It was the best month I’ve had in a long time.

My daily goals

At the beginning of the month, I created a daily routine for myself. The routine consisted of 7 things that I’d do every day. They were

  • Work on product creation
  • Do personal history or family history work
  • Study a foreign language (currently Spanish)
  • Exercise
  • Read the scriptures
  • Read a conference talk
  • Study or learn something else

I’m pleased to say that I did these every single day. The exception is the second one. Doing it every day started to just get annoying, so I stopped doing it after 21 days. My daily routine is now down to 6 things, and I absolutely love it.

The key to the daily routine is the daily walk that I go on. I walk 2-3 miles just to make sure I get outside. While walking, I knock off the exercise (obviously), Spanish (by listening to SpanishPod), and the studying of whatever else I want (right now it’s the History of Rome podcast). I also usually do some other kind of exercise every day, like pushups, pullups, a run, or a hike.

Doing the daily routine is probably the best decision I’ve made in the past year. It’s been awesome. I feel fantastic and I’m getting a ton done.


I have a goal to read a fiction book and a nonfiction book every month. I met the goal two times over, reading

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel (nonfiction) – A fascinating book about why the world’s population ended up the way the did, like why Europeans colonized the Americas, not the other way around. Some parts were a little dull, but overall I liked it. The author uses historical, ecological, anthropological, and linguistic evidence to essentially trace the history of the world’s peoples.
  • Forget Me Not: A Memoir (nonfiction) – A beautiful book about Alex Lowe, who was widely regarded as the best climber in the world before he was killed in an avalanche in the Himalayas in 1999. Alex left behind a wife and 3 little boys. The book is written by his widow, who later married Alex’s best friend (and another world class mountaineer), Conrad Anker. I saw a lot of myself in this book.
  • The Da Vinci Code (fiction) – I really enjoyed this. It’s preposterous, but a lot of fun. I don’t read much fiction (which is why I now have the goal of reading one fiction book a month), so it was nice to mix things up a bit.
  • Short Stories While Brushing Your Teeth (fiction) – This is a short ebook that I downloaded for my Kindle because it was free. I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Other goals and accomplishments

I’m broadening my horizons a bit when it comes to cooking. I made fried rice, potato soup, some jambalaya rice/sausage thing, and turkey burritos. I bought a rice cooker, and I wish I’d bought one years ago. It’s amazing.

I have a goal for 2012 to release a product every month. I released 2 in January: Freestanding Hangboard Plans and 101 Blogging Tips. The latter was my first Kindle ebook, and it became a #1 Amazon bestseller (heh).

I also started resurrecting the content from an old rock climbing blog of mine. It’s a long story, but I had to shut down the blog last year because it got a virus on it that I didn’t want spreading to my other blogs. I backed up the SQL database file but couldn’t get in there to access the actual blog posts to back them up. So last week I created a new hosting account, installed WordPress, uploaded the SQL database, and downloaded the blog posts section of the database into a Word document. So now I’m going through the document, copying all of the blog posts I want to save, and pasting them into a separate Word document, which I will eventually turn into a rock climbing Kindle ebook. Phew.

I added podcasts to both The Backlight and Amazopia, though the Amazopia one still hasn’t been accepted to iTunes for some reason. I’ll have to resubmit it.

My birthday was on the 27th, and I’m now an old fart at 26.

I redesigned my site.

I usually go on at least a couple trips a month, but I’m in hardcore saving mode. I really want to do a Mexico or Central America trip later in the year. I’m not yet sure where exactly I’ll go or what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll climb the tallest volcano in North America (in Mexico) or go learn how to surf in Panama or Costa Rica. I’m also considering climbing the tallest mountain in each country in Central America. The Mexican volcano is the most serious, and even that should be pretty tame. All the rest are relatively low-altitude hikes or jungle treks.

Articles worth reading

Here are some articles I’ve read recently that were particularly good:


I wanted to relaunch Infographic Academy this month, but I failed. I’m pretty mad about this, but it’ll for sure happen by the first week in February.

I don’t really consider this a failure, but I ended one of my blogs. It was a simple Tumblr blog where I posted a new photo of a volcano every day. I had it up for about 3 weeks and then realized I didn’t want to do it anymore. I like volcanoes, but I don’t like trying to find pictures of them for a dumb blog.