>If you found this just now, go read Do it your self before reading any further.

Whatever you did, don’t you feel a little better for taking the time to get something done? I took a few minutes to clean up the kitchen and start lunch, between these posts, and that’s the point. I’ve done something, instead of sitting on the couch and thinking, “ugh, there’s still dishes in the sink.” Now I’ve got a pile of clean dishes in the drainer, and the smell of tasty artichoke and garlic coming from my steamer.

One of the key insights that has helped me on my path to self mastery has been the discipline to do something. One small thing that seems to form a Success Spiral and motivates us to do more. The FlyLady system to keep your home clean uses this system as well, their first, and second steps are exactly this kind of thing. When I’m down at the bottom of Old Main Hill, only I can take that first step on the way back to the top.

This is key to how we actually make ourselves better, only by taking a small step in the right direction can we actually get better. Some goals are a long way off, but that shouldn’t stop us, from working on them now. Find that small step that puts you closer to where you want to be and take it.



Remember, the only way you will get something done is if you do it yourself.

This seems like a simple enough concept, but I am amazed at how often people I know, and even myself, forget this core idea. For every problem I am aware of there is some way that I can make progress on it. Think of something you want, maybe you’re worried about a job, maybe you are tired of seeing the dirty dishes on the counter, what ever that one thing is, go do it now.

Did you do it?

No? go back and do it you can click on this link when you’re done.



That there has been my work out all week. 40 ft of stairs, about a block south of my place. Once upon a time just getting up it used to leave me so winded I needed 5-10 minutes to recover. I actively avoided walking anywhere beneath the hill because the pain of climbing back up would completely outweigh any benefit I could gain from going down there. Saturday I wound up walking back up the hill, and noticed it wasn’t so hard any more, I needed maybe 1-2 minutes to recover before I was able to keep on.

Monday I decided, almost as a whim, that I’d like to be able to walk the hill without being winded at all, and I set out, walking down the hill was easy, and the first climb up nearly killed my legs, the protest was mostly, “wait you only do this when you REALLY have to” and not “we can’t do this.” on the second climb up I was just as dead as I recall being after one climb, but on Tuesday I went out and did it again.

I think that’s what progress is, it’s climbing the hill every time you find yourself on the bottom. Today was my third day of walking, and is, for the first time I can recall getting up and going into the rain, to do my work out. There’s this guy around campus, who is out every evening doing his run, I remember him the most though, because one day when it was all but a blizzard out, I was riding with a friend to go get soda, and I saw him waiting for the light to turn so he could cross the street. Only instead of standing he was down there in the slush doing push ups. That image stuck with me, he was serious about being the best he can be, and wouldn’t take any excuses.

Getting out there today was a kind of enlightenment for me. I have, inside of me, that same crazy dude doing whatever it takes. I just have to let the chains off of him, and listen when he says, “dude you could do one more.” What ever happens, when I find myself at the bottom of that hill, climbing it will make me stronger.



When I graduated a few weeks ago, my aunt gave me a card and explained that for her graduation gift she wanted to give me something that had meaning for me. Painted Board with a quote on it, something to remind me of what I stand for. She then shared with me the quote that she lives by, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” This quote from Helen Keller struck me, not because I agree with it(I haven’t made up my mind there), but because it explained my aunt to me in a new way.

We become our actions, which are informed by our thoughts. Having a quote like that somewhere where we are reminded of is a way of saying, “This is what I want to be.” I have spent the last few weeks reading quotes that reflect my mind view. One of the first quotes that came to mind was the Litany_Against_Fear from dune. This has been a favorite quote for years, and I have memorized it, I repeat it when I am facing difficulty, and my moleskin often has copies I have written, for some reason writing out a mantra can keep me from ticing in the same way that focused coding, or other distraction can. The issue with the Litany, is that it is better as a Mantra than as a slogan, so I kept looking.

I greatly admire Ghandi, and began looking though lists of his quotes for something that stuck, but they all seemed to conditional, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ.” and “An Eye for and Eye makes the whole world blind.” are both very powerful calls to seek a justice that does not demand revenge, but rather fairness. I also considered P. C. Hodgell’s quote, “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be.” This feels two antagonistic, and honestly doesn’t seem like something to live by, but again, a conditional.

While reading over on Less Wrong I found this gem,

“What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away.
And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with.
Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived.
People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.”
– Eugene Gendlin

That paragraph says more about honesty, courage, and what it takes win in reality than almost any other quote I have ever seen. It is something that I can live by, and something I would like to be reminded of daily. Seeing reality for what it is, and knowing what I’m already enduring, is a powerful first step for maintaining control of my life and it’s direction, It’s like a good map to chart my course with.


>I hear, from time to time, about people who seem to always set themselves up for failure. My struggle this week to balance self-care in dealing with depression and anxiety while sticking to my goals got me thinking. What does setting ourselves up for Success look like?

Thinking about weight loss, and health goals that I’ve been working on. I fail when I snack or eat fast food. Seeing myself shoot up to 415 lbs this week was a huge shock. So how can I set myself up for success, putting healthy drinks handy to access is a simple thing I did last week to set myself up for success.

This works for me because I happen to strongly prefer lemon water to plain water. It’s a small thing that takes advantage of my natural laziness. I would rather have lemon water and not make a trip over just to get soda. However I do prefer soda over plain water enough to walk. So my preference in almost all cases will be the healthier lemon water over soda. It’s a way to keep my short term goals in line with my long term ones.

I’ve taken piece of advice I read a few months ago to heart, “Working hurts less than procrastinating.” This kind of hack is about solving the problem pointed out in that article. It isn’t fun to change gears. There are many mental steps to shifting from doing one thing to another, and often there are physical steps as well. 

