As I write, Tropical Storm Darby is flooding much of the area where I live. I’m being pounded with heavy lightning and thunder.

My weekend was hampered by the storm, which contributed to some of the reason why I didn’t complete all of my goals. The bigger reason I only wrote 2 pages, instead of my goal of 155, is that I chose to focus on editing the second draft, which went out to my editor Tuesday, and finishing Jon Morrow’s guest blogging course.

I completed all the remaining 30+ units, and I’m thrilled to say that I’m now a Jon Morrow Guestblogger graduate. Yay!

In addition, Lifehack greenlit my article, which has gone through the editing phase, which means they will schedule a time for publication shortly.

I’ll provide updates once I know more and have a specific publication date. My agent is planning on putting out a press release, and I’ll heavily promote it as well.

It was far more important for me to push forward on the editing of my latest book and building the platform to promote it. That said, I’m excited about the outcome even if I didn’t meet my writing goal.

For my other goals, I finished the audiobook,the Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz.

I listened to three podcasts, mentioned below. I read everyday, but I’m still working on the same book. I didn’t get any emails from well known speakers or authors, outside of Twitter, but I did reach out to over thirty different famous authors, speakers, and businessmen.

My big wins for the week were finishing the blogging course, continuing my additional ab workouts, as well as my new things. I also count my editing a win.

I wanted to go hiking, but I had to settle for visiting a few new stores, The Aloha Cafe, being one of them, pictured below.

For my new app or program, I worked on Jon Morrow’s Serious Bloggers Only suite of courses. I love it so far! More updates to follow.

My summer is now over. I go back to work on Tuesday, and I'll get students the following week. I consider it a very successful summer. I was hoping to finish writing 2 books, but 1 and a third books is still a great accomplishment, not to mention the soon to be published article in Lifehack and my recent appearance in Wikipedia (in the bottom credits for my vog article).

Due to my updated schedule, my new goal for writing this week is 33 pages (time travel book) plus my my blog post and any required ghostwriting. I don’t have a blogging page goal just yet, but I’ll set one next week. My next big goal will be to finish my second book of the year by the end of six weeks, September 3rd, right before my an upcoming trip to Japan. Next week’s goals are listed below.


Audiobook completed
The Magic of Thinking Big

Reading the Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle

Podcasts
The Brian Buffini Show Episodes 4-5
MWF Motivation Episode 6

Goals for the week of July 10th are listed below.

  • Write 33 pages of my own work (On my current scifi time-travel book).
  • Finish 1 units of Jon Morrow’s Serious Bloggers Only course
  • Write 1 blog post (this post).
  • Upload 1 guest blog post.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful entrepreneur or speaker.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful scifi or fantasy author.
  • Meet 1 new person.
  • Complete reading 1 fiction book.
  • Finish listening to 1 audiobook.
  • Listen to 7 motivation podcast episodes.
  • Go to 1 new place on the island (hiking, beaches, etc).
  • Try 1 new web or mobile application for increased productivity.
  • Complete 20 reps with focused breathing and form for my new core/ab workout routines for Mon/Wed/Fri.
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Week #4 in my 52-week journey was the best week yet. I’ll get to that in a moment, but I’ll start with the misses. First of all, I only wrote 19 pages of my time travel book. My goal was forty, but I did manage to write an additional 20 pages of ghostwriting, 3 pages for my weekly blog post, as well as 12 pages for a guest blog post, which I’ll discuss in a moment. That’s a total of 54 pages, but only 19 towards my fiction book, so that’s a miss.

I also fell short of my reading goal. I even missed one day of reading altogether. In addition, I failed to listen to any of the podcasts. I also didn’t try a new app, but I did continue working on Jon Morrow’s course, though I finished 10 units instead of my goal of 21. I also joined another one of Jon’s blogging services, but I didn’t get to try it yet. I’ll provide that update next week.

My final fail, was hosting a guest blog post on my own blog, though I do have commitments which are coming down the pipeline.

The good news is that I had a great week in other more important respects. Although I didn’t get any responses from well known motivational business speakers, I did meet with several new people and interacted with many new authors, including a face-to-face meeting with a fellow local author in Hawaii, and I had a great and productive 90-minute chat session, and I’m looking forward to continuing that writing friendship.

For the new place, I went to a farmer's market in Manoa. I used to live in Manoa, but never went to the farmer's market there. I also went to a new opened Matcha Cafe in Waikiki. Both were good. In case you're wondering what I purchased, I bought leeks, tomatoes, ong choi, long beans, and Japanese cucumbers. I’ve added photos of each, plus a photo of a rainbow (shown at the top) from my apartment for no reason other than because I can. 


I didn't go on any new hikes this week, but I did finally complete my extra ab rep exercises, and I also completed the audio book, the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.

