I believe in setting annual themes. If the Ted Talks Conferences does them, I will too, and so should you. This year's themes are “The Future of You”, at the Ted 2017 conference in Vancouver, Canada, and “Builders, Truth-Tellers, Catalysts”, at the Ted Global 2017 conference in Arusha, Tanzania. A theme sets the tone to your pace, it keeps you accountable to the path, and it grounds you to your humble beginnings.

My theme for 2017 is “APPRECIATION AS FUEL”. I will make a conscious effort this year to balance in more slow with the fast. I will view patience above productivity, because being patient is being productive. I will appreciate all that I have done because none of it would be possible if it weren’t for all that has been done for me.    


I believe in setting monthly and quarterly goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). My background in solo and team sport has engrained in me a need to set goals that coincide with a season of competition. Most commonly in a year of sports training, we have 4 cycles: In-Season, Post Season, Off Season, Pre-Season. Periodization is the term used to describe the balance of these cycles. An athlete’s training intensity and volume are dictated by the goals for each cycle, and ultimately aim to maximize the most important one of the 4 cycles; the In-Season performance.

As it relates to my year of running, I am currently in winter pre-season cycle, building up for spring time, where I will be aiming to be at my peak shape for my first race of the year. I am going to be running the Barcelona 100km Ultra in March, so now it is important that I build baseline strength through stability and proprioceptive work, and work on mental plasticity and endurance through training diversity and experiential education via a variety of class participation and instruction. My weekly running mileage will steadily increase from here on out.

I believe in enhancing my external goals with internal intentions. Both goals and intentions are highly dependent on circumstances and context. Goals are not always achieved as we cannot predict the future, but if set right, intentions can always be fulfilled because we have full control over how we think and act in the present moment. Here are some of the differences between goals and intentions.

Examples of intentions vs. goals that I personally use:   

  • Swimming - Goal is to swim 10 laps in 15 minutes. Intention is to swim with calmness and finesse from first lap to last lap.

  • Studying - Goal is to read 1 chapter before bedtime. Intention is to read to absorb and enjoy.

  • Nutrition - Goal is to chew food for at least 20s per mouthful. Intention is to savour every bite as mindfully as possible.


My 2017 theme of ‘appreciation as fuel’ will be actualized with the help of the intention, “patience over progress”. I have been using this intention before each and every one of my classes that I participate in and I am finding it very spiritually soothing and freeing. When we pace ourselves with patience, we are provided with time to reflect, time to regenerate, and time to just be. The importance of creating time and space in our lives provides us with the chance to progress, hence why patience is progress on so many levels.


“I am one with the force and the force is with me”. This mantra was repeated over and over by Donnie Yen’s character Chirrut Imwe in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Even though his character wasn’t ‘force’ sensitive, meaning he didn’t uphold telepathic and telekinesis abilities, he was the most ‘forceful’ in every other way possible.  First off, he was blind, secondly, he was an incredible martial artist, and thirdly, he had the zen mentality to stay calm and focused under the most treacherous of times. It was easy to see that his abilities manifested from the power of faith and his devotion to the ‘force’ religion as demonstrated through his mantra.       

Mantras are believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers. They deploy the language of spiritual expression.They are considered meaningful linguistic instruments of the mind. Some mantras have ritualistic and literal meanings, and some are just sounds with ambient tone. They exist in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and in Japanese Shingon tradition. Mantras can have philosophical themes, moral principles, and a call to virtuous life.

As mystical as it sounds, I believe we are all ‘force’ sensitive. I believe in the pseudo sciences, the metaphysical, and all iterations of the alternative healing arts. I believe there are many things we do not understand, cannot compute, and most certainly aren’t ready to comprehend. But at the end of it, faith and hope, and the devotion to believing are all we truly have. So why think of life as ‘to be concluded’ when you can think of life as a ‘to be continued’? Set themes, goals, intentions, and mantras for the sake of developing your spiritual self, for it will elevate your physical, mental, and emotional self.   

[As a participatory activity, I’d like you to create your theme, write down your top 3 goals/resolutions from Chapter 1, and put together a mantra for 2017.]
(Please pause your reading, write them down now if you haven’t yet, yes, I’m serious! Go! Now! GO!)

IN A NUTSHELL #4 - It is in you to change, all you must do is be willing. Themes, goals, intentions, and mantras are all tools for self development, they are tried, tested, and true, all you must do is be willing to use them on your journey. Don’t find yourself, create yourself. May the force be with you.