Dear Unhappy Former Self

Dear Unhappy Former Self,

At lot has changed since we parted ways…

Before and After

The basic differences are easy to point out. First and foremost, I am in a lot better shape than you. I am about 60 pounds lighter, and significantly more agile and flexible. I can maintain a dead sprint for half a mile at sea level without losing my breath. You get winded after a 10 meter dash to answer the phone. It might seem hard to believe, but I also heal faster than you. Injuries and bruises are gone much sooner for me than they are for you.

The world reacts in better ways to my presence than it does to yours. When people give me a double take now, it is no longer to make sure I am not trying to sneak candy into a movie theater.

I also feel a whole lot better than you. I sleep less hours, but feel more rested. I have more energy, but eat less sugar. My mind feels sharper, but I take no medications. I am better at doing mental math, remembering names and communicating my ideas. I have improved focus, stamina and discipline. You have cheap beer and even cheaper promises.

You were an important part of my life, but like a negative friend, you were holding me back. The wit we share is no longer the sole life preserver that keeps me afloat in social situations.

I now have purpose, goals and confidence.

So what changed?

Simply put, I decided to dump you. No more excuses. No more whining. No more accepting the world as it was. It wasn’t me, it was you. The break up was difficult, but put frankly, I realized I could do better than you.

I decided to make diet and exercise a priority, and made the purposeful decision to fully commit myself to my life list. It was incredibly hard at first, but gradually I started to become better than you. My priorities became clear, and I started to gain momentum. I started to take more chances, and slowly learned what was possible.

We still have a lot in common, you and I. We both have the same difficult past experiences. We still have the same fears, and the same faults.

You wake up every morning with a smile and optimism for tomorrow.

I wake up every morning with a smile and optimism for today.

I make change happen now.

Hope is not lost for you. You can still become whatever or whomever you want. That burst of inspiration that occasionally ignites you can still be turned into action. The only variable is you. You must decide to cultivate that change in yourself. It won’t be a caring friend, a successful co-worker, or a concerned doctor that turns the steering wheel of your life, it will have to be you. You are not the best version of yourself. You can improve. Make the decision to act! If you do, a happier future awaits.

Love,

A much happier you :-)

46 comments… add one

  • Chris Apr 20, 2011

    Respect dude! That’s awesome! How long did that take you?

    • Danny Dover Apr 20, 2011

      Thanks! The pictures were taken about nine months apart. The running came later and I think I am actually in better shape since taking the second photo. I’ll post an even more toolish pic after I finish the marathon :p

      • Hey Danny,
        Big fan of your Bucket List.
        Love that you’re running, I just recently started as well.

        Completed my first half marathon beginning of April ’11 and trying to decide when to push for the full.

        When do you plan to run a full marathon?

  • Travis Apr 20, 2011

    Danny,

    I’m a keen follower of your blogging, I think your SEO stuff is in a different class, but this, this is something else.

    You’re a truly gifted writer and I thank you for sharing.

  • Josh Apr 20, 2011

    Dover’s Checklist:
    1. Write insightful SEO how-to manual
    2. Lose crazy weight
    3. And to top it off, a black iphone instead of the stupid white one!
    (Full disclosure, I am not of the iPhone elite.)

    Anyhow, I know how good it feels to lose the unwanted pounds, and better yet when other people notice. So, well done. What’s next on your agenda…any interesting projects coming up?

    • Danny Dover Apr 20, 2011

      :-) That about sums it up

      Next on the list is the remaining hundred or so items on my bucket list. Should keep me busy for a while.

      Cheers!

  • TimmyWhimmy Apr 20, 2011

    Pic 1: “Derp”
    Pic 2: “Wut!?”

  • dawn shepard Apr 20, 2011

    Danny this is awesome. Thank you for sharing this personal letter. I’m reading a book about this very subject and in it they suggest that I write a letter to myself and that I need to love all of me, including the fat me. I think this is an awesome example. On another note, I saw Sucker Punch this weekend and it helped me with inertia. The line is something like, “you have all the tools you need, now fight!”