Much of my time was taken up with marketing by blog and books on social media. I’ve taken Jon Morrow’s lessons to heart. In case you haven't noticed, I’ve also revamped the design of this blog along with a new name as well. That brings me to the great news.

First of all, I received back my second draft of my self-help book from the editor, which I'll return back for additional revisions tomorrow. The real excitement, though was that I was accepted as a contributor to Lifehack.

I actually jumped the gun a bit, because I hadn’t gotten to that section in the guestblogging course, but I believed my writing and experience were enough to apply as a contributor. That positive thinking paid off with a prompt acceptance! I immediately began working on an article, which I’ve already written, edited, and submitted for review. I’ll keep you updated on if and when the article is accepted and published. As a contributor, I'm required to write at least one article per week for Lifehack, so expect to see many more from me.   

I’ve substantially beefed up my weekly writing goal for this week at a whopping 155 pages. I only have eight days remaining before I go back to work, so I want to maximize that time. My weekly goals are listed below.

Audiobook completed 
4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris

Reading the Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle



Podcasts
None

Goals for the week of July 10th are listed below.
  • Write 155 pages of my own work (On my current scifi time-travel book).
  • Finish 30 units of Jon Morrow’s Guestblogging course.
  • Write 1 blog post (this post).
  • Upload 1 guest blog post.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful entrepreneur or speaker.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful scifi or fantasy author.
  • Meet 1 new person.
  • Complete reading 1 fiction book.
  • Finish listening to 1 audiobook.
  • Listen to 7 motivation podcast episodes.
  • Go to 1 new place on the island (hiking, beaches, etc).
  • Try 1 new web or mobile application for increased productivity.
  • Complete 20 reps with focused breathing and form for my new core/ab workout routines for Mon/Wed/Fri.

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Exciting things happened this week. For my one new place, I hiked Waimano Falls in Aiea, which I attempted a couple of weeks back. I still didn’t finish, but I made it most of the way through. My hiking companions and I got turned around and ended up adding an extra hour and a half on the hike time. It ended up taking 2.5 hours instead of 1 hour, and we missed the last ten minutes of the hike, which were both the most treacherous and beautiful. I’ll have to find different hiking partners next time with a higher risk tolerance to make it to the falls.

The hike did get mildly dangerous towards the end. It was steep, muddy, narrow, and required ropes in certain spots. In fact, there was a rescue copter hovering when I was finished.There was also a monument in the beginning of the hike set up for a hiker who recently died. Overall, the hike was okay. There were some nice views and enjoyable natural scenery, but I have other favorite hikes that I would recommend on Oahu. I’ll update my recommendation once I actually complete it. Still, it was great exercise, and I enjoyed the views.

For my one new web application for increased productivity, I enrolled in Jon Morrow’s Guestblogger course. As of this blog post, I’ve completed 14 of the 59 units, and I plan to finish the remaining 45 units in the next 15 days. I paid the first $99 installments of two installments totaling $198. It wasn’t a purchase I took lightly. I first heard about Jon Morrow from a podcast episode of EOFire. Since then, I read about ten of Jon Morrow’s posts, and did additional research. He is truly a phenom, and the course is amazing. If you are serious about blogging and developing a web presences, I highly recommend it.

I also had more exciting news related to several of my goals. The first was that the one and only Brian Tracy sent me back an email response about a question I posed regarding success. I was thrilled that he took the time to answer my question and provide me a quote, which I will be using in my upcoming self-help book.

In addition, I was contacted by a local author, who I will be meeting this upcoming week. This actually came about as a result of meeting someone new this week at the Fourth of July barbecue I attended July 3rd. They passed along my business card, and the author emailed me directly. One might say it was serendipitous.  

For my other goals, I did finish a new audio book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse. I also listened to 15 podcasts, listed below.

My epic fail this week, though, was twofold. I’m still reading the  Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle. I read about the same amount as I did last week. I also didn’t reach my personal writing goal. I only wrote 11 pages of my science fiction novel, plus 3 pages of the Sunday’s guest blog, and 17 pages of ghost writing. I did, however, read and write everyday, and I turned over my rough draft of the self-help book I finished last week to my editor. I also missed Wednesday’s extra set of ab workouts, so I only completed two extra sets, just like last week.

Finally, I didn’t have any guest posts to my site, but I did get commitments by two and possibly a third author. All-in-all, it was an amazing week, and I’m pleased with the progress. I’m also in the process of beefing up my email newsletter notification to include exclusive content in addition to the usual notifications, so please sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already. It’s the big red button on the top right.   

