Mid-Year Review is Almost Here

img_5880For anyone who might’ve stopped keeping track, we’re 14-days away from the start of I Love Don Week and 21-days away from my birthday.

If I may ask one thing for my birthday, is that you don’t scroll back through my Blog posts and don’t ask me about #Project44 and please don’t ask me, “how is your book coming along?” Phew. We all know if you don’t ask, then I don’t have to feel guilty about still weighing too much and still not writing my book.

How easy would either of those things be? I mean, come on, Don. You started the year and you made easy resolutions. The list wasn’t even that long. The simple promise to do things daily around the number 44, which happens to be how old you’d be on your birthday.

I’m blogging in third person talking to myself. That might be early signs of madness.

I was going to do the following:

  1. Exercise for 44-minutes a day
  2. Lower my weight to 144 pounds.
  3. Write for 44-minutes a day

I’m sure there was some other stuff, but if I had been able to stay focused on those three things, wow, how amazing would it be right now just two-weeks away from my 44th birthday?

I guess there’s no time like the present. “Present” = gift. I’m going to give myself a birthday gift and recommit to my #Project44. How much can I accomplish in 21-days? Hey, and I don’t have to have everything done by July 11th, right? I have the entire year.

This Blog entry was supposed to be funny but, dang, it got serious. Well, that’s OK, I guess, because it’s time to get serious.

Are you ready to get “serious” with me, while also having some fun? It’s mid-year for me and it falls in line with my birthday, but it’s mid-year for everyone. Companies re-focus and re-set goals. Bosses usually introduce something new and exciting. Sales people are forced to come to grips with their quotas and budgets and commissions year-to-date.

Let’s all conduct a mid-year review and re-evaluate.


Never Stop Improving: Exercise

I watched the fourth Transformers (Age of Extinction) movie over the weekend and the big thing that jumped out at me was Mark Wahlberg’s bi-ceps. He’s two years older than me and, while he has personal trainers and probably a live-in chef and probably has a Hollywood doctor serving him up the perfect blend of human growth hormone and testosterone injections, he’s in amazing shape.

I can’t afford the personal trainer, Hollywood doctor, and personal chef, but I homer-dohcan actually exercise, eat better, and sleep more.

But I gotta have a plan. I gotta lay out a road map each week with a day-by-day workout.

Every month I pay $10 to Planet Fitness and over the past 6 months, I think I’ve gone less than six times. Doh!

My current book obsession is The Brain Fog Fix and it says (I’m paraphrasing) I should increase my heart rate for 44-minutes each day. Hey. There’s that #. 44. I turn 44 this year. I invented #Project44.

The universe (which can be summed up by Mark Wahlberg’s biceps, the book I’m reading, my Planet Fitness membership, and my impending 44th birthday) is speaking to me and trying to give me a gentle nudge.

Plus, last week I attended the funeral of a 51-year-old father of four who certainly would’ve wanted more days, hours, and years with his family and it was a wake-up call. It’s not about living each day like it’s your last, but as I walked into Church with a friend, he said it’s about maximizing the moments we have. Then, the man’s brother read an incredible poem I’d never heard before about not dwelling on two things – yesterday and tomorrow. But, it suggested, focus on today.

TODAY: 12 Push-Ups; 24 Sit-Ups; 12 Burpees (Repeat four times); Stairs for 22 Minutes …and that should make for 44-minutes at Planet Fitness.


Remember #Project44

Recall at the beginning of the year I was gung-ho about #Project44. The mission to make a better-Don before my 44th birthday in July. Oops. Sorta fell by the wayside, but I’d like to say it’s back on the agenda and I have 71-days until the big 4-4 (as they say …OK. Nobody says that).

Maybe I don’t weigh 144 pounds, yet. Maybe I don’t honor my 44-minutes of exercise per day. Maybe I don’t put myself to bed at 9:44 like I said I was going to. But it’s not like the year has been without self-improvement. Trust me.

