A Good Year Ahead (and a crazy year behind)

It was a crazy, hectic, and tiring last 6 months of 2011 but I feel like it was meant to happen that way. It saw some pretty significant positive changes in my life but also contained a few cycles of negativity that were quite testing. But, I've battled through and I'm back in 2012 ready for what seems like a good year ahead.

Last 6 Months

So what happened over the last 6 months? Why was I so absent on my own site? I'm glad you asked...

I got Married

Yes ladies I'm sorry to say that I am now officially off the market. In August, Sophie and I got married and it was a wonderful day. We loved every minute of it (even though it poured with rain) and it was amazing to be surrounded by all our family and friends when celebrating the occasion.

Of course an awesome wedding is not complete without an awesome honeymoon so we took off for several weeks and spent the time relaxing at by the pool/beach/bar at a Thailand resort. Money well spent and we came back feeling quite good.

I hated my Job

After such a happy and wonderful time with the wedding and honeymoon I came crashing back to reality when I went back to work and realised exactly how much I hated it. It was depressing and I quickly became very negative about it. Sadly I let this negativity infect other aspects of my life. Bad Zac!

Also as the year went on I realised that I wasn't going to achieve my goal of not needing a job for 2012. Realising that I had to continue working for a little while longer was saddening but at least it made me take action and change something...

I got a new Job

What's the next best thing to not having to work? Having an enjoyable job!

I was beginning to think that finding and enjoyable job might be liking trying to find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. A fun story but total rubbish.

But I'm happy to have been proven wrong. I've managed to land myself a job which is interesting, mentally challenging and stimulating, and is placed within a great team full of friendly people.

Of course that means I've spent the last few months learning lots of new things and working hard which has meant my other projects (including this site) have taken a back seat. But something had to give.

2012: The Year Ahead

So after a good break over the festive season I am back and raring to go in 2012. I have this buzz about life at the moment and I just feel like 2012 is going to be a very good (and very big) year for me. Here are some of the reasons why:

My Job

As I mentioned above, my job is a very positive part of my life right now. Not only is it a great job for me right now but it also has loads of potential for my future.

I've got a manager who is committed to helping me grow into more senior roles, I'm working in a boom industry, and I'm at the bleeding edge of implementing new tools and process. All up this year is going to provide a great platform for me to go places. And quickly.

My Trading/Betting

2011 saw a lot of my spare time dedicated to projects related to sports betting and trading. While I only made a small amount of money for the year I learned lots and I feel better off for the experience. I am hoping to draw on this over the next 12 months and increase my profit level significantly.

My Body

After several weeks of eating and drinking like a modern day human over the festive season I felt disgusting. And motivated. Motivated to get back onto Paleo - eating, drinking, and thinking live a caveman - and I'm already loving it! Of course, I already knew how good being paleo felt.

I've also diagnosed a weakness in my shoulder/back area that was causing tightness and also contributing to poor form (and thus undue soreness) in the gym. So I'm onto a rigorous daily routine of stretching and light exercises to increase my overall flexibility but also get some of my under-used muscles up to the required level.

By the time I'm finished with this I will be lean, flexible, strong, and pain-free. That makes me very happy!

My Wife

Last, but certainly not least, I am looking forward to spending some good positive time with my wife. We're focusing this year on doing more activities, experiencing new things, and going to see new places together.

We're committed to being aware of the other person (their thoughts and feelings in particular) and also ensuring that we demonstrate our love for each other often.

This is what I am looking forward to the most - a wonderful year with my wonderful wife!

I hope your 2012 is looking as good as mine.

Wedding Time! Back in 4 Weeks

Apparently planning a wedding is way more time consuming than I thought it would be. As such I haven't really had much time to do anything for this site. And I don't foresee being able to contribute more whilst lounging on the beach on my honeymoon so I think it's best if I give my 4 weeks notice. I will be back, raring to go, and hopefully tanned in 4 weeks. In the mean time if you have any ideas or any specific topics you think I should write about then please email me.

Thanks and I will see you again in 4 weeks!

6 Month Site Stats

6 Months ago I started this website with the goal of writing high quality content that would challenge myself and my readers and encourage positive personal development. Overall I feel that I have been at least partially successful. I know for sure that I have grown significantly during this time (mentally, not physically...I've actually shrunk physically ;)) and I have received several positive comments an emails from readers which help to motivate me.

The 6 month milestone is huge for me because it means that this site has become an ingrained part of my life. It is my first real attempt at a blog-type website and there was always a possibility that I would not be able to maintain the time, effort, and focus needed to maintain this kind of site. Now that I am here I don't think I will ever stop.

Enough chat, it's time to satisfy my nerdy math side and look at the stats!

The Site Stats - Overall

These are the entire stats for the lifetime of the site. After I will include stats for the last 3 months and compare them to the first 3 months to see how the numbers have changed.