Completed Podcasts
EOFire Archive Episodes 208-210
WTF Should I do with my life Episodes 3-5
MWF Motivation Episode #2-5
The Brian Buffini Show Episodes 1-3
The True Performance Show by Ziglar Episodes 404-405

Audiobook 
15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

Fictionbook
Still Reading the Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle

Goals for the week of July 10th are listed below.
  • Write 40 pages of my own work (On my current scifi time-travel book).
  • Finish 21 units of Jon Morrow’s Guestblogging course.
  • Write 1 blog post (this post).
  • Upload 1 guest blog post.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful entrepreneur or speaker.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful scifi or fantasy author.
  • Meet 1 new people in person.
  • Complete reading 1 fiction book.
  • Finish listening to 1 audio book.
  • Listen to 7 motivation podcast episodes.
  • Go to 1 new place on the island (hiking, beaches, etc).
  • Try 1 new web or mobile application for increased productivity.
  • Complete 20 reps with focused breathing and form for my new core/ab workout routines for Mon/Wed/Fri.

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Welcome to week #2 of my journey on self-discovery. It was an amazing week. I hope you enjoy the pictures. To start things off, the one new thing that I did was to visit the Makai Wing of Ala Moana Shopping Center. Yes, I’ve been to Ala Moana hundreds of times, but I haven’t visited the Makai Wing since it opened. I’m glad I did. As you can see from the pictures, the first store I visited was Shirokiya. They only have eateries inside the store at the moment, but the decor was majestic with the overhanging Sakura (cherry blossoms). There was also some great Japanese art, which hung on the back of a stage adjacent to some buddhist charity boxes. The only other new store I dropped in was Bloomingdales.

Later, I went to a July 4th weekend celebration with some old friends, and I met a few new people, so all-in-all, I enjoyed the new things this week. Next weekend, I’m going to do my best to revisit the hike in Pearl City that was a no go a couple weeks back due to the weather.

For my other goals, I was mostly successful. I completed the rough draft of my motivational book (yay!). It stands at 220 pages or 55,000 words, though, the final word count will depend on the editing. I wrote almost exactly 40 pages of that book plus 2 pages of last week’s blog post, plus an additional 26.5 pages of ghostwriting for a total 68.5 pages all in all. It’s off to the editors early this week.

On the contact front, I was unable to get responses from anyone or a guest blog post, but I’m redoubling my efforts this week. My big fail was reading a new fiction book. I did get started on the Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle and read everyday, but the reading took a backseat to writing this week. Honestly, I have no complaints about that.

I did, however, listen to the complete audiobook of the Richest Man in Babylon, which I thoroughly loved. I also listened to ten podcast episodes listed at the bottom below.

On the workout front. I did my daily workouts, but only the extra ab workouts on Monday and Wednesday, so I call that goal a fail this week. After looking at my routine, I’ve decided the best thing would be to tie that extra ab workouts to my routine of meditating and napping daily and returning home from work, only I’ll do the extra workout before my meditation.  

With respect to the new app or software, I put in a short glance at Evernote. I haven’t spent significant time on it, but what I did find useful was the snapshot feature, which allows you to take a snapshot of a whiteboard and then turn the words into searchable text. I wish they had that when I was in college.

That’s it for this week. Don’t forget, I’m running a massive $250 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway on the homepage, tweet or share this blog post and earn free entry to win! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog if you enjoyed it, and feel free to link to this post or contact me regarding guest blogging spots on my site or if you would like me to guest blog on yours. The categories include fiction writing, self-help & motivation, science, science fiction and fantasy, books, travel, and education. See you next week!

Podcasts

MWF Motivation Episode #1
EOFire Archive i Episodes 204-207
48 Days to the Work you Love - Finding Your Sweet Spot
The KickAss Life with David Wood Episode 31
WTF - Wanna Be A Game Changer
The True Performance Show by Ziglar Episodes 402 & 403

The goals for the week of July 3rd are listed below.
  • Write 40 pages of my own work (On my current scifi time-travel book).
  • Write 1 blog post (this post).
  • Upload 1 guest blog post.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful entrepreneur or speaker.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful scifi or fantasy author.
  • Meet 1 new person.
  • Complete reading 1 fiction book.
  • Finish listening to 1 audiobook.
  • Listen to 7 motivation podcast episodes.
  • Go to 1 new place on the island (hiking, beaches, etc).
  • Try 1 new web or mobile application for increased productivity.
  • Complete 20 reps with focused breathing and form for my new core/ab workout routines for Mon/Wed/Fri.

 
 
Welcome back! I’m calling this the week one post, since my last post was the day one post. For my first week, I am pleased to say I completed most of my goals, with the exception of getting responses back from the authors and businessman, though, I did get one response from the Brian Tracy’s company, just not the man himself. I dropped the ball on the guest blog post, however, so I’ll need to remedy that this upcoming week.

For my new activity, I attempted to do a new hike. I went to Waimano Falls in Aiea, on Oahu, and started the footpath, but was shut down by the weather. I’ll go back another time, with pictures. Still, it was a new drive and a new place so it counts. I did enjoy the drive up to the trail. I have driven in lower Aiea many times, but only once did I drive in the upper parts. This area was completely new and reminds me of the numerous ridges in town from St. Louis Heights to Aina Haina.

