Hello Interdwellers!

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot, lately, about different approaches to being happy in life. It seems like it would be awfully easy to proceed down a particular path, because that’s just what people do, or because you won’t be successful otherwise. But if in the end you’re not happy, then what was it all for? With that in mind, I’ve been searching for people’s ideas about how to lead a happy life. What I like the most, so far, is Leo Babuta’s sites, zenhabits.com and mnmlist.com, in which he advocates for a number of things: working towards goals, simplicity, family, exercise, and mindfulness. He advises, each day, setting out three (or four, or two) Most Important Tasks (MIT’s), at least one of which is moving you closer to a longer-term goal, and completing those above all other things in your day.

I like this.

By following it, every day could have a sense of purpose. So long as those things were completed, at the end of each day you can legitimately say, “I’m one step closer to achieving something important to me.” A good first step in this, then, would be knowing what’s important to you. So, I made a list of long-term goals for myself. The criteria I used for these was: a) it could not simply require a single large effort, b) it had to be reasonably specific (e.g. “travel” would not be specific enough), and c) it had to be something that I would feel a sense of accomplishment for completing (while I would love to go skydiving, I wouldn’t feel that much accomplishment. The plane and parachute are doing most of the work). Thus, without further adieu, here’s

Jared’s Long-Term Goals
(in no particular order, or organization)

  • Become an early riser
  • Design and build a puzzle-box
  • Learn to sing
  • Compete in the Iron-Man Triathlon
  • 100 perfect push ups in 100 seconds
  • Learn to play piano
  • Meditate more seriously
  • Achieve full front and (both) side splits
  • Start a non-profit organization
  • Learn to play the violin
  • 50 perfect, dead-hang pull ups
  • Learn to draw
  • Complete the Spartan Death Race
  • Start an (eventually successful) small business
  • Write and publish a novel

Clearly, many of these goals will take years of work, but by breaking them down over the course of my life, and using some strategies for maintaining focus and motivation, I think that they are more than doable (except possibly 50 dead-hang pull ups. I get tired just looking at that).

Since I don’t particularly want a mid-life crisis, and barring any serious extensions to our lifespan, I would like to complete all of these by the time I’m 40, which gives me 20 years. Since I’m at the point where gains in my physical aptitude will get more difficult over time, I should be working towards my physical goals first, along with anything that will take the longest time. So then, over the next 10 years, I’d like to work towards:

Jared’s 10-Year Goals
(in no particular order, or organization)

  • Compete in the Iron-Man Triathlon
  • 100 perfect push ups in 100 seconds
  • Achieve full front and (both) side splits
  • 50 perfect, dead-hang pull ups
  • Complete the Spartan Death Race
  • Start an (eventually successful) small business
  • Start a non-profit organization
  • Learn to play piano
  • Learn to play the violin
  • Become an early riser
  • Meditate more seriously

Since I’m still in school, and depending on the direction I take regarding Masters or PhD studies, could be for upwards of 7 years, and since I want to maintain a balanced lifestyle, I should be working towards my physical goals now, along with school, and saving my non-physical goals for afterwards. As well, since competing in the Iron-Man is part of my plan for progressing to the Spartan Death Race, I can exclude that from further entries. Thus, we have:

Jared’s 5-Year Goals
(in no particular order, or organization)

  • 100 perfect push ups in 100 seconds
  • Achieve full front and (both) side splits
  • 50 perfect, dead-hang pull ups
  • Complete the Spartan Death Race
  • Meditate more seriously
  • Become an early riser

Now we have something to work with.

For achieving 100 perfect push ups in 100 seconds, I’ll start off by following¬†http://hundredpushups.com/, with the modification that every time it says “push up” I’ll replace it with “perfect push up.” Once I’m able to do 100 push ups (6 weeks by their estimate; 10 weeks seems more likely), I’ll develop a plan for increasing my pace.

For achieving 50 perfect, dead-hang pull ups, I’ll develop a similar progression, possibly using Brett Stewart’s “7 Weeks to 50 Pull Ups.”

For achieving splits, http://www.unique-bodyweight-exercises.com/splits.html

As far as meditating more seriously goes, I’m going to begin meditating 5 minutes before and after my workouts, gradually increasing to 10, and 15 minutes (I find it surprisingly difficult to sit and not do).

For becoming an early riser, I’m going to simply do all of these exercises early in the morning. If every week, I can get up 15 minutes earlier, until I’m comfortable getting up at 5:00, then I’ll be satisfied with my early-rising.

Finally, working towards the Spartan Death Race. My progression, in general will be:

  1. Tough Mudder
  2. marathon
  3. Spartan beast
  4. triathlon
  5. Ironman
  6. Spartan Death Race

probably repeating everything done before as I work towards the next level. The way that I prepare will largely depend on which stage I’m at. Since I’m currently “getting ready” (working 10 hour days and not exercising) for the Tough Mudder, my performance on that will also partially determine my preparation for the marathon. With the exception of the Ironman race, completion will be satisfactory for moving on to the next step. For the Ironman, I’m setting that I have to be in the top 25% of finishers to move on to the Death Race, otherwise I repeat the Ironman.

As a side note, since I’m currently working 10 hour days, and next term I don’t have classes before 11:00, I’m probably going to hold off on starting these until September. Possibly bad idea? Yes. Better than burning out one week in? Also yes.

So. That’s that then. I’m sure this won’t be the last post I write on these goals, but until then,

Cheers.

-Jared