A New Year, A New Set of Goals to Accomplish

Well, I’m 37.

It’s crazy to me because how in the hell am I 37? I vividly remember my old man’s 40th birthday party – lots of friends and acquaintances whooping it up into the wee hours, keeping my then 11- or 12-year-old ass up way too late. I’m now three years away from that party myself and the fact that a quarter of a century has passed since then is a little freaky to me.

Since it’s the start of another new year for me, I wanted to set out some goals and aspirations for myself for the next 365 days.

This isn’t something that I’ve ever done in the past, just because I’ve never wanted to put myself in a position where I’ve made my targets known and might end up failing to reach those goals, thereby creating a situation where my shortcomings and failures are available for public consumption.

But I’ve come to a realization over the last few months that helped me shed that fear or hesitation and it’s that I don’t care if random people I don’t know or even acquaintances that are (sorry folks) outside of the small circle of people whose opinions I genuinely value think about me setting a bunch of goals for myself and coming up short.

Besides, I’d rather set a bunch of goals and fail to complete a few of them than not set any goals at all.

These are going to be all over the map – career, personal life, health, etc. – and my hope is to accomplish as many of them as possible, but I also want to make sure to keep them realistic.

Would I like to get hired by TSN and land a regular spot on SportsCentre talking about UFC fights? Of course I would, but the likelihood of that happening is slim, so setting that as a goal for the next year is setting myself up to fail. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep knocking on that door and trying to make it happen, it just means I would much rather focus my energy towards attainable goals instead.

So here goes: these are my 37-year-old goals.

Lose 20 pounds and keep it off: I’m 230 pounds right now and while I’d love to say, “I want to hit 185!” that’d be some dumb shit because I like cheeseburgers and chicken wings too much. However, getting down to and/or maintaining at 210 would be huge for me because I honestly can’t tell you the last time I was within spitting distance of competing at light heavyweight… not that I’m going to be competing in anything.

How do I plan on achieving that, you ask?

Make more healthy choices: We bought a Vitamix not that long ago and making juices and smoothies is not only fun, but waaaaaay better for me than cheeseburgers and chicken wings. Plus, I make a bomb quinoa salad (grape tomatoes, olives, cucumber, lemon juice) and genuine love being in the kitchen, so I have to stop being a lazy bastard and keep making killer meals for me and the lady 29 days out of 30.

Run another 5k: So we did a 5k last year where we ran for 5 minutes, walked for 2 and it felt good, but I know I’m capable of more. I started running again last week with 5k being one of my targets. I want to get to a point where I can run that distance straight through, in a respectable time. April is six months away and I’d like to cross this one off by then at the latest, because…

Complete a 10k: Notice I didn’t say, “Run a 10k” because honestly, just getting through something like that would be an accomplishment and I don’t care if I use a run five-walk two approach to get it done… it’s getting it done that matters. Even if I just do it myself on a track; knocking out a 10k at age 37 would be awesome.

Hike/Explore More: Schedules complicate things, but at least twice a month I’d like to get out and discover more of my new surroundings. There are a ton of places around here with great scenery and trails and fresh air and whatnot and I need to go see them.

Get a Book Deal: As you may or may not know, I’m working on an autobiography with a fighter friend of mine and we’re getting close to the “pitch it to publishers” stage, so this one should be pretty safe. But still. It’s a book deal. I’m a writer. That’s kind of one of the dreams.

Find Greater Security: It’s not that I think one or more of my freelance gigs is going to fall apart or suddenly get pulled, but you know what’s even better than a collection of solid contracts? A gig where the cheques come every two weeks without fail and I’m not sitting around thinking”Is this leading anywhere or am I going to keep doing the same thing for the same money for the next five years?” every couple of months.

Write More Blogs: I miss this. I miss just rambling about whatever is running through my head like in the old I Blog Because I Can days. I don’t want to set any “blog three times a week” benchmarks because blogging while I’m on the road covering an event or buried under assignments isn’t always possible, but if I can knock out a couple every month, I’ll be happy and hopefully you’ll be entertained.

Connect More with Friends and Family: I’ll admit it – I suck at staying in touch; ask the people I went to high school and university with… they’ll tell you and then they’ll ask what I’ve been up to because I haven’t been in touch with them lately. I want to change that, so that means more Facebook messages, more phone calls, more out of the blue text messages. Consider yourself warned.

Read at Least 10 Books: I love reading and I need to spend more time turning pages and less time looking at my phone. As much as I like flipping through Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and whatever else, I want to get back to reading good books on a regular basis because there are a ton of great books out there and I want to read them.

