end of 2014 and then reassess.PaleoPaleo eating is going to continue at about 70-80%. I love eating paleo and it's getting easier with every challenge and new recipe we learn but it's fairly expensive and it's nice to branch out for variety once in a while. I don't like being that person in a group of friends that's always the difficult one because of their diet so I'll let it slide sometimes. The more I read about what all these new-fangled foods are doing to our bodies and minds though, I'm letting it slide less and less.CrossFitCrossFit will continue for the rest of my life. Well, maybe not that long but I can't get enough of it lately so it's going to continue at least 2 days a week for the rest of the year. The Open competition is starting in March so that's a big goal for me right now. I'd love to get through the first round of the Open to Regionals but I'm not sure I have the time to devote to training this year to get me to Regionals. I'm going to give it my best shot with the limited time I have but it's not my #1 priority.WritingAs with CrossFit journaling will continue until the end of time. It's proven to be so incredibly helpful for, well, everything. Training in CrossFit, making plans and keeping them, coming up with new ideas, making old ideas stick, "wandering around" ideas I'm thinking of, keeping resolutions, measuring my performance in anything I do. It just has so many uses.Also with all the writing, the more I do, the more products I'll create for PureOutside.com. Essentially, the more I write, the more money I'll make with digital products. That sounds like a good trade-off to me.CoffeeCoffee Rules: 1 bulletproof coffee in the morning and 1 at coffeshops with friends before 2pm. None at work. Sleep is just so essential to performing at a high level and too much coffee screws with my sleep right away.  I like the idea of sitting down with a cup of coffee and writing so I'll keep it around for now but might be turning to a green smoothie or something of that sort soon.

Wrap-Up

The best part about these challenges is the break after. You've pushed so hard through the challenge, not having to think about all the details and track every single thing once it's done is so freeing. Not everything goes back to normal after the challenges. The focus and things you learn to finish the challenge and get through every day sticks around for a while. Not everything disappears completely. All those habits you build up in the month or 2 of the challenge tend to stay after and help you out, maybe not to the same level as the challenge but better than things were before. I find myself eating much better for long after challenges are done. I've worked so hard to get to that point, it's hard to give it up. I won't be so strict and it feels good to relax but there's no reason to dive into burgers and cake right after a good, clean Challenge.I'll be writing more about how the challenge is going in the coming weeks and what I'm learning. Stay tuned.Comments? Questions?What are you doing for your resolution? How do you remind yourself and track your progress?  

My First Adventure Race

It's done!It was actually done in September 2 years ago but I pushed the post aside and totally got distracted with other things.My buddy, Ryan and I competed as a two person team in the Cumberland Momar September 2010. We did the Enduro course that was 50km long. There was a 10km kayak,  15km of running and about 25km of mountain biking.The experience was very humbling and I'm glad it's over but it was a blast at the same time.We rented a cabin with a bunch of friends at Mount Washington resort near where the after party would be held. After much preparation and double checking we hit the sac the night before dreaming of sugar plums, err, runners and bike tires.The nice part about the Momar is that there aren't a whole lot of logistics involved. We put our kayak on the beach and our bikes in the bike area next to the beach and we were ready to go. Time to warm up.I was nervous about the kayaking and the ride, both things that I know how  to do but had done very little training before hand. I was in good shape but it's much nicer to know exactly how everything is going to feel after practicing.We hopped in the kayaks and headed out onto the water before the start to warm up. The weather was mediocre, threatening to rain and a little cool. The water was fairly calm teasing us into a false sense of security. I was steering the boat and Ryan was in the front paddling away. I was having a hell of a time keeping things straight. I would focus on keeping our paddling in sync so our photos looked good but I'd forget to steer properly. Then I'd steer properly and fall out of sync with the paddling. I never did get it down pat but we made pretty good time.After the paddle, we jogged over to our bikes as fast as our dead legs would take us and rode over to the orienteering section. We hadn't done any orienteering yet. How hard can it be?  Turns out it's not actually very hard. We did spend 15 minutes searching for our third checkpoint because we though there would be tents at each one. There's not. It's a small flag with a punch to put through your card. Finally it clicked and we found it. It was a stupid easy one too!Near the end of the run and many checkpoints later I was starting to fade a little. Time for some food and something new. We hopped on our bikes and started the ride. It was great to get onto the saddle and start ripping. Except the first thing we do is a huge logging road climb. Not what I was looking for. Half way through the ride both my legs cramped up completely. I had to get off and sit down. Nothing was moving properly. They warmed up enough that I could ride but any time I pushed hard they'd start to cramp up again. I had to tone it down for the rest of the race. Not a great end but it went pretty well.We came down into Cumberland with the expectation of doing 3 checkpoints there but they had cut them out for us and most of the racers. The race was too long and people weren't going to make it if they had to complete every single one. That makes it easier!Off to the finish line! Only to be handed another map with another 12 checkpoints of orienteering to do, then we get to finish. Agony!The last few were quick but painful being in sight of the finish line.We staggered across the finish line around 7 hours. Worn out but very satisfied we packed up our gear and headed back to our place to get cleaned up for the after party, the whole reason everyone does the Momar!Adventure races had always intrigued me and I finally got my shot at one. It was terrible and exhilarating all at the same time. Most awesome things are.  

