Saturday, January 14, 2012

2011 in review

I was looking back at my 2011 “New Year’s” post where I said one of my resolutions was to read less and do more. If 2011 embodied anything, it was this resolution. I mostly kept my word and only read 14 books (about half what I normally read in a year). Some were really short, some were long, some were re-reads, and most of them were fiction (which I’m going to be reading more of from now on). In the end though, it wasn’t really the number of books read that I’m proud of, but what I was able to do with the time I found cutting out things that weren't important to me.

I mentioned in last year’s post that I wanted to spend more time learning music theory and playing piano, and I tried, but it just didn’t stick. I haven’t been playing music all that much lately, and frankly, I don’t really miss it. I tend to go through seasons in my life, and I’m sure I’ll swing back around to music eventually, but right now there are things that are more important to me. If I took just one thing away from 2011, it would be to focus on what’s important and not to bother with the rest. From here it was just a matter of finding what was important.

I realized towards the end of 2010 that a big reason I was unhappy was that I was getting fat. I left for college 10 years earlier at about 175, and hit about 185 after my first year. Ever since my weight has been gradually increasing.On January 9th, the day of my 29th birthday, I was at 210.5 pounds. I realized that day that this is not how I pictured myself at 30, and I knew I only had a year to get myself up to par. I ended up finding “The Four Hour Body” and followed its lessons exactly. Thanks to the book, I lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks.

That was only the beginning of the journey though. Once I was skinny again, I realized I still wasn’t in shape, so I started going back to the gym. Unfortunately, the gym I was going to sucked, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. On the advice of a friend I signed up for 10 training sessions at a kickboxing gym called “Mick Doyle’s,” and that’s where things got really interesting. I signed up simply because I was told it would be the hardest workout I’d ever have. What I got was a whole lot more. I soon found out that paying for my training sessions got me full access to any of the martial arts classes taught there. After a couple sessions with my trainer I was brave enough to venture into both the Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu classes. The classes were great and I soon found myself obsessing about Jiu Jitsu (and coming home covered with bruises in the body hardening phase). With help from my trainer I started following another nutrition plan and adding prescribed weight lifting programs to my regimen. The results have been great. I turned 30 a week ago and I’ve never been in such great shape.

Getting stuff done didn’t stop with fitness though. After some remodeling work in the basement of my house I realized that made financial sense to finish the work with renters in mind rather than myself in mind, and this lead me to start looking for other houses. We found one in October and moved over New Year’s weekend 2011/2012. Now we just need to get renters lined up… (New house pictures in the post below this one.)

I also realized towards the end of the year that I wasn’t happy with my current position at work and switched to something that I’m much more satisfied with.

2011 also had a couple firsts for me.

We went to my first NFL game.

I competed in my first Jiu Jitsu competition and took home a bronze metal.

We went to Vegas for the first time.

I got my first real black eye.

I would say that overall, I’m pretty satisfied with 2011. I took some big steps in the right direction, took some risks, had some fun, and I’m looking forward to it again this year. 2011 obviously wasn’t without it’s mistakes, but if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying. I’m not afraid of mistakes and look forward to learning from many more of them in 2012.

I’ve set some new goals for myself this year in several areas of my life. Some are big and some are small. I actually achieved one goal already this week at the gym by going 1000 feet non-stop on the versa climber, another thing I’d never done before (but in all honestly have never tried). Apparently I could have set that one a bit steeper. Regardless, here’s to 2012.

Focus on what’s important. Forget the rest.