The most important lesson has been the power of consistency. I learned to forgive my own missteps. My mission in life is bigger than any one event, one interaction, one gig, one problem. Through proper tracking, I can make sure that most days I'm doing the things that push my mission forward.
I like to take major stock twice a year, once in the winter for New Years, my favorite holiday, and once for my Birthday (Nameday, anyone?) mid-June. A sort of tune-up to check in on progress and resolutions.
On June 23 2015 I was at a terrible low point, burdened with overwork, literally heavy with extra weight, and a heavy heart, having gone through the most painful breakup of my life. I resolved to make some serious changes, and set about it in my usual way: research and follow-through.
I learned how to make a "Habits" list, which involves the items I want to turn into habits and a checklist for all 7 days of the week. Once these items become part of the daily routine they can be replaced with others. My max is 5, though.
Right now my list is:
On my last birthday I stumbled upon a book called the 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, who is now one of my biggest influences and role models for life, and that book was a guide to health and self improvement that included a diet plan and workouts, and I am proud to say I've been on the Slow Carb diet for 1 year now, and it's been a slow grind to lose 14 pounds the right way, then put back on 5 of muscle.
I learned how to meal prep and pack lunches, and now cook in bulk, 20 meals that I can grab and go. I spend less time cooking than ever, and rarely have to scramble for food in my overbooked days, or eat out if I don't want to.
I also learned how to work out, based on a custom plan made by my friend Joel. The most important factor is consistency. Just showing up and tracking my weights and reps on paper made sure I knew exactly what to do, how long to do it, and how heavy I was lifting.
Motivation: I realized about halfway through our 12 week weightlifting program that I wasn't going to complete a week and had a total meltdown, and Joel talked me into taking a break and I realized that one misstep, or delay, wasn't going to stop me. I'm completing the 12 weeks before July, and will begin the next phase after, which will mainly be about cutting fat now that I've added muscle. Very exciting business, and it give me peace of mind knowing that my progress has been slow and can't be derailed easily at all.
With my Habits List I can consistently track my progress daily and know that sometimes how I feel doesn't match reality, and I got a lot done on a day I felt I didn't, or vice versa.
I've been forunate to play some great gigs this year with Kevin Sekhani and others, and I've come to realize two things.
One: lyrics are the most important part. I've been working hard on making sure these are the best they can be and enlisting the help of my brilliant songwriter friends and poets for editing and co-writing and I'm happy to be putting out the best material of my life this year.
Two: people here love to dance. I've started a group called Electric Rougarou, which combines rock with the two-step and waltz rhythm sections of traditional zydeco and cajun music. I am playing my very first gig with this group tomorrow night and I'm so curious to see how it's received, as it's the realization of about 2 years planning and I am so in love with the songs and so proud of my bandmates, who are such top-notch players.
I learned about biting off more than I can chew and the cost of attention. There's only so much attention that a person can pay before feeling numb and brain-dead. I'm working hard on simplifying greatly using the tactics in a book called the 4-Hour Workweek, which is revolutionary in so many ways. I want to give my full attention to the things that bring me joy.
I am greatly reducing my guitar repairs and eliminating amp repair altogether, because I'm just too busy in my other projects with health and music to do it anymore. I do enjoy making broken things make music again, but the worry over having a queue of projects constantly waiting is not worth the mental taxation.
This category will soon be replaced.
I decided to include language learning into my daily routine. I find it fun and rewarding and I have every intention of taking early mini-retirements into exotic locations and hope to speak several languages at least at cave-man levels.
June 23 2016 - June 23 2017
My plan this year will be based around elimination. I plan on having less possessions, less distractions, less obligations, and more time for learning and relaxation. I have tried several interesting methods of relaxation, including acupuncture, yoga, rolfing, and meditation, and will continue to investigate what works!
And for the TL;DR crowd, come out and celebrate my birthday with me at the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette June 24 @ 9pm - 1am. You can hear the new music in person for the first time. I'm so excited to share it with you.