Who Tells You What You Can Do?

This #trust30 post is about the long prompt by Matt Cheuvront.Matt dares us to be bold. To get out of the flow of normal society and do something you've always dreamed about doing. You have to forget "being realistic" and start to move the other direction. The crazy one, the childish one, the mad one, and embrace the possibility that your crazy dream could come true.Amazingly there is only one thing in the way of your crazy dream coming true.But it's a big one.It's you.Think about the incredible things that Richard Branson has accomplished. He's got a worldwide brand that includes everything from flying, music, print and digital media, communications and even space travel. You don't accomplish any of that waiting around for your dreams to come true. You stop wasting your time watching TV and start to ship and hustle and do the work.I always thought it would be incredible to run a business doing something cool. I started one last year.I went sailing 2 years ago and thought it would be awesome to learn how and go on my own. I'm starting lessons next week.Since my first ride on a helicopter I said I would learn how to fly one myself. I've started a bank account called helicopter and money is automatically transferred into it every month.Once you make the decision to do something, don't stop there. Take action, do research, save money, talk about it. Do everything you can to achieve that goal. When you want something badly the universe conspires to give it to you. It gets easier and easier. Starting is the hardest part.You know who tells Richard Branson what he can and can't accomplish?Only Richard himself.What's next for you? What have you done TODAY to achieve that goal?

A Focused Post-It

I started writing with the #Trust30 group on May 31st. It's a fantastic initiative to get things moving when you're blogging and really make you think about what you're doing with your life. Even if you don't want to blog about them, you can write them out in a journal or just spend a day putting together your own thoughts. I've currently got 2 other posts about the first 3 prompts, "15 Minutes to Live" and "Today and One String Belief".Post-It Question - Jenny BlakeAfter a beautiful quote from Emerson, Jenny Blake asks us to take one of the biggest challenges in our lives at the moment and turn it into a question. My challenge right now is to focus on the work I really want to do. This turns into the question, "How can I focus on the work I really want to do?" It's a tough one for most people.In the good ol' days at university, I was under the assumption that I was supposed to go to school, get a job, buy a house, etc etc etc, in the hopes of having a good life. I never complained about the process because I didn't know better. After finding things called "blogs" and reading about all these people around the world that have broken free of jobs they don't like, I began to see that my life has yet to be written. I realized I decide what goes into that book and it certainly doesn't have to be what everyone else writes.That opened up a new can of worms. I started doing everything I could to test the waters. Trying new things, starting websites, writing about everything I thought I had an interest in. But this mostly led to a lot of work and a lot of half-done projects. I hit the wall when things got tough and then started something different. I started to eliminate things that I didn't want to do. Slowly but surely I was getting more time. I rarely watch TV. I only do things that I absolutely have to.But there was still a problem. I was still not getting as far as I wanted with my projects. I began to look more closely at where my time was going. The first thing I found was the lack of it. I didn't have much time to work on my personal projects. After my day job, cooking, cleaning, spending time with friends and family, paying bills and other such required bits of life, I wasn't left with much. Instead of the full days I pictured myself with I had a couple hours a day to really get things moving. Often I'd sit down and be surfing facebook, twitter and youtube for three quarters of that. I'd use the rest to plan out what I wanted to do that day. And sure enough, I'd end up with about 10 minutes to do real work. Split that by 6 projects. Yup, I got nowhere.This past weekend at the World Domination Summit I had the amazing opportunity to see Danielle Laporte speak. They don't call her the firestarter for nothing (the fire department actually showed up during her talk). She has an amazing talent of getting to the heart of the matter. No bullshit. Just uncomfortable questions. The answers to those questions, though, are the keys to unlocking mental roadblocks that are hindering your potential. I could just see everyone's wheels turning when she posed questions in her talk.But back to projects. Danielle talked about having cool projects and REALLY cool projects. Insert meaningful, awesome, amazing, mindblasting or lucrative instead of cool in the previous statement depending on your situation. What I took away from it was that there are tons of cool projects. But we all only have so much time. It's incredibly important to separate the cool projects and the REALLY cool projects and spend time on the latter. You really only have time for one or the other. She aggressively confirmed the idea to fully realize my goals, I'd need to stop taking every cool idea that comes along and focus on the best.It's incredibly satisfying to put a lot of effort into something meaningful to me and see something amazing come out of it. Because I'm now focusing more on what I want, wonderful things are starting to happen. I've every intention of pushing as far as I can to see where it leads me.Have you ever had an experience where good things started to happen when you actually sat down and focused on something? 

