—Sneak Preview—

Chapter One: 
The Last Thing You Need is
Just Another Resolution

Your buddy’s kitchen is generally not the best place to get a tattoo. Neither is the kind of 4AM that comes after several hours of binge drinking.

But alas, our friend Vince has had to learn this lesson according to the proverbial hard way.

After spending some time on his new rugby team, Vince began to notice that all the guys had these terrible tattoos. And it was about that time that he also realized one of his new teammates entertained himself—and the entire team—as an amateur tattoo artist.

Take a moment to connect the dots if you must…

But see, our friend Vince had never been much of a tattoo-wearing kind of guy, so he just kept declining the offers and looking for other means of indulging in all things life and rugby.

But then came Vince’s Big Day.

And when we’re talking about Vince’s Big Day, we’re not talking about tattoos. At least not yet. What we are talking about is when Vince’s rugby team voted him Man of the Match for leading the way in kicking ass against a team they most definitely should not have beaten. The big win led to a traditional Drink-Up where as the newly declared Man of the Match, Vince was obligated to “shoot the boot”—a rookie cleat filled with beer and a shot of spit from each of his teammates.

You can already tell this is an evening where the best of decisions are being made. You should probably sit on the edge of your seat awaiting more…

And so it’s here where we fast-forward to 4AM and find a crowd of not-so-sober rugby players, their girlfriends, and a stray cat from down the street all chanting Vince’s name and empowering The Most Matchful of Men to finally get the tattoo that his position now demanded. And just as you would have expected,

Vince jumped right in. 

But rather than getting this amazing new tattoo on his arm or leg or chest, Vince saw streams of light shining through the clouds of misjudgment and decided to put it on his backside. Yes, his backside. In other words, the area south of his back. And rather than playing it safe and requesting a more conventional or conservative design to be tattooed across his arse, our bold new rugby legend told his new amateur-artist-friend to surprise him, to tattoo his ass anything he’d like. “Be a true artist,” we can hear him saying pushing through a brilliantly early-morning stupor, “and just make it great!”

Fast-forward a good decade or so later, and here’s where we find Dirk Vermin and Rob Ruckus of the reality TV show Bad Ink step into the picture. You know this show. The one with the slogan where Ruckus says, “Welcome to the mistake capital of the world. We have a reputation in this town. We’re saving Vegas one bad tattoo at a time.” It’s a tattoo cover-up show. People bring them terrible tragedies, and Dirk rescues them with amazing works of art, large enough and dark enough to hide all trace of tragedies stained permanently in ink and blood.

And so it’s here with Ruckus and Dirk where we find inscribed across Vince’s seat cushion the hospitable invitation “Welcome Aboard,” embroidered in the thick dark lettering of something like a Cooper Black font and spanning cheek to cheek. And it’s here in the show where we find jokes abound, those of love boats and the swabbing of poop decks. Here we find Ruckus draw a very careful distinction between badass tattoos and bad ass tattoos. And somewhere in there Dirk saves the day by painting a large eagle over what was once designed to welcome unexpected guests.

Thankfully not all tattoos are bad tattoos. And thankfully I’ve seen more badass tattoos than bad ass ones. But tattoos, for better or for worse, are a part of us. Though it’s true that we can decide to cover them up with more tattoos that are larger and darker, generally speaking once we get one, it’s almost guaranteed to stick with us forever. In a very real way, our tattoos become a part of us. They both shape and are shaped by our individual identities in an almost cyclical fashion. 

Speaking of that which shapes us, let me ask you about your goals.

You know, those areas of life where you’d like to see change but where that very change can seem so damned elusive—so almost-impossible for mere mortals like us.

And as long as we’re on the subject of unfulfilled goals, let me ask you, When was the last time you thought about a resolution?

Okay, when was the last time in any other month than January???

Probably not recently—other than in January. But take some time and really think about it for a moment, about the word resolution itself. The sound and feel of the word. It’s kind of a large and robust word, big and sturdy.

Think of the kind of person who could be described as resolute. They are driven, determined individuals. They are dauntless, immovable. Even bold and courageous. Relentless in their resolve. Firm in fortitude. They know what they want, they rise up to take it, and nothing stands in their way without being overcome. They are resolute.

And so it is with a resolution. We would do well to stop thinking of resolutions as the mindless new year ritual they’ve become. The whole thing where we start off each barely-unwrapped-but-just-as-pre-packaged calendar with a list of cultural obligations that we already know we won’t even bother truly attempting to complete. These are not resolutions, not really. I suppose we could call them “just resolutions.” But a true resolution is never just a resolution.

A resolution is an act of congress.

That’s what you call it when an assembly of the United States Congress adopts a formal stance on a situation and then rises to make its position known. A resolution is an advance toward something more.

Now it’s true that words are flexible things. They convey different meanings depending upon the context they’re used within. And the word resolution has specialized meanings in everything from the spheres of medicine and chemistry to design clarity and music. And, yes, even an act of US Congress.

But we’re not really talking about those things, are we?

