Liam Holyoak

This is where I write things.

Month: April 2016

Vulnerability and Friendships

     In college my friend Alina and I went to a Jamba Juice, this guy named Will was working and we started chatting with him. We asked when he got off and Alina invited him over after his shift. Will showed up with pizza a few hours later. He was a really cool guy, an incredible musician. We hung out with him a lot for a while then he moved to California to pursue music. I hope he’s doing well. Making friends used to be really easy. Maybe it still is and I’m just not willing to try. When I was a kid a boy named Cameron moved into the neighborhood, I walked over to his house knocked on the door and asked if he wanted to play. We played everyday until he moved, I hope he is doing well too.

I think two things have changed when it comes to making friends. I’ve convinced myself that I don’t have time for new friendships(which is a pretty silly excuse if you ask me), and I’m scared of new friends. I’m terrible at opening up to people, nothing ever seems to go past surface level. That’s why I used to love first dates. I haven’t been in many relationships, but I am a serial first dater. First dates are great, it’s exciting, you talk for hours. They share their whole life story with you and on the first data no one’s realizes that all I am doing is listening to them talk. I never get to the second though, by the time the second date comes around they’ve usually caught on and expect me to tell them my life story. Which historically wasn’t going to happen. I know a lot of very personal things, about a lot of people whose names I can barely remember. I’m not sure what that says about me.

     I have no idea how friends are even made these days. I’d like some new friends,   everyone has an amazing story. I love listening to people tell their story, it always so interesting. I just don’t know how to get past the first “date”, or hangout I suppose. There is a power in being vulnerable. I power that I lack. I’ve convinced myself that it’s not fear based, it’s just that no one wants to listen. That I’m the only person in the whole world who is fascinated by other people’s stories. But really that’s just because I’m scared. That’s why I started this thing, not just to catalog my random thoughts, and improve my writing. But also in an effort to reach out for something. To help someone. To shed some light on anything. To share that in this thing called life we are all just a little crazy, and we are all struggling to figure shit out. We might as well be friends and help each other out sometimes.

Self Sabatoge

     I am seriously a master at this. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s a human thing and it’s not something widely talked about so we all just think we are insane when we discover how often we mess things up for ourselves. Take this week as an example. I weighed in at .5 lbs away from my lowest weight, this is so cool. But I’ve been freaking out internally all week, I was critiquing my body really harshly, and my self talk has been really awful, which resulted in making poor food choices because I was making myself feel bad.

I’ve been too afraid to step on a scale to see what the damage is. I’ve just been trying to dissect this so I can figure out a way to stop this behavior. It is so silly. It’s not okay for me to treat myself mean either. So what gives?

I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure it out. Seeing if maybe I’m lying to myself about something and I have a huge psychological hurdle to overcome. But I don’t think I’ve found one, only the usual run of the mill fear of success/failure type things. Maybe I’m scared of who I’ll become, I don’t know the Leah that is fit and healthy. Maybe she’s not a Leah I like. That’s been running through my head, but on the flip said maybe she’s she coolest person ever and I’ll never find out if I keep trying to mess things up for myself.

I just need to figure out a way to get all of me on the same page, and get back on track. Most importantly I forgive myself for the week, and for any future “bad” weeks, days, months. I know I’m headed in the right direction, I don’t think I’d be so terrified if it was the wrong direction.

Do you have any tips for beating self-sabotage?

Trying Something New.

I’ve been podcast obsessed for years. Usually I just listen, up until now I haven’t done much to actually implement what I’ve learned. I’m usually guilty of that, I am a serial leaner. But life things have changed, I don’t hate my job. But I don’t like that it doesn’t allow me to have the freedom I want to have. Take today for example, Devin(girlfriend) is taking the day off to relax, maybe go to the aquarium just have a fun day. And I want to take the day off to go hang out with her, I don’t have the luxury of just leaving. I can take vacation time, and make up an excuse to tell me boss. But that’s sort of crappy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that I have the ability to do that. I just want to be free, to take a day off, or a week without saving up vacation days.

In an effort to finally make my dream a reality I am creating several different income streams. It’s going to be tricky and take a lot of hard work but I have so many resources at my fingertips, I am sure I can figure out how to make this happen. I’ve been listening to Pat Flynns’ Smart Passive Income podcast for a long time, and feel confident that I can implement some of the things he talks about. I will keep you updated on my successes. If you have any resources please share them in the comments below. I’ll need all the help I can get!

On Being Silly

I work up the street from this river that has a path that runs along it, since I get an hour long lunch I like to spend it walking along this path. Walking is one of my favorite parts of the day, for myriad reasons but mainly because I get to think. It’s a good time for me to come up with post ideas, daydream, plot world domination. All sorts of things. Yesterday as I was walking I was thinking about what I wanted to write about today, and just couldn’t stop thinking about how serious I keep sounding. I think that’s a result as trying to come off as an authority, or maybe when I write I’m just trying to be someone I’m not.