For the time saving software & application, I downloaded Lucy Phone. The downside is that the app only works with pre-selected numbers. I wanted to test it on a local bank, but was unable to since it wasn’t in the directory. Based on the user reviews, about a third or so seem to be one star reviews as a result of operator hang ups when they realize that they are on the line with an app and not a real person, which is hugely ironic. I will come back and mention this app if I ever need to call a company and wait on hold for a while. Then again, I may pass. It seems easier just to wait on hold and put the phone on speaker while doing something else more productive. In either case, you would still be waiting. I can’t say I would rate this as a time saver either, because if you end up having to call back one out of three times, that wastes time. If you are productive with you hold time, it’s less annoying. You just need to go in with the proper mindset.

I met my writing goal. I wrote 40.5 pages of my latest book. I’m less than a week away from finishing the book, so that will be my new goal. I have 180.5 pages written, and based on the average lengths of each section, it should be around 220 to 230 pages in total, give or take. I’m getting real excited about the contents and progress of the book. It’s very autobiographical and honest. I believe many of you will be inspired by contents and take the suggestions to heart when you get a chance to read it.

In addition, I wrote the 3 page blog post for my initial post last Sunday for a total of 43.5 pages. Plus a portion of this blog post, which I’m starting Saturday. I’ll finish Sunday night. Let’s call it an even 44 pages, not including my diary or dream log.

I finished reading a complete fiction book, Timebound, by Rysa Walker. I also completed a full audio book (which I listened to at 1.5 & 2.0 speed) on Audible, The Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar, with Tom Ziglar, and bonus Selling with emotional Logic, a whopping 17 hours and change! In addition, I listened to 13 podcast episodes, all listed below.

Eofire Archive i episodes 201-203
Do Over episode 1
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe episode #571
Full Life Radio Episode Jacob Sokol
WTF Should I do with my life Episode Coach Do I Overcome Time of Low   Energy
MWF Motivation episodes 0, and 125-126 
The True Performance Show episodes 400-401

I successfully completed my updated ab routine and workout and completed them Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For this week, my goal for that portion will be to focus on form and breathing while getting out twenty reps each of the new routine. I’ve listed the activities below. I took the routine primarily from a single YouTube video. The routine includes Russian Twists, active rest, modified crunches, active rest, and alternate toe crunches.

For next week’s goals, I’m keeping them nearly the same, with the exception of clarifying that I will finish my current book this week. If it gets done in less than 40 pages, I’ll make up the additional pages on the science fiction book I’m working on. If you want to review my yearly goals, they will remain posted in my prior post, but I won’t repost them in this post.

Weekly goals to be completed by July 3rd, 2016
  • Write 40 pages of my own work (and finish my current nonfiction book).
  • Write 1 blog posts (this post).
  • Upload 1 guest blog post.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful entrepreneur or speakers.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful scifi or fantasy author.
  • Meet 1 new person.
  • Complete reading 1 fiction book.
 
 
I want you to join me on a unique experiment. The goal is to help more people find their passion over the course of the next 52 weeks and take action on that passion. I’m hoping that leading by example will be the best approach. I have set my own list of yearly and weekly goals to force myself to do new things. I will share my process and progress about each of those goals in a weekly Sunday blog post. This is the day one blog post, and I’ll have the week one blog post out next Sunday evening, Hawaii time, with a new blog every Sunday.

So why I am doing this? Recently, I’ve been on a journey of self-reflection and self-improvement. If you read my last two blogs, you’ll see that I created an action plan and succeeded in several large goals. I hope to accomplish more. Throughout the last few months I have dramatically increased the amount of time I’ve been listening to audiobooks and podcasts related to self-improvement.

I was partially inspired by several podcasts including the Ziglar Show and 48 Days to the Work You Love, among others. What prompted me to action was an archived podcast of Entrepreneur on Fire with guest host Nathan Latka, who said something along the lines of “Winners take imperfect action, and losers are still planning the perfect plan.” After hearing those words, I decided to take action with the endeavor.  

I have several irons in the fire, but I decided to get more engaged on my blog, which has been languishing. One of those irons is a non-fiction motivational book I’m two-thirds of the way finished writing. I hope to complete the rough draft in two weeks. I have another book, a scifi time-travel book, which I plan to have done within three weeks of the motivational book. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of both.  

In the process of documenting, writing, and doing new things every week, I hope to create a journey of discovery and develop a network of likeminded entrepreneurs, writers, readers, and friends. I am open to your suggestions for things you think I should try, or people you think I should contact. I would also like to hear from you if you’ve tried something new in the prior week. If it has enough value, I may share your experience on the next week’s blog post, so feel free to send them in by selecting the contact me section on my website. Also, If you are a successful writer or entrepreneur, would like to submit a guest blog post, or know any successful writers or entrepreneurs, you are more than welcome to share the post or contact me directly. With no further ado, I’ve listed my goals below, and you’ll see my progress and comments next week Sunday June 26th.

