Monday Motivation

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: July 2019 Check-In

I like myself most of the time
This ain’t a crime, this ain’t a crime
I like myself most of the time
Is that a crime? Is that a crime?
— K. Flay "I Like Myself (Most Of The Time)"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 335.996

Average daily steps: 10,838

Highest daily steps: 21,013

Lowest daily steps: 3,958

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 81.15

Total miles hiked: 9.33 (back on the wagon, thankfully)

Sleep stats: 4 days over 7 hours, 4 days between 6-7, and 23 days under 6 hours

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 18 minutes


Outside Experience with one of the best!

The Good

  • Joined the gym, through my insurance for next to nothing and NO contract

  • Total activity is greater than June, daily activity average is higher as well

  • Back into the hiking mode! I missed it and it was an instant high.

  • I’ve increased my workouts and added lunch time routines as well - more physical activity feels SO GOOD.

  • I did not kayak, but I did bike! Oh yeah, I bought a bike! It’s nothing expensive or special but it serves the purpose of biking around on paved paths or gravel stuff. I’m not ready for the real trails….yet.

  • I am working out twice a day at least 5 days per week

  • I’m down 12 lbs since January, it’s been up and down. July was a good month, 6 lbs down overall.

  • Made more food at home

  • I pushed through my bad weekends

  • My meals were 61% vegetarian in nature. It’s so easy, and delicious.


The Not-So-Good

  • I didn’t find time to kayak, which is more sad than bad

  • I did not really increase my sleep. I plan to make a real effort in August

  • Had some bender weekends for food/drinking - speed bumps

  • Dined out too much, but mostly on trips

  • I still have days when I give up or eat too much, but tracking it makes me aware


An excerpt from The Awakening

An excerpt from The Awakening

Mental Health

  • Work was mentally draining the entire month of July

  • Have not been writing as much as I would like, but I have plans for August

  • My phone is a constant source of anxiety and so use of my phone is continuously being reduced

  • I am in a good place, overall, but there’s always work to be done.


A night of swimming at Lake Granbury w/ friends and family. Good for physical and mental wellness.

A night of swimming at Lake Granbury w/ friends and family. Good for physical and mental wellness.

Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • I am on track. Slow and steady wins the race. Realizing excess happens is a big step and exercising no matter what is important.

  • I am tracking my food. It helps, but it isn’t perfect.

  • My coworkers are working out and trying too. Having some support, even if it isn’t for the same goals. It’s nice to have friends on the Apple Watch or to go to the gym with at lunch time.

  • Epiphany of the month: If I’m trying, working on it, and making strides to be better in all aspects of life then I’m fine. Even if I’m not doing my best some days, I’m still moving forward and still trying overall. I feel better, mentally and physically, and that’s what I’m after.


Goals for August

More hiking, please!

More hiking, please!

  • Read/Listen to at least 3 books
    (A constant goal is 8, I’m always coming up short… so I’m making it more realistic)

  • Working on drinking less booze, and more water. I have a lot of cabin time and weekends away, so it will be a real challenge.

  • Take 4-7 days off from social media (I’m heading to the cabin for 5 nights, which is off the grid—-can’t wait!)

  • More jogging (I will continue to strive to do a 5k run, still working on a single mile)

  • Working on increasing my daily average for activity It feels good, both mentally and physically.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind.
    (This is loaded because I’m headed to the Pacific Northwest and Minnesota)

  • Continued daily mindful breaks and reading The Awakening (at least 2 reflective hikes)

  • There’s no reason I can’t hit 100 miles for August. (Daily walks and jogs + hikes = c’mon man)

  • I am continuing 50%+ vegetarian. For the planet, for my body, I’m reducing overall meat intake. I’m not going vegan or cutting all meats out, just less overall. It’s been quite easy so far, and cheaper.

And more meetups with friends, please.

And more meetups with friends, please.

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: June 2019 Check-In

There’s something in the air
I sense it
Like the wind, change direction
I can hear the storm is rumbling
Sounds like a freight train coming
— The National Parks "I Can Feel It"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 309,712

Average daily steps: 10,324

Highest daily steps: 15,096 (June 22)

Lowest daily steps: 5,347 (June 15)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 72.35

Total miles hiked: 0 (holy shit, not cool)

Sleep stats: 1 day at 7+ hours, 7 at 6-7 hours, and the rest below 6

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 19 minutes


Visiting fantastic places was a highlight of June.
Tahquamenon Falls

The Good

  • Had a great spurt of activity when in Michigan with gorgeous daily walks and kayak paddles

  • Total activity was 16.2% greater than June 2018

  • I closed my Apple Watch rings 21/30 days

  • I kayaked often for two weeks

  • I increased total activity

  • I’ve been increasing my speed to increase heart rate

  • I have new Texas State Park & NPS quests to help keep me motivated

  • I signed up for a year of membership at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge for kayaks and hikes - access was $5/entry and it would add up and it’s just the nicest place to kayak within the metro.