We’re talking about how determined you are to create the life you’ve been looking for. One beyond just resolutions.

Real resolutions are badass. They are permanent, or at least as permanent as their usefulness lasts—until you get to the point of another larger, bolder resolution that’s designed right overtop of it. Real resolutions are the real deal. Serious business. Life transformative. Not for the weak-willed. Not for the careless lackadaisical road crew that painted those crooked lines down your residential side street. 

We’re talking about the kind of resolutions you make when you’re sick of the same old year-after-every-single-year kind of life. We’re talking about the kind of resolutions that are formed in firm decisions to take action. When you’ve discovered your aim and reached the verdict. When you’ve made an inner declaration to move forward. To ditch a life of apathy, cowardice, and fear. When you’ve decided to trade a life of instability, timidity, and compliance for one of intentionality, precision, and strength. When you’ve decided to begin living on purpose.

It’s at this point when you’ve begun to awaken an ally named Resolve. And it’s here when you realize the real power to be discovered in a Resolution. A wide-eyed, fully-aware, whole-heartedly-intentional Resolution.

And it’s the kind of thing that will inscribe itself within the very fabric of your identity if you let it—that is, if you take it seriously.

Now here’s the problem with the New Year’s variety of just-resolutions. I’m sure they started off with good intentions. And no doubt there are some in the world today who continue to treat them with the seriousness they deserve. But honestly, they’ve become something of a cultural joke. Almost the definition of cliché. Like a sticky note that’s been pasted on and off so many times it just falls to the floor while you walk away.

New Year’s Resolutions can be like that. Have you ever done a Google Image search for “new year’s resolutions”? Probably not. But I want you to go ahead and google it now. Yes, of course I’m serious. And make sure it’s an image search. What’s that? It sounds ridiculous? Of course it does. But go ahead and do it anyway. I already have, so it can’t make you any more ridiculous than I already am.

So go ahead and do it. Yep, go ahead.

I’m waiting…

Now go ahead and scan through the results for a moment. You’re looking at a long line of pictures people have taken of their New Year’s promises, aren’t you? See any good ones? Or are they all the same old clichéd just-resolutions you hear about year after every-single-year? How many of them have you adopted at any point in your life? How many are you working on right now?

But I want you to notice something.

Notice how many of these images are photos of resolutions written on sticky notes. Of course, the search results will vary day-to-day, but today I’m getting like twenty percent. For some reason, we have pictures of all these New Year’s wishes written on sticky notes of all things.

Why sticky notes?

But now notice this—and here’s the really curious part. A third of those sticky-note-resolution pics are of notes that have been crumpled up. A third of them. Crumpled up sticky notes spread all across my webpage of search results.

Is this a new thing???

There’s this one that I’m looking at in particular. It has thirty resolutions written on thirty different crumpled up notes. Sounds like a mess, but it’s not. Those thirty are laid out in perfectly formed columns and rows, all organized and nice and neat. But they’ve all been crumpled up, bent corners and everything. 

Crumpled up sticky notes show you why you need to get serious about Your Next Life Now. There’s this one that I’m looking at in particular. It has thirty resolutions written on thirty different crumpled up notes. Sounds like a mess, but it’s not. Those thirty are laid out in perfectly formed columns and rows, all organized and nice and neat. But they’ve all been crumpled up, bent corners and everything. 

Thirty resolutions written on thirty different crumpled up notes. Crumpled up like they were thrown away at one point. But now laid out again in perfectly formed columns and rows.

Why?

Well, my guess is as good as yours, but that guess of mine is this. These sticky notes depict the scores and scores of half-hearted promises that were crumped up and thrown away, only to be rescued from the trash and recycled each recurring year. Same shit, different day. One-day wishes that never come to fruition…

Do we even try to take resolutions seriously?

We post up another year of sticky note just-resolutions that have been stuck and re-stuck so many times they just fall off as we walk away. We see them falling but don’t even care because we never intended to actually do them anyway. We just wanted to write them out so that we could Instagram a shot of them for our followers to see how clever we aren’t. 

The time has come to make a trade.

Enough with sticky note just-resolutions and desensitized resolve. It’s time to own something. It’s time to inscribe it across our lives and within our hearts. It’s time to trade them in for badass tattoos. Not bad ass tattoos (Unless, of course, that’s your thing… No judgments.), but rather for the kind of intentional life changes that create living, breathing artwork within the story of our days.

But that means it’s time to get real. It’s time to be honest. Time to take ownership. Time to be intentional and get down to business.

And this book will show you how. Or at least how to get you started. This is more of a lifelong endeavor sort of thing, but we will get you the building blocks to begin moving forward.

I’d say the rest will be up to you, but that’s not true either. Life is lived best in community. You don’t ever have to do anything alone. And you will do it best if you stop trying to. But we’ll talk more about all that later.

So without any further ado, it’s time to trade sticky notes for badass tattoos. Here are The Seven Action Steps you need to start living Your Next Life Now. Let’s conquer the world together.

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