Yearly goals to be completed by 11:59 PM HST June 18th 2017.
  • Write 1,000 pages of my own work.
  • Complete 4 rough drafts of 4 separate works.
  • Publish 2 books (1 fiction and 1 non fiction book).
  • Publish at least 1 book with a traditional publishing house.  
  • Write 52 blog posts.
  • Upload 52 guest blog posts.
  • Get a response from at least 52 successful entrepreneurs or speakers.
  • Get a response from at least 52 successful scifi or fantasy authors.
  • Meet 52 new people in person.
  • Read 52 fiction books.
  • Listen to 52 audiobooks.
  • Listen to 365 motivation podcast episodes.
  • Go to 52 new places (hiking trails, beaches, etc).
  • Try 52 new web or mobile applications for increased productivity.
  • Create either a webinar module, podcast, or web application regarding one of the following topics: science, education, writing, scifi/fantasy or motivation.
  • Drop my body fat to 7% (I’m not sure what it is now, but I think it’s 12-15%)
Weekly goals to be completed by 11:59 PM HST June 25th 2016
  • Write 40 pages of my own work.
  • Write one blog posts (this post).
  • Upload one guest blog post.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful entrepreneur or speaker.
  • Get a response from at least 1 successful scifi or fantasy author.
  • Meet one new person.
  • Complete reading one fiction book.
  • Finish Listening to one audiobook.
  • Listen to seven motivation podcast episodes.
  • Go to one new place on the island (hiking, beaches, etc).
  • Try one new web or mobile applications for increased productivity.
  • Create three core/ab workout routines for Mon/Wed/Fri.

 
 
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Beginning January 2015, I started on a journey of following through with an action plan that included better management of my health, finances, and overall productivity using specific steps on a daily and weekly basis. In April I wrote a post about the results of that endeavor. Six and a half months later, I thought it would be a great opportunity to follow up with the successes and challenges I have since experienced. If you haven’t read the original article, I encourage you to do so.

Without rehashing everything, the main changes I implemented were keeping daily track of my progress in brief journal entries based on an action plan, making a to-do list, and using the Pomodoro technique as a strategy to complete that list. On that daily list I decided to give up alcohol and fast food. Later I added morning set-ups and push-ups at home six days a week.

Since the original post 28 weeks ago, I’ve lost an additional 16 lbs bringing the total loss to 40 lbs in 40 weeks. The great news for everyone out there who hasn’t yet started on a plan is that staying on course gets easier with time.

As one might expect, the first month, and especially the first week, was the most challenging. Since then, consistency has changed the way I think and react to different choices. There are noticeable changes in my ability to resist impulses and bad options, which extend to things beyond my list. I am able to say no and make better buying, eating, and time management decisions with much less effort. This is part of the reason why my improvements in health and productivity have continued.

Let’s start with the challenges. First off, I have not been able to complete every item on my to-do list daily. I was much better at this in the beginning then I am now. It remains the one aspect I still need to work on. This may seem to fly in the face of my previous paragraph, but if you understand how I set up my to-do list you will understand. Ideally, it’s best to put the harder things first on that list, and that’s where I’ve had much of my success. Where I have failed is putting too many items on the list. As I’ve achieved many of my goals, I added more. That being the case, the solution is clear, put fewer items on the list. If one finishes those items, then continue with additional items scheduled for a later time.

Also, there has been an occasion or two, where I failed to write down my daily journal entry. In those instances, I went back and wrote down what I remembered for that day and just kept chugging along. It’s key that you do not let a small setback destroy your morale or willingness to continue. No one is perfect. Pick yourself up, and move on.

With respect to food, it’s true that I am not on a diet. I have never been a fan of diets, and I personally think they can set people up for failure, not because they are not achievable, but because there is a deadline where habits revert back to normal even if the desired results are achieved. It is better if changes are permanent. If you don’t think you can stick with a diet for the rest of your life, don’t start it. Remember, it’s the consistency of the change that will help improve your self control and allow small daily gains to accumulate.

While I am not on a diet, I have changed my eating and drinking habits. There is no one size fits all or magic bullet to achieving success. The key is consistency and making changes that will have a measureable impact over time. I am not asking you to give up things you love, but if you choose to make zero changes and give in to every impulse simply because you want to, don’t expect any progress toward your goal. Choose something you can live with and stick to it. By following through with small changes, you will find that you will make better choices overall as a result, just as I have. Make incremental changes. Once a single good habit is successfully developed, add another.

