#35 My CANs: An Early List of Things I'm Going To Do

This is the quote, from Scott Adams of Dilbert fame, that I shared with you last time.

“Maximizing my personal energy means eating right, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress, getting enough sleep, and all of the obvious steps. But it also means having something in my life that makes me excited to wake up. When I get my personal energy right, the quality of my work is better, and I can complete it faster. That keeps my career on track. And when all of that is working, and I feel relaxed and energetic, my personal life is better too.”

It captures what I hope to achieve with my personal CAN’s. They exist to feed the virtuous cycle I’m trying to create between ENERGY and GROWTH. Where my increased ENERGY fuels greater GROWTH. And where that GROWTH in turn provides increased ENERGY and satisfaction.


I have three rules I’m going to stick to for my personal CAN’s

  1. Only three personal CANs allowed. If I try to focus on everything, then I’m focused on nothing. Keep them tight and simple.
  2. My success or failure can not be dependent on someone else. No excuses. FYI, we’ll look at CAN’s that I have less control over when I expand my map to work, family, community, etc. 
  3. Each CAN should flow from one or more of my IF statements. Recall that my IF’s are the theories or ideas I have for greater GROWTH and ENERGY. So it only makes sense that my CAN’s would parallel them.

Based on that third point, here is a reminder of my three IF’s.

IF I practice more GRATITUDE I will grow.
IF I ALIGN my thoughts, words, and actions with my map I will grow.
IF I PURGE “Wrong Stories” I will grow. 


Without further delay, here they are…

I CAN EAT Like Joyce
I CAN LIVE with Gratitude 

And here’s a quick blurb on how I’m going to approach each of these.



Carrying an extra ten plus pounds isn’t good for me or my energy levels. But there’s no way in hell I’m giving up the occasional brownie. Or my ritual visit to the Dairy Queen drive thru. So what can I do?

The answer is right in front of my face - my spouse is a real live example of how I should be eating. For 25+ years Joyce has kept herself pretty much dead center in the BMI tables for healthy weight. The only exception was one pregnancy where the doctor told her to gain more weight. She temporarily lost her mind on milkshakes and the Arby’s five for five deal. But I’m not supposed to talk about that. 

Anyway, her weight has always been spot on AND she never ever starves herself. She eats brownies and she’s sitting right beside me when we hit the Dairy Queen. BUT, she only does it on occasion and her eating is most often healthy and well portioned.

I, on the other hand, suck at food selection and am a complete idiot when it comes to portion sizing. I grew up in a house with six kids, where I learned to fight for my food and to nail it fast. So the default portion size for me is ALL. If there’s a bag of Oreo’s in the pantry the correct portion size is one bag - plus a carton of ice cold milk.

So how will I measure this CAN?  Well, I have a fancy scale that uses wifi to send my body composition info to an app on my phone. But I never bother to look at it. So, at least for now, there’ll be no charts or weigh-ins. No numeric goal with success on one side and failure on the other. The only thing I’m going to pay attention to is my energy level. Does EATing LIKE JOYCE increase my ENERGY?  That’s it. Drop dead simple.

And lastly, per rule 3 above, I want to spell out how this CAN relates to my IF’s. It actually hits them all, but the one that resonates the most with me is PURGE Wrong Stories.

I’ve been telling myself many Wrong Stories in this area for years. That a few extra pounds here and there is no big deal. That I can exercise my way to better health. That it’s not enough weight to have negative effects. Blah, blah, blah. All bullshit that I know isn’t true. Time to PURGE those Wrong Stories. 


I consider mapofme.com to be a business, but this CAN is personal. Whether anyone reads my posts or not, the writing process has been wonderful for me. I’d amassed this mountain of research, but it was a pile of disorganized gunk. And trying to figure out what to do with it was causing me stress.

Now it feels great to be making sense of it. To get it in a usable form that I can apply to my life. And expressing it publicly has been the key to this forward motion. This commitment to putting my thoughts out there on a weekly basis has provided the added kick I needed to keep doing the work.

And this CAN is easy to measure. I’ll create approximately 50 sincere posts per year. No link bait garbage. Just stuff that I believe can add value.

And this CAN will be adding that value around my ALIGNMENT IF…

IF I ALIGN my thoughts, words, and actions with my map I will grow.

Hitting my deadline, posting weekly, is my constant reminder to stay conscious of my WHY/ME/IF. To keep growing and evolving in ways that are ALIGNed with my map.


I already hit this one pretty hard in this post on my IFs, but it’s a home run and I definitely want to hit it again.

If you recall, below is how I discovered Gratitude and how it became part of an important daily ritual.

Out of the blue, Joyce and I started sharing one or two things we were grateful for each day. We did it at night after the lights were out. No pencils and paper. No rules. No nothing. And here’s what happened…

Stage 1 - Thirty seconds of sharing before we fell asleep. Trivial, repetitive, felt forced and kind of stupid.

Stage 2 - Tiny little recorder in my head starts watching for gratitude stuff during the day. I need something in memory for that stupid nighttime gratitude thing we’re doing.

Stage 3 - During the day I add something to my mental  gratitude list for use that evening. Out of nowhere another thought strikes. "Wait a second, I’m actually feeling grateful for this in real time”. 

Stage 4 - I express my gratefulness as the event is happening. Real time. Lights on. Face to face. “Joyce, I’m grateful you took the kids to the dentist today so I could get the grass mowed before it rained”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still suck at gratitude. I still take 99.99% of stuff for granted, but this stuff actually works! And it obviously fits with this IF…

IF I practice more GRATITUDE I will grow.

And I’ll measure this one by making sure I share my GRATITUDE with Joyce every single night. So long as I keep doing that, I’m confident I’ll stay in the gratitude zone. I'll remember to express appreciation to those around me in real time.


EAT like Joyce, POST weekly, LIVE with gratitude. Those are my CAN’s. They flow from my WHY, ME,  and especially my IF. And, assuming they’re effective, they will provide me both GROWTH and ENERGY. The virtuous cycle I talked about in the open. 


But what if these CAN’s are junk? What if I fail at them or they’re poorly chosen?

Well, I’m pretty sure the world won’t end. Remember, from my last post, the question mark I placed after CAN? It’s a reminder that I can’t know for sure what’s good for me in the long term or where these CAN’s might lead me. They seem good, and I'm going to pursue them with a vengeance, but only time will tell.

Down the road I’ll let you know how they’re working out…

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