My experience with exercise today is a great example of this kind of thing. I woke up pretty miserable, for no apparent reason, I blame the head-meats for being chemically imbalanced.  I was unable to properly focus on school work, or even on a TV show or video game. None of those things were fun, or fulfilling. I was made even grumpier at seeing that I had gained almost 8 lbs overnight, and generally had sat down with my computer to sit on facebook complain and stew. Something a little bit different happened today, I was practicing mindfulness, even in my self-inflicted misery, and I noticed that I was depressed. I reminded myself that it does not take much focus to stay on the treadmill, and that I would likely feel better after getting some exercise. Those were the mental steps to getting over to the gym. 

To actually get to the gym I had to find my shoes and clothing. 30 min later and much grumpier I went over and started walking. I felt better for it, I got more done today than I have all week, and generally feel much better. While I was walking I did some mental math and formulated a really simple goal. I will walk for 30 min every day at a pace which will grow gradually until I can walk 15 min mile(which requires me to walk at about 4mph) It’s a slow goal that will take me about two months to do if I walk .2 mph faster every week(that’s adding .1 to my speed every Monday and Thursday).

As I was winding down tonight I observed something interesting. I put my shoes and workout clothes next to my bath towel. When I get up tomorrow morning there is a reminder for me, go and walk. I just eliminated all of the Passive Barriers to getting out to the gym tomorrow. The physical steps are all but taken care of. It is easy to imagine just getting dressed in these tomorrow instead of jeans, and walking first and then coming home showering and starting my day. All of that hard “but walking would mean I have to change, and find my shoes” is gone. I just have to notice and remember that I feel better after exercise. This isn’t a guarantee, but I’ll take the chances that I walk tomorrow over the odds I had this morning.


>So after after a few failed/aborted tries I’m revising my health goals again. This is in part due to some serious thought about what I want my life to be like, and in part a result of my current plan not working. I’ve looked at the failure points, and there were.

1. A lack of feedback
2. too much freedom to mess myself up
3. I stop exercising as soon as it hurts

So to begin with I bought a scale that will weigh me. I’m hovering around 415 lbs right now, and will be tracking my weight using the great tool at the hacker diet.

I’m adding a badge of my progress to my side bar, and looking at what it would take to add one to my face book page…

alt=”The Hacker’s Diet Online” />

The new plan is as follows:

1: 2500 calories a day divided up into five 500 calorie meals.
2: Start working out again, this time in the morning, starting from ladder rung 1
3: Weigh myself daily to get feedback on 1 & 2

I am asking for help in coming up with 10-15 meals in each of 3 different types that meet the 500 calorie requirement. The types are, “On-the-Go”, “Sit Down Meals”, and “Instant Meal”
On-the-Go meals need to be something I can toss in my backpack, take with me, and it’ll still be a pleasure to eat when I sit down. Sit Down meals should be things that I can sit down to, and serve(perhaps in larger portions) to company. and “Instant” meals should be things I can pre-prep so I have something that meets my criteria in the fridge on a twitchy day.

I’ve also decided that the no-sugar thing is sillyness, and that on holidays I can ignore my count for The Day of the holiday. I can also have a slice of cake without counting it at my friends birthday parties.

I have seen improvement, and I’m still doing better than I was at my worst weight of 450. Slow and steady wins the race and to try and do it all at once would be sillyness.


>So over on The Art of Manliness there was a great post about building resiliency. I suggest you take a look.

Without resiliency we forever dwell on our setbacks instead of making progress in our lives. The hurt from our past disappointments (or even the hurt we imagine could befall us) is so debilitating that we cannot muster up the courage and desire to take chances and seize opportunities; we’re afraid of experiencing pain and embarrassment

This quote in particular got me thinking, about the opportunities I haven’t tried to seize because I was afraid. All the girls I never asked out cause I was afraid, and the scholarships I didn’t apply for. But as a counter to that I have seized some amazing opportunities, and improved myself tremendously in the past three years. I decided that I would become a teacher, no matter what, and I’ve made that happen, one hour, class, day, month, term, and year at a time. Dispite the issues I deal with, and when my OCD and TS are busy feeding my depression and anxiety issues it can be hard to remember those goals. When i look at how far I’ve come, it’s easier to look forward and stick it through these challenges, because if I don’t have resilience then all of my sacrifice and effort wasn’t worth anything. I hate to see my efforts be worthless, so I keep pushing on no matter how hard, I may need to rest at base camp and acclimate, but I’m not done til I get to the top.


>I’ve recently launched on a self improvement project. I set dozens of small goals for myself. These goals were small enough that they were not in and of themselves difficult to do, something simple like meditate or have the dishes done before I go to bed. Following through on them has been more difficult than I expected, but I was recently reminded of one of my regular sayings, and just how important it actually is.

Usually I say it when I’m in the middle of a conversation and get interrupted, “Hey Drew what were you saying?” “Umm… I don’t know, if it was important I’ll remember it later.” That’s been my motto for years and I realized that it is why I don’t buy into a lot of the “ubiquitous capture” ideas. Many, maybe even most of my ideas are utter crap, but as the myth busters proved, you can polish a turd. The ideas that keep coming to mind get the most polishing, if the idea is worth something you’ll want to write it down to polish it.

My rule of thumb for putting something in my palm pilot is, If it is time sensitive, or must be verbatim, pull out your palm pilot and write it down. If it’s just a cool idea, let it stew. Often the stewing process will gel after a week, and I’ll feel the need to jot something down, but I don’t have a notebook full of crap ideas like “Dude, purple hallucinogen dragons”(Okay I can see about 4 adventure ideas with that but still). Only the stuff worth polishing gets written down in my capture device.

Of course taking out a notebook and brainstorming is an exception to this, but that’s usually an appointment I made with myself to work on something, usually school work.

© 2012 ticviking.motd.org Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha