My self-improvement routine changes periodically.
Currently, I’m focused on three things:
- A two-year intensive leadership program. The program requires 12 to 15 hours per week of my time. There are calls, meetings, and classrooms that make up most of that time.
- Blogging daily. It takes discipline to blog daily, but I enjoy it. I am currently reassessing whether to continue with this.
- Working out four times per week. I started getting back into working out in February. When I was getting started, I was only working out once or twice per week, but as I got back into it, three to four times per week became the norm. I have been getting four workouts per week consistently for at least three weeks now.
There are other activities I value highly, like reading books and listening to podcasts, audio programs, and audiobooks. Although I may still engage in these activities here and there, the above remains a higher priority.
We all know we need to add some movement to our days if we hope to increase our energy levels, remain healthy long-term, and lose weight, if that’s something we aspire to.
If you already have an exercise regimen you keep to, congratulations, you may not need to make any immediate adjustments.
But most of us aren’t moving enough. Sitting has been called the new smoking, and with hybrid work becoming the new norm, there are more opportunities to spend long hours at a desk or in front of screens than ever before. Longer sitting times have been linked to lower productivity levels and mental well-being.
I don’t know if “lower” mental well-being is the right verbiage here, but it was the terminology used in the study cited. Either way, spending all day at a desk affects your mood negatively.
But how much exercise do we need, exactly? What’s the North Start to aim for?
Mayo Clinic says we require at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. And if you’re thinking about losing weight, 300 minutes per week is ideal.
Further, Mayo Clinic recommends strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice per week.
This exact routine may not be the ideal for everyone. What matters is we have a target to aim for. Adjusting from there, based on personal preferences and goals, is easy.
Sidebar – I have found that my best ideas come to me when I’m busy doing things other than work, including exercise, showering, driving, and most notably, reading. But I am often astounded at how working out will trigger one or two ideas that would make an immediate difference for whatever I’m working on at the time.
Famously, business magnate Steve Jobs thought he did his best thinking while walking, so he didn’t hold meetings in a board room. Meetings were held while walking with his staff. Most of my meetings are virtual, so I can’t generally walk around as they’re happening, but given the choice, I prefer Jobs’ approach.
Movement really does make a difference.
Burke Britton Financial Partners & Secure Life Financial Solutions corralled some key points around the connection between exercise and productivity based on research. Here’s what they found:
- In one study, it was shown that workday exercise (meaning, participants exercised the same day they worked) improved time management and workload by 72%.
- Low-intensity aerobic exercise does a better job of improving productivity than high-intensity exercise.
- Workplaces that adopted a “sit less, move more” approach found that employees improved productivity loss and lost workday productivity (again, verbiage here is weird, but what they’re saying is when employees were encouraged to move more, they were more productive).
Okay, so exercise is good. But is it possible to do too much?
The general attitude is that you should push yourself as hard as you can because your body can take it.
Then why is that young people committed to healthy eating, rigorous exercise routines, and disciplined lifestyles sometimes spontaneously drop dead?
I will let you come to your own conclusions, but there is more than enough evidence to suggest that it is possible to push yourself too hard, and that – as crazy as this sounds – being too fit can potentially reduce your lifespan.
Indiatimes published a research-backed article titled Too much exercise can shorten your life; here’s the ideal amount of exercise for a long life. Summarily, they found that excessive exercise can lead to joint and heart problems.
Here are several other key findings:
- Higher volumes of sports training do result in a big drop in mortality risk. But these benefits regress when training for more than 4.5 hours per week.
- Running for 60 minutes per day, five days per week for 10 to 12 years was linked to arterial stiffening and thickening.
- Runners who run at a pace of at least seven miles per hour for four or more hours per week had mortality rates on par with sedentary adults.
- Japanese Kabuki actors are known for their high-impact, vigorous movements. They were found to have shorter lifespans compared to other traditional art performers who lead sedentary lifestyles.
Moderation truly is the key to everything. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. It’s a toxin.
You need movement if you want to be more productive. But beware of pushing yourself too hard.
 Also see Mayo Clinic’s Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed.
Disclaimer: This post does not constitute health advice.
There’s more available in the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.
“You can declare completion with anything. You are the most powerful person in your world.”
As my coach took me through a completion exercise, I finally gained closure on sadness that had built up over the course of years, maybe even decades.
This wasn’t one of those high-priced, lay down on a black leather couch and regurgitate your life story over the course of months while paying through the nose for someone to listen to you kind of sessions. It was done rapidly, over the phone, in a manner of minutes.
Completion can happen that quickly.
As a champion of artists and an avid adventurer in search of new things that will support you on your journey, I prescribe a regimen of yearly closure, be it the method that follows (originally crafted by leadership trainer Michael Hyatt), or another. Either way, it will become an integral part of your yearly routine if you let it.
7 Questions to Close the Chapter on Another Year
These seven questions form the foundation of your thinking and reflection time and once completed, prevent you from dragging last year’s baggage into this year’s. Best not carry the stench of yesteryear into another, because 2022 doesn’t want to hear about 2021 anymore.
Use my answers as a starting point for generating your own.
If the last year were a movie in your life, what would the genre be?
Martial arts drama (like The Karate Kid). I signed up for a yearlong leadership program in June and completed two quarters. I’m currently in my third quarter.
Hours upon hours of calls, meetings, and work went into new initiatives like Elite Players: All Access Pass, Members Only Audios, The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition, my forthcoming album, Back on Solid Ground, and the forthcoming book, The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide. That’s still just scratching the surface.
