What’s going on, everybody! Whether you’re brand new to the blog or you’re a long-time reader, I want to go on record and admit I’ve been M.I.A. for a while.

This wasn’t by accident—I was busy crushing some other, non-blog related goals, and I want to catch you up on everything I’ve been doing.

For those of you who don’t know, I started Daily New Year’s in June of 2018, and I had a goal of writing one new post per week. I did pretty well for well over a year, and I renewed that goal going into 2019.

But, somewhere along the way, I fell victim to Goal Competition.

One of the most significant barriers to achieving your goals is the other goals you have. In other words, your goals are all competing against one another for your time. That’s Goal Competition, and it hit me hard this year.

I came into 2019 with goals for writing a book, running a half-marathon, building a deck, remodeling my Den, paying off my wife’s Jeep Wrangler (#CoupleGoals), maintaining my blog and podcast, and more.

Yes, more!

It was crazy. I started the year off trying to do everything. It was exhausting, demotivating, and disappointing. Honestly, I felt hopeless. My goals were all competing for my time, and nothing was winning. In fact, I was losing big time.

But, that all changed in July when I managed to pinpoint my problem and refocus my goals.

This post is the story of how I came to reprioritize my goals, how I put my blog on hold for the Summer, and a little bit about everything I accomplished in place of writing more content for you, my friends and readers.

The blog isn’t dead—here is what I’ve been doing this Summer instead.

Photo of Austin Bollinger Speaking at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Emerge Summit in 2019.
Here's a quick photo of me speaking at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Emerge Summit in 2019. I was so nervous AND excited!

April 26 — I Spoke at a Young Professionals Summit

Okay, so this didn’t happen over the Summer, but I want to start my Summer story here.

Last year was the first annual Cape Girardeau Chamber Young Professionals Emerge Summit. In 2018, a large group of my colleagues and I went for some valuable professional development and networking.

This year, I was invited back as a breakout speaker. What an honor!

I was asked to speak about how young professionals can get noticed (and promoted) at work. Personally, I felt the talk went over very well. Naturally, in addition to talking about how to get noticed at work, I also spoke about goal setting, focusing, prioritizing, and more.

I condensed my talk, and you can read all about my tips, tricks, and strategies on the Chamber Blog.

The reason I started my Summer story here is because I met my good friend Stephen at this event. I’ll never forget that he recited an excerpt from Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book, The ONE Thing.

Stephen started a question by explaining, “The ‘One Thing’ is a book that helps you focus on your top priorities by asking ‘What’s the one thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?’”

I was floored because I had just read this book and he cited it from memory!

Then, he asked, “So, what’s your one thing?”

I had a multi-faceted answer that clearly showcased my lack of prioritization. Stephen’s question helped me to realize I wasn’t walking my talk—I had a prioritization issue, plain and simple. Stephen and I had lunch a week later, became fast friends, recorded an episode of the DNY podcast, and decided to co-found a Mastermind Group.

That’s where this exciting Summer story goes next.

Photo of Austin Bollinger and Stephen Schott, Founders of the Cape Catalyst MasterMind Group.
Photo of Austin Bollinger and Stephen Schott, Founders of the Cape Catalyst Mastermind Group.

June 6 — I Joined a Mastermind Group

My Summer adventure truly began when Stephen and I started a mastermind group that he named the Cape Catalysts. So far, we’re a group of eight guys who meet weekly to discuss our goals, talk through challenges we’re facing, share any recent insights, books, or wisdom we’ve discovered, and just connect as men who are looking to grow.

It was in one of these early weekly sessions that the group helped me to realize that trying to write a weekly blog, record a weekly podcast, train for a half-marathon, and write a book simultaneously was killing my progress on all four. I was getting nowhere fast!

It was a massive revelation. It seems so painfully obvious now, but I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, and these guys helped me get my head on straight.

During a podcast interview with Greg, one of my groupmates, he talked about the fear of loss and how it holds people back from setting goals. It was then that I realized that I had an enormous fear of loss with my blog.

I knew that I needed to put it on hold to pursue my book, but I was afraid to lose my audience and my momentum. Worse than that, I wondered if I would return after a three-month hiatus. (I’ve taken small, two-week breaks from the gym before that turned into two years.)

