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My 2017 Annual Review

I am a very goal-driven person, though I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t believe in them. If there is a goal or change you want to make in your life, why wait for the new year? I have found it much more effective to do many experiments, set many goals, and make many mini-changes throughout the year. This being said, I do like using the end of the calendar year as a point to reflect. What went well? What did I accomplish? What did I learn? How have I progressed over time? What patterns or changes in my life or lifestyle do I see? Now that I have done an Annual Review for the past 2 years in a row, it will be fun to look back and see my growth and progression over time.

Travel

Way Less Travel In 2017

103 days traveling

Versus 145 days in 2016, and 150 days in 2015

About 33% less year over year

Days out of town:

12 Europe - Barcelona, Santorini, Mykonos, Prague
7 Lake Tahoe (2 trips)
7 Mammoth (3 trips)
7 Baja (4 trips)
6 CO - Aspen and Denver
6 Vegas
5 Cancun
4 Austin
4 NYC
4 Whistler/Vancouver
3 Sedona

The rest in CA - SD, SF, Santa Cruz, Sac, Palm Springs/Joshua Tree

Not only did I take less trips this year, I also travelled much less for work. Much more of my job was over the phone versus in-person. The combo of less travel and more working from home meant a whole new lifestyle and routine. It was really good to have a year focused more on routine and less on travel. I had about 20% more surf sessions this year. I ran 600 miles. I had a consistent yoga practice. I started swimming. It was such a great year for lifestyle that I wouldn't be surprised if the trend continues and in 2018 I have less than 100 days out of town.

Health and Fitness

"Keep hammering." -Cameron Hanes

Smashed My Running Goals

600 total miles (vs 365 original goal, vs 100 miles in 2016)

102 total workouts

250 miles January-June. 350 miles July-December.

Biggest months: 73 miles in October, 67 miles in November, 64 miles in August

Best trail run: Convict Lake, Mammoth CA (Runner up: West Fork Trail, Sedona AZ)

Best city run: Barcelona, Spain, 8 miles (Runner up: Austin TX, 8 miles)

Surf City Half Marathon (2/5/17): 1:46:24 (8:07 pace)

OC Half Marathon (5/7/17): 1:40:21 (7:40 pace)

Long Beach Marathon (10/8/17): 3:48:36 (8:43 pace)

Running a marathon has been a bucket list goal of mine for at least 10 years. I got into running around 2008 after reading Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About The Bike, and then again around 2011 after reading Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body. Each time, knee pain and IT-band problems caused me to stop. But at the end of 2016, I got talked into running a half marathon. It was brutal, the last 3 miles I had excruciating knee pain, and I barely finished. But I did finish, and it sparked something in me where I actually started to believe that if I trained the right way, I could get better at running. The key was a consistent daily yoga practice, and a consistent running practice. My goal at the beginning of 2017 was to commit to a full year of running and yoga, and run at least 365 miles. I signed up for a couple half marathons, and if those went well, would make a go at a full marathon. I ran the Surf City Halfie in February, and it was a completely different experience from my first halfie that previous November in Big Sur. I finished in 1:46, compared to 2 hours in Big Sur, and had no knee pain whatsoever. In May, I did the OC Halfie, and finished at 1:40 and felt really strong. I signed up for the full marathon in Long Beach for October, but started to get ankle pain on my long training runs above 17 miles. I took it pretty easy in September, and I went into October truly not knowing if I was going to be able to do the 26.2. I didn’t really have ankle pain during the race, though around mile 20 I had everything pain with another 6 miles to go. Around mile 23 I was exhausted. At mile 26.1 I almost started to cry at the realization that I was going to actually do it. I finished with a time of 3:48.

Fittest Year On Record

245 Days I Exercised

Compared to 183 days in 2016 and 150 days in 2015

34% increase year over year

102 runs

11 snowboarding days

10 open water swims

A few bike rides, SUPs, and hikes

117 surf sessions

Compared to 98 in 2016, about a 20% increase year over year

Only 17 sessions were outside of North Orange County (12 in Baja, 2 Trestles, 2 Austin Texas Wave Pool, and 1 in Santa Cruz)

Added Swimming to the Fitness Game

10 open water swims

1200 yards (approx 6.8 miles).

My longest swim was 2100 yards in 38 minutes

I would either swim at Bayshore in Long Beach, or in Corona Del Mar. It started off as a way to do cardio the day after a long run where I wanted to take it easy on the legs, but after a few swims I really started to love it. On a hot summer day I’d much prefer a 45 minute open water swim to a run. I love being in the salt water. I love the rhythmic nature of swimming. The focus on the rhythm of the breath, combined with the silence from being under water, makes it very meditative. I can’t wait till the water warms up next summer! And maybe a triathlon in 2018? We will see!

