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Well, it’s finally here…

The year that is going to mark the turning point in my life is upon us and I am pumped! Win, lose, or draw-this is going to be the year I test myself!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a feeling of discontentment. The kind of discontentment that comes from not having any clear goals or vision for the future. It’s the feeling of just going with the flow of life and letting things “happen” to me.

How often have you felt like you were just going through the motions of yet another day? How many times have you asked yourself ” is this all there is to life”?

We have all been there and it’s a scary place. Not because of the questions, but because of the answers. What if your life really is as good as it’s going to get? What if you’ve already peaked out and the only way you can see is down.

This is not being negative, this is a reality for millions of people.

Well, I’ve spent the last 10 fucking years thinking about all the things I wanted to do and all the things I should have done. And it has eaten away my life’s blood. It has sapped my energy and taken precious time from me.

And although I can never get the years back, I’m taking what’s rightfully mine back.

My life.

The Year Of The Grind

I’m officially calling this “project”, the Year Of The Grind and I’m going to play it straight with you, I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. I have no clue how all the changes and twists and turns that I am prepared to face are going to affect me.

And I’m fine with that.

My plan is simple: Each month of 2012 will represent an area of my life that I desperately want need to improve upon. During that month, I will take daily action on changing my thoughts, behaviors, and assumptions while working to improve my life, be a better person, and find some semblance of excitement and happiness.

My actions will include doing the things I’ve been uncomfortable with, afraid of, or ignorant to. It’s about learning, opening my mind, breaking down walls, jumping way outside my comfort zone, and just doing the thing.

Life will not get better nor will I be one shred happier if I continue to make the same decisions each day, think the same thoughts each day, and take the same actions every day.

If you asked my wife, she would tell you that I live in a shell, never deviating from the norm of my routine. And I would agree with her. How can I expect for things to change if I don’t change? Part of my challenge will be to do the things I don’t want to. Who knows, maybe I will find a spark somewhere where I would least expect it..

It will be a year of risk taking, discomfort, fear, uncertainty, and change. And it all will happen through committed action. And if you think I’m full of shit, then I guess you’ll have to stick around and find out.

At the end of 2012, I will have formed at least 12 new good habits, accomplished no less than 12 goals, and improved my life in at least 12 different ways. And my goal is to accomplish much more than that…

I can already hear some of you grumbling “happiness is not a destination” or “you’re chasing something you already possess” or something similar. And maybe you’re right. But what I can tell you is that I intend of doing all I can to figure out what this life has in store for me.

It’s ironic because I’ve come to realize that even if I quit my job tomorrow and became an online entrepreneur, I would still not be happy. It runs much deeper than that and I plan to do the things I need to do in order to answer many of the questions I have about my “why”.

Why am I so unhappy? Why can’t I seem to find contentment in anything I do? Why do I make things much more difficult than they have to be? Why have I chosen to stay in my comfort zone when I know that it’s dragging me down? Why am I unsatisfied with everything in my life?

Is this A Business?

And for those of you wondering where the “business” side of this comes into play. Right now, there isn’t one. This is not about creating an online business. This is about changing my life permanently for the better.

Six months ago, I was all about finding a way to build an online business so I could quit my job. And although I am still committed to creating an online business, my priorities and focus have changed. And as of right now, I am committed to working in my job (yes I said it!) through this year and dedicating my time and energy to this project/my life.

I’m looking at this year as an opportunity to do something good. Really good. And not just for me, but for all those who are like me. I’ve received so many comments and emails from people telling me how much my story/life resonates with them. They see themselves in me and can feel the pain and personal struggle I’m going through.

And this is my chance to give them hope. If I can dig my way out of the life I’ve created and find some semblance of happiness, peace, joy, or excitement, then you can as well. Well, this is my journey of me doing just that.

The Happiness Project On Steroids

steroids

The idea for all of this stemmed from the book, The Happiness Project, and as I was reading it, it hit me-this is what I need to do. I’ve always known that I wanted to do something bigger than just creating another digital product that would add to the already grossly overcrowded online marketplace.

I mean let’s face it, happiness (or excitement as Tim Ferriss calls it) is what we all want to feel. It doesn’t matter if it comes from sitting on a park bench feeding pigeons or owning a multimillion dollar company. It’s something deeply personal to each one of us and to be honest, I have no fucking idea what makes me happy.

The idea of being an online business owner and working for myself sounds great, but will it make me happy once I’m there? The idea of being free from the constraints of a desk job sounds great, but will it actually bring joy into my life? I think so, but I don’t know.