It’s a bit of a blur looking back, so an 80s training montage seems appropriate, and it’s far more entertaining for the audience, too, in lieu of watching every painful pushup being knocked out.
What were the two or three major themes that kept recurring?
When I signed up for the yearlong leadership program, I enrolled in a rollercoaster ride, plain and simple. The program is designed to overwhelm with calls, meetings, and requests. At times, I dragged my feet like a whiny and spoiled child looking for an escape, at times embracing and rising to the challenge of a full life – much fuller than I ever thought possible.
Another major theme is that of rediscovering my passion and purpose. And I see now my inner performer is breathing a prolonged, silent death as the world succumbs to insane, irrational, draconian restrictions hatched by scheming elites and politicians who are bent on collapsing the economy to replace it with a better system of slavery.
I will never be fulfilled just being a writer, marketer, and entrepreneur. And I will never be fulfilled just being a musician. The two are inseparable, and they make my world go around. The performer in me is starving for an outlet.
What did you accomplish this year that you are most proud of?
What do you feel you should have been acknowledged for but weren’t?
I have received acknowledgement in virtually area of life, except for:
- In my continued efforts to champion artistic success
- In implementing and following a new exercise and diet program – results forthcoming
What disappointments did you experience this past year?
- I’m thoroughly disappointed in the hundreds of musicians who come to my websites, and don’t believe in themselves enough to take the next step in their careers with a book, course, or coaching program. I don’t come cheap, but it’s a minimal investment for a lifetime of inspiration and results (i.e., “It’s all my fault, I suck at selling”).
- I’m thoroughly disappointed in the young ladies who pass up an opportunity with one of the most desirable bachelors to ever exist (i.e., “It’s all my fault, I suck at dating”).
What was missing from last year as you look back?
Besides the above: Travel, food, fun, and performance were all missing to greater or lesser degrees.
What were the major life-lessons you learned this past year?
- You can convince yourself that you can only stretch so far, only to discover that you can stretch much further. My plate is fuller than ever, but I’ve embraced the practice of moving multiple projects forward with great urgency.
- Structure is good. Life feels like it’s moving when your calendar is full. You feel like a ship without a rudder when it isn’t.
- You don’t rise to the challenge unless there’s a challenge to rise to. Whether it’s publishing daily or taking on an intensive yearlong leadership program, new challenges have presented themselves, causing me to rise higher.
The best book on the topic, without a doubt, is Michael Hyatt’s Your Best Year Ever. His book will show you in clear detail how you can set yourself up to have an exceptional, powerful, life-affirming, goal-reaching year. I read it before meeting my mastermind group in Silverthore, CO in winter 2019, and it made it into the top three books I read in 2019.
My book, Start Your Year the Right Way, dives deeper into the various practices I have in my life to ensure I cause completion and set myself up for success each year. There are plenty (but not too many) prompts to guide your reflections and space enough to write down your answers.
You can also hire me as your coach at a premium, and if you wish to explore new possibilities together, get in touch. I don’t respond immediately to most emails but do prioritize potential clients.
I have been consistent in sharing my reflections since 2014. Self-indulgent, perhaps, but if you found this reading valuable, you will find these articles beneficial also:
Closing the Chapter on 2014
Closing the Chapter on 2015
Closing the Chapter on 2016
Closing the Chapter on 2017
Closing the Chapter on 2018
Closing the Chapter on 2019
Closing the Chapter on 2020
Remember – completion is caused, not offered. No one can give it to you. You must seek it out and create it yourself. Any memories you continually cycle through in your mind are incomplete. Become present to the impact, and once you’re clear on all the ways it has affected you, declare it complete. You are the most powerful person in your world, and completion is yours to claim.
Let me share some stats with you.
In the last 37 days, I’ve walked 160,918 steps for an average of 4,349 steps per day.
In the last 26 days, I’ve meditated on 16 of those 26 days.
Also, in the last 26 days, I’ve done a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout 11 times (three times per week).
I don’t share any of this to impress. The truth is you shouldn’t be impressed by any of these numbers!
What I want you to take away is that:
- I’m doing something about my health and well-being
- I’m tracking what I’m doing
- I have a system for how I manage my exercise and diet
I hate to admit it, but without this, I’m not sure I would be functioning right now. Caffeine only takes me so far (and I try to limit my intake best I can, based on past experience).
Exercise gives me a much-needed burst of energy, and meditation calms, rejuvenates, and restores.
(To say nothing of getting adequate sleep, of course.)
In your music career, one of the most critical discoveries you can make is realizing that you are the resource.
Generally, we think of resources as funding, connections, books and podcasts, directories, events, things like that.
And these are important.
But the ultimate resource? That’s you. Because your career doesn’t run without you.
You can’t work at a breakneck pace forever, expecting that you’re going to come out on the other side of it completely unscathed.
An artistic career is a marathon. You may need to sprint occasionally, but if you sprint the whole way, you’re not going to make it to the finish line!
Staying consistent with everything is hard. I’ve had that conversation with my composer and producer friend, Patrick Zelinski.
How the hell do you practice [your instrument], work out, meditate, and get the sleep you need when there’s always so much to do?!
And the answer is, by finding a structure that works for you.
Trying to fit in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise in my day was proving difficult if not impossible. But a 15-minute workout at home? Totally doable. And that means there’s no excuse for me.
You don’t need to get all of it perfect or even right on the first go round. You just need to start, and you can always adjust from there.
Quick reminder – you can now get The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition (just in time for the holidays). Don’t get left behind – be the first to get my latest work into your hands!