2011: The Year of the Hustle

2010 was a great year. I learned a lot. A lot went well.That said, I felt like I didn't have much direction. It was fun trying to get involved with everything that came along but in doing that I was stretching myself thin over what I was already doing. Overall the year felt like I was bouncing back and forth from starting one project to another but not finishing anything. Thus, I've decided to dub last year Year of the Flail.Flailing around last year definitely kept things interesting. But as I said, I felt like I didn't complete much. This year is going to be different though. After doing a bit of a Chris Guillebeau style review, I looked at what went well last year and laid out a plan for this year. One of my goals is to keep my projects and to-do's more structured and really push to get rid of the tasks and projects that don't get me closer to my major goals.Almost everything I'd like to focus on this year will have a project associated with it. I think I'm more likely to complete things if they've got a nice, neat "project" label on them and are prioritized and organized with all the others. I won't get down into the nitty, gritty parts of life though, like cooking, cleaning and sleeping. Everyone does those!I've separated everything here into some main categories. I ended up with quite a few other ones as well during the review but they aren't quite as interesting as these ones. They felt required. These are the ones I'm excited about and will try my hardest to get them done. The categories I included here are Work, Learning, Travel, Outdoors and Adventure. Outdoors and Adventure overlap quite a bit. Outdoors here is more for the projects about the outdoors I'm doing whereas Adventure includes running, riding, kayaking, racing and other sports.Projects for the Year of the HustleWorkWriting for PureOutside, rcThink and Island AdventurerI put these ones under work because I hope that these will some day make up the bulk of my workload. It will be an amazing day when I make a living of these sites and related projects. There was really no schedule for posting to the sites last year. Posts would just go up on the site whenever I felt like writing and that was sometimes 3 times a week and sometimes once every 2 months. This year my goal is to post once per week every Monday morning on each of the sites. So far so good. It's only been 3 weeks but I haven't fallen off the wagon yet! I'm working on building up a repository of posts for each of the sites so that if I run out of time, I can just edit and update a post, rather than writing a whole new one.If you aren't familiar with my other blogs yet, I'll give you a quick rundown. PureOutside is a general outdoors site covering any outdoor topic like climbing, running, skiing, hiking and mountain biking. I've got a few projects scheduled to start this year that will be added on to this site. More details are below.Island Adventurer is another outdoor site focusing on Vancouver Island, where I live. Vancouver Island is a mecca for human-powered outdoor enthusiasts offering easy access to skiing, surfing, trail running, mountain biking, kiteboarding, climbing and diving. You can easily participate in all these activities any time of the year or even all in one day. Information for all these activities can be hard to come by, though, and is often only found after endless digging through websites or good-natured stalking of those that regularly participate. I'm hoping with Island Adventurer and PureOutside I can make it easier to organize and find all that outdoor information.Programming Home Sell Canada and Bed and Breakfast CenterOriginally started by my dad as side projects, I've taken over most of the support and programming on HomeSellCanada and BedandBreakfastCenter. Both are excellent opportunities to increase my passive income and learn some useful new information. I'm in the middle of an upgrade to the underlying systems right now and as soon as that is complete, I'll be working on the graphics and copy. They're both a bit dated and need a refreshing dose of new copy and design. On the list for them both are blogs to liven things up and provide a good reason to link to both the sites.Day Job at City of NanaimoI'm hoping to end up with some sort of location-independent career someday but while I'm getting started, I'm very thankful for the programming position I have at the City of Nanaimo. Every day I'm learning something new and get to work with a lot of great people in an enterprise environment. I know few people ever say they like working in a cubicle but, while I would rather be outside skiing or climbing mountains, it's been an awesome experience so far.LearningThe world is so amazing that it's tough to not write an entire book on all the things I'd like to learn. One of my goals for the year is to focus more fewer things but there are two that I'm going to focus on most.PhotographyA lot of my friends have been getting into photography lately and judging by all the amazing pictures on travel blogs, people online have as well. I used to travel, adventure and party with just a small point and shoot style camera. While it's a lot of fun to carry around in my pocket and have at the