    • Danny Dover Apr 20, 2011

      :-) Haven’t seen that movie yet but now I’ll check it out. Best of luck with your journey. It seems like you are heading in the right direction.

  • Hanna Apr 20, 2011

    Danny, congratulations. You inspire me so much!

  • Timo Smeets Apr 20, 2011

    Haha! Once again, a great post!

    So exercise and diet is your solution… I’ve been exercising, so maybe it’s time to take some time of the beer to see if results appear :)

    Cheers Danny!

  • Lance Apr 20, 2011

    Nice Work on dropping the weight but more importantly nice job on changing your outlook and then doing something to make it happen. Gotta respect that!

    • Danny Dover Apr 20, 2011

      Its funny, the latter is actually the harder part. :-)

  • Craig Addyman Apr 20, 2011

    Well done!

  • April Vaughn Apr 20, 2011

    Namaste my friend. You have become a true yogi; an enlightened, self-actualized creature. I bow my head to you sir!

  • Spencer Padway Apr 20, 2011

    Impressive stuff, I just finished a workout binge myself and thought about doing a similar blog style post. I envy your bucket list dedication.
    How did you come about writing your bucket list?

  • Scott Apr 20, 2011

    so when are you gonna post those hawt pix up on myspace?

    x0x0
    -cutiebaby69

    • Danny Dover Apr 20, 2011

      I was waiting for the myspace reference :-p You never disappoint.

  • Salar Apr 20, 2011

    Danny,

    Awesome post, buddy. Congratulations! You are an inspiration to many.

  • Karen Lauth Apr 20, 2011

    I have loved watching you ‘come into your own’ over the years! Going Paleo certainly has done you tons of good and your confidence in yourself is inspirational. The Before and After pics are a great measure of your success in your health and wellness. Keep up the amazing progress!

  • Kevin Apr 20, 2011

    I wish I could have a before and after picture. Curse my unconditionally amazing fitness!

  • Barry Adams Apr 21, 2011

    Yeah it’s not the realisation that I need to change my eating patterns and bad habits, its the actions to get that done that I somehow aren’t managing.

    Any tips on how to overcome that hurdle? How to turn intent in to reality, amidst a busy life filled with the usual stresses and competing seductions?

    • Danny Dover Apr 21, 2011

      Yeah that hurdle is the hardest part. I found it helpful to actually force myself to eat better by not giving me other choices. I went on Paleo and threw away or donated all of my food or snacks that didn’t fit the bill.

      That way when I got hungry, I had no choice but to eat healthy.

      For times when I was not at home, I used the Jerry Seinfeld method of discipline (http://lifehacker.com/#!281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-secret) and made sure not to make any exceptions with my diet or exercise during the week. On Saturdays I would pick one meal where I could eat whatever I wanted. This gave me something to look forward to in the week when I wanted to cheat.

      After a few months I cut out the splurge on Saturday as it was having the opposite effect. The meal made me feel worse not better. That is when I knew I was over the hurdle. E-mail me if you want to chat more.

  • Steven Britton Apr 21, 2011

    Great Post, Danny! Also, I read your book and learned a lot of useful information; well worth the purchase!

    One other key point that you missed – you’re now closing your shower curtain after showering.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    -Steven

  • Barb Dover Apr 21, 2011

    Fantastic post Danny! You have done a great job of setting high goals and accomplishing them. Continue to inspire others to be their personal best!

  • Kevin Doory Apr 21, 2011

    Another in a fine line of inspirational and educational posts. Your progress is not only nice to see but an additional motivation.
    I agree that you just have to decide for yourself that you want to change. I did it when I quit smoking last year. Your list and blogs help me to keep up the faith when it comes to workout & diet changes. Slow and steady and always moving forward .

  • Paul Baguley Apr 27, 2011

    Hey Danny well done with this.

