New Years is always a time for reflection and projection. People like to reflect on the past year, which is not always helpful, but part of being human. It is easy to think in “what ifs” and play out different scenarios, but I would challenge any reader to avoid this pit fall. The projection part is also engrained in our culture, and it is what I am going to be focusing on for the remainder of this piece.

According to a U.S. News and World Report, 80% of us who make resolutions for the New Year will fail. I have failed more resolutions than I have kept, but this is the norm. Take a second and let this sink in; failure is expected at New Years, and yet we keep coming back and embracing this antiquated process. While I may tell you not to fall into this trap, I am going to be a hypocrite (we all are) and fall into the trap.

A ridgeline out West with my hunting partner and brother.
Hunting changed my life and spurred the 501c3 Ardent Lives Inc.

Here is my New Year’s Resolution for 2022: write and post 500-750 words a week for the year. I am at 183 words right NOW. I am going to break down this goal, the why behind it, and then tell you what I plan to talk about and my reasons. (Side note: if you make a resolution, write out the “why.” I have no idea if this really helps, but I have an instinctive sense it could be a difference maker or not.)

I had a mentor, Chris Cooper, which pushed his mentees to write 750 words a day, and there is a site dedicated to this: I failed miserably and maybe made it a week on multiple occasions. Why did I fail? My lifestyle doesn’t support this kind of commitment because I am a procrastinator. This is where I will now introduce myself and share what I plan on writing about this year.

Hi, my name is Austin. I own a gym, and I am an enthusiast of health and wellness. I work for a not for profit, I am a husband/partner, father of two, dog lover, a not-so-great hunter, Veteran, and lifelong student.

Christmas 2020

This is one of my favorite family pictures because it truly captures our life. I figured since 2021 wasn’t much different than 2020 it is still relevant.

While my intent will be to circle back to fitness in every piece, there is the likelihood I will write on what I know and hope to know. I may write on business. Why? I have owned a business since 2013 and have an MBA. Does this make me smart? No. I learned more by my mistakes than I did in business school, but it did help my critical thinking, and therefore I continue to pursue scholastic ventures.

I am currently working through an advanced degree in Cultural Anthropology. Now that I am over halfway into my MS, I am not sure if I am going to push through the PhD program or if they will even accept me. (455 words NOW) This degree is challenging me more than the MBA due to the nature of social science. I sit in awe of my classmates and their knowledge of theory, readings, and understanding of the intricacies of society. I am usually the least knowledgeable in the room. I am doing my research on transition, specifically transition dealing with the military, in future hopes of addressing Veteran suicide.

Veteran issues are something near and dear to my heart and something which will come up from time to time. I served in the Air Force and the Army over the course of 16 years with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The military has exposed the most exceptional and the worst in me, shown me how to harness strengths while exposing me to my own vulnerabilities, and helped me forge lifelong friendships. It has given me the opportunity to continue my education and pursue, not what I must, but what interests me, and for that I am truly privileged and grateful. Without the military I would not be sitting here typing this today. I also wouldn’t have my family, or a bad hip, destroyed shoulders, and asthma from living next to burn pits for three years. I guess one must take the good with the bad.

A-Stan 2011ish

So, all in all, if I can beat the odds, you may see short pieces on fitness, Veteran life, fatherhood/parenting, hunting, college, business, culture, current events, or anything else which has piqued my interest during the week. Not every piece will have a direction or an answer, it may just ask a question or pose a concept. You may not agree with everything I say but I am open to discussion; reach out and change my mind. What this won’t be is me trying to be an aficionado or guru even though we think we are more important than we truly are. At 41, I am more confused than ever, so if you stick with me, maybe you will be too.

Therefore, I think the resolution is a great place to start the year, even if the odds are against us. It is human nature to think we are different, our opinion matters, and people care about our thoughts. The fact is, we just hear what we want, think what fits our narrative, and do not like it when people disagree with us. I am challenging myself with this process, but I want you to challenge me, and call me out. What is your resolution for the year? 950ish words, fail forward.