The Not-So-Good

  • I was straight up lazy when it came to hiking - as I’m trying to keep it fresh and non-repetitive and that’s requiring a bit more work with distance from home

  • I did not sleep well in June - road trips did not help

  • Absolute flop for hiking

  • As a household, we dined out too often

  • I stopped trying for any real results at the first sign of failure


One of the many sunsets over Grand Lake in Presque Isle, Michigan

One of the many sunsets over Grand Lake in Presque Isle, Michigan

Mental Health

  • Work was mentally draining the last three weeks of June

  • Had a lot of time in the car and a lot of time with my thoughts - finding a lot of clarity

  • I’ve stepped back from phone use quite a bit and I’ve noticed a difference

  • I don’t believe there was a single day I didn’t want to get out of bed.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • I needed an end goal. Big goals are great, but this month proved they don’t matter. I’m working on smaller, more attainable goals with steps towards the big goal. Common sense, right?

  • I signed up for support. I overeat. I can’t hold myself accountable. I literally lied or omitted things on MyFitnessPal because I was embarrassed. No more.

  • July is going to be my month. I hope.


Goals for July

More kayaking, please!

More kayaking, please!

  • Read/Listen to at least 3 books
    (A constant goal is 8, I’m always coming up short… so I’m making it more realistic)

  • Working on drinking less booze, and more water. Balancing out the booze is key - it got a little much throughout June. Everything in moderation.

  • Take a weekend off of social media (I’ve been taking an hour a day of no phone, which is cool, but I will take a whole weekend - hopefully in the mountains)

  • Add more jogging and more trails (I will continue to strive to do a 5k run, still working on a single mile)

  • Working on increasing my daily average for activity It feels good, both mentally and physically.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind.
    (My state park quest should help)

  • Continued daily mindful breaks and reading The Awakening (also, maybe yoga or some reflective hikes)

  • There’s no reason I can’t hit 100 miles for July. (Daily walks and jogs + hikes = c’mon man)

  • I signed up for support related to diet and exercise to help keep me on track. I’m now on a plan to shift my life to healthier eating and increased ACTUAL activity. It is not an expensive ordeal, but more than I’d like to spend so that’s motivation alone.

  • I am going 50%+ vegetarian. For the planet, for my body, I’m reducing overall meat intake. I’m not going vegan or cutting all meats out, just less overall. It’s been quite easy so far, and cheaper.

And more treats with friends please.

And more treats with friends please.

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: May 2019 Check-In

Hey
I wanted everything I never had
Like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived
I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived
— SIA "Alive"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 343,004

Average daily steps: 11,065

Highest daily steps: 27,649 (May 11)

Lowest daily steps: 4,366 (May 18)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 70.14

Total miles hiked: ~13.5

Sleep stats: 2 days of 7+ hours, 3 days of 6-7 hours, 26 days under 6 hours

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 18 minutes


Hiking in the Tonto National Forest - Superstition Wilderness area w/ Scott Jones.

The Good

  • Stayed active all but four days

  • Total activity was higher than May 2018

  • I closed my Apple Watch rings 27/31 days

  • I kayaked for the first time and fell instantly in love with the activity

  • I hiked in a different state (Arizona)

  • I’ve been adding in more running to my daily exercises

  • I bought a kayak so I’ll be doing more of that on weekend mornings before it gets gross outside

  • I signed up for the Little Backyard Adventure trail run in Olympia, WA on August 10. I can’t wait to see how it goes - my only goal is to avoid being dead fucking last.


The Not-So-Good

  • I got a bad sinus infection that took me down for 3-4 days. I tried, but it just sucked. Eventually, I pushed through the snot and got back out there.

  • I did not sleep for shit in May

  • While I may have a few extra miles on April, it was still a flop for hiking

  • It’s getting hot and the dog is even slower, so I will just have to increase everything by adding a second exercise to the day

  • I ate fast food WAY too often

  • I bored eat WAY too much


Full moon pontoon cruise!

Full moon pontoon cruise!

Mental Health

  • I probably had 91% good days in May

  • Overcame big obstacles in the “I can’t do that” mindset - and I fucking did the thing.

  • I’ve stepped back from phone use quite a bit and I’ve noticed a difference

  • I don’t believe there was a single day I didn’t want to get out of bed - probably because I didn’t sleep much anyway.

  • I’ve stopped the daily tracking of everything except my fitness and it’s helped greatly. My desire for statistics and order had been causing me anxiety. I have developed a better way for me to handle daily and weekly goals.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • When I stay busy, I don’t bored eat. Duh, right? Well, I guess I don’t stay busy enough so I plan to start attending local environmental meetings, exercising more, and kayaking as often as possible.

  • The majority of why I’m lazy AF is that I don’t want to drive through this metro area to do things. Once on the road, I’m fine, but it’s the getting through that internal battle that takes the most energy.

  • Summer is just the worst in Texas. Here’s to hoping my new State Park and NPS Quests keep pushing me to see new things and beat the heat.

  • I’m going to exercise more in June. No doubt about it.

  • I want to continue to get better, stronger, more experienced. It has always been my goal, and I know I’m better than I was a year ago or even more than that. I may not have lost the fat, but my legs are stronger than before and my endurance and will to keep trying are higher too.


