Why I sold my childhood for $7

I used to collect baseball cards as a child. I had a sizable Ken Griffey Jr. collection, and I loved checking out all of his new card models.

childhood

I don’t really know why. I wasn’t a baseball fan. I never understood the stats on the backs of the cards. He was the hottest player at the time and it was something to get excited about. I may as well have been collecting hubcaps and I’d be just as excited for the shiny objects I got to collect.

This past weekend I drove across town to find someone to sell my final cards to, after holding on to them for about 18 years. I had no idea what the worth would be. I was hoping for a fair amount, seeing as how I probably spent hundreds of dollars and hours on the collection. Last I remember they were so rare and expensive.

These were some of the top experts in the local baseball card world, and I ended up haggling with a man over $7 for the whole collection. I still felt good about the transaction.

Why did I sell these cards?

Griffey cards

In truth, they were worth more to me gone and into someone’s hands that cared about them than keeping them around for sentimental reasons and holding on to the culmination of a false passion.

I used to spend all of my time and money collecting baseball cards. I liked the idea of the collection, not the collection itself. I wanted to like baseball and collecting cards, but the passion just wasn’t there.

The only real regret I have today is that I spent so much time and effort on something I did not love. To get closure on a part of my life that I didn’t really enjoy was worth haggling over a couple dollars.

Remember that real passions in life are priceless and would never be traded.

Follow your own dreams, not someone else’s. If you do, you may find the path to be worthless.

 

Where has your false passion misled you? Have you found your true calling? We’d love to hear about it!



75% Complete

75% Complete

It’s a little bit overdue, but I wanted to share with you the progress made as we near the end of 2014.

2014 has been a powerful year for Kristin and I. I feel like we’ve taken charge with so many things in life and are now moving the needle in ways we never tried in the past.

A lot of this has to do with you, the community of readers and supporters!

Twitter Peeps!

Developing this community has been both humbling and rewarding for us. When we started the blog, I would have never thought we’d be reaching the people & the places we are.

From our hearts to yours, we thank you! We want our successes to inspire greatness in your own life.



Here are just a few areas where life got better this year:

Exercise

I’m rounding out the year of a marathon and an ultra with a half marathon coming up in a matter of weeks. I’ve been lucky to train with online training group Educated Running. It has helped bring focus to my training in areas where I’m lacking, specifically in speed work and dynamic exercise.

I also look forward to the possibility of going to Japan again this year for Ekiden, I hope to know more about that as we get closer to November.

Reading

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read 30 books, up from 25 last year, and one recommendation from Kristin. After checking out my Goodreads page, it looks like I’m on track to do so with 20 books so far.

This goal was a little bit lofty for me. Adding an extra 5 books doesn’t seem like much, but it is over the span of time. I feel as though I’m flying through some books without understanding all of the content.

“Much reading is like much eating – wholly useless without digestion” – Robert South

In the future, I will be more selective with my books and focus on quality rather than quantity.

I also was able to start reading some fiction, with the help of Kristin.

I’ve been reading Hunger Games at the end of most days, and I find that it does give me that chance to settle down from the day’s stresses. It reminds me that reading can be worry-free & not so focused on learning.

Friends

So often we get caught up in our own lives that we don’t make enough time for friends. Life sort of gets in the way as the years pass, and it gets harder to be together with those you care about.

This year I decided to make a conscious effort to call a friend a month on the phone. While I didn’t succeed at this every month, this was the most fun goal of the year so far.

It was great to talk to some friends I hadn’t heard from in a while, and just hearing their voices made my day as well as theirs!

I feel like men are worse at doing this than women. Men don’t always have the gift of gab. Guys, that doesn’t mean you can’t “check-in” every now and then. It’ll do wonders for your friendships, especially across long distances.

Finance

We’ve made some great strides in our finances this year, and most recently, we paid off the first of three student loans! Those of you who have struggled to pay big debts know that it can be really tough, and we must admit that we lost some steam early on in the year.

Now we are back to focusing on getting debt out of our lives.

It’s a tough road plowing through debt, but it’s such a rewarding feeling being free from obligations that are a decade old like this one.

Now we have an extra $175 a month, and a great feeling that we are one step closer to debt freedom.

Personal Growth

I had intended to join a mastermind group or an investor club of some kind this year to further my development and be around like-minded individuals.

Though I struggled a little bit in the beginning with this one, I was able to find an awesome mastermind group through the Dreamers & Builders community.

This is what has jump-started my productivity and success. I have others willing to hold me accountable and provide feedback when I’m stuck on something.

It’s such a great resource to be able to tap into, I’m really thankful to be a part of such a great group.

(To the Hustler Mastermind-ers reading this, thank you so much for keeping me honest and providing accountability all the times when it was so easy to just give up!)

Conclusion

As we round home on this year, there’s still plenty to do, and I’m excited to see what the next 3 months have in store.

I’m also going to be shifting my goal mindset in 2015.

