This is my 100th blog post. In honor of this milestone, I decided to give the blog a new look and feel. I hope you like it. I started writing this blog a few years ago as a creative and meaningful way to pass along what little knowledge and wisdom I have for my boys. The original welcome blog post was pretty basic. Since then I do my best to write a new post each week. Writing this blog has been a labor of love. I plan to continue writing until I run out of ideas. I hope that does not happen anytime soon. The world needs ideas.

It has taken a few years to write 100 blog posts.
It has taken a few years to write 100 blog posts. I hope to write many more.

I have written about a wide range of topics

Some blog entries were serious like the tribute series I wrote about lessons my father taught me. Or the short series about prayer. I have tried to pass along insights based on my experience like lessons learned as a jumpmaster in the 82d Airborne Division. While others have been on the lighter side. For example the post about eating croissants and drinking Starbucks coffee each morning. Last week I shared the big plans that I have for 2018. This week I am going to talk about some new things I plan to try this year.

My father taught me a lot about life over the years.
My father taught me a lot about life over the years.

Getting stuck in a rut is easy

It is easy to get stuck in a rut. We all do. At one point in my life, I was stuck in a serious rut. I kept doing the same things over and over again. Long commute to the office, twelve-hour work-day, long commute home, eat, sleep, repeat. Even my time-off became routine. For example, we took the same vacation every year for almost a decade. We would go to the Outer Banks at the end of the summer. A week in Duck, NC. We really enjoyed the Outer Banks. It is a great place for a family vacation, but we should have changed it up rather than stick to the same old plan.

We would get fishing supplies at Bob's bait and tackle shop in Duck, NC.
We would get fishing supplies at Bob’s bait and tackle shop in Duck, NC.

Starting something new can be a challenge

Nowadays I am better at trying new things. I have become a big fan of experimentation. Try something new to see if it is worth doing. If it is – keep doing it with whatever tweaks are needed. If not, then stop. Don’t do it again. With that thought in mind this year I will try several new things. Below are the top five new things I plan to try this year. I am hoping for success with each one, but am fully prepared to move onto something else if it does not work out.

1. Relearn German using a new app

I should be able to speak German. Several reasons why. My mom is German. I took German in high school and college. I was stationed in Germany when I was in the Army. I lived in Bavaria for four years. I have visited Germany multiple times since then. I have never really been fluent speaking German. I am decent at basic conversations, but not much more than that. Recently I downloaded the Duolingo app for my phone. This application allows you to learn and practice a new language. I am working on my German. Five minutes a day. According to the app, I am about 40% fluent in German. I hope to increase that number this year.

I am using Duolingo to learn more German this year.
I am using Duolingo to learn more German this year.

2. Watch less television and read more books

I watch too much television. Most of us do. It is really easy to come home after a long day and watch tv. There are so many great choices, especially with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. I have been known to binge watch Netflix like a teenager on occasion. I really like Youtube. I can waste a few hours watching Youtube videos. The past few years I set a goal to read one book a month. I have not been successful. This year I am going to be more deliberate about reading more books. I already bought the books I want to read. I even purchased a new chair to put in my bedroom to sit in while I read. The easy part is done. Now it is time for me to get busy and read the pile of books.

Have to confess I have seen almost every episode of Hawaii Five-0.
Have to confess I have seen almost every episode of Hawaii Five-0.

3. Get up early every morning and start the day

When I was in the military I woke up early every morning. It was part of the job. I continued this routine when I became a civilian for many years. A few years ago I started getting up later. I am not sure why. I realize now that I am actually at my best early in the morning. Many high-performers get out of bed early. Some say your most productive hours are early in the day. Later in the day is harder because you get tired, especially after a long workday. I am trying to build a new business this year. It is going to take a lot of energy and effort to make it happen. With that in mind, I am starting to wake up earlier these days and get after it. I am also changing up my morning routine to see if that helps.

Jocko Willink recommends getting up early in the morning for maximum results.
Jocko Willink recommends getting up early in the morning for maximum results.

4. Using a planner to schedule my time

I am a big believer in planning. A little planning goes a long way. Every year I spend a lot of time planning our vacations so that we can enjoy the experience. Oddly enough, I have not done a great job planning the details of my own life. I am good at setting annual goals, writing them down, and tracking my progress. But, I lack a way to plan my daily activities. I recently bought Michael Hyatt’s full focus planner to see if it is an effective way to plan my days. I have only been using the planner for a few weeks. So far, I like the results. It really helps me focus on what is important, and get more things done.

I am experimenting with Michael Hyatt's full focus planner this year.
I am experimenting with Michael Hyatt’s full focus planner this year.

5. New places to visit and experience

This year I will continue traveling on a regular basis to see and experience new things. Riley and I will visit Provence France for Spring Break. The boys and I will visit a different part of Europe this summer. I love NYC and will visit sometime this year. But, I would also like to see a new city or two in the US this year. I am considering a few different options. No final decisions yet.

Riley and I are going to Sunny Southern France for Spring Break 2018.
Riley and I are going to Sunny Southern France for Spring Break 2018.

What new things are you planning for this year

Boys – what plans do you have for this year? Let me know and we can figure out how to make it happen. 2018 is going to be a great year.


    2 replies to "New year, new look, new things"

    • Theresa

      Guten Tag! Good article 🙂 This encouraged me to download duolingo; I have German and Slovenian to learn. Even though you plan to cut back, have you watched any episodes of person of interest? What is the first book you are going to read?

      • keating.doug@gmail.com

        Guten Tag Theresa,
        Glad you liked the post and were inspired. Trying to learn two languages is impressive. I have not watched Person of Interest for many years. I just finished Peter Drucker’s book The Effective Executive. It is a leadership classic. I will most likely read Brene Brown’s new book about the wilderness next. It is supposed to be excellent. Thanks.
        Doug

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