drop of a hat, the pictures that it produces just aren't fantastic. They will certainly do in a pinch and capture the moment but after seeing some incredible things in Australia and New Zealand, I was disappointed with the quality when I wanted to revisit those memories. The little camera just didn't do the landscapes justice, especially on our trip to Milford Sound. Now, I've got myself a Canon T1i and am trying to use it every day. A friend told me that the first 10,000 photos aren't going to be anything special. After that you might get some good ones so I've got a lot of photos to take.GuitarFor the longest time, I've wanted to play guitar. There's just something about it that I find so alluring. I find myself wishing I knew how to play when I'm sitting around a campire or on the road travelling. I just haven't got up the guts to get playing and sound like crap when I'm learning. What's worse is that I've had one sitting next to my desk for the last year and a half. I finally got some ebooks and a dvd for christmas and have been making time to sit down and learn the chords and a few songs. Watch out for a video of a song when I can get something together. It wont' be that bad, I promise!TravelFranceThe first trip of the year will be to France. My girlfriend and I are going to spend 2 weeks in France in May, with some of the trip in Paris and the remainder in the south along the Mediterranean. This will be my first trip to Europe and my girlfriends first off North America. I have these romantic visions of wandering around in Paris. I know it's probably not going to be anything like I think it's going to be but it's still going to be a great adventure nonetheless.PortlandThis won't be a very long trip but it's still a trip out of the country. We'll be heading down to Chris Guilleau's World Domination Summit for a few days in June to hang out with a whole bunch of bloggers and online entrepreneurs. Pretty sure I'm bouncing around excited for this to happen. I've been reading a lot of the bloggers that are going for the last year and it's time to finally meet them. This has been part of the reason why I'm going to be pushing my blogs hard the beginning of this year. Not only would it be nice to get a bit more traffic to all of them, I'd like to be a bit better known in the blogging circles.ThailandThis is a maybe trip. I'm going to try my hardest to make this happen by the end of the year but it might have to be the beginning of next year. I've been dying to go to Thailand for a long time and I finally said I'm going to do it. With all the other bloggers in Thailand right now, it will be a hell of a party and a great time meeting them face to face. I'm aiming for November with this one.OutdoorsRamblerI mentioned earlier that I've found it hard getting the information I wanted about trails, and other places to adventure. Even if I did find the basics it is almost never from the time that I want to go. Having a resource that's full of outdoor information that is up to date as well would be the holy grail of outdoor sites. I plan to make this happen over the next few years starting with Vancouver Island and spreading it around the world. Any users will be allowed to sign up and add their own outdoor trip reports and trail information. I've also got a few applications on the list that will integrate with the site to make planning your outdoor excursion extremely easy.Outdoor ManualsTo go along with the current trail and location information that Rambler will eventually have, I plan on making manuals for all the outdoor sports that are out there. Starting with the basics, they'll move up to intermediate and advanced as I get to those levels with the different areas. The first will be hiking and will most likely be a free one. Soon after that I'll be creating a skiing, climbing and mountain biking manuals and selling them for a small fee. They'll be full of all the resources and information you'll need to get you started in the various human-powered outdoor activities.Trail GuidesWith all the information on Rambler and in the Outdoor Manuals, I'm not sure if I'll need to create these Trail Guides. They'll essentially be very details guides of popular trails. The intention is that you could pick up one of these babies, peruse at your leisure online or your mobile device and then you'll be set to go for that trail or area. These will require a ton of time out on the trails but that's what I love doing most so it's going to be a blast.Map VITo get things started with Rambler and for some good stories on Island Adventurer, I've started a projecting called Map VI (short for Vancouver Island). While I get Rambler up and running, I'll be hiking, running, riding and kayaking everywhere I can on Vancouver Island to get good stories and data to fill Rambler with.  