Saying No More

• 3 min read

It’s so easy to say you’ll do it tomorrow. Then it never happens.

Six months ago, I made the best life change that I’ve ever made.

I started swimming. I wanted to be healthier. To make sure I would make it a habit, I forced myself to go every single day in February.

I did it, 28 for 28. The physical workout is great (I swim about 1.5 miles each workout, up from 10 laps 6 months ago) but the greatest discovery for me was mental.

The focus and clarity I found from swimming 80 laps in a row,staring at this single line and counting in 10s has changed how I live and work. I literally write articles, like this one, in my head and edit them down to one single sentence. Product tag lines, features, music ideas, plans for dinner, who I’ve lost touch with, literally everything is clearer and simpler if I swim on it. I try to remember three things I think about while swimming and email them to myself right when I get out of the pool so I can follow up later.

Later today, I’ll check-in at the gym and it will mark the 117th time I’ve been to the gym and swam this year. I hope I swim forever.

The problem is that I forgot about the other side of the equation… Diet.

It really seems like a simple formula. We put things into our body. Mainly it’s food, drinks and for some people, drugs. I don’t do drugs. Well, alcohol is a drug I guess so there’s that. These 3 things either hurt me or they help me.

I told myself 6 months ago that I would stop eating out so much. I would not drink on nights if I had work the next day. I shouldn’t eat red meat.

Every time I thought about making the decision and going all in there was a voice in my head saying things like;

What about Thursday night for drinks with the guys? It’s their birthday on Tuesday night! I love the hamburger from NOPA!

So on I went. No changes. As if having a water instead of a beer with friends is the worst thing in the world. Or making a salad and actually having to cut the lettuce yourself is a crazy thought.

It’s ridiculous.

On my flight home today after a binge drinking bachelor party weekend, I started reading a new book that I would highly recommend; “Insanely Simple.”

This quote in the book from Steve Jobs really hit home with me,

People think that focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.

I thought to myself, I wonder if saying no more to more of the core things in my personal life would help me add even more focus to everything else if my life?

So, I decided to make a list. Of the things to say no more to and why. Starting now and will try for 3 months.

No more diet cigarettes. Aka, Diet Coke. It literally blows my mind that the most popular beverage in the world has literally zero health benefits. It’s literally a poison. Talk about branding.

No more soda at all. Just water, tea and coffee.

No more than 3 cups of coffee a day. I think moderation is key here.

No alcohol on nights before a day of work. Thanks Alex. This one will be the hardest to do when someone wants to grab a drink after work. Excited for it though.

No red meat. The fact that heart disease is completely a result of what we eat is a pretty good reason. It literally is 100% self inflicted.

No snacks or packaged foods. Processed foods are made with chemicals that make them storable.And companies make them addictive.

No bottled water. The fact that charity: water exists makes this one easy to get behind. I bought a $5 bottle of water two weeks ago and felt like the most pretentious asshole in the world.

No fried food. Fried chicken just ain’t good for you, I don’t care what your mama says.

Starting now.

P.S. Would love other ideas to add to the list. Please comment.

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