How to share your best ideas all over the world.

In the fall of 2015, I decided to create a new blog. I had tried writing blogs several times before. Most of them didn’t go anywhere. I hoped that this new blog would be different. Like Nuprin. Or Zima.

Starting At Zero

I started at zero. Zero posts. Zero readers. Zero subscribers. Zero requests for me to write anything. It was just me and my computer, creating new blog posts out of cursors and keystrokes, the way Doogie Howzer used to do it before he met your mother.

I write to help readers learn a little, laugh a little and lift a little.

Adding Value

I just started writing lessons and learnings I found valuable and that I thought would be valuable to others. I shared what I was learning about entrepreneurship as I launched the advertising and ideas agency The Weaponry in 2016. I wrote about marketing and creativity. I wrote about positive thinking and self-improvement. And I wrote a story about a woman who tried to save me from salmonella poisoning and plane crashes at a Piggly Wiggly.

Developing The Habit

I felt like the Time-To-Make-The Donuts Guy from the Dunkin Donuts commercials of my youth. That guy got up every day, without fail, and would make donuts, day after day, because the world needed donuts. He had created a donut-making habit. I created a similar habit at 6 am every day. Only I was writing, not baking, glazing, sprinkling, and holing.

The Compounding Effect

The compounding effect of a habit repeated over time is remarkable. It often sneaks up on you, like the way you catch a unique rabbit. At the start of 2023, I looked at the statistics page on this little blog project and I noticed 3 things that surprised me.

Adam Albrecht Blog Surprises

  1. I have now been writing the Adam Albrecht Blog for 8 years. I determined this through rigorous data analytics where I took the current year (2023) and subtracted the original year of publication (2015).
  2. I have published 828 blog posts.
  3. I saw the world map of where my blog has been read.

Here’s the map.

By writing day after day for years the blog has been read around the world. In fact, it has been read in 170 Countries or territories. According to Google and The United Nations (of Benneton), there are 195 sovereign nations. (And one seven-nation army.) One of my favorite statistics is that there are 38 countries that have at least triple-digit reads.

Notable countries that are boycotting this boy’s blog:

  1. Iran (So far away)
  2. Cuba (Gooding Jr.)
  3. North Korea (De Janeiro)

I get that those countries don’t allow people like me to just wi-fi into their countries, spreading positivity and pop culture references. So I am not hurt.

But then there is Greenland. That large landmass in the north apparently wants nothing to do with me. This has been a source of frustration for me for years. I just can’t seem to crack the Greenland market.

French Guiana is the only other area in the Americas that is not down with the AAB (Adam Albrect Blog). I don’t know if it is their Frenchness or their Guiananess that is to blame.

The Lesson

I started this blog at zero. I have never done any paid promotion of this blog. Yet, the ideas I have shared here have been read by people all over the world, thanks to the power of the internet and the WordPress platform.

By writing at least 5 days each week for years I also developed habits, ideas, and stories that enabled me to write my first book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? In the book, I shared 80 of the best life lessons I have learned. But it never would have happened if I hadn’t first started this blog.

I have now published 2 books, thanks to the writing and publishing habit I developed through this blog.

Key Takeaway

The key to long-term success is to get started. First comes the action. Then comes the accumulation. Studying doesn’t get you success. Planning doesn’t. Goals don’t. Actions do. Habits do. Simply not stopping does. So get started today. And just keep going.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+If you found value in this read, please subscribe to this blog to have new posts delivered fresh 3 times per week.

How taking action today can change your life forever.

Today you are going to do something good for yourself.

You will read. Or exercise. Or work on a big project. Or practice something you want to become great at. Maybe you will eat right. Or write. Or Orville Wright.

But one day is only one day. And if you stop there the progress and impact will be minimal.

Because one good day is just one good day, mate.

But if you can string 5 to 7 of them together you have a great week. (If you string 6 together I think you have a guitar.)

When you string 4 great weeks together you have a great month.

A few great months make a great season. Or a great year.

String together great years and you have a great career.

Or even better, you have a great life.

Great careers and great lives leave a legacy.

But it all starts with one good day of taking action.

Make that day today.

Key Takeaway

Do something good for yourself today. Then repeat it tomorrow. And the next day. Build good actions into habits. Your habits build momentum. And ultimately they create all of your successes, your life, and your legacy. It’s easier than you think. Just get started. And don’t stop.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

This year resolve to take important new actions.

