When I first started working on The Apocalypse Order over a year ago, I was a lot different. I weighed between 240 and 250 pounds and I spent a lot of time in front of my computer or my TV playing video games and watching TV. I drank a lot of beer and whiskey, and I ate really good - which I mean in the Southern use of the word, which is to say the food was delicious but it was absolute shit. When I wasn't drinking beer or whiskey, I was drinking sweet tea or soda, and if was sweating, I was less than happy about it. Life was easy, and that was my biggest problem. The Apocalypse Order, however, was founded based on the idea that "easy" is actually bad for us, and I had to shift my paradigm to live healthier and to live more in line with the philosophy I'd paid lip service to for 20 years. My life was about to become Hell.
But First You Fail
Before TAO materialized and solidified my new philosophy that I put into practice, I was already playing around with the principles that would make it. I made a commitment: 365 days before I underwent the most grueling event of my life: an obstacle race. I started training. I fell off the wagon. I completely missed my commitment. I didn't even make it to the starting line. To be entirely fair, a lot happened between my making that commitment and the day it was supposed to come around--in the interim, I founded TAO and shifted my focus from that single accomplishment to more of a total life reformation, so my approach to training and life in general changed, and I was unable to stick to my commitment to myself.
That does not make my failure to follow through on my commitment, even to myself, okay.
The day of the race arrived, and my phone dutifully reminded me that I was supposed to be getting ready to attend this race. Except I'd never signed up. I wasn't in good enough shape to even consider showing up. Where the fuck had I lost myself in just a year? How had I forgotten the one goal I'd set to start this new life?
I made the same rookie mistake that so many other people make when they embark on a new venture. I attacked everything I'd saddled myself with using absolutely zero planning. I had no plan of attack and, in my mind, I was fighting a multi-front war with no idea of how I might win. I regularly found myself up creating new designs for The Order until 3 a.m., so I woke up late for work, which left me with no time to work out and a case of insomnia, so I was late to work the next day, and eventually exhaustion would get me to sleep on time but I'd miss creating or my workout. This all snowballed for year until my phone reminded me about the event I was supposed to be at.
I stared at my phone for a good five minutes. I reflected on that failure, and everything that had led me here. I was absolutely crushed. I considered quitting my job to make room for myself and The Order. I considered closing The Order and making time for myself and my job. For two weeks, I considered the options I had in front of me, trying to find a way to make it all work and keep myself in the game. I fell back into some old habits during those two weeks out of frustration and anger. And then I stopped. Everything. I put it all on hold. I let TAO run and make what little money it was making at the time, I continued working, but I didn't push myself, because I needed to reset. Instead, I focused on what I'd done wrong, and how I could fix it.
What I Did Wrong
I fucked up two major parts of my plans. I had no concrete goals, just abstracts like "make money" and "lose weight". These aren't real goals. They're a starting point, hardly even ideas. Of course I want to make money, but what am I going to PROVIDE people in order to make the money? That value should be my mission, not to take your money. Losing weight wasn't even my actual goal, I wanted to be stronger. So, why do I want to be stronger? I want to be stronger so I can live longer for my child, so I can protect my family, so I can do things that ensure I am remembered beyond my death. Great, now I have real, concrete goals. Can I tie them together? They're inextricably tied together, because The Apocalypse Order is meant to be a lifestyle brand about being stronger, better, faster, both as individuals and as communities. There: Goals sets. Let's do this!
But I still had no plan. How was I going to get stronger? How could I not make these mistakes again in the coming year? How was I going to develop this brand? From September to December of 2017, I planned. Again, I chose a personal goal to motivate me to stay on the workout train. I scaled it back a little so it didn't seem overwhelming. Instead of a 60-hour endurance event with little to no sleep, I'd go for a 3 mile obstacle race, and move from there based on performance. Instead of just designing whatever came to mind and trying to force it to fit The Order, I spun off a new line and put most of the old stuff there. Apocalypse Gear would be made explicitly to fit The Apocalypse Mission.
I outline an overarching War Plan for the year. This plan is fluid. It can change to suit both opportunities that arise and battles I lose. To adhere as closely as possible to that plan, I have a weekly Battle Plan, with each week broken into days. I intentionally set goals I'll likely not achieve, not because I don't intend to achieve them, but because it gives me flexibility in what I do each day. I know I won't finish all 10 things on each day's to-do list, so I have to finish five of them - my choice. Each day also has non-negotiables. I do these things every day, no matter what happens, unless I am physically incapable. There is no such thing as mentally incapable here.
There are going to be days you don't want to do the things you've laid out for yourself. Right now, as I'm writing, I don't want to be writing. I stayed up too late last night and I hardly slept. I over-celebrated my extremely successful week. This has left me tired, unmotivated, and unwilling to work, much less work out--but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm going to scale back my heavy lifting for the day because I am exhausted, and I'll only succeed in hurting myself if I push myself in the condition I'm in, but I will do the work I committed to before I made a series of stupid decisions last night.
The kicker to any plan is to endure, even through the hard times. Keep pushing, keep persevering, and keep reminding yourself why you're doing what you're doing. It would be easy to go home tonight, pick up a shit dinner on my way home, eat, watch some TV with my gorgeous girlfriend, and go to sleep. I'd love to do that, and it's probably the best idea I've had all weekend. The soreness in my tibialis anterior, however, reminds me that I'm nowhere near where I should be considering my goal in 2 months. The soreness in my shoulders reminds me they need work, as well. The fact this shirt still doesn't quite fit reminds me there is still and will always be work to be done.
So tonight, I'm going to go home, cook dinner and eat it with my girl. Then, I'm going to change out of my jeans, throw on some gym shorts, and take a lap around the track. That may be the only thing I do tonight, but I will move tonight so that I don't lose the momentum I've been building.