Goals for 2017, Part 1 of 4

Last week, I wrote about my goals for 2017. Breaking them down into several categories: health, writing, finance, and everything else. I wanted to go into detail about each section and how I came up with each set.

Health, a topic that has been a large focus in my life over the past four years, and which was my theme for 2016—Healthy is Happy—has grown into an obsession, warranting its own category this year, and probably for the rest of my life. I even considered making it my theme for 2017 too.

How I Got Started

Three years ago, I stopped eating cows, chickens, and pigs. I guess I should backtrack a little further. A year prior to that, I took a Nutrition class in community college with a professor, Kelly Billingsley, who was totally hot by the way—but that’s beside the point—and who taught me an incredibly important lesson in nutrition. Obviously, since I signed up for the class, I was interested in learning about nutrition, and so I thought, taking this class will help me on my journey to living a healthier lifestyle.

At the time, I’m 22 a year-old guy who smokes cigarette, partys, and eats fast food, pastries, and food products like everyday would be my last day on earth. The McGangbang was a thing—a double cheeseburger sandwiched around a McChicken—heavy on the honey mustard. My friends and I spent weekends getting high on weed, buying and eating munchies, and falling asleep after a long night of watching television and playing video games. While fun, living that way did nothing to help my body—it destroyed me.

Fast forward through the semester. Professor Billingsley taught me a great deal about micro and macronutrients, digestion, and the way the body works. But the greatest takeaway from that class was the concept of differentiating between food and food products. Food products and processed foods come from packages, whereas real food comes from the earth and cooked by chefs. Food products have a host of ingredients created in laboratories that make your brain think you taste food that will fuel and nourish you, when in fact it’s does nothing of the sort.

Fast-forward four years from then. I am now 26 years old and trying to become a strong Vegan. I say “trying” to become a Vegan because I’ve already stumbled a few times running out of the gates this year. Earlier this week, I ordered pad Thai with vegetables and tofu for lunch without realizing it’s served with eggs until I had already eaten a few bites. I didn’t throw away the dish. I ate every last bite, and made sure to savor the eggs, because I wouldn’t be eating pad Thai with eggs anytime soon again. While I really want to be a good vegan, I know it’s a journey going to that point, and it won’t kill me to eat animal products, but it’s just good to start becoming conscious about the entire concept.

My Goals for 2017

Compounding on my success from last year, I want to continue my efforts to becoming a strong, plant-based athlete, which is partly why I’ve come up with the following list of health and fitness goals:

  • Go Vegan for Six Months
  • Run a Marathon
  • Dunk
  • Earn a Six Pack

My overall goal is to be healthy, and I believe setting these four goals encompasses all the aspects I need to focus on to do that.

I want to be a vegan for six months because it will change the way I think about food and compassion. Vegans have a strong philosophy that everyone can add to their own life, “Reduce the amount of suffering it takes for myself to live.” That’s a great philosophy to live by—if everyone adopted a portion of this philosophy in their own lives, we would live with greater compassion and with lots more love for one another. I can definitely use more of that in my life.

Another reason I want to be vegan is because I use foods I’m familiar with as a crutch not to discover and cook new foods. I fail to incorporate new foods into my diet because I’m so far away from the foods I eat, I don’t know how to add new ingredients without ordering from a restaurant. I need to learn to cook my own foods, and that’s something I think becoming a vegan will help me do.

I want to run a marathon because I smoked tobacco, and earning a medal that says I’ve completed 26.2 miles shows that I can do anything I set my mind to. Running saved my life. Back in 2013, failing to finish even a mile without stopping showed me how far I had fallen from where I was in high school, that I was killing myself smoking cigarettes. That experience really encouraged me to change my life for the better, and I want to continue that effort with completing a marathon.

I want to dunk because it will be a badge of honor to have accomplished great athleticism in my favorite sport, basketball. It’ll be the cherry on top of the mountain of hard work and dedication in the sport that’s given me so much. During my time attending college in San Marcos, I would spend days and nights alone at the apartment, and my solace would be either to run or go out to the park across the street from my apartment by myself and shoot baskets and dribble until I’ve manage to catch a win over my demons. I like to joke and say that Spalding and Wilson are my only friends, but sometimes it’s not always a joke.

Lastly, I want to earn a six-pack, another badge of honor that says, “through all this hard work in the kitchen and dedication to the gym, you’ve been able to accomplish the best shape of your life.” I’m already in the best shape I’ve ever been, but I’m no where near my plateau. Earning a six-pack is the mountain every fitness junkie strives to climb, and I plan to get there this year.

At the end of the day, I just want to be healthy and inspire health and fitness consciousness in all my friends and family. But in order to do that, I need to accomplish something myself. People don’t like to listen unless the person speaking is well accomplished, which is why I’ve taken the liberty to plan my climb up to the peak of 2017 in my best shape.

Blog #014