Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

I dig the fresh start feeling of the new year, but I don’t do New Year’s resolutions as such.   Opting, rather, for a continual, Five T-like, loop of:

  • observe
  • assess
  • course-correct
  • reassess  

I’m continually searching for not only my self-improvement blind spots but for those  1% improvement opportunities within areas I feel like are already pretty well dialed-in.

Remember: those barely perceivable 1% improvements, compounded over time, produce life-changing results.  If that is, you commit to the process. Remain patient; stay true to the required consistency.

That said, these are my 20% actions that I’ve found produce 80% of my returns.

  • get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.  More if possible.
  • set time aside each morning (after writing) to prioritize the day.  What is the ONE big thing (aside from items on this list, which are givens) that I need to accomplish today to make the day a success?
  • exercise daily.  Even if it’s just a long walk or bike.  But prioritize lifting and sprinting.
  • write for at least 1 hour each day.  Even if it’s crap. And the first draft mostly is.  Be OK with that. But edit/rewrite like it means everything.  Most days is a mix of both.
  • live modestly, day-to-day. Spend lavishly though, on education, travel and self-improvement (books, workshops, masterminds and the like).  
  • read every day, from a variety of topics. Including fiction and poetry.
  • eat real food.  Prioritize healthy fats, animal protein and vegetables (in that order).  Shun sugar and processed grains like the plague. Weave-in various lengths of intermittent fasting.
  • supplement wisely.  Hydrate abundantly. Prioritize clean (i.e., not fluoridated, or otherwise contaminated) water.  
  • be IN this world, not OF this world.  Remain meek.  Chop wood, carry water.

There are other things that have by now just seeped into my subconscious. Things that, like tying my shoes or brushing my teeth, just happen without my having to think about it.  Or at least by now, they don’t require a prompt as such.

That said, if I observe that they’ve slipped out of my life, I would move them back into my active habit category.

Like noticing things, happenings, or people that I’m grateful for.  Like getting out in the sun. Defaulting to an anchor of calm and centered.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t times where I’m stressed, pissed, or just mad at the world.  But I get over it quickly. I use those instances to reflect on why I’m pissed, stressed or angry, and sit with that feeling for a bit.  The feeling soon vanishes and I’m back to myself.

This, by the way, happens with happiness as well.  We lament the transitory nature of the good stuff, dwell in anger, and avoid (at all costs) sitting with pain.  

For more on that idea, check out What does it mean to be a warrior in the garden?

Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world –

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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.


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