After talking this through with the group, another group member, Julian, told me about Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School and how their course takes you from “Blank Page to Best Selling Author In As Little As 90 Days.”

I was intrigued, so I signed up for a webinar to learn more.

A quick pic of the welcome package and workbook Chandler Bolt and the Self-Publishing School team mailed me.

July 3 — I Enrolled in Self-Publishing School and Put DNY on Hold

The Self-Publishing School webinar put me on a sales list, as most good marketing does, and hooked me in. A few days after the webinar, I received a call from an SPS coach, and we talked for an hour. I told him all about my book, how it started as a lead-magnet for email subscribers, evolved into a longer book, and then completely stalled out due to lack of know-how.

Long story short, I bought into the program (an investment for sure!) and explained to my wife how I just put a large sum of money on our empty credit card. (Thanks for that, Julian!) My wife was super understanding, but wow, what a difficult conversation!

That said, investing in this course has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. The financial investment helped me prioritize my book and focus on getting the maximum value from the venture.

With that, I decided I had to put my blog and podcast on hold for the 90-day window. I struggled with making the decision, but I made it all the same. Without warning, I put DNY on ice for the Summer.

July 4 — I Began the SPS Course Work

With the Fourth of July holiday upon us and a four-day weekend ahead of me, I dived into the SPS course material head first. I quickly realized that the writing/editing/designing-as-I-go methodology that I had been using all year was one of my biggest problems, so I extracted my book from InDesign and put it into Google Docs. I had to ignore the design and layout and focus on the writing.

From there, I followed my new writing routine, added new chapters, and honed my message and target audience. Once I had a better footing, I began my rough draft and worked on that almost every day for 23 days straight.

Over those 23 days, everyday life didn’t take a back seat. I was still training for my half-marathon during the writing process, but it was not progressing nearly as well as the book. I also made time for several other Summer activities such as going to the pool and taking my nephew Tony to a Boy Scouts camping trip.

July 6 — I Took Tony to Camp Lewallen for a Scouting Weekend

Personally, I never got into scouting as a kid, but taking Tony to Camp Lewallen made me wish that I had. Every Summer, they open the camp up to Cub Scouts for an overnight camping trip so that the younger kids can get a sense of what being a Boy Scout is all about.

I wanted to know too!

Tony and I had a blast, but I admit it got off to a slow start. None of his troop came, so we were both feeling pretty alone and out of place. We didn’t know anyone, and we didn’t know what was going on.

Luckily, we made fast friends with the families in our camping spot. Tony and his new friends shot BB guns, played rock checkers, and so much more. My proudest moment is when Tony passed a 200 Meter swimming test just so that he could use the deep end and the diving board. Kids far older than him wouldn’t even try! Talk about goal setting! Way to go, Tony!

On the way home, Tony passed out in the back seat, and for good reason. That swimming test followed by three hours in the pool wore him out. Hopefully, he’ll want to go again next year because I want to go back again.

July 27 — I Completed My Manuscript

On July 27, I had finally finished the rough draft of my manuscript, and it clocked in around 33,000 words. I had been shooting for 30,000, so I was pretty proud of myself. I checked in with my coach, author Scott Allan, and we talked about the self-editing process that was coming up next.

Unbeknownst to me, the self-editing process is more than a quick read-through and proofreading—it’s a total gut job! More on that in a minute.

The Summer was a whirlwind of progress, and all the dates are a little unclear, but it was at about this time that I realized my half-marathon date was approaching fast, and seven miles had been the furthest I had run.

From here, I knew I needed to double down on my training and start the self-editing process, but I also had a couple of house projects that I needed to complete before Fall. Goal Competition was creeping back into my life once again.

August 2-11 — I Remodeled Our Den

With the Summer quickly passing, my wife and I decided that we needed to expedite some of our home projects before the Fall. So, I decided to take a week off from work and focus on the Den and the book.

During the Den remodel, I found termite damage, and most of the work took twice as long as I expected. Needless to say, with a project that size, the book took the back seat once again.

