Update 3-31-21

Alright everyone here it is. This is how things are going so far this year in my Adventures. This one is going to go a little bit further than a normal update that focuses on the past three months of my projects. This one is going back over 2 years. This also goes much further into my life than just things going on here.

I’ve been on a personal growth quest since November of 2018. I left an eight-year-long career, I was starting a new relationship with my current girlfriend Bailey. And things were really looking up for me. Unfortunately at that point, I had twenty-nine years of experience of being who I was. I don’t know if you know this but that’s a lot of practice.

At the start of 2019, I was in training for my new gig and that had me being in Indianapolis, Indiana ten out of fourteen days during a bi-weekly schedule. Leaving Bailey and my two boys back in Grand Rapids 4 hours away. It was a good time meeting all the new people and learning a bunch of new skills and management styles during my training, but working forty hours a week and eight hours of driving back and forth at the start and end of each week were exhausting. The best part was this training period was supposed to end after eight weeks but it ended up being closer to double that and almost four and a half months before I was stationed back home for the new restaurant opening of my home store. I don’t know if you have ever worked in a new restaurant, that was also the first of its brand in the state but it was super busy for most of that year and the hours were long.

That summer Bailey, Holden, and Alphonse welcomed Amara into our family on the 4th of June. Which served as a force multiplier for my quest for personal growth. Yet still this past version of myself was winning more than my new self was. Then I found two new podcasts that I still follow and I am working on getting fully caught up to their multiple year’s worths of backlog. Kwik Brain and The Mindvalley Podcast are their names. There is a lot that they both have opened me up to and they helped me make and plan some long-term goals that I have for myself.

As I said in past updates 2020 was going to be my year. So I won’t go to far into detail on that again. As for 2020, well we all know how that went for us as a species, but for me, I would say that things did get better. Once again another new job, better habits, better goals, better plans. I’ve shifted from your normal finish line goals to a majority of my goals being habit establishment and retainment. Because “once you make your habits, your habits in turn make you. ” as Jim Kwik says often on his podcast.

Right now, I try to do the following each day. I start by trying to remember my dreams because that’s where our brain breaks down and digests what we learn each day. Then I ask myself a series of questions almost like daily affirmations, but open-ended. This way my conscious mind isn’t the one answering them. Then I move into a gratitude exercise where I list and feel three things that I am grateful for. Then I get out of bed and make some coffee and breakfast for the kids and myself and get the boys ready for school if they are home. Then as I sit with my coffee I do my daily brain training on Lumosity followed by a five-minute lesson of Latin on Duolingo. I then spend 20 minutes writing for this blog. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes I only get one sentence out. But I do that every day. Then I do the same for reading. Once again maybe just a page or maybe a few chapters. I am a parent so the consistency varies, but it’s every day. Then I spend 20 minutes doing stretches and bodyweight exercises. Amara likes to join when I do this and will act as my shadow as I go through my routine. Then to round it out, I meditate. Whether that’s two-minute conscious breathing or a twenty-minute guided meditation. On a good day, this takes me until 9am. On a bad day, it takes me until after work or until bedtime when I’m at night. But I’m to the point where this is every day.

I do all this while trying to limit my time on devices and technology. I aim for less than three hours on my phone a day. Because how can I justify being on my phone all day when I’m trying to improve myself and my relationships with those I care about. Now I cheat a little and the apps that serve as my primary communication tools are excluded from my screen time tracking app. Bailey and I talk for about thirty to forty-five minutes a day on the phone because this is more or less the only time we get together most days because of our alternating schedules. So I can’t limit that source of interaction. Then the apps I label as growth are all with soft limits that remind me when I have been on them too long. I am just so passionate about improving and growing that I could do it all day and that level of investment would take away from my goal of being with the people I love. When I hit 2 hours total I get a banner notification that displays my total device time for the day and I know that I need to be more mindful of what I am using my phone for.

I am finally starting to see the Justin I want to see. I’ve dubbed this version of me Justin 3.1 and I try to update myself every day. For example on the day of this posting, I’m Justin 3.1.21.3.31 or a Justin that is 31, on the 31st of March in the year 2021. Every once in a while I accidentally load the save file for the 2019 or 2020 Justin and those are some of the long days.

It might sound hippy-dippy, or strange. But this is what I enjoy. This is what makes me feel like I am here every day showing up as the best version of myself.

Now I still have many benchmarks left on this quest that I want to hit. Some of them are to establish better sleep routines as I only get four to five hours of sleep a night. I want to be able to read 1000+ words per minute because the idea of reading a book in the time it takes to watch a movie sounds ultra rewarding. I want to find a new source of income that allows me to be home more often than being at work. Or at least being able to sync my schedule better with school for the kids and Bailey’s job. I want to be able to instill my practices into my children or at least give them the tools so that they can craft a life that makes them happy their way. I aim to make my current relationship with Bailey the most permanent any relationship can be. I want to travel and explore new places. I want to make memories that will always be there. I want to live a life of adventure because this life is more than just a read-through and I can’t stop until everyone sees that in my actions.

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