Thinking about 2016 and how many firsts I had. First time something happened to me. First time I went somewhere. First time I did something. First time I attempted a new skill.

There’s something amazing about Shoshin, the beginner mindset.

And other research shows mixing up routine with new tasks is good for your brain and overall health.

Say what you will about 2016.

Heartache, catastrophe and the unexpected will ever continue, and at increasing rates.

Both literally, because there are more people on the planet each day and therefore greater probability of something tragic happening to those people.

And as a matter of perception, as every day you and I become aware of more of those people and more of those tragedies.

If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. — Thich Nhat Hanh

I do new things in part to increase the immensity of my river.

Each new thing gives me capacity to absorb external events and continue on in pursuit of my priorities.

First time walking the new Hoover Dam bridge


Lots of car stuff:

Bought a car
Got car insurance
Got a Utah license
Replaced driveline U joints
Changed my own oil
Replaced an air filter
Replaced an engine temp sending unit
Aligned a set of front tires
Flushed my radiator + engine coolant
Replaced a tie rod
Replaced a battery
Took old car fluids for recycling
Bought car tires
Went to a junkyard
Pulled a transfer case
Bought a breaker bar
Replaced a fuel filter
Replace a fuel pump
Started a car w/starter fluid
Treated an engine w/Sea Foam
Drained and replaced power steering fluid
Drove with 4WD
Went rock crawling
Forded a river
Got stuck, figured it out, made it home


Lots of marketing stuff:

Used/learned Ontraport CRM
Figured out embedding Ontraport forms into ClickFunnels pages
Built an online school with Teachable
Produced and launched courses on Teachable
Used Zapier for real: Teachable <> Ontraport integration
Built a website from scratch with Squarespace
Programmed forms on a page to autoredirect to a new page after submission
Used Squarespace’s custom CSS injection
Used/learned Google Tag Manager
Setup Google Analytics goals based on firing of tags in GTM
Used Webflow to manage a site’s content
Used UTM parameters … like really
Used/learned ConvertKit


Went to/through/across . . .

Lake Powell
Sedona, AZ
The new Hoover Dam bridge (walked)
Oquirrh Mountain Temple
Logan, UT
Bear Lake
Oregon Coast
Antelope Island (the one in the Great Salt Lake)
San Antonio
Downata Hot Springs
An indoor gun range
Western Grand Canyon Rim
Tibble Fork Canyon
Forest Lake
Uintas via Midway
Pine Canyon (drove)
Butterfield Canyon (drove to the mine lookout)
Millcreek Canyon (ran, rode)
Old Ward Canyon (drove)
Farmington Canyon (drove)
Cedar Canyon (drove)
Allred + Robinson family sites in Spring City
Three Sisters Lakes + Sunset Peak (ran)
Clayton Peak (hiked)
Mt. Olympus (ran)
Catherine’s Pass + Alta-Brighton loop (ran)
Little Cottonwood Canyon (ran)
Big Cottonwood Canyon (ran)
Lambs Canyon to Brighton (ran)


Saw David Copperfield perform

Bought a Mac

Moved to + lived in Salt Lake City


Stepped into Alum role and mentored current BYU students in their nascent comms/marketing/entrepreneur journeys

Took a long-term commitment to volunteer at a hospital

Co-hosted a little party in Watch Hill, RI next to T Swift’s place

Did a via ferrata

Summited Mt Olympus in the snow

Ran up a mountain with Yaktrax

Volunteered for RAGNAR

Volunteered at the Peak Series

Used social media to get considered for a job

Joined Circle, by Squarespace

Went to a funeral for a former roommate

Was the one to break up a dating relationship rather than be the one broken up with

Listened/watched/read the entire BYU Speeches archive for a single speaker

Sold something on the street to a complete stranger

Passed out giving blood

Shopped at Costco . . . on my own membership

Joined a tri club

Did a blood-sampling lactate test to determine my heart rate zones

Raced a tri at elevation (6400′)

Won my age-group outright in a regular-format sprint tri (swim -> bike -> run)

Did one of those escape-the-room challenges

Did the Utah caucus thing

Voted 3rd party

Played tennis 4 days in a row

Got a Suunto

Started running on Newtons, with Sofsole inserts, Balega socks and Skratch nutrition

Bought my own kickboard, paddles, buoy, fins and snorkel

Trained with said snorkel … man alive, that’s tough right now

Trained with power on the bike

Shipped a pallet across the country via an LTL freight order

Paced a runner

Ran a stand-alone marathon (twice)

Took caffeine pills before the second marathon (oops)

Raced as a sponsored/supported athlete

Coached someone thru their first tri

Finished 26 books

Got evacuated from my residence for one night by the police (SWAT extracted an active shooter from my former next-door neighbor’s house)

Listened in on a police scanner (about SWAT extracting said shooter)

Launched a personal website (this one first, then five months later)

Blogged once a month

Took a photo class

Discovered the awesomeness of quick video chatting via Snapchat and Marco Polo

BBQed ribs in the oven

Made world’s best chocolate chip cookies

A number of mental/emotional/spiritual firsts that have been intensely personal

I live by semesters so this will continue.


OH AND HOW COULD I FORGET?!? I won my fantasy football league … against all guys who played ball while I was in marching band.


What’d you do for the first time in 2016?

Even if your first thought is “not much,” I bet if you think about it your first-time-in-2016 list will surprise you.