Bucket List 2013

Over the course of my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of amazing experiences, and as such, coming up with a bucket list was a bit difficult for me.  I’ve been blessed with a great wife, dog, and close family, a beautiful place to call home, and lots of travel to many beautiful (and sometimes not-so beautiful) places.  That being said, there are still many things that I would love to accomplish.

While there are many “bucket list” blogs out there, I have come to follow one in particular called “Project Light to Life” (http://projectlighttolife.wordpress.com/).  Her experiences and her drive to complete the items on her list have been extremely inspiring for me, and I would highly recommend that you check it out.

In my opinion, 95% of all bucket lists are incomplete, because there are always things that you forget about when creating these things that you want to add on later.  In addition, once you complete certain items, you may strive for more.  This is the main reason why I entitled this post “Bucket List 2013”, because I’m sure there will be additional items added in 2014.

So without further ado, here are the 30 items that comprise of my bucket list.

1. Go to an indoor trampoline park

2. Participate in a mud run

3. Complete a walk for a charity

4. Complete a run for a charity

5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen

6. Run a half marathon

7. Swim in the Dead Sea

8. Create an entertaining video

9. Explore a cave

10. Swim with a ride on a dolphin

11. Go scuba diving

12. Pay for someone behind me in a drive-thru line

13. Pay the toll for the car behind me

14. Buy a round of drinks for complete strangers

15. Skydive

16. Learn how to surf

17. Sleep under the stars

18. Drive a race car

19. Go to a murder mystery party

20. Visit a waterfall

21. Write a nice letter to someone for no reason without signing it

22. Babysit someone’s kids for a day to give the parents some time off

23. Go on a multi-day hike (preferably the Appalachian Trail since it’s so close)

24. Visit the Grand Canyon

25. Have a child with my beautiful wife

26. Compliment 10 strangers in one day

27. Help someone cross an item off their bucket list

28. Throw a dart on a map and travel to that place

29. Watch the ball drop in New York City on New Year’s Eve

30. Visit all 7 continents (yes, including Antarctica) (4 already complete)

What is on your bucket list?  I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!


Hungry on a Diet? Try this

Most of my readers at the moment are from the CC community, mainly because that’s one of the only places where I’ve advertised my content so far.  However, this post will hopefully hit home to anyone who has been on a diet before.


It isn’t the first time I’ve been hungry on a diet, and unfortunately, it likely will not be the last.  Perhaps it was the lack of a solid breakfast that made me ridiculously hungry today, but being in a state of constant hunger will usually cause most people to lose sight of their weight-loss goals.  I’ve been there.  At many points in the past year, I’ve lost 7 or 8 pounds over the course of a few weeks only to quickly put it back on because I couldn’t fight the appetite.  It sucks.  I’m finished with that crap, and I don’t want it to happen to you.


I’ve read a few articles on “How to Decrease Your Appetite” and “Curbing the Appetite”.  I admit, some (with emphasis on the word ‘some’) are good tactics that are tried and certainly true for me.  So, from someone who is currently in the process of trying to curb my appetite, here are some of the tactics that have worked for me, along with some tactics that seem like complete myths.


1) Drink water – Survey Says: WORKS.  Without a doubt, this is one of the best ways to curb the appetite.  It’s a zero calorie stomach filler, and if you add in some Crystal Light packets, makes a really excellent substitute for higher calorie drinks like soda.  Personally, I have found that during a meal, if I take a drink of water per every couple of bites of food, that I get full a lot faster and don’t necessarily require any excess caloric intake.


2) Use mouthwash – Survey Says: MYTH.  I honestly don’t know where I heard this one, but since I use mouthwash on a daily basis, I can say that for me, this is complete fiction.  My morning routine consists of brushing my teeth, using mouthwash, showering, and getting ready for work.  After my shower, I’m ready to eat, so 10 minutes of appetite suppression doesn’t cut it.


3) Chew gum – Survey Says: MIXED.  I love this and do it all the time, but it comes with caveats.  First, you need to find long-lasting gum (which in my experience, has been Trident or IceBreakers).  Second, you need to have a deep stock of gum, because once that gum loses its flavor after 20-30 minutes, the hunger comes back.  Assuming you meet those two criteria, chewing gum should be a decent suppressant.