I did manage to get the Den project done, but it was a busy, tiring ten days. Not to mention, the Global Leadership Summit fell right in the middle of the project.

How could I forget the GLS?!

Me and my Element 74 work family at the 2019 Global Leadership Summit!

August 8-9 — I Attended the Global Leadership Summit

I’ve written about the Global Leadership Summit on the blog before—it’s one of my all-time favorite events, after all—yet, somehow, I forgot all about it when I planned the time off for the Den remodel.

It was a hectic ten days. I managed to get the Den remodeled, and I learned a ton about leadership at the GLS, but I made zero progress on the book, and I had missed ten days of training for the half-marathon. Whoops!

August 12 — I Started the Self-Editing Process; Training Resumed

With the 90-day SPS course flying by and race-day looming, I knew I had to kick the book and my training into high gear.

The City of Roses Half-Marathon was a little more than a month away, and I had still not run further than seven miles. Holy smokes! I don’t know if you’ve ever trained for a half-marathon before, but 34 days is not a lot of time to make up for a lack of training.

Long story short, I trained hard over those 34 days. I had more bad days than good, and I even thought about quitting more than once. I even revisited the race website to see if I could cancel, but they had a no-refund policy, and I didn’t want to waste the $50.00. So, I kept training.

Here are some of the crazy and cool things I saw on my early morning runs:

In the meantime, I found out that the self-editing process isn’t the quick, one-week process that I thought it was. I went into the process thinking that I would be massaging my content and fluffing up some phrasing. Wow, was I wrong!

I’ve heard the saying “Embrace the rough draft” before, but I had no idea just how rough it could be. Instead of self-editing my book, I was essentially rewriting a large majority of it. Instead of one week, the process took nearly four weeks.

I’ll be completely honest—I was frustrated—and the negative self-talk wasn’t helping.

“The Self-Publishing School modules were supposed to take me from blank page to published in 90 days. I had a head start because I started writing my book before enrolling in the course. I woke up early and worked on the book almost every morning. How could I be so behind! The longer this book takes, the longer I have to keep the blog on ice.”

Regardless of where you’re at in your goal-setting journey, it’s tough when you do everything right (or at least almost everything) and still miss the mark. I was determined to publish my book in 90 days, the window was closing fast, and I wasn’t at all happy about it.

Once again, the guys in my mastermind group helped me to realize that the book was getting bigger and better than I had planned, so naturally, it was going to take longer. My goal was to write a 30,000-word book, and the self-editing process was causing it to grow to well over 58,000 words.

They helped me to realize that, even though I had put Daily New Year’s on hold, I hadn’t stopped stressing about it, and I hadn’t truly let it go. Worrying about the blog was causing me to get frustrated with my book. They helped me to realize that my goals were still competing against one another, and I had to let the blog go.

So, with a new sense of calm, I finally decided to embrace the book-writing process, no matter how long it might take, and let the blog go.

Over the next several weeks, I edited, and I trained.

August 28 — I Started Our Deck Project

As I mentioned, Callie and I had several projects we wanted to complete before Fall, and the end of Summer was drawing near. The last project of the year was going to be a new deck on the back of our house. On August 28, I submitted the plans to the city for inspection, but I couldn’t start building it without approval and a permit from the city.

September 6 — I Printed My Manuscript and Got the Deck Permit

What a huge day! After several weeks of self-editing and massive rewrites, my book was finally in printed form. The next phase of the SPS course was to read my book out loud to myself.

Say What?

The idea is that reading your work out loud helps to find mistakes that your mind skims over when reading silently. And, it helps to identify troublesome sentences and voice problems. More on this later.

I also got my deck permit back, which was huge news given all the details that I had to provide on my plans in order to appease the city inspectors.

Photo of my Crush Your Goals! manuscript.
Photo of my Crush Your Goals! manuscript.

September 7 — I Dug the Post Holes and Ran My Last Training Run

With my deck permit in hand, I couldn’t resist getting started on the project. Saturday morning, I sprung out of bed, eager to dig the holes for my post footings. Each hole had to be 2 feet deep and 1 foot in diameter.

Once again, I had underestimated how much work this project would be, and with the half-marathon just eight days away, it was probably a huge mistake to start digging.

