Embrace New Beginnings

I think New Years, and New Year Resolutions, in particular, feel good because we see them fresh starts. New Years is the ultimate clean slate. Last year was.. well sooo last year. This year will be different. It’s brimming with possibility. 

So we set multiple goals and stick with them for a week or so, but when we fall off the treadmill, we give up on the year. Maybe next year. (Well, I missed one day of working out, I guess I’ll go eat some cheesecake)

There are multiple problems with this mindset:

We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.

We expect the new habit, skill or challenge will be easy.

During school, I always loved when the new school year came around. (Well, first I dreaded it and wished dragons would rain down fire on the school building, but I came around to the idea once I saw a new semester was inevitably going to happen.) New classes, books, and classmates. New opportunities to learn and connect. But then the class would sink in. Oh, wait we actually have to *study*… what did I sign up for… or God, please save me, why is this class/ teacher so boring.

Changing our life requires putting in the time, attention and work. The sweat, blood, and tears are the cost of admission but are well worth it. The results and our lives will be amplified by the amount of effort we put In!

We try to do everything all at once, 90 miles a minute.

I’ve been updating my 27 goals for my 27th year by rewriting out my goal list for 2018. 

I’ve got 5+ pages of goals I want to accomplish which even just looking at overwhelms me (I can’t imagine what my friends or Gabriella would do if I tried walking through them.) I’m bad about getting past wanting everything all at once. If not properly prioritized, prepared and tamed, your ambitions will kill your drive and ability to take actions.

Remember, your not competing against others, you’re competing against yourself. Instead of trying to lose weight, AND learn photography AND start an online business, start with one. The others will be waiting for you to accomplish them. And by focusing on one goal at a time and chaining each win, you skyrocket your motivation to do the others once you achieve each goal you set out to do. 

We see the New Year as our one chance for redemption and give up if we don’t perform perfectly.

But every second you are still alive is an opportunity to reset and change your life.

I’m here to tell you that you can push reset at any moment. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can move forward. Even when we hit rock up there’s always a way to find our way back up. It’s cliche to say, but every new day is a fresh start and opportunity to improve. All it takes is one little step in the right direction. 

And when we fall off the treadmill as we will inevitably do, know that falling is a natural part of living. We fall when we learn to walk. We fall when we learn to ride a bike. We fall when life punches us in the face.

But we can always choose to get back up and keep going. Hit reset. Grab a fresh sheet of paper, and start again.

Embrace new beginnings: anytime, anywhere.

Happy New Years everyone!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner 


Related Insights

“New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach, best-selling author

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs

I️ want to be ALIVE

A Renaissance Life is about the art of living. Being ALIVE. Continuous learning and improvement. That being said, the best way to understand how to live is defining the opposite: Complacency. (Dun dun daaaaaaa)

Complacency is doing things — or not doing things — because, well, ‘I don’t care’. 

Complacency is complaining about our lives more than we act on changing them.

Complacency is giving into temptations of self-sabotage because things are good.

Complacency is giving into easy, fear, thoughts of never being good enough and every other million ways we can lock ourselves in a cage of our own design. 

The cure for complacency is designing your life. It’s trying new things and taking on pursuits. It’s learning, growing, and connecting with others. It’s adding a little (sprinkle) of positivity to the world.

Being ALIVE is taking up the mantle and choosing to be better than complacency and all of his ugly friends (apathy, despair, and self-loathing to name a few).

Being ALIVE is knowing you are capable of change and that change can be good. Second chances are always one step away.

Being ALIVE is committing to caring. Caring for what/who you love, caring for values and most of all caring for the well being of others.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing

— Josh Waggoner


Related Insights

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

“Thank you for life, and all the little ups and downs that make it worth living.”  — Travis Barker

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” — Dale Carnegie

Micro Rewards

Making progress happens with consistent action, but motivation is usually the issue.

Having long-term motivations are great, such as visualizing yourself on stage playing or speaking to a sold-out stadium, or interviewing Oprah, or picturing your book on the NYTBS list. They­ help keep you pointed on the right course.

But sometimes high-minded motivations aren’t enough when you are in the mud, doing the work. That’s where short-term micro-rewards (microwards?) come into play. Short term motivations adjust you to the long-term vision.