4) Exercise – Survey Says: WORKS.  This surprises me because it seems logical that your body would need extra calories to compensate for what you just burned off, and thus, you should feel more hungry.  Some studies have shown that this may not be the case, and after doing it, I agree with those studies.  Granted, while I work out, I usually have about 32 ounces of water, so I may be cheating a bit.


5) Stay busy – Survey Says: WORKS.  Speaking from an appetite perspective, busy days at work are so much easier than days where I have more time on my hands.  I prefer hectic days where I’m running from room to room over days where I am more stagnant.  At home, I need to be doing something or I will default to food.  Playing games, fixing up the house, and writing this blog are a few things that help me stay busy.


Hopefully, this has given you a few helpful ways to curb your appetite.  Some may not work for everyone (specifically, I’ve heard mixed reviews over chewing gum), but I hope that you find success with whatever ways you choose.  The hunger bug will always be lurking; just stay strong and stay positive and you’ll do fine!  Stay active, my friends.

It was the Batman…

It was the Batman...

As I was sitting home, sick as a dog, today, I found myself completely immersed in The Dark Knight trilogy. Okay, okay, so I’ll probably never be as fit as Bruce Wayne (and I certainly won’t be an eccentric billionaire either), but getting in that kind of physical condition is something to aspire to. Have you ever been inspired by a fictitious character before? And if so, who?

Avoiding the Introvert’s Nightmare

Being an introvert and slightly timid is not easy.  Sometimes I’ll want something at a restaurant and my waiter will pass by.  I’ll say “Excuse me” to him, but I won’t say it very loud.  Usually he doesn’t hear me and I just get him on the next pass.  The hallway stranger walk-bys are always interesting.  Do I say hi?  Do I not say anything?  Do I give the awkward head nod?  I don’t know about anyone else, but these situations are nerve wracking for me.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I love this blog so much.  I couldn’t speak these posts to anyone, but gathering my thoughts and putting them on paper (or the internet) is a much easier pill to swallow.


Today I decided to break that mold.  In a future post, I’m going to discuss bucket lists (things you want to do during the course of your life).  In addition to my own list, I also wanted to get the opinions of others, especially those who may be in much different walks of life.  Yes, asking friends would be easier, but I didn’t want to take the easy way out this time.


The plan was to go to a public setting (in my case, a nearby shopping mall), go up to total strangers, tell them I wanted to ask them a simple question, and then get their answer.  In my head, that seemed simple enough.  After work, I left for the mall, bought myself a cold beverage, and looked around for people.  Instantly, I’m nervous.  This isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.  Even the 10-year old children look intimidating to me now.


Finally, I spot a younger gentleman with an easy-going demeanor who looks like he’ll play along.  Summoning up the courage, I ask him if I could have a minute of his time to ask him a question for an article that I’m writing.  Immediately, I can tell he’s put off, but he reluctantly says okay.  I ask him if he knows what a bucket list is and he says he does, at which point I ask him to name one thing on his bucket list.  At this point, the conversation already seems awkward, and even more awkward when he says, “I dunno, too many to count.”  Trying to get something deeper out of him, I ask for him to just name one.  He responds with, “I dunno, I can’t think of any right now.”  Aaaaaaaannd, the game is over!  I thank him for his time and he walks one way and I walk the other way feeling extremely dejected.  It wasn’t easy for me to put myself out there, but I did, and I promptly had a figurative hand stuck in my face.  I spent the next 15 minutes trying to summon the courage to try again.  That courage never came, and I was outta there.


Driving home, I realized that had I been in his situation, the result may not have been so different.  I brought that awkward situation on myself.  I’m not kicking myself for it, but the fact is that there were subtle parts of this situation that I completely took for granted which ultimately led to my failure.  Here we go with: How to Avoid the Introvert’s Nightmare.