Goals for June

Photo Credit: Adam Nutting

Photo Credit: Adam Nutting

  • Read/Listen to at least 2 books
    (A constant goal is 8, I’m always coming up short… so I’m making it more realistic. I think I had 1.5 in May?)

  • Working on eating better food, drinking less booze, and more water. (I really just need to eat less, and stop the eating out)

  • Take a weekend off of social media (I’ve been taking an hour a day of no phone, which is cool)

  • Add more jogging and more trails (like, actually hitting a trail on my way home from work or something)

  • Working on a 5+ mile daily average for activity (May was under 3, which is less than April which is annoying)

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind.
    (My state park quest and two weeks in Michigan should help)

  • Continued daily mindful breaks and reading The Awakening (also, maybe yoga?)

  • Read and write daily. (Focus on working shit out)

  • Dog walks daily, and a second walk just for me that includes jogging. (No more blaming the dog and his slow ass pace for my lack of running)

  • There’s no reason I can’t hit 100+ miles for June. (Daily walks and jogs + hikes = c’mon man)

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#MondayMotivation - Trail Run?

I’m not a runner, not really.

I haven’t ever run more than a mile at once, and I haven’t done that since high school. I have done the Couch 2 5K for about 4 weeks, before petering out. I’m not a runner, but I’m trying it on for size now.

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So… I signed up for the LBA - Little Backyard Adventure trail race sponsored and hosted by The Outdoor Society in Olympia, Washington. It is Saturday, August 10 and I’m going to train until then in hopes of coming in better than last place. It’s a simple motivation today - try harder, work for it, and don’t come in last place in August. I’ve already started incorporating little spurts of jogging into my daily dog walks and I don’t hate it.

Observations:

  • My dog maxes out at about 16 minute miles - if we REALLY hustle. He’s more comfortable around 17-20 minute miles. He’s kind of holding me back, but I love him so I’ll have to train separately or just drag him.

  • I am to the where walking fast is more annoying than just running slowly. Yeah, I run slowly, but I am still in the motion and it’s still running.

  • My self-centered notion that people are judging my running ability is just silly. EVEN if they are, who the fuck cares? Not me, from this moment forward anyway.

  • Running on a treadmill is absolute horse shit. I hate it. I was like, why do I hate running? It’s because I did Couch 2 5K on a treadmill and that was the dumbest thing. I mean, not THE dumbest thing, but dumb enough for me. Running outside, though probably slower, is just so much better feeling in my body. I will save the treadmill as a last resort, when it is storming or I am unable to go before triple digit temps for the day.

  • I sweat a lot. I sweat walking through an air conditioned building, but running really soaks me. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that this doesn’t matter either. Re-hydrate and move on, Mike.

As someone WHO never did ANY sport or any fun running, this is kind of cool. I know, so many of you ran in high school or run for health. I just never did, and it is kind of exciting for me. I have a goal, a real motivator, and I’m ready to commit.

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: April 2019 Check-In

Northern lights in our skies
Plants that grow and open your mind
Things that swim with a neon glow
How we all got here, nobody knows
These are real things
These are real things
Oh, what a world, don’t wanna leave
All kinds of magic all around us, it’s hard to believe
— Kacey Musgraves "Oh, What A World"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 363,053

Average daily steps: 12,102

Highest daily steps: 22,851 (April 19)

Lowest daily steps: 7,302 (April 20)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 91.22

Total miles hiked: 10.75

Sleep stats: 6 days over 7hrs, 5 days between 6-7hrs, the rest closer to 4hrs

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 9 minutes


Trash Cleanup w/ my friend Jen from Illinois Park Project/Jennythetrailhead.com

The Good

  • Increased total mileage for walks/hikes/jogs from March

  • Daily step average is much higher

  • I exercised EVERY day this month

  • I closed the Apple Watch rings EVERY day this month

  • Hiking mileage is low, but overall mileage is up so I’m okay with this.

  • I managed to exceed April 2018 totals too


The Not-So-Good

  • I didn’t track food for most of the month

  • I likely gained weight

  • I did not sleep well or choose to sleep well at all

  • I haven’t hiked as much as I wanted to

  • I did not commit to jogging or running as much as I wanted to in April

  • Eating out is out of control - budget and body are not happy with my choices


In my happy place on a trail, by a waterfall, in the sunshine.

In my happy place on a trail, by a waterfall, in the sunshine.

Mental Health

  • Improved mental health overall - more happy days than not

  • Still quite insecure about everything

  • I want to take more time to relieve stress

  • I want to sleep more, which will help everything

  • The hikes I did this month, though not many, really helped me love life even more and restored my faith that there are wonderful people and places out there

  • I did not write as much as I could have, but it wasn’t because I avoided it or didn’t need it - I just got caught up in living life.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Pizza just needs to be off limits because I have ZERO self control (this hasn’t changed since February)

  • When I’m feeling drained, I still went for a walk at the very least and it really helped.

  • I need to give up the convenience of eating out and make it convenient to eat at home.

  • I’m going to exercise even more in May.

