2018 to 2019 – Reflections and Appreciation

Happy Holidays! I hope that you have been enjoying the season and all the great things that come with it. As I sit by the woodstove (might sound corny but is true) and put fingers to keyboard, I’m finding myself in a particular state of mind. I’m struggling to frame this perspective, but I think I can capture it with a few key words (not keywords…well, maybe).

Serenity, gratitude, analysis, and projection…those are the terms that typify where my attitude has been for a few days, and where it will certainly be for a few more. I’d like to give each word the attention it deserves and offer my appreciation for you as a reader, listener, viewer, client, and mentor (I could go on…but I shall not).

Serenity is defined as the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. It’s a wonderful state of being that we all benefit from and deserve to be in most of the time. Honestly, as much as I try to attain serenity on a regular basis, I have to admit that I seem to get more of it this time of year. Maybe it’s the woodstove. The subtle crackle of the fire, the radiant warmth, and the amber glow seem to create a wave of serotonin-upregulating magnificence that I find myself drawn toward. It hasn’t even been that cold yet in southwest Montana, but I spend some time by the woodstove every day. I still do most of my office work at my stand-up desk, but it’s a real treat to bring my notebook to the table by the woodstove. It’s great to have some moments that are free of distraction and somehow amazingly restorative and enriching. I hope you have your own (metaphorical or real) woodstove in this season and hopefully we can all find ways to get more of these meditative states into our existence all year.

Gratitude is a popular word these days, and this is rightfully so. Maybe it’s always been popular and I didn’t know that, but nonetheless, being a thankful person is a positive character trait as well as a health enhancer. I think we’d all admit that our society is programmed to be more grateful and sharing at this time of year. Indeed our challenge is to employ those gratitude practices every day of the year and to make this aspect of the holiday season perpetual. In addition to the woodstove, I’m grateful for my family, my friends, my health, and for the incredible opportunity to work with all my clients in wellness and performance in a manner about which I am so passionate. These are but some of the gifts of life that I cherish. How about you?

Analysis sounds so clinical, tactical, and sterile. It can certainly be all those things. But it doesn’t have to — in fact, analysis can be anything you want. It’s tradition at this time of year to look back on 2018 (in this case) and think about what happened in our lives, recognize the high and low points (hopefully not many lows), and see what we can learn from those experiences. Business, relationships, nutrition, fitness, sports…these are but some of the areas of our lives we can analyze and many others are fair game. I always like to look at how the application of science and research made it into my life, and what kind of impact those practices yielded. A few of my food, training, and marketing experiments were quite successful…and quite a few others were less so. What a great opportunity for learning and to be humbled and inspired! Examples? I tried an all-meat diet for 5 weeks…not much to report. Felt great when I started and felt no different at the end. Also tried a super-high fiber and fermented food program for an equal period of time. Those results were not so good, but I’ll spare you the hilarious details! And I had a very good result with high-intensity, extremely brief, relatively frequent training (shout out to Kenny!). I’m sure you’ve had some great happenings in your year, and these events give us the opportunity to analyze and learn.

Ultimately this woodstove missive is ending up with projection. Since I’m in a serene state, filled with gratitude, and have analyzed my data, I’m thinking about projection. What’s next? I ask that to myself and now I’ll try to answer that question. As I go from general to specific, I see a few directions in which I’d like to drive 2019. We continue to see struggle in our population with health, and even fitness/performance results for so many. I also see a slow but steady adoption of expanding technology in service delivery and education in the wellness arena. I’m dedicated to steer my future publications, media content, and services toward reaching more people and making positive change. After a number of years of significant experimentation, my nutritional approaches will probably be somewhat static (although I’ll remain open-minded). However, with athletic training I’m enthused to take some of my lessons from this year and make next year one of even higher performance and health outcomes. I intend to accomplish this in a way that embraces maturation and that encourages longevity. I’m also into novel learning and I’m trying to expand my abilities in art and music as well as my knowledge of science and literature. Funny thing is, I see all this as exciting and stimulating. I don’t feel pressure that this is a to-do list around which I can’t feel good about myself unless I achieve mastery everywhere. These things represent my assignment to myself, and pursuance may exceed outcomes in reality. Seems like a decent projection.

Thank you for the opportunity to share these thoughts. I wish you the most joyous holiday season, and the most incredible 2019. I hope your versions of serenity, gratitude, analysis, and projection are productive and satisfying. I look forward to what we’ll work on and accomplish together next year, and I do that with the utmost reflection and anticipation. Cheers!

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