Also on my list is doing morning set ups and push up. I don’t go to the gym because I know the hassle of parking and my hectic schedule make it less likely I’ll go. This is THE FIRST thing on my to do list. Willpower is most abundant in the morning, and I want to make sure that I do them every day (except Saturday), and I have. It takes me between 15-25 minutes depending on the day and routine. Consistency is what is important. Even small changes make a big difference over time. If you don’t want to do push ups or set ups, pick something small you can do daily or regularly that works best for you.

The combination of those changes has given me more self-control, confidence, and improved my health, strength, and outlook on life. I have always been optimistic, but everyone goes through periods of self-doubt. I am more optimistic about my future and my ability to achieve my personal goals now than I have ever been.

The successes of the weight loss and improved health have extended into my writing. I published my fourth novel shortly after my original post. That book was selected as a 2015 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Fantasy Finalist, has received numerous five star reviews, including a review from a Top 10 Hall of Fame Reviewer, as well as a garnered a positive quote from Hugo Award Finalist and the Dune series collaborator, Brian Herbert.

I was also able to successfully co-author a peer reviewed scientific paper based on prior research I conducted in collaboration with a group of scientists, which was featured on the cover of one of the most respected scientific journals in the world and has led to additional television airtime.

In addition to my published and upcoming works of fiction, I recently began working as a ghostwriter in multiple genres as well as a paid contributor to various scientific and futuristic websites. In total, I have been averaging between 70 to 100 pages of writing per week, and that’s on top of working as a full time science teacher.

While you should not expect lofty goals and changes to happen overnight, lofty goals ARE achievable. If someone tells you not to set big goals or that you should not pursue your dreams, IGNORE them and instead take advice from people who have achieved their dreams and big goals. The key, though, to achieving big goals is to lay out a plan with specific steps of how to achieve the big dream that incorporate daily or regular steps that force you to progress along that path.

It’s true that there is no single method to achieve success, but you will find that successful people follow similar patterns. One of those patterns is making a daily goal. I highly recommend that you make a goal for yourself EVERY DAY. Write it down. Use strategies such as the Pomodoro technique to complete those daily goals, and then use those daily goals to achieve larger milestones that are part of your action plan or big dream. With respect to changing habits, pick something that is small and stick with it. You can add to it later once you’ve succeeded with your first step. Consistency is key. Succeeding at the small daily changes are the how in your plan to achieve your vision, no matter how big the goal and no matter what the dream.


Roy Huff, MS, MAEd




 
 
To give a little background behind the story, I need to backtrack to several years before the present.

In high school, I was a model student, straight-As, valedictorian, and student body president. That was in spite of living in severe poverty and struggling with an absent father who had serious manic depression, which also led to frequent bouts of homelessness and stints in mental institutions. He was also dealing with being an HIV-positive, gay man in early 1980’s.

I managed to survive my childhood and graduated with bright prospects; however, limited guidance, a few bad choices, and making the decision to go to a college with one of the toughest residency requirements in the country forced my hand and resulted in my early withdrawal from college.  

At the age of 29, I found myself in financial turmoil, degree-less, and in the midst of a personal crisis. That’s after struggling in my twenties, working two or three jobs simultaneously, and trying different approaches to achieve professional success. After numerous failed attempts at business and the stock market, I had the misfortune of earning a real estate license during the height of the housing crisis. By mid-2006, I found myself bankrupt and looking for options. That’s when I made the decision to go back to college.

I didn’t have the luxury of being just a student; I had to work two full-time jobs while going to school full time and maxing out all of my financial aid options. At one point, I was working on three degrees concurrently while working three jobs. During that time, I also volunteered both in education and in science.

Six years, five degrees, and two graduate degrees later, I had significantly beefed up my resume. I managed to land a post-doc position as a research scientist working on a NASA, grant-funded position at the University of Hawaii.

At that point, I thought I had it made and that the rest of my life was on track. That’s when everything started to fall apart. The budget crisis of 2012 put extra scrutiny on NASA funding and grant money in general, and in April of 2013, I learned that my position would no longer be supported. Fortunately, my masters degree in education allowed me to find a job as a science teacher, but not before the gap in pay depleted my already meager savings. It seemed, though, that things had settled down and I was on another promising career path, climbing my way out of financial hardship.

During 2013, I also had some wonderful successes. I managed to write my first book, then a second, and in January of 2014, a third, which won the 2014 silver metal of the year by Readers' Favorite for best fantasy book. I landed a respected literary manager and agent, Peter Miller, at Global Lion Management, which is why my personal crisis came out of nowhere.

Fast forward to early 2014, and a major personal crisis once again rocked the foundation of my life. For the sake of the parties involved, I won’t trouble you with the details, but let’s just say that it’s a very common challenge and one that many people deal with, especially in mid-life. On the same day I learned of this crisis, I also found out that my niece had been shot. She was in serious condition, undergoing surgery, and had to have parts of multiple organs removed. That’s when my recent challenges began.

