Take a Leap: 16 Songs for Personal Revolution

You’ll have to forgive me this brief motivational aside.

If you were brave enough to make any New Year’s Resolution at all this year, chances are good that you’re already well off-course by now. The good news? Change doesn’t happen on January 1. Whatever your goals and aspirations, it’s never too late to start turning things around by making just one or two different choices every day. Little changes snowball, new habits and relationships are formed, and big things happen.

This Leap Day is very different than my last.

Last February 29, there was no Country California. If you had asked me then, I’d have told you that I had no idea how to create a blog that would be seen by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. For all my early efforts to find the ‘one thing’ that would put this site over the top, catapulting it to new levels of worldwide renown, growth has been on the same slight-but-steady incline from the beginning to here. The thing that keeps it growing? Continuing to push out the best content we can, day by day and week by week. Plugging away at it. A bunch of small decisions made on an ongoing basis.

Another example, this one even closer to home:

Last February 29, I weighed 80 pounds more than I do today. I didn’t undergo a crazy surgery, hire a personal trainer to beat me up, or subscribe to any particular diet or meal plan. In fact, I didn’t even join a gym. Tired of feeling terrible all the time, I read a couple of books about how to eat more sensibly and tried to make better choices, meal by meal. As often as I could get myself to do it, I walked on a public bike path that runs along a creek by my house. Nothing too dramatic or instantaneous – it would have made for a terrible reality show – but little successes added up, and here I am feeling quite a bit better.

I offer this personal testimony not to pat myself on the back, but rather as proof of the improbable-sounding truth that a different choice you make today might, in fact, be the start of something huge down the road. In that spirit, here’s a playlist aimed at motivating you to take that leap. Go get ’em, tiger.

1. Darrell Scott – “Do It Or Die Trying”
2. Zac Brown Band – “Let It Go”
3. Guy Clark – “The Cape”
4. Garth Brooks – “Standing Outside the Fire” (no link available)
5. Dale Watson – “You Always Get What You Always Got”
6. Radney Foster – “A Little Revival”
7. Rodney Atkins – “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)”
8. Randy Travis – “Not Your Cross To Bear”
9. Kris Kristofferson – “Pilgrim’s Progress”
10. Travis Tritt – “No More Looking Over My Shoulder”
11. Sugarland – “Something More”
12. The Notorious Cherry Bombs – “Let It Roll, Let It Ride”
13. Drew Kennedy – “We’ve All Got Our Marks to Make”
14. Pam Tillis – “Land Of The Living”
15. Sammy Kershaw – “Better Than I Used To Be”
16. Billy Joe Shaver – “Try and Try Again”

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  1. Lori says

    What a nice surprise! As much as I love reading your country haiku & sarcastic comments, it’s wonderful to see the inspirational side of you too! No easy feat losing 80 lbs. Keep up the great work with your lifestyle change.

  2. says

    Great list and motivation man! As someone only about 6 months into keeping a website it’s really cool to hear from a vet. Keep it up.

  3. says

    Fantastic playlist! I love “Land of the Living.” That was one of the first songs that really got me interested in Pam Tillis, and the rest, as they say, is history.

  4. bll says

    Congrats on the weight loss! I was diagnosed with diabetes 31 May last year; since then I met with a Registered Dietician, completely changed how I eat, bought my very first bicycle and (so far) have taken off 56 pounds and 36 inches. I am no longer diabetic, off all meds and I listen to a lot of Garth, Kris, Radney and Randy whilst on the elliptical.

  5. says

    Congratulations on your weight loss and thanks for sharing your motivation. My goal for this year is to lose 26 pounds, and it has been a struggle to keep up the motivation…but I’m still striving for the small changes that add up, and your story is a good reminder to not lose hope.

  6. says

    There’s a motivational author (too lazy to look his name up) who coined the phrase “The Slight Edge” for that gradual growth from a small, repeated action. Seems like you hit on the same concept. He probably makes lots of money, which can only mean you have a bright future.

  7. says

    Whew, I’m glad this is being received well. My latest leap was posting anything so personal on the blog, but I figured I should probably do it if it might help someone. Maybe it will.

    Thanks! Just following the natural course of evolution from crabby, satirical country blogger to motivational speaker and life coach. You know.

    Me being called a “vet” officially proves that all you need to do to earn that title is stick around long enough. So, keep on truckin’.

    That Pam Tillis is a peach, isn’t she?

    Congratulations! That’s an amazing amount of change in 9 months. My 80 pounds happened over the course of a couple years, so you’re getting it done at a much faster clip than I did. Keep it up. ;-)

    @Mary Katherine
    Thanks for the congrats and good luck on your own weight loss goal. I don’t know if you’re into Jillian Michaels (used to be a trainer on the Biggest Loser) at all, but her free podcasts helped me with flagging motivation on a few occasions. Here’s the iTunes link. Other than that, I obviously recommend cranking “A Feelin’ Like That” up as loud as it will go.

    Looked it up. Jeff Olson? Might have to grab a used copy of his book.

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