My Plan to Pump Up My Life (and Yours) in 2023

The seven steps I took to come up with my 2023 life plan, why I named it "Arnold," and the system you can use to make a similar plan.


Since it’s the beginning of the year, I figure it’s a fitting time to come clean with you.

Last issue, I told you that I’m not taking it easy anymore in 2023 and, instead, implementing a “life workout” system to pump up my life.

This system would drench my comfort zone in sweat in a good way so that I would look back on 2023 on Dec 31 and think, “Whew, that was tough! Awesome, too! Bring on the next life workout!”

Then I ended the email by inviting you to join me in creating your own 2023 “life workout” plan using the my step-by-step system.

But here’s what I didn’t mention:

I hadn’t even begun building the system yet!

I announced it, launched it, whispered “Oh sh*t” to myself, and scrambled to put something together to avoid crashing and burning on Jan 1.

Well, Jan 1 has passed—Happy New Year, by the way!—and I’m relieved to tell you that the life workout system has landed safely. I test-drove it myself, and I’m excited by how well it works.

So in this issue, I’d like to push you to make your own 2023 life workout plan by introducing you to mine, which I’ve named “Arnold.”

Consider this…

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Meet Arnold, My 2023 “Life Workout Plan”

My life workout planning system ended up being seven steps.

The first three were like detective work. I collected an enormous pile of evidence from 2022 (Step 1: 📼) and sifted through it for clues on what to do more of (Step 2: ⭐️) and what to avoid (Step 3: 🕳), so I could do better in 2023.

Many of my clues pointed in one direction I didn’t suspect:

I got the most energy, made the most progress, and had the most memorable adventures in 2022 when I proactively took the lead. E.g.:

  • Reaching out to friends to organize get-togethers rather than waiting for Kim to do so or for them to invite me.
  • Finding little problems with my life and squashing them rather than being easy-going and riding with them.
  • Creating challenges and life workout plans for readers like you.

This surprised me! I’ve always thought of myself as a go-with-my-own-flow “free spirit,” not a proactive leader.

And, truth is, I don’t like taking the lead.

But, evidently, I like having taken the lead!

This turned out to be especially the case in the areas of my life where my self-assessment (Step 4: ⚖️) tells me I’m weakest—Relationships and Career.

So I concluded the following:

To take my life in the direction I want to go (Step 5: 🧭), I need to, no, I want to commit to being unusually action-biased and proactive. I want to act like a leader even if I don’t like it. And I want to keep pushing hard in my own unconventional way with a smile on my face.

This brought to mind a certain autobiography that was among my favorite reads from 2022:

So I’m naming my 2023 life workout plan (Step 7.1) in Schwarzenegger’s honor.

I’ve compiled more than a Gold’s Gym full of exercises to challenge myself with (Step 6). I put in place a life workout logging system (Step 7.2). And I’m warming up (Step 7.3) by leading this “life workout” plan system.

Speaking of that last point…

I Want to Pump You Up!

I am Schwarzenegger-ish-ly confident that this 7-step “life workout” planning system will positively pump you up in 2023 if you’re willing to put in the work.

So like Arnold, I’m not going to be shy about shoving it in your face. It’s free, anyway.

Here’s a recap of the seven steps:

  1. 📼 Review and Rewind
  2. 💫 Locate Bright Spots
  3. 🕳 Detect Black Holes
  4. ⚖️ Self-Assess
  5. 🧭 Set a Direction
  6. 🏋️ Collect Exercises
  7. 🔌 Set Up and Activate

You can start anytime. The steps are self-paced. And for each step you’ll get instructions, explanations, handy tips, and suggestions.

If you feel you need an extra push, consider a coaching plan. It’s the best deal you’ll ever get from me because part of my plan to pump my life up this year involves pumping up my prices.

With these private coaching plans, you’ll have me as:

  • a sounding board to bounce ideas off of;
  • a spotter to help you with questions or when you get stuck;
  • a real-life (non-AI!) idea-generator;
  • a buddy to do the planning alongside (I’m doing my own life “workout plan” and am happy to share my own planning work and get any feedback you’re willing to share);
  • a source of accountability, since if I don’t get emails from you on your progress I’ll check in to ensure you’re not slacking.
  • and whatever else you have in mind.

Whether you choose a free or coached program, or to devise a plan on your own, what I want most for you is to come up with some system for pumping yourself up in 2023.

Make your own Arnold!

Pump Up Your Life With a Life Workout Plan

Thought Starters

All the following are from Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story:

  • 🔫 Shoot first. “You can overthink anything. There are always negatives. The more you know, the less you tend to do something.”
  • 🧗 Take the exciting route. “My definition of living is to have excitement always; that’s the difference between living and existing.”
  • 🎁 What are you going to give to life? “It’s not what you get out of life that counts. Break your mirrors! In our society that is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other. You’ll get more satisfaction from having improved your neighborhood, your town, your state, your country, and your fellow human beings than you’ll ever get from your muscles, your figure, your automobile, your house, or your credit rating. You’ll get more from being a peacemaker than a warrior.” – Arnold’s father-in-law.
  • 😀 Smile like crazy. “Arnold never, ever had an angry look while he was training. He was lifting huge amounts of weight. He’s always smiling. I mean, think about that. What must be inside his head? What must he know about his future, that he is always smiling?” – George Butler on following Arnold for his documentary, Pumping Iron.
  • 🔋 Do energizing work. “For me work just meant discovery and fun. If I heard somebody complaining, ‘Oh, I work so hard, I put in ten- and twelve-hour days,’ I would crucify him. ‘What the fuck are you talking about, when the day is twenty-four hours? What else did you do?'”
  • ☢️ Anti-normal. “My drive was not normal. My vision of where I wanted to go in life was not normal. The whole idea of a conventional existence was like Kryptonite to me.”
  • 🏷 What’re you selling? “No matter what you do in life, selling is part of it.”
  • 🤪 Outrageous success. “Sometimes I prefer being way out there, shocking people. Rebelliousness is part of what drove me from Austria. I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I thought of myself as special and unique and not the average Hans or Franz. Being outrageous is a way to succeed.” (See the clip below for an example.)
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About the author

👋 I'm Chris. Everything you read on is my fault. This site is like a gym for your comfort zone, full of challenges to make your status quo sexier. Join my 'Consider This' newsletter for a fun new challenge every 10 days. Try it!

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