    Brought your book last month and has been a great read and help me out loads.

  • jcworth May 18, 2011

    Dog, full respect. I am printing out this blog. I am gonna climb right onto the shoulders of a giant. See you down the road.

    • Danny Dover May 20, 2011

      :-) That is fantastic. I’d love to stayed updated. Perhaps you should consider writing a blog of your own?

  • Colleen Jun 28, 2011

    Good for you man! :)

  • Cindy Jul 1, 2011

    Michelle D’s mom again. Love love love this post. It’s insirational! Thanks.

  • John Oct 6, 2011

    Being a guy who just went through pretty close to this same 60 pound transformation i relate to this post a ton. It gave me goosebumps almost if my words would have been projected the same. Great job man, everyday life is a great adventure, live with everything you have

  • Eric Oct 9, 2011

    I see it!
    It’s a different iphone!

  • Joe Feb 6, 2012

    You walk among the true kings.Well done and nobly written.

  • Mary Feb 17, 2012

    Congrats on your weight loss goal~ enjoyed your post from a much happier you!! So glad I found your life list page, as I’m working on mine..Thanks for the inspiration!
    Good luck with the rest of your list :)

  • Amy May 2, 2012

    Wow. This so much motivated me today! Awesome.
    I lost 25 lbs since adopting a high energy (cute!) puppy last August, but now need to kick it up a notch to reach my fitness goals/weight & this was super helpful.
    Also reading today the Avery baby blog is beyond motivating re: living life to the fullest & to the “funnest” . (averycan.blogspot.com/)
    Amy

  • Nautibean May 6, 2012

    Danny- todays the first day of the rest of my life. good bye unhappy former self!

  • Jon Payne Jun 13, 2012

    Hi Danny,

    Long time no talk! Sounds like things are going well, so kudos to you!

    That said, I don’t think anyone mentioned the truly significant change that I see in this photo. Not the weight loss. Not the tan.

    The shower curtain.

    Can you please analyze how the new shower curtain has impacted your life – perhaps putting you in a more positive frame of mind each morning when you get ready for you day?

    :)

  • Diego May 20, 2013

    Danny I am from Peru and and after reading the pickpocking story i was interested in how you made your life more interesting.Then i saw your TED talk and finally read this comparison between the former self and the new person that you can be and felt like the worries that i have in my life were something of the past.Yes you gave me hope and encouraged me to change myself and to no make more excuses. Who would have tought that some minutes before i was searching in google about pickpocking and ended up learning from you how to make my life more happier.
    Thank you your sharing your experience and keep making your wishes real.
    Saludos

    • Danny Dover May 22, 2013

      Life has a funny way of giving you what you need when you least expect :-) Best of luck on your journey Diego. Cheers!

  • Sylphadora Jun 30, 2013

    Wow!! O_O What a post!! I loved every single word of it. Very inspirational =)

    I am now too embarking on the road of becoming a better version of myself. I have achieved a lot this past year because I’ve overcome a major depression – I didn’t know what to do with my life and felt hopeless – but in the process I neglected my health and have gained over 20 pounds (I am a sugar addict and a compulsive eater.)

    This post gives me a lot of strength =) I’ll come back to it and re-read it when I need a pep talk!! ;-)

  • Lena Kassicieh Nov 3, 2013

    I’m a writer/editor in Amman, Jordan, and I came across your blog today in my search for “sky diving”. Ever since I was young I’ve been petrified of heights; I rode on a roller coaster once and I think there’s no money in the world to make me do it again. Because I decided I no longer want to be ruled by my own fear and reservations, I am going sky diving tomorrow, above the Dead Sea. Your blog made me feel so much better about it, and I am certain tomorrow I’ll feel a bit bad-ass-ish. Cool blog, keep it up mister.

    • Danny Dover Nov 3, 2013

      Thanks Lena, good luck with your jump and enjoy your other endeavors :-D

  • Paul Nov 9, 2014

    you have lost your weight. good luck

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