I’m fond of calling it my favorite holiday. Partly because nobody calls New Year’s their favorite holiday, but mostly because I really do love it. Goals, possibilities, the feeling of a fresh start … for a self-improvement junkie, it’s even better than Black Friday (my second favorite holiday).
I have more planned for 2015 than ever before with No Meat Athlete, including a full site redesign, new shirts and other clothing (plus a design contest for running group shirts), and more Vegfests than we’ve ever done.
But that’s just the surface-level stuff … here’s what else is on tap for me and No Meat Athlete in 2015:
1. More running, more writing.
On New Year’s Eve I sent a newsletter email around about the new 31-day running-and-writing challenge that my sister (who writes the blog Better Novel Project) and I started.
I don’t think of it as a resolution, as much as a jumpstart for both habits. There happen to be exactly 31 days in January, so it works, but there’s nothing special about starting on January 1.
In other words, even if you missed it at New Year’s, I hope you’ll still join us. You can just have your 31 days end in early February. In fact, I hope the project becomes something that people start throughout the year, whenever they need that little push to get on track.
It’s not for everyone, I know, but if you’re interested, read more about it here.
2. Way more blog content
Although we’ve picked up the podcast frequency, these days it feels like I’m lucky if I manage one blog post per week.
Frankly, that’s not enough.
I’m an all-or-nothing type of guy, and when I’m into running, I’m into running. The other side of the coin is that it’s not uncommon for me to go three months without thinking about it, or just going through the motions to stay in shape.
Similar for diet and food. I’m really happy with how I eat these days, how I make vegan work and the balance I’ve found between health and enjoying my food. Which leaves me without much to write about … if I’m not actively discovering ways to do better, what’s there to blog about?
I want to be genuine. And the fact is I’m not good at writing blog posts when I’m not head-over-heels into whatever I’m writing about. (Which explains the preponderance of personal development content recently; I’ve been on a major kick there.)
My hope is that #writeandrun31 will help me feel excited about running again. And writing, too. (See why I’m doing the challenge, now?) I saw this happen the last time I did a running streak — it ultimately led to my 100-miler and a solid year of excitement about running.
But to help with my dilemma, I’ve applied a bit of additional accountability. Here’s how:
For almost six years since I started No Meat Athlete, I relentlessly turned away from opportunities to be an “ambassador” for other brands. Ambassadorships — where a brand compensates the blogger with either money or product in exchange for blog posts that mention or review their products — have become extremely popular among health and fitness bloggers. I wanted to be different, to be an island, free to write about what I want, when I want.
But with the “when I want” becoming so rare recently, this year I’ve decided to say yes to two of them. And I’m really excited about both:
- The first is with Whole Foods and Garmin, two brands that I like (especially Whole Foods: we shop there 4-5 times a week, not an exaggeration). And although they are compensating me with some gift cards and a Garmin vívofit, the real reason I said yes is the frequency of the content they’re asking for. One post each week for the first six weeks of this year — which means I’ll need to double my post frequency in order to keep a good balance of normal content with the ambassador posts. I think this can only be a good thing, especially since the topics that Whole Foods and Garmin have suggested are ones I’m truly excited to write about.
- The second is with the Cherry Marketing Institute. You probably remember them from the sponsored series I wrote about tart cherries last summer. This one is much less frequent than the Whole Foods / Garmin series: about one post per month over the first half of the year. Ever since tart cherry juice helped to heal my shoulder injury, I’ve become a believer — I’ve been buying it and adding it to my smoothie almost every day.
I know ambassadorships are probably just as new to you as they are to me. I’ll be paying close attention to your feedback, but I can honestly say I’m happy with the obligation to write this additional content. Not just because I get to work with brands I like, but because I truly believe that having to publish more often will help me to stay in the habit of writing, and get the ideas for blog posts flowing.
If I could average two posts per week in 2015, along with a podcast episode or two, I’d be thrilled. And I think I can do it.
And finally, a personal resolution:
3. Being more plugged in (i.e. being less of a hermit).
The past few years of my life have been a steady march down the path of simplicity and noiselessness (not in a literal sense — my kids make plenty of noise).
I don’t watch the news. I don’t have cable, and even the local networks don’t come in very well since I live right behind a mountain.
I don’t read blogs or magazines; I read books.
And I don’t do much high-tech stuff, especially not when I run. iPod, sometimes, but never GPS or heart rate tracking or even logging my runs on a social media site.
I’m proud of all this; it feels very Turning Pro-esque and I like that. (Great book this time of year, by the way — I’ve read it for the past three New Year’s). But this year, for the first time, I’ve felt that this amount of simplicity has made me lose touch a little bit.
Perfect example: watching the 2014 recap stuff on NBC on New Year’s Eve (took a lot of adjusting the antenna, but I got it!), I didn’t know what half the stuff they were talking about was. Or who “they” who were talking even were, except for Carson Daly.
I even forgot there were Olympics this year, and I had literally zero idea that 2014 was the Year of the Booty.
Sure, I like filtering out the noise and focusing on things that are more lasting, more important. But I like culture, too. I don’t want to wake up 10 years from now and realize that I know nothing about the world from my 30’s. Or stink at Trivial Pursuit for the rest of my life.
So I’m plugging in a little bit this year. Not a lot, mind you — I’ll still live way more simply than I used to. But I want to read more blogs, listen to more podcasts, buy more techie stuff. Maybe even do more social media. I think it’ll make me better at my job and happier in general.
Oh, and in case you’re interested in my other personal goals, I’ve also got a bunch of other changes planned this year:
- Follow a daily schedule, for the first time in my life (so that I can do all this other stuff!)
- Run another marathon
- Get back into drumming
- Get back into homebrewing
- Travel more than ever, and hopefully live abroad for a few months
- Do The Artist’s Way, start to finish
How About You?
I’d love to hear what your 2015 goals and resolutions are, if you’ve got them. Seriously, I get really inspired when I hear about someone else’s decision to do something big and scary, so please share. Maybe it’ll give you a little boost or extra accountability, too.
If you crave that feeling of committing to something in the new year, but just haven’t found it yet, here are three more options (all of which I’m involved in) to think about:
- Consider joining us for #writeandrun31. It’s completely free and totally flexible, but not at all easy. (I know this already, on Day 3.) Again, don’t feel bad if you’re not starting on January 1st — if you start this weekend, your 31 days will just end on February 3rd or 4th instead of January 31st.
- I went ahead and put Wake Up, my 31-day “mental diet” and goal-setting program, on sale for just $15, less than half the regular price of $31. I’ll keep it that way through Thursday, January 8th. If you think you could use a refresh to start the year, check it out here.
- For a bigger, year-long commitment to simplicity, don’t forget A Simple Year, a project I’m doing with Project 333 creator Courtney Carver and six other bloggers. Each month we focus on improving a different aspect of your life through simplicity, starting with “clutter” in January. (I’m teaching the fitness month in September.) Registration opened again at the start of the year and closes on January 10th, so get the details here.
I hope your 2015 is off to a tremendous start. People love to point out that there’s nothing special about a new year, no reason you’ll be any more successful at changing this year than last. And that’s true … but I think any occasion that reminds us to take a step back and think about where we are, where we want to be, and how to bridge that gap is a good one.
So I hope you’ll do that. Good luck!