The biggest thing I’ve done (in the past month) was revising my eating plan. I had been on an “intermittent fasting” kick and it was wreaking havoc on my body and brain. Enter the book The Brain Fog Fix and a reality check on why the hell I was eating like a hyper-endurance athlete, and suddenly the elimination of white bread and the addition of fish (salmon) and real food has been like I got a mood prescription pill. And now I’ve added exercise back into the routine.

What’s next?

  • Organizing my book project (in the 8p-12mid second job).
  • Re-Starting my Donnie Jalapeno business.
  • Writing. Writing. Writing.
  • Make this Blog a real thing with real readers and a solitary focus.

The rest of the year is about doing everything, where the first half of the year was about hiding from everything. At various points of my life, I thought I could do anything and everything and felt alive and energized and bold. I like that feeling. I want it back.

What’s your 2017 project? We’ve finished 33% of the year. You have 66% of the year remaining to do BIG THINGS. What will you do?

Leave a comment with your #Project2017 goals.


The Pomodoro Technique and My Personal Q2

In the business world, you’re measured by months and quarters. Quarterly sales numbers. Quarterly reviews. Quarterly celebrations and bonuses. Oh how we love quarters. You only need 2-cents for this bit of coolness.

Q1, for me, wasn’t my best. I sucked at my New Year’s Resolutions. I sucked at doing my #Project44. My sales sucked. My hobbies weren’t given any attention. I didn’t exercise.  I didn’t lose weight.

Disaster.I’m glad Q1 is behind me and I’m moving onto Q2 which I predict will be a good one.

I’m glad Q1 is behind me and I’m moving onto Q2 which I predict will be a good one.

I have many excuses. I wasn’t living at home (moved into temporary housing with my family while we underwent a major home renovation). I think my diet was off (I was trying long stretches of fasting and intermittent fasting). I wasn’t exercising which certainly affected my mood. My sales were off.

Again, I have a long list of excuses. I’m not going to dwell on them. I’m going to treat Me Inc. (clever, yes?) like a small business (and technically I am) and analyze my Q1 and plan for Q2.

What a ridiculously long pre-amble.

Mainly, I’m going to play around with three things.

  1. The Pomodoro Technique for increased productivity
  2. Eating better (and like a normal person) with a diet centered around serotonin boosting foods (and eating them the right way)
  3. Exercise a little (a brisk walk or two, keep up with my son and his Lent40 commitment, maybe lift some weights or swing my kettle bell)

Today will start with analyzing #1.

The Pomodoro Technique

I’m most excited about the Pomodoro Technique.  A co-worker and I were discussing our endless to-do list, the inability to accomplish things, and how distracted our jobs make us. Then another co-worker said the same thing. It’s not enough to complain about it. It must be fixed. I’m not the only guy with my job, and not the only “sales guy” with a crazy to-do list. The Pomodoro Technique might be the perfect fix. Today was day-1. It’s a bit odd. It will take some time to adjust of not answering a phone the moment it rings and not using my e-mail as my to-do list.

Tired of reading? Watch this.


Need to Simplify

For the past 5 weeks, I’ve been displaced from my home. Nothing bad, don’t worry. We’re remodeling our kitchen and it’s a pretty major project, so major that our family-of-five had to move out. Blessing of blessings, my Aunt, who lives 1.9 miles away from us, was spending January and February in Florida and we’ve been able to live at her home.

Because her house is only 1.9 miles away, we pretty much were able to move out of our house in a matter of hours (my wife might argue otherwise, but trust me, compared to many doing major renovations, we had it easy). My Aunt’s house is fully furnished. We grabbed enough clothes to last us a week, loaded it into a suitcase, and we were out. I think we brought some pillows, some food essentials from our fridge to her fridge, and that was it.

Again, my wife would argue it was much more complicated, but for the point of this Blog entry and the point I’m trying to make, I’ve lived the last 5 or 6-weeks with much, much less than what I have at home. I have 5 wash-n-wear dress shirts. I have 5-shirts. I have one pair of athletic pants. A couple sweatshirts. Some socks and underwear. Pretty much, I have about 25% of my wardrobe with me, and it’s been more than enough.

