Settings and Directions

This entry is a response to a series of questions Brendon Burchard posed in his wonderful book, The Motivation Manifesto.

What will be our mission be from this moment forward?

Our mission will be to put the ghosts and the irrelevance of my past life behind me in the shitcan where they belong. Nothing that occurs outside my ambit is relevant. Nothing. I will not and cannot care what people beyond that ambit are doing – to quote the Desiderata, they are “vexations of the spirit”. I did not walk away from pain, anguish and most of all, a grey existence, to be afflicted by the idiotic and ineffectual pangs of nostalgia. Apart from the birth and subsequent lives of my two children, there is nothing from that time of tedium to be joyfully reflective about. Nothing.

Simultaneously with the above, the mission will be for me to be the best possible person. I will lose weight with the tools and options I have available to me – my food scales, bathroom scales and the A Workout Routine guides I have. Everything I need is at hand, physically. I need to conquer the mental shortcomings.

The concomitants of weight-loss are increased confidence, clothes that fit better, a healthier life, more energy, and a superior quality of life.

What will be our plan of action?

Let’s do this in dot point form.

  1. Lose weight using the tools available
  2. Making weight loss a habit
  3. Making eating healthier and better a habit
  4. Working out at the gym – weightlifting and treadmills
  5. Reduce caffeine intake with the view of quitting it
  6. Not to worry about things and events I cannot control or have a say in
  7. Put the past behind me where it belongs – in history
  8. Get that confidence and zeal happening

What steps must be taken?

Again, dot point form is best for this lot.

  1. Track everything that goes in my gob
  2. This means food and drink
  3. This also means cutting down or abstaining from empty calories aka rubbish
  4. Use the calorie partitioning scheme AWR speaks about
  5. Reducing caffeine intake – I drink far too much damnable coffee
  6. Go to the gym at the regular prescribed times I have set myself
  7. Analyse and overcome the impediments and barriers that have constantly derailed me

What am I really after in life?

This is an exceedingly difficult one to answer, at least with precision. That there is possibly 90% of why I’m not where I want to be in life. I can’t nail it down in definitive points.

It’s always nebulous or wishy-washy when I try to answer this question. I mean, there’s the old stand-byes of “better health, optimum weight, good muscles, more money, more happiness” and so on. If I pull these apart and look closely, some of them are certainly wanted things, and some I have in varying amounts now. Let’s start with health – I’m a 53-year-old dude who’s about 30 kilograms heavier than the optimum weight for his height and age. Despite this fattiness, I’m relatively healthy. I have no major issues with my health, mental or physical and I’m strong and fit for my age.

I’ve been going to a gym for the last eight months, or mostly going; let me qualify that. There have been a few lacunae along the way. But I’m a big solid dude as I write this, that has a gut that reaches his destination about three seconds before his head. Sure, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s enough to say I have a gut.

So, the first thing I’m after in life is to lose that gut – it’s where most of my excess weight is situated. I don’t like my weight. I don’t like how I look. I don’t like how I need to wear 7x shirts that would be a tent or a sarong on skinnier folks. I can’t buy off-the-shelf cool clothes because cool clothes are for slimmer guys. If I want the cool stuff I either must have it tailored or get it from a specialty store where I pay a premium.

Here’s the other things. I want to be a successful author, I want to be fitter/musclier, I want to have decent teeth, I don’t want to struggle financially, I want to own and drive a Mazda MX-5, I want to stop dreaming about my ex-wife every second – gee, how I do I go about changing that one? Seriously, and most of all, I want the patience, the nous and the discipline to make these wants reality.

I’ve always vowed that I would sit back and laugh at the all the travails and dramas I’ve had in life up to that point. By then, I’ll be where I want to be.

And the ultimate thing I want – to in control of my own life and destiny.

What do I truly want to create and contribute?

I already create what I want to – my fiction. One of the tasks before me is getting it out there to the public. I’ve been sitting on this point for thirty years and I don’t know what it is exactly that keeps me from preparing stuff for professional publication and then submitting it. Fear of failure? Laziness? Inertia? I wish I knew. As I write this, I have two novel sized stories I’ve finished, though one probably needs some serious work. In addition, I have various sized fragments of at least a dozen more. I’m a prolific writer – I just wish I could get people to see and read it.

And this would be my contribution. In my small way, I’m adding to the oeuvre of the written arts, enriching the literary world, making my own mark – at least that’s the theory. I’m not sure if the question posed above means anything more than it does prima facie but I’ve given my answer.


What kind of person do I want to show the world each day?

A confident man, full of vigour and purpose. No, seriously. And that’s confidence, not arrogance nor condescension. I want to present a face of a person who’s in control of their life.

What types of persons shall I love and enjoy life with?

Once I would have written that I didn’t want to love and enjoy life with anyone – then for the longest time I tried both with various people, some moments longer than others. I often wonder if I’m incapable of accepting love – call it an Asperger’s thing if you like. I certainly got accused of being incapable a few times. I don’t know…my idea of an enjoyable life differs from the majority’s.

This is a hard one to answer. Let me throw a few types out there just for the sake of answering the question. Artistic people, folks with a weird vision, folks with a touch of the alien…

What great cause shall keep me going when I feel weak or distracted?

Anger. I’m angry at where my life is and where it’s been. There’s a fire in the belly that’s kindled that I don’t believe will be extinguished until my goals are met. The anger is an over-arching canopy that covers many smaller causes, most of which I’ve mentioned earlier.

What will be my ultimate legacy?

Is it wrong of me or a shortcoming of mine that I cannot answer this with any conviction? I can write: “oh, he was a great author, started late, but a great damned author. Cracking reads, all his stuff.” But for a certain answer, no, I can’t give one. I suppose that means I need to work on my ambitions more.

What steps must I take to begin and sustain these efforts?

Discipline would be the number one step. It’s a cliché, but if you put your mind to it, you can achieve practically anything. That putting your mind to it part is the killer of hopes and aspiration however, and it’s killed off plenty of mine. I can say as I write this, I’m motivated. There are things going on elsewhere in the periphery of my purview that have motivated me like nothing else ever has. I won’t go into what these things are but it’s enough to say they should not bother or faze me in any way, and it’s probably a reflection of some minor immaturity within me that they do. Still, whatever the cause, it’s inspired me to go onwards and upwards.

In essence, it requires discipline to begin and to maintain the things I need to do to bring about positive change in my life.

What will I orient my days to accomplishing this week? This month? This year?

The plans I have mentioned throughout this missive. Setting myself on the path to logical and sustainable weight loss, getting fit and musclier, improving my outlook and confidence. These are lifestyle changes, not fads or passing phases. I too frequently overlook my achievements in favour of pondering what I haven’t achieved. I have achieved a damned lot, actually. I have raised two wonderful children, one of whom has challenging behaviours, I have written prodigious amounts of fiction – in fact, I think I have created some rather engaging fantasy worlds here…what else? My health is good for someone my age and size, and I’m capitalising on this. I hold three academic degrees and am a year into a PhD.

I never get bored. I always find something to do, even if I struggle to make that a creative thing.

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