My goal is to eventually have every single trail that's on Vancouver Island on the website free for people to see and use to plan hiking, biking and running trips. Of course I'll need the help of everyone I can if I plan to complete this one within a reasonable time. Getting people to go on trips up mountains and out into the woods isn't hard at all but getting them to record that trip online somewhere is a huge task. Most just want to go on the trip and take a few photos, they don't care about writing about the trip afterwards. There may have to be some incentives involved. Prizes anyone?AdventuringAfter working at an outdoor outfitters store for a while, I've got a newfound love and respect for those people that ski, hike, run, kayak regularly. Not only are they getting some great exercise, they're seeing some amazing places. Through the outdoors groups I regularly meet up with I've met some awesome people and have joined them for some great trips.SkiingSkiing is definitely my current favorite. It changes regularly but right now it's what I think about, read about and do almost more than any other sport(I run almost every day so that would have to be the most but it's more just to keep fit than adventuring). In fact, as I'm writing this section, I'm nursing some sore muscles from a good day on the local ski mountain. One of my main reasons for getting into skiing so much this year is that it opens up a lot of new territory to explore, photograph and write about. Most of the time travelling through snow, snowshoes are most often choice for mode of travel. But they can be slow. Throw a pair of climbing skins onto some touring skis and you can climb mountains, traverse glaciers and get to some incredible places. Best of all, the way down is much faster because all you have to do is ski!This year resort skiing was a top priority just to get as many runs in as I could. I've only just started skiing this year and I needed to find the fastest way to get my bearings on my new skis. I'm getting close to a comfort level where I can ski just about anything I want. After I reach that point, I'll be heading out into the backcountry for most of my skiing days. Hitting the backcountry is nice because there are far fewer people, the scenery is amazing, and once you've got the appropriate gear, it's free!Running Cape Scott and West Coast TrailIf I don't get anything else accomplished this year aside from running the the Cape Scott trail and the West Coast Trail, I'd be a happy camper... or runner. My running partner and I ran the 47km long Juan De Fuca Trail on Vancouver Island last year. As I was running it, I couldn't imagine running anything longer. It became apparent after that it wasn't that hard. Yes, it was the hardest run I had ever done up until that point, but after it was over, I knew I was ready for something more. If I had run that far in 7.5 hours after some mediocre training, what can I do with a little patience, a positive mindset and better training? If I can do 50k, why not go a little further and go 60km or 75 or even 100? Pushing yourself hard opens up possibilities that you never think are possible. Only a few years ago, I thought a 5km run was a long one. Now I'm doing ten times that for fun. The Cape Scott Trail will be a warm up for the West Coast Trail at about 40-50km. I've never been to the area so it will be a nice change from running around Nanaimo. The West Coast trail is a gnarly 75km run that will be an incredible test for my skill, endurance and spirit but I know with a bit of a push that it's possible. Lots of training needs to be done before then though.Momar Adventure Race in CumberlandRyan and I did this race last year. We did ok but I was sorely disappointed in my performance on the bike. The race starts with a kayak, moves into running for a few hours, then culminates in a beautiful mountain bike ride. All totaled you travel about 50km. It took us about 7 hours last year. Both my legs cramped hard on the ride and I feel like we could have finished around an hour faster had I been in good form. I had never done a race that long before and it kicked me hard. I'm determined this year to do more training for it. I feel now that I know what to expect, it won't be nearly as punishing.WakeboardingI wasn't sure if I should really call this a project but it seemed like everything lately that matters to me is being put into a "project" and made a priority. All my other adventure and learning projects could eventually lead to some sort of money but I can't see this one really going anywhere. I just really like wakeboarding. I remember all the way back to when we first started. My cousin and uncle brought home a wakeboard from a show they went to since it'd be fun to try. We all ended up loving it, especially my cousin and I. When we're at our summer cabin, every spare minute is of thinking about wakeboarding or actually doing it. I got busy last year and didn't end up going as much as I had liked so this summer it's going to be a top priority.Climbing ?This one is a question mark right now. I'd love to start climbing. A lot of my friends are climbers and I'm totally jealous every time they post photos. Like skiing, climbing also a gateway to some incredible places and another very healthy thing to do.  The issue I still need to decide on is whether I have the time to do it. To really get started, two days a week climbing is the minimum. I'm not sure if I have the time to commit to that right now but we'll see how my priorities change as we head into the spring and summer.What do you have going on this year? Any big projects coming up? What are you most excited to do?