For a short time after the same-day, one-two punch, the thought of suicide danced through my head. While I had no real consideration of following through on the thought, if only for the sake of how my family and friends would be negatively impacted by it, I did feel deeply saddened. I had accomplished so much, and I had so much promise, yet by own personal standard I had failed at some of the most basic parts of life.

After January of 2014, I went through one crisis after another, most of which, were in large part precipitated by the prior two. During that time, I was trying to finish my fourth book, Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone. I found it more than challenging. My prior book, Everville: The Rise of Mallory, I wrote in six days, but this book was proving more difficult.

Moving twice, working full time as a teacher with 150+ students, and dealing with multiple crisis, any one of which might cripple anyone, may have been a good enough excuse for only writing 100 pages in a year. I just didn't believe that allowing myself to wallow in my own self-pity was constructive, so in October 2014 I made myself an action plan.

I wrote the plan with specific goals and objectives and steps on how to achieve those objects, in typical teacher fashion. I didn’t bother to look at it again until after winter break. That’s when I took the big leap. It wasn't my desire to finish the book that pushed me forward, but rather stepping on the bathroom scale at 198.8 lbs. 


I come from a family of morbid obesity, and I was always the skinny one. I told myself a long time ago that if I ever got close to 200 lbs I would take the necessary measures to get my weight and lifestyle under control.

One of the goals in my action plan was to continue working on professional development. That included searching for different forms of continuing education and training for specific skill-sets. After topping out at 198.8 lbs, I happened to stumble across an article on MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Learning Course). I am a voracious reader and learner, and this concept drew me in.

One organization mentioned in the article was called Coursera at www.coursera.org , and while browsing their courses, I came across a free, at-your-own-pace MOOC called Learning How to Learn, which was offered by UC San Diego. I devoured the entire course in six days, and I put into place a couple of the strategies discussed in the class.

One of the strategies was called the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a daily timed exercise of 25 minutes (or whatever time one chooses to select). The idea is to set aside all distractions and focus for that time on a specific goal or task. At first, there will be a little mental discomfort, which will soon fade away. At the end of the time, one rewards oneself with a small reward. It might be tv, a piece of chocolate, or anything that one can construct. This trains the brain to release dopamine after the timed exercise is complete.

The second technique was to have a daily to-do list, being careful to put only what can realistically be accomplished given the time frame. Part of the exercise was to review the list the night before and put the tougher things on the list first.

I decided to implement both strategies and put a few things on my daily to-do list that were also on my action plan. One of those things was a daily journal, which was also suggested in the course. At that point, I decided that I did not want to diet or go to the gym. I figured I needed to make some lifestyle changes in order to achieve my personal goals. The two key choices I made were to abstain from alcohol and fast food.

Making the decision to completely abstain from both alcohol and fast food was the most critical decision, and it laid the groundwork for my eventual success. I added doing push-ups and set-ups at home about a month into my new strategy. While I did change my eating and drinking habits, I did not starve myself or join some dieting plan. I even continued to occasionally eat out at a restaurant, just not fast-food.

I lost 11 lbs the first four weeks and an additional 13 lbs the following eight weeks, dropping from 198.8lbs to 175 lbs. At the moment I’m writing this, I’m 38 and 5’10”, in case you were trying to calculate my BMI (Body Mass Index).  My cholesterol dropped from 225 to 156 and my blood pressure dropped by ten points as well.

Part of the reason why my health was a focus of my action plan was because I believe that having a healthy body can facilitate a healthy mind and better decision making. Along that front, I managed to write the other 100 pages of book #4 in my series during my one week off of spring break. My new book, Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone, will be released the first week of May 2015.

To those people that are interested in losing weight [or any personal goal], my suggestion is not to diet or take some pseudo-scientific weight loss supplement with dubious benefits. I recommend taking a hard look at one’s personal lifestyle, and then deciding on what permanent change is doable within one's life. Make the decision to change and support that decision by 1. Writing down the goal, 2. Keeping a daily journal to monitor progress, 3. Tell supportive friends or family, 4. Support that strategy with A. The Pomodoro Technique and B. A daily to-do list.

I should also say, that one should not get hung up on a daily defeat. My first week failed miserably, and I had a slip-up or two the first few weeks in. Don’t let a temporary setback prevent you from realizing your existing gains. Also, don’t wait until New Years, make your decision to follow through with your goal today, because if you wait until tomorrow, you may be waiting for the rest of your life. 


Finally, check out Coursera and more specificially, Learning How to Learn. You just might be surprised at what wonderful free courses are being offered that could enhance your personal or professional life.