  • I plan to eat frugally and more healthy in May.

  • Daily mindfulness is great for really centering my stress. The time I set aside for my book really helps me realize it could be worse and it could be better but it doesn’t matter. I need to be here, let shit go, focus on current shit, and be present in life.


April Wins & Goals for May

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip
  • Read/Listen to at least 8 books
    (Got 2 listened to, so still going to aim for this again in May)

  • Working on eating better food, drinking less booze, and more water.

  • Take a weekend off of social media
    (didn’t quite get this done, so I’ll aim for this in May)

  • Going to start running more often

  • I increased my days over 10,000 steps from 61% to 83% of the month and thus want to reach that 100% mark in May.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas
    (Still working on this, need to hike more in May)

  • I want to incorporate longer daily walks and lunch walks.

  • I need to take a mindful break daily with my “Daily Awakening”

  • Read and write daily - more than April

  • Daily walks at least 7 days a week - even if it’s just a mile

  • Hit 100+ miles for hiking, walking, and jogging

  • Jog outside at least twice (obviously the more the better, but the treadmill is fine too)

  • Sign up for the LBA and train for it

  • Eat at home over 50% of the time

  • Start before work walks, jogs, or workouts.

#MondayMotivation - New pants!

April didn’t quite go as planned as far as leveling off my eating habits, but I did exercise more than March. Hiking was not the main form, but an important part nonetheless. The real winner, which will make hiking even better, is that I found some new pants that fit well and move with me. This is a link to the pants I bought, the Columbia Pilot Peak Pants at rei.com. (this is not a sponsored link or anything of that nature) I just wanted to go on and on about these pants.

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  • I snagged them on clearance, which means I didn’t pay too much

  • They flex and bend with my body as I climb hills, bend over to pick up trash, or need to maneuver around trees/rocks/etc.

  • They are durable!

  • They are SO comfortable - almost like wearing a lounge pant.

I go on about these because it’s SO difficult to find pants that fit me well. I have plenty of pants and shorts that fit okay, but eventually they just feel annoying. I’m talking, halfway through the first mile of hiking, most pants/shorts feel terrible. These pants from Columbia are a game changer. I’m not the biggest dude, but I’m not athletic build either. I wear a 42-44 waist in most brands, and the length various based on how it fits around my behind. 32 inseam usually works, but sometimes I need a 34. XXL shorts work well, but even some of REI’s shorts and convertible pants fit awkwardly in that size and get uncomfortable as my mileage increases. It’s good to know that Columbia is making pants and shorts that cater to the various body types out there - not just the athletic, outdoorsy dude. I know, most companies go where their business currently is, but I’m thankful for Columbia branching out and encompassing all bodies.

I’m motivated to keep moving and now my body will move freely. I hope to get my hands on some of Columbia’s shorts in the future to test out for the summer months ahead.

Find your comfortable clothes, find your happy place, and get out there!

#MondayMotivation - Illinois Park Project

This past weekend I had the opportunity to join my friend Jen on a hike/cleanup with her passion project called the Illinois Park Project. She created this organization to help the parks of Illinois with their trash, trails, and whatever else they need. You can read all about their mission, ideas, plans, etc on the Illinois Park Project website. If you want to get in touch much faster with them, hit up their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re in the Midwest and want to help make a difference, they’ll be doing more cleanups throughout Illinois.

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I’m promoting and sharing and going on and on about this weekend, this group, the affiliate groups, etc because it was such a motivating and inspirational 48 hours for me. I arrived to low 40 degree weather with the chance of rain and very high winds. I arrived to a parking lot with damn near 10 people ready to make a difference. People came from all over Illinois and I came from Texas because we all believed in the same cause and I am a sucker for a road trip.

It’s easy to say you agree with someone’s idea, or join a virtual group, but when you cement it in person with hugs and actions, it elevates to a whole new level of something else. I’ve only had a handful of experiences that are so deep and motivational, but this one was easily the best.

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I’m using this high point to motivate myself. I’ve already reached out to my friends about starting a cleanup here and I’m brainstorming. Now that I’ve seen one in action, know what to expect, and know what I want to get out of it, I’m ready. Let’s clean up Texas, y’all. You want in on cleaning up trails, parks, roadways, etc with me? Get in touch.

Side note, I’m going to add some links here of various websites from participants at the cleanup. Check them out if you want, they’re all good people just loving life outside. And, to everyone who was there, I genuinely enjoyed meeting you, connecting, and of course scheming for our next hang out.


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#MondayMotivation - Happy Birthday Nikki!

Happy Birthday, friend!

It’s my friend Nikki’s birthday today, so we’re going to celebrate her with some good memories! Nikki came into my life in 2012 and I’ve been better for knowing her ever since. Speaking from my view of our friendship, I’d say we connect on a pretty deep level. Beyond the daily happenings and surface shit, we can really get into some real topics. We can talk about the weather, but that’s boring. I like that we dive deep, to the core of everything and explore topics freely without judgment and criticism. Nikki is one of my favorite hiking buddies, road trip buddies, and overall hang out buddies. She is a lot of things - wife, mom, friend, daughter, etc - but she’s human and sees the value in other humans and treating one another with respect and dignity. I wish her a very happy birthday and cheers to many, many more.