Now, I’m trying to find my voice. I want to be authentic and only me but I am having a hard time doing that. I’m not sure where the balance lies between sharing my experiences and the things I am learning, while also being silly Leah. Maybe it’s just a practice thing. I notice when I am writing I pull style elements from other writers who I read a lot. I’m not quite sure if that is being inauthentic, or what. I suppose “Great Artists Steal” so maybe I’m just a great artist. How do you convey sarcasm without emoticons? See, I am sarcastic and I try to be funny, but in my writing it comes off as condescending. At least to me it does. I’m being condescending to myself! How does that even happen?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, how to be me, in writing. I’ve recently started watching a YouTuber named Olan Rogers. He is a brilliant storyteller. The majority of his videos are simply him, sitting in front of a camera, telling a story. They are hilarious. I know I am guilty of overusing the word hilarious, but I mean it this time. As I am watching him though I just can’t stop thinking about how I can tell great stories, and allow myself to shine through without the coming across as too serious bit coming through. Ya know, it’s just going to be one of those things I have to keep doing to get better at it. That’s the hope anyway.


The Discipline of Staying Motivated

I love setting goals. Maybe more than I love actually achieving them. The rush of pen in hand and notebook in the other writing down the things you’re going to achieve. I’m hooked on that. Obviously, it’s rewarding to actually achieve the goals, if you’ve done anything you’ve set out to do you know that thrill is way better than the initial thought of that thrill. But the achieving part is really tricky, motivation fades, the obsession fades and the general “stoked” attitude is gone. You’re left with you, laying in bed reaching out to press snooze when you know you should be waking up to write. That’s the part I’m still figuring out, the discipline. If I’ve learned one thing, when it comes to being a total failure, discipline is the key. Quite frankly, discipline isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you have to learn. Some people learn it when they’re kids, others when they get older, some never.

I’ve been feeling different lately, I’m not sure if it’s that I am getting older. I’m growing up per say. Or if my attitude about discipline has just changed. Things feel different. Let me try and describe it for you. This isn’t an everyday sort of thing, but I would say it happens the majority of the time. I work 7:00-4:00 at a very typical desk job, that part is sort of all a blur so while it takes up the most of my time I’m just going to gloss over if for now. The interesting part is when I get home from work, I’ve been doing an experiment. I don’t make any plans for myself, usually I am very rigid with to do lists and I don’t give myself any seconds to think, I’m trying to switch things up and see what happens. Without plans I’ve been wanting to see what I gravitate towards. I had this fear that I was an innately lazy person, and without plans I would end up laying around doing nothing until it was time to go to bed, but I’ve surprised myself. I come home, and I do something. I straighten up, I read, I work on a project, I’ll make dinner, I do things that keep me moving forward towards my goals. I get shit done. I’ve been doing it in a no pressure manner and that’s been really liberating.

I do have several rituals that I follow on a daily basis. What I call my daily practice. Maybe that’s the trick, the daily practice put me in a place where I don’t have to decide to be disciplined it just happens. Here’s the practice for the interested. Everyday I make bulletproof coffee, I write at least three things I am grateful for, I write ten ideas could be about anything, I meditate, and I go on a walk. And starting now, I write. Call me crazy, but maybe it’s that simple I mean as far as being sane goes, at least for me. Days I do these things I am certainly a better person, a better partner. I am far more patient and understanding, it allows me to slow down, to see and appreciate all the really incredible things that I get to be a part of on a daily basis.

It’s taken me a long time to get here. Not everyday is perfect either, sometimes I come home and sleep. And I feel really bad about that. I have to remember to forgive myself, and come back to the things that make me feel whole, that makes me feel grounded. I have to remember that everyday is a new day, you get to keep trying. And maybe that’s the real discipline, to just keep trying. Or as my one of my favorite movies, Meet the Robinsons, says:  “Keep Moving Forward”

What are your daily rituals?

This is happening

     This is going to be tricky. I am committing to 60 days of blogging. Which means a blog post every day for 60 days. It’s barely the first day and I am already struggling to come up with post ideas. I guess that’s when the good things come, when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s what I am going to do, I can’t promise 60 days of high quality posts. Only that there will be some new writing on this page everyday. I’ve been reading a lot about storytelling, and writing, in hopes that I can improve both. Some real world practice should improve all of these skills. This post doesn’t count towards the sixty days. I’ll start counting tomorrow.

On a Journey towards Health

     I’ve tried a lot of different ‘diets’ in my lifetime. I’ve been overweight since middle school, actually technically in the obese category but that’s still hard for me to wrap my head around. When you’re overweight in middle school you try everything to figure out how to fix it. I was on the swim team, I was exercising regularly but I also ate what all my other friends on the team were eating. When you’re that age you don’t realize how important the food you put in your body is, even though I am swimming as much as other kids on the team that doesn’t mean I can eat as much as them, I didn’t realize that. No one teaches you these things so I just beat myself up I was working out for two hours everyday, high intensity cardio and I was still overweight, I was comfortable in a swimsuit but that’s because I wore one so much.