Sunday morning, I planned to run 10 miles of the race course to get acquainted with it, and I did, but it was brutal. I had only ever run ten miles once on the Sunday before, and I didn’t do that without resting and walking a few times.

When I went to run the course, I didn’t take enough water, and I got dehydrated around mile six. At mile seven or eight, I came upon the massive hill everyone had been talking about. It was a beast! I walked up nearly the entire thing and struggled to get back to my truck over the last couple of miles.

I was discouraged. How could I ever finish the race that was just seven days away?

September 10 — I Started My Taper Week

According to my running friends and several articles I had read, you’re supposed to taper your training going into race week. Typically, you don’t rest 100% the entire week, or you risk stiffening up. So, I decided to run three light miles on Tuesday morning to keep myself in shape.

I couldn’t do it!

I was completely drained. My legs were trashed. Shin splints were killing me after the first half-mile. I felt utterly hopeless about the race ahead.

As soon as I got home, I texted my good buddy and MasterMind groupmate, Nate, to ask his advice. As a marathoner, Nate passed along some of his old coach’s advice, “I’d rather you be 70% trained than 100% injured.”

I had been struggling with following my training plan to the letter, and Nate knew it. As a Goal Getter, sometimes I want to accomplish my goals even if I should change things a little. I clearly needed rest, but felt like I needed to stick to the plan. Nate helped me to let the original plan go.

For the remainder of the week, I rested, rolled my legs, and treated them with heat and ice. Then, the day before the race, I ran two light miles and felt ready to go. Thanks, Nate!

Photo of Austin Bollinger at the beginning of the 2019 City of Roses Half Marathon.

September 16 — I Ran My Race

At the beginning of the year, I knew I wanted to run a half-marathon.

You’re supposed to have a strong why for every goal you set, and my wife wanted to know why on Earth I would want to do this. I’m not built for running, and she personally despises running. She was having trouble understanding my motivations.

Well, my motivations were simple: I had never done it before. I had cycled 100 miles and weight-lifted my way into the 1,250-pound club at my local gym, but I had never run 13.1 miles. I had to know if I could do it and now it was race day. This was my chance to prove it to myself.

Prior to this morning, training had been sporadic. I hadn’t taken my training serious enough until the previous 34 days, and my longest two runs were ten miles apiece, neither of which I ran without stopping for a break or walking a little.

My goal had been to run a half-marathon in less than 02:30:00 without stopping or walking.

Fortunately, the crazy hot, extended Summer we were having slacked off a bit for this Sunday morning race. I believe it was around 70 degrees. My father-in-law was down from St. Louis for the weekend. He was a collegiate cross-country runner, and he came out to see me off and to snap a few pics along the way.

Not to mention, he had some excellent advice for me.

Remember that massive hill at mile seven or eight that killed me in training? Yeah, the week of the race, I found out why this half-marathon is one of the hardest in Missouri: that dreaded hill! I asked Rod about it, and he told me to start slow. “You should feel like you could run faster, but resist that feeling and take it slow.”

I had been training at a 9:15 minutes/mile pace, but he said I should shoot for 10:00 minutes/mile until I got passed that hill. “You can always make up your time after you get passed that hill,” he told me.

Long story short, I took his advice. Tons of people took off and left me in their dust. There were several, much older people that I couldn’t seem to catch, but I ignored that and locked in the 10-minute pace for the first 5-6 miles.

Left: Me early in the race, around mile 3 and feeling good. Right: Climbing the massive hill and looking forward to picking up the pace.
Left: Me early in the race, around mile three, and feeling pretty darn good. Right: Beginning to climb the massive hill and looking forward to picking up the pace after I'm over it.

As I approached the massive hill, I couldn’t help but feel strong. I had run this hill the previous weekend, and I couldn’t make it without walking most of it. But I was tired, I had started on my deck, and I ran out of water at mile 5.

Today was different. I was well-rested, hydrated, and I felt powerful.

As I raced up that hill, I finally passed several people that I had been chasing all day. And as soon as I crested the hill, I felt a surge of energy. Call it a runner’s high or whatever you want, all I knew is it was time to turn up the pace.