Yoga is the new meditation

I did 184 yoga sessions this year, which is about every other day. I love yoga. To learn, I practiced for a couple months with guided online videos, and did 1 week at Core Power Yoga and a couple sessions at YogaWorks. When I practice now, it’s usually at home by myself, and unguided. I like yoga because you get so many different things from it:

  • Meditation - I usually start or end with a short meditation. I haven’t felt the need to meditate separate from yoga anymore.  
  • Stretching - I am naturally very inflexible, so this is really difficult, yet so beneficial for me. This has been huge for my running and injury prevention, and is basically the reason why my knee pain during running has completely gone away.
  • Balance and focus - The focus from trying to hold a balancing pose in yoga is in of itself very fun. And I'd guess that there might be some benefits for running and surfing.
  • Core strength - Having a strong core is super important as an athlete, but you'll never find me on the ground doing sit-ups or anything like that. I did 30 days in a row of 3 minutes of planks, and just incorporated it into my yoga practice. Even in a normal practice where I’m not doing planks, there is a ton of focus on the core. Even in basic poses like Mountain Pose, which is basically just standing up, and Downward Dog, there is a focus on having a tight core.
I usually put on some mellow music, and spend 15-30 minutes doing whatever kind of flow I feel like that day. Sometimes I want a more intense flow where it feels like a workout, and sometimes I just like to sit in child’s pose and breathe for an extended time. Either way, I love yoga now and see it as a crucial part of a holistic approach to lifestyle and fitness.

Sleep focus from 2016 continues in 2017

316 days I got more than 7 hours of sleep

Compared to 300 in 2016

I really focused on my sleeping habit in 2016, and wrote about it twice (9 More Minutes and You Snooze You Lose). I rarely get less than 7 hours, and rarely wake up to an alarm clock. Sleep is a keystone habit, meaning it’s one of the big reasons why I had my best year of exercise, running, and surfing.

Diet focus from 2015 continues in 2017

303 days not eating meat

Compared to 287 in 2016

243 days not drinking any alcohol (66%)

284 days having less than 2 drinks (78%)
 

This was a big focus in 2015, which was the year that I became pescatarian and tried to really cut back on drinking. I like to say that these days I have a “flex-etarian” diet, meaning I’m pretty close to vegan at home, pescatarian when eating out, and allow myself to eat meat when I’m with groups or traveling. After 3 years, I still like my low meat, high plant-based diet, but I also like the flexibility and not feeling the need to label my diet anymore.

Best Streak of 2017: 64 Day Streak No Alcohol

At the end of summer, after a few days of being ridiculously hungover, and knowing that my first full marathon was about 2 months away, I decided to go sober for at least 60 days. Very similar to sleep being a keystone habit, not drinking is probably the most important of all keystone habits in my life. There is nothing that can ruin a day like a hangover. When I look back on the year, and I see my accomplishments with running, and the amount of fun I had exercising and surfing and doing yoga, a lot of that can be attributed to a lot less drinking.

(*Best streak of 2016 was 160 days not hitting the snooze button, where I learned that the best way to accomplish that is to just get rid of my alarm.)

The goal is no longer to do more, but to focus on quality, consistency and improvement.

The past 3 years for me have been a huge focus on personal improvement and lifestyle.

  • In 2015, after years of excessive partying, irresponsible behavior and going into massive debt, I started to make some changes. I moved back down to Socal, and I started to focus on living a better lifestyle. I focused on health, began a pescatarian diet, and cut way back on drinking. I started gardening and meditating. Most of all, I redefined play. I started to find more fun in the ocean and mountains than in bars and nightclubs.
  • In 2016, I built on everything that got started in 2015. I exercised more, I surfed more, I snowboarded more. I went on trips that were active, versus trips that mainly involved eating and drinking. I started tracking my sleep. I started doing yoga. I stuck to my get-out-of-debt plan.
  • And in 2017, I improved in every category. Again, I exercised more and surfed more. I checked a full marathon off my bucket list. Diet, sleep and yoga were all very consistent. I travelled less and focused more on my routine at home. My business saw 20% growth, I officially got out of debt and started investing again, and started a new side project.
It's amazing to think how much things have changed in the past 3 years. At this point, I don't think the goal is to do more anymore. In 2018, I won't be proud if I just say that I surfed more, or exercised more. Instead of doing more, I hope to stay consistent, and do better. I want to get better at surfing and do trips to get better waves. I want to accomplish new PRs in time and distance in running. And I want to continue to try new things.

Inputs and Outputs

"The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Books I Read

I read about the same amount of books this year as in the previous 2 years.