Mistake #1: Going to the mall.  I’d venture to guess that only a small percentage of the population goes to the mall for pleasure.  If you’re there, you have a goal in mind for what you want to get.  Most people get in, buy what they need, and take off.  They don’t want to be bothered by others.


Mistake #2: Going after work.  Living in a large suburb of a big city means there is traffic all over the place.  If you are at the mall at 4:30 in the afternoon in the middle of rush hour traffic, you’re going to be in a pretty bad mood to begin with.  Some people just aren’t happy after work, so it doesn’t make sense to try and explore their creative sides.  I need people in a good an open frame of mind when I’m asking these questions.  Maybe I need to hit up a coffee shop or a bar during happy hour.


Mistake #3: I am not a journalist, and did not ask the question in a good way.  I believe I said that I’m writing an article for a blog and I wanted to ask a simple question.  That’s right, it’s amateur hour at the local mall today.  If people don’t know what they’re responding to, they are going to be wary from the get-go.  I need a better way to phrase my question such as, “I am doing an article about fun and inspiring things that people do with their time and was wondering if you could answer one question for me about that.”  Bingo.  Simple and direct in a way that doesn’t make it seem like I’m trying to sell them something.


Sometimes people are afraid to put themselves out there because they fear rejection or embarrassment, and are even further put off if that rejection happens.  The important thing is to make sure that you don’t give up completely, and this goes for many other aspects of life as well.  Work, relationships, going to the gym; there have been times where I think most people can say they’ve been afraid to fail or feel embarrassed at certain points, but don’t let that put you off from accomplishing the amazing things that you are capable of doing.


As for me and my dilemma, I may be down, but I’m far from out.  I fully intend to go back out and conduct my short interviews with strangers, but maybe this time I’ll be smart enough to avoid the introvert’s nightmare.

Staying the course…

I know that I have promised to do some video posts as well as some larger posts where I  get you, the readers, involved.  That’s still on the agenda, so stay tuned.


Have you ever had a week that has caused you to lose hope, lose faith, or lose reasoning?  That was this week for me.  The week starts and you’re swimming okay, but something happens to make you start treading water; then something else happens and you start to sink.  The harder you fight, the more you get pushed down.  I’m stopping there, because you get the point.  The hardest thing to do when you’re feeling like this is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue to charge forward.


Prepare yourself; sports analogy in 3, 2, 1…


The best comparison I have right now is to think of every day like it is one major league baseball game.  In a 162-game season, you’re not going to win every game.  Even the best team in baseball last year only won 61% of their games.  That means that over 1/3rd of the time, the best regular season team lost a game.


Here are some things to remember when you start hitting the doldrums.

1) Anyone can win when things are going well, but the really good teams find a way to win when things aren’t falling their way.  If the going gets tough, stop.  Even if you’re busy; just stop.  Take a deep breath.  Find something small that can be easily accomplished and do it.  Whether it’s a Sudoku puzzle or a quick game on your phone, do something that will force you into a different mindset.


2) Make adjustments, whatever they may be.  Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  For me, terrible weeks happen, and it’s during those terrible weeks that my diet plan typically gets completely and utterly derailed.  This week, I made a conscious effort to change the way I typically think.  Instead of completely giving up, I made the choice to change, and instead, focused on the one aspect of the week that I knew I had complete control over.


3) Do something nice for someone else.  This is really hard to do when you’re feeling low, but let me tell you, it works.  In addition to some other small things, I participated in a charity golf tournament yesterday to benefit the Tyler Philopena Foundation (doing something I love for a great cause is a winning combination).  It’s a great foundation and I hope that you all can check it out at http://tylerphilopenafoundation.webs.com/.  Seeing a child like Tyler and his love for life makes you appreciate the joy that each day can bring.


Maybe this post isn’t for you right now, but when you’re feeling blue, I invite you to come back to this.  Every day might not be a victory, but don’t let a few lost games derail you from accomplishing your goals.  Wherever you are, and whatever path you are on, always remember that you are worth it.