I decided to run the final five miles as fast as I could sustain.

I ramped up to an 8:15/mile pace to try and close the gap between my 02:30:00 goal from January and the new 02:00:00 goal I had just set in my mind.

Fast forward to the end, I couldn’t have possibly run the half-marathon in 02:00:00, but I got darn close. I sprinted the last tenth of a mile for a strong finish at 02:07:18, and I couldn’t have been more proud. Best of all, Nate was there to greet me at the finish.

What an awesome day!

Photo of Austin Bollinger crossing the finish line of the 2019 City of Roses Half Marathon
Here I am crossing the finish line of the 2019 City of Roses Half Marathon in a full on sprint. I felt so good!

September 20 — I Finished My Outloud Read-Through

As soon as my race was over, my body crashed, and I got a cold. I went to work on Monday for a few meetings, but I took Tuesday off and rested. Throughout the rest of the week, I worked towards completing the read-through of my book. On Friday, I completed the reading, just in time for a weekend project with my dad.

September 21-22 — Dad and I Framed the Deck

Saturday and Sunday, my Dad and I worked like mad to get the deck framed and ready for inspection. If you’ve never built a deck before, trust me; it’s a huge job. I put in about 17 hours over the weekend and went into the week tired but excited to see so many long-term goals coming to a close.

My book was nearly ready to go to the editor, and mine and Callie’s deck was taking shape.

This is what our new deck looked like after the final framing was complete. So close, yet so far from done!

September 27 — I Sent My Book to the Editor

The following week was dedicated to making all of the final changes to my book that I discovered during my out loud read-through. Each morning I woke up early (and tired!) to transfer my scribbled edits from my manuscript to Google Docs.

On Friday morning, I completed my edits, emailed it to my editor, and started designing my cover concepts. The writing was over for now, and I was excited to jump into a new piece of the project.

October 6 — I Got the Decking Down

They say there’s no rest for the wicked, but I guess there’s no rest for Goal Getters either. I took off a little early on Friday to start putting the decking down on my deck. Saturday, Callie and I had a wedding, and then Sunday, I completed the decking. What a busy few weeks!

Got the decking down and added the rugs!

October 12-13 — We Added Railing and Assembled Most of our Furniture

With hunting and camping season upon me, I had one final weekend to get the deck done. Saturday I worked all day to get the railing done. I ran out of posts, but I got so close to being finished.

Sunday, Callie and I were finally able to assemble most of our furniture, though, as of this post, we’re still not 100% done with that either. Those tiny bolts and alan wrenches are hard on the fingers, so we’ve got a little more to do. That can wait for a cold, snowy or rainy day.

Lack of completion aside, I wanted to share a few photos of the deck. I may come back and update this post a little later with all of the beautiful, final photos.

Until Spring, here is the final product of four weekends worth of deck building.

October 14 — I Finalized My Book Cover

This post is drawing to a close, I promise!

As I’m writing this Summer recap post, I can’t help but feel an immense sense of pride for what I’ve achieved this Summer. Yes, I had to put my blog and podcast on hold, but I managed to remodel my Den, run a half marathon, write a book, and so much more.

Not everything is complete yet, though. Monday, after exploring several concepts, I finalized my book cover design and thought, “You know, I should share my Summer progress on the blog.”

So, here we are and man, it’s a long post! Sorry about that! It’s a challenge to compress several months into a single post. But at last, we’ve arrived at the end of the Summer and this post, so I’ll leave you off with an exciting opportunity. 

Crush Your Goals! — Coming Soon!

Even though Fall is upon us here in Missouri and it’s time to go camping, get in a little hunting, and grab some much-needed rest, my book is still far from done.

In the coming weeks, I still plan to keep the blog and podcast on ice. I have to design several goal setting worksheets for the book, build a launch team, a website, and so much more. As of now, I plan to launch the book in early December, and I would love your support.

If you’d like to join my launch team, receive an early release of the ebook, and even get your name listed on the OG Goal Getter’s page, click here to join.

It’s going to be a blast, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

February 16, 2020 (Update!)

After a year of hard work, dedication, and major Goal Getting, my book is done! Grab your copy on Amazon today!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.