Roy Huff, MS, MAEd
 
 
As the excesses and relative prosperity of The Roaring Twenties gave way to The Great Depression, history was once again engaging in a process of punctuated equilibrium. The decade of the 1930’s saw some of greatest wealth destruction and asset inflation of the modern era. It was a period of great geopolitical unrest and perverse theory that led to such atrocities as the Rape of Nanking and the gas chambers of Auschwitz, circa 1941.

The world was once again embroiled in a great war that resulted in the loss of millions of lives, a process that continued well beyond the war’s conclusion. It was against this backdrop that The Greatest Generation was raised. The austerity of the thirties and the harshness of war provided a constant example of reality, a reality that is often forgotten in times of peace and prosperity.

The men that fought in World War II and the women that powered the factories in their absence grew up with an understanding of an undeniable truth, a truth to which many of our time seem unaware. It was this understanding that led to subsequent decades of unprecedented wealth and prosperity powered by hard work and an appreciation for the privilege of life.  History shows us, however, that mankind’s grasp of certain simple truths often proves fleeting.

The truth to which I am referring is the fact that the only things one deserves are the fruits of one’s labor and the consequences of one’s actions. This awareness provided The Greatest Generation with a strong work ethic, an understanding of frugality, and a respect for authority.  It does not take long, though, to be hit in the face with the sense of entitlement that is pervasive among the youth of our generation.

In spite of the recent economic malaise, modern efficiencies have allowed even the poorest among us to enjoy conveniences that provide constant entertainment and an ever-shrinking attention span. While wealth and technology are certainly not evils in and of themselves, the love of money and an abundance of hubris can create a lethal combination capable of tearing apart the fabric of any society.

While it is impossible to stop basic political and economic cycles, history provides us with a blueprint we can follow to live our lives and prepare for the uncertainty that will always exist. That blueprint starts with an understanding that the choices we make have consequences. The lives we live are a direct result of those choices. If we choose to ignore that simple fact, we will never maximize the potential within us. More importantly, if we allow arrogance to goad us into a sense of undeserved entitlement we will destroy our incentive and the ability to harness the opportunities that present themselves or prepare for the uncertainties that lie ahead.

The decisions we make and the realities that we choose to accept will determine whether or not we will be able to ride out the tide of difficult times. The youth of our generation will soon be faced with that harsh reality, and in the end, it will be up to them whether or not to be a student of history or a slave to it.


 
 
There are many reasons why writers write. Some have a story that simply has to be told, others like to create worlds that can be shaped and molded by their own thoughts and desires. Regardless of the reason, the end product is not just ink on paper or words on a screen; the final product is a blue print that can be used as inspiration for more ideas and a driver of innovation and technology that can be developed further at some point in the future.

There are numerous examples of how fiction has inspired real life events. Science fiction is especially conducive to seeding ideas for technological advancements. Cell phones, the landing on the moon, and many other events and inventions started out as ideas that were once just words read by someone who thought that the ideas those words represented just might be possible.

As a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I am personally hoping for the day when some scientist discovers a way to travel across the universe, back in time, and through a parallel dimension. I would also like to see material sciences create special fabrics and metals with spatial properties that allow us to access the empty space within atoms or create a true cloak of invisibility. As strange as some of these ideas sound, many of them are already being studied and developed today. Scientists have been inspired by cryogenics to create new fields in medicine such as bio-vitrification, which is currently used in organ transplants as well as by companies such as the Alcor Life Extension Foundation to research methods of creating operational states of suspended animation. I firmly believe that we will some day be able to utilize these technologies to create multi-generational ships that travel across the galaxy, allow mankind to explore and colonize the vast reaches of space and beyond, as well as to extend the life of man to approach that of immortality.

Fiction has not just driven technology; it also has been a springboard for social commentary and pointing out problems within societies and governments. It has allowed thinkers and philosophers to ponder what the world would be like if specific events or societal constructs were different. From William Shakespeare to Thomas Moore to George Orwell and Ayn Rand, utopian and dystopian stories have flourished as outlets to describe what ills society in a fictional setting that can be analyzed and digested divorced from its own reality and political constraints. It has been the products of these pioneers and these thinkers that have led to the paradigm shifts and the cultural renaissances that have provided some of the greatest leaps in the evolution of mankind.

While many people hold the belief that the human race will self-destruct in short order, I am not one of those people. I am a futurist and an optimist. It is true that people often ignore the lessons of history, but it is also true that man has been marching steadily forward. While that march has not been uniform, it has been present nonetheless. It has been present because since the invention of papyrus by the Egyptians, the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, and the Kindle by Amazon, people have continued to write; people have continued to inspire, and people have continued to lay the foundation and the framework for future generations in the form of the written word.

While not every word will generate an epiphany in the reader, there will be some; there will be a few, and there will be that one in a million idea that started out as a scribble on a piece of paper or keystroke on a computer used in a fictional work by some as of yet unknown author that changed the world.


Roy Huff, MS, MAEd

Originally posted at the American Diversity Report HERE.