     In high school I was extremely depressed, I was on the track team and trying to eat better but I still managed to gain weight. What I didn’t realize was how many sweets I was eating to try and cope with the feeling crappy part. This continued on to college where things with my health got a little crazy, without much money my friends and I made staples of Little Caesars pizza and whatever fast food coupons we found in the mail. We stayed up late drank cans of mountain dew and often went for late night dessert runs, I didn’t feel good. I knew what I was doing to myself but I didn’t realize how bad it was getting.

     New Years 2014 came and I was going to a big music festival that summer, I knew I had to get ready so I started reading like crazy, later that month my friend sent me a picture he had taken of me and I was horrified I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. I didn’t even recognize myself so I got going, I had tried South Beach, CICO, but they hadn’t really worked. So I went on a quest to figure out what would work for me. Up until this point I had been a vegetarian for the last six years, as I starting reading more about Paleo and Keto I was thinking about eating meat again. About a month later I did, it was difficult, but ultimately a good decision for me. I slowly dropped a few pounds here and there before the festival but after the festival that’s when things got serious. I had a realization while I was there and I knew something needed to change.

    I had started getting into personal development and I knew that being the best version of me started with what I was putting in my body. I started following The 4 Hour Body created by Tim Ferriss, it seemed the most sustainable to me I had a cheat day so I didn’t have to give up everything. I could have wine once in awhile, beans, salsa, diet coke all things I loved. Oh and I didn’t have to exercise unless I wanted to, so I went for it and boy was it worth it if my timeline is correct I lost about 50 pounds before the end of the year and I felt great. I was the healthiest I had been in a long time, physically, emotionally, and mentally. It was incredible, I was happy, easy-going Leah again.

     Holidays rolled around and like most the diet didn’t stick. As Holidays rolled around and I started seeing my now girlfriend and we went out a lot, we drank, stayed up late, had a good time. It was a blast but the last thing on my mind was my diet, and the food I was putting in my body, and my daily mental health practices. I just wanted to have fun. I was so in love I didn’t have a care in the world. Oh I should note that during this time I was still essentially intermittent fasting I was drinking a protein shake to get my 30 in 30 in the morning and then I was eating a snack around probably two and then going out to eat for dinner. I felt fine most of the time and the last thing on my mind was food which was definitely a change and it was nice. But six month later it hit me, I had gained fifteen pounds and I was disappointed in myself.

     I tried going back on 4 Hour Body but it’s tricky when you are eating out all the time and with friends, my mental and emotional health began to suffer and I became a hell of a person to be around. I got a new job and had access to a great cafeteria with delicious hamburgers and started eating one of those everyday, I figured it was fine I didn’t feel like I had gained much weight and I while I wasn’t feeling particularly good I had this new fancy adult job. About a month later things changed and I tried and failed to get my diet back in gear, it was so hard to commit to this time, I started running, and I love running. It felt good and I felt like I could eat whatever I wanted. Holidays came around and you know how that goes, everything sort of just goes out the window.

   Now, several months after that I am back at it again. I am two months into getting healthy. I say that because this time around I’m not just losing weight. I am getting healthy. I’m only putting food in my body that makes me feel good, I get outside and walk for an hour a day, I meditate. My journey is to good health, not weight loss. It’s certainly slower than your typical weight loss story. For me, this time around it’s about the journey, it’s about a sustainable change, and it’s about feeling fantastic in my own skin. It’s taken me an extremely long time to come to that conclusion, but life isn’t just about a number on a scale. There’s so much more to it. If want any advice from someones thats been doing this for a while here it is:

  1. Forgive yourself.
  2. Get outside, even if it’s only for 5 minutes
  3. Eat things that make you feel good

Share your health journey in the comments below. I’d love to hear it.

Oh, the Irony

Remember how last post I said I was going to be more consistent with this, well that hasn’t happened. I’m going to live by that idiom when it comes to this blog – If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Then eventually I will, succeed that is.

So I made this it’s really cool you should check it out. It only a .52 second video.

It’s my first attempt at making a stop motion film, it was really tricky. I macgyvered a not very good overhead filming rig. Bought a LEGO set, and spent a whole Saturday filming. I am so proud of myself. It’s not perfect but I know where I need to improve for next time. Here I come LEGO Death Star (Just kidding, do you know how many pieces that thing has, that would take so long.)

I’ve been trying to do that lately, make stuff, try new things, experiment. It’s so fun when you go into something with curiosity and just a want to try something. As a opposed to putting pressure on yourself to be the best at something right away. I am definitely guilty of that, sometimes you just put so much pressure on yourself to be good at something that it stops you from even starting. But you never really know if you’re going to like something unless you try it. So you might as well just do it, have fun, and maybe learn something new along the way.

What’s something new that you’ve tried lately? How’d it go?

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