This is an exciting week for people who own calendars. Because we have flipped to a whole new set of 365 days. The new year brings on new hopes and dreams. It is full of opportunities. Most of us come into the new year, like Wayne Gretzky, with a bunch of new goals.

But the most important thing to do in the new year to convert those goals into reality is to take action.

A goal to lose weight is only a dream until you take action with your diet and exercise. A goal to start a business is worthless until you start talking to potential customers. A goal to travel is only a dream until you buy your ticket to ride. And a goal to write a book, screenplay, or fortune cookie is meaningless until you start typing on your keyboard. (Oh lord, why don’t we?)

The familiar phrase New Year, New You is missing a key ingredient. The complete saying should be:

New Year. New Action. New You.

The action is the active ingredient. It is the change agent. It is the inflection point. Don’t forget the new action. Action is the yeast that will make this year rise above all the rest. So here’s hoping you get a lot of action in 2023.

Key Takeaway

Goals don’t change you. Actions do. As you make plans for the new year go beyond the goals to the actions they require. Write down your new actions. Put them on your calendar. As you take action you will make progress toward your goal. A journey of 1000 miles doesn’t begin with writing down your goal. It begins with that first step.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

6 Tips to help you read more books this year.

Every year I set a goal of reading 12 books. The number is based on reading a book each month. It has nothing to do with eggs, donuts, or disciples.

Typically I read far more than my goal. Because I read at least 12 to 15 physical books and listen to 15 or more audiobooks each year while driving, mowing my lawn, or trying to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

I want to be purposeful with my reading. So on New Year’s Eve, I identified and gathered the 12 books I want to read this year. The books all share valuable lessons that I want to learn. Which is why I consider them my coursework for the year.

Here’s my initial reading list for 2023.

But Wait, There’s More!

To help me reach my reading goal I didn’t just pick out the books. I took 5 more steps:

  1. To help cue my reading goal I displayed my collection of books prominently on the shelf right behind my desk in my home office. So there is always something there to remind me of my reading list for the year. (It’s what Naked Eyes would do.)

2. I brought one book to my office at The Weaponry so I can read during lunch. (And so I can put a book on my head and work on my posture while working at work. Which is 3 works in 1.)

3. I placed one book on my nightstand. When I have a few minutes before bed I can read a few pages as my day’s intellectual dessert. (Note: I read in a chair in my bedroom. I never read in bed. It’s against my Ja rules.)

4. I placed one of the books in my car so that I can read while I am waiting to pick up my kids from school, practice, or jail.

5. I keep one book in my work bag. Because that thing goes with me everywhere. That way I will always have a book with me when I am stuck somewhere, when I am waiting for someone, or when I need a little paper to start a fire to save my life.

Key Takeaway

To meet your reading goal for this year don’t just say you want to read more. Find the books you want to read and create your 2023 reading list. Display the books where you are reminded of your goal, and where you can easily pick up the book when you have a few minutes to spare. Having a book at the ready when boredom strikes will prevent you from wasting your spare moments by twiddling on your little digital buddy. Because you don’t need more time on your phone this year. But you could always use more knowledge and inspiration.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The first and most important lesson of the new year.

Happy 2023! The beginning of a new year is an exciting time. It’s full of hope, opportunity, and college football.

The exciting news is that today has the potential to be an inflection point in your life. Today could be the day when you stop doing something that was holding you back. Like smoking, overeating, or cheering for the Houston Texans. Or it could be the day you start doing something that will change you forever. Like exercising, working on a major life goal, or making better friends. (Or maybe you write a blog post that amazing people read, which makes them want to subscribe to that blog, and share it with other people…)

But there is a simple truth that you must understand about the promise of a new year:

The year doesn’t make you different. You make the year different.

A new year is not a change agent. It is simply a new blank sheet of paper on which you write your life story, morning glory. Yes, your story can and should get better, starting today. But you have to make that happen.

Here are 6 things you can do to make this year different.

  1. Adopt Your New identity. Decide that deep down in your innards you are the person you really want to be. It is the first and most effective step to becoming your ideal self. Don’t say that you want to be, or will someday be like your ideal. You are now! You are an exerciser, a reader, an entrepreneur, or a Liberace impersonator. And then prove it to yourself every day by living into that identity. #SweetCandleabra

2. Surround Yourself With Better People. The people you spend your time with have a powerful impact on you. They are either tow trucks that pull you forward or anchors that keep you in the same old spot. Find people who are already doing what you want to do. Spend as much time with them as you can. And soon you will take on their best traits, habits and actions. Like in Single White Female.