In 2015, I will be planning quarterly goals instead of yearly goals. Yearly goals are hard to remember, let alone accomplish. This will give me a chance to adjust goals more frequently and adjust goals based on the seasons of life we all go through.

I am excited to finish 2014 strong and I look forward to an amazing 2015.

Let’s hear from you! What are some wins you’ve had in 2014 so far? What do you plan to accomplish in the rest of 2014?

Reader Survey Responses!

A couple of weeks ago, Hello, Flecks! put a survey out to all the readers & fans of this blog asking for feedback and concerns with your own health and wellness journeys. (There’s always time to go fill it out at the link here, we love to get your input!)

Firstly, Thank You All so much for the feedback! You are helping us make a better site, one that can help you achieve success and feel great!

Here’s what we heard on a couple particular questions:

 What’s the vision of your perfect health?

Many of you said that just eating regular and healthy, unprocessed foods is part of the vision of your perfect health. Staying away from processed foods and bringing your connection back to mother nature’s gifts is a huge step in itself.

We couldn’t agree more, and we want to help.

It’s important to understand that this may not happen overnight, but it does happen with small steps.

Kristin and I have been on our own health journeys for a long time now. It started many years ago with simply adding frozen veggies to the grocery cart along with the frozen pizza. We started spending more time in the health foods section, even if we didn’t get anything. We scoped out the produce section rather than passing it right by, like I used to.

We didn’t always know what worked for us, but we began with a small task we could accomplish, like finishing a bag of veggies in a week.

As with exercise, you can not jump right into buying all Organic produce & no snacks and expect to succeed. You will burn out. Big audacious goals often take a while to build up to.

in particular for the last several months. If you check out our Instagram you’ll see we’ve been cooking up our meals for the week on #MealPrepSunday.

Sunday is now a day that reminds us of the great and healthy week we’ll be having, which puts us in the right frame of mind for the week.

We realize that healthy living includes things that don’t always come naturally for most people.

These are foundation items that can take a while to set in place.

One small successful step is way better than a failed leap.

The biggest hurdles to your success in health?

We heard this one loud and clear: Time and Motivation

That is something I think everyone struggles with. I’m always pressed for time and I, too, find it hard to get out there and get the workouts in.

While I don’t have a magic wand that can give you more time, I will say that consistency is what has helped me in the past.

To begin, figure out where you have no more than 15 minutes in your day, every day. By starting off with an easily repeatable task, this will build into a habit in about 3 weeks.

Kristin has been doing this with running 5 minutes a day. Yes, five minutes. Some may say that five minutes is not enough time to run, I say that is 5 minutes more than if she didn’t set aside that time each evening. She’s now going beyond the five minutes and is almost up to a whole mile of straight running. I couldn’t be more proud of her.

If you have children, include them in this activity, Please! I was not introduced to exercise beyond playing outside as a child, and I wish I had been.  This is a great opportunity for parents to teach children about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle because children mimic their parents.

If you are demonstrating that healthy food and exercise is important, just imagine how that’s going to set them up for success in a world that is increasingly making processed foods the norm.

As for the motivation, know that it has to come from within. I can’t get you out there to work out or get you to drop the unhealthy habits, but I can try.

Begin to surround yourself with success stories. Check out how others have succeeded in ways that you’d like to, and use their success as a catalyst for your own success.

Just like it does for Kristin and I, motivation must come from within. You can’t do it for your spouse, or your kids, or your friends. You must change for you.

Something tells me that there is some reason for you to want to be healthier. Figure out what that thing is, and focus on it.

 

I hope you enjoyed the survey as much as we did with the responses. This was great knowledge for us, and so I’m very excited to be doing this again soon!

 



Young, Dumb and in Love

Young, Dumb, and in Love

Yesterday was the anniversary of our first date.

We met six years ago at match.com, but our relationship truly blossomed on a little relic called myspace.com (We were both too cheap to auto-renew match.com for one more month at the time!)

After several weeks of emails, Kristin and I decided to meet face to face for the first time. As many online couples do, we chose our first encounter at a Starbucks. I was excited and nervous that day, as was she.

We talked about life after school, the rush and worry of existence that only a young person in their mid-20s could, and cell phones.

(For the record, six years ago I had the Palm Centro and Kristin was in love with the Blackberry Curve 8330 with a pink case)

We’re pretty nerdy, I know.



I had such a great time that day, thinking I could talk to this woman forever and not be bored. She was so much like me, had similar struggles and success like me, and we just clicked from day one.

Our first picture together

Ever the hipster, Kristin had blogs and took selfies way before most of the world knew these were even things. She was as smart as could be about stuff before it hit the mainstream, and so I even learned what a hipster was from her!

Kristin's selfie circa 2008

From an outsider’s perspective of our relationship, it was such a different dynamic, most people did indeed think we were crazy back then, but that was ok with us.

I think we were talking about rings within 2 weeks of meeting each other, and the great Cincinnati Wind Power Outage of 2008 ensured we made haste when moving in together.