I think I’m learning I …have …too …much …stuff. I’m American. We’re consumers. Having “too much” is very much our way of life. We work to make money to buy stuff. As George Carlin famously said, “we buy houses to put stuff in it.” And then we buy bigger houses when we eventually have too much stuff in our smaller houses.

Please don’t scroll back through my Blog and see the many, many entries with my Christmas and birthday wish-list, because, um, well, my life has been about acquiring “stuff.”

In six weeks, living out of a suitcase and cardboard box, I’ m rethinking what I need to live moving forward.

Like, what if I donated everything that I didn’t bring with me to my Aunt’s house during the renovation? I’ll bet I’d be fine. I can donate things to people in need. I can sell some things. I’ll have less things to take to the dry-cleaners and less things to clean around. I’ll feel more calm because I’ll have less clutter to contend with.

Things will be simple. Simpler. Here goes another 2017 initiative.

Betcha wonder how #Project44 is going? More on that, tomorrow. But “simplifying” is going to be added to that. Thinking, “44 items of clothes.” Something like that. More on this as the year moves along.


I’ve lost some weight. I’ve exercised every day (not quite 44-minutes, but I’m getting there). I’ve moved a whole belt loop. My skin looks good. The 44th day of 2017 will be Monday, February 13th and I’ll make a “First-44 Days” analysis (kinda like how the media is big on Trump’s “First 100 Days” and tracking everything).

For someone just stumbling onto this blog, my #Project44 coincides with my turning 44 years old this year, and how I’m designing my year around the number 44. If you want to read all about #Project44’s origin, go here.

My most recent list looked like this:

  • Bimg_5880e in bed by 9:44 or 10:44
  • Wake up at 4:44 or 5:44 (depending on when I went to bed) and 6:44 on weekends
  • Work up to 44 pull-ups
  • Do 44 push-ups daily
  • Publish 44 pieces of social media daily weekly around my career and passions
  • Exercise for 44 minutes daily (even if 22 minutes in the a.m., and 22 minutes at night)
  • Listen (or read) something motivating 44-minutes each day
  • Make calls (cold-calls) at 8:44 a.m. for 44-minutes (this might be evolving into starting my day at 8:44 a.m.)
  • Get my weight to 144
  • 44 new business calls per month (11 per week)
  • Increase my billing by 44% (and my income by the same)

I’m probably hitting about 44% of the goals, which sucks, but I’m not giving up. #Project44 won’t be an overnight success, even though I wanted it to be.

But the year is young and I think 44-years-old is fairly, young, too.

Have you picked your magic number, yet?

#Project44 #Pullups2 #Sadness

It’s not all feel-good and “yay me” on the #Project44 experiment. This morning, I wanted to see how many pull-ups I could do.

Here’s a multiple choice quiz…

Tomorrow I’ll reveal the answer and I’ll probably tell you about how I can’t raise my hands above my waist, but let’s just say if you select “3”, you’re being generous.

I tried the pull-ups where my palms were facing me, because I thought the wide-grip palms-facing-away was more for getting a ripped upper back. Where pull-ups with palms facing toward my face is all about my bi-ceps.

Two pull-ups!!!  Back in the day I could do 20+, and it didn’t matter if palms faced away or palms faced toward me.

(I know, I seem to be obsessed with palm direction).

I pull-up-under-hand-gripmight be hoping to do a collective 44 pull-ups by the end of the year. Or end of February (2 pull-ups per day, 28 days in February …oh, I can get there). Then I got a chair and did some reverse-resistance (I don’t know if that’s an actual exercise term) pull-ups where I jump into the pull-up position and then as slowly as I can, lower myself until my arms are hanging straight, then I jump back into the pull-up position and slowly lower myself. And I did this until I could no longer “slowly” lower myself and until I would just drop.  I hope you’re following this, because I won’t be posting a how-to YouTube video on this old-man/weak-man exercise routine.

My shoulders, back, bi-ceps, and tri-cep are still quivering and tomorrow as I struggle to shampoo my head (because I’m pretty certain I won’t be able to move my arms), pray for me.

Oh, and “44 social media posts per day” is evolving into “44 passion and work related social media posts per week, with a strategy.”

Thanks for following along and pretending to care.