Over time, you can incrementally change your behavior to complete hard tasks by motivating yourself with a healthy reward if you complete the work first.

I say ‘healthy reward’ because the last thing you want to do is make a micro reward unhealthy. (Eating cake after every time you finish a blog post is not going to do you any favors)

Think of I­t­ like, ‘I would love to do X but first I will do Y’. You’re not depriving yourself of pleasure, you’re just pushing I­t­ off and actually making the pleasure more enjoyable. ‘No one loves water like a man who is thirsty’ (Someone said that once… probably) Of course, I’m not telling you to stop drinking water until you work out. (That’s silly) The absence and gap between allowing yourself a little treat are all the more rewarding.

A great example is a vacation. Planning and daydreaming about a vacation you’re about to go on is usually more enjoyable than the vacation itself!

Micro Rewards give you the discipline to focus on what you really want, versus what you’re mood, mind, and body says you want in the moment.

Want to watch an episode of The Runaways? Great idea, but finish writing your two pages of your book first.

Want to read Tech Blogs? Good! Me too. Just make sure you call a friend you’ve been meaning to talk to first.

Want to go out for a drink? Okay, but first practice your piano scales.

Small daily habits towards our long-term goals are how we achieve them.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner


Related Insights

“For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward.” — Jim Rohn

Priority of Day

Are you lashing onto what others think is important or are you sticking with your own priorities?

I was having trouble prioritizing what’s most important to me. On paper, everything felt like a priority. I could picture all these future versions of myself, but being so far from those realities what do you prioritize?

Do I choose music or writing? Entrepreneurship or art? Speaking or programming? Is it possible to choose them all?

Here’s the secret:

Priorities are what you spend your daily time on.

So does your daily priorities align with your future self? 

Dreams stay in your head unless you’re working towards them consistently, day in day out.

Visualize where you want to be, then take small moments towards that vision.

If you are already pushing yourself to the limit and have 0 time to spare, then you probably shouldn’t be adding more to your plate. Too much food piled on a plate is eventually going to fall down. Knowing when to say yes, when to say no and when to say not right now is directly related to how much progress you’ll make on your priorities. If you end up having no time to spare yet you’re focusing NO time on your priorities, do what you can to slowly remove todos from your plate.

When the desire doesn’t align with the execution, your priorities are out of alignment.

Desiring to be healthy yet eating unhealthy day after day.

Saying yes to todos instantly without a whim of consideration devalues your time and wipes away your ability to prioritize.

Know your goals and your compatibility. Know who you are and where you want to be. And then compare notes to what you spend your day on.

Study a day in your life and your actions will tell you what’s a priority or not.

StayBOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

“Action expresses priorities.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” —  Myles Munroe

Attention Span of a Dog

Today, while Gabriella and I were recording a podcast, our dog Ren was playing in the kitchen. She had literally all of her toys out. The half-eaten toys were scattered around her like a war-torn battlefield (cotton guts everywhere).

She was having a ball (literally and figuratively … 🌈 dad joke #1 🌈 ) and I couldn’t help but relate to her to my own life. She would jump from one toy to the next, without being able to decide to play with just one. 

“She’s doing what I do with ideas.” 

I have so many things I want to do and accomplish, and so many ideas I want to actualize that I tend to choose too much at once, overwhelm myself and make no progress on anything.

When it comes to working and reaching for goals and building a better life for yourself, it’s easy to never get anything done because you never prioritize what’s important to you. 

You pick up one squeaker toy after another without realizing it nor making in progress on anything.

But to make true progress happen in life, to turn your dream into reality,  you have to learn when to say yes and when to say no.

The greatest figures in our history achieved greatness by focusing on one thing until proficient before moving on to something else.

What gets prioritized gets accomplished.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner


Related Insights

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey

Freedom In Less Choice

There is freedom and creative expression in the absence of choice.

On a micro level, Each option you have takes a piece of your daily mindspace. Too many choices at once can crowd your mind and even overwhelm you to the point of choosing nothing.

On a macro level, an overwhelming amount of choice crowds out our creativity and growth. Surround yourself with infinite canvases, paints, brushes, books upon books of inspiration and as much time as you need to create a masterpiece and you’ll end up staring at a blank canvas until you’re blue in the face.