Some of my FAVORITE memories (of all time)

This was my first trip to Big Bend. Eric and I drove out earlier in the day and Nikki got off work and hauled ass out there. We camped, we hiked, we drove every main road in that damn park - in one day. It was quite a day!


That time her, Eric, and I went on a Road trip through Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Vegas, and then Zion. Something I can’t wait to do again someday!


Nikki’s bachelorette party took us to Austin and was also a birthday celebration for her. What a fun time. We hiked, we partied, and we went home. HA!


One of my favorite hiking buddies - we ford rivers together! (physically and metaphorically)


Thanks for doing fun 5K walks, hikes, and everything else. Keep on keepin’ on! Happy birthday! <3 Me

#MondayMotivation - Fancy Mixed Nuts

I often lose sight of my goals when I get caught up in the work necessary to achieve them. I constantly forget why I’m doing what I’m doing, so I create lists and trackers to help me along.

One of my goals was to save for a kayak and also drop a few pounds for said kayak. You can buy heavy duty kayaks, but I still wanted to be a little lighter so I could bring a cooler or camping gear along. I’m slowly making my way to the goal, both in saving and losing the weight, and I was reminded of the “WHY” I wanted to do this beyond getting healthier and not adding to my debt. It’s an attainable goal, with no real end date so I’m setting one. I’m going to drop 30 lbs and get the kayak by my birthday this year. Added mini goals to the big goal are to find a way to store the kayak at my apartment and save enough for the car rack and paddle. I have ropes, PFD, and water clothing already. Attack a goal bit by bit, right?

On the topic of goals… I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a trail race. Mind you, I’ve never even run an entire mile in years (decades) or on a trail beyond maybe running up a hill to get it over with. I hike, I jog intermittently, but I haven’t really done much beyond those things. So, if I can whip myself into shape and get in the runner mindset over the next month, before the race registration goes up in cost, I will register. I don’t care if I come in last, I just want to participate and complete one in the near(er) future. I finally participated in a 5K last year, though it was mostly intermittent running. I wasn’t last, and it made me want to do more of them because no one cares how slow or fast you are they’re just worried about themselves and their goals. I think if I get back on the wagon and just start doing it I’ll be able to do the smallest loop of the trail in the course by the August race date. I’m putting this all out there so I remember and so I can have some public accountability. Back on the treadmill this week, unless I get the courage to try the outdoors.

What are some goals you have? Do you lose sight of them or lose track of them if you’re not vigilant? Keep it real—istic. You can do it, people, whatever “it” is.

A NOTE: From the time I came up with the idea for this post (about 9 hours), to the time I finished writing it and posting it, I binge ate a lot of Kirkland fancy mixed nuts. Sigh. I remembered I hadn’t finished this, remembered I had goals, and then went for a walk. On the walk, I regretted the fancy mixed nuts and also the fact that I forgot to write/publish this before going for a walk. Either way, mistakes happen - accidentally or not. It’s all about going with the flow and remembering the goals. Carry on and don’t let a little bit of fancy mixed nuts stop you from your dreams.

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: March 2019 Check-In

It’s not enough just to live a life
Simple measures to survive
It’s like living should be easy right?
But there’s always something
Heavy on heart
Heavy on my mind
Falling on me all the time
There’s always something
— Said the Whale "Moonlight"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 340,702

Average daily steps: 10,990

Highest daily steps: 22,180 (March 23)

Lowest daily steps: 3,563 (March 18)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 80.83

Total miles hiked: 17.48

Days with over 7 hours of sleep: 9 days over 7, 7 days between 6-7

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 46 minutes


Standing up top the Lost Mine Trail
@ Big Bend National Park

The Good

  • Number of miles of hiking, walking, or running is way up from February

  • Daily step average is up from February

  • My commitment to daily activity is more of a second nature than before

  • Days of activity and days with closed Apple Watch rings are up from February

  • Hiking mileage is up from February as is my desire and willingness to hike

  • My average length of sleep per night is up a few minutes and my days over 7 hours is much higher than before


The Not-So-Good

  • I didn’t track food for most of the month

  • I likely gained weight

  • I ate my feelings and stress daily

  • I haven’t hiked as much as I should have

  • I had to stop couch 2 5k after week one because work had consumed me

  • My eating is out of control and I drank more often than I would have liked


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Mental Health

  • It’s been a long month filled with stress from a project at work. It’s over and so my stress should move back down to normal levels in regards to work.

  • I’ve been insecure about everything.

  • I found a book called “The Book of Awakening” and it’s sort of a daily dose of meditation and mindfulness that I’ve really enjoyed.

  • I’ve left the disappointment behind in regards to calories and food - I’ll get there, and I’ll keep trying so there is no need to get so upset over it.

  • Exercise is helping me clear my mind, find some calm, and take deep breaths.

  • I plan to read more actual books in April. I listened to a few in March, but want to actually read a few in April.

