Archive for December, 2013

My 2013 Annual Review: Looking Forward

Saturday, December 28th, 2013


Many people ask me how I’ve accomplished so much at the age of 29; I’ve done many things that older people have had sitting in their bucket list for decades.

The answer is simple: I set goals and go after them until I’ve achieved them or they lose appeal. The results have been pretty impressive, as I explained last year along with how you can reach your own goals.

At the beginning of every year I make a point of creating focus goals for the subsequent 12 months so I can direct my life in the direction I desire. In late December, I review how many of my goals I’ve actually reached, and where I’ve fallen short. At the same time, I reassess what I’ve been doing and set goals for the next year.

2013 threw me a few amazingly enjoyable curveballs which disrupted some of my goals, but I did meet most of them.

Last year, my focuses (including sub goals) were: 

1) Do a long medically-supervised water fast.

2) Continue to gain in strength, with a particular focus on body-weight exercises and gymnastics.

– Find someone to coach me in muscle ups, and gain the ability to do one

– Do a strict press from crow to handstand.

– An expansion of my partner-based strength, acro yoga, and gymnastic      techniques, with a particular emphasis on lifts.

3) Spend more time developing my business.

         – Republish Savory Raw Dressings And Sauces w/ new recipes and a

            print edition.

4) Spend more time writing fiction for pleasure.

How did I actually do?

I’m very happy that my plans were disrupted in a very enjoyable way. I met my girlfriend this year, quickly set off on a cross-country road trip with her, and we’re currently enjoying a sunny winter in Costa Rica.

Happiness has a way of getting in the way of goal achievement, though, and on numerous occasions I’ve judged doing something with her to be more enjoyable than getting work done, and I’ve indulged.

But by and large, I was able to modify my focuses to include this new “asset,” in a very enjoyable way, particularly in the physical fitness realm, as I’ll explain later.

Water Fast:

My 26-day water fast in January was a great experience, and I’m so glad I committed to doing it. It not only improved my digestion, but also gave me a chance to do a lot of deep thinking about my life. I talked extensively about my experience in a podcast, and showed the change in a video, both of which you can find here.

Fitness Goals:

I got stronger and fitter in 2013, despite a long fitness break induced by the water fast.

Acro Arm Balance

Acro Arm Balance

My favorite element of progress was getting serious about my acro yoga practice.

Although I envisioned doing this to some degree with friends, with my girlfriend in the picture I was really able to devote myself to it on a nearly daily basis, and the progress was staggering.

We’ve achieved some impressive things, like human Turkish gettups, butterfly, pancake into throne, and much more. You can see a few of the things we’ve worked on on this youtube channel.

I’ve given a lot of time the ring muscle ups this year, and have gotten stronger and more proficient in the requisite movements. Yet I have not found a good coach who could help me master the transition from pullups to reverse dip. I will continue to work on it in 2014.

I really didn’t spend much time working on my press from crow to handstand. I realized that I needed to be able to strict press (military press) 184 pounds (my current weight). I have added about 15 pounds onto my strict press one rep max this year, but that was more a carryover from my acro yoga presses than a serious effort. Although I’ll probably work on this in the coming year, I don’t necessarily think it will be a focus due to shifting interests.

More broadly, I’m able to lift more weight compared to 2012, and have improved in a number of gymnastic moves, like handstands. I’m very pleased with my progress.

Business Development:

I put out the new edition of Savory Raw Dressings and Sauces, and the new recipes and print edition were a big hit. I also released the Vagabond’s Guide To Chiang, Mai, Thailand, though that was largely written in 2012.

Overall, though, I wouldn’t say I particularly pushed myself in 2013 on the business front, but I’m not particularly displeased about that.

Fiction Writing:

Eating mamey sapote in Costa Rica

Eating mamey sapote in Costa Rica

I’ve been a writer for a long time, but I’ve rarely dabbled in fiction, despite my love of good fiction books.

Fiction writing is less utilitarian that nonfiction, and I have a desire for it to not only be functional, but also beautiful. Sometimes I start writing and great stuff comes flowing out. Other times, it’s a struggle.

Because this is a pursuit of pleasure, I haven’t really forced myself to write when I don’t feel like the end product is worthwhile.

All the same, I’ve written about 30 pages of what I feel is high quality material this year, and I’m pleased with it. I just wish I could get it to come out of my brain a bit faster without the quality suffering.

Goals For 2014


My health has been excellent for many years, and last year’s fast brought things to a new level. This year I plan to lose the last five pounds remaining from the overfeeding experiment I conducted this summer. Also, to satisfy my own curiosity and to do research that could be valuable for, I plan to do more experimentation with probiotics and iodine.


Much like last year, I’m seeking to get stronger and fitter this year.

I plan to spend time working on pull ups (moving toward one handed pull ups), ring muscle ups, and planches. I’d like to hire a gymnastic coach to help me take my skills to the next level, if financially feasible.

One skill I intend to refocus on this year is my arch nemesis, squatting. From 2011 through 2012, improving my squatting from its extremely sorry beginnings was a big focus for me, and I made large strides. While I can now squat well enough to pass muster in most fitness situations, I want to be squatting like an asian so as to not leak power during weighted squats, and for utility. I plan to work on the mobility issues that underlie my problem. I also plan to do close-legged squats with props for at least 10 minutes each day.

Finally, although my acro yoga abilities have become impressive this year, I’m sure that I’m not even close to my potential. I look forward to integrating partner interactions from multiple disciplines, including cheerleading-style lifts, and perhaps dance. More importantly, though, I would like to go from doing a good job performing single moves in isolation to linking many moves together in a continuous flow suitable for an crowd-pleasing performance.


Halfway through a human Turkish get up.

Halfway through a human Turkish get up.

In 2014 I’ll be releasing what I’m tentatively calling “The Raw Food Digestive Tune Up.” Although I’ve written at length about the raw food diet and its impressive healing potential, particularly in Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality, I’ve never focused exclusively on digestive problems, which afflict so many people.

I used to suffer from colitis, an intestinal disorder that was ruining my life before I found a fix. The medical community has no cure for colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s diease, nor lesser issues like IBS, constipation, acid reflux, ulcers, gas, and bad breath, among others.

Well I do have a cure. People have been asking me for years for a more detailed way to escape colitis and other digestive issues, and this will be the book for them.

Beyond this, I’m not immediately drawn to any specific business goals, though I expect new interests will present themselves during the year, particularly due to my thought experiment.


This year I’m doing an experiment in attitude, passion, and joy.

I plan to spend 10 minutes every morning visualizing things I want to achieve in my life, or which excite me in some way, but only if this visualization makes me feel great. If it feels bad, I think of something else.

My experience with a number of meditation/thought experiments is that the degree to which you can control your happiness and the way things happen in your life is monumental. Everything from your health to your athletic performance, and much more, is controlled by your thoughts.

For instance, the first time my girlfriend and I were able to get eight consecutive pancakes/reverse pancakes in an acro practice followed a five minute visualization of this feat on my part.

My goal is to see just how much I can improve my mood and my reality through thought.

I plan to explore, on various days, finances, athletics, my goal of reforesting a desert environment, and much more.