3. Create Better Habits Habits are everything. You are a product of your habits. If you are struggling with a habit there is something in your process that needs to be adjusted. Keep adjusting your process, cues, and timing until you find something that works for you. To become a master of creating your own great habits check out James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. The book is phenomenal. And it has nothing to do with tiny nuns.

4. Read More. Reading provides tools, ideas, tips, and tricks. Books are full of motivation, inspiration, and any kind of ation you are looking for. Through reading and learning, you’ll discover better ways to do everything. Reading enables us to suck the knowledge and experience out of the brains of rockstars who have already done what we want to do, only without being arrested.

5. Get Scared One of the greatest gifts we have is the scarcity of time. When you recognize how little time you have to accomplish all that you want to, it should scare the fecal matter out of you. Then 2 important things happen. First, you pick up the pace. You realize that you need to take action now, or soon it will be too late. Second, the scarcity of time inspires you to take care of your health. You recognize the value of exercise, weight control and healthy eating to maximize your time.

6. Set SMART Goals. Goals provide direction, inspiration and a scoreboard. Give yourself goals to help improve your life and happiness. Give yourself habit goals to improve your daily life. And declare achievement goals to help you accomplish those big things you always dreamed of doing. Make sure your goals are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Key Takeaway

You have 365 days to make this an amazing year. As JFK said, things do not happen. They are made to happen. Declare your ideal identity. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. Constantly work on your habit creation and maintenance. Read great books and articles to acquire more tools and inspiration. Realize you are running out of time. And that this year is a gift. Act now to prevent regret later. Create clear goals related to your most important habits and achievements. Then work at them every day. And never stop. That’s how you make this year different.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

I don’t recommend getting signatures on the digital version.

Here are 22 pictures from my 2022.

I used to love writing our family’s Christmas card letter. The letter would sum up the highlights of our year and mix in some humor and reflection on life. But I realized that modern technology would allow me to create an even better look at our year. And since a picture is worth a 1000 words, I could write a million-word letter without any typing. Or Whiteout. #winning

So when my children were little I began creating a video of our year in photos. I have done it every year since. And my man Steve Jobs made it easy. The photos from Steve’s magical phone-cameras drop automatically into my computer that Steve built.

I then take the full year of photos and drop them into a digital album. I narrow those photos down to about 250-300 of the best images that tell the story of our year in chronological order. (Which is my favorite order of all time.)

I export the images as a slideshow to iMovie. Then I add a 3-song soundtrack and some title cards at the beginning and end of the movie. And voila! I have a 10-minute video of our year in review. Which means that when my kids graduate or get married I don’t have to make a video. I already have all the embarrassment collected. #DadHack

The Bigger Win

There are 3 great things that have happened as a result of this annual tradition:

  1. We have a fun and easy way to show our friends and family what our year was like.
  2. We have a highlight video of every year of our children’s lives.
  3. We have an ever-present reminder to make the most of each day.

Knowing that we will summarize our year in a video story inspires us to live a fun and adventurous life. Because if we don’t we won’t have anything to share in our annual video. This yearly reflection is a reminder that life is short, and to make the most of every day.

Our 2022 video will be finished and shared on New Year’s Day. But the process of assembling the photos and reliving the year through the images has been rewarding.

Here are 22 images I pulled from our year to share with you. I hope they inspire you to live an adventurous life, to make the most of your 2023, and to capture your life in photos so that you can relive the best moments over and over again.

We learned to surf in Santa Monica this summer. And not just on the sand.
We attended a 1920’s murder mystery party thrown by our friends Jessica and Josh Hunt. (That’s Jessica throwing the peace sign in the back.)