  • I’m journaling daily now, which is a big help also. It really helps to get shit out on a page.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Pizza just needs to be off limits because I have ZERO self control (this hasn’t changed since February)

  • When I’m feeling drained, I don’t want to be good. I shall try harder.

  • I need to give up the convenience of eating out and make it convenient to eat at home.

  • I’m going to exercise even more in April.

  • I plan to eat frugally and more healthy in April.

  • Daily mindfulness is great for really centering my stress. The time I set aside for my book really helps me realize it could be worse and it could be better but it doesn’t matter. I need to be here, let shit go, focus on current shit, and be present in life.


March Wins & Goals for April

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip
  • Read/Listen to at least 8 books

  • I’m going to continue to try to drink less alcohol - to make it more of a special occasion instead.

  • Take a weekend off of social media

  • Going to restart Couch 2 5K on April 1

  • I increased my days over 10,000 steps from 57% to 61% of the month and thus want to reach that 75% mark in April.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas

  • I want to incorporate longer daily walks and lunch walks.

  • I need to take a mindful break daily.

  • Read and write daily

  • Daily walks at least 6 times per week, regardless of Couch 2 5K workouts or hikes

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 4 - a day late)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week four

  • I’m thankful for REI dividends from both REI shopping and my REI branded credit card. I’ve earned enough points with spending and paying off that I have new shoes coming that I didn’t pay for!

  • I’m thankful the month is closing and the projects are wrapping up too.

  • I’m thankful people were nice to me even if I got real grumpy with the stress of work projects

  • I’m thankful to have 450 miles on my hiking shoes before needing new ones.

  • I’m thankful for the privilege to visit Big Bend in one day, even if the 18 hours of driving was a little insane.

  • Thankful for visitors from Michigan and an excuse to day drink

I may have had limited amounts of time and funds this month, but I look forward to what April will bring with a little more time and a little more cash flow. I have a park cleanup in Illinois and some good ideas for hiking planned. May will bring even more fun with backpacking (my first time) in Arizona and potential work adventure. I’m hoping to save and plan for some random weekend in Michigan and maybe even a quick trip to California in May - pending the right conditions (plane ticket prices).

I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I’m afforded and work for. I know I’m at an advantage and I’m constantly conscious of that and grateful for everything in my life. Have a great week and a wonderful rest of your month.

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#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 3)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week three

Inspired by the wonderful Pattie Gonia on Instagram (link here) and my group of outdoor blogger masterminds (Inner Compass) (Jenny the Trailhead) (Indoorsy Camper), I’m thankful for every outdoor experience no matter what it is. Everyone’s version of the outdoors is a little different, but as long as you’re following the laws of public lands and leave no trace, it doesn’t matter what you prefer. Live your best outdoor life. Love the outdoors in any way you can that suits your abilities and desires.

Some of my favorite ways to get outside:

  • Road trips - sometimes even without hiking because I don’t have the time

  • Camping - state parks, federal land, private campgrounds… it doesn’t matter!

  • Hiking - both (soon to be) backpacking, local trails, loops, in and out, short hikes, long hikes

  • Nature walks on paved paths in the metroplex through the various trail systems - there are a ton of birds to watch, that’s for damn sure!

  • Walking my dog in the neighborhood nearby and/or visiting the city park

  • Boating with the family on the lake - this includes just cruising, swimming, or any combination of the two

  • Sitting in someone’s back yard with a bonfire, having a drink, and listening to the frogs in the nearby creek

  • Standing outside in my freeway-adjacent parking lot staring at the sunrise - sure, it’s not ideal, but it’a all I got on a Monday morning before work!

I get outside as often as I can, in any form that I am able to do so. I love every minute I get, even if it’s not exactly what I dream of doing at that second in time. I know, parking lot sunrises probably don’t hold a candle to backcountry sunrises, but sometimes you just take what you get and you love it for what it is. So this week, be thankful for any experiences you get outside and own them.

Have a great week, get outside if that suits ya, and enjoy yourselves!

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#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 2)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week two

I’m genuinely so lucky to know such wonderful people. Some are people I know well and see often, some are virtual friends, and some are long time best buds who I don’t get to see very often at all. I’m just lucky. I’m thankful. I have a circle of people who represent a wide range of life experiences and who bring different bits of expertise to the table when it comes to getting through all that life has to offer.

THE CLOUD

I don’t have the luxury of unlimited vacation time or funds, so I don’t get to see this wonderful circle of people as often as I’d like. Living in DFW metro area is a bit nuts, too, as I have family just 70 miles southwest and rarely get to see them because it just takes forever and battling traffic on a Friday night is almost more work than working for eight hours. These are all small problems to have, I know, and I realize it’s my cloud and not everyone’s dilemma.

THE SILVER LINING

Sometimes, I get to power through a Friday drive and visit my family at their respective houses here in Texas or even do the 20 hour drive to Northern Michigan. I am lucky because I have a flexible work schedule and paid time off so I get to utilize that time to visit with friends (new and old) as well as family all while seeing new places along the way. I have reliable transportation and I accumulate airline miles as well as set money aside for travel. The real silver lining is that I have people in all sorts of places and I’m lucky to be able to visit them and vacation at the same time. That’s winning at life, in my book.