  • Total Visits: 4183
  • Unique Visitors: 3461
  • Page Views: 7596
  • Total Subscribers: 15
  • Traffic Split: Search Engines = 64% , Referring Sites, =22% , Direct = 14%
  • Most Viewed Article: Paleo Diet - 30 Day Review

Those stats are looking pretty good. I noticed a pretty good spike when I was blogging about the Paleo Lifestyle and that shows because even though my 30 day review of the Paleo Diet is only a few moths old it is my most read article.

I guess that means I should write more paleo articles.

The Site Stats - Last 3 Months

Here are the stats for just the last 3 months, compared to those of my first 3 month review. Things are looking good.

  • Total Visits: 3513 (up 2862 or 439%)
  • Unique Visitors: 2997 (up 2534 or 547%)
  • Page Views: 5884 (up 4223 or 254%)
  • Total Subscribers: 15 (up 14 or 1400%)
  • Traffic Split: Search Engines = 68% (up 22%) , Referring Sites, =20% (down 13%) , Direct = 12% (down 9%)
  • Most Viewed Article: Paleo Diet - 30 Day Review

I am pretty happy with that. Everything is moving in the right direction which is very motivating, and even though I have been so busy with my software development business and planning a wedding that I have not been able to write as much as I wanted I am still getting positive gains in my traffic.

The Future

So what is in store for the future? Hopefully the next time I am writing about my site stats I am delivering the same positive message of continued traffic growth! Traffic is king on the internet and is the key determinant of success for most sites. Fingers crossed mine keeps growing.

I still have many more articles to write so I don't fear running out of content anytime soon. In fact for every article I write it feels like I come up with another 3 ideas.

The biggest challenge will be my upcoming wedding and honeymoon. I don't want to disappear for a month right in the middle of my crucial site growing stage so I am going to be busily writing a few articles ahead of time that I can roll out while I am relaxing on my honeymoon without anyone noticing I am gone.

I've got some great ideas for that, including a long series of posts on relationships, so keep an eye out for that.

Stay tuned.

Something Had To Give

My apologies for the lack of activity on this site for the past week or so. Believe me when I say I was very disappointed for this to happen - I felt that I was getting into a groove, traffic was building, and my writing was improving with every post. Sadly though, I realised that I had too much on my plate (self inflicted) and that I needed to take a break from a few things. It saddened me that this site was one of the things that had to fall by the way side for a few weeks but it was a decision made on purely economic reasons.

Put simply, I had taken on too many projects and I needed to prioritise them. I chose to do this based on the expected reward:effort ratio each project provided.

Expected Reward vs Effort

I have mentioned before that this site is not exactly a good business proposition in terms of the amount of time and effort it requires and the financial return it brings in. The main purpose of this site is to help people, not make money, but when I am planning on quitting my job in 2012, money is an important issue.

Recently my software development company, 16 Threads, has been gaining momentum which is great news. We've already secured a contract to produce an iPad application for a local government department and we've got several other clients interested in our services,  as well as some in-house products in the works.

The future of 16 Threads is looking very positive, which is great because it is an integral part of how I plan to make money when I quit in 2012. But of course this increased work means that I have less time for my hobbies, like writing articles here. You win some, you lose some.

In reality this site has brought in less than $10 for an estimated 300 hours of effort. That's under 4c per hour.

On the other hand my work for 16 Threads is going to yield me a reward thousands of times higher for a similar level of effort. No contest.

In an ideal world I would love for the majority of my time to be spent working in the self help and personal development industry but until that becomes viable in terms of providing an income for me I will persist with it as just a hobby.

The Future

I don't foresee any drastic things over the next few months (apart from my wedding) that will prevent me from writing articles here so you will continue to see me posting useful articles. I'm not going to go away, but I might just have to scale back my efforts until things settle down.

The good news is that once I establish a few money earning sources for 2012 and quit my job then I will have a massive influx of time and I plan to spend a significant portion of that here, writing articles and helping people.

So stay with me…I've got plenty left to write. :)

Attention RSS Subscribers: RSS Feed Change

I was trapped. The room was suffocatingly small and a big burly man was sitting between me and the door. Escape was not an option, so I sat in the corner and occupied my mind. That is about as glamorous as I can make it sound for I am actually talking about a very boring meeting I had to attend in a past life. I hate useless meetings and my old job as full of them. Meetings to discuss if we should have a morning tea. Meetings because people wanted to feel important. Meetings to discuss the prospect of future meetings. Argh! But I digress.

The point is that it was in that meeting that I realised just how much I love numbers. As I sat there, bored out of my brain, I developed a series of tests that I could perform in my head to determine if large numbers (i.e. more than 6 digits) were prime numbers or not. My method took less than 15 minutes to define and it was in that moment that I realised just how much I love anything to do with math - numbers, stats, averages, trends, patterns etc.

Which brings me to the whole point of this message - I have updated my RSS feed and I would appreciate if my current RSS subscribers could re-subscribe using the new feed.

RSS Changes?