Play Competitive Basketball Again: By competitive, I mean a rec league with other thirtysomethings that feel achy and broken down for two days after an hour or two of ball, but goddamn I need to lace up some high tops and hoop again.

Take a Three-Day Vacation Where I Don’t Pay Any Attention to Work: My wife has put up with myriad getaways where work calls (literally and figuratively) and between today and October 29, 2016, I’m going somewhere with her (and the dog) where I won’t do anything work related. If you need me for work purposes during that time, too bad… I’m on vacation.

Eat Nat’s Pizza: I’ve been making regular trips to Vancouver for six years now and not once has my Vancouver-born-and-raised wife taken me to Ryan Reynold’s favourite pizza joint. That ends this year.

Quit Drinking: This is my big one and the one that I’ve told a couple people already. They always say, “Why?” or “How come?” or something that makes me sound like I’m crazy for wanting to kick booze. I don’t enjoy drinking nearly as much as I did earlier in life, two beers makes me bloated and why the hell do I have to drink anyway? I’m fun without booze and it should help me hit that 210 pound goal a little easier too.

Since I’m going to blog more in the coming 365 days, I’ll keep you updated on how all this is going.

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My Advice to You: Check Out the SI Media Podcast

I don’t know why, but people ask me all the time what advice I can give them to get further ahead and improve as a writer. I don’t say that to be faux-humble; I genuinely don’t know why people are coming to me because I’m just a dude out here trying to make a living and there are more seasoned, more experienced folks that I would reach out to before getting around to hitting me up.

Having said that, I don’t believe I’ve ever turned someone away without giving them whatever insights I can because I think that’s one of the easiest, yet most impactful things you can do for another human being and since I’ve been blessed to have a bunch of smart, skilled, knowledgeable people help me along in this journey, it’s my duty to pay it forward or else I’m doing those folks a disservice.

I say all of that to get to this little bit of unsolicited, simple advice for anyone pursuing this craft or considering a future in the media: you need to listen to the SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch.

Whether you love or hate Deitsch – or even if you’ve never heard of him before right now – what you need to know is that every week, this podcast features an outstanding guest dropping gems about the media, their process and life in general and if you’re going to do this in any way, shape or form, you need to hear, consider and process each and every one of those gems.

For instance, a couple weeks ago, Deitsch had Chris Curtis, the producer of The Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI, on as a guest and even though I know nothing about Curtis or the show itself, there were nuggets that hit home, like Curtis saying – and I’m paraphrasing – “If you’re willing to put your name on a piece, you should be willing to discuss and defend it whenever someone wants to address what you said.”

Last week, Jay Onrait said we shouldn’t be so adversarial and I couldn’t agree more. That’s something I’ve been saying about the MMA media for years – we’re too territorial and too afraid to lift up others because it might mean people stop looking at us as much – and to hear someone with far more seasoning and success say he genuinely wants to see everyone succeed and wishes others felt the same way was reassuring.

Or this week, when Deitsch asked Jalen Rose about a life philosophy FS1 host Charissa Thompson said she got from basketball player-turned-media personality, “Appreciate your position, but plan your promotion.” Brilliant, right? It’s something I’ve been doing throughout this journey, though I’d never really thought of it in those specific terms.

There have honestly been too many little words of wisdom and simple truths that have fallen into my lap just from listening to this podcast every week – and now twice a week – that I had to give everyone the head’s up, just in case you weren’t already listening.

And it’s not just the guests that shuffle along insights and bits you can learn from either.

Deitsch – for my money – is one of the better hosts/interviewers in the game right now because there is nothing he is afraid to ask (or so it seems) and he knows that the show isn’t about him, hitting the guests with quality questions and then giving them all the time they need to provide their answer. It’s something I’m working on for those odd times when I host the Keyboard Kimura podcast or while I’m doing interviews for stories.

One last thing that doesn’t come from the SI Media Podcast or any of the above, but just my general observations and conversations with some like-minded individuals: focus on your craft – getting better and moving forward – not social media and telling everyone about how much you’re grinding.

If you’re on Twitter all the damn time, how are you actually getting anything done? There is a time and place for the social media platform – and a certain utility to it as well – but quality content and a recognizable work ethic are far more important than how many followers you have and the number of times you tell people about all the work you’re doing.

Just get out there and grind. If you’re doing good work, people will notice.

That’s all for now.

Peace Out, Suckers.