Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Outback Surprise Comes Full Circle

Those of you who know me very well know that eating good food is one of my passions and that Outback Steakhouse ranks at the top of my list of places to eat. Most of you who are familiar with this blog probably also remember how Outback shocked me with a package full of "Outback Surprises" for me and 40 of my friends on my 40th birthday back in November. As you can see in that recap, I had fun distributing the prizes to various people and even making some new friends like Mount Vernon mayor Richard Mavis and Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo along the way.

Well, it took a little bit of detective work and then some patience, but I was able to get the Outback Surprise concept to go full circle much to the surprise and delight of the social media folks at Outback. When they sent me the box, the only directions they provided were to watch the video on the flash drive that was enclosed. It was highlights from Lucas Jatoba's 30th birthday in Australia when he wrapped up 30 presents and gave them to random people. It's basically what inspired Outback's birthday idea for me. Outback didn't ask me to do anything else...they left it up to me as to what I would do with all the wrapped presents.

That's where I feel like Outback made a great choice in choosing me. I saw this as an opportunity to once again prove the power of social media and especially Twitter to others. I tracked down Lucas and got him to follow me on Twitter. He was kind enough to give me his mailing address after reading my initial blog, and I shipped him one of the surprises with the only requirement that he film himself opening it so I could include him among my videos. The biggest catch was that once the package got to Australia he was out of the country until the beginning of February. However, once he returned home, he was quick to hold up his end of the bargain and you can see the video below:

Once again, I have to say a huge thanks to the folks at Outback who have made me feel like part of their immediate family. If you aren't following them on Twitter (@Outback), you need to because they interact with everyone in a very personable way. Just tell them that @MVNUSID sent you and they'll take good care of you.

Oh, and one final note...If you have been counting the Outback Surprise giveaways (and I know that some of you were), you'll probably point out to me that I only gave out 39 of them. That is correct. While the hope was that Lucas was going to get the 40th one, I still have one that has yet to be delivered. And, with my wife rolling her eyes as I type this, it's got Debbie Gibson's name on it. :) Yes, being a fan of 80's music, I'm a big Debbie Gibson fan and I thought she would be a fun person to try to get involved with this 40th birthday fun.

So, Debbie, help me finish off this project and take a quick break from your Celebrity Apprentice duties to be a part of what has been a pretty entertaining adventure for me. Everyone around me tells me that I won't get you to do it AND I've also had to explain to a lot of people 25 and younger who you are. However, I have a feeling that you'll come through for one of your fans 'cause that's just the kind of person you are. I know this request is "Out of the Blue", but help me show people that "Anything is Possible". Thanks in advance, Debbie! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Groundhog Day - A Chance for a Do-Over

One of my favorite movies from the early 90's is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. If you have never seen it, here's a link to the trailer. A brief synopsis is that it's about a weatherman who keeps re-living Groundhog Day over and over and over again. Once he figures out that he's stuck in what seems like a never-ending time loop, he starts to work towards having a perfect day. He gets to use trial and error to keep finding combinations that work in his favor in the encounters that he continues to have over and over once the day resets for him.

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, everyone has the best of intentions to keep them going throughout the entire year. However, plenty of studies have shown that life happens, excuses start to be made, and pretty soon a majority of those positive changes have been discarded along the wayside and given up for lost well before they even become habits and party of our daily routine.

There are several ways to successfully keep your New Year's resolutions. First, they should be challenging but also attainable. If there is no way that you can succeed or even get through the first couple of days, it will be a lot easier to give up on them. However, if you set goals that you can reach and that can be measured or monitored daily or at least weekly, you have a big sense of satisfaction that you have accomplished it as you do it. For example, my goal/resolution for 2012 is to do 100 pushups and situps each day. For some, this might be easy and for others it might seem impossible. It's been a challenge for me as I wasn't doing any prior to attempting this, but it has gotten easier as my body has gotten used to it. It's already becoming part of my morning routine and that's where being able to daily check it off my mental to-do list is helping me strive towards my goal.

Another way to successfully reach your goal or keep your resolution is to be accountable to someone about doing this. Every day, I post on Daily Mile after I've done my workout and the people who follow me on the site help encourage and hold me accountable to keep doing it. This adds powerful positive reinforcement to what I am trying to do.

Finally, don't beat yourself up if you have an occasional slip up along the way. For me, I know that there will come a day when my schedule makes it tough to find the 15-20 minutes I need to get my workout done. My body also might not feel like doing this some day, especially since I have a couple of marathons on the docket and you tend to be pretty sore and stiff after running one. However, I know that this daily choice has already benefited me and I want to keep it going.

So, in honor of February 2nd being Groundhog Day, let's give those New Year's resolutions a do-over if you have slipped up or if you forgot to come up with any. And, if you are doing great, give yourself a big pat on the back and keep doing what you are doing. I would love to hear what your resolution or goal is for this year and by posting a comment you are taking the first step to being held accountable to reaching your goal. Whether the groundhog sees its shadow or not, this is one prognostication we can all help each other do! Hopefully, we'll all be celebrating all the great progress we've made when February 29th rolls around and we celebrate Leap Day by jumping for joy. :)