The reason I am changing is simply to satisfy my data needs. My original feed was the out-of-the-box RSS feed that comes with Wordpress. It is handy but comes with a flaw. I cannot see the numbers subscribers! What good is it having a subscription mechanism where I cannot even keep track of the number of people subscribing?

So I have changed the RSS subscription links to use Feedburner which is what I was already using to manage my email subscriptions. It allows me to track numbers of subscribers easily and with minimal changes to my site.

What Changes Will You Notice

None. You can still subscribe and receive updates in exactly the same way, but if you do so through this link I will now be able to keep track of the number of my subscribers. You will still get my content delivered to you as you always have.

And if you don't switch? Nothing will change either. The original feed will still work. There is no encouragement for you to actually re-subscribe using my new feed other than the warm fuzzy feeling you will get from doing something nice for me. :)

So, for those original RSS subscribers I ask you to please consider re-subscribing. For those who have not subscribed yet, it is never too late! You can subscribe to receive my content updates either through email or RSS. All you have to do is subscribe once and everything will be sent to you fresh of the press.

Please note: for email subscribers no action is required. This is for RSS subscribers only.

My First 3 Months

Time certainly has flown by - it has been 3 months since I started this website and I feel like I have developed significantly over that period. 3 months of dedicated personal development and physical experiments will do that I guess. The 3 month milestone is quite an occasion for me. I have dabbled in personal websites and blogs before but none of them managed to keep my interest like this. I feel like I have only just begun, that I have so much more to offer, and that I could keep writing for years. With that in mind I thought I would assess how much progress I have made in 3 months.

The Site Stats

These are the cold hard stats. Keep in mind I am missing about 6-7 days worth of data when I mistakenly removed the analytics code when I was upgrading my site.

  • Visits: 651
  • Unique Visitors: 463
  • Page Views: 1661
  • Email Subscribers: 1
  • Traffic Split: Search Engines = 46% , Referring Sites, =33% , Direct = 21%
  • Most Viewed Article: Sometimes We all need some Alone Time

Overall most things are trending upwards. Over the past two weeks I have averaged over 20 visits per day and I have set two personal bests for single-day stats: most visits (30) and most page views (98).

My (lack of) Marketing

I have pretty much broken every rule for how to create a high-traffic website. I do not write small articles (most are over 500 words and some are up around the 1500 word mark) and I do not get myself out there with hardcore "marketing" that seems to be the norm. My current self promotion tally is:

  • Commented on 4 blogs.
  • Posted 10 links to this site on Twitter
  • Submitted 6 articles to blog carnivals.

I think this is one area I should put more effort in to but right now I prefer to spend my time writing high quality content so that this site can be as useful as possible when I start attracting higher visitor numbers.

My Writing Style

Looking back I can see some of my earlier articles were very rough and unpolished. I have always enjoyed writing, both fiction and non-fiction, but my skill has definitely improved since beginning this site 3 months ago.

Now my articles flow better, my conclusions are stronger, and I invoke more thought and feeling with my writing. At least that's how I see it.

My Biggest Mistake

I have made plenty of mistakes over the past 3 months but the biggest would be blurring the lines between this website and my personal life. I got so involved with the mindset of personal development that I started acting like a "life coach" all the time.

The realisation for this came from my beautiful wife-to-be, Sophie, when she said said "I feel like I only get to talk to the writer version of Zac Sky now. Where is my fiance Zac Sky?" That was a wake-up call for me.

I am the kind of person who gets passionately involved in projects, so much so that I can loose perspective on others things that are important but I did not want to do that to my relationship. My relationship with Sophie is the most important thing in my life and I am lucky that she was understanding of my over-zealous dedication to this project. I just hope my passion is one of the reasons she is marrying me...

The Next 3 Months

So what is in store for the next 3 months? More of the same but better! More articles, more personal and physical development, more stories, more experiments. More of everything. More, more more!

Don't forget you can subscribe to my email newsletter. That way you won't miss a thing.

Stay tuned.


The flood waters have receded, the cleanup is well underway, and I have successfully moved into my new house. Time for me to unveil what zacsky.com is all about. In a nutshell this site is about personal development - physical, mental, and everywhere in between - and how to turn a positive attitude into lifestyle freedom. There will be lots of information designed to challenge the norm and push boundaries to improve productivity and encourage positive personal growth. But there will also be useful anecdotes and information, case-studies, tips and tricks, and progress reports on my own personal experiments.

Three years ago I started writing a personal development book called Positive Happiness. After finishing the first draft I decided that I did not want to sell it - I wanted to give it away instead. I believe so strongly in the information that I wrote that I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to read it and benefit from it. That is why this site will include many articles based entirely on Positive Happiness. I really hope you can learn something from them and apply them to your life.

Like any personal development quest there will be tough times and challenges. Forcing change in your life and purposefully traveling against the flow societal norms is a difficult task, riddled with criticism and self-doubt. But it is precisely those times that a positive and productive mindset is needed to stay on the path towards lifestyle freedom.

Strap yourself in.