Will It Matter?

The silence of the morning always makes me think.Makes me think about life. About me. About everyone I know. About everything I do.I love to take the time to reflect on what I'm currently doing and whether it's worth anything. In the end are my actions and projects right now going to be used by someone? Going to be appreciated by anyone?There can be a big difference between doing only the things that you want to do and only doing things everyone else wants you to do. You may not want to do anything someone tells you do but you might be branded outcast by society. On the flip side, you'd be a complete drone ( like most people, actually) if all you do is what other people tell you to.

Get up

When I'm looking for inspiration on how to get off my ass, grab life by the horns, and give 'er, I tend to browse through The Middle Finger Project.Ashley's unique outlook on life is always inspiring and that push I need to get out and live, not just survive.I found some of the rules which she founded her site on and at the very least they will get you amped to get out and, as Charlie says, do epic shit.

1. True living is more than just keeping your heart beating and a roof over your head. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that is “just how life goes.” There’s way more possibilities, and, yes, IT IS WORTH GOING AFTER. Be daring.

2. Stop blowing yourself off; we get so upset when others blow off our ideas and desires, but we have no problem doing it to ourselves. Take your ideas, feelings, wants, wishes, yearns & urges seriously–those are your only true guide. Other people have no idea what’s best for you, so stop seeking their validation. Do what you need to do for you. Be confident.

3. Stop doing everything by the book. It’s time to start drafting your own revised edition. Rules don’t always exist in the name of the greatest good; more often than not, they exist because someone wants to establish or maintain power. And that’s just not a good enough reason. Be inquisitive.

4. Life is a series of choices. You choose every single direction that your life takes. Use it to your advantage. Be deliberate.

5. There will be people out there who won’t support what you’re doing. Who cares. Trust yourself more, trust others less. That includes significant others. Be brave.

6. Figure out what you value, and make the necessary changes to align your life with those values. If you value time more than money, stop working 60 hour work weeks. The only way you’ll get more time, is by doing less. It’s simple math. Be introspective.

7. Speaking of money, IT ISN’T AS IMPORTANT AS WE’RE TAUGHT TO THINK IT IS. Money comes, and money goes, and it provides little value itself until you actually exchange it for something that is valuable to you. So, ask yourself that question. What do you value? That’s where the majority of the money you spend should be going. Be prudent.

8. Having good intentions doesn’t yield results. Get off your rear and make it happen. Be zealous.

9. Life isn’t meant to be taken so seriously. In the scheme of things, if you’re going to be late to work, it doesn’t really matter. If you don’t get an A, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re proven wrong about something, it doesn’t really matter. If your house isn’t as nice as your best friend’s, it doesn’t really matter. Relax, and enjoy the ride. Think big picture, not details. Will this matter in 100 years? Be panoramic.

10. The world is not judging you as much as you think they are. Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to even notice what you’re doing. Drop the pride and have a little fun. Be lighthearted.

11. Perhaps one of the greatest goals we can seek for ourselves is exhilaration. Are you exhilarated by your life? Be stimulated.

12. When making decisions, always ask what’s more important. Thinking about canceling on an invitation to a friend’s baby shower or birthday party because you have too much work to do? Get your head out of your ass. Your friend is more important; work can always be done later. Nothing is that urgent. Relationships, however, are your foundation and you’d be lost without other human connections, so value them. And show it. Be thoughtful.

13. You don’t just need to love yourself; you need to respect yourself. You’ll garner that respect by accomplishing things you’ve set out to do. Be relentless.

14. Being content with your life and being proud to call it yours are two different things. Strive for the latter. Be courageous.

15. Last but not least, wine should be drank with meals. Preferably Argentinian Malbec. It’s freaking delicious. Be delighted.

The rules can all be found on Ashley's Live Alive, Not Just a Life post.

Wear Sunscreen

If you need any more inspiration, take a blast from the past with the sunscreen song. Or the 10 year tribute to it by Ki'une on PickupDance."Enjoy your body, use it every way you can."

In the end

But really, in the end, when it has all boiled down and all you're left with is a whithered old body not capable of much except reflecting on the past, will you reflect on a life of boredom, regret and laziness?Or will you cry tears of triumph every time you think of your amazing, full, extraordinary life of passion and adventure?You choose.