My point, I knew I had one, is to treasure the relationships you build that work out. People, near and far and of varying connection levels are important and truly wonderful. You just never know who you’ll meet, virtually or not, so dare to be bold about it and make the connection. Say YES to invitations, say YES to offers, and say YES to life. Also, be the one that makes it happen and make an offer to your circle; advice I’m going to take more seriously this year.

Met some folks from Twitter and am lucky enough to be adventuring with some of them this year.

Met some folks from Twitter and am lucky enough to be adventuring with some of them this year.

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week one

This month, and generally speaking, I want to work harder to motivate myself and others through being more thankful for something I already have. I personally lose sight of things when I get overwhelmed, and I’m sure that is a common reaction to stress. I’m going to try to focus on some silver linings of situations that are less than amazing, but unavoidable for me and maybe it’ll inspire you to see the other side of your situation.

THE CLOUD

Today, and probably for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be busy working. It is what we in the biz call “Greenhouse Gas Season” as all companies who have to, must report their greenhouse gas emissions before March 31. I’ve been doing this since 2015, which isn’t long, but the first quarter of the year is devoted to it and the work can consume my brain. It’s affecting my attitude and sleep, but I don’t know why and the only reason I can think of is that I’m doing the work in a new way this year and it’s taking a lot of getting used to overall?

THE SILVER LINING

I am learning so many new techniques with the work this year and at my new job in general. I can EASILY say that in the few months I’ve been on board, I’ve learned more than I ever did in two years at my previous job. Now, I’m not here to talk shit about it, it is just two different companies and their employee development focuses are different. As mentioned, I have an excellent support system at work with experts from all backgrounds who can usually help me fix an issue or answer a question quickly. This will all be over, also, and a new project will come along and I’ll be busy with that and I’ll have to remember things always keep going!

I’m going to try my best this week and I hope you find your way down the best path for you!

From this week back in March of 2016 (Lake Granbury - Granbury, Texas)

From this week back in March of 2016 (Lake Granbury - Granbury, Texas)

#MondayMotivation - Get Creative!

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This past week I took an online course to expand my creativity. I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know what I believed about creativity, and didn’t know how I’d participate. Turns out, it wasn’t hard because the prompts and ideas were all so open and there was zero pressure. Without going on and on about it, just know that I took a ton of knowledge away from this course and it truly opened my mind to other ways to be creative.

The course had me doodling and writing daily, which forced me to slow down and dedicate time to thinking creatively. Taking time to be creative or to get my thoughts out was one of the best things. I wrote daily in my personal journal as well as the creative class journal I was keeping. It felt good to just write whatever I wanted, without needing to present it or do it a certain way.

Sometimes I get stuck on what to read/listen to/write/create next. Sometimes a little push or a search session on YouTube unearths something new. I got creative, and I’m now exploring new ideas and seeing things slightly differently.

How do you get creative? How do you get through a mental block?

#MondayMotivation - Going Forward

I’ve been on a quest to improve my overall health.  I’m eating less crap, moving more, and exploring my thoughts more thoroughly.  It’s been a great move, as I am feeling better and more motivated than ever in all aspects of life.  I’m using my newfound motivation to strengthen my financial health now too. I have been terrible about money management and have tried and failed with budgets and living within my means.  I’ve overextended myself and that stresses me out, which leads to overeating and laziness. So, since I’m trying to be more active and trying to be better, I’m going to work on managing my money in better ways.  I’m going to start with a simple budget and move on to more complicated things like actual long-term saving, home ownership, and investing. Financial health will mean I’m going to have to get creative with my travel and really prioritize places and people for the year.

Disclaimer: 1) I prefer car travel any day of the week. Flying can be the worst if you’re not frequent enough to have all the perks, so let me just say that my Outback is my number one. I’m not here to shit on flying, because most of the time it is fine, but… the scenic route and stuff. 2) I love camping more than hotels, but again, when flying to a destination camping is sometimes out of the question with time and planning. 3) I already utilize my Texas State Parks pass monthly, but I want to explore those trails I’ve not hiked and parks that have been on my list for a while. I’m also going to use the hell out of my Annual Pass and visit those NPS sites in Texas this year that I’ve been casually learning about too.

What are some things you’re changing on the fly this year? What is motivating those changes?

#MondayMotivation - Authentic Outdoors

I’m motivated by people who love the outdoors and love to spread the joy and knowledge associated with the outdoors. People who share their stories in a real way and don’t just sugar coat everything are my favorite people. Life isn’t like an edited photo, it’s a little grainy and sometimes the colors are out of balance.

A week ago I met with my people on a Skype call for a mastermind group centralized around being real, outdoorsy people who want their social media presence to reflect real life. I’m so lucky to be a part of a group of like-minded folks who love the outdoors in their own ways but love themselves enough to realize that maybe we haven’t always told the whole story or even the real story because we’ve been conditioned to present life in a polished, tidy way. Prime example is the previous sentence - this is how I speak in real life and run-ons are my life. I could clean it up but I don’t care to as it doesn’t REALLY change make it any better overall.