We tilted and whirled at one of the festivals we attended this year.
All-Pro Running Back of the Indianapolis Colts (and Badger) Jonathan Taylor came to Mequon to check out our couch. JT and I were working together on some UW Credit Union stuff I do at my day job at The Weaponry.
I got to guest host The Morning Blend, and throw my hands in the air.
Me and my fellow Homestead High School Girl’s track coaches, after winning the conference championship.
My kids checking out Las Vegas at night from our room.
Buddy V, The Cake Boss, stopped by our table at his restaurant in Vegas.
Taking in some big hair bands at Fenway Park.
The other team I coach. My son Magnus is #55. If you squint you can see my right knee next to his left knee.
Magnus getting back to nature.
Nut crack’n in Chicago.
Me and my wife Dawn were on thin ice for a while in the Windy City.
The fairest of the Wisconsin State Fair.
Hiking The Narrows at Zion National Park after some rare summer rain that turned the river into chocolate milk.
My Crew at Bryce Canyon. Which sounds to me like ‘Buy us crayons!’
Meeting up with our guy Joe Brunner after his first football game at the University of Wisconsin. He hardly seems big enough, right?
Me and my daughter Ava after she had the farthest discus throw at our conference relay meet as a sophomore.
Taking in some Zac Brown Band in the ATL
Us enjoying a sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean several miles off of South Carolina. It was a fun experience, despite the fact that the bar didn’t serve drinks.
Mini golfing. Because we don’t Mickey golf.
Playing Red Rover on the beach on Hilton Head Island.

Key Takeaway

Make each day count. Make your life an adventure. Take pictures to remember. Reflect often. And make 2023 your best year yet.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

What a canceled flight can teach you about your New Year’s goals.

I have several friends who have had their flights delayed or canceled over the past few days. It’s a total bummer to land a starring role in The Airline That Stole Christmas. Brought to you by Southwest Airlines, the airline that won’t let you get away.

When your flight gets canceled you are forced to answer a very simple question:

Now, what do I do?

Goals vs Strategy

When you have travel plans, the destination is your goal. The flight you book is the strategy you choose to arrive at your goal. If your flight gets canceled it affects your strategy, not your goal. The key is to choose a new strategy.

You can book a different flight. You can drive. You can take a train, plane or automobile. You can ride in the back of a rental truck with a polka band from Kenosha. You can ride across the country on a scooter with a friend who is even dumber than you.

Plan B

This week, when my friends Stephanie and Taylor’s flights were canceled, they chose to drive instead. Sure, driving took longer than flying. But it got them to their destinations. Plus, when you drive you get unlimited peanuts, bigger drinks and nobody is trying to gerrymander your armrest.

Your Goals for 2023

As you prepare for a great new year in 2023 you should set exciting new goals to make this your best year yet. You should write the goals down. And you should create a strategy for achieving them.

However, if you are struggling to achieve your goals in 2023, remember the canceled flights. Let them serve as reminders to change your strategy, not your goal.

Key Takeaway

Your goal is your chosen destination. Your strategy is how you plan to get to your goal. When you struggle to make progress, adjust your strategy, not your goal. And remember, you can change your strategy as often as you need to until you find a plan that works.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The best way to have a great year is to tighten your tolerances.

Yesterday morning, at 6 am, my alarm went off, just like it does every weekday. But yesterday the alarm woke me up in the middle of a dream. Which is rude. Because dream sleep, or REM sleep, is the hardest to wake up from. In fact, it is so deep that in REM sleep not even Wham wants you to wake them up before you go go.

As a result of my alarm going off during my body’s no-wake zone, I didn’t spring out of bed immediately, like I usually do. I lay in bed thinking ‘Dude, it’s time to get up.’

I was disappointed with myself for how long I was laying in bed. And I really dislike disappointing myself. I pride myself on being a morning person. The whole, laying-in-bed all morning thing was messing with my self-construct. And I don’t like anyone messing with my self-construct. Especially me.

Finally, I put a smile on my face (which is my daily habit #1) and I motivated myself enough to crawl out of bed.

I grabbed my pillows to make my side of the bed. (Which is daily habit #2.)

As I grabbed the pillows I reluctantly glanced down at the clock on my nightstand the way you might look at the bathroom scale the morning after you skipped a workout and replaced it with a Brontosaurus burger with a side of large fries covered in gravy and cheese, and washed it all down with a cake shake.

Even though I thought I was prepared for the worst, when my eyes finally found the digital numbers displayed on my alarm clock I was stunned.

It was 6:01 am.

Key Takeaway

Raise your standards. Create great discipline and high expectations. By shrinking your tolerances you will experience greater results. And you will live closer and closer to your ideal life. This is one of the best things you can do for yourself in the new year. Because your standards and tolerances drive your self-improvement efforts. And they will ensure you are a better person a year from now than you are today. Which is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The first and most important goal to set for the new year.

We are 360 days into 2022. Which means the end of the year is near. For those who get the number of days in a year confused with the number of degrees in a circle, you may be thinking that tonight is New Year’s Eve. It is not.