It all comes down to what makes us tick. What’s the “secret” that will get us out of bed every morning without an alarm? What do we need to be, do, or have in our lives that will provide us a sense of fulfillment, hope, clarity, energy, and passion?

This is why I’m here. To attempt to answer some of these questions for myself.

So I consider this to be a Happiness Project of sorts-only on steroids! After reading the book and being inspired by her creativity and ideas but not feeling much personal connection to her readers, I decided to do something similar, but add the few things that I felt were missing.

The first thing I did was read some of the Amazon reviews for her book to get a feel for what people thought was lacking. Don’t get me wrong here, I think Gretchen did a wonderful job and has a lot more positive reviews than negative ones, but some of my same sentiments were shared by others.

Such as:

  • Lack of authenticity
  • Few actual details
  • Superficial and money driven
  • Irrelevant to the lives of others
  • Cannot identify with her

I want to make my project an “as real as it gets, in your face, no holds barred, no fucking bullshit, get it done, completely transparent “, experience. It’s about doing something every day

And I want as many people on board as possible.

Believe me, it would be 10x easier to take on all of this privately. But that only helps me. As I’ve talked about in my post, The First Steps Towards Freedom Are The Steepest, my personalty type is an ISFJ and I thrive on serving others. How would I be serving others by not sharing this?

Many people have expressed their interest and caring in my personal story and I am so very grateful for that, but I wanted to make this about you as well. I wanted to get my readers involved and get people up off their asses and doing things. Big things.

What I really wanted to do was involve others to share this experience with me. We all have improvements we’d like to make in our lives and all can use accountability partners in helping us get there. For these reasons, I chose 5 people to take this journey with me (although 1 was unable to commit at the last minute). The purpose of this project therefore is not only to follow my life changes this year, but theirs as well.

I will be revealing these individuals in Wednesday’s post and am looking forward to spending a year alongside them….

The New Grind

Up until this point, the “grind” has had a very negative connotation to it. It was something that I was trying to end. For months, I got blasted by readers for being so negative, but that was where I was in my thought process. I was a negative person, there’s no way around it.

You also may have noticed the big ? in the header. I’ve replaced the miserable office worker as part of my overall direction change. The ? represents the unknown. And in my case, that’s a good thing. The unknown is exactly where I’m headed. All the things I’ve done in my life have led me to this point. And now I get to do things that I am not familiar with, things that scare me, and things that freak me the fuck out!

From this day forward, the “grind” is a positive term. It’s meaning is now synonymous with work, hard work. Steven Pressfield says it best in the title of his book, Do the Work!

And that’s exactly what it is! The grind represents doing what it takes to make the changes in order to make our lives better. No more sitting on our asses wishing for a better life. No more feeling sorry for ourselves because we’re not happy with our lives. No more thinking about all the things we should be, do and have.

The grind is good because it means we are putting in effort. It means we are moving forward. It means action.

A Work In Progress

work-in-progress

As I began planning this whole thing, I was met with much resistance. Not from external sources, but rather from within. Every fiber in my body was telling me to stop this nonsense and just continue on with life as normal. In fact, this resistance nearly caused me to quit blogging altogether. Nearly.

Being overwhelmed is part of the process of growth for me because I’m actually taking action and it’s a scary thing. My thoughts switch from “What if nobody cares about this?” to “What if everybody cares about this?” I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to do make things happen.  I also have to realize that things will never be perfect or just the way I want them. I will never have everything in order nor should I expect to.

And as much as I like to plan out every detail of every detail, I simply cannot predict what will happen with this. But there is one thing that I know will be a constant. And that’s my commitment to becoming a better and happier person this year. Whether my readership goes to 7 or I get fired from my job tomorrow, I am doing this.

And I’m asking for your support. I want to make this year as beneficial to as many people as I can. And I don’t have all the answers. You all have provided me with a lifetime of wisdom and ideas and I’m asking for even more now.

If you have any thoughts on how to improve this experience for me, my group, my readers, please share it with me in the comments.

And as much as I love getting emails (I really do), I really want every bit of advice to end up in the comment section for everyone to read, so please share your thoughts there. Only then can we all learn from each other and make this something extraordinary.

As I continue to post, I will be sharing more and more details about what lies ahead in 2012. And if you want to get the inside scoop, sign up for my newsletter (when my subscribe form is working…)

Also, please feel free to ask questions, give me shit, hold me accountable, or share your story. That’s why I am doing this. It’s about all of us here and I need your help. This will be a continual work in progress, will be constantly evolving, and I really want to make this an open forum for ideas.

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support and interest in all of this and I am incredibly humbled by all of it.

Until Wednesday.. here’s to the Year Of The Grind!

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