What Lifestyle Design Means to Me

A recent post of Corbett's entitled"Is Lifestyle Design dead already?" really got me thinking about what everyone means when they say Lifestyle Design. I'll tell you what it means to me.The 4 Hour Work Week is mentioned in the article and the comments numerous times. I've read it a couple times now and it's a fantastic book but when it comes down to it, 99.9% of us won't have an experience like Tim's. We''ll sort of get into the internet thing, we'll sort of get into building our own business and we'll sort of get something out of it.When there is something huge at stake here, like how happy you want to be with you life, "sort of's" suck. They're wishy washy, on the fence, decisions that we might regret later because it was a waste of time or we didn't put our soul into it (I'm not religious, it just means working hard).If you want something, take it. This has all sorts of exceptions in real life but the message is simple. If you really want to spend your time doing something, then plan out your ideal life and work backwards. Figure out how much money you'll need, what time is required and who must be around to make your goals happen. To follow any project to conclusion there must be many small steps to get you to the end, achieving anything in your life is no different. But there is always a way to make it happen.The trap so many people fall into right now is trying to achieve something they're not ready for. Yes, Tim Ferriss is wandering the globe right now doing whatever he pleases. But don't forget he worked 80 hour weeks for many YEARS before he was close to doing what he's doing now. Are you ready for that kind of commitment?Knowing what he knows now, we can make a few shortcuts but nothing will replace a good idea. He had a good idea, he put it to good use making money with brainQUICKEN and now he's reaping the benefits.In the end, all we really want is to look back on the things we did in our life and say "I'd do that again". Lifestyle Design is just the fancy new term for what happy people having been doing since the dawn of time. Make adjustments to your life every single day to make things better, actually do what you say you want to do, and amazing things will happen.Everyone is flocking to Thailand to set up small businesses and run it from the beach while sipping on cold drinks. Is that what you want to do? Do you really want to run a business? Did you ever actually want to see Thailand? If not, you're still stuck in a template, you're still chasing a dream that's not yours.What makes you happy? What do you look back on and say, "That was awesome", or look forward too incredibly excited? Make plans to do that. Right now.

Most Popular Posts from 2009 on rcThink

Popular Posts

2009 was the first year I really started writing on this blog. I tried last year and got bored. My 4 month trip to Australia and New Zealand really got my excited to write and share my adventures with the rest of the world. Here are my most popular posts from this year!10. Coming Home From Australia and New ZealandI spent 4 months this year in Australia and New Zealand. It was the best thing I've ever done. Check out my thoughts on returning to Canada after spending some time down under.9. Winter Challenge RoundupI found the best way to get myself to do something was to make a challenge for it. If it was a contest of sorts with myself, I'd be more likely to stick with it and write about it. Here are my challenges for this winter.8. Powerful Beyond MeasureI credit @jonathanmead with this one. What an incredible message. If you want to get riled up for the wickedness that will be your 2010, watch this now.7. A Change In DirectionI had no idea what I was going to be writing about when I started the blog. At first it was going to be about everything I did but it quickly turned into a travel blog while I was away. After returning I wasn't sure what to write about since I wasn't travelling. I'm a bit addicted to trying new things, seeing what I can learn and how far I can push myself so this is what rcThink will be about. If you love these things too check this post out and let me know what you're into.6. My 30 Day Minimalism ChallengeI was moving out. I had loads of stuff. I didn't want to take it all. I couldn't take it all. I started a challenge for myself to get rid of all that I could.5. 1 Week Into My Minimalism ChallengeA status update on the minimalism challenge. I didn't exactly hit my goal of one thing every day for a month but I did get rid of whole lot of stuff. It did change my view on what I need and why I keep things around. I'll be doing another one of these early in the new year to shed unneeded junk and clear my mind to accomplish all the awesomeness I'm going to in 2010.4. The Most Beautiful Place I've Ever SeenOn my trip this year I spent a day in Milford Sound. It's pretty much the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I've never seen anything like it, almost prehistoric. The cliffs rose straight up to staggering heights out of the glassy water. The dolphins were following the boat as we cruised by. Waterfalls poured from the valleys into the fjord below. Definitely worth a read if you want to go (or go back) to New Zealand.3. Rcthink FaceliftI had a tough time choosing a theme for rcThink. I'd change it every once and a while trying to find a fit for myself and my content. I've been so happy with Headlines from Woothemes that it's on a few other blogs I write for as well. Quick advice: Find a good theme and stick to it. Do spend some time finding one you really like though.2. Digital Nomad Blog Carnival #5I got the change to host the 5th Digital Nomad Blog Carnival created by Cody at Thrilling Heroics . I had a fantastic time reading through and picking my favorite posts. I'll be doing this again soon!1. Creating the List LifeWith so many ideas for adventures running around in my head I had to write them down. The best of the best appears in this list. I hope you get some inspiration to get out and really experience life from it!