The more product choices you give your customers, the less likely they will choose anything.

The same is true for writing a book. Even the phrase ‘Writing a book’ sounds mysterious and romantic to a would-be novelist like myself. A ‘book’ in my mind sounds like a 600-page tomb filled with wisdom to change the world. Combine that with expectations of writing a best-seller and you might as well try chopping vegetables with your hands instead of a knife.

And there lies the key insight: The absence of choice is like a blade’s edge for productivity and creativity. Razor sharp. The fewer choices you have in front of you, the sharper your creative blade will be.

Some of my best songs to date on the guitar have been made when I️ broke strings and was down to 4 instead of 6 strings. Some of my best blog posts I have written were the once I limited myself to one piece of papers worth of writing.

When you take away your options you find opportunities with what you have in front of you. The absence of choice opens doors you didn’t even know existed.

Another great example we can all relate to is Netflix. With so many movies and tv options, the majority of my watching time is scrolling through the Netflix catalog. By the time I️ find something to watch is already too late for me to watch I­t­. But if you want to see a movie in theaters, there are only so many options you can choose from.

When your back is up against a wall, you find yourself with a plethora of possible solutions. Your only choices are either give up and lose, or find any means necessary to overcome the problem.

Emerson created Walden when he was in a cabin alone with just himself, nature and his thoughts and observations.

The Wright Brothers developed flight with next to no resources. 

So when you are looking for creative inspiration don’t add more — remove choices.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” — Lao Tzu

Happy Holidays


Take a moment to reflect on your past year. Turn your failings into opportunities. Turn your wrongs into chances for forgiveness. Turn your setbacks into forward momentum.

And finally, 

When you are opening your gifts this holiday, don’t think about the gift, think about the giver.

And if you don’t have a giver in your life, be the giver.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing, 

— Josh Waggoner


Related Insights

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Author

Let It Go

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

Weekends have been difficult for me as of late. After transitioning to a 9 to 7 this past year, my flexibility and creative time have been limited. The time I spend writing, songwriting, and creating is my most valuable time I have. (Besides time spent with Gabriella of course 🙂 

That being said, I tend to give myself high expectations of what’s possible in a day and how much I can do on the weekends. When Saturday morning hits, I have an impossible level of how much I can do. I going to write 20 pages in my book, watch a course on Growth Hacking, read 100 books, go to the gym, meet up with friends, spend time with family, write 7 blog posts, work on my podcasts…

And when Sunday rolls in, I find myself completely discouraged from not being able to do anything. (Cue mental exhaustion.) Discouragement is the exact opposite state you need to be in to get stuff done and be creative.

I know this is stupid, but each time Saturday happens, there are my high expectations again. (Wherever you go, there are your expectations)

For the past few weekends I’ve tried something a little different:

Letting It Go.

I tell myself, ‘There’s only so much you can at once, Josh. Prioritize your list, and focus on one Todo at a time.’ In fact, keep another list with just that one task, so that the other possible todos aren’t haunting you throughout the day. (‘Bird by bird buddy.’)

I still have high expectations and impossibly BOLD goals, but I’ve added a soft, low-barrier layer of judgment. So if I fall short of my expectations my day isn’t ruined. 

Again, its the pattern of juxtaposition in life. Massive vision, low judgment.

Just because you didn’t get everything done, doesn’t mean you didn’t have an amazingly thoughtful and productive day.

Stop spinning your wheels. Focus on the one task at hand. Let It Go.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Day 60: Blogging Muscle

I’ve written a blog post every day for the last 60 Days. 
It feels great to be able to say that and to have a body of work you can stamp your name on!(Geeez Josh you’re such a bragger)

Now, I’m not saying they are the best posts in the world — in fact, most them are probably first draft ideas — but I can say each one was the best I could give in that moment. Blogging captures your thoughts and ideas in a moment in time. And the act itself exercises my blogging and writing muscles. 

Each day I leave myself open to ideas — from conversations, books, articles, observations — and after coming home from work around 9 or 10 I sit down and write.

At the beginning, the idea of doing something daily sounded great (on paper) but impossible to do. How can I do this with a fulltime job? And the second job after that one?

But then I wrote and shipped a post one day. Then the next day I did another. And the same the next day. I kept going and going. There are moments I want to quit. Moments I think, ‘I just want to go to bed’. I stumbled upon the answer to the questions above by writing every day:

It’s not about how can I do this, it’s about will I do this.