However, within the next 5 days, we will ring in 2023. Which is exciting. It’s even more exciting to bust into the new year with a new set of annual goals. In fact, there is almost nothing more exciting than a new list of goals. Because those goals represent a new and better you. A you who is fitter, richer, happier, and maybe more sober or less cigarettey than the current you.

I am a huge fan of setting goals to become a better human. Setting goals has helped me Rumpelstiltskin my ambitions into accomplishments.

A few examples:

  • Goal setting is how I broke my high school, conference and state records in the discus.
  • Goal setting is how I became an entrepreneur and launched the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry. (Goal setting also helped my team launch our new agency website by the end of 2022. We haven’t announced it yet, but if you click the hyperlink above you will be the very first people to see it live.)
  • Goal setting is how I publish a new blog post at least 3 times every week.
  • Goal setting is how I wrote my first book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And my second book The Culture Turnaround, with Jeff Hilimire.
  • Goal setting is why today my weight is within 1 pound of what I weighed when I graduated from high school.
  • Goal setting has enabled me to steadily increase my net worth.
  • Goal setting drives me to read a whole mess of new books every year.
  • Goal setting has kept me off the pole. (That and a lack of requests to actually see me on a pole.)

Goal #1

All of my successful goal setting has taught me that there is one goal that you should set first. A goal that will make it easier to achieve all of your other goals. Here it is:

Surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do.

There is nothing more valuable to achieving your goals than to spend time with others who have already achieved that goal, or who are fully committed to doing it now.

The gravitational pull of humans on other humans is very strong. And like a Peleton in a bike race, the group will pull the individual along. (Which also means that if everyone else is wearing spandex and doping, you are highly likely to too. Right Lance?)

  • The best chance to keep your fitness goals is to surround yourself with fit and health-committed friends.
  • The best way to write a book is to surround yourself with published authors. (And pens.)
  • The best way to get rich is to spend time with rich people.
  • The best way to become more positive is to hang out with other positive people.
  • The best way to become a better spouse and parent is to spend time with great spouses and parents.
  • The best way to get rid of tan lines is to hang out at a nudist colony.

Key Takeaway

Peer groups are like trains. You are highly likely to go where those around you are going. So when you set your goals, make sure you get on the right train. Surround yourself with the right people. People who are committed to going where you want to go. It is the most important step on your journey. And it is the key to arriving at your chosen destination on time.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

A simple reminder to share your light with the world.

One of my favorite events of the year happened on Saturday night. (And yes, it was live.) My family and I attended the Christmas Eve service at our church. The highlight of the service happened at the end when we sang Holy Night. But the magic of the moment was sparked before we sang. Literally.

The best part of the service began when the lights in the sanctuary were turned off and the only light in the church came from the candles on the altar.

The pastor then picked up a candle and lit it with the flame from the center candle of the advent wreath. Then, the ushers lit their candles with the flame from the pastor’s candle.

Once the ushers’ candles were lit, (and I heard Usher singing ‘Let it burn…‘ in my head) they proceeded down the center aisle of the church. As the ushers passed through the church, the people closest to the aisle in each pew lit their candles with the passing flame. The light was then passed down each aisle, person to person, until everyone in the congregation was holding a lit candle.

Silent Night

Then we sang the soft and sweet carol Silent Night, by candlelight. The final verse was sung without the organ, acapella style. (Or is that the term they use to describe the Galapagos Islands? I always forget.) The result is a powerful and touching experience that is the pinnacle of my Christmas celebration.

The Reminder

The great reminder in this tradition goes beyond the birth of Jesus and the no-crying he made. It goes beyond the fact that the cattle were lowing. Which I assume means they were having a limbo contest. Which is a rude thing to do with a sleeping baby around.

The great reminder during the candlelight service is to share your light with others.

You have gifts that make the world better. It is in your kindness, your positivity, and your energy. Your light is the goodness you share with those around you. It shines in your smile, your laugh, your attitude, your determination, your resilience and your creativity. By sharing, your gifts become gifts to those around you. They inspire and comfort. They remind us of the powerful positive impact we can have on each other. And at the end of our days, that’s the only thing that matters.

Key Takeaway

Share your light with as many people as you can. Just as a flame passed from candle to candle can light up a room, when you pass your gifts you can transform the world around you. Your light has the power to positively impact your family, friends, coworkers, teammates and neighbors. But your light can also be passed down from generation to generation, far into the future, influencing people you will never meet. You don’t have to be rich or famous. You just need to pass your light along to one person at a time. Just like we do on Christmas Eve.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.