Favorite Book of the Year: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the autobiography of the founder of Nike

Runner up: Origin by Dan Brown, I would describe this fiction books as Elon Musk + Sam Harris + Spain art conspiracies (similar to Da Vinci Code) x murder mystery

Rebirth by Kamal Raavikant
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
Born to Run by Chris McDougall
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
Marching Power by Rusty Young
Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday
Origin by Dan Brown
Artemis by Andy Weir
Born For This by Chris Guillebeau
Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss (ongoing)
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss (ongoing)

Writing

I write to gain a deeper understanding of the books and articles I read and podcasts I listen too. It helps me better communicate the ideas I hear, and the opinions I have about those ideas. My writing is a place where I can link different ideas and pieces of information. For example, My Death Clock was a post I wrote where I link ideas from Steve Jobs, Seneca, Tim Urban, and Ryan Holiday. Most of all, it's fun to write and engage in deep thinking, and try to get my thoughts out of my head.

  • The Inner Game - 2/17/17 - A post about Tom Brady's Super Bowl comeback, and a few books that Brady, and other top coaches and players read that leads to peak performance
  • JSRM Creative Designs - 3/22/17 - A post about my mobile app side hustle, what I learned from the process
  • Next Level - 10/13/17 - A post about running my first marathon, the long road of failed attempts and half marathon PRs, and the idea of leveling up
  • My Death Clock: 16,515 Days To Live - 11/26/17 - Wisdom on life, death, and time from Steve Jobs, Seneca, Tim Urban, and Ryan Holiday, inspired by the Chrome extension
  • Me Vs. Technology - 1/28/17 - A warning about the addictiveness of technology, with advice from Yuval Noah Harari the author of Homo Deus, and Tristan Harris of the Time Well Spent movement

The Career Kickstarter

As a potential business idea that never went anywhere, I created this 30-page guide to teach college students how to start building a successful future career. In part 1, the goal is to build self-awareness through a strengths test and a DISC personality test. In part 2, I pull from Reid Hoffman's book, The Start Up of You, to explain the Permanent-Beta mindset and entrepreneurial approach required to succeed in today's job market. In part 3, the focus is on building an ABZ career plan, also an idea from The Start Up of You. I created a website and spent about $100 doing targeted Facebook advertising, only to result in zero downloads and no sales. The failure was fast, and also inspired another guide, this time not intended to sell, but to give to the managers in my company.

Leadership 101

I created this 50-page Leadership guide for the District Managers in my company. I try an explain the most important things that I have learned about leadership in the past 10 years of my career. I hit on self awareness, EQ training, dichotomies of leadership, Extreme Ownership, execution, goal setting and systems implementation, and building team culture. I'm pretty proud of the content and final product that I delivered.

Favorite Photo of the Year

The Streets of Mykonos

Financial and Career

  • 20% revenue growth in 2017 - Derek and I grew CWP Norcal from $1.55M in revenue in 2016, to $1.85M in 2017. We also grew our District Manager base from 7 in 2o16, to 10 currently. 
  • CWP Norcal is stacked for a killer year in 2018 - As of the end of 2017, Norcal ranked #1 compared to all other territories in recruiting volume and averages, and we are looking to have an all-time year in 2018.
  • Selling CWP - Derek and I bought the CWP California division at the end of 2013. We sold half of it, CWP Socal, at the end of 2016. At the end of this year, we also sold the Norcal division. Both of us are still working with CWP to help the transition of ownership, and we are excited about the future of the business under Rob and Pilar. But this does officially bring us to the tail end of this chapter of our careers. I worked for CWP for 10 years, and it was honestly the best experience of my life. I'm so grateful for everything I learned, and for all the relationships I made. I could write a whole post just about my experience with CWP, and I will soon.
  • Shut down my mobile app side hustle - after having 4 apps in the App Store for about 5 years, it finally came time to shut it down. The apps made some money, but not really enough to cover maintenance and improvements. The ideas were good, we were ranked in a few articles as one of the best goal setting apps, and I even got some emails from users after shutting down saying that they loved the app. But at the end of the day, the execution was mediocre, many updates and improvements were needed, and it was time to shut it down.
  • Started an Amazon FBA side hustle - towards the end of the year, I made an investment in a product that I am going to start selling on Amazon. It is a gallery wall frame set, inspired after hanging 2 gallery walls in my girlfriend's apartment for her birthday. 
  • Out of debt and started investing again - finally out of debt, and it feels so good. For the past 18 months, I have literally tracked every single expense in every single category, making it a goal to spend as little as possible. In my business, we track every expense and have detailed monthly financial reports that go category by category, so why would I not look at my personal expenses the same way? And now that I'm "officially" out of debt, it's been fun to start investing again, in new technologies, and a new side hustle.

The biggest thing on my mind entering 2018 is the next chapter of my career. I have no clue what I am going to do post-CWP. It's scary and exciting. I know I'm going to miss the CWP people, the events, and the impact I made there. But after 10 years, I feel like I'm ready for the next adventure.

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