 

This past weekend, for our six year dating anniversary, I took us both on a trip back down memory lane by compiling the 1st 30 days of our Gmail chats and making a scrapbook of them all. (thanks Google for wanting to know our entire lives, sometimes it actually comes in handy!) We read it at Starbucks.

Kristin and the Scrapbook

Coffee and Gchats

I had a complete blast doing this, and something really struck me as I read all of the late night messages, giddy conversations and talk of the future with the two of us together.

One singular statement really read true in all of these love letters.

We were idiots.

It turns out we were both not great with money. Messages abound of “spotting” each other tens of dollars in between waves of the feast and famine that was payday.

My favorite text in particular talks about not having enough money for both a loaf of bread from Panera and gas, and how we were actually choosing between the two:

gas or food

Gas won out if I recall. We didn’t have money for a loaf of bread, people.

As is often the case when no one has told you otherwise, we had no clue that we were living our lives in chaos in our mid-twenties.

As the relationship grew, we started facing our money fears head-on. I started working with a budget and telling Kristin how bad I really was with handling money. It was difficult, sure, but it saved us. We realized that we wanted more from our lives and struggling like this was not going to get us there.

Slowly but surely we began to turn our lives around. Not just with money but in all habits. The uphill battling together only made us stronger.

We started treating ourselves and others better. My life began improving because I admitted there was a problem. I started living a life of integrity and a sense of purpose that had somehow evaded me for so many years.

If you feel that you’re stuck and your life is not getting any better, or if you just can’t seem to move the needle enough on a project, know that we all start somewhere. For us, it was making plans to not want for so much and appreciate what we have.

If you struggle, know that there is always something better beyond today. Know that you can make those miracles happen.

If Kristin and I had not kept moving forward in our efforts with money, we would still be where we were at all those years ago. I can honestly say now that we are far better people, much happier in life and live with a renewed sense of gratitude.

We can’t wait to see what the next six years bring.



Half Marathon Training Week 1

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The first week of using my own training plan has been going surprisingly well, but not without its hiccups.

I’m planning for a 1h 30min PR, which will put me at a pace of at least 6:50/per mile, and I should be shooting for a little faster than that in order to ensure that I’m meeting my pace.

On the treadmill, which is where I do most of my training, that means no slower than 8.8 mph. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is fast!

After the first day of speed, I was worried that this goal was too audacious for me. I wasn’t huffing and puffing, but it was still hard to keep up & pain was present. By the end of the week, things have been progressing much better, and I’m already feeling stronger.

Here is what I’ve planned so far:

Training Schedule Week 1

I’m still tweaking the schedule by making sure that there is enough slow and fast-paced days. While I don’t have a heart rate monitor just yet, I’m trying to really key into my heart rate and know when I’m at a low, medium or high heart rate.

I’ve also added Yoga in for the first time, because as I run these very fast speeds, I tend to tighten up much faster, so I’m trying to counteract any issues down the road.

Here’s what I’ve learned from past speed races:

I find structure to be especially important when hitting a new goal. At last year’s half-marathon, I felt like I was guessing all the time with training. Though it did get me a good finishing time last year, I probably could have done much better. This year, I’m vowing to do better.

Here are some things I’m starting to do differently, because it seems they actually work. It also seems to be where I falter in setting awesome times.

1. Knowing the course.

I noticed in my last 5K run that I was doing pretty great, but my downfall was not knowing the course. I faltered in the last few minutes by losing steam with an added turn.

My mind and body were not prepared to do another loop. I was so close to getting in the top 10, but because of my shortcomings, I was not able to get into that top 10 timeframe. That won’t happen this time around.

I’m going to be making a trip or two around the course before race day, to get a feel for what I’m up against. I’ve honestly never done this before, but it seems like a great and important plan.

2. Planning for hills and other tough spots.

Good old-fashioned hill training should do the trick. Have you ever heard the mantra “I eat hills for breakfast”? That will be me. My treadmill goes to a 15% incline, and that is way more than anyone needs!

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3. Analyzing previous race times and training runs

Here’s a breakdown of last year by the numbers. At last year’s half marathon, I was 86th overall out of 1155 registered finishers. I was 13th in my age group. After how much I trained last year (not excellent), I should easily be getting in the top 10 in my age group this year.

Based on last years numbers, when I get my goal of 1:30 finish time, I’ll be in the overall top 20 finishers, in the top 7 runners of my age group, and in the top 2% of total course participants.

4. Visualizing my plan daily.

This means seeing the run I will have, even when its 90+ days away. It means pushing though a tough 20 minute run, even though I feel like calling it done after 15.

This means feeling like I’m running the marathon at every training run. It means not giving up, not waiting until “later”. Just getting it in & getting it done.

In Summary

It’s been a tough but rewarding week. I’ve had some great success, and I’m already starting to see changes. In the next post we’ll go into the diet and meal planning Kristin and I are on, and how it is helping both of us achieve even greater things.



 

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