Bringing Good Habits to Life

This is a call to everyone who has their heart set on getting something done.  Maybe it’s something that you’ve never done before.  Maybe it’s something that you’ve been trying to do for a long time and just haven’t had the motivation to complete.  Whether it’s a small job or a large undertaking, there’s absolutely nothing you can’t accomplish.


For the CC followers, I promised an update about the weight loss after a strong week of training.  The long and short of it is, I finished the week 3 pounds lighter.  My goal weight is still a ways out, but this puts me on track to achieve it by the end of the year, which I’ve said for awhile was the ultimate goal.  18 pounds to go, and by my count, 19 weeks until 2014.  Difficult, but doable.


Improving myself has always been a weakness of mine.  It’s so easy to say “I’ll get to it tomorrow” and then put that quote on repeat for days/months/years.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried a few times to lose some pounds, but eventually you get to the point where it gets difficult and you give up.  Don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  I’ve been there, and I know that there are millions of people like us who have been there before.  Now I’m no expert on self-improvement, so instead of pretending like I am, I’ll share with you what has worked for me so far.  I’d love to hear the thoughts and opinions of others, too, so feel free to write them in the comments section.


What’s worked for me:

A) Setting one goal that’s moderately difficult, but achievable.  In the past, I’ve overwhelmed myself with all these things I have to get done by a certain time.  It stresses me out to the point where the motivation declines, and once that happens, it’s game over.  One goal, however, is much less stressful for me.  I stopped flooding myself with “lift 4 times a week, run 3 times a week, lose 30 pounds, eat better” and turned it into “lose 30 pounds… doesn’t matter how, and it doesn’t always have to be the same way… just do it!”

B) Keep track of foods to the point of obsession.  This may not work for everyone, but I’ll be honest, I try to the best of my ability to log every food item on the menu.  It makes me feel like I have much more control over obtaining my goal.

C) Writing about it and receiving support.  The CC community has been a fantastic support group.  Being able to hear inspiring stories has been an incredible motivation boost.  I want to succeed and want others to be successful, too.  The general promotion of that team spirit goes a really long way.

D) Getting back to working out.  It used to be fun, then it started becoming a chore.  I’m trying to make it fun again.

E) And this is the important one.  Do whatever is necessary to keep you motivated.  A song, a punching bag, a movie quote… there are many different sources of inspirational motivation.  Find the one that you like and keep it on hand when the going gets tough.


Besides the weight loss, this blog has been another recent accomplishment.  Even as an introvert, I love to entertain and to be entertained.  A few years back, I did a bit of side work as a talk radio DJ, and dabbled into it again earlier this year on blogtalkradio.com.  While that medium has always appealed to me, I wanted a place to express more creativity with the freedom to get into a wider variety of topics.  For some reason, starting this blog was difficult for me.  What do I call it?  Are people going to visit?  Will this really be entertaining?  But I guess something finally clicked inside me to put all of the doubts aside and just go for it.


And that’s where the good habits can be brought to life.  Make a choice, right now, to overcome your doubts and start doing what you want to do.  Start living the life that you want to live.  Set a goal and make it happen.  Get excited about your goal, and get excited about what the future has to offer once you reach it.

Want to know what’s coming up?

First of all, if you’re here, I want to thank you for coming out and visiting my blog.  Feel free to post comments and voice opinions.  I’m always amazed at some of the great inspiration I get from blog-surfing or comment-surfing.


Second, I wanted to give a short preview as to what you’ll (hopefully) be seeing this week.  I can’t promise that I’m going to post on a daily basis, but I will certainly try my best to keep the content fresh and entertaining!


Posts coming this week:

“Bringing Good Habits to Life” – I’ll leave you in suspense on this one

“Do Short Workouts Really Work?” – I have my doubts, but they say don’t knock it ’till you try it.  Time to try it!

“Video Blog #1 – Parasailing” – I’m still trying to figure out how to edit, but I’m hoping to put out my first video blog this week.

“Video Blog #2 – Waverunners in Action” – If #1 goes well, #2 will follow, and will be a lot of fun to watch.

“What’s On Your Bucket List?” – Take some time to think about this one; I’ll open it for comments when I write this entry.


Have a fantastic week, everyone!