Thanks to the people who run the blogs/websites listed below for motivating me and speaking so freely over Skype on a random Sunday in January. You have improved my life and I look forward to becoming regular chatters about all topics outdoors. I’m no digital media expert, nor would I consider myself an influential person, but I do appreciate anyone who reads/enjoys my content. I make it for me, in some narcissistic weird way, but hope it’s received and can offer some form of inspiration or entertainment for YOU.

Christina: http://www.christinaskis.com/

Jen: https://jennythetrailhead.com/

Kristi: https://indoorsycamper.com/

Sara Beth: https://innercompassblog.com/

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead and I hope you find motivation out there, if not from this. Hike your own hike and live your reality.

#MondayMotivation - This week, upcoming trips!

From the album "As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide" available NOW. iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/as-... Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7aOUkT... Physical Copies: http://www.saidthewhale.com

I often use upcoming trips as motivation. I know I have touched on this before, made Monday Motivation posts about it before, and yet here I am again. Right now, we’re looking to camp at a local state park at the end of the week, if my family can get a reservation. Right now, Texas Parks and Wildlife is updating their reservation system with a new, much better system that allows for specific campsite reservations which will change my life for the better. So, since my uncle works near the park we want to visit this weekend, he’s going to stop in and try to reserve something in person. Here’s to hoping. Even if it doesn’t happen, I’m going to head there to hike anyway.

On February 7, I fly to Minneapolis and then drive to Duluth. My buddy and I are taking our annual trip to his family cabin near the Boundary Waters. (If you haven’t voiced your support for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and want to, please do so!) We will get up there on Thursday night, pack it up, and then head to the cabin Friday morning. We’ll stop at the wonderful Gun Flint Tavern in Grand Marais, hit up the IGA and local co-op if they’re open, then make our way up to the frozen lake. I can’t wait to be off the grid, away from it all. I can’t wait to snowshoe, to drink Leinenkugel's original, and to spend some time with the trees and snow. We will head back to civilization on Sunday afternoon, and back to Texas on Monday evening. It’s going to be a great little first quarter reset.

Work is fine, life is alright, hiking is great, but I’m always up for a reset. It’s never a bad thing to shut off the tech for a minute and get back to real life.

These events/ideas/plans are getting me through the next two weeks. Also, the song I’ve attached at the beginning is one of my favorite songs of all time by my favorite band of all time. When I was in Seward and it was rainy as ever, I’d listen to this song on my morning walks around the streets as I waited for everyone to wake up. Every morning can be a beautiful morning, remember that.

Been friends since 2003, so more like family now. Doesn’t hurt that he has access to the cabin, kidding!

Been friends since 2003, so more like family now. Doesn’t hurt that he has access to the cabin, kidding!

#MondayMotivation - What's the big idea?

I was in the middle of a hike on Saturday when I started to feel the burn. This hike wasn’t particularly strenuous or anything, but there were some minor hills and it was a total of 10 miles. I was on mile 7 or 8 and I was thinking I need to get more hikes this long and intense in my life. I also thought I needed to include more strenuous hikes weekly and cardio into daily life. I thought I needed more healthy choices in my life and I thought I needed more random drives to random locations. In the peak of my hike, with light dancing off canyon walls around me, I had all the great ideas.

Today, while I made smart food choices and bought plenty of produce for the week, I didn’t do much in terms of cardio or exercise in any way. All of the big ideas I had during my hike usually don’t translate to reality, but I am going to do a few things inspired by them. I’m going to restart the Couch 2 5K program and continue on my quest to reduce my calories and increase my nutritious items. I’m going to visit more locations that require leaving in the middle of the night and I’m going to see more sunrises.

Motivation comes in many forms, sometimes it lasts and sometimes it fades. I’m hoping to run with the momentum (pun intended) from my hike on Saturday and at least half-ass try to be better at things. I want my hiking pants to fit better and I want that hoodie to be a little loose. I want to to have boundless energy and I want my body to hurt less after 10 measly miles. I want to run that trail from Saturday and hike even further every weekend. Big ideas that translate to a bunch of small steps that hopefully lead to big results.

Do you ever have big ideas during a hike or adventure that you have to find ways to translate into real life ideas? Feel free to leave a comment!

#MondayMotivation - My Favorite Hikes

Picking a favorite hike can be difficult, but I’d guess that any hiker has a few that always stand out as the most memorable. When I think of favorite or memorable destinations, I’m always drawn to Redwood National and State Parks, Olympic National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Public lands are always my favorite, but these three have such strong memories attached that I can’t stop thinking about them. An honorable, more recent, fourth choice would be Mount Rainier National Park because I haven’t stopped thinking about that place since visiting in October 2018.

I’m using these memories, these favorite places, to push myself to eat less and move more. I’m using these places as my motivation to save money, spend less, and plan for more adventure. These beautiful places moved me and are destinations I want to visit again. What are some of your favorite, or most memorable, places? What is motivating you this Monday?

Keep on pushing through, there is always something worth fighting for!