Will I make the time to do what’s important to me, or not? Yes or No.

The chore of writing every day has now become my fuel and momentum to try new things and push my limits on what is possible.

I highly recommend starting your own daily habit. It will push your capabilities and drive you to the life of your dreams.

This wouldn’t be a blog post if it didn’t have a listicle somewhere.. so here are 9 Things I’ve learned from Blogging for 60 Days.


3 Lessons I’ve Learned 

1. Daily Habits are essential: If you want to be something, you’ve got to do it. Consistency is one of the hardest parts of change. It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon without realizing it. One day you’re riding along, and the next you’re in on the ground wondering what happened. If you want to create change in your life, daily habits will get you there.

2. Double Down: Writing is my anchor. When things in my life are not good, writing is what keeps me calm and enables me to see clearly. The same is true for what’s important to you. Don’t drop what’s important to you when you are in troubling times. Double Down. Increase the time you spend on your passions — even when it feels like you don’t have any time for them. The more you do, the more clarity about your life.

3. Finding your voice comes through process. Rarely do you see someone starting out knowing their voice. Discovering who you are and what you value is a life long process. In the habit of working on your craft, you will find your voice.

3 Things I’ve noticed 

1. Creativity is Progress: Creating is a process in which to self-reflect on who you want to be and the life you want to live. Never forget: No matter how hard they try, your creativity is yours. It’s not something that is taken from you.

2. Repetition is good: It’s okay to rehash ideas on different posts. It’s a sign that you are thinking about a question/problem from different angles. If you binge read some of my recent posts, they might sound the same, but really I’m thinking and feeling my way through alternative solutions I can test for problems I’m facing.

3. Masters are beginners who have been at it for a continuous amount of time. We can’t all be savants, but we can become masters at what we do. A master is someone who has doubled down and put in the daily practice of their craft. Their skills and instincts are hard-won traits of intentionally doing something for a long time. Mastery is something anyone with the right amount of perseverance and deliberate practice can achieve. 

3 Things I need to work on

1. Batching: I want to continue writing every day, but not necessarily on the post I’m shipping that day. I want to create a large gap between an idea on a page and publishing. That way I have more time to stew on the idea and cross-reference other peoples ideas with my own. Batching will also give me the time and energy to be able to write for other areas of the Renaissance Life, such as newsletters and books.

2. Connecting: So far I’ve only been writing and publishing. I wanted to get down the craft of daily blogging first. Now I want to focus on how I can be better about connecting my ideas to a community who might enjoy them.

3. Storytelling: My posts have been good, but I want to make them better and better. I need to find ways I can incorporate more story and personal experience within as touching points and ways to reflect on ideas. I also want to incorporate different forms of sharing my ideas. I’m going to explore different formats like art, and audio as companions to make the posts more fun and insightful.

Pour one out for the last 60 days, 
Here’s to 60 more!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Lost In Books

Oftentimes, I find myself reading books, watching courses or videos on YouTube, and listening to podcast interviews without absorbing the lessons. I’ll move from one book to the next  (sometimes even before I finish the current book!) without testing/implementing what’s said.

What gives?
Why learn at all if you’re not going to use what you’re learning or grow into a better person?

The problem is you can learn until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t put into practice what you’re (spending all of your time) learning, then you might as well be mindlessly watching TV.

The hard part of it all is that if I do put my practice into action, I might fail. No one might show up. I might be laughed off the stage. I might embarrass myself or others. Yet, might is a such a small word to hang your hat on. Are you going to live your life behind a coulda woulda shoulda? 

Look beyond the failure and see the results of a life well lived.

Practice what you learn, act before you speak and test all assumptions. These are the tools for making dreams reality.

When you read, read to implement. 
When you watch a video or listen to a podcast you are trying to learn how to improve your life, give your complete focus and attention on it. Take notes, list action steps and questions you can reflect on.  And when you learn, practice.

Don’t clean the kitchen while you’re listening to a podcast on how to start a podcast. Focus In. Leave the cleaning and commuting to entertainment instead of mastery.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” — Mary Tyler Moore, American Actress.

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.”Anton Chekhov, Russian Playwright