Plans for 2010

It's an incredible feeling to have a clear purpose for something. I feel like I know exactly where I want to go with this blog and I'm going to pour everything I've got into it and a couple other projects in 2010.In writing this I've tried to experiment and see what the whole blogging thing is about and I've done well on some things and sucked on other things. A few things I want to improve on next year:

1. Regular Posting Schedule

I didn't think this was going to be so hard but posting on a regular schedule ended up being near impossible for me. I'm going to experiment with schedules this year and, who knows, maybe I'll end up with a schedule of no schedule.

2. Wrap up Challenges

I started some posts, challenges and contests this year that petered out into nothing. I won't be doing this again. Everything will have a strong start and an even stronger finish.

3. Spend more time on Posts

I've never spent much time writing. In elementary school, I breezed through. In high school, it was an afterthought. In university, I always did it the night before it was due. Writing has become much more than an afterthought or lame assignment to me now and I'm going to spend much more time learning and perfecting my skills.

Gimme Your Comments

What was your favorite post you wrote this year? What are you going to do next year to improve? To make it your best yet?

Creating the Life List

Travelling on my own in Australia and New Zealand gave me a lot of time to think.What did I want to eat the next day? What did I want to do a week from now? What was everything going to be like when I got home? What was I going to do for work? What did I want to do with my life?Wait, back up a step. What was that last one? What did I want to do with my life.It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been doing a lot of reading about people leading unconventional lives, coming up with crazy business ideas and travelling the world but I had never really sat down and actually thought about what I'm doing.It's all fine and dandy reading about these other people that are gallivanting around the world working with new-age business and partaking in amazing adventures. But I thought it would just stay as that; reading. Now I feel myself being pulled into the world of doing anything I want, anywhere in the world.All these people are living lives I've dreamed of living but always thought it would never come true. Everyone has to have dreams right? But they stay dreams.Or so I thought.With everything and anything now open to my excited mind, I immediately hit a  wall. How do I keep track of all this good stuff? Where do I track it all? How do I remember what I've done?Enter the Life List.The best thing I've seen on the Lifestyle Design blogs in all my perusing has to be the life list. There is no better thing to keep you excited about what you are doing and a way to gauge how well it's going. My problem is that there might just be a million things that I want to do in the next year, never mind over the course of my life-time so I have a very hard time narrowing it down to a simple, easy to read list.For inspiration I turned to a few of my favorite blogs to see what they've put on their lists.Sean at Location180 was the first Life List that I saw and I will never forget how excited I got reading all those things realizing I could do the same.JD at WageSlaveRebel also has an excellent Bucket List on the go as well with the added twist that we are going to do it with him.I just recently found Nate's To Do List from WhereIsNate. A solid list that I'd love to do myself, I especially liked #22: Take Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing.  That one found it's way on to my list after good conversation with a Finnish fellow in New Zealand.And without further adue, here is The List.

A Change in Direction: Lifestyle Design, Personal Development and Minimalism

Which way to go?For those of you that have been following the blog recently, I've been crafting tales from my trip to Australia and New Zealand. Now that I'm home and saving up for the next trip I need something a little different to write about.While I was travelling, blogs about working abroad, planning out your life and becoming the absolute best person you can be held my attention constantly and I benefited from their advice a great deal.To test out these new ideas and techniques, I'm going to start challenges for myself. In doing these I'll have interesting ideas for the blog as well as learn an incredible amount myself. To start off these grand adventures, I'm launching my first three 30 day challenges this coming turkey Monday(I'm in Canada). Be sure to check in then to see what I'll be up to for the next 30 days.But wait! There's more! (I'm not trying to sell you anything just some interesting reading).A few of my favorite blogs that have inspired this change in direction.Leo at Zen Habits has a thing or two to say about minimalism.Dave from LifeExcursion has just recently started The Minimalist Path. Ones lifestyle design, ones minimalism, both fantastic reads.Celeste from The Personal Excellence Blog has a lot to say about living life to the fullest and achieving your potentialCorbett from Free Pursuits, JD from WageSlaveRebel and Cody from Thrilling Heroics all push designing your life to do exactly what you want to do. For them that means leaning heavily towards being Location Independent (another great read by Lea)I know blogs tend to have more of a focus but I had a hell of a time trying to narrow it down to these topics.  I'm sure it will get more focused as I find what I'm most interested in writing but for now anything goes!What do